Page:Machiavelli, Romanes Lecture, 2 June 1897.djvu/50

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Spanish court against the inhuman treatment of Indians in the New World, and they were defeated by arguments which read like maxims from the Prince.39 Grotius had fore-runners in his powerful contribution towards assuaging the abominations of war, but both letter and spirit in Machiavelli made all the other way.40 Times have come and gone since Machiavelli wrote down his deep truths, but in the great cycles of human change he can have no place among the strong thinkers, and orators, and writers, who have elevated the conception of the State, and humanised the methods and maxims of government, and raised citizenship to be 'a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection.' He turned to the past, just as scholars, architects, sculptors, turned to it, but the idea of reconstructing a society that had once been saturated with the great ruling conceptions of the thirteenth century, by trying to awaken the social energy of ancient Rome, was as much of an anachronism as Julian the Apostate.

Machiavelli has been supposed to put aside the question of right and wrong, just as the political economist or the analytical jurist used to do. Truly has it been said that the practical value of all sciences founded on abstractions, depends on the relative importance of the elements rejected, and the elements retained, in the process of abstraction. The view that he rejected moral elements of government for a scientific purpose and as a hypothetical postulate, seems highly doubtful. Is he not more intelligible, if we take him as following up the divorce of politics