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Recent scholarship has often conceptualized patronage purely in terms of the hierarchical patron-client dyad, but this model has had trouble explaining how partners in these relationships could trust one another. This article examines Francis Bacon's essays and Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender to show how the recommendations of clients' peers made overcoming patrons' suspicions possible. In particular, this article focuses on classical and humanist conceptions of friendship that asserted both friends' honesty with one another and the fundamental separation of their interests. These qualities allowed clients' friends to offer well-informed and relatively objective recommendations to patrons.