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see, in languages the tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more supple to all feats of activity and motions in youth, than afterwards ; for it is true, that late learners cannot so well take the ply, except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare : but if the force of custom, simple and separate, be great, the force of custom, copulate and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater; for there example teacheth, company comforteth, emulation quickeneth, glory raiseth ; so as in such places the force of custom is in his exaltation. Certainly, the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined ; for commonwealths and good governments do nourish virtue grown, but do not much mend the seeds; but the misery is, that the most effectual means are now applied to the ends least to be desired.


It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to fortune ; favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue : but chiefly, the mould of a man's fortune is in his own bands : “ Faber quisque fortunæ suæ,

"a saith the poet; and the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man is the fortune of another; for no man prospers so suddenly as by others' errors. Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.” b

Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune ; certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name,

a “Every man is the architect of his own fortune.” Sallust, in his letters “De Republicâ Ordinandâ,” attributes these words to Appius. Claudius Cæcus, a Roman poet whose works are now lost. Lord Bacon, in the Latin translation of his Essays, which was made under his supervision, rendered the word “poet “comicus ;" by whom he probably meant Plautus, who has this line in his “Trinummus” (Act ii. sc. 2): Nam sapiens quidem pol ipsus fingit fortunam sibi,” which has the same meaning, though in somewhat different terms.

b A serpent, unless it has devoured a serpent, does not become a dragon."

di, semboltura,

,"c partly expresseth them, when there be not stondsa nor restiveness in a man's nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune; for so Livy (after he had described Cato Major in these words, “ In illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus viderotur),”e falleth upon that that he had “ versatile ingenium :"? therefore, if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of Fortune is like the milky way in the sky; which is a meeting, or knot, of a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together : so are there a number of little and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think. When they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into his other conditions, that he hath “ Poco di matto;"g and certainly, there be not two more fortunate properties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest; therefore extreme lovers of their country, or masters, were never fortunate; neither can they be ; for when a man placeth his thoughts without himself

, he goeth not his own way. A hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover; (the French hath it better, “entreprenant,” or remuant"); but the exercised fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be honoured and respected, and 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 decline 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 powers. So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, “Cæsarem

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• Or “ desenvoltura," implying readiness to adapt oneself to cire cumstances.

d Impediments, causes for hesitation. • “In that man there was such great strength of body and mind, that in whatever station he had been born, he seemed as though he should make his fortune."

"A versatile genius.” 8 " A little of the fool."

portas, et fortunam ejus.”h So Sylla chose the name of “ Felix,"i and not of “ Magnus :"k and it hath been noted, that those who 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 this speech," and in this Fortune had no part,” never prospered in anything he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slidem 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.

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 Sabbath-breaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday; that the usurer is the drore that Virgil speaketh of:

Ignavum fucos pecus a præsepibus arcent;"b that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall, which was, “in sudore vultûs tui ! comedes panem tuum ;”C not, “in sudore vultûs alieni ;” that usurers should have orange-tawnye bonnets, because they do Judaize; that it is against nature for money to beget

“Thou carriest Cæsar and his fortunes."

“The Fortunate.” He attributed his success to the intervention of Hercules, to whom he paid especial veneration.

k « The Great." ' A successful Athenian general, the son of Conon, and the friend of Plato.

m Fluency or smoothness. Lord Bacon seems to use the word in the general sense of “lending money upon interest."

b o Drive from their hives the drones, a lazy race."-Georgics, b. iv. 168.

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.”—Gen. iii. 19. d - In the sweat of the face of another."

• In the middle ages the Jews were compelled, by legal enactmerly to wear peculiar dresses and colours ; one of these was crange.



money, and the like. I say this only, that usury is cessum propter duritiem cordis :"? for since there must bo 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 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”g 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 sith 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, a' the end of the game most of the money

will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth when wealth is more equaliy 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 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 iven by young merchants upon borrowing at interest ; so as if the usurer either call in, or

{"A concession by reason of hardness of heart.” He alludes to the words in St. Matthew xix. 8. 8 See Note to Essay xix.

h Hold.

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 moneyed man in the country, that would say, " The devil take this usury, it keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and bonde.” 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.i

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 usyry, 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

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

k Regulation.

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