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thing more of it. Fortune is said to favour fools, because they trust all to fortune. When a fool escapes any danger, or succeeds in any undertaking, it is said that fortune favours him; while a wise man is considered to prosper by his own prudence and foresight. For instance, if a fool who does not bar his door, escapes being robbed, it is ascribed to his luck; but the prudent man, having taken precautions, is not called fortunate. But a wise man is, in fact, more likely to meet with good fortune than a foolish one, because he puts himself in the way of it. If he is sending off a ship, he has a better chance of obtaining a favourable wind, because he chuses the place and beason in which such winds prevail as will be favourable to him. If the fool's ship arrives safely, it is by good luck alone; while both must be in some degree indebted to fortune for success.'
One way in which fools succeed where wise men fail is, that through ignorance of the danger, they sometimes go coolly about some hazardous business. Hence the proverb that “The fairies take care of children, drunken men, and idiots.'
A surgeon was once called in to bleed an apoplectic patient. He called the physician aside, and explained to him that in this particular subject the artery lay so unusually over the vein, that there was imminent risk of pricking it. Well, but he must be bled at all hazards; for he is sure to die without.' 'I am so nervous,' said the surgeon, that my hand would be unsteady. But I know of a barber hard by who is accustomed to bleed; and as he is ignorant of anatomy, he will go to work coolly.' The barber was summoned, and performed the operation readily and safely. When it was over, the surgeon showed him some anatomical plates, and explained to him that he had missed the artery only by a hair's breadth. He never ventured to bleed again.
One sometimes meets with an “ill-used man;' a man with whom everything goes wrong; who is always thinking how happy he should be to exchange his present wretched situation for such and such another; and when he has obtained it, finding that he is far worse off than before, and seeking a remove; and as soon as he has obtained that, discovering that his last
See Proverbs and Precepts for Copy-Pieces,
situation was just the thing for him, and was beginning to open to him a prospect of unbroken happiness, far beyond his present state, &c. To him a verse of Shakespere well applies :-
O thoughts of men accurst!
Past, and to come, seem best, things present, worst.' One is reminded of a man travelling in the African desert, surrounded by mirage, with a (seeming) lake behind him, and a lake before him, which, when he has reached, he finds to be still the same barren and scorching sand. A friend aptly remarked, This man's happiness has no present tense.'
ESSAY XLI. OF USURY.
MANY have made witty invectives against usury. They
say, that it is pity the devil should have God's part, which, is the tithe: that the usurer is the greatest Sabbatlı-breaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday; that the usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of:
Ignavum fucos pecus a præsepibus arcent;" that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall, which was, 'In sudore vultus tui comedes panem tuam," not 'In sudore vultus alieni;" that usurers should have orange-tawny bonnets, because they do judaize; that it is against nature for money to beget money; and the like. I say this only, that usury
is concessum propter duritiem cordis :'for since there must be borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of heart as' they will not lend freely, usury must be permitted. Some others have made suspicious and cunning propositions of banks, discovery of men's estates, and other inventions; but few have spoken of usury usefully. It is good to set before us the incommodities and commodities of usury, that the good may be either weighed out or culled
Usury. Interest on money (not, as now, unlawful interest). Thou oughtest, therefore, to have put my money to the exchangers, and then, at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury.'— Matt. xxv. 27. Our angles are like money put to usury; they may still thrive, though we sit still, and do nothing.' — Isaak Walton. ? It is pity. It is a pity.
* That he is mad, 'tis true; 'tis true, 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis, 'tis true.'-Shakespere. 8. They drive from the hive the lazy swarm of drones.'— Georg. iv. 168. • In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.'—Gen. iii. 19. 6. In the sweat of another's face. 8*A concession on account of hardness of heart.'-See Matt. xix. 8. ? As. That. See page 23.
* Incommodity. Inconvenience ; disadvantage. “The uncouth incommodity of my solitary life.'—Bishop Hall. What incommodity have you conceived to be in the common law.'-Spenser. • Commodities. Advantages.
