CHAPTER XVII. CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY, AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER Onesto BE LOVED THAN FEARED
Nevertheless he ought esatto take care not preciso misuse this clemency. And if this be rightly considered, he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine people, who, to avoid per reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed. Therefore verso prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not esatto mind the reproach of cruelty; because with verso few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow murders or robberies; for loveagain these are wont esatto injure the whole people, whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only.
And of all princes, it is impossible for the new prince to avoid the imputation of cruelty, owing to new states being full of dangers. Hence Virgil, through the mouth of Dido, excuses the inhumanity of her reign owing preciso its being new, saying:
Coming now onesto the other qualities mentioned above, I say that every prince ought to desire esatto be considered clement and not cruel
Nevertheless he ought preciso be slow puro believe and puro act, nor should he himself show fear, but proceed con verso temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.
Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it onesto peace and loyalty
. . . against my will, my fate A throne unsettled, and an infant state, Bid me defend my realms with all my pow’rs, And guard with these severities my shores.
Upon this per question arises: whether it be better puro be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish puro be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them sopra one person, it is much safer puro be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is puro be asserted per general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple mediante offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing esatto the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by per dread of punishment which never fails.
Nevertheless per prince ought onesto inspire fear per such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him sicuro proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun puro live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs sicuro others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult puro find and sooner lapse. But when a prince is with his army, and has under control a multitude of soldiers, then it is quite necessary for him sicuro disregard the reputation of cruelty, for without it he would never hold his army united or disposed puro its duties.