Niccolò Machiavelli.

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than liberal in rewarding, to which the Hiftorian adds
the following reafons for their hatred. In the firfi:
place, he ordered the money which was taken from
the Veientes to be applied to public ufes, inftead of
dividing it amoncrft the Soldiers with the reft of the
fpoil : in the next, he caufed his triumphal chariot to
be drawn by four v/hite hoifes, v^hich they faid v/as
out of arrogance, and an ambition to emulate the
glory of the Sun : in the latl, he made a vow to dedi-
cate the tenth part of the booty taken from the Veien-
tes to Apollo \ for the performance of v;hich, he was
obliged to take it away from the Soldiers, into whofe
hands it had fallen ^,

Hence we may learn, that nothing makes a Ruler
more odious to the people, than to deprive them of
their polTefllons, an injury of lb great importance,
that it is never forgotten \ for, upon every little di-
ftrefs it returns frefh upon their memories : and as

• See chap. xxix. and Iv. book i. of tliefe Difcourfes, and the
notes upon them,


4?8 Political Discourses UPON Bookllf,

men are daily fubjefl to diftrefTes, they v/ill daily re-
member it. That another thing v/hich gives great
difgull, efpecially to a free people, is a proud and
arrogant behaviour : and though perljaps they may
not in any wife be materially hurt by it ; yet it never
fails to excite their indignation : upon which account,
thofe in office and authority ought always to avoid ie
as a mofl dangerous flioal ; becaufe it is weak and rafh
to the laft degree to do a thing which mufl of necefllty
create hatred, and can be attended with no nianner of


^hat the prolongation of Commijfwns 'was the ruin of

the Roman liberties,

F we confider the proceedings of the Romans with
attention, we fhall find that the diffolution of their
Republic was owing partly to [he diiTentions that were
occafioned by the Agrarian Lav/, and partly to the
prolongation of CommifTions : for if the mifchiefs
which arofe from theie caules had been forefeen, and
prevented in time, it is certain that Commonwealth
would have fupportcd itfelf much longer, and perhaps
have enjoyed more tranquillity. For though we do
not know that the prolongation of Commiffions ever
occafioned any tumult or difturbance at Rome-, never-
thelefs it is evident that the extraordinary degree of
authority which fome particular Citizens acquired by
that means, was of great prejudice to the State ;
whereas if all the Citizens who had an offer of being
continued in their offices and commands had been
poffelTed of as much wifdom and virtue as^ Lucius
Quintius was, thefe inconveniencies and misfortune3
would not have enfued. His integrity and difm-
tereftednefs were veryfingular; for upon an accom-
modation betwixt the Plebeians and Patricians, the
former having continued the fame Tribunes in office
for a year longer, as the mofc likely men to curb the


Chap. XXIV. The First Decad of Livy. 429 '

ambition of the Nobility, the latter likewife, in imita-
tion of the Plebeians, refolved to prolong the Conful-
fhip of Lucius Quintius for the fame term. But he
peremptorily refuted to accept of it ; alledging that
bad precedents ought to be difcountenanced, and not
fupported by fuch as were worfe , and therefore dc-
fired them to chufe new Confuls. Now if all the red
of the Roman Citizens had been as wife and virtuous
^s Quintius, that cuftom of prolonging offices and
commidions could not have been introduced into their
Commonwealth, which at lad was the principal caufe
of its ruin.

The firft whofe command was extended beyond its
ufual term, was Publius Philo, who having laid fiege
to Palaepolis at a time when his Confulfhip was upoa
the point of expiring, was continued in office by the
Senate with the title of Proconful ; becaufe chey
thought him fure of fucceeding in thatcnterprize, and
therefore were unwilling to fnatch the glory of it ouc
of his hands, by fending another perfon to fuperfedc
him ; which, though done with a good intent, and
for the fcrvice of the Public, was the firft ftep that
occafioned the lofs of the Roman liberties. For the
further abroad they carried their arms, the more ne-
cefTary fuch prolongations appeared, and the more
common they became : hence it arofe, in the firft
place, that but a few of their Citizens could be em-
ployed in the command of armies, and confequently
few were capable of acquiring any confiderable degree
of experience or reputation ; and in the next, that
when a Commander in chief was continued for a long
time in that poll, he had an opportunity of corrupt-
ing his army to fuch a degree that the Soldiers entirely
threw off their obedience to the Senate, and acknow-
ledgeg no other authority but his. To this it was
owing that Sylla and Marius found means to debauch
their armies and make them fight aeainft their coun-
try i and that Julius Csefar was enabled to make him-
fclf abfolute in Rome. So that if the Romans had
not prolonged their CommilTions beyond the uhial


430 Political Discourses upon BookllL

date, perhaps they might not have been fo rapid in
their conquefts, nor fo foon have arrived at the Empire
of the World -, but then, on the other hand, they
would have preferved their liberty much longer.


