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CH A P. VI.

LORENZO endeavours to secure the peace of ItalyRise

of the modern idea of the balance of powerConspiracy of Frescobaldi— Expulsion of the Turks from OtrantoThe Venetians and the pope attack the duke of FerraraLorenzo undertakes his defence-The Florentines and Neapolitans ravage the papal territoriesThe duke of Calabria defeated by Roberto MalatestaProgress of the Venetian armsSixtus deserts and excommunicates his alliesCongress of Cremona-Death of Sixtus IV.-Succeeded by Giambattista Cibò who assumes the name of Innocent VIII. -Lorenzo gains the confidence of the new popeThe Florentines attempt to recover the town of SarzanaCapture of Pietra-Santa-Lorenzo retires to the baths of S. FilippoThe pope forms the design of possessing himself of the kingdom of Naples-Lorenzo supports the kingPrevails upon the Florentines to take a decided part-Effects a reconciliation between the king and the pope-Suppresses the insurrection at OsimoCapture of Sarzana-Lorenzo protects the smaller states of ItalyThe king of Naples infringes his treaty with the popePeace again restored Review of the government of Florence-Regulations introduced by Lorenzo-Prosperity of the Florentine stateHigh reputation of LorenzoGeneral tranquillity of Italy.

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vours to sem cure the peace of Italy.

SOON after the termination of hostilities between Six. Lorenzo endeatus IV. and the republic of Florence, Lorenzo began to unfold those comprehensive plans for securing the peace of Italy on a permanent foundation, which confer the highest honour on his political life. Of the extensive 1481. authority which he had obtained by his late conduct, every day afforded additional proof; and it appears to have been his intention to employ it for the wisest and most salutary purposes. By whatever motives he was led to this great attempt, he pursued it with deep policy and unceasing assiduity, and finally experienced a degree of success equal to his warmest expectations.

The

Rise of the mo

the balance of power.

The situation of Italy at this period, afforded an ample

field for the exercise of political talents. The number of dern idea of independent states of which it was composed, the in

equality of their strength, the ambitious views of some, and the ever active fears of others, kept the whole country in continual agitation and alarm. The vicinity of these states to each other, and the narrow bounds of their respective dominions, required a promptitude of decision in cases of disagreement, unexampled in any subsequent period of modern history. Where the event of open war seem- . ed doubtful, private treachery was without scruple resorted to; and where that failed of success, an appeal was again made to arms. The pontifical see had itself set the example of a mode of conduct that burst asunder all the bonds of society, and operated as a convincing proof that nothing was thought unlawful which appeared to be expedient. To counterpoise all the jarring interests of these different governments, to restrain the powerful, to succour the weak, and to unite the whole in one firm body, so as to enable them on the one hand, successfully to oppose the formidable power of the Turks, and on the other, to repel the incursions of the French and the Germans, both of whom were objects of terror to the less warlike inhabitants of Italy, were the important ends which Lorenzo proposed to accomplish. The effectual defence of the Florentine dominions against the incroachments of their more powerful neighbours, though perhaps his chief inducement for engaging in so extensive a project, appeared in the execution of it, rather as a necessary part of his system, than as the principal object which he had in view. In these transactions we may trace the first decisive instance of that poli

tical

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