The third part, treating of such policy as a prince ought to hold in his commonwealth
I have before in order disposed of Machiavelli’s maxims touching counsel and religion; and at large I have showed that all his doctrine shoots at no other mark but to instruct a prince to govern himself after his own fancy, not delivering his care to those who would show him the truth, and to void himself of all piety, conscience, and religion. There remains now to handle the third part of his doctrine, which concerns policy; whereof there are many parts, for in it are comprehended such maxims as concern peace, war, faith, promises, oaths, clemency, cruelty, liberality, greed, constancy, craft, justice, and other virtues and vices, considerable in public and political persons. All these things Machiavelli handles in such sort that it is easy to know that his only purpose was to instruct a prince to be a true tyrant and to teach him the art of tyranny; in which art verily he has showed himself a great doctor, far greater than Bartolus. For Bartolus, who was a renowned doctor in the civil law, in his treatise written of tyranny, wades not so deep in the matter as Machiavelli does; although reading his treatise it seems that Machiavelli has learned a great deal of his knowledge. But Machiavelli applies it contrary, seeking that men should hold it for good, whereas Bartolus speaks of it as of a damnable thing, which men ought to repulse and shun with all their power. And to confer a little thereupon, I will here summarily recite certain points of the doctor Bartolus, touching this matter of tyranny, to show what Machiavelli has stolen, yet would apply it to the duty of a prince; whereas Bartolus attributes it to the iniquity and malice of a tyrant.
First, Bartolus constitutes two kinds of tyrants, one in title and the other in exercise. A tyrant in title is he who without any title, or else with a bad title usurps a domination and seignory. A tyrant in exercise is he who having a lawful title to domineer and rule, rules not justly and loyally as a good prince ought to do. After this he numbers ten sorts of actions whereby a tyrant is manifested to be a tyrant in exercise. The first action is when he puts to death the mightiest and most excellent persons among his subjects, for fear they should arise against his tyranny. The second, when he troubles and afflicts good and wise men of his domination, lest they should discover his vices to the people. The third action, when he seeks to abolish studies and good letters, to the end that wisdom may not be learned. The fourth, when he forbids lawful and honest assemblies and congregations, fearing men will rise up against him. The fifth, when he has spies in all places, fearing men speak evil of his evil actions. The sixth, when he maintains divisions among his subjects, to the end that one part may fear another, and so neither one nor the other arise against him. The seventh, when he seeks to hold his subjects poor, to the end that they being occupied in the means to get their living, they may machinate nothing against him. The eighth, when he seeks to maintain war to enfeeble his subjects, and to abolish studies, and to make himself strong when he needs to. The ninth, when he trusts more in foreigners than in his own subjects, and that he betakes himself unto a foreign guard. And the tenth action is, when there is partiality among his subjects, and he adheres more to the one than the other. Which ten kinds of action Bartolus proves by reasons of law to be truly tyrannical, by which a tyrant in exercise is known and manifested to be a tyrant, and especially (said he) by these three kinds; when he maintains divisions among his subjects; when he impoverishes them; and when he afflicts them in their persons and goods, so that the most part of the people are discontented. And finally, he concludes that to such tyrants by right and reason men ought not to obey nor appear before them, but that they ought to be dispossessed of their estates.
But in all this doctrine of Bartolus can you find one point that Machiavelli would not have applied and taught to a prince? All these ten kinds of tyrannical actions set down by Bartolus, are they not so many maxims of Machiavelli’s doctrine taught to a prince? Did he not say that a prince ought to take away all virtuous people, lovers of their commonwealth; to maintain partialities and divisions; to impoverish his subjects, to nourish wars, and to do all these things which Bartolus said to be the works of tyrants? We need then no more doubt that the purpose of Machiavelli was to form a true tyrant, and that he has stolen from Bartolus one part of his tyrannical doctrine, which yet he has much augmented and enriched. For he adds that a prince ought to govern himself by his own counsel, and ought not to suffer any to discover unto him the truth of things; and that he ought not to care for any religion, neither observe any faith or oath, but ought to be cruel, a deceiver, a fox in craftiness, greedy, inconstant, unmerciful, and perfectly wicked, if it be possible, as we shall see hereafter. So that here may apparently be seen that Machiavelli is a far greater doctor in the art of tyranny than Bartolus; yet I compare them not together, for what Bartolus wrote of tyranny was to discover and condemn it, but what Machiavelli wrote was to cause princes to practice and observe it, and to sow in their hearts a true tyrannical poison under the pretext and name of a prince’s duty and office. Finally, there is no other cause nor reason to compare this beastly Machiavelli, a simple burn-paper scribe of the town of Florence, with this great doctor Bartolus, who was one of the most excellent lawyers of his time, and as such is yet acknowledged. But now let us enter into the matter.