Chapter 18

How much Treasure a Prince can save yearly

January 16, 2020

How much of the Prince’s treasure should be spent yearly?

If a Prince has £2,000,000 yearly revenue, and spend but £1, why should he not spend the other?

The affairs of Princes is far different from normal people. A King’s revenue is very great, yet if the Kingdom’s gain is small, this gain must ever give rule and proportion to that Treasure, which may conveniently be laid up yearly,

If he amasses more money than is gained by the over-balance of his foreign trade, he shall ruin his Subjects. Their ruin will overthrow him.

Suppose a rich Kingdom can advance yearly £200,000 in ready money. Its king’s revenues are £900,000 and his expences £400,000. He can save £300,000 more in his Coffers yearly than the whole Kingdom gains from foreign trade. All the money in such a State would suddenly be drawn into the Princes treasure and made unproductive. This would then cause the lands and arts to fail and ruin both the public and private wealth.

A King who desires savings of money must maintain and encrease his foreign trade, because it is the sole way to lead him to his own ends, and also to enrich his Subjects. A Prince with many rich Subjects is as powerful as one who has so much treasure in his Coffers.

People will say that a rich country is always under threat from invaders. They must lay extraordinary taxes upon their subjects for defense.

My answer is that their savings must come out of their gain from their Foreign Trade. This trade might not be much yearly. But after a long peace, it will become a great sum of money able to provide defence which may end or divert the war.

Not all the advances of Princes are strictly tied to be massed up in treasure. For they have other ways to make them rich and powerful by issuing out their yearly Incomes to their subjects for=

  • employing them to make Ships of War, with all the needed provisions
  • to build and repair Forts
  • to buy and store up Corn in the Granaries of each Province for a years use aforehand to serve during a Dearth
  • to erect Banks with their money for the encrease of their subjects trade
  • to maintain in their pay, Colonels, Captains, Souldiers, Commanders, Mariners, and others, both by Sea and Land, with good discipline
  • to fill their Store-houses with locally-made Gunpowder, Brimstone, Saltpeter, Shot, Ordnance, Musquets, Swords, Pikes, Armours, Horses, and other war provisions

A Prince is like the stomach. It must digest and distribute resources to the other organs otherwise they get corrupted and destroys itself.

Thus, a small State may save up wealth in necessary provisions, which are Princes Jewels, no less precious than their Treasure.

Treasure is said to be the sinews of the War. It provides unity, movement, and the power of men through the required victuals and munitions.

But if these provisions were lacking, what shall we then do with our money?

This is why well-governed States are well furnished with such provisions. They have, as part of the order of the government=

  • Granaries and Storehouses
  • Munitions and Stores both for Sea and Land
  • Many workmen
  • Diversity and excellency of the Arts

Princes should behold and imitate such rare and worthy things, for Majesty without a competent force and supplies is unassured.


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