The Florentines go to war with Lucca—Discourse of a citizen of Lucca to animate the plebeians against the Florentines—The Lucchese resolve to defend themselves—They are assisted by the duke of Milan—Treaty between the Florentines and the Venetians—Francesco Sforza, captain of the league, refuses to cross the Po in the service of the Venetians and returns to Tuscany—The bad faith of the Venetians toward the Florentines—Cosmo de’ Medici at Venice—Peace between the Florentines and the Lucchese—The Florentines effect a reconciliation between the pope and the Count di Poppi—The pope consecrates the church of Santa Reparata—Council of Florence.
The count commenced operations against Lucca in April, 1437, and the Florentines, desirous of recovering what they had themselves lost before they attacked others, retook Santa Maria in Castello, and all the places which Piccinino had occupied. Then, entering the Lucchese territory, they besieged Camaiore, the inhabitants of which, although faithful to their rulers, being influenced more by immediate danger than by attachment to their distant friends, surrendered. In the same manner, they obtained Massa and Serezana. Toward the end of May they proceeded in the direction of Lucca, burning the towns, destroying the growing crops, grain, trees, and vines, driving away the cattle, and leaving nothing undone to injure the enemy. The Lucchese, finding themselves abandoned by the duke, and hopeless of defending the open country, forsook it; entrenched and fortified the city, which they doubted not, being well garrisoned, they would be able to defend for a time, and that, in the interim, some event would occur for their relief, as had been the case during the former wars which the Florentines had carried on against them. Their only apprehension arose from the fickle minds of the plebeians, who, becoming weary of the siege, would have more consideration of their own danger than of other’s liberty, and would thus compel them to submit to some disgraceful and ruinous capitulation. In order to animate them to defense, they were assembled in the public piazza, and some of the eldest and most esteemed of the citizens addressed them in the following terms: “You are doubtless aware that what is done from necessity involves neither censure nor applause; therefore, if you should accuse us of having caused the present war, by receiving the ducal forces into the city, and allowing them to commit hostilities against the Florentines, you are greatly mistaken. You are well acquainted with the ancient enmity of the Florentines against you, which is not occasioned by any injuries you have done them, or by fear on their part, but by our weakness and their own ambition; for the one gives them hope of being able to oppress us, and the other incites them to attempt it. It is then vain to imagine that any merit of yours can extinguish that desire in them, or that any offense you can commit,