Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
he may not fall into poverty and contempt, that he be not forced to become an extortioner) though he incurre the name of miserable; for this is one of those vices, which does not pluck him from his throne.  And if any one should say, Caesar by his liberality obtained the Empire, and many others (because they both were, and were esteemd liberal) attaind to exceeding great dignities.  I answer, either thou art already come to be a Prince, or thou art in the way to it; in the first case, this liberality is hurtful; in the second, it is necessary to be accounted so; and Caesar was one of those that aspired to the Principality of Rome.  But if after he had gotten it, he had survived, and not forborne those expences, he would quite have ruined that Empire.  And if any one should reply; many have been Princes, and with their armies have done great exploits, who have been held very liberal.  I answer, either the Prince spends of his own and his subjects, or that which belongs to others:  in the first, he ought to be sparing; in the second, he should not omit any part of liberality.  And that Prince that goes abroad with his army, and feeds upon prey, and spoyle, and tributes, and hath the disposing of that which belongs to others, necessarily should use this liberality; otherwise would his soldiers never follow him; and of that which is neither thine, nor thy subjects, thou mayest well be a free giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar and Alexander; for the spending of that which is anothers, takes not away thy reputation, but rather adds to it, only the wasting of that which is thine own hurts thee; nor is there any thing consumes itself so much as liberality, which whilest thou usest, thou losest the means to make use of it, and becomest poore and abject; or to avoid this poverty, an extortioner and hatefull person.  And among all those things which a Prince ought to beware of is, to be dispised, and odious; to one and the other of which, liberality brings thee.  Wherefore there is more discretion to hold the stile of Miserable, which begets an infamy without hatred, than to desire that of Liberal, whereby to incurre the necessity of being thought an extortioner, which procures an infamy with hatred.


Of Cruelty, and Clemency, and whether it is better to be belov’d, or feard.

Descending afterwards unto the other fore-alledged qualities, I say, that every Prince should desire to be held pitiful, and not cruel.  Nevertheless ought he beware that he ill uses not this pitty.  Caesar Borgia was accounted cruel, yet had his cruelty redrest the disorders in Romania, setled it in union, and restored it to peace, and fidelity:  which, if it be well weighed, we shall see was an act of more pitty, than that of the people of Florence, who to avoyd the terme of cruelty, suffered Pistoya to fall to destruction.  Wherefore a Prince ought not to regard the infamy of cruelty, for to hold his subjects

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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