Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
against those defended his native countrey and State, and this suffic’d him alone, that as the danger came upon him, he secur’d himself of a fewer; whereas if the people had been his enemy, this had nothing availd him.  And let no man think to overthrow this my opinion with that common proverb, that He who relyes upon the people, layes his foundation in the dirt; for that is true where a private Citizen grounds upon them, making his account that the people shall free him, when either his enemyes or the Magistrates oppresse him:  In this case he should find himself often deceiv’d, as it befell the Gracchyes in Rome, and in Florence George Scali:  but he being a Prince that grounds thereupon, who can command, and is a man of courage, who hath his wits about him in his adversityes, and wants not other preparations, and holds together the whole multitude animated with his valour and orders, shall not prove deceiv’d by them, and shall find he hath layd good foundations.  These Principalityes are wont to be upon the point of falling when they goe about to skip from the civil order to the absolute:  for these Princes either command of themselves, or by the Magistrate; in this last case their State is more weak and dangerous, because they stand wholly at the will and pleasure of these Citizens, who then are set over the Magistrates, who especially in adverse times are able with facility to take their State from them either by rising up against them, or by not obeying them; and then the Prince is not at hand in those dangers to take the absolute authority upon him:  for the Citizens and subjects that are accustomed to receive the commands from the Magistrates, are not like in those fractions to obey his:  and in doubtfull times he shall alwayes have greatest penury of whom he may trust; for such a Prince cannot ground upon that which he sees in peaceable times, when the Citizens have need of the State; for then every one runs, and every one promises, and every one will venture his life for him, where there is no danger neare; but in times of hazzard, when the State hath need of Citizens, there are but few of them then, and so much the more is this experience dangerous, in that it can be but once made.  Therefore a prudent Prince ought to devise a way whereby his Citizens alwayes and in any case and quality of time may have need of his government, and they shall alwaies after prove faithfull to him.


In what manner the Forces of all Principalities ought to be measured.

It is requisite in examining the quality of those Principalities, to have another consideration of them, that is, if a Prince have such dominions, that he is able in case of necessity to subsist of himself, or else whether he hath alwaies need of another to defend him.  And to cleer this point the better, I judge them able to stand of themselves, who are of power either for their multitudes of men, or quantity

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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