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that no man is called hard-hearted for not letting his land or his house rent-free, or for requiring to be paid for the use of his horse, or his ship, or any other kind of property.
As for the lending of money making 'fewer merchants/ and 'causing money to lie still,' it is evident that this is the very reverse of the fact; as indeed is hinted in the Essay. Great part of the trade and manufactures in every prosperous country is carried on with borrowed capital, lent by those who have not the skill and leisure to carry on such business themselves; and who, if they were prevented from thus investing their capital, would be driven either to let their 'money lie still' in a strong box, or else to engage in a business for which they were not fitted.
If I build a mill or a ship, and let it to a manufacturer or merchant, every one would allow that this is a very fair way of investing capital; quite as fair, and much wiser, than if, being ignorant of manufactures and trade, I were to set up as a manufacturer or merchant. Now if, instead of this, I lend a merchant money to buy or build a ship for himself, or advance money to the manufacturer to erect his buildings and machinery, he will probably suit himself better than if I had taken this on myself, without his experience.
No doubt, advantage is often taken of a man's extreme necessity, to demand high interest, and exact payment with rigour. But it is equally true that advantage is taken, in some crowded town, of a man's extreme need of a night's lodging. And it is but too well known, that where there is an excessive competition for land, as almost the sole mode of obtaining a subsistence, it is likely that an exorbitant rent will be asked, and that this will be exacted with unbending severity. But who would thereupon propose that the letting of land should be prohibited, or that a maximum of rent should be fixed by law? For, legislative interposition in dealings between man and man, except for the prevention of fraud, generally increases the evil it seeks to remedy. A prohibition of interest, or—which is only a minor degree of the same error—a prohibition of any beyond a certain fixed rate of interest, has an effect similar to that of a like interference between the buyers and sellers of any other commodity. If, for example, in a time of scarcity it were enacted, on the ground that cheap food is desirable, that bread and meat should not be sold beyond such and such a price, the result would be that every one would be driven—unless he would submit to be starved—to evade the law; and he would have to pay for his food more than he otherwise would, to cover (1) the cost of the contrivances for the evasion of the law, and (2) a compensation to the seller for the risk, and also for the discredit, of that evasion. Even so, a man who is in want of money, and can find no one to lend it him at legal interest, is either driven (as Bacon himself remarks), to sell his property at a ruinous loss, or else he borrows of some Jew, who contrives to evade the law; and he has to pay for that evasion. Suppose, for instance, he could borrow (if there were no usury-laws) at eight per cent., he will have to pay, perhaps, virtually, twelve per cent., because (1) he has to resort to a man who incurs disgrace by his trade, and who will require a greater profit to compensate for the discredit; and (2) he will have to receive part of his loan in goods which he does not want, at an exorbitant price, or in some other way to receive less, really, than he does nominally.
ESSAY XLIL OF YOUTH AND AGE.
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, 'Juventutem egit, erroribus, imo furoribus plenam:'' and yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the list; but reposed2 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 composition3 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 abuseth4 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 manage4 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 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,1 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 extern2 accidents, because authority followeth old men, and favour and popularity youth; but, for the moral part, perhaps, youth will have the preeminence, 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/3 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 subtle, who afterwards waxed6 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 luxurious speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of Hortensius, 'Idem manebat, neque idem decebat:" the third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract2 of years can uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, 'Ultima primis cedebant.'3
1 'His youth was not only full of errors, but of frantic p issions.'—Spartian, Vil. Sev.
* Reposed. Culm. 'With wondrous reposedness of mind, and gentle words, Reputation answered.'—Translation of Boccalini, 1626.
s Composition. Temperament. See page 332.
* Abuse. To deceive; to lead astray.
'Nor be with all those tempting words abused.'—Pope. 6 Manage. Management.
'The manage of ray state.'—Shakespere. 'Care not. Are not cautions.
1 Period. Completion; perfection. 'In light-conserving stones, the light will appear greater or lesser, until they come to their utmost period.'—Digby. * Extern. External.
'When my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart, In compliment extern, 'tis not long after, But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve, For daws to peck ut.'—Shakespere. 3 Joel ii. 28.
* Profit. To improve. 'That thy profiting may appear unto all men.'— I Tim. iv. 15. 'It is a great means of profiling yourself to copy diligently excellent designs.'—Dryden.
s Waxed. To grow; to become. 'Paul and lianiahas waxed bold.'—Ac is xiii. 46.
ANTITHETA ON YOUTH AND AGE.
'Senes sibi sapiunt magis, aliis et 'Youth is the field for the seeds of
rcipublica; minus. repentance.'
'Old men have more wisdom for themselves, and less for others, and for 'Ingenitus est juvenibus senilis auc
the public.' toritatis contemptus; ut quisque suo
'Si conspici daretur, magis deformat 'A contempt for the judgments of
amraos, quam corpora, seneutus. age is implanted in youth, in order that
1 If the mind could be an object of every one may be sentenced to learn sight, it would be seen that old age wisdom at his own risk.' deforms it more than the body.'
'Ternpus, ad qmo consilia non advo
'Senes omnia metunnt, prater Deos. catur, nee rata habet.
'Old men fear everything but the 'When Time is not called in as a
gods' counsellor, neither does it ratify the
Many readers of Aristotle's admirable description (in the Rhetoric) of the Young and the Old, (in which he gives so decided a preference to the character of the young,) forget, that he is describing the same man at different periods of life, since the old must have been young. As it is, he gives just the right view of the character of the 'natural man, ' (as the Apostle Paul expresses it,) which is, to become—on the whole,—gradually
1 'He remained the same; but the same was no longer becoming to him '— Cic. Brut. 95. 3 Tract. Course.
'My fansies all are fled, And tract of time begins to weave Grey haires upon my head.'—Lord Yaux. (This is supposed to be the original of Shakespere's grave-digger's song in Hamlet.) 3 'The last fell short of the first.'—Liey, xxxviii. 53.