Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
delicate and effeminate through their long peace.  Theseus could not make proof his vertue, had not he found the Athenians dispers’d.  These occasions therefore made these men happy, and their excellent vertue made the occasion be taken notice of, whereby their countrey became enobled, and exceeding fortunate.  They, who by vertuous waies, like unto these, become Princes, attain the Principality with difficulty, but hold it with much ease; and the difficulties they find in gaining the Principality, arise partly from the new orders and courses they are forc’d to bring in, to lay the foundation of their State, and work their own security.  And it is to be consider’d, how there is not any thing harder to take in hand, nor doubtfuller to succeed, nor more dangerous to mannage, than to be the chief in bringing in new orders; for this Chief finds all those his enemies, that thrive upon the old orders; and hath but luke warme defenders of all those that would do well upon the new orders, which luke-warme temper proceeds partly from fear of the opposers who have the laws to their advantage; partly from the incredulity of the men who truly beleeve not a new thing, unless there be some certain proof given them thereof.  Whereupon it arises, that whensoever they that are adversaries, take the occasion to assayle, they do it factiously; and these others defend but cooly, so that their whole party altogether runs a hazzard.  Therefore it is necessary, being we intend throughly to discourse this part, to examine if these innovators stand of themselves, or if they depend upon others; that is, if to bring their work to effect, it be necessary they should intreat, or be able to constrain; in the first case they allwayes succeed ill, and bring nothing to pass; but when they depend of themselves, and are able to force, then seldom it is that they hazzard.  Hence came it that all the prophets that were arm’d, prevail’d; but those that were unarm’d, were too weak:  for besides what we have alledg’d, the nature of the people is changeable, and easie to be perswaded to a matter; but it is hard also to settle them in that perswasion.  And therefore it behoves a man to be so provided, that when they beleeve no longer, he may be able to compel them thereto by force.  Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus would never have been able to cause their Laws to be obey’d, had they been disarm’d; as in our times it befel Fryer Jerome Savanarola, who perished in his new constitutions, when the multitude began not to beleeve him; neither had he the means to keep them firme, that had beleev’d; not to force beleefe in them that had not beleev’d him.  Wherefore such men as these, in their proceedings find great difficulty, and all their dangers are in the way, and these they must surmount by their vertue; but having once master’d them, and beginning to be honored by all, when they have rooted those out that envi’d their dignities, they remain powerful, secure, honorable, and happy.  To these choice
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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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