Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
oaths, and observe them less than he; nevertheless, his cousenages all thriv’d well with him; for he knew how to play this part cunningly.  Therefore is there no necessity for a Prince to be endued with all above written qualities, but it behooveth well that he seem to be so; or rather I will boldly say this, that having these qualities, and alwaies regulating himself by them, they are hurtfull; but seeming to have them, they are advantageous; as to seem pittiful, faithful, mild, religious, and of integrity, and indeed to be so; provided withall thou beest of such a composition, that if need require to use the contrary, thou canst, and knowest how to apply thy self thereto.  And it suffices to conceive this, that a Prince, and especially a new Prince, cannot observe all those things, for which men are held good; he being often forc’d, for the maintenance of his State, to do contrary to his faith, charity, humanity, and religion:  and therefore it behooves him to have a mind so disposd, as to turne and take the advantage of all winds and fortunes; and as formerly I said, not forsake the good, while he can; but to know how to make use of the evil upon necessity.  A Prince then ought to have a special care, that he never let fall any words, but what are all season’d with the five above written qualities, and let him seem to him that sees and hears him, all pitty, all faith, all integrity, all humanity, all religion; nor is there any thing more necessary for him to seem to have, than this last quality:  for all men in general judge thereof, rather by the sight, than by the touch; for every man may come to the sight of him, few come to the touch and feeling of him; yvery man may come to see what thou seemest, few come to perceive and understand what thou art; and those few dare not oppose the opinion of many, who have the majesty of State to protect them:  And in all mens actions, especially those of Princes wherein there is no judgement to appeale unto men, forbeare to give their censures, till the events and ends of things.  Let a Prince therefore take the surest courses he can to maintain his life and State:  the means shall alwaies be thought honorable, and commended by every one; for the vulgar is over-taken with the appearance and event of a thing:  and for the most part of people, they are but the vulgar:  the others that are but few, take place where the vulgar have no subsisteance.  A Prince there is in these dayes, whom I shall not do well to name, that preaches nothing else but peace and faith; but had he kept the one and the other, several times had they taken from him his state and reputation.

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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