Page:Plutarch - Moralia, translator Holland, 1911.djvu/434

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412
Plutarch's Morals

horrible monster, whom we call an usurer, describing him in his colours, with all his practices and passions. Which done, he sheweth the source of borrowing money upon interest, and the way to stop the same; he directeth his pen particularly first unto the poor, giving them a goodly lesson, and then unto the richer sort, teaching the one as well as the other how they are to demean and carry themselves, that they be not exposed to the clutches of usurers. And for a conclusion, he exhorteth them to behold the example of certain philosophers by name, who chose rather to abandon and forsake all their goods than to undo themselves in the possession and holding thereof.]

Plato, in his books of Laws, permitteth not one neighbour to make bold with another's water, before he have digged and sunk a pit so deep in his own ground that he is come to a vein of clay or potter's earth; until (I say) he have sounded thoroughly and found that the plot of ground is not apt to engender water, or yield a spring [for the said potter's clay being by nature fatty, solid and strong, retaineth that moisture which it hath once received, and will not let it soak or pass through]; but allowed they are, and ought to furnish themselves with water from others, when they have no means to find any of their own, forasmuch as the law intendeth to provide for men's necessity, and not to favour their idleness; even so there ought to be an ordinance and act as touching money; That it might not be lawful for those to borrow upon usury, nor to go into other men's purses (as it were) to draw water at their wells or pits, before they have cast about all means at home, searched every way, and gathered (as it were) from every gutter and spring, trying and assaying how to draw and come by that which may serve their own turns, and supply their present necessities. But now it falleth out contrariwise, that many there be who to furnish their foolish and riotous expenses, or else to accomplish their superfluous and chargeable delights, never serve their own turns, nor make use of those things which they have, but are ready to seek unto others, even to their great cost, though they stand in no need at all: for an undoubted and certain proof hereof, mark how usurers do not ordinarily put forth their money unto those who are in necessity and distress, but to such as be desirous to purchase and get that which is superfluous, and whereof they stand not in need; insomuch as that which is credited out and delivered unto him that borroweth, is a good proof and sufficient testimony that he hath somewhat to take to of his own; whereas indeed he ought (since he hath wherewith) to look unto it that he take not upon interest, and contrariwise, not to be credited