Concerning the Poverty ef Cincinnatus and fever al ether

Roman Citizens,

Have (hewn, in another place, that the beft way

to preierve the liberties of a Commonwealth is to

keep the Subjeds poor, at leaft to prevent their grow-
ing too rich ^. Now, though it is not fufficiently clear
that there was any provifion made for this purpofe in .
Rome, (as the Agrarian Law was conftantly oppofed)
yet we fee that during the courfe of four hundred
years, after its foundation, that State continued in ex-
treme poverty : the reafon of which I take to be, thac
poverty was no bar to oiTices or honours of any kind,
and that virtue and merit were preferred to all other
qualifications, wherever they vere found. A remar-
kable proof of which we have in the follov/ing exam-
pie. When Minucius the Conful and his army were
in a manner furrounded by the -^qui, and the whole
City of Rome was in fuch conflernation that they were
forced to create a Di6lator, (their laft refource in extre-
mities) they made choice of L. Quintius Cincinnatus,
who was at plough in his own liitle eftate at the very
time when he was fent for to be invefted with that au-
thority : a circumftance much admired by Livy, who
fays upon this occafion, *' Operae pretium eft audire
qui omnia prx divitiis humana fpernunt, ne jue honori
magno locum, neque virtuti putant clle, nifi effufe
affluant opes. It is pleaiant afier this, to hear forae
people talk of riches, as if nothing in this world was
to be weighed in the fcale agamft them \ and thac

• See chnp. xvi, of this book,


Chap. XXV. The First Dec ad of Livy. 431

neither virtue nor merit of any kind were of the lead
account, in comparifon of wealth." Cincinnatus (as
I faid) was at plough in his own little eflate, whicli
did not exceed four acres of land, when the Deputies
found him, who had been fent by the Senate to ac-
quaint him with the imminent danger the Republic
was in, and the choice they had made of him for their
Dictator. Upon which, he changed his clothes and
immediately repaired to Rome-, where he got toge-
ther fome forces, and marching direClly againft the
enemy to refcue Minucius from the danger he was in,
he foon brought them to a battle, in which they were
totally defeated and plundered. But when he divid-
ed the Spoil he would not fuC'cr the army which he
had delivered out of the hands of the lEqm to have
any fhare of the booty ; telling them they were not
worthy to partake of the Spoils of an enemy, by
v/hom they were fo near being plundered themfelves.
As to Minucius, he deprived him of his authority,
and reduced him to the degree of a Lieutenant, or-
dering him to ferve in that capacity, till he had iearnc
better how to command. In this Expedition he made
L. Tarcjuinius his General of horfe, though he had
not fo much as a horfe himifelf, being fo poor that he
was forced to fisrht on foot.

Hence we may fee that poverty was no bar to ho-
nour or preferment amongll the Romans in thoie
days ; and that a wife and good man thought four
acres of land fufficicnt for his fuftenance. The fame
contempt of riches is obfervable in the time of Mar-
cus Regulus •, who being at the head of an army in
Africa, where he had beat the Carthao-inians, fent to
defire leave of the Senate to return to Rome, that he
miglit put his farm in order, which he heard was ne-
gle(5led by his Servants. From v/hich example we
may oblerve, in the firft place, how contentedly he
lived in poverty ; and that he gave up all the fruit of
his labours for the good of the Public, looking upon
the glory he had acquired as- a fufficient reward : for
if he had thought of enriching hinilelf by the w<ir
7 he

^32 Political Discourses upon Book III.

he would not have troubled his head about a few acres
of land at home. In the next we may admire the
generofity, and magnanimity of the ancient Romans ;
for when they were advanced to the command of aii
army, they thought themfelves fuperior to any Po-
tentate upon earth : and yet when their CommilTions
expired, and they returned to their former condition^
they were fo modefl, frugal, humble, laborious, obe-
dient to the Magiftrates, and refpeclful to their Su-
periors, that one could hardly have thought they had
been the fame men *. This negledt of riches conti-
nued till the days of Paulus Emiiius, which were the
laft happy times of the Roman Republic : for though
he enriched his country with the Spoils of the enemy,
he continued fo poor himfelf, that when he had a
mind to reward his Son-in-law who had behaved with
great bravery in the wars, he made him a prefent of
a Silver cup, which was the hril piece of plate he was
ever pofleiTed of. Indeed I m^ight quote numberlefs
examples to Ihew how much more mankind are ob-
liged to poverty than riches •, and that the former
has been the honour and prefervation of fome States
and Religious EftabliQiments ; whilft feveral others
have been ruined by the latter f . But this has been
already done by fo many other writers, that it is here
altogether unneceiTary.

