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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
thy side, nor any thing else to defend or receive thee.  For he that overcomes, will not have any suspected friends that give him no assistance in his necessity:  and he that loses, receives thee not, because thou wouldest not with thy armes in hand run the hazzard of his fortune.  Antiochus passed into Greece, thereunto induc’d by the Etolians, to chace the Romans thence:  and sent his Ambassadors to the Achayans, who were the Romans friends, to perswade them to stand neuters; on the other side the Romans moved them to joyne armes with theirs:  this matter came to be deliberated on in the council of the Achayans, where Antiochus his Ambassador encouraged them to stand neuters, whereunto the Romans Ambassador answerd; Touching the course, that is commended to you, as best and profitablest for your State, to wit, not to intermeddle in the war between us, nothing can be more against you:  because, not taking either part, you shall remain without thanks, and without reputation a prey to the conqueror.  And it will alwaies come to pass that he who is not thy friend, will requite thy neutrality; and he that is thy friend, will urge thee to discover thy self by taking arms for him:  and evil advised Princes; to avoyd the present dangers, folow often times that way of neutrality, and most commonly go to ruine:  but when a Prince discovers himself strongly in favor of a party; if he to whom thou cleavest, overcomes; however that he be puissant, and thou remainest at his disposing, he is oblig’d to thee, and there is a contract of friendship made; and men are never so openly dishonest, as with such a notorious example of dishonesty to oppress thee.  Besides victories are never so prosperous, that the conqueror is like neglect all respects, and especially of justice.  But if he to whom thou stickst, loses, thou art received by him; and, while he is able, he aydes thee, and so thou becomest partner of a fortune that may arise again; the second case, when they that enter into the lists together, are of such quality, that thou needest not fear him that vanquisheth, so much the more is it discretion in thee to stick to him; for thou goest to ruine one with his assistance, who ought to do the best he could to save him, if he were well advised; and he overcomming, is left at thy discretion; and it is unpossible but with thy ayd he must overcome.  And here it is to be noted, that a Prince should be well aware never to joyn with any one more powerfull than himself, to offend another, unless upon necessity, as formerly is said.  For when he overcomes, thou art left at his discretion, and Princes ought avoid as much as they are able, to stand at anothers discretion.  The Venetians took part with France against the Duke of Milan, and yet could have avoided that partaking, from which proceeded their ruine.  But when it cannot be avoyded, as it befel the Florentines when the Pope and the King of Spain went both with their armies to Lombardy, there the Prince ought to side with them
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