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Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform therefore, without bravery1 or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerate; but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancient time, what is best; and of the latter time, what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory; and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place; but stir not questions of jurisdiction: and rather assume thy right in silence and de facto,3 than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information, as meddlers; but except of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four; delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For


1 Bravery. Rashness.

2 Regular.

3 De facto. 4 Facility. Lack of firmness, pliability. "No man is fit to govern great societies who hesitates about disobliging the few who have access to him for the sake of the many whom he will never see. The facility of Charles was such as has perhaps never been found in any man of equal sense." Macaulay. History of England. Vol. I. Chap. II. Character of Charles II.

Governed by rules, consistent, steady.

As a matter of fact.

delays; give easy access; keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption; do not only bind thine own hands or thy servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering. For integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other. And avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. Therefore always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change; and do not think to steal1 it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward,2 and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close3 corruption. For roughness; it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility; it is worse than bribery. For bribes come but now and then; but if importunity or idle respects*

1 Steal. To conceal.

""T were good, methinks, to steal our marriage."
Shakspere. The Taming of the Shrew.

2 Inward. Intimate, confidential.


"For what is inward between us, let it pass.'
Shakspere. Love's Labour's Lost.
8 Close. Secret; of persons, secretive, sly.
"Close villain, I

Will have this secret from thy heart, or rip
Thy heart to find it."

• Respects. Considerations.

iii. 2.

v. 1.

Shakspere. Cymbeline. iii. 5.

"But the respects thereof are nice and trivial."
Shakspere. King Richard III. iii. 7.

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lead a man, he shall never be without. As Salomon saith, To respect persons is not good; for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.1 It is most true that was anciently spoken, A place sheweth the man. And it sheweth some to the better, and some to the worse. Omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset, saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, Solus imperantium, Vespasianus mutatus in melius:3 though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends. For honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and as in nature things move violently to their place and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm.5 All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly

1 Proverbs xxviii. 21. In the Advancement of Learning, II. xxiii. 6, Bacon quotes this proverb from the Vulgate, and goes right on with the distinction just made here, that facility is worse than bribery: "Qui cognoscit in judicio faciem, non bene facit; iste et pro buccella panis deseret veritatem. Here is noted, that a judge were better be a briber than a respecter of persons; for a corrupt judge offendeth not so lightly as a facile."

2 If he had not governed, all would have thought him capable of governing. Cornelii Taciti Historiarum Liber I. Caput 49.

3 Vespasian alone as emperor changed for the better. Et ambigua de Vespasiano fama solusque omnium ante se principum in melius mutatus est. Cornelii Taciti Historiarum Liber I. Caput 50. In the Advancement of Learning, II. xxii. 5, Bacon quotes Tacitus's criticism of Vespasian again, Solus Vespasianus mutatus in melius.

* Sufficiency.

De arte imperatoria, in the Latin text, that is,


5 "So that it is no marvel though the soul so placed enjoy no rest, if that principle be true, that Motus rerum est rapidus extra locem, placidus in loco." Advancement of Learning, II. x. 2.

and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them, and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, When he sits in place he is another man.


It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet worthy a wise man's consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes,1 what was the chief part of an orator? he answered, action: what next? action: what next again? action. He said it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no advantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that that part of an orator which is but superficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should be placed so high, above those other noble parts of invention, elocution, and the rest; nay almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in human nature generally more of the fool than of the wise; and therefore those faculties by which the foolish part of men's minds is taken are most potent. Wonderful like is the case of Boldness, in civil business;

1 Demosthenes, born 384 or 385, died 322 B.C., the greatest Greek orator. His best orations are the three Philippics, 351, 344, and 341 B.C., and the famous, speech, On the Crown, 330 B.C.

what first? Boldness: what second and third? Boldness. And yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts. But nevertheless it doth fascinate and bind hand and foot those that are either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, which are the greatest part; yea and prevaileth with wise men at weak times. Therefore we see it hath done wonders in popular states; but with senates and princes less; and more ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely as there are mountebanks1 for the natural body, so are there mountebanks for the politic2 body; men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out. Nay you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet3 made the people believe that he would call an hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit1 abashed, but said, If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill. So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shame

1 Mountebank. A quack doctor who mounts a bench or platform to sell his wares. Ben Jonson gives a good description of an Elizabethan mountebank in his satirical comedy, Volpone. ii. 1.

2 Politic. Political.

3 Mohammed, or Mahomet, 'the praised one,' 570-632 A.D., founder of Mohammedanism, or Islam ('surrender,' namely, to God).

4 Whit. The smallest part; a jot, tittle, or iota: often used adverbially, and generally with a negative. "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles."

II. Corinthians xi. 5.

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