He undertook this commission, and in the most prevailing words he could make use of endeavored to induce him to coincide with their views; and begged that he would not by favoring an audacious mob, enable them to complete the ruin both of the government and the city. To this Giovanni replied, that he considered it the duty of a good and wise citizen to avoid altering the institutions to which a city is accustomed; there being nothing so injurious to the people as such a change; for many are necessarily offended, and where there are several discontented, some unpropitious event may be constantly apprehended. He said it appeared to him that their resolution would have two exceedingly pernicious effects; the one conferring honors on those who, having never possessed them, esteemed them the less, and therefore had the less occasion to grieve for their absence; the other taking them from those who being accustomed to their possession would never be at rest till they were restored to them. It would thus be evident that the injury done to one party, was greater than the benefit they had conferred upon the other; so that whoever was the author of the proposition, he would gain few friends and make many enemies, and that the latter would be more resolutely bent on injuring him than the former would be zealous for his defense, for mankind are naturally more disposed to revenge than to gratitude, as if the latter could only be exercised with some inconvenience to themselves, while the former brings alike gratification and profit. Then, directing his discourse more particularly to Rinaldo, he said, “And you, if you could call to mind past events, and knew how craftily affairs are conducted in this city, would not be so eager in this pursuit; for he who advises it, when by your aid he has wrested the power from the people, will, with the people’s assistance, who will have become your enemies, deprive you of it. And it will happen to you as to Benedetto Alberti, who, at the persuasion of those who were not his friends, consented to the ruin of Giorgio Scali and Tommaso Strozzi, and shortly afterward was himself sent into exile by the very same men.” He therefore advised Rinaldo to think more maturely of these things, and endeavor to imitate his father, who, to obtain the benevolence of all, reduced the price of salt, provided that whoever owed taxes under half a florin should be at liberty to pay them or not, as he thought proper, and that at the meeting of the Councils every one should be free from the importunities of his creditors. He concluded by saying, that as regarded himself, he was disposed to let the government of the city remain as it was.
Giovanni de’ Medici acquires the favor of the people—Bravery of Biaggio del Melano—Baseness of Zanobi del Pino—The Florentines obtain the friendship of the lord of Faenza—League of the Florentines with the Venetians—Origin of the Catasto—The rich citizens discontented with it—Peace with the duke of Milan—New disturbances on account of the Catasto.