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