Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
no grief to thee, nor offence of heart unto my Lord, that thou hast forborne to shed blood, etc.’
For surely the conscience of this evill ground whereupon they have either built, or underpropped their tyranny, causes men, as well metus as spes in longum projicere, which sets them a work on further mischiefe.

CHAP.  XVI

Of Liberality, and Miserablenesse.

Beginning then at the first of the above mentioned qualities, I say that it would be very well to be accounted liberall:  neverthelesse, liberality used in such a manner, as to make thee be accounted so, wrongs thee:  for in case it be used vertuously, and as it ought to be, it shall never come to be taken notice of, so as to free thee from the infamie of its contrary.  And therefore for one to hold the name of liberal among men, it were needfull not to omit any sumptuous quality, insomuch that a Prince alwayes so dispos’d, shall waste all his revenues, and at the end shall be forc’d, if he will still maintaine that reputation of liberality, heavily to burthen his subjects, and become a great exactour; and put in practise all those things that can be done to get mony:  Which begins to make him hatefull to his subjects, and fall into every ones contempt, growing necessitous:  so that having with this liberality wrong’d many, and imparted of his bounty but to a few; he feels every first mischance, and runs a hazard of every first danger:  Which he knowing, and desiring to withdraw himself from, incurs presently the disgrace of being termed miserable.  A Prince therefore not being able to use this vertue of liberality, without his own damage, in such a sort, that it may be taken notice of, ought, if he be wise, not to regard the name of Miserable; for in time he shall alwaies be esteemed the more liberal, seeing that by his parsimony his own revenues are sufficient for him; as also he can defend himself against whoever makes war against him, and can do some exploits without grieving his subjects:  so that he comes to use his liberality to all those, from whom he takes nothing, who are infinite in number; and his miserableness towards those to whom he gives nothing, who are but a few.  In our dayes we have not seen any, but those who have been held miserable, do any great matters; but the others all quite ruin’d.  Pope Julius the second, however he serv’d himself of the name of Liberal, to get the Papacy, yet never intended he to continue it, to the end he might be able to make war against the King of France:  and he made so many wars without imposing any extraordinary tax, because his long thrift supplyed his large expences.  This present King of Spain could never have undertaken, nor gone through with so many exploits, had he been accounted liberal.  Wherefore a Prince ought little to regard (that he may not be driven to pillage his subjects, that he may be able to defend himself, that

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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