Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.

That Princes should take a care, not to incurre contempt or hatred.

But because among the qualities, whereof formerly mention is made, I have spoken of those of most importance, I will treat of the others more briefly under these qualityes that a Prince is to beware, as in part is above-said, and that he fly those things which cause him to be odious or vile:  and when ever he shall avoid this, he shall fully have plaid his part, and in the other disgraces he shall find no danger at all.  There is nothing makes him so odious, as I said, as his extortion of his subjects goods, and abuse of their women, from which he ought to forbear; and so long as he wrongs not his whole people, neither in their goods, nor honors, they live content, and he hath only to strive with the Ambition of some few:  which many waies and easily too, is restrain’d.  To be held various, light, effeminate, faint-hearted, unresolv’d, these make him be contemnd and thought base, which a Prince should shun like rocks, and take a care that in all his actions there appear magnanimity, courage, gravity, and valor; and that in all the private affairs of his subjects, he orders it so, that his word stand irrevocable:  and maintain himself in such repute, that no man may think either to deceive or wind and turn him about:  that Prince that gives such an opinion of himself, is much esteemed, and against him who is so well esteemed, hardly are any conspiracies made by his subjects, or by forreiners any invasion, when once notice is taken of his worth, and how much he is reverenced by his subjects:  For a Prince ought to have two fears, the one from within, in regard of his subjects; the other from abroad, in regard of his mighty neighbors; from these he defends himself by good armes and good friends; and alwayes he shall have good friends, if he have good armes; and all things shall alwaies stand sure at home, when those abroad are firme, in case some conspiracy have not disturbed them; and however the forrein matters stand but ticklishly; yet if he have taken such courses at home, and liv’d as we have prescribed, he shall never be able (in case he forsake not himself) to resist all possibility, force and violence, as I said Nabis the Spartan did:  but touching his subjects, even when his affairs abroad are setled, it is to be fear’d they may conspire privily; from which a Prince sufficiently secure himself by shunning to be hated or contemned, and keeping himself in his peoples good opinion, which it is necessary for him to compass, as formerly we treated at large.  And one of the powerfullest remedies a Prince can have against conspiracies, is, not to be hated nor dispised by the universality; for alwaies he that conspires, beleeves the Princes death is acceptable to the subject:  but when he thinks it displeases them, he hath not the heart to venture on such a matter; for the difficulties that are on the conspirators side, are infinite.  By experience it is plain, that many times plots have been laid, but few of them

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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