Being at peace with their neighbors, domestic troubles recommenced. The great citizens could not endure the Catasto, and not knowing how to set it aside, they endeavored to raise up more numerous enemies to the measure, and thus provide themselves with allies to assist them in annulling it. They therefore instructed the officers appointed to levy the tax, that the law required them to extend the Catasto over the property of their nearest neighbors, to see if Florentine wealth was concealed among it. The dependent states were therefore ordered to present a schedule of their property against a certain time. This was extremely offensive to the people of Volterra, who sent to the Signory to complain of it; but the officers, in great wrath, committed eighteen of the complainants to prison. The Volterrani, however, out of regard for their fellow-countrymen who were arrested, did not proceed to any violence.
Death of Giovanni de’ Medici—His character—Insurrection of Volterra—Volterra returns to her allegiance—Niccolo Fortebraccio attacks the Lucchese—Diversity of opinion about the Lucchese war—War with Lucca—Astore Gianni and Rinaldo degli Albizzi appointed commissaries—Violence of Astorre Gianni.
About this time Giovanni de’ Medici was taken ill, and finding his end approach, called his sons Cosmo and Lorenzo to him, to give them his last advice, and said, “I find I have nearly reached the term which God and nature appointed at my birth, and I die content, knowing that I leave you rich, healthy, and of such standing in society, that if you pursue the same course that I have, you will live respected in Florence, and in favor with everyone. Nothing cheers me so much at this moment, as the recollection that I have never willfully offended anyone; but have always used my utmost endeavors to confer benefits upon all. I would have you do so too. With regard to state affairs, if you would live in security, take just such a share as the laws and your countrymen think proper to bestow, thus you will escape both danger and envy; for it is not what is given to any individual, but what he has determined to possess, that occasions odium. You will thus have a larger share than those who endeavor to engross more than belongs to them; for they thus usually lose their own, and before they lose it, live in constant disquiet. By adopting this method, although among so many enemies, and surrounded by so many conflicting interests, I have not only maintained my reputation but increased my influence. If you pursue the same course, you will be attended by the same good fortune; if otherwise, you may be assured, your end will resemble that of those who in our own times have brought ruin both upon themselves and their families.” Soon after this interview with his sons, Giovanni died, regretted by everyone, as his many excellencies deserved. He was compassionate; not only bestowing alms on those