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them with that judgment, and with such perspicuity and efficacy expresseth himself, that, as Plutarch saith, he maketh his auditor a spectator. For he setteth his reader in the assemblies of the people, and in the Senates at their debating, in the streets at their seditions, and in the field at their battles. So that look how much a man of understanding might have added to his experience, if he had then lived a beholder of their proceedings and familiar with the men and business of the time, so much almost may he profit now by attentive reading of the same here written. He

He may from the narrations draw out lessons to himself, and of himself be able to trace the drifts and counsels of the actors to their seat."

A modern writer on antient history cannot write exactly as Thucydides has written, even if he has the talent of the Athenian. If a man would now write the history of the Peloponnesian war, he must explain many things which a contemporary of Thucydides would understand without explanation; and there will be occasions for some discussion when he examines the credibility of the original narrative or the historian's judgment and impartiality. But such dissertations, if they are not kept within limits by the writer's good sense, may become impertinent digressions, which, as Hobbes says, may be “ forced to serve the purpose of the writer in adorning his style or manifesting his subtlety in conjecturing."

I have written what may be called a dissertation on the Agrarian Laws, a matter so inseparably connected with the history of parties at Rome that Roman history cannot be understood unless we form a just notion of these Agrarian disputes. I have also written a short chapter to explain the names of the two political factions which originated about the time of the Gracchi, and the meaning of these party designations. If I have any where digressed in order to explain what most readers would not understand without some assistance, I have done it unwillingly; for however carefully a man may have considered his subject, he can hardly fail to make some mistakes, and he must know, or he ought to know that his opinions and his judgment may be wrong, even if his intentions are fair and honest. If it had been possible I should rather have kept myself to the simple narrative of events, and have left them to convey their meaning to the reader ; but any man who attempts to write antient history will find that he must do something more than simply put facts in order and state them clearly. He must say something occasionally on the value of the evidence for that which he writes, even if it is only to prevent critics sharper than wise from charging him with credulity and want of critical skill. He must also occasionally aid the reader to apprehend the full meaning of facts and events by remarks, which to some men will be superfluous talk, but to others necessary help. Thus he will be unavoidably led from the straight course; he will digress, and like all who do so, he will sometimes deviate from the right path further than he ought.

As this history begins with the time of the decline of the Republic, it is assumed that the reader knows in some way the history of the previous period, and any recapitulation of it would be out of place. It is true that as the occasions arise for speaking of Roman institutions, I have sometimes reminded the reader of their origin and of the practice of previous times, but this has only been done when it seemed necessary for the understanding of my story.

A history and a commentary, or discourses on history, are different things, and both of them useful when they are well done. Machiavelli wrote a commentary on a part of Roman history in his Discourses on Livy, and he also wrote a treatise on the art of war, which he has illustrated chiefly from the practice of the Romans. In the Prince he has given his opinions on what he calls mixed principalities, and he shows how a prince must act if he would secure himself in new acquisitions. These three works were written in retirement, and they are the result of the author's long experience of public affairs and his study of history. The direct object of the Prince was to recommend Machiavelli to the Medici, and to prove that in the course of his busy life he had learned something which it was useful for them to know. His remoter object was to teach the Italian princes a better policy,

and to encourage them to drive the barbarian out of Italy. This work, which contains the soundest principles of political wisdom, applied to the circumstances of Italy, has been often assailed. It was not intended for publication, but it was printed at Rome after the author's death, with the permission of Pope Clement VII. Machiavelli conceived his work like a man of sense. By sound reasoning on the nature of man and human affairs, and by experience derived from history, he shows how a prince must act in order to secure what he has acquired, whether he has acquired it by his own arms and merit, by the help of others and the aid of good fortune, by crimes, or by the consent of his countrymen. The examination of the morality or the immorality of the means by which this must be accomplished is as far from the purpose of the author and of his subject, as the exposition of Law or the law of any particular country is distinct from a judgment on the quality, the goodness or badness of Law.

