Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius.
responsibility or discredit upon him; so that he thus escapes many occasions of calumny and hatred.  Of the truth whereof, besides the ancient instances which might be noted, we have a recent example here in Italy.  For Genoa, as every one knows, has many times been occupied by the French king, who always, until lately, sent thither a French governor to rule in his name.  Recently, however, not from choice but of necessity, he has permitted the town to be self-governed under a Genoese ruler; and any one who had to decide which of these two methods of governing gives the greater security to the king’s authority and the greater content to the people themselves, would assuredly have to pronounce in favour of the latter.

Men, moreover, in proportion as they see you averse to usurp authority over them, grow the readier to surrender themselves into your hands; and fear you less on the score of their freedom, when they find you acting towards them with consideration and kindness.  It was the display of these qualities that moved the Capuans to ask the Romans for a praetor; for had the Romans betrayed the least eagerness to send them one, they would at once have conceived jealousy and grown estranged.

But why turn for examples to Capua and Rome, when we have them close at hand in Tuscany and Florence?  Who is there but knows what a time it is since the city of Pistoja submitted of her own accord to the Florentine supremacy?  Who, again, but knows the animosity which down to the present day exists between Florence and the cities of Pisa, Lucca, and Siena?  This difference of feeling does not arise from the citizens of Pistoja valuing their freedom less than the citizens of these other towns or thinking themselves inferior to them, but from the Florentines having always acted towards the former as brothers, towards the latter as foes.  This it was that led the Pistojans to come voluntarily under our authority while the others have done and do all in their power to escape it.  For there seems no reason to doubt, that if Florence, instead of exasperating these neighbours of hers, had sought to win them over, either by entering into league with them or by lending them assistance, she would at this hour have been mistress of Tuscany.  Not that I would be understood to maintain that recourse is never to be had to force and to arms, but that these are only to be used in the last resort, and when all other remedies are unavailing.

CHAPTER XXII.—­That in matters of moment Men often judge amiss.

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