And this is all I could achieve in a prince’s court. For either I would think different thoughts from the rest, and that would be as if I had no thoughts, or else I would agree with them and thus (as Terence’s Mitio says) be an accessory to their madness. I do not understand what you mean by saying that a man should guide policy indirectly and strive to make the best of things, so that what is bad will at least be made as good as possible. In councils there is no place for silent and unwilling acquiescence. A man must openly approve of the worst plans and the most pernicious resolutions. One would pass for a spy or even a traitor, if he approved of such plans only grudgingly. A man has no chance to do good when his colleagues are more likely to corrupt the best of men than be corrected themselves. He will either be corrupted himself by his colleagues, or if he remains sound and innocent, he will be blamed for the folly and knavery of others. He is far from being able to mend matters by guiding policy indirectly!