Confusion and riots in the city—Reform of government in opposition to the plebeians—Injuries done to those who favored the plebeians—Michael di Lando banished—Benedetto Alberti hated by the Signory—Fears excited by the coming of Louis of Anjou—The Florentines purchase Arezzo—Benedetto Alberti becomes suspected and is banished—His discourse upon leaving the city—Other citizens banished and admonished—War with Giovanni Galeazzo, duke of Milan.
The death of Giorgio caused very great excitement; many took arms at the execution in favor of the Signory and the Capitano; and many others, either for ambition or as a means for their own safety, did the same. The city was full of conflicting parties, who each had a particular end in view, and wished to carry it into effect before they disarmed. The ancient nobility, called the GREAT, could not bear to be deprived of public honors; for the recovery of which they used their utmost exertions, and earnestly desired that authority might be restored to the Capitani di Parte. The nobles of the people and the major trades were discontented at the share the minor trades and lowest of the people possessed in the government; while the minor trades were desirous of increasing their influence, and the lowest people were apprehensive of losing the companies of their trades and the authority which these conferred.
Such opposing views occasioned Florence, during a year, to be disturbed by many riots. Sometimes the nobles of the people took arms; sometimes the major and sometimes the minor trades and the lowest of the people; and it often happened that, though in different parts, all were at once in insurrection. Hence many conflicts took place between the different parties or with the forces of the palace; for the Signory sometimes yielding, and at other times resisting, adopted such remedies as they could for these numerous evils. At length, after two assemblies of the people, and many Balias appointed for the reformation of the city; after much toil, labor, and imminent danger, a government was appointed, by which all who had been banished since Salvestro de’ Medici was Gonfalonier were restored. They who had acquired distinctions or emoluments by the Balia of 1378 were deprived of them. The honors of government were restored to the Guelphic party; the two new Companies of the Trades were dissolved, and all who had been subject to them assigned to their former companies. The minor trades were not allowed to elect the Gonfalonier of Justice, their share of honors was reduced from a half to a third; and those of the highest rank were withdrawn from them altogether. Thus the nobles of the people and the Guelphs repossessed themselves of the government, which was lost by the plebeians after it had been in their possession from 1378 to 1381, when these changes took place.