Page:Machiavelli, Romanes Lecture, 2 June 1897.djvu/46

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public streets—I have not the courage to cast the first stone at one who thus takes upon himself to represent social justice and the abhorrence of tyranny,'37

Even in modern democracy, many a secret spring works under decorous mechanism, and recalls Machiavelli's precept to keep the name and take away the thing. An eminent man endowed with remarkable compass of mind, not many years ago a professor in this university, imagined a modern writer, with the unflinching perspicacity of Machiavelli, analysing the party leader as the Italian analysed the tyrant or the prince.38 Such a writer, he said, would find that the party leader, though possessed of every sort of private virtue, yet is debarred by his position from the full practice of the great virtues of veracity, justice, and moral intrepidity; he can seldom tell the full truth; can never be fair to anybody but his followers and his associates; can rarely be bold except in the interests of his faction. The hint is ingenious and it may perhaps be salutary, but one must not overdo it. Party government is not the Reign of the Saints, but we should not be in a hurry to let the misgivings of political valetudinarianism persuade us that there is not at least as good a stock of veracity, justice, and moral intrepidity inside the world of parliaments or congress, as there is in the world without. But these three or four historic instances may serve to illustrate the ἀπορίαι, or awkward points, that Machiavelli's writings have propounded, for men capable of political reflection, in Europe for many generations past.

If one were to try to put the case for the Machiavellian