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whereas usury


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 BO,

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 moneyed 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 reglementk 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 moneyed 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 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 license 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 same; this will preserve borrowing from any general stop or dryness; this will ease infinite borrowers in the country; this will, in good part, raise the price of land, because land purchased at sixteen years' purchase will yield six in the hundred, and somewhat more, whereas this rate of interest yields but five: this by like reason will encourage and edge industrious and profitable improvements, because many will rather venture in that kind, than take five in the hundred, especially having been used to greater profit. Secondly, let there be certain persons licensed to lend to known merchants upon usury, at a higher rate, and let it be with the cautions following: let the rate be, even with the merchant himself, somewhat more easy than that he used formerly to pay; for by that means all borrowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be he merchant, or whosoever ; let it be no bank or common stock, but every man be master of his own money; not that I altogether mislike banks, but they will hardly be brooked, in regard of certain suspicions. Let the state be answered, some small matter for the license, and the rest left to the lender; for if the abatement be but small, it will no whit discourage the lender; for he, for example, that took before ten or nine in the hundred, will sooner descend to eight in the hundred, than give over his trade of usury,

The imaginary country described in Sir Thomas More's political romance of that wanne.

* Regulation.


from certain gains to gains of hazard. Let these licensed lenders be in number indefinite, but restrained to certain principal cities and towns of merchandising; for then they will be hardly able to colour other men's moneys in the country: so as the license of nine will not suck away the current rate of five ; for no man will send his moneys far off, nor put them into unknown hands.

If it be objected that this doth in a sort authorize usury, which before was in some places but permissive ; the answer is, that it is better to mitigate usury by declaration, than to suffer it to rage by connivance.


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A MAN that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have lost no time; but that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second : for there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in ages ; and yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years : as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimius Severus ; of the latter of whom it is said, “Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus plenam ;”a and yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all the list; but reposed natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business ; for the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business ; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner.

Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold, stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees ; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and that, which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse, that will not neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a

a “He passed his youth full of errors, of madness even.

• He was nephew of Louis XII. of France, and cominanded the French armies in Italy against the Spaniards. After a brilliant career, he was killed at the battle of Ravenna, in 1512.


mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compouna employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for externe accidents, because authority followeth old men, and javour and popularity youth : but, for the moral part, perhaps, youth will have the pre-eminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, “ Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,"c inferreth that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream. ; and certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth : and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes : these are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned : such as was Hermogenesd the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle, who afterwards waxed stupid : a second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which have better grace in youth than in age ; such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well, but not age : so Tully saith of Hortensius, “Idem manebat, neque idem decebat :”e the third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years can uphold ; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith, in effect, “ Ultima primis cedebant.”[



• Joel ii. 28, quoted Acts ii. 17.

d He lived in the second century after Christ, and is said to have lost his memory at the age of twenty-five.

• “He remained the same, but with the advance of years was not so becoming."

I “The close was unequal to the beginning.” This quotation is not correct; the words are—“Memorabilior prima pars vitæ quam postrema fuit,”—“The first part of his life was more distinguished than the latter."--Livy, xxxviii. ch. 53.


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VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set ; and surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate

tres; and that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect; neither is it almost seen that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue ; as if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labour to produce excellency; and therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit; and study rather behaviour, than virtue. But this holds not always : for Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward the Fourth of England, a Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophy of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and get the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favour, is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion, more than that of favour. That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express ; no, nor the first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether Apelles or Albert Durer were the more trifler; whereof the one would

: make a personage by geometrical proportions : the other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please nobody but the painter that made them : not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was ; but he must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music), and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that, if you examine them part by part, you shall find never a good ; and yet altogether do well. If it be true that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel, though persons in years seem many times moro amiable; "Pulchrorum autumnus pulcher ;"C for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth as




• By the context, he would seem to consider “great spirit” and “ virtue" as convertible terms. Edward IV., however, has no claim to be considered as a virtuous or magnanimous man, though he possessod great physical courage.

b Features. c "The autumn of the beautiful is beautiful.”

By making allowances.


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