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Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
laws and new ordinances devised by him:  these things when they have a good foundation given them, and contain in them their due greatness, gain him reverence and admiration; and in Italy their wants not the matter wherein to introduce any forme.  Here is great vertue in the members, were it not wanting in the heads.  Consider in the single fights that have been, and duels, how much the Italians have excel’d in their strength, activity and address; but when they come to armies, they appear not, and all proceeds from the weakness of the Chieftaines; for they that understand the managing of these matters, are not obeyed; and every one presumes to understand; hitherto there having not been any one so highly raised either by fortune or vertue, as that others would submit unto him.  From hence proceeds it, that in so long time, and in so many battels fought for these last past 20 years, when there hath been an army wholly Italian, it alwaies hath had evil success; whereof the river Tarus first was witness, afterwards Alexandria, Capua, Genua, Vayla, Bolonia, Mestri.  Your Illustrious family then being desirous to tread the footsteps of these Worthyes who redeem’d their countreys, must above all things as the very foundation of the whole fabrick, be furnished with soldiers of your own natives:  because you cannot have more faithful, true, nor better soldiers; and though every one of them be good, all together they will become better when they shall find themselves entertained, commanded, and honored by their own Prince.  Wherefore it is necessary to provide for those armes, whereby to be able with the Italian valor to make a defence against forreiners.  And however the Swisse infantry and Spanish be accounted terrible; yet is there defect in both of them, by which a third order might not only oppose them, but may be confident to vanquish them:  for the Spaniards are not able to indure the Horse, and the Swisse are to feare the foot, when they incounter with them, as resolute in the fight as they; whereupon it hath been seen, and upon experience shall be certain, that the Spaniards are not able to beare up against the French Cavalery, and the Swisses have been routed by the Spanish Foot.  And though touching this last, there hath not been any entire experience had, yet was there some proof thereof given in the battel of Ravenna, when the Spanish Foot affronted the Dutch battalions, which keep the same rank the Swisses do, where the Spaniards with their nimbleness of body, and the help of their targets entred in under their Pikes, and there stood safe to offend them, the Dutch men having no remedy:  and had it not been for the Cavalery that rusht in upon them, they had quite defeated them.  There may then (the defect of the one and other of these two infantries being discoverd) another kind of them be anew ordained, which may be able to make resistance against the Horse, and not fear the Foot, which shall not be a new sort of armes, but change of orders.  And these are
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