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The Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about The Prince.

Among the wonderful deeds of Hannibal this one is enumerated:  that having led an enormous army, composed of many various races of men, to fight in foreign lands, no dissensions arose either among them or against the prince, whether in his bad or in his good fortune.  This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty, which, with his boundless valour, made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers, but without that cruelty, his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect.  And short-sighted writers admire his deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the principal cause of them.  That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient for him may be proved by the case of Scipio, that most excellent man, not only of his own times but within the memory of man, against whom, nevertheless, his army rebelled in Spain; this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance, which gave his soldiers more license than is consistent with military discipline.  For this he was upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus, and called the corrupter of the Roman soldiery.  The Locrians were laid waste by a legate of Scipio, yet they were not avenged by him, nor was the insolence of the legate punished, owing entirely to his easy nature.  Insomuch that someone in the Senate, wishing to excuse him, said there were many men who knew much better how not to err than to correct the errors of others.  This disposition, if he had been continued in the command, would have destroyed in time the fame and glory of Scipio; but, he being under the control of the Senate, this injurious characteristic not only concealed itself, but contributed to his glory.

Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted.

CHAPTER XVIII(*) —­ CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH

     (*) “The present chapter has given greater offence than any
     other portion of Machiavelli’s writings.”  Burd, “Il
     Principe,” p. 297.

Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft.  Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word.  You must know there are two ways of contesting,(*) the one by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts; but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to the second.  Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand

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