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and imposts upon them do seldom good lo the king's revenue, for that that he wins in the hundred, he loseth in the shire j the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased.
For their commons, there is little danger from them, except it be where they have great and potent heads; or where you meddle with the point of religion, or their customs, or means of life.
For their men of war, it is a dangerous state where they live and remain in a body, and are used to donatives, whereof we see examples in the janizaries,.and pretorian bauds of Rome; but trainings of men, and arming them in several places, and under several commanders, and without donatives, are things of defence and no danger.
Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times; and which have much veneration, but no rest. All precepts concerning kings are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances: "Memento quod es homo;" and "Memento quod es Deus," or "vice Dei:" the one bridleth their power, and the other their will.
XX. OF COUNSEL.
The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel. For in other confidences, men commit the parts of life; their lands, their goods, their children, their credit, some particular affair; but to such as they make their counsellors, they commit the whole: by how much the more tliey are obliged to all faith and integrity. The wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency, to rely upon counsel. God himself is not without: lut hath made it one of the great names of his Uessed Son, •' the Counsellor." Solomon hath pronounced, that "in counsel is stability." Things will have their first or second agitation; if they be not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they will be tossed upon the waves of fortune; and be full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the reeling of a drunken man. Solomon's son found the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it. For the beloved kingdom of God was first rent and broken by ill counsel; upon which counsel there are set, for our instruction, the two marks whereby bad counsel is for ever best discerned: that it was young counsel, for the persons; and violent counsel, for the matter.
The ancient times do set forth in figure both the incorporation and inseparable conjunction of counsel with kings, and the wise and politic use of counsel by kings: the one, in that they say Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel; whereby they intend, that sovereignty is married to counsel; the other in that which followeth, which was thus: they say after Jupiter was married to Metis, she conxcived by him, and was with child, but Jupiter Buffered her not to stay till she brought forth, but eat her up; whereby he became himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas armed out of his head. Which monstrous fuble containelh a secret of em
pire; how kings are to make use of their council of state: that, first, they ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first begetting or impregnation j but when they are elaborate, moulded and shaped in the womb of their council, and grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then they suffer not their council to go through witli the resolution and direction, as if it depended on them; but take the matter back into their own hands, and make it appear to the world, that the decrees and final directions, which, because they come forth with prudence and power, are resembled to Pallas armed, proceeded from themselves, and not only from their authority, but, the more to add reputation to themselves, from their head and device.
Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted in calling and using counsel are three. First, the revealing of affairs, whereby they become less secret. Secondly, the weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less of themselves. Thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel, than of him that is counselled. For which inconveniences the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils: a remedy worse than the disease.
As to secrecy, princes are bound to communicate all matters with all counsellors, but may extract and select. Neither is it necessary, that he that consulleth what he should do, should declare what he will do. But let princes beware, that the unsecreting of their affairs conies not from themselves. And as for cabinet counsels, it may be their motto; "Plenus rimarum sum:" one futile person, that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many that know it their duty to conceal. It is true, there be some affairs which require extreme secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or tw o persons besides the king: neither are those counsels unprosperous; for besides the secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in one spirit of direction without distraction. But then it must be a prudent king, such as is able to grind with a hand-mill; and those inward counsellors had need also be wise men, and especially true and trusty to the king's ends; as it was with king Henry the seventh of England, who in his greatest business imparted himself to none, except it were to Morton and Fox.
For weakening of authority, the fable showcth the remedy. Nay, the majesty of kings is rather exalted than diminished, when they are in the chair of council; neither was there ever prince bereaved of his dependences by his council, except where there hath been either an over-greatness in one counsellor, or an over-strict combination in divers; which are things soon found and holpen.
For the last inconvenience, that men will counsel with an eye to themselves; certainly " Non inveniet fidem super terram" is meant of the nature of times, and not of all particular persons. There be that are in nature faithful and sincere, and plain and direct; not crafty and involved: let princes above all draw to themselves such natures. Besides, counsellors are not commonly so united, btit that one counsellor keepeth sentinel over another; so that if any do counsel out of faction or private ends, it commonly comes to the king's ear. . But the best remedy is, if princes know their counsellors, as well as their counsellors know them:
"Priucipis est virtus maxima no»se suos."
And on the other side, counsellors should not be too speculative into their sovereign's person. The true composition of a counsellor is rather to be skilful in their master's business, than in his nature; for then he is like to advise him, and not to feed his humour. It is of singular use to princes, if they take the opinions of their council both separately and together: for private opinion is more free, but opinion before others is more reverent. In private, men are more bold in their own humours; and in consort,men are more obnoxious to others' humours; therefore it is good to take both: and of the inferior sort, rather in private, to preserve freedom; of the greater, rather in consort, to preserve respect. It is in vain for princes to take counsel concerning matters, if they take no counsel likewise concerning persons: for all matters are as dead images; and the life of the execution of affairs resteth in the good choice of persons. Neither is it enough to consult concerning persons secundum genera, as in an idea or mathematical description, what the kind and character of the person should be; for the greatest errors are committed, and the most judgment is shown, in the choice of individuals. It was truly said, "optimi consiliarii mortui;" books will speak plain, when counsellors blanch. Therefore it is good to be conversant in them, specially the books of such as themselves have been actors upon the stage.
