During this period of his political activity, we have a large number of State papers and private letters from his pen; and two works of literary cast have also come down to us. The first treats of the decade beginning ; and the second, an unfinished fragment, of the decade beginning They are written in easy terzine; and unfeigned sorrow for the miseries of Italy, torn by internal discord, alternates with cynical mockery and stinging wit.
They are noteworthy as expressing the sentiment for a united Italy. When in , after their long exile, the Medici returned to Florence in the train of her invader, Machiavelli, though not unwilling to serve the restored rulers, was dismissed from his office and banished for a year from the confines of the city. Later, on suspicion of being concerned in a plot against the Medici, he was thrown into prison and tortured.
A number of comedies, minor poems, and short prose compositions did not rise above mediocrity. They were for the most part translations from the classics, or imitations; and the names are hardly worth recounting.
But in one dramatic effort he rose to the stature of genius. In its form, its spontaneity, vivacity, and wit, it is not surpassed by Shakespeare; but it is a biting satire on religion and morality, with not even a hint of a moral to redeem it. In it Machiavelli has harnessed Pegasus to a garbage cart. He chose his native tongue; and revised and polished his work until it became a model of style, and in its best passages justifies his claim to the title of the best and most finished of Italian prose writers.
The church was crowded with people, and divine service had already commenced; but Giuliano had not yet come. Francesco dei Pazzi, therefore, together with Bernardo, who had been designated to kill Giuliano, went to his house, and by artful persuasion induced him to go to the church. It is really a noteworthy fact that so much hatred and the thoughts of so great an outrage could be concealed under so much resoluteness of heart, as was the case with Francesco and Bernardo; for on the way to church, and even after having entered it, they entertained him with merry jests and youthful chatter.
And Francesco, even, under pretense of caressing him, felt him with his hands and pressed him in his arms, for the purpose of ascertaining whether he wore a cuirass or any other means of protection under his garments. But though Machiavelli had the historical style, he lacked historical perspective; he arranged his matter not according to objective value, but placed in the boldest relief those events that best lent support to his own theories of politics and statecraft. He makes his facts to be as he wishes them, rather than as he knows them to be.
Though Machiavelli wrote history, poetry, and comedy, it is not by these he is remembered. The works that have made his name a synonym, and given it a place in every tongue, are the two works written almost in the first year of his retirement from political life. The first is the more elementary, and would come first in logical arrangement. But in the writing of them Machiavelli had in view more than the foundation of a science of politics. In Livy he finds the field for this study. The civil laws are in fact nothing but the decisions given by their jurisconsults, and which, reduced to a system, direct our modern jurists in their decisions.
And what is the science of medicine but the experience of ancient physicians, which their successors have taken for a guide? And yet to found a republic, maintain States, to govern a kingdom, organize an army, conduct a war, dispense justice, and extend empires, you will find neither prince nor republic, nor captain, nor citizen, who has recourse to the examples of antiquity!
His one aim is the building of a State; his one thought, how best to accomplish his aim. Means are therefore to be selected, and to be judged, solely as regards their effectiveness to the business in hand. Ordinary means are of course to be preferred; but extraordinary must be used when needed. This opinion would be correct, if we do not take into consideration the object which Romulus had in view in committing that homicide.
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But we must assume, as a general rule, that it never or rarely happens that a republic or monarchy is well constituted, or its old institutions entirely reformed, unless it is done by only one individual; it is even necessary that he whose mind has conceived such a constitution should be alone in carrying it into effect. A sagacious legislator of a republic, therefore, whose object is to promote the public good and not his private interests, and who prefers his country to his own successors, should concentrate all authority in himself; and a wise mind will never censure any one for having employed any extraordinary means for the purpose of establishing a kingdom or constituting a republic.
It is well that when the act accuses him, the result should excuse; and when the result is good, as in the case of Romulus, it will always absolve him from blame. In an equally scientific and concise manner he analyzes the methods of preventing factions in a republic.
In fact, there are only three ways of accomplishing it: the one is to put the leaders to death, as the Romans did; or to banish them from the city; or to reconcile them to each other under a pledge not to offend again. Of these three ways, the last is the worst, being the least certain and effective. It is the one always connected with his name, and which has made his name famous.
It was said of the poet Gray that no other man had walked down the aisle of fame with so small a book under his arm. It might be repeated as truly of Machiavelli.
For the model of his prince, Machiavelli took Cesare Borgia, and cites him as an example worthy of imitation; and he has shared in the execration that posterity has heaped upon Borgia. For a man who in all respects will carry out only his professions of good, will be apt to be ruined amongst so many who are evil. A prince therefore who desires to maintain himself, must learn to be not always good, but to be so or not as necessity may require.
For, all things considered, it will be found that some things that seem like virtue will lead you to ruin if you follow them; whilst others that apparently are vices will, if followed, result in your safety and well-being. And yet the experience of our own times has shown that those princes have achieved great things who made small account of good faith, and who understood by cunning to circumvent the intelligence of others; and that in the end they got the better of those whose actions were dictated by loyalty and good faith. You must know, therefore, that there are two ways of carrying on a contest: the one by law, and the other by force.
The first is practiced by men, and the other by animals; and as the first is often insufficient, it becomes necessary to resort to the second. A prince should be a fox, to know the traps and snares; and a lion, to be able to frighten the wolves: for those who simply hold to the nature of the lion do not understand their business. If men were all good, then indeed this precept would be bad; but as men are naturally bad, and will not observe their faith towards you, you must in the same way not observe yours towards them: and no prince ever yet lacked legitimate reasons with which to color his want of good faith.
