For the Freedom of Italy Part I

By | February 7, 2022

The old thought of the Italian league was returning to the surface. From France came incitements of resistance and war, and offers of aid. According to Aceinland, the union of the crowns of Spain, Germany and the empire, the latest events in Italy and the coup of Pavia, had given the court much thought. To which came the first impulse to that orientation towards the Turkish empire which, given the French traditions, the same first motivations of the enterprise of Charles VIII in Italy, the public sentiment of Christian Europe in those years of serious Turkish threats , it was a real political-diplomatic and religious revolution. But some new thoughts also arose in relation to Italy. In Italy it was necessary to hold dominion, but in order to hold dominion there it was necessary to encourage forces of resistance to the Spaniards. Thus Francesco Sforza, with his minister Girolamo Morone already in the service of France, the republic of Venice, the pope. they resumed more lively contact with each other, exchanged ideas, sifted through proposals, drafted agreements. Genoa, Lucca, Siena hinted at allowing them too. The pope, the new Pope Clement VII of the Medici family, became the center of this movement, he set about hiring Swiss people for Lombardy and, when needed, for Naples, he sent the Genoese Domenico Santi to Milan to deal with the league, formulated to the regent the conditions for an alliance against Spain. The soul of the negotiations was Giovanni Matteo Ghiberti, secretary of Cardinal Giuliano de ‘Medici, ignited by the passion to unite the Italian states and, with the forces of Italy and France, drive out Spain. Once the goal has been achieved, there will be “a perpetual union of all of Italy”; there will be no French dominion, but “perpetual bond and friendship with the kingdom of France”. Among the conditions placed by the pope on the regent, for this league, there had to be, together with the obligation of a French military contribution to expel the Spaniards from Italy and an Italian one to free the king from imprisonment, also the French renunciation of every claim on the peninsula. Only the independence of Italy, it was thought and said for many then, to be able to ensure peace.

In short, that attempt to remove, after France, also Spain, which Julius II had not even been able to initiate, has begun now, under the auspices if not precisely by the first impulse of Pope Clement VII. But it may be that it was precisely these conditions imposed by the Italians that made the regent slow to negotiate, reluctant to conclude; while, conversely, the Italian diplomats tried to find as much strength as possible in Italy for the enterprise. There was the bad idea of ​​negotiating with the Marquis of Pescara, general of Charles V, one of the major architects of the victory of Pavia, Spanish by origin but, for a generation, Italian. There was, for various reasons, discontent among several of the characters close to Carlo. The Grand Chancellor was angry with the excesses of the soldier which no one held back. In vain did he ask that the major perpetrators be put on trial. He blamed them for the failure of the conciliatory policy towards the Italians and the responsibility for their agreements with France, he too felt Italian and the thought flashed to him that, after the French were driven out, the Spaniards would then come. Pescara, “as the emperor’s discontent and as an Italian”, gave substance to hope that he could put himself in the service of the league. The task of these negotiations was given to Morone, secretary of Sforza and closest to Pescara, whose offended self-love and ambition he tried to flatter, offering him, as well as a possible crown, the kingdom of Naples, even the glory to meet the legitimate expectations of the Italians and the Holy See and to become the liberator of this common homeland. And from then on Milan became another center of diplomatic activity and intrigue, together with Rome and, for some time, more than Rome. The ranks of the agreement, which was complicated by a conspiracy, Morone held in his hands. Except that Pescara listened well to the proposals of his associates, inquired as to how things were and then, either he did not have the heart to betray his master, he who felt more Spanish than Italian, or did not trust that those governments and ministers and all Italians could carry out an enterprise of this kind well, he arrested Morone (October 14, 1525), revealed everything to the emperor, even advised him to make an agreement with France to conquer and divide Italy together. And in the meantime he was carrying out on his own account that policy of energetic military measures that he advocated, in opposition to Mercurino da Gattinara.

For the Freedom of Italy 1