The councils at this day, in most places, are but familiar meetings; where matters are rather talked on, than debated: and they run too swift to the order or act of council. It were better, that in causes of weight the matter were propounded one day, and not spoken to till the next day; "in riocte consilium." So was it done in th'e commission of union between England and Scotland; which was a grave and orderly assembly. I commend set days for petitions: for both it gives the suitors more certainty for their attendance; and it frees the meetings for matters of estate, that they may hoc agere. In choice of committees, for ripening business for the council, it is better to choose indifferent persons, than to make an indifferency by putting in those that are strong on both sides. I commend also standing commissions; as for trade, for treasure, for war, for suits, for some providences; for where there be divers particular councils, and but one council of estate, as it is in Spain, they are, in effect, no more than standing commissions; save that they have greater authority. Let such as are to inform councils out of their particular professions, as lawyers, seamen, mint-men, and the like, be first heard before committees; and then, as occasion serves, before the council. And let them not come in multitudes, or in a tribunitious manner; for that is to clamour councils, not to inform them. A long table, and a square table, or
seats about the walls, seem things of form, but are things of substance; for at a long table, a few at the upper end, in effect, sway all the business; but in the other form, there is more use of the counsellors' opinions that sit lower. A king when he presides in council, let him beware how he opens his own inclination too much in that which he propoundeth: for else counsellors will but take the wind of him, and instead of giving free counsel, sing him a song of Placebo.
XXI. OF DELAYS.
Fortune is like the market, where many times if you can stay a little, the price will fall. And again, it is sometimes like Sibylla's offer, which at first offereth the commodity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still holdeth up the price. For occasion, as it is in the common verse, turneth a bald noddle, after she hath presented her locks in front, and no hold taken: or at least turneth the handle of the bottle first to be received, and after the belly, which is hard to clasp. There is surely no greater wisdom, than welMo time the beginnings and onsets of things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seem light: and more dangers have deceived men, than forced them. Nay, it were better to meet some dangers half way, though they come nothing near, than to keep too long a watch upon their approaches; for if a man watch too long, it is odds he will fall asleep. On the other side, to be deceived with too long shadows, as some have been when the moon was low, and shone on their enemies' back, and so to shoot off before the time; or to teach dangers to come on, by over-early buckling towards them, is another extreme. The ripeness or unripeness of the occasion, as we said, must ever be well weighed j and generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus with his hundred hands; first to watch, and then to speed. For the helmet of Pluto, which makcth the politic man go invisible, is secrecy in the counsel, and celerity in the execution. For when things are once come to the execution, there is no secrecy comparable to celerity; like the motion of a bullet in the air, which fiiethso swift as it outruns the eye.
XXII. OF CUNNING.
We take cunning for a sinister or crooked wisdom. And certainly there is great difference between a cunning man and a wise man; not only in point of honesty, but in point of ability. There be that can pack the cards, and yet cannot play well; so there are some that are good in canvasses and factions, thnt are otherwise weak men. Again, it is one thing to understand persons, and another thing to understand matters; for.many are perfect in men's humours, that are not greatly capable of the real part of business; which is the constitution of one that hath studied men more than books. Such men are fitter for practice than for counsel; and they arc good but in their own alley : turn them to new men. and they have lust their aim: so as the old rule to know a fool from a wise man, "Mitte ambos nndos ad ignotos, et videbis," doth scarce hold for them. And because these cunning men are like haberdashers of small wares, it is not amiss to set forth their shop.
It is a point of cunning, to wait upon him with whom you speak with your eye; as the Jesuits give it in precept; for there be many wise men that have secret hearts and transparent countenances. Yet this would be done with a demure abasing of your eye sometimes, as the Jesuits also do use.
Another is, that when you have any thing to obtain of present despatch, you entertain and amuse the party with whom you deal with some other discourse; that he be not too much awake to make objections. I knew a counsellor and secretary, that never came to queen Elizabeth of England with bills to sign, but he would always first put her into some discourse of estate, that she might the less mind the bills.
The like surprise may be made by moving things when the party is in haste, and cannot stay to consider advisedly of that is moved.
If a man would cross a business, that he doubts some other would handsomely and effectually move, let him pretend to wish it well, and move it himself in such sort as may foil it.
