The prince’s values contri­bute as much to liberty as the laws do ; like them, he can make men into beasts and beasts into men. If he likes free souls, he will have sub­jects ; if he likes base souls, he will have sla­ves. If he wishes to know the great art of ruling, let him keep honor and vir­tue by his side, let him call upon per­so­nal merit. He can even occa­sio­nally cast an eye on talents. Let him not fear those rivals we call men of merit : he is their equal, once he likes them ; let him win the heart, but not cap­ture the mind ; let him belong to the peo­ple ; he should be flat­te­red by the love of the least of his sub­jects, for they are still men ; the popu­lace demand so lit­tle defe­rence that it is just to grant it to them ; the infi­nite dis­tance bet­ween the sove­reign and them assu­res that they will not be an impe­di­ment to him. Susceptible to entreaty, let him be firm against demands, and know that his peo­ple bene­fit from his refu­sals, and his cour­tiers from his favors.