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The Grumbling Hive

By Bernard Mandeville

Edited by Jack Lynch

The text is transcribed from the 1705 edition of The Grumbling Hive. A few short passages that are illegible in that edition are supplied from The Fable of the Bees (London, 1714). Original URL: , that text is annotated here by colouring and type setting words (see table right).


Grumbling Hive:



Turn'd HONEST.


Colour Marking On

wicked "vice", "vicious", and words used as variations for them,
Avarice words denoting vices,
raising Feuds words denoting vicious techniques,
are red


Wealth words denoting public benefits are green
Honesty words denoting virtues are maroon
Fault my comments (about me)  are blue
Remark G: some relevant comments by Mandeville and other sources: black
underlined links



  A Spacious Hive well stock'd with Bees,    
  That lived in Luxury and Ease;

Public Benefits marked green (when Colours On)

  And yet as fam'd for Laws and Arms,
  As yielding large and early Swarms;
5 Was counted the great Nursery
  Of Sciences and Industry.
  No Bees had better Government,
  More Fickleness, or less Content. Vices marked red, Virtues brown (when Colours On); Webster Dictionary: Fickle: marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness  
  They were not Slaves to Tyranny,
10 Nor ruled by wild Democracy;    
  But Kings, that could not wrong, because Such laws were put in place in the Glorious Revolution, when anti-catholic and business circles invited Stadhouder William of The Netherlands to the English throne.  


  Their Power was circumscrib'd by Laws.  
  These Insects lived like Men, and all    
  Our Actions they perform'd in small:    
15 They did whatever's done in Town,    
  And what belongs to Sword, or Gown:    
  Tho' th'Artful Works, by nimble Slight;    
  Of minute Limbs, 'scaped Human Sight    
  Yet we've no Engines; Labourers,    
20 Ships, Castles, Arms, Artificers,    
  Craft, Science, Shop, or Instrument,    
  But they had an Equivalent:    
  Which, since their Language is unknown,    
  Must be call'd, as we do our own.    
25 As grant, that among other Things    
  They wanted Dice, yet they had Kings;    
  And those had Guards; from whence we may    
  Justly conclude, they had some Play;    
  Unless a Regiment be shewn    
30 Of Soldiers, that make use of none.    
  Vast Numbers thronged the fruitful Hive;    
  Yet those vast Numbers made 'em thrive;    
  Millions endeavouring to supply    
  Each other's Lust and Vanity; Webster Dictionary: Lust 1 obsolete a : pleasure, delight b : personal inclination : wish 2 : usually intense or unbridled sexual desire : lasciviousness 3 a : an intense longing : craving b : enthusiasm, eagerness  
35 Whilst other Millions were employ'd,
  To see their Handy-works destroy'd; consumed  
  They furnish'd half the Universe;    
  Yet had more Work than Labourers.    
  Some with vast Stocks, and little Pains    
40 Jump'd into Business of great Gains;    
  And some were damn'd to Sythes and Spades, Keeping the poor in a pitiful state is at first sight an obvious vice and a public benefit (more). But Mandeville stops short of leading us all through this: since Pity is a passion and hence surely not a virtue and in quite some circumstances a vice, nobody's ensuing Pity is relevant to calling something a vice  (a nasty problem for identifying actions as vices: details)  
  And all those hard laborious Trades;  
  Where willing Wretches daily sweat,  
  And wear out Strength and Limbs to eat:  
45 Whilst others follow'd Mysteries,  
  To which few Folks bind Prentices;    
  That want no Stock, but that of Brass,    
  And may set up without a Cross;    
  As Sharpers, Parasites, Pimps, Players,    
50 Pick-Pockets, Coiners, Quacks, Sooth-Sayers,    
  And all those, that, in Enmity    
  With down-right Working, cunningly    
  Convert to their own Use the Labour    
  Of their good-natur'd heedless Neighbour: Labour: that is the money their neighbours got by labouring  
55 These were called Knaves; but, bar the Name,    
  The grave Industrious were the Same.    
  All Trades and Places knew some Cheat,    
  No Calling was without Deceit.    
  The Lawyers, of whose Art the Basis    
60 Was raising Feuds and splitting Cases,    
  Opposed all Registers, that Cheats    
  Might make more Work with dipt Estates;    
  As were't unlawful, that one's own,    
  Without a Law-Suit, should be known.    
65 They kept off Hearings wilfully,    
  To finger the retaining Fee;    
  And to defend a wicked Cause,    
  Examin'd and survey'd the Laws;    
  As Burglars Shops and Houses do;    
70 To find out where they'd best break through.    
  Physicians valued Fame and Wealth    
  Above the drooping Patient's Health,    
  Or their own Skill: The greatest Part    
  Study'd, instead of Rules of Art,    
75 Grave pensive Looks, and dull Behaviour;    
  To gain th'Apothecary's Favour,    
  The Praise of Mid wives, Priests and all,    
  That served at Birth, or Funeral;    
  To bear with th'ever-talking Tribe,    
80 And hear my Lady's Aunt prescribe;    
  With formal Smile, and kind How d'ye,    
  To fawn on all the Family;    
  And, which of all the greatest Curse is,    
  T'endure th'Impertinence of Nurses.    
85 Among the many Priests of Jove,    
  Hir'd to draw Blessings from Above,    
  Some few were learn'd and eloquent,    
  But Thousands hot and ignorant:    
  Yet all past Muster, that could hide    
90 Their Sloth, Lust, Avarice and Pride;    
  For which, they were as famed, as Taylors    
  For Cabbage; or for Brandy, Sailors:    
  Some meagre look'd, and meanly clad    
  Would mystically pray for Bread,    
95 Meaning by that an ample Store,    
  Yet lit'rally receiv'd no more;    
  And, whilst these holy Drudges starv'd,    
  Some lazy Ones, for which they serv'd,    
  Indulg'd their Ease, with all the Graces    
100 Of Health and Plenty in their Faces.    
  The Soldiers, that were forced to fight,    
  If they survived, got Honour by't; Remark C (The Soldiers, that were forced ...): Honour is the good opinion of others, which is counted more or less substantial the more or less noise or bustle there is made about the demonstration of it. The man forced to go into war by judicial sentence had no choice to make, but is all the same praised for his braveness. The good and evil of honour and dishonour are imaginary but lead to the real passions of Pride and Shame (illustrated by the vicissitudes of sexual shame, counterfeit admiration and counterfeit modesty).  
  Tho' some, that shunn'd the bloody Fray,
  Had Limbs shot off, that ran away:
105 Some valiant Gen'rals fought the Foe;
  Others took Bribes to let them go:
  Some ventur'd always, where 'twas warm;    
  Lost now a Leg, and then an Arm;    
  Till quite disabled, and put by,    
110 They lived on half their Salary;    
  Whilst others never came in Play,    
  And staid at Home for Double Pay.    
  Their Kings were serv'd; but Knavishly    
  Cheated by their own Ministry;    
115 Many, that for their Welfare slaved,    
  Robbing the very Crown they saved:    
  Pensions were small, and they lived high,    
  Yet boasted of their Honesty.