'I will turn diseases to commodities.'—Shakespere.
out; and warily to provide, that, while we make forth to that which is better, we meet not with that which is worse.
The discommodities' of usury are, first, that it makes fewer merchants: for were it not for this lazy trade of usury, money would not lie still, but it would in great part be employed upon merchandising,' which is the vena porta' of wealth in a State: the second, that it makes poor merchants; for as a farmer cannot husband his ground so well if he sit at a great rent, so the merchant cannot drive his trade so well if he sit at great usury: the third is incident to the other two, and that is, the decay of customs of kings, or estates, which ebb or flow with merchandising : the fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or State into a few hands; for the usurer being at certainties, and the other at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box, and ever a State flourisheth when wealth is more equally spread: the fifth, that it beats down the price of land; for the employment of money is chiefly either merchandising, or purchasing; and usury waylays both : the sixth, that it doth dull and damp all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein money would be stirring, if it were not for this slag: the last, that it is the canker and ruin of many men's estates, which in process of time breeds a public poverty.
On the other side, the commodities of usury are, first, that howsoever usury in some respects hindereth merchandising, yet in some other it advanceth it, for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is driven by young merchants upon borrowing at interest; so aso if the usurer either call in or keep back his money, there will ensue presently a great stand of trade : the second is, that, were it not for this easy borrowing upon interest, men's necessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing,” in that® they would be forced to sell their means (be it lands or goods) far under foot,' and so, whereas usury doth but gnaw upon them, bad markets would swallow them quite up. As for mortgaging, or pawning, it will little mend the matter; for either men will not take pawns without use,' or if they do, they will look precisely for the forfeiture. I remember a cruel monied man in the country, that would say, “The devil take this usury, it keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and bonds.' The third and last is, that it is a vanity to conceive that there would be ordinary borrowing without profit, and it is impossible to conceive the number of inconveniencies that will ensue, if borrowing be cramped: therefore, to speak of the abolishing of usury is idle; all States have ever had it in one kind or rate or other-so as that opinion must be sent to Utopia.
· Discommodities. Inconveniencies. See page 355.
· Merchandizing. Trading. The Phenicians, of whose exceeding merchandizing we read so much in ancient histories, were Canaanites, whose very name sig. nifies merchants.'— Brerewood. * The great vein.
* Estates. States. See page 134. 5 Howsoever. Although. See page 2. • As. That. See page 23. 7 Undoing. See page 298.
* In that. Inasmuch as. “Things are preached not in that they are taught, but in that they are published.'—Hooker.
To speak now of the reformation and reglement of usury, how the discommodities of it may be best avoided, and the commodities retained. It appears by the balance of commodities and discommodities of usury, two things are to be reconciled; the one that the tooth of usury be grinded, that it bite not too much; the other that there be left open a means to invite monied men to lend to the merchants, for the continuing and quickening of trade. This cannot be done, except you introduce two several sorts of usury, a less and a greater; for if you
to one low rate, it will ease the common borrower, but the merchant will be to seek for money; and it is to be noted, that the trade of merchandise being the most lucrative, may bear usury at a good rate—other contracts not so.
To serve both intentions, the way would be briefly thus :that there be two rates of usury; the one free and general for all, the other under licence only to certain persons, and in certain places of merchandising. First, therefore, let usury in general be reduced to five in the hundred, and let that rate be
. Under foot. Too low. What a stupidness is it, then, that we should deject ourselves to such a sluggish, and underfoot philosophy.'— Milton, · Pawns. A pledge.
Her oath for love, her honour's pawn.'—Shakespere. 8 Use. Interest.
Reglement. Regulation. • Quicken. To give life to. 'You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.'-Ephes. ii. 1.
• Intention. Object. The principal intention (in chronic distempers) is to restore the tone of the solid parts.'-- Arbuthnot.