Touching Princes Secretaries.
It is no small importance to a Prince, the choyce he makes, of servants being ordinarily good or bad, as his wisdome is. And the first conjecture one gives of a great man, and of his understanding, is, upon the sight of his followers and servants he hath about him, when they prove able and faithful, and then may he alwaies be reputed wise because he hath known how to discern those that are able, and to keep them true to him. But when they are otherwise, there can be no good conjecture made of him; for the first error he commits, is in this choyce. There was no man that had any knowledge of Antonio of Vanafro, the servant of Pandulfus Petrucci Prince of Sicily, who did not esteem Pandulfus for a very discreet man, having him for his servant. And because there are three kinds of understandings; the one that is advised by it self; the other that understands when it is informed by another; the third that neither is advised by it self nor by the demonstration of another; the first is best, the second is good, and the last quite unprofitable. Therefore it was of necessity, that if Pandulfus attaind not the first degree, yet he got to the second; for whenever any one hath the judgement to discerne between the good and the evil, that he does and sayes, however that he hath not his distinction from himself, yet still comes he to take notice of the good or evil actions of that servant; and those he cherishes, and these he suppresses; insomuch that the servant finding no means to deceive his master,