Page:Machiavelli, Romanes Lecture, 2 June 1897.djvu/48

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whatever, of all its causes, ends, and necessary adjuncts. In short, means and end are a single transaction. You must regard policy as a whole. The ruler as an individual is, like other men, 'no more than the generation of leaves, fleeting, a shadow, a dream.' But the State lives on after he has vanished. He is a trustee for times to come. He is not shaping his own life only, but guiding the long fortunes of a nation. Leaves fall, the tree stands.

Such is the defence of reason of State, of the worship of nation and empire. Everything that policy requires, justice sanctions. There are no crimes in politics, only blunders. 'The man of action is essentially conscienceless' (Goethe). 'Praised be those,' said one, in words much applauded by Machiavelli, 'who love their country rather than the safety of their souls.' 'Let us be Venetians first,' said Father Paul, 'and Christians after.'

We see now the deep questions that lie behind these sophistries, and all the alarming propositions in which they close. Does morality apply only to end and not to means? Is the State means or end? What does it really exist for? For the sake of the individual, his moral and material well-being, or is the individual a mere cog or pinion in the vast machine? How far is it true that citizenship dominates all other relations and duties, and is the most important of them? Are we to test the true civilisation of a State by anything else than the predominance of justice, right, equality, in its laws, its institutions, its relations to neighbours? Is one of the most im-