* " The Elder Cato returning Confiil from Spain, fold his War-
horfe to lave the money it would have toil him to bring him back, by
Sea into Italy, (fays Montaigne from Plutarch) and being Governor
of Sardinia, made all his vifits on foot, without any other attendants
than one ofiicer of the Kepublic,who carried his robe and a cenfe for
Sacrifices j and for the moft part carried his Mail himfeli". He boafted
that he hnd never worn a Gown that coft above ten Crowns, nor ever
fent above ten-pence to market for one day's provifions. bcipio^mi-
lianus, after two Confullhips, and two triumphs, went on an Embaify
\vith no more than Seven Servants in his train ; P.ato had but three.
Homer but one, and Zeno, founder of the Stoic Seft, none at all. Ti-
berius Gracchus was allowed but five-pence halfpenny a day, when
employed as a Commiflioner for public affairs, though he was at that
time the firlt man in Rome." Montaigne's ElTays, book I. chap. lii.

f " I Ihall fill the remaining part of this paper (lays Mr. Addifon,
Spec. vol. 6, No. 464) with a very pretty Allegory, which is wroiiglit
into a play by Anllophanes the Greek Comedian. It fceuis originally
tiefigned as <i Satire upon the Rich, though in fome parts of it, it ii a

C H A l\

C'hap.XXVL The First Decad or Livr. 433

CHAP. xxvr.

^hat the ruin of fame States has hem cw'ing to Wcmen,

IT happened in the City of Ardea that a young: wo-
man who was pofTefTed of great riches, had two
Suitors, one a Patrician, the other a Plebeian : buc

kind of comparifon betwixt wealth and poverty. — Chrsmylus, who
was an old and a good man, hut exceeding poor, being defiroiis to leave
ibme riches to his Son, confults the Oracle of Apollo upon the Subje-liV,
The Oracle bids him follow the firft mar. he lliould fee upon going out
of the temple. The perfon he chanced to fee was to appearance an
old, fordid, blind man } but upon following him from place to place,
lie at laft found by his own confefTion that he was Plutus the god of
Riches, and that he was juft come out of the houfe of a Mifer. Plutus
further told him, that when he was a boy, he ufed to declare that when.
he came to age he would diflribute wealth to none but virtuous and
juft men : upon which, Jupiter conficiering the pernicious confequences
of fuch a refolution, took his light away from him, and left him to
ftrole about the world in the blind condition Chremylus beheld him,
"With much ado Chremylus prevailed upon him to go to his houf3,
•where he met an old woman with a tattered raiment, who had besn
his gueft many years, and whofe name was Poverty. The old woman
refufmg to turn out fo ealily as he would have her, he threatened to bs-
iiifti her not only from his own houfe, but out of all Greece, if fhe made
any more words about the matter. Poverty upon this occafion pleads
her caufe very notably, and reprefents to her old Landlord that if \!aQ
fhould be driven out of the country, all the trades, arts, and fciences
would be driven out with her ; and that if every one was rich, they
could not be fupplied with thofe pomps, ornaments; and conveniencies
of life which made riches defirable. She likewife reprefented to him
the feveral advantages Ihe beftowed upon her votaries, in regard to
their fliape, their health and a6livity, by preferving them from gouts,
dropfies, unweildinefs and intemperance. But whatever flie had to
iky for herfelf, fhe was forced to troop off. — Chremylus immediately
confidered how he might reftore Plutus to his light : and ia order to
it, conveyed him to the temple of ^fculapius, who was famous for
cures and miracles of this nature. By this means the Deity recovered
his eyes, and began to make a right ufe of them by enriching every one
that was diilinguiftiedfor piety rewards the Gods, and jultice towards
men j and at the lame time by taking away his gifts from the impious
and undeferving. This produces feveral merry incidents j till at laft
Mercury defcends with great complaints from the Gods, that fince the
jirood men were grown rich they had received no Sacrifices ; which is
confirmed by a Prieft of Jupiter, who enters with a rerftonllrance, that
lince this late innovation he was reduced to a ftarving condition, and
could not live upon his office. Chremylus, who in the beginning of
the Play was religious in his poverty, concludes it with a propolal
which was relilhtd by all the good men who were now grown rich as

