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consequence, was designed to be of no less profit. Otherwise the exchange of other commodities for mony, would have been unequal, in giving what might produce gain for mony, which should afford none.

Such was the first institution of mony, rising by degrees to that sway that Rome it self, with its grave stately senat, would have been unsubdued, had a purchaser, of sufficient wealth, appeared before it. This moves no small wonder in me, that mony vulgarly should pass for barren and unfruitful, seeing it renders to its owner, whatever nature produces. For though of it self, or rather its matter yield nothing; yet by the artificial being it has from man, it gives profit at least equal to other productions of art, affording rent, for the use of them. Nay brings in much greater encrease, to the skilful mannager.

The mountebank in St. Austine, to raise expectation, took upon him to tell the people what was each ones wish and desire : curiosity having gathered a numerous gaping auditory, he acquits himself of his promise, saying; "They would all buy cheap, and sell dear." This assuredly is the constant intent of such as expend, to encrease mony in its use. For he that buys cheap and sells dear, in what he buys, ensures his principal with profit; so that to receive advantage for mony, without sinking the principal, is but a sequel of its being the price of wares. On this account I guess, a monyed man, is said to have a good fund, from the Latin fundus a farm, or a good stock, in token of its fruitfulness.

Of what metal the first mony was, or whether of any, I were yet to learn, had I hopes of a master to teach me. But the quality of the matter, is indifferent to the character it bears. This gives it its worth, and men may bestow it upon leather, lead, or other materials, in lieu of gold and silver.


Mony, methinks, has much of the nature of words, though not so frankly parted with. Both are mans tenants at will, both ordered to interchange and communication, words of thoughts, and mony of things; neither to be falsified, but to be directed to the end, for which they were framed, general conveniency, and improvement. By a more or less tendency to this end, the good, or bad use, of either is determined. Now to decide whether the putting out of mony at a modest rate, drive at that end, or no, who can judge better, than the whole of a nation?

But Usury intervenes. Let him who advances so bold a censure, vouchsafe to mind, how in number he's much out-voted, equalled at least in wisdom and probity by those, who teach and practice it, as lawful. These have opened the law of Nature, Scripture, and Church, yet do not find it culpable; people find conveniency in a ready circulation, mony otherwise would lie

buried with dead trade, the generality would be the worse, and no particular the better. Neither the nature of mony then, nor its final cause the publick good, do any ways oppose the putting out of mony at use, but promote it, as much as the exposing other goods, of which mony is the substitute. This might suffice to the quieting a well meaning conscience, but a further discovery of the nature of Usury is expected from me, to which now I proceed.


The original notion of Usury, with its names.


Resolving lately upon the performance of what, almost a year since, I had engaged my promise to the instances of some friends it was my chance to fall in at the Stationers, with two short Treatises of Usury; the one written by an English Knight, Sir Robert Filmer, and published by Sir Roger Twisden, with his addition of Preface; the other of a Reverend French Clergyman, Monsieur Du Tertre; I found them as opposit in the point, as if they would, even in this, have maintained the national feud, had the one known the other.

But Du Tertre's rhetorick, takes its full career against a divine of his own country, who it seems in a letter had joined with our two Knights, in upholding, that no Usury is condemned by the Law of God, but such as exacts upon the poor. Du Tertre on the contrary seems to hold forth, that all interest taken for mony put out, without sinking the principal, is Usury. Neither hits the mark of truth: the Knights fall short, and Du Tertre shoots over; to level my aim better

I begin from the name of Usury, derived from the Latin Usura. And this in property of speech imports use. So that Usury in strictness of terms, implies no more, then the use of mony, in it self unblameable. How then did so foul a vice come by so fair a name? You might as well enquire, why the furies were called Eumenides. I know in Greek its called Tox, for the resemblance paying interest has, with the grief of childbirth. In Hebrew its stiled Neshec ', the bite of a dog, in Chaldaick Cabulia, an undoing; yet by the Jews, it was also named Tarbith, an increase. Ad probri effugium, (in cap. 23. Deut.) says; à Lapide uti à Latinis, honesto Nomine vocata est Usura.

Wherefore my inference is, that the gentle name of Usury, must cover sore aggrievances, and heavy extortions, as the Greek, the Hebrew, and Chaldaick, give us to understand; but these are not to be found in our case; this therefore must be clear of Usury;

a monster detestable even to heathens, a wonder it should be so familiarly entertained, and welcomed among Christians, as is the practice of putting out mony, a token of its different nature, from what those names imply; which having premised, I shall now endeavour to dive after its origin; reason, and history, discovers it to me, for such as follows.

Upon the first imploying of mony, of which probably he had most, who had the most to sell, by changing a stock of goods into a stock of coin, some engrossing the greater share, put others in necessity of borrowing; then avarice in the lenders, produced oppressions, with other evil arts, of unlawful gain, for the use of what was, or ought to have been lent, according to the law, of natural charity.

Such was the proceeding of the wealthier Romans, with the commonalty, as is to be seen in history, to the no small disturbance of that only then infant commonwealth: let one example suffice. The horrid sight of a stout old soldier, scourged and gored with his own blood for failure of paying interest, at the time prefixed, enraged the people to a furious sedition. The like perhaps, may have passed among the Jews. We have a kind of precedent, 4 King. Chap. 4. where the widow to Elisha says: Ecce creditor venit ut collat duos filios ad serviendum sibi. « Behold the creditor is come, to take away my two sons, to serve him." Exorbitant rigour for a debt, which, considering the condition of the widow of a poor Prophet, was not probably very great.

Usages so cruel, could not but excite a horror of Usurers, even in such, as by the law of nature, governed themselves; use-mony, therefore, was by the Romans in the 12 tables stinted to 12 per cent. then to 6, after to 3; and finally in the time of Gemutius tribune, to remove all occasions of like encroachments, a prohibition of use-mony was published, in favour of the people. No less was put in execution by Agis, the Spartan, and not the Athenian General, as some have it, ordering all the accompt-books of Usurers to be burnt in the market-place; Agesilaus applauding he had never seen a nobler fire.

But the prohibition among the Romans soon grew out of date, and though renewed by Cæsar, to ingratiate himself with the com monalty yet putting out mony at use, by necessity was revived, in his successor's times, growing to the extravagant heighth of cent. per cent. if you may believe Accursius, a famous civilian, cited by Sir Roger Twisden in his Preface. As for my part, I question not, but all oppressions, exactions, and frauds, exercised in the putting out mony, were included in Usury, which may have been the cause, why in the days of old, witness Cato, thieves were condemned to the double, Usurers to the quadruple: to

which custom, peradventure, the saying of Zacheus might relate (Luke 19.) Reddo quadruplum: you may see more in Covarruvias, lib. 3. Variarum, c. 1. n. 5. of the aversion even heathens had to Usury.

This to have been the true, and sole notion, of Usury as prohibited, was Calvin's opinion, with his followers, amongst which our two knights, allowing all Usury, not rendered sinful by oppressing the poor, but against reason; it being no less Usury, to take beyond what is due from any, for the use of mony; since persons of fortune, though never so wealthy, have right to what is just. I only infer, that a commodious rate, in the common judgment of all parties, can be no usury; taking Usury, as hitherto described from its origin, and expressed by its names. I come now to its strict definition.


The definition of Usury.

Sir Robert Filmer sports in his first paragraph, teazing Dr. Fenton, and in him some others of the church of England, for their definition of Usury. I cannot excuse the Dr. of some confuseness. For where a word may signify differently, to take away equivocation, one should first distinguish, and then define. This method I shall observe with the ancient divines.

These make a three-fold division of Usury. First, it may be taken, for a gain which is usurious. Secondly, for a bargain upon such gain. Thirdly, for the intention or will of such a bargain or gain. The first is termed actual Usury. The second is Usury expressed by covenant. The third is Usury purely mental. The two latter derive their malice from the first, as being the object of both, all promises or intentions taking their qualification from the action, promised or intended; wherefore, refixing the word covenant or will, to the definition of actual Usury, all three will be defined thus:

Usury in the first acceptance, is a gain immediately for lending, or for money lent as lent. Divines generally agree in it. It is said immediately for lending or as lent. To exclude all other titles of lucre, as gratitude, friendship in the borrower, or other considerations hereafter to be specified. Gain therefore is the genus; by the rest, Usury is differenced from other acquisitions. Hence of course, follow the two other definitions, viz. the second is a covenant; the third is a will or purpose of gain purely for lending.

Sir Robert opposes thus: gain undoubtedly is a false genus,

for certainly, Usury is a sin of commission, and therefore an action of operation. So that lucre or gain, which is only a passion or product of lending, cannot be the genus of it.


Answ. How far Sir Robert's skill exceeded in law I know not, his logic certainly proves somewhat unfaithful to him. It is granted then that Usury is a sin of commission, and an action of operation, if it so please him. And so is gain for lending. Neither is gain, formally, and strictly speaking, the immediate product of lending, but of taking, and it includes active and passive; active, naming the person gaining; passive, by naming the interest gained. Gain then is an acceptance of interest; exclude the acceptance, neither lending, nor mony, nor both together, will make up gain. But not to be so scrupulous in philosophy. Grant gain to be a product of lending, it may be as well a product of selling or letting; why may not gain then be drawn into a genus, in respect of the several ways of gaining, of which gain by lending is Usury?

He presses. Lending for gain, is not lending, but letting. Besides, the gain is not for the bare act of lending, but using the thing lent, that men give Usury.

Answ. The instance being made in Dr. Fenton's words, if I may believe the knight, brings him in guilty, not only of contradiction, which Sir Robert urges upon him, but of a very gross error in morality. For if according to the Dr's. definition, Usury is a covenant of lucre for lending, and lending for lucre be letting; a covenant for letting, by consequence, is Usury. A position un

heard of.

To the difficulty. Lending for gain, is no letting, but lending; and lending and letting essentially differ, as will appear more hereafter. Lending admits of no recompence, by way of justice. Letting does, I willingly yield to the addition, that gain is not for the bare act of lending; but the lending we speak of, includes both act and thing as affected by the act of lending. For who lends, and lends nothing? By lending a thing, the use of it is given, as it is not in letting, and for what is given to require gain, is Usury.

Towards the full intelligence of the definition, it will not be amiss to open the twofold sense of the word lending, expressed in Latin by two verbs mutuare, and commodare, to lend things, not to be consumed in the use, as a horse, or house, with an obligation, that the same individually be restored is what corresponds to the Latin commodare; to lend things which are spent in the use, as corn, wine, and mony, with a tie of having as much restored, and of equal worth, though not the very self-same, is what implies the Latin mutuare.

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