Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/156

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individually approached, and Venice, already on bad terms with Milan over the question of Pisa, after long deliberations accepted in February, 1499, an agreement for the partition of Milan. Venice was to receive Cremona and the territories east of the Adda as her share, and promised a contribution of 100,000 ducats to the French expenses in the joint war. The Pope was seeking a rich marriage for his son Cesare, who had decided to lay down his dignity of Cardinal. Repulsed in Naples, he turned the more willingly to France. Louis purchased his divorce from Jeanne of France, and papal support in his war, by the gift to Cesare of the hand of Charlotte d'Albret, and of the duchy of the Valentinois. The marriage was celebrated in May, 1499, at Blois. Florence, aggrieved though she was by the Venetian support of Pisa, dared not promise aid to Milan, and secretly professed her friendship for France. The powers of the north-western frontier of Italy were all won for the invaders.

Meanwhile Ludovico had not been idle. At every court his envoys met the ambassadors of France, and fought an unequal diplomatic fight. Maximilian was friendly, but he was engaged during the crisis in unsuccessful warfare with the Swiss. He took Ludovico's money, but gave him no material aid. Naples, reduced to famine by the ravages of war, was benevolent but helpless. The smaller powers, Mantua, Ferrara, Bologna, jealous as they were of Venice, were yet more afraid. They gave willingly good words, but took no compromising step. The Marquis of Mantua indeed, after much haggling, accepted a condotta from Ludovico, but was careful not to carry out its obligations. One ally Ludovico had, or at least professed to have,—the enemy of Christendom, the Turk, who did much harm to Venice^during and after the war of Milan, and even raided Friuli, and the march of Treviso. But Ludovico was not to gain by this.

Thrown thus upon his own resources, he was in fact beaten before the war began. His frontier was long, and not naturally defensible. He had to fear attacks from every side. The spring and summer of 1499 were spent in feverish attempts to organise defence. A large number of infantry was raised in the Milanese, and distributed in the strong towns and on the frontiers. A few Swiss and Germans were hired. Efforts were made to collect mercenary horse, with moderate success; but the most important contingent, that promised from Naples under Prospero Colonna, was detained at home. Much labour was spent on the frontier fortresses. Alessandria in particular was thought to have been made very strong. The brothers San Severino, in whom the Duke had complete confidence, were put in the chief commands, and returned favourable reports to their master. The Duke flattered himself that his State could hold out for a time even against the overwhelming odds. If time were allowed, the powers of Germany might be set in motion.

Far more methodical and effective were the measures taken beyond the Alps. Louis had improved the administration of the finances, and