Cosmo de’ Medici, his character and mode of proceedings—The greatness of Cosmo excites the jealousy of the citizens—The opinion of Niccolo da Uzzano—Scandalous divisions of the Florentines—Death of Niccolo da Uzzano—Bernardo Guadagni, Gonfalonier, adopts measures against Cosmo—Cosmo arrested in the palace—He is apprehensive of attempts against his life.
During the war the malignant humors of the city were in constant activity. Cosmo de’ Medici, after the death of Giovanni, engaged more earnestly in public affairs, and conducted himself with more zeal and boldness in regard to his friends than his father had done, so that those who rejoiced at Giovanni’s death, finding what the son was likely to become, perceived they had no cause for exultation. Cosmo was one of the most prudent of men; of grave and courteous demeanor, extremely liberal and humane. He never attempted anything against parties, or against rulers, but was bountiful to all; and by the unwearied generosity of his disposition, made himself partisans of all ranks of the citizens. This mode of proceeding increased the difficulties of those who were in the government, and Cosmo himself hoped that by its pursuit he might be able to live in Florence as much respected and as secure as any other citizen; or if the ambition of his adversaries compelled him to adopt a different course, arms and the favor of his friends would enable him to become more so. Averardo de’ Medici and Puccio Pucci were greatly instrumental in the establishment of his power; the former by his boldness, the latter by unusual prudence and sagacity, contributed to his aggrandizement. Indeed the advice of wisdom of Puccio were so highly esteemed, that Cosmo’s party was rather distinguished by the name of Puccio than by his own.
By this divided city the enterprise against Lucca was undertaken; and the bitterness of party spirit, instead of being abated, increased. Although the friends of Cosmo had been in favor of it, many of the adverse faction were sent to assist in the management, as being men of greater influence in the state. Averardo de’ Medici and the rest being unable to prevent this, endeavored with all their might to calumniate them; and when any unfavorable circumstance occurred (and there were many), fortune and the exertions of the enemy were never supposed to be the causes, but solely the want of capacity