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XXV.-OF DISPATCH. (1612.) ArFECTED Dispatch" is one of the most dangerous thing to business that can be : it is like that which the phys: cians call predigestion, or hasty digestion, which is sure ti fill the body full of crudities, 2 and secret seeds of diseases therefore measure not Dispatch 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 th speed; so in business, the keeping close to the matter and not taking of it too much at once, procureth Dispatch It is the care of some, only to come off speedily for the time,4 or to contrive some false periods of business, because they may seem men of Dispatch : but it is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, 6 another by cutting off; and business so handled at several sittings, or meet ings, 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 Dispatch is a rich thing ; for time is the measure of business, 8 as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand! where there is small Dispatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of small Dispatch : '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 business, 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 10 his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course; but sometimes it is seen that the Moderatorll is more troublesome than the Actor. Iterations 12
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 13 speeches are as fit for Dispatch as a robe, or mantle, with a long train, is for a race. Prefaces, and passages, 14 and excusations, 15 and other speeches of reference to the person, are great wastes of time; and though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are bravery.16 Yet beware of being too material when there is any impediment, or obstruction in men's wills ; 17 for pre-occupation of mind ever requireth preface of speech, like a fomentation to make the unguent 18 enter.
Above all things, order and distribution, and singling out of parts, is the life of Dispatch ; so as the distribution be not too subtile : 19 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 an unseasonable motion 20 is but beating the air. There be three parts of business :
reparation; the debate, or examination; and the perfection. Whereof, if you look for Dispatch, 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, 21 doth for the most part facilitate Dispatch ; for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction 22 than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.
; one itting meet
NOTES ON ESSAY XXV. 1. •Affected Dispatch'—i.e. a great desire to make haste. Affected
is from the verb to affect, which means to wish for, aim at, seek after. See note 4, Essay I.
Bacon's meaning coincides with that of the proverb, ‘More
haste, less speed.' 2. crudities '—undigested food; food not brought by the stomach
into a proper form for giving nourishment. 3. lift'—the lifting of the feet in walking or running. 4. 'for the time'-as regards the time, i.e. only to have the business over quickly
; not to do it well, but to get rid of it as soon as possible.
there is e of the
5. contrive some false periods of business '—pretend the busi
ness is done when really it is not done. 6. contracting '-compressing; keeping to the point; prevent
ing the business from straying off from the real matter at issue. To break off a matter before it is really finished is designated by Bacon 'cutting off;' and he says that business so treated cannot but be delayed, because time is wasted in
resuming it at the next meeting or sitting. 7. In his Apophthegms Bacon says: Sir Amyas Paulet, when he
saw too much haste made in any matter, was wont to say, “Stay a while that we may make an end the sooner.
Sir Aymas Paulet was Queen Elizabeth's ambassador at the court of France; with him Bacon was placed in 1576 by
his father. 8. time is the measure of business '-it is to business just what
money is to trade-the standard by which it is measured. 9. at a dear hand'-expensively, at a high price. Cf. the ex
pressions second-hand, on hand. 10. waits upon '-attends upon, waits for (while he is trying to
recollect what your interruption has driven from his
memory). II. ·Moderator '--examiner, questioner; or, the one who presides
at an examination. The word is still used in this sense at the universities, and at Oxford one of the public examinations is called Moderations.
The word Actor is also a term of university origin for examinee—the one who is performing his 'act' or exercise
before taking his degree. 12. iterations '-repeatings; saying the same thing over and over
again. We commonly intensify the word by a prefix-reiteration.
Bacon says that these repetitions are commonly a waste of time, but that it is a great gain of time to reiterate continually what is the precise point under consideration, so as to
check rambling and impertinent speeches. 13. curious '-elaborate; carefully designed not to throw light
upon the matter in hand, but to draw attention to their own
cleverness. 14. passages '- perhaps = quotations, anecdotes ; or, irrelevant
passages introduced in passing from one part of a subject to
another. 15. excusations'-apologies, personal explanations. 16. bravery'-bragging, ostentation. 17. Yet carefully avoid coming bluntly to the point when you have
to deal with prejudice ( pre-occupation') in your hearers, and they are disposed to resent your words; in such a case an
irrelevant preamble is sometimes useful. 18. unguent'-ointment.
19. subtile':-intricate. Method and arrangement are helps; but
when applied in excess they become a hindrance. *unseasonable motion '-moving in a matter at an unsuitable
time, which can do no good, and is merely waste trouble. 21. somewhat conceived in writing'-a scheme of the business
(or paper of agenda) previously prepared. 22. pregnant of direction '-suggestive of the best course to adopt.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY XXV.
I. Dispatch in business must be measured by the real and ultimate
saving of time, not by the immediate saving. II. The means for securing dispatch are
1. Patience at the outset.
divergence may conciliate opposition.
XXVI.—OF SEEMING WISE. (1612.) 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 ;l for as the Apostle saith of godliness, ' Having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof;'2 so certainly there are, in points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do nothing or little very solemnly; 'magno conatu nugas.'4
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 almost 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.8 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 sublato, altero ad mentum depresso supercilio; crudelitatem tibi non placere.'9 Some think to bear it 10 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 :11 and so would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the matter ;12 of whom A. Gellius saith, 'Hominem delirum, qui verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera.'13 Of which kind 14 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 15 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, 16 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 ; 17 but let no man choose them for employment; for certainly, you were better take for business a man somewhat absurd than over-formal. 18
NOTES ON ESSAY XXVI. 1. "between man and man'-with to individual men. 2. 2.Tim. iii, 5. 3. there are '-i.e. there are some men who, when their profes