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Chapter 10

CHAPTER X

CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE STRENGTH OF ALL PRINCIPALITIES
OUGHT TO BE MEASURED

It is necessary to consider another point in examining the character
of these principalities: that is, whether a prince has such power
that, in case of need, he can support himself with his own resources,
or whether he has always need of the assistance of others. And to make
this quite clear I say that I consider those who are able to support
themselves by their own resources who can, either by abundance of men
or money, raise a sufficient army to join battle against any one who
comes to attack them; and I consider those always to have need of
others who cannot show themselves against the enemy in the field, but
are forced to defend themselves by sheltering behind walls. The first
case has been discussed, but we will speak of it again should it
recur. In the second case one can say nothing except to encourage such
princes to provision and fortify their towns, and not on any account
to defend the country. And whoever shall fortify his town well, and
shall have managed the other concerns of his subjects in the way
stated above, and to be often repeated, will never be attacked without
great caution, for men are always adverse to enterprises where
difficulties can be seen, and it will be seen not to be an easy thing
to attack one who has his town well fortified, and is not hated by his
people.

The cities of Germany are absolutely free, they own but little country
around them, and they yield obedience to the emperor when it suits
them, nor do they fear this or any other power they may have near
them, because they are fortified in such a way that every one thinks
the taking of them by assault would be tedious and difficult, seeing
they have proper ditches and walls, they have sufficient artillery,
and they always keep in public depots enough for one year's eating,
drinking, and firing. And beyond this, to keep the people quiet and
without loss to the state, they always have the means of giving work
to the community in those labours that are the life and strength of
the city, and on the pursuit of which the people are supported; they
also hold military exercises in repute, and moreover have many
ordinances to uphold them.

Therefore, a prince who has a strong city, and had not made himself
odious, will not be attacked, or if any one should attack he will only
be driven off with disgrace; again, because that the affairs of this
world are so changeable, it is almost impossible to keep an army a
whole year in the field without being interfered with. And whoever
should reply: If the people have property outside the city, and see it
burnt, they will not remain patient, and the long siege and self-
interest will make them forget their prince; to this I answer that a
powerful and courageous prince will overcome all such difficulties by
giving at one time hope to his subjects that the evil will not be for
long, at another time fear of the cruelty of the enemy, then
preserving himself adroitly from those subjects who seem to him to be
too bold.

Further, the enemy would naturally on his arrival at once burn and
ruin the country at the time when the spirits of the people are still
hot and ready for the defence; and, therefore, so much the less ought
the prince to hesitate; because after a time, when spirits have
cooled, the damage is already done, the ills are incurred, and there
is no longer any remedy; and therefore they are so much the more ready
to unite with their prince, he appearing to be under obligations to
them now that their houses have been burnt and their possessions
ruined in his defence. For it is the nature of men to be bound by the
benefits they confer as much as by those they receive. Therefore, if
everything is well considered, it will not be difficult for a wise
prince to keep the minds of his citizens steadfast from first to last,
when he does not fail to support and defend them.

Niccolo Machiavelli

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