Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/149

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Sforza at Imola and Forli was doubtful. These troops were opposed by Milanese under the Count of Caiazzo, and French under Aubigny; but, when Charles had decided to advance through Tuscany, the operations in Romagna lost their meaning and the allies withdrew. Charles passed through Pavia, where he visited Gian Galeazzo. At Piacenza he heard of the young duke's death. As far as Pontremoli he marched over Milanese soil. Thence, descending the Apennines, he advanced into Florentine territory and attacked Sarzana. Had Sarzana and Pietra Santa been strongly defended, the country at this point presented serious difficulties to an advancing army. The land on either side of the road was marshy, and the fortresses were well capable of defence. But Piero, unsupported and unprepared, had at length determined to give in. He knew that there were many in Florence who were favourable to France, and hostile to himself. Acting on his own responsibility, while Sarzana still held out, he came to the French camp at San Stefano and surrendered everything,—Sarzana, Pietra Santa, Pisa, and Livorno,—and promised the King a considerable loan. But his submission came too late. When he returned to Florence, he found the palace of the Signoria closed to him; the city rose against him, and he was obliged to fly with his brother, the young Cardinal Giovanni.

Nothing now remained to delay Charles' advance to Florence. Into Lucca the King made a triumphant entry. At Pisa he was received with acclamations, and in a hasty speech was understood to have restored its liberty to the city, where he left a small garrison. Finally, on the 17th of November, the King entered Florence with 8,000 horse and 4,000 infantry, in a martial array such as never had been seen before. The whole city received him with eager hopes and fervent affection. Before he had left, however, some change of feeling had set in. The behaviour of the French soldiers was not all that could be desired. Wages were in arrear, and they could not, if they wished, pay for all they needed. But to women it is admitted that they did no wrong; and, indeed, the conduct of the French towards non-combatants throughout these wars compares favourably with that of Italians, Spaniards, Germans, or Swiss. But there were other grievances. Charles had put off' all negotiations until after his entry. The deliberations that followed were not always peaceful. The King was suspected, and not wholly without cause, of wishing to restore Piero. His financial demands were considered excessive, and even after abatement still remained large. He insisted on retaining Pisa and Livorno, Sarzana and Pietra Santa, till the end of the campaign. But the freedom of Pisa was not among the stipulations. A French envoy was to be present at all deliberations of the Signoria. In the discussions which ensued bold words were used. The Florentine Capponi threatened to call the citizens to arms. But the King was the stronger, and finally his principal demands were accepted.

The whole French army was now moving on Rome. Aubigny brought