The breaking off in the midst of that one was about to say, as if he took himself up, breeds a greater appetite in him with whom you confer, to know more.
And because it works better when any thing seemeth to be gotten from you by question, than if you offer it of yourself, yon may lay a bait for a question, by showing another visage and countenance than you are wont; to the end to give occasion for the party to ask what the matter is of the change; as Nehemiah did, "And I had not before that time been sad before the king."
In things that are tender and unpleasing, it is good to break the ice by some whose words are of less weight, and to reserve the more weighty voice to come in as by chance, so that he may be asked the question upon the other's speech; as Narcissus did, in relating to Claudius the marriage of Messalina and Silius.
In things that a man would not be seen in himself, it is a point of cunning to borrow the name of the world; as to say, The world says, or, There is a speech abroad.
I knew one, that when he wrote a letter, he would put that which was most material in the postscript, as if it had been a bye-matter.
I knew another that, when he came to have speech, he would pass over that that he intended most; and go forth, and come back again, and speak of it as of a thing that he had almost forgot.
Some procure themselves to be surprised at such times, as it is like the party that they work upon will suddenly come upon them; and to be found with a letter in their hand, or doing somewhat which they are not accustomed; to the end they may be
apposed of those things, which of themselves they are desirous to utter.
It is a point of cunning to let fall those words in a man's own name, which he would have another man learn and use, and thereupon take advantage. I knew two that were competitors for the secretary's place in queen Elizabeth's time, and yet kept good quarter between themselves, and would confer one with another upon the business; and the one of them said, that to be a secretary in the declination of a monarchy was a ticklish thing, and that he did not affect it: the other straight caught up those words, and discoursed with divers of his friends, that he had no reason to desire to be secretary in the declination of a monarchy. The first man took hold of it, and found means it was told the queen; who hearing of a declination of monarchy, took it so ill, as she would never after hear of the other's suit.
There is a cunning which we in England call, the turning of the cat in the pan; which is, when that which a man says to another, he lays it as if another had said it to him; and to say truth, it is not easy, when such a matter passed between two, to make it appear from which of them it first moved and began.
It is a way that some men have, to glance and dart at others, by justifying themselves by negatives; as to say, This I do not: as Tigellinus did towards Burrhus, "se non diversas spes, sed incolumitatem iraperatoris simpliciter spectare."
Some have in readiness so many tales and stories, as there is nothing they would insinuate, but they can wrap it into a tale; which serveth both to keep themselves more in guard, and to make others carry it with more pleasure.
It is a good point of cunning, for a man to shape the answer he would have in his own words and propositions; for it makes the other party slick the less.
It is strange how long some men will lie in wait to speak somewhat they desire to say; and how far about they will fetch, and how many other matters they will beat over to come near it; it is a thing of great patience, but yet of much use.
A sudden, bold, and unexpected question, doth many times surprise a man, and lay him open. Like to him, that having changed his name, and walking in Paul's, another suddenly came behind him, and called him by his true name, whereat straiglitways he looked back.
But these small wares and petty points of cunning are infinite, and it were a good deed to make a list of them; for that nothing doth more hurt in a state, than that cunning men pass for wise.
But certainly some there are that know the resorts and falls of business, that cannot sink into the main of it; like a house that hath convenient stairs and entries, but never a fair room. Therefore you shall see them find out pretty looses in the conclusion, but are no ways able to examine or debate matters. And yet commonly they take advantage of their inability, and would be thought wits of direction. Some build rather upon the abusing of others, and, as we now say, putting tricks upon them, than upon soundness of their own proceedings. But Solomon saitli, "Prudens advertit ad gressus suos: slullus divertit ad dolos."
XXIII. OF WISDOM FOR A KAN'S SELF.
An ant is a wise creature for itself: but it is a shrewd thing in an orchard or garden. And certainly men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between self-love and society; and be so true to thyself, as thou be not false to others; especially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, Himself. It is right earth. For that only stands fast upon his own centre: whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another which they benefit. The referring of all to a man's self is more tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune. But it is a desperate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic. For whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crookcth them to his own ends: which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master or state. Therefore let princes or states choose such servants as have not this mark; except they mean their service should be made but the accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all proportion is lost: it were disproportion enough for the servant's good to be preferred before the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall carry things against a great good of the master's. And yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants; which set a bias upon their bowl of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs. And for the most part, the good such servants receive, is after the model of their own fortune; but the hurt they sell for that good, isafier the model of their master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, and it were but to roast their eggs: and ret these men many times hold credit with their masters, because their study is but to please them, and profit themselves: and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.
Wisdom for a man's 6elf is in many branches thereof a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger, who digged and made room for him. It is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which, as Cicero Bays of Pompey, are " sui amantes sine rivali," are many times unfortunate. And whereas they have all their time sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they thought by their selfwisdom to have pinioned.