Vol. III. F f her

434 Political Discourses upor^ Book IlL

her father being dead, her guardians would have
married her to the Plebeian, contrary to the defire
and advice of her Mother, who would have givers
her to the Patrician. This occafioned fuch a tumult
in the City, that all the people took up arms •, the
Patricians in favour of one Competitor, and the Ple-
beians to fupport the other. But the Plebeians being
driven out of the City, applied to the Volfci for af-
fiftance -, and the Patricians to the Romans. The
Volfci happening to arrive firft, joined the Plebeians
and laid fiege to the place : but the Romans coming
fuddealy upon them foon after, Hiut them up in fuch
a manner betwixt their camp and the walls of the
town, that they were compelled by famine to furrender
at difcretion : upon which, the Romans mimediately
entered the town, and having put the authors of the
fedition to death, reftored its former tranquillity.

In this affair there are feveral things worthy of
obfervacion. In the firfc place we fee, that women^
fometimes occafion much mifchief and difcord in a
State, to the great prejudice of thofe that govern it :
for a further proof of which, it may be remembered
(as we have fliewn before) that the rape of Lucretia
coil the Tarquins their kingdom, and the attempt
upon Virginia was the caule of the Decemviri being
deprived of their authority. Ariftotle in his Politics,
ipeaking of Tyrants, fays that the rage and indignation
which men conceive againft them for debauching
their wives, or daughters, or o^her relations, is fre-
quently the occafion of their ruin, as I have obferved
before, in my difcourfe upon Confpiracies. All
Princes therefore and Governors of Republics (liould
carefully attend to this matter, and confider the dif-
orders which m.ay arifc from fuch caufes, that fo they
may either prevent them, or provide fuch remedies

well as bimfelf, that they fhould carry Plutus in folemn proceflion to the
temple, and iiiftai him there in the place of Jupiter — This allegory in-
truded the Athenians in two points: firft, as it vindicated thecondu6b
of Providence in its ordinary diftributions of wealth : and in the next
place, as it ftiewed the great tendency of riches to corrupt the morals
of Ehofe that polTefTed them,'*


dap. XXVII. The First Decad of Livv; 4^5

in time as may not tend to the prejudice and difgrace
of their State : for we fee how the Republic of Ar-
dea, by fufFering the diicords amongfl: its Citizens to
rife to fuch a height, became fo divided that it was
necefiary to call in foreign aid to re-unite it ; which
is generally a prelude to Slavery.-— The next thing to
be obferved upon this occafion, is the method that
ought to be taken to re-unite a divided State, of
which I fliali treat at large in the next Chapter.


What methods are to he taken in order to re-unite a divided
State : and that they judge wrong ivho think the heji
way to keep a Gity in Subje^ion^ is to keep it divided^

FROM the method which the Romans took to
reconcile the two fadions at Ardea, we may fee
"which is the beft way of compofmg civil difTenQons ia
a divided City ; and that is by cutting off the ring-
leaders. For there are but three ways to re-unite
fuch a State % which are, either by putting the Heads
of the factions to death, or by banifhing them, or by
obliging them to be friends under certain penalties.
Of thefe three ways, the la(l is the mod dangerous
and uncertain ; becaufe it is impoflible that any forced
reconciliation Ihould continue long, where much,
blood has been (hedj, or other outrages committed ;
efpecially vv^hen the parties live together within the
fame walls, and cannot help feeing and perhaps con-
verfing with each other every day •, which muft of
necelTicy occafion frelh quarrels and animo/ities : of
v/hich we have a recent example in the City of Pirtoia,
That City, about fifteen years ago, was divided into
the two fadions of the Panciatichi and Cancellicri,
and (1111 continues fo ; but at that time there wxre
great diflfenfions among them, though now they are
tolerably quiet. After many bickerings and diiputes
they at ialt proceeded to bloodflied, burning and

F f 2 -P^"'^"

456 Political Discourses upon Book IIL

plundering each other's houfes, and committing all
manner of open hoftilities. Upon which, the Flo-
rentines, who had often interpofed, and endeavoured
to compofe their differences by the laft of the me-
thods above mentioned, finding they only ehflamed
their refentment, and made things worfe inftead of
better by thefe means, grew fo tired that they had re-
courfe to the fecond method, banifhing feme of the
Chiefs of both factions, and imprifoning others ; by
which they foon quieted the reft, and have kept them
in pretty good order ever fince.

