In his reply to Machiavelli of 4 March, the cardinal promised to intercede with his brother, the gonfalonier, on his behalf concerning the militia.
The fact that Francesc Soderini in his letter to the gonfalonier repeats the claim from Machiavelli lost letter that a military reform of the Florentine republic c an be effectively introduced only if justice and discipline are observed in the city as well as the contado adds further credibility to this inference.
Writing to the gonfalonier, with Machiavelli's letter in front of him, the Cardinal simply passed on Machiavelli's comments on the need of a firm rule in the city and the contado and his advice to place a "severe and rigid" captain, similar to Manlius torquatus, at the head of the militia.
On 26 August 1505, at the time when the Florentines were preparing themselves for what they expected to be the final assault on Pisa, he wrote a letter to his brother, the gonfalonier, recommending the Spanish captain.
This may be true, but there were widespread fears at the time that the gonfalonier planned to use the Spaniard in the way Dionisotti claims, and there are instances in Machiavelli's work that point in that direction as well.
On 1 November 1502 the office of gonfalonier, the Republic's highest executive office, was transformed from a bimonthly to a life term as Piero Soderini became Florence's first gonfaloniere for life for the express purpose of rendering the government of the city more stable and efficient.
The first documented mention of the militia project in Machiavelli's correspondence occurred in a letter of 29 May 1504 from his friend Francesco Soderini, the cardinal of Volterra and the brother of the gonfalonier Piero Soderini.
Another obstacle was the fears of the ottimati, who had reason to view the very idea of the gonfalonier having several thousand armed peasants at his disposal as a serious threat to their own dominant position.