CONSTITUTION OF FLORENCE. 91 our pages.* In the dialogue the aged Bernardo del Nero speaks thus : " It would give us little trouble to express in brief what was the nature of the Medicean state, for the truth of what Piero Guicciardini said cannot be denied, that it was a state usurped by means of faction and with force. Or rather, it is necessary to confess that which, through be- coming reserve, perhaps he was not willing to express, that it was a tyrannical state ; and although the city retained the name, the show and the image of being free, they had control and were masters, since the magistracies were given to whom they pleased, and those who held them obeyed their beck. It is true, and this 1 know that you will not deny, that their tyrannical rule, compared with that of others, has been mild ; for they were not cruel and bloody, nor rapacious, nor vio- lators of female chastity nor of the honor of other men* They were desirous and eager to augment the power of the city, and did much good and little ill save what they were led into by necessity. They wished to be masters of the state, but with all the respect for civil order that was possible, and with humanity and moderation. This they did principally from their own natural impulses, for it cannot be denied that they were of good blood and of noble mind. Cosimo and Lorenxo, being prudent, and having around them always a number of wise counsellors from among the citizens, under- stood that, taking the nature of their government and the condition of the city into view, they could scarcely govern otherwise, and that every means they might have used of bringing matters under the control of greater violence and of blood,—as we see the course to have been in Perugia and Bologna—would at Florence have destroyed rather than in- creased their grandeur/' This mild judgment is followed by Picro Capponi's less mild, but not harsh indictments against them, especially against Lorenzo, for interference in administering justice, for improper *Qpere inedite, Flor., 1858, vol. ii. In a recent number of the Edinburgh Review this passage is cited, but we had inserted it in our work a year or more before.