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noured and respected, if it be but for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation: for those two Felicity breedeth; the first, within a man's self, the latter in others towards him. All wise men, to de cline the envy of their own virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for so they may the better assume them: and besides, it is greatness in a man to be the care of the higher power. So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, “ You carry Cæsar and his Fortune.” So Sylla chose the name of Felix, “ Fortunate,” and not of Magnus, “ Great." And it hath been noted, that those that ascribe openly too much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfortunate. It is written, that Timotheus the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the State, of his government, often interlaced his speech, “ And in this Fortune had no part,” never prospered in any thing he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, whose Fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slide and easiness more than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's Fortune, in respect of that of Agesilaus, or Epaminondas : and that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man's self.
M ANY have made witty invectives against Usury. They say, That it is a pity that the Devil should have God's part, which is the tithe-That the Usurer is the greatest Sabbath-breaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday—That the Usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of:
All with united force combine to drive
That the Usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall; which was, “ In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread," and not“ in the sweat of another man’s”-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 a “ thing allowed on account of the hardness of the human heart:" 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 compiodities
of Usury, that the good may be either weighed out, or culled 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 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 states, 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 others 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 mer. chandising 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 slug. 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 respect 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 as 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 inconveniences 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.
To speak now of the reformation and regulation 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 reduce Usury 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 merchandize, being the most lucrative, may bear Usury at a good rate ; other contracts not so.
To serve both intentions, the way would be chiefly 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 proclaimed to be free and current; and let the State shut itself out to take any penalty for the