Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.

When those States that are conquered, as it is said, have been accustomed to live under their own Laws, and in liberty, there are three wayes for a man to hold them.  The first is to demolish all their strong places; the other, personally to goe and dwell there; the third, to suffer them to live under their own Laws, drawing from them some tribute, and creating therein an Oligarchy, that may continue it in thy service:  for that State being created by that Prince, knowes it cannot consist without his aid and force, who is like to doe all he can to maintain it; and with more facility is a City kept by meanes of her own Citizens, which hath been us’d before to live free, than by any other way of keeping.  We have for example the Spartans and the Romans; the Spartans held Athens and Thebes, creating there an Oligarchy:  yet they lost it.  The Romans to be sure of Capua, Carthage, and Numantia, dismantell’d them quite, and so lost them not:  they would have kept Greece as the Spartans had held them, leaving them free, and letting them enjoy their own Laws; and it prospered not with them:  so that they were forc’d to deface many Cities of that province to hold it.  For in truth there is not a surer way to keep them under, than by demolishments; and whoever becomes master of a City us’d to live free, and dismantells it not, let him look himselfe to bee ruin’d by it; for it alwayes in time of rebellion takes the name of liberty for refuge, and the ancient orders it had; which neither by length of time, nor for any favours afforded them, are ever forgotten; and for any thing that can be done, or order’d, unlesse the inhabitants be disunited and dispers’d, that name is never forgotten, nor those customes:  but presently in every chance recourse is thither made:  as Pisa did after so many yeeres that she had been subdu’d by the Florentines.  But when the Cities or the Provinces are accustomed to live under a Prince, and that whole race is quite extirpated:  on one part being us’d to obey; on the other, not having their old Prince; they agree not to make one from among themselves:  they know not how to live in liberty, in such manner that they are much slower to take armes; and with more facility may a Prince gaine them, and secure himselfe of them.  But in Republiques there is more life in them, more violent hatred, more earnest desire of revenge; nor does the remembrance of the ancient liberty ever leave them, or suffer them to rest; so that the safest way, is, either to ruine them, or dwell among them.


Of new Principalities, that are conquer’d by ones own armes and valour.

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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