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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

CONSTITUTION OF FLORENCE.                       8$
burden of debt, and perhaps machinations of a party opposed
to the Guelphic faction, which went far beyond the designs of
their authors. "The most powerful causes," says the histo-
rian just quoted (ji., 6}, *' of the disturbances of this people
of Florence " (or, one might say, the ultimate causes) " were,
besides the arbitrary distribution of the burdens put upon
the many by the few, luxury, the immoderate desire of
riches, and, through the greediness of gain and profuse living,
the incessant agitation of the people to the very bottom by
many and rapid changes of fortune.'1*
The tumult, in order to be fully understood, must be looked
at in its particulars, for which we have no room. Suffice it to
say that, on first breaking out in a blind way it was checked
for a time by measures tending to pacify the ammoniti and
the people ; but that it broke out again three weeks after-
wards through a plan of the lower guilds to seize the power of
the state. The signoria at that time were overawed and left
their palace in the power of the mob, who on the spot chose
a wool-carder, Michel Lando,as gonfaloniere, lie accepted,
and on the following day was chosen in a public parlamcntot
with a form of legality, to fill the office until the current term
should expire. Authority was given to him and other com-
missioners to reform the constitution (r if or marc la citld\
especially to create new priors and their collcgi. Then the
*Thc brief account of this tumult given by Gino Cnpponi, then
living and of the family of the modern historian whom we have
often quoted (in Muratori Rev., ItaL Sen, p. 1104 and onw.) makes it
evident: (i.) That the tumult was due to what \\\v parte Gitelja had
done, A witness before the priors, who was implicated in a riot, said
that man}' ammoniti had solicited him and others to make a stir
(p. 1113). (2.) Dissatisfaction of a number of trades under the con-
trol of the great guild of wool made them wish to get out of this
subjection, as having heen badly treated (ibid.). (3,) One of the
gonfaloniers of the companies charged Salvcstro dei Medici {who was
gonfaloniere of justice and abandoned his post in June, 1378, because
he could not carry a measure against the aristocracy in the board of
priors and their collegi} with being at the head of the plot Salves-
tro confessed to the priors of August that he knew something of
the designs of the ammoniti (iti$). His friend Benedetto Albert!
showed his sympathy with the rising at its commencement.