I will even venture to say, that to have and to practice them constantly is pernicious, but to seem to have them is useful. For instance, a prince should seem to be merciful, faithful, humane, religious, and upright, and should even be so in reality; but he should have his mind so trained that, when occasion requires it, he may know how to change to the opposite. And it must be understood that a prince, and especially one who has but recently acquired his state, cannot perform all those things which cause men to be esteemed as good; he being often obliged, for the sake of maintaining his state, to act contrary to humanity, charity, and religion.
And therefore it is necessary that he should have a versatile mind, capable of changing readily, according as the winds and changes bid him; and as has been said above, not to swerve from the good if possible, but to know how to resort to evil if necessity demands it. And yet in these same books we find expressions worthy of a moralist. He is saint or devil according as you select your extracts from his writings. But it is almost as old as Mrs. Rowson, in reply to criticism, maintained the truth of her story in her own lifetime and when the book was new. While she did not give, in her printed statements, the names of the originals of Charlotte and Montraville, that was hardly to be expected.
But his identity was known to her friends as well as to herself, and has been preserved in her family down to the present day, and along with it an unyielding belief in the genuineness of the stone. Had it been possible to produce disproof, it seems fair to infer that one or both of the families concerned would have brought it forth. It has often been said, and Mrs. Some inferior stone is believed to have marked the spot previous to that time. In causing the new stone to be set up, Lucy elevated it on four pillars, after the manner then often employed for the finer kind of memorials.
In the course of time the pillars crumbled or otherwise became insecure, and the stone was lowered to the ground, as it lies to-day. Bacon tells essentially the same story. The two novels shed some interesting light on the name of Blakeney. Temple to the Fleet Prison, and there introduces him to the unfortunate Mr.
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Eldridge and his daughter, the future mother of Charlotte. A condition of the gift was that Lucy should assume the name of Blakeney. We may perhaps assume that Mrs. She might properly have done so. It will be recalled that she did not publish the book in her own lifetime, and that when at last it appeared posthumously, Blakeney had been dead forty-one years. Among Mrs. The date of the removal has not been preserved in Mrs. Rowson herself through her niece, Rebecca Haswell Clark. Lucy never married. In she was twenty-five years old. Besides the Blakeney fortune, she now possessed a tidy sum which had come to her from her grandfather.
Altogether, she was an heiress of some consequence. The stone, as it appears to-day, has a rectangular depression in its upper part, about one foot by nearly two feet in size, and perhaps an inch deep. At least sixty years ago the inscription plate had disappeared from this depression, and is understood to have been stolen and then recovered, but afterward to have been misplaced or lost.
During the building of the present church edifice, which was consecrated in , an engine-house, connected with the hoisting apparatus of the builders, stood directly over the stone. After the removal of the little house the plate was seen to have disappeared, and circumstances indicated that this had occurred while the house stood there. William H. It is clear from this statement that, among those who were engaged in building the new church sixty years ago, the stone was believed to mark the spot where Charlotte was buried, and that it originally contained a plate bearing an inscription.
Rowson had made the grave best known to the public. Further excuse for Mr. Bacon gives an account in detail of the theft of the plate. Two men, he says, visited the churchyard on a cloudy night, and with tools cut and forced away the lead which fastened the plate to the stone. As they lifted the plate from it bed, they were discovered by two watchmen who had been coming up Wall Street. The intruders made their escape at the rear of the churchyard, dropping the plate as they did so in the tall grass. On the following day the plate was found in the grass, but, owing to fear that it might be removed again, it was thought inadvisable to fasten it to the stone.
His statement is not reconcilable with the implication in Mr. But Mr. Perhaps he was misled by what some one had told him.
While he was not a writer who adhered closely to research for his facts, the statements of fact in his article, when verification is possible, have been found in the main to be correct. Philip Hone, once Mayor of New York, and for quite forty years a worshiper in Trinity Church, serving long as vestryman, and warden, in is said to have opposed a proposal of the city authorities to extend Pine Street westward through the grounds of Trinity churchyard, and gave as one of his reasons that to do so would disturb the grave of Charlotte Temple.
The stone lies far south of what would have been the street line. Something of the popularity of the book can be set down to this extraneous influence, but its share might easily be overestimated. Certain it is that those who now visit the churchyard and put flowers upon the stone are not skeptics; these with stiff necks keep away, leaving the credulous to pursue their pathetic way in peace.
The history of most great successes in popular fiction proves nothing more conclusive than that extraneous circumstances, including mere advertising, never in themselves made a great popular success.
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It made its way purely on its intrinsic qualities as a book that appealed powerfully to human interest. As for the tombstone, we must not forget that the first success of the book was won in England, among readers who could never have heard that the grave of that unfortunate young English girl existed on the western border of Broadway. The sole assistance the work could have had, from what in a larger sense may be called advertising, has come from countless newspaper paragraphs and articles, which year after year have been evoked in America by the tombstone and the flowers.
The book itself has seldom called forth an article. One of the most widely read novels in the English language, and probably one of the most talked about, it still remains one of those least written about. In England for the first two years at least , it was left unnoticed by the Monthly Review, a periodical which had for its exclusive province news and reviews of books. Poole has been searched in vain for a single article. The only contemporary English notice which has come to light anywhere appeared in the Critical Review for April, The situations are artless and effective, the descriptions natural and pathetic.
We should feel for Charlotte, if such a person ever existed, who for one error scarcely perhaps deserved so severe a punishment. Seldom in the history of literature has a work of fiction been more exclusively the maker of its own fortunes.