The firft method however, is certainly the beft and
moft effedual : but as a good degree of Spirit and
refolution is necelTary, weak States are afraid to have
recourfe to it •, and it is pretty well if they venture
upon the fecond. This is one of the errors, which
(as I faid before) the Princes of our times are apt to
fall into, when they come to deliberate upon any
matter of great importance ; for inftead of following
the example of others upon the like occafions, they
think it in fome cafes inhuman, and in others impof-
fible to be imitated : which is owing to their pitiful
education and their ignorance in the affairs of the
world. Thus inftead of adopting the wife Maxims
of the Ancients, they fall in with certain modern opi-
nions, equally ridiculous and abfurd : one of which
I ftiall here take notice of, as it was eftablifhed by
fome wife politicians of our own City, who laid it
down for a rule, " Che bifognava tener Piftoia con le
parti, & Fifa con le fortezze : that Piftoia was to be
kept under by fomientingdifcord amongft the Citizens
there ; but Pifa by a Citadel j" not knowing how in-
figniiicant and ineffeftual both one and the other of
thefe expedients was for fuch purpofes. As to Cita-
dels I fliall fay nothing of them in this place, becaufe
1 have fpoken of them at large elfewhere *, and there-
fore (hall only take notice of the futility of this Ma-
xim, " that in order to keep the towns that are under

• See the Prjnce, Chap. xx. and chap. xxiv. book II, of thefe Dlf-



Chap. XXVII. The First Decad of Ltvy. 437

your dominion iq fubjedion, you mult keep them

In the firfl place, it is impofTible that any Prince or
Governor of a Republic Ihouid keep fair with two
fadions at the fame time in a town that is fubjed to
their dominion : for as it is the nature of mankind
to take either one fide or the other in all divifions,
induced by different motives which influence their in-
clinations ; fo one of the fadions being difaffeded to
their Prince, he mufl of neceffity lofe the town when-
ever he engages in a war: for how can he exped to
keep pofTeflion of a place, when he has enemies both
within and without. But if it belongs to a Repub-
lic, there is no furer method to corrupt its own Citi-
zens, and to fow difcord amongft them, than to en-
courage fadions : becaufe each fido will naturally en-
deavour by fome undue means or other to gain the
favour of their Governors, and fecure their protec-
tion ; which mufl be attended with two very great
inconveniencies : one of which is, that you never can
make either of them your ftedfad friends : for their
Governors being fo often changed, and fometimes a
perfon of one way of thinking, and fometimes an-
other of a quite different turn, being appointed to
rule over them, it is impoffible they fhould ever be
Headily and properly governed. The other inconve-
niency is, that by encouraging fadions in other places,
you mufl neceffarily divide your own State : of which
we have an inflance in Bicondo's Hiflory of Florence;
who fpeaking of the proceedings of that Republic
with the Pifloians, fays, " Mentre che i Fiorentini
difegnavano reunir Pifloia, divifono fe Medefimi :
whilfl the Florentines endeavoured to re-unite the
Pifloians, they fell into divifions amongfl themfelves.**
From whence v/e may obferve the evils that arife
from fuch divifions in a town that is dependent upon
a Republic.

In the year 1501, after Arezzo had revolted from
the Republic of Florence, and the vales of Tevere
j/)d Chiana were over-run by C uke Valentine and

F f 3 ^ ^ the

ij^gS Political Discourses upon Book III,

the Vitelli, the King of France fent an army, under
the command of Monfieur de Lanr, to recover thofe
territories for the Florentines. But that Generalj^
finding numbers of people wherever he came, who
declared themfelves of Marzocco's party, was much
offended at their divifions, and told them, '' that if
any of his Mailer's fubjeds in France fhould declare
themfelves of the King's party, they would be fe-
verely punifhed for it ; as fuch a declaration muft
imply that there was another party againil the King ;
whereas his Majefty would have it known that all his
Subjeds were well affecled to him, and united a-
mongfr themfelves." — Thofe Maxims therefore which
are now in fuch vogue, though contrary to all manner
of reafon j^nd good policy, proceed from the weak-
jiefs of our Princes and other Rulers of States ; who
finding themfelves unable to fupport their authority
by lau able and fpirited meafures, are obliged to
have recourfe to fuch mean artifices : which perhaps
may ferve their pcrpofes for a while, in quiet and
peaceable times •, but will be found altogether inef«
ledual in times of adverfity and diftrefs.


^'hat the Governors of a Republic Jhould keep a firiU eye
upon the condit^ of their Subje^ls •, becaufe under the
difguife of beneficence and humanity they often aim at

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