He who expounds Law has only to do with positive rules and the true deductions from them. He who teaches how a prince new in the acquisition of power must act, if he would keep it, does not consider the morality or immorality of the means which must be used. Such considerations are foreign to the business, which is to show that certain means must be used to keep power if you would keep it; and that is the whole matter of Machiavelli's treatise. But if any man affirms that Machiavelli recommends wicked means, or that he teaches that wicked means are always better adapted to accomplish the end than what we call good means, he has either not read Machiavelli, or he cannot understand him. If the chapters of the Prince had appeared in a history in the form in which Thucydides has written his speeches, the charge of teaching immorality, whatever it may mean, would perhaps not have been made against Machiavelli any more than against the Athenian historian. It is probable that among other reasons which Thucydides had for putting his political reflections in the mouths of the chief actors, he wished to avoid saying himself what it was appropriate for others to say. I have seen it remarked somewhere, I know not where, nor do I concern myself whether it is true or not, that Hobbes derived his politics from the speech of the Athenian Euphemus in the sixth book of Thucydides, a speech which I recommend those to read who have not read it, and those who have read it once may read it again with profit. I see no difference in the political wisdom of Thucydides and Machiavelli. Both these great men looked at human affairs as they are, and they have told us how princes and leaders of states have acted and will act as long as states and princes exist.

As political science is more studied the merits of Machiavelli will be acknowledged, and his errors, if he has any, may be corrected without violent invective and silly abuse. The Discourses on Livy are so different from any thing else both in the matter and the form, that a man must make a close acquaintance with them before he will fully understand their meaning. Machiavelli's Discourses do not touch the matters which have lately so much occupied the researches and ingenuity of modern scholars, nor do they contain any critical examination of Roman history, as the term is now understood. The value of the Discourses consists in the practical wisdom which Machiavelli drew from the undoubted facts of Roman history, facts which he has seized and appreciated better than any modern writer. His experience of public affairs and his great sagacity place him as a political writer as far above all modern writers, as Thucydides stands above all men who have written history; for in Thucydides the faculty of writing history was at the highest, and I do not know any other historian of whom the same can be said.

Macaulay in his essay on Machiavelli has expressed a less unfavourable opinion than many other writers. He admits that Machiavelli was a man of genius, and a profound political thinker, that he had a great elevation of sentiment and zeal for the public good; but still he discovers in the Prince the most atrocious principles laid down without the disguise of some palliating sophism even to his own mind,' 'professed without the slightest circumlocution, and assumed as the fundamental axioms of all political science. Now it is one

' of the virtues of Machiavelli that he has no disguise, no sophism, that he tells us what he believes to be true; he tells

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us what men do, though they will not confess it. The best judge of Machiavelli would be some man as sagacious as the Italian, if we could find him, a man who has grown old in the administration of public affairs in times of difficulty. But he must also be as honest as Machiavelli, and not attempt to impose on us by making things appear different from what they are. It is however hard to find a man who can look on the course of human affairs without passion and prejudice; harder still to find a critic who will read carefully what he undertakes to judge, and be content with the modest office of expositor and learner. The following judgment of the Discourses cannot be excused, even on the ground that Macaulay

young man when he wrote his essay on Machiavelli. “The first decade (of Livy) to which Machiavelli has confined himself is scarcely entitled to more credit than our Chronicle of British Kings who reigned before the Roman invasion. But the commentator (Machiavelli) is indebted to Livy forlittle more than a few extracts, which he might as easily have extracted from the Vulgate or the Decameron. The whole train of thought is original.'

The thought is no doubt original; but Machiavelli had a very different notion of what he was attempting to do. He says that in the ordering of republics, in the maintaining of states, in the government of kingdoms, in the constitution of a military force, and in the administration of war, in the forming a judgment of subjects, and in the increasing of dominion, neither prince, nor republic, nor commander, recurs to the antient examples. This arises, he is convinced, from the fact that men have not a true knowledge of history, and do not draw from it the meaning which it contains. They are pleased with reading of the various events, but they do not think of deriving instruction from them. It seems as if they thought that every thing, even the elements and men, were different from what they were in antient times. It was for the purpose of correcting such erroneous notions that he undertook to write Discourses on all the extant books of Livy, and to set down that which, having regard to things antient and modern, he considered to be necessary for the better understanding of these books, and to the end that those who

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