XXIV. OF INNOVATIONS.
As the births of living creatures at first are ill shapen; so are all innovations, which are the births of time. Yet notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family, are commonly more worthy than most that succeed; so the first precedent, if it be good, is seldom attained by imitation. For ill, to man's nature, as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance; but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator: and if time of course alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end? It is true, that what is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet at least it is fit. And those things which have long gone together, are, as it were, confederate within themselves: whereas new things piece not so well; but though they help by their utility, yet they trouble by their inconformity. Besides, they are like strangers, more admired, and less favoured. All this is true if time stood still; which contrariwise moveth so round, that a froward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as an innovation; and they that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new. It were good, therefore, that men in their innovations would follow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly and by degrees scarce to be perceived: for otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for; and ever it mends some, and impairs others: and he that is holpen takes it for a fortune, and thanks the time; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. It is good also not to try experiments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident; and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change; and not the desire of change that pretendeth the reformation. And lastly, that the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a suspect; and, as the Scripture saith, "that we make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk in it."
XXV. OF DESPATCH.
Affected despatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be. It is like that which the physicians call predigestion, or hasty digestion, which is sure to fill the body full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases. Therefore measure not despatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business. And as in races, it is not the large stride, or high lift, that makes the speed; so in business, the keeping close to the matter, and not taking of it too much at once, procureth despatch. It is the care of some, only to come off speedily for the time; or to contrive some false periods of business, because they may seem men of despatch. But it is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, anether by cutting off: and business so bandied at several sittings or meetings, goeth commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise man that had it for a by-word, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, " Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner."
On the other side, true despatch is a rich thing. For time is the measure of business, as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand, where there is small despatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of small despatch: "Mi venga la muerte de Spagna;" Let my death come from Spain; for then it will be sure to,be long in coming.
Give good hearing to those that give the first information in businessj and rather direct them in the beginning, than interrupt them in the continuance of their speeches: for he that is put out of his own order, will go forward and backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course. But sometimes it is seen, that the moderator ia more troublesome than the actor.
Iterations are commonly loss of time: but there is no such gain of time, as to iterate often the state of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit for despatch, as a robe or mantle with a long train is for race. Prefaces, and passages, and excusations, and other speeches of reference to the person; are great wastes of time; and though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are braven-. Yet beware of being too material, when there is any impediment or obstruction in men's wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever requireth preface of speech; like a fomentation to make the unguent enter.
Above all things, order and distribution, and singling out of parts, is the life of despatch: so as the distribution be not too subtile; for he that doth not divide will never enter well into business; and he that divideth too much, will never come out of it clearly. To choose time, is to save time; and unseasonable motion is but beating the air. There be three parts of business; the preparation, the debate or examination, and the perfection. Whereof, if you look for despatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing, doth for the most part facilitate despatch : for though it .should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite; as ashes are more generative than dust.
XXVI. OF SEEMING WISE.
It hath been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are. But howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man. For as the apostle saith of godliness, "having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof;" so certainly there are in point of wisdom and sufficiency that to do nothing or little very solemnly; "magno conatu nugas." It is a ridiculous thing,
and fit for a satire to persons of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and what prospectives to make superficies to seem body that hath depth and bulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they will not show their wares but by a dark light; and seem always to keep back somewhat; and when they know within themselves they speak of that they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of that which they may not well speak. Some help themselves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered him, he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the other down to his chin: " respondes, altero ad frontem snblato, altero ad mentum depresso supercilio, crndelitatem tibi non placere." Some think to bear it by speaking a great word, and being peremptory; and go on, and take by admittance that which they cannot make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem to despise or make light of it as impertinent or curious; and so would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly by amusing men with a subtilly blanch the matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, " hominem delirum, qui verbonim minutiis rerum frangit pondera." Of which kind also, Plato in his "Protagoras" bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him make a speech that consisteth of distinctions from the beginning to the end. Generally such men in all deliberations find ease to be of the negative side, and affect a credit to object and foretell difficulties: for when propositions are denied, there is an end of them; but if they be allowed, it requireth a new work: which false point of wisdom is the bane of business. To conclude, there is no decaying merchant, or inward beggar, hath so many tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth, as these empty persons have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get opinion; but let no man choose them for employment, for certainly you were better take for business a man somewhat absurd, than over formal.
XXVII. OF FRIENDSHIP.
It had been hard for him that spake it to have put more truth and untruth together, in few words, than in that speech; "Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast, or a god." For it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred, and aversation towards society, in any men, hath somewhat of the savage beast: but it is most untrue, that it should have any character at all of the divine nature, except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequester a man's self for a higher conversation: such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen; as Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits, and holy fathers of the church. But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces