Page images

Touching the matter of custom and impost thereof, assuredly, a great profit is in every state to be raised, chiefly where peace hath long continued, and where the country affordeth much plenty of commodities to be carried out, and where ports. are to receive shipping

* The moderating of interest is ever necessary;* and chiefly in this age, by reason that money aboundeth in Europe, since the traffic into the Indies: for such men as have money in their hands great plenty, would in no wise employ the same in merchandise, if lawful it were to receive the utmost usury, being a course of the most profit and greatest security.

• The taking away of superfluous expenses is no other thing than a certain wise and laudable parsimony, which the Romans and other well-governed states did use. These expenses consist in fees, allowances, and wages granted to ministers of little or no necessity : also in pensions, rewards, 'entertainments, and donaries, with small difficulty to be moderated, or easily to be suppressed. By abridging or taking away of these needless expenses, a' marvellous profit will be saved for the prince; but if he continue them, and by imposing upon the people do think to increase his treasure or revenue, beside the loss of their love, he may also hazard their obedience with many other inconveniences.


Touching War. • Whatsoever prince or commonweal is neighbour to any people which can, will, or were wont to offend,

* See, upon this subject, however, an ingenious Tract by Bentham.

it is necessary to have not only all things prepared for defence of his person and country, but also to forecast and use every caution and other diligence. For the inconveniences, which happen to government, are sudden and unlooked for: yea, the providence and provision required in this case ought to be such, as the expenses all other ways employed must stay to supply the necessity of war.'


Extrinsic Observation, showing how to deal with

Neighbours, Princes, and Provinces respectively, how to prevent their Designs, and decypher their Intendments.

* This first point of matter extrinsic is of such quality, as being well handled procureth great good, but otherwise becometh dangerous: for the proceeding must be diverse, according to the diversity of the ends, which the prince or governor intendeth. For, if he desire to continue peace with his neighbours, one way is to be taken: but otherwise, he is to work, that seeketh occasion to break, and to become an enemy to one or more of his neighbours. If he do desire to live peaceably with all, then he is to observe these rules, viz.

*First, to hold, and continue firmly, all contracts and capitulations.

Secondly, to show himself resolved neither to offer, nor take, the least touch of wrong or injury.

• Thirdly, with all care and favour to farther commerce and reciproque traffic, for the profit of the subject, and increase of the prince's revenue.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Fourthly, covertly to win so great confidence with neighbours, as in all actions of unkindness among them he may be made umpire.

Fifthly, to become so well believed with them, as he may remove such diffidences as grow to his own disadvantage.

• Sixthly, not to deny protection or aid to them that are the weakest, and chiefly such as do and will endure his fortune.

* Lastly, in favouring, aiding, and protecting (unless necessity shall otherwise so require) to do it moderately; so as they who are to be aided become not jealous, and consequently seek adherency elsewhere, which oftentimes hath opened way to other neighbours that desire a like occasion.

How to prevent their Designs. * This point is, in time of war, with great diligence to be looked unto; also, in time of peace, to prevent all occasions that may kindle war is behoveful: for to foresee what may happen to the prejudice of a prince's profit, or reputation, is a part of great wisdom. The means to attain the intelligence of these things are two:

• The first is, by friends; the next is, by espials: the one for the most part faithful; the other not só assured.

« These matters are well to be considered. For albeit the nature of man desireth nothing more than curiously to know the doings of others, yet are those things to be handled with so great secrecy and dissimulation, as the prince's intent be not in any wise suspected, nor the ministers made odious: for these sometimes, to win themselves reputation, do devise causes of difference where no need is; divining of things future, which prove to the prejudice of their own prince.

To win Confidence with Neighbours. • This is chiefly attained unto by being loved and honoured : for these things do work so many good effects, as daily experience sufficeth, without any express example, to prove them of great force.

• The way to win love and trust is, in all actions to proceed justly, and sometimes to wink at wrongs, or set aside unnecessary revenges: and if any thing be done not justifiable, or unfit to be allowed (as, oftentimes, it happeneth) there to lay the blame upon the minister; which must be performed with so great show of revenge and dissimulation, by reproving and punishing the minister, as the princes offended may be satisfied, and believe that the cause of unkindness proceeded from thence.

Now only it resteth, that somewhat should be said touching provision; to the end the people may not be drawn into despair by famine, or extreme dearth of victuals and chiefly for want of corn, which is one principal consideration to be regarded, according to the Italian proverb, Pane in Piazza, Gius. titia in Palazzo, Siverezza per Tutto: whereunto I could wish every prince, or supreme governor, to be thus qualified, viz. Facile de audienza, non facile de credenza, desioso de spedition, essemplare in costumi proprii, et in quei de sua casa tale che vorra governare, e non esser governato da altro che della ragione.


Observations confirmed by authorities of Princes

und Principalities, characterising an excellent Prince or Governor.


Every good and lawful principality is either elective, or successive. Of them, election seemeth the more ancient; but succession, in divers respects, the better. Minore discrimine sumitur princeps quam quæritur. Tac.

• The chief and only endeavour of every good prince ought to be, the commodity and security of the subjects; as, contrariwise, the tyrant seeketh his own private profit with the oppression of his people. Ci. vium non servitus, sed tutela, tradita est. Sall.

• To the perfection of every good prince, two things are necessarily required ; viz. prudence, and virtue; the one to direct his doings, the other to govern his life. Rex eris, si rectè feceris. Hor.

• The second care which appertaineth to a good prince is, to make his subjects like unto himself; for thereby he is not only honoured, but they also the better governed. Facile imperium in bonos. Plaut.

Subjects are made good by two means; viz. by constraint of law, and the prince's example: for in all estates, the people do imitate those conditions, whereunto they see the prince inclined. Quicquid faciunt principes, præcipere videantur. Quintil.

* All virtues be required in a prince; but justice and clemency are most necessary: for justice is a habit of doing things justly as well to himself as others, and giving to every one so much as to him appertaineth. This is that virtue, that preserveth

« PreviousContinue »