Webster Dictionary: Honesty: Date: 14th century, 1 obsolete : chastity 2 a : fairness and straightforwardness of conduct b : adherence to the facts : sincerity 3 : any of a genus (Lunaria) of European herbs of the mustard family with toothed leaves and flat disk-shaped siliques synonyms honesty, honour, integrity, probity mean uprightness of character or action. honesty implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. honour suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one's profession, calling, or position. integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. probity implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.

  Calling, whene'er they strain'd their Right,
120 The slipp'ry Trick a Perquisite;
  And, when Folks understood their Cant,
  They chang'd that for Emolument;
  Unwilling to be short, or plain,
  In any thing concerning Gain:
125 For there was not a Bee, but would
  Get more, I won't say, than he should;    
  But than he dared to let them know,    
  That pay'd for't; as your Gamesters do,    
  That, tho' at fair Play, ne'er will own    
130 Before the Losers what they've won.    
  But who can all their Frauds repeat!    
  The very Stuff, which in the Street    
  They sold for Dirt t'enrich the Ground,    
  Was often by the Buyers sound    
135 Sophisticated with a Quarter    
  Of Good-for-nothing, Stones and Mortar;    
  Tho' Flail had little Cause to mutter,    
  Who sold the other Salt for Butter.    
  Justice her self, famed for fair Dealing,    
140 By Blindness had not lost her Feeling;    
  Her Left Hand, which the Scales should hold,    
  Had often dropt 'em, bribed with Gold;    
  And, tho' she seem'd impartial,    
  Where Punishment was corporal,    
145 Pretended to a reg'lar Course,    
  In Murther, and all Crimes of Force;    
  Tho' some, first Pillory'd for Cheating,    
  Were hang'd in Hemp of their own beating;    
  Yet, it was thought, the Sword she bore    
150 Check'd but the Desp'rate and the Poor;    
  That, urg'd by mere Necessity,    
  Were tied up to the wretched Tree    
  For Crimes, which not deserv'd that Fate,

Being numerous is a public blessing just like property rights, so the vice of Justice to murder say, two thieves for stealing a trifle consists of reducing numbers by two for the sake of the resulting enhancement of respect for property rights, and might, all in all, everything added and subtracted left and right, be a net-benefit to the public; I am happy to leave to the experts this balanced calculation of the benefit of this vice, but I suspect myself unlikely to be impressed by the outcome.

