After these events the city remained in peace till the year 1353. In the course of this period occurred the memorable plague, described with so much eloquence by Giovanni Boccaccio, and by which Florence lost 96,000 souls. In 1348, began the first war with the Visconti, occasioned by the archbishop, then prince of Milan; and when this was concluded, dissensions again arose in the city; for although the nobility were destroyed, fortune did not fail to cause new divisions and new troubles.
Reflections upon the domestic discords of republics—A parallel between the discords of Rome and those of Florence—Enmities between the families of the Ricci and the Albizzi—Uguccione de’ Ricci causes the laws against the Ghibellines to be renewed in order to injure the Albizzi—Piero degli Albizzi derives advantage from it—Origin of admonitions and the troubles which result from them—Uguccione de’ Ricci moderates their injustice—Difficulties increase—A meeting of the citizens—They address the Signory—The Signory attempt to remedy the evils.
Those serious, though natural enmities, which occur between the popular classes and the nobility, arising from the desire of the latter to command, and the disinclination of the former to obey, are the causes of most of the troubles which take place in cities; and from this diversity of purpose, all the other evils which disturb republics derive their origin. This kept Rome disunited; and this, if it be allowable to compare small things with great, held Florence in disunion; although in each city it produced a different result; for animosities were only beginning with the people and nobility of Rome contended, while ours were brought to a conclusion by the contentions of our citizens. A new law settled the disputes of Rome; those of Florence were only terminated by the death and banishment of many of her best people. Those of Rome increased her military virtue, while that of Florence was quite extinguished by her divisions. The quarrels of Rome established different ranks of society, those of Florence abolished the distinctions which had previously existed. This diversity of effects must have been occasioned by the different purposes which the two people had in view. While the people of Rome endeavored to associate with the nobility in the supreme honors, those of Florence strove to exclude the nobility from all participation in them: as the desire of the Roman people was more reasonable, no particular offense was given to the nobility; they therefore consented to it without having recourse to arms; so that, after some disputes concerning particular points, both parties agreed to the enactment of a law which, while it satisfied the people, preserved the nobility in the enjoyment of their dignity.