Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 high 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 licence, 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, and go 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 monies in the country, so as the licence of nine will not suck away the current rate of five; for no man will lend his monies far off, nor put them into unknown hands.

If it be objected, that this doth in a sort authorise 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.

<©f Woutt) ant? &&e.

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 Caesar, and Septimius Severus; of the latter of whom it is said, " He passed his Youth in errors, nay even full of madness;" and yet he was the ahlest Emperor almost of all the list. But reposed natures may do well in Youth, as it is seen in Augustus Caesar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Fois, 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, tkat will neither stop nor turn. Men of Age object too much, consult too long, adventure to» little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compound 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 extern accidents, because authority followeth Old Men, and favour 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, ,c Your Young Men shall see visions, and your Old Men shall dream dreams," 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 Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtile, 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, "He remained the same, but ihe same did not become him." 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 Affricanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, "The latter part of his life did not come up to the first."

V IRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely, virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features, 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 thisjiolds not always, for Augustus Caesar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward the Fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophi of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet 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

« PreviousContinue »