  But to secure the Rich, and Great.  
155 Thus every Part was full of Vice, "Thus" is too quick, there is a serious problem of vice identification.  
  Yet the whole Mass a Paradice;
  Flatter'd in Peace, and fear'd in Wars
  They were th'Esteem of Foreigners,
  And lavish of their Wealth and Lives,
160 The Balance of all other Hives.
  Such were the Blessings of that State;  


  Their Crimes conspired to make 'em Great;
  And Virtue, who from Politicks
  Had learn'd a Thousand cunning Tricks,

Remark F (And Virtue, who from Politicks...): People of a nation are interconnected in complicated chains of production and consumption, buying, selling, profiting form one another. Some are virtuous, some vicious, few know much about the moral sincerity of their business relations. One understandably concentrates on earning money and on what one buys, as a result of which virtue and vice fuel each other on markets which boost the public benefit. Continued in Remark G.

165 Was, by their happy Influence,  
  Made Friends with Vice: And ever since  
  The worst of all the Multitude
  Did something for the common Good.
  This was the State's Craft, that maintain'd
170 The Whole, of which each Part complain'd:    
  This, as in Musick Harmony,    
  Made Jarrings in the Main agree;    
  Parties directly opposite    
  Assist each oth'r, as 'twere for Spight;    
175 And Temp'rance with Sobriety outlier use of Temperance and Sobriety, virtues, hence according to Mandeville's chapter Origin of Moral Virtue by definition no passions, (explanation). Virtues are elsewhere not supposed overly helpful in producing public benefits  
  Serve Drunkenness and Gluttonny.
  The Root of evil Avarice,    
  That damn'd ill-natur'd baneful Vice,    
  Was Slave to Prodigality,    
180 That Noble Sin; whilst Luxury.

Noble: satiric, inverted comma's, Sin: Christian (!) synonym to Vice, Remark K (That Noble Sin): The Avaricious miser's hoarding reduces the amount of money in circulation, hence reduces spending, production, wealth, employment. By getting rich the miser impoverishes the nation. The prodigal's borrowing compensates the miser's hoarding and thus saves the economy from decline  1) . Remark L (whilst Luxury, Employed a Million of the Poor): Neither should the nation commit avarice in relation to other nations: luxury imports provide foreigners with money to buy our exports thus boosting our production and the employment of a million of the poor. Some fear that Luxury makes us unsuitable for war. But, (1) we have, and should maintain, plenty cannon fodder ignorant of luxury among our nation's poor. (2) a true Hermitage does not weaken more than a cheap gin, and (3) we seldom see French and Spanish officers among our enemy armies, much more elegantly dined, dressed, cut and trimmed than ourselves, display any lack of bravery. Remark M (And Odious Pride a Million more): By stretching our means to display Luxury we fuel our Pride: we suggest superiority over the crowd of fellow city dwellers, most of whom, little or not at all knowing you, have your appearance as the chief clue to your standing, influence and power [but go to Amsterdam]. This Luxury spending boosts the production and employment of the nation. Remark N (Envy itself and Vanity, where Ministers of Industry): The worst of not having a thing you desire is seeing another one owning it, thus we are even willing to suffer and strain ourselves preventing others to acquire it. We love to see proud people, preferably by their own pedantry, loose the object of their pride (as in seeing a preciously dressed person fall in a mud pool). Mandeville ends Remark N with another interesting, amusing and totally irrelevant digression on sexual love, jealousy and envy and how culture domesticated those passions by introducing lies and hypocrisies called virtue, so forcefully into an "adulterated appetite", that we even frequently loose sight of our original passions at work (more).




1) A prodigal  paying  for his vice by borrowing, may indeed beneficially compensate avaricious hoarders by bringing money back in circulation, and so the vices of Avarice and Prodigality might occasionally add up to a zero public benefit at most, any imbalance to either side causing a public problem. The beneficial vice of the prodigal is to luxuriously  waste the borrowed money on, say, a man, a horse and a coach and and waste his own time as well by having himself be driven around, something the hoarder could have done, but was too avaricious for. Thus replacing the hoarder in spending, the prodigal saves business and employment from falling. Yet, another man could borrow the same money, hire the same man, buy the same horse and a plough to produce wheat with a profit, thus not merely saving business and employment from falling, but really making it rise, a true positive public benefit the prodigal could never achieve. Mandeville, no doubt like his aspired readership a man of candor and capacity, would surely be capable to eloquently unmask the borrowing frugal investor laying bare some kind of vice, after all, frugal investment is no charity, but would break his teeth on any attempt to unmask the particular vice Prodigality here. Mdv. does not consider the difference between prodigal spending, which never is a benefit and prevents a public loss at best, and the truly beneficial spending on