Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
it, here lies the blame, here is the error committed.  If France then was able with her own power to assail the Kingdome of Naples, she might well have done it; but not being able, she should not have divided it:  and if the division she made of Lombardy with the Venetians, deserv’d some excuse, thereby to set one foot in Italy; yet this merits blame, for not being excused by that necessity.  Lewis then committed these five faults; extinguisht the feebler ones, augmented the State of another that was already powerful in Italy, brought thereinto a very puissant forreiner, came not thither himself to dwell there, nor planted any colonies there:  which faults while he liv’d, he could not but be the worse for; yet all could not have gone so ill, had he not committed the sixt, to take from the Venetians their State; for if he had not enlarg’d the Churches territories nor brought the Spaniard into Italy, it had bin necessary to take them lower; but having first taken those other courses, he should never have given way to their destruction; for while they had been strong, they would alwaies have kept the others off from venturing on the conquest of Lombardy.  For the Venetians would never have given their consents thereto, unless they should have been made Lords of it themselves; and the others would never have taken it from France, to give it them:  and then they would never have dar’d to go and set upon them both together.  And if any one should say, that King Lewis yeelded Romania to Alexander, and the Kingdome of Naples to Spain, to avoid a war; I answer with the reasons above alledged, that one should never suffer any disorder to follow, for avoiding of a war; for that war is not sav’d, but put off to thy disadvantage.  And if any others argue, that the King had given his word to the Pope, to do that exploit for him, for dissolving of his marriage, and for giving the Cardinals Cap to him of Roan; I answer with that which hereafter I shall say touching Princes words, how they ought to be kept.  King Lewis then lost Lombardy, for not having observ’d some of those termes which others us’d, who have possessed themselves of countries, and desir’d to keep them.  Nor is this any strange thing, but very ordinary and reasonable:  and to this purpose I spake at Nantes with that French Cardinal, when Valentine (for so ordinarily was Caesar Borgia Pope Alexanders son call’d) made himself master of Romania; for when the Cardinal said to me, that the Italians understood not the feats of war; I answered, the Frenchmen understood not matters of State:  for had they been well vers’d therein, they would never have suffer’d the Church to have grown to that greatness.  And by experience we have seen it, that the power hereof in Italy, and that of Spain also, was caused by France, and their own ruine proceeded from themselves.  From whence a general rule may be taken, which never, or very seldom fails, That he that gives the means to another to become powerful, ruines himself; for that power is caus’d by him either with his industry, or with his force; and as well the one as the other of these two is suspected by him that is grown puissant.

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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