Would you rather be loved or hated

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Chapter seventeenth.
Of cruelty and gentleness, and whether it is better to be loved or feared.

[67] I will next move on to the other characteristics mentioned above and say: Every prince must wish to be considered kind and not cruel. Nevertheless he must be careful not to misuse this kindness. Caesar Borgia was considered cruel; nevertheless this cruelty had restored Romania, united it, and cemented loyalty and peace in it. If one ponders this, one will see that he was far more benevolent than the Florentine people, who, in order not to be called cruel, had Pistoja destroyed. A prince must therefore not care about the name of the cruel if he wants to keep his subjects united and loyal; for, with very few examples, he will be more benevolent than those who, out of too great kindness, tear down the disorder from which murder and robbery arise: for these tend to offend a whole meanness: but those executions which proceed from the prince , only offend one individual. And above all princes it is new princes impossible to avoid the name of the cruel because the new states are fraught with danger. Why Virgil, through the mouth of the Divo, excuses the inhumanity of her government because of this New sey by saying:


Res dura, et regni novitas me talia cogunt

Moliri, et late fines custode tueri.
[67]

Nonetheless, he must be slow to believe and resolve, and must not make himself fearful; but to go to work with wisdom and humanity so moderately that neither too great trust makes him careless, nor too great mistrust makes him intolerable. From this arises the question: is it better to be loved than feared, or is it better to be feared than loved? I answer: one should be both. But because it is difficult to unite: that they are ungrateful, changeable, inclined to disguise, avert dangers, eager for profits; and as long as you do them good, they are all yours, dedicate to you their blood and life, possessions and children, as already said, when the need is wide; but when it approaches, they revolt: and the prince, who, stripped of other precautions, has relied on their words alone, perishes; because the friendships one makes for wages and not for the size and nobility of the spirit are based on interest; but you don't have it, and you can't use it in case. And people are less decent, someone who makes himself love; because love is attached to a bond which, since men are bad, is torn at every occasion for its own benefit; on the other hand, fear is clinging to a horror of punishment that never leaves you. Nevertheless, the prince must make you fear in such a way that, even if he does not win love, he still avoids hatred (since it can very well exist together [68] to be feared and not hated, which he will always achieve as long as he abstains from the property of his subjects and citizens, and of their wives): and if he were nevertheless compelled to take action against the life of one of them, he must not do so without sufficient justification and obvious reasons. But above all he has to refrain from property belonging to others, because people will get over the death of their father rather than the loss of their genetic make-up. In addition, there is no need to take the goods, never for reasons, and someone who gets used to living from robbery always finds reasons to take on the stranger: on the other hand, against life they are rarer, and tend to be lacking. But if there is a prince with the armies and commands a multitude of soldiers, then it is absolutely essential not to care about the name of the cruel; because without This name was never received by an army in unity, nor inclined to a cause. Among the astonishing deeds of Hannibal it is also counted that in the immense army which he, mixed from innumerable kinds of people, had led into a foreign country to lead the war, there was never a conflict neither among them nor against the prince, neither in his bad Happiness, as well as in the good: of which nothing else could be the reason than this his inhuman cruelty, which, along with his innumerable virtues, always kept him dignified and dreadful in the eyes of his people, and without his other virtues would not produce that effect would have been enough. Nonetheless, the careless writers admire these acts of his on the one hand, and on the other hand they condemn the most essential cause of them. And how true it is that his other virtues were not enough for him, teaches Scipio, one of the rarest, not only in his days, but in the whole remembrance of the things one knows about. Against this his army in Spain revolted, for which nothing else was to blame than his too great kindness, which had allowed the soldiers more freedom than the war discipline could get along with. Fabius Maximus accused him of this in the Senate, and called him the corrupter of the Roman militia. - The Lokrians, who had plundered a legate of Scipio, were not avenged by him, nor chastised this legate's insolence, all of which were the result of his gentle nature. So that someone who wanted to excuse him in the Senate said that there were many people who were better off not making mistakes than correcting others. What nature would in time have distorted the reputation and fame of Scipio if he had persevered in the regiment; but under the direction of the Senate this harmful quality not only hid itself, but served to its glory. So I conclude, to come back to fear and love, that since people are following her Will love, and according to the will of the prince to fear, a wise prince has to rely on what he is, not on what the other is. Just as I said, he must be diligent in avoiding hatred.