Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
to give men some security, and gaine their affections by doing them some courtesies.  Hee that carries it otherwise, either for fearefullnesse, or upon evill advice, is alwayes constraind to hold his sword drawne in his hand; nor ever can hee rely upon his subjects, there being no possibility for them, because of his daily and continuall injuries, to live in any safety:  for his injuries should bee done altogether, that being seldomer tasted, they might lesse offend; his favours should bee bestowd by little, and little to the end they might keep their taste the better; and above all things a Prince must live with his subjects in such sort, that no accident either of good or evill can make him vary:  for necessity comming upon him by reason of adversities, thou hast not time given thee to make advantage of thy cruelties; and the favours which then thou bestowest, will little help thee, being taken as if they came from thee perforce, and so yeeld no returne of thanks.


Of the Civill Principality.

But comming to the other part, when a principall Citizen, not by villany, or any other insufferable violence, but by the favour of his fellow-citizens becomes Prince of his native countrey:  which we may terme a Civill Principality; nor to attaine hereunto is Vertue wholly or Fortune wholly necessary, but rather a fortunate cunning:  I say, this Principality is climb’d up to, either by the peoples help, or the great mens.  For, in every City we finde these two humours differ; and they spring from this, that the people desire not to be commanded nor oppressed by the great ones, and the great ones are desirous to command and oppresse the people:  and from these two several appetites, arise in the City one of these three effects, either a Principality, or Liberty, or Tumultuary licentiousnesse.  The Principality is caused either by the people, or the great ones, according as the one or other of these factions have the occasion offerd; for the great ones seeing themselves not able to resist the people, begin to turne the whole reputation to one among them, and make him Prince, whereby they may under his shadow vent their spleenes.  The people also, not being able to support the great mens insolencies, converting the whole reputation to one man, create him their Prince, to be protected by his authority.  He that comes to the Principality by the assistance of the great ones, subsists with more difficulty, than he that attaines to it by the peoples favour; for he being made Prince, hath many about him, who account themselves his equalls, and therefore cannot dispose nor command them at his pleasure.  But he that gaines the Principality by the peoples favor, finds himselfe alone in his throne, and hath none or very few neare him that are not very supple to bend:  besides this, the great ones cannot upon easie termes be satisfied, or without doing of wrong to others, where as a small matter contents the people: 

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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