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It is better to sound a person with whom one deals afar off, than to fall upon the point at first, except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with men in appetite, than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start of first performance is all: which a man cannot reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such, which must go before; or else a man can persuade the other party, that he shall still need him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext. If you would work any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends, to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negociations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.
XLVIII. OF FOLLOWERS AND FRIENDS.
Costly followers are not to be liked; lest while a man maketh his train longer, he make his wings shorter. I reckon to be costly, not them alone
which charge the purse, but which are wearisome and importune in suits. Ordinary followers ought to challenge no higher conditions than countenance, recommendation, and protection from wrongs. Factious followers are worse to be liked, which follow not upon affection to him with whom they range themselves, but upon discontentment conceived against some other; whereupon commonly ensueth that ill intelligence, that we many times see between great personages. Likewise glorious followers, who make themselves as trumpets of the commendation of those they follow, are full of inconvenience, for they taint business through want of secrecy; and they export honour from a man, and make him a return in envy. There is a kind of followers, likewise, which are dangerous, being indeed espials; which inquire the secrets of the house, and bear tales of them to others; yet such men, many times, are in great favour; for they are officious, and commonly exchange tales. The following by certain estates of men, answerable to that which a great person himself professeth, (as of soldiers to him that hath been employed in the wars, and the like,) hath ever been a thing civil, and well taken even in monarchies, so it be without too much pomp or popularity but the most honourable kind of following, is to be followed as one that apprehendeth to advance virtue and desert in all sorts of persons; and yet, where there is no eminent odds in sufficiency, it is better to take with the more passable, than with the more able; and besides, to speak truth in base
times, active men are of more use than virtuous.
is true, that in government, it is good to use men of one rank equally: for to countenance some extraordinarily, is to make them insolent, and the rest discontent; because they may claim a due: but contrariwise in favour, to use men with much difference and election is good; for it maketh the persons preferred more thankful, and the rest more officious: because all is of favour. It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first; because one cannot hold out that proportion. To be governed (as we call it,) by one, is not safe; for it shews softness, and gives a freedom to scandal and disreputation; for those that would not censure, or speak ill of a man immediately, will talk more boldly of those that are so great with them, and thereby wound their honour; yet to be distracted with many, is worse; for it makes men to be of the last impression, and full of change. To take advice of some few friends is ever honourable; for lookers-on many times see more than gamesters; and the vale best discovereth the hill. There is little friendship in the world, and least of all between equals, which was wont to be magnified. That that is, is between superior and inferior, whose fortunes may compre
hend the one the other.
XLIX. OF SUITORS.
Many ill matters and projects are undertaken; and private suits do putrefy the public good. Many good matters are undertaken with bad minds; I
mean not only corrupt minds, but crafty minds; that intend not performance. Some embrace suits which never mean to deal effectually in them; but if they see there may be life in the matter, by some other mean, they will be content to win a thank, or take a second reward, or, at least, to make use in the mean time of the suitor's hopes. Some take hold of suits only for an occasion to cross some other, or to make an information, whereof they could not otherwise have apt pretext, without care what become of the suit when that turn is served; or, generally, to make other men's business a kind of entertainment to bring in their own nay, some undertake suits with a full purpose to let them fall; to the end to gratify the adverse party, or competitor. Surely there is in some sort a right in every suit; either a right of equity, if it be a suit of controversy, or a right of desert if it be a suit of petition. If affection lead a man to favour the wrong side in justice, let him rather use his countenance to compound the matter than to carry it. If affection lead a man to favour the less worthy in desert, let him do it without depraving or disabling the better deserver. In suits which a man doth not well understand, it is good to refer them to some friend of trust and judgment, that may report whether he may deal in them with honour: but let him choose well his referendaries, for else he may be led by the nose. Suitors are so distasted with delays and abuses, that plain dealing in denying to deal in suits at first, and reporting the success barely, and in challenging no
more thanks than one hath deserved, is grown not only honourable but also gracious. In suits of favour, the first coming ought to take little place; so far forth consideration may be had of his trust, that if intelligence of the matter could not otherwise have been had but by him, advantage be not taken of the note, but the party left to his other means; and in some sort recompensed for his discovery. To be ignorant of the value of a suit, is simplicity; as well as to be ignorant of the right thereof, is want of conscience. Secrecy in suits is a great mean of obtaining; for voicing them to be in forwardness may discourage some kind of suitors; but doth quicken and awake others: but timing of the suit is the principal; timing I say, not only in respect of the person that should grant it, but in respect of those which are like to cross it. Let a man, in the choice of his mean, rather choose the fittest mean, than the greatest mean; and rather them that deal in certain things, than those that are general. The reparation of a denial is sometimes equal to the first grant, if a man shew himself neither dejected nor discontented. Iniquum petas, ut æquum feras," is a good rule, where a man hath strength of favour: but otherwise; a man were better rise in his suit; for he that would have ventured at first to have lost the suitor, will not, in the conclusion, lose both the suitor and his own former favour. Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great person, as his letter; and yet, if it be not in a good cause, it is so much out of his reputation. There are no worse instruments than