Page:Machiavelli, Romanes Lecture, 2 June 1897.djvu/45

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sixteenth century, were the daily bread of the Italian soldier who planted his iron heel on the neck of Europe in the nineteenth. Yet Machiavelli at least sets decent limits and conditions: the ruler may under compulsion be driven to set at nought pity, humanity, faith, religion, for the sake of the State, but though he should know how to enter upon evil when compelled, he should never turn from what is good when he can avoid it. Napoleon, a Cæsar Borgia on a giant scale, deliberately called evil good and good evil; and, almost alone among the past masters of all the arts of violence and fraud, he sacrificed pity, humanity, faith, religion, and public law, less for the sake of the State than to satisfy his own ravening egotism and exorbitant passion for personal domination. Napoleon, Charles IX., the Committee of Public Safety, would all have justified themselves by reason of State, and the Bartholomew massacre, the September massacres, and the murder of the Duc d'Enghien, only show what reason of State may come to in any age, in the hands of the practical logician with a knife in his grasp.36

Turn from the Absolutist camp to the Republican. Mazzini is in some respects the loftiest moral genius of the century, and he said that though he did not approve the theory of the dagger, nay he deplored it, yet he had not the heart to curse the fact of the dagger. 'When a man,' he says, 'seeks by every possible artifice to betray an old friend to the police of the Foreign Ruler, and then a working man arises and slays the Judas in the broad daylight in the