The city being cleared of the enemies, or suspected enemies of the state, those in possession of the government now began to strengthen their party by conferring benefits upon such as were in a condition to serve them, and the family of the Alberti, with all who had been banished by the former government, were recalled. All the nobility, with few exceptions, were reduced to the ranks of the people, and the possessions of the exiles were divided among themselves, upon each paying a small acknowledgment. They then fortified themselves with new laws and provisos, made new Squittini, withdrawing the names of their adversaries from the purses, and filling them with those of their friends. Taking advice from the ruin of their enemies, they considered that to allow the great offices to be filled by mere chance of drawing, did not afford the government sufficient security, they therefore resolved that the magistrates possessing the power of life and death should always be chosen from among the leaders of their own party, and therefore that the Accoppiatori, or persons selected for the imborsation of the new Squittini, with the Signory who had to retire from office, should make the new appointments. They gave to eight of the guard authority to proceed capitally, and provided that the exiles, when their term of banishment was complete, should not be allowed to return, unless from the Signory and Colleagues, which were thirty-seven in number, the consent of thirty-four was obtained. It was made unlawful to write to or to receive letters from them; every word, sign, or action that gave offense to the ruling party was punished with the utmost rigor; and if there was still in Florence any suspected person whom these regulations did not reach, he was oppressed with taxes imposed for the occasion. Thus in a short time, having expelled or impoverished the whole of the adverse party, they established themselves firmly in the government. Not to be destitute of external assistance, and to deprive others of it, who might use it against themselves, they entered into a league, offensive and defensive, with the pope, the Venetians, and the duke of Milan.