The Signory, seeing their adversaries disarmed, continued to negotiate an arrangement by means of the pope; but at the same time sent secretly to the mountains of Pistoia for infantry, which, with what other forces they could collect, were brought into Florence by night. Having taken possession of all the strong positions in the city, they assembled the people in the piazza and created a new balia, which, without delay, restored Cosmo and those who had been exiled with him to their country; and banished, of the opposite party, Rinaldo degli Albizzi, Ridolfo Peruzzi, Niccolo Barbadoro, and Palla Strozzi, with so many other citizens, that there were few places in Italy which did not contain some, and many others beyond her limits were full of them. By this and similar occurrences, Florence was deprived of men of worth, and of much wealth and industry.
The pope, seeing such misfortunes befall those who by his entreaties were induced to lay down their arms, was greatly dissatisfied, and condoled with Rinaldo on the injuries he had received through his confidence in him, but advised him to be patient, and hope for some favorable turn of fortune. Rinaldo replied, “The want of confidence in those who ought to have trusted me, and the great trust I have reposed in you, have ruined both me and my party. But I blame myself principally for having thought that you, who were expelled from your own country, could preserve me in mine. I have had sufficient experience of the freaks of fortune; and as I have never trusted greatly to prosperity, I shall suffer less inconvenience from adversity; and I know that when she pleases she can become more favorable. But if she should never change, I shall not be very desirous of living in a city in which individuals are more powerful than the laws; for that country alone is desirable in which property and friends may be safely enjoyed, not one where they may easily be taken from us, and where friends, from fear of losing their property, are compelled to abandon each other in their greatest need. Besides, it has always been less painful to good men to hear of the misfortunes of their country than to witness them; and an honorable exile is always held in greater esteem than slavery at home.” He then left the pope, and, full of indignation, blaming himself, his own measures, and the coldness of his friends, went into exile.
Cosmo, on the other hand, being informed of his recall, returned to Florence; and it has seldom occurred that any citizen, coming home triumphant from victory, was received by so vast a concourse of people, or such unqualified demonstrations of regard as he was upon his return from banishment; for by universal consent he was hailed as the benefactor of the people, and the FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY.
The vicissitudes of empires—The state of Italy—The military factions of Sforza and Braccio—The Bracceschi and the Sforzeschi attack the pope, who is expelled by the Romans—War between the pope and the duke of Milan—The Florentines and the Venetians assist the pope—Peace between the pope and the duke of Milan—Tyranny practiced by the party favorable to the Medici.