Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

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

Some Princes, whereby they might safely keep their State, have disarmed their subjects; some others have held the towns under their dominion, divided into factions; others have maintain’d enmities against themselves; others have appli’d themselves to gain them, where they have suspected at their entrance into the government; others have built Fortresses; and others again have ruined and demolished them:  and however that upon all these things, a man cannot well pass a determinate sentence, unless one comes to the particulars of these States, where some such like determinations were to be taken; yet I shall speak of them in so large a manner, as the matter of it self will bear.  It was never then that a new Prince would disarme his own subjects; but rather when he hath found them disarmed, he hath alwaies arm’d them.  For being belov’d, those armes become thine; those become faithful, which thou hadst in suspicion; and those which were faithful, are maintaind so; and thy subjects are made thy partisans; and because all thy subjects cannot be put in armes, when thou bestowest favors on those thou armest, with the others thou canst deal more for thy safety; and that difference of proceeding which they know among them, obliges them to thee; those others excuse thee, judgeing it necessary that they have deservd more, who have undergone more danger, and so have greater obligation:  but when thou disarmst them, thou beginst to offend them, that thou distrustest them, either for cowardise, or small faith; and the one or the other of those two opinions provokes their hatred against thee; and because thou canst not stand disarmed, thou must then turn thy self to mercenary Soldiery, whereof we have formerly spoken what it is, and when it is good; it can never be so much as to defend thee from powerful enemies, and suspected subjects; therefore as I have said, a new Prince in a new Principality hath alwaies ordaind them armes.  Of examples to this purpose, Histories are full.  But when a Prince gains a new State, which as a member he adds to his ancient dominions, then it is necessary to disarme that State, unless it be those whom thou hast discoverd to have assisted thee in the conquest thereof; and these also in time and upon occasions, it is necessary to render delicate and effeminate, and so order them, that all the arms of thy State be in the hands of thy own Soldiers, who live in thy ancient State near unto thee.  Our ancestors and they that were accounted Sages, were wont to say that it was necessary to hold Pistoya in factions, and Pisa with Fortresses; and for this cause maintaind some towns subject to them in differences, whereby to hold it more easily.  This, at what time Italy was ballanc’d in a certain manner, might be well done; but mee thinks it cannot now a dayes be well given for a precept; for I do not beleeve, that divisions made can do any good; rather it must needs be, that when the enemy approaches them, Cities divided are presently lost; for alwaies the weaker

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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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