And nothing doth extinguish envy more, than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers, in their full lights and pre-eminences
of their places.
It is evident, then, that in corrupt governments it is partly just and useful to the individual, though probably it is as clear that it is not entirely just: for in a well-governed state there may be great doubts about the use of it, not on account of the pre-eminence
which one may have in strength, riches, or connection: but when the pre-eminence
is virtue, what then is to be done?
Therefore, he who considers the actions and the genius of this man will see nothing, or little, which can be attributed to fortune, inasmuch as he attained pre-eminence
, as is shown above, not by the favour of any one, but step by step in the military profession, which steps were gained with a thousand troubles and perils, and were afterwards boldly held by him with many hazardous dangers.
She with stately steps proudly advances over the field: aloft she bears her towering head, filled with conceit of her own pre-eminence
, and schemes to effect her intended discovery.
And, to speak of human affairs, I believe that the pre-eminence
of Sparta was due not to the goodness of each of its laws in particular, for many of these were very strange, and even opposed to good morals, but to the circumstance that, originated by a single individual, they all tended to a single end.
Of this description are the love of power or the desire of pre-eminence
and dominion -- the jealousy of power, or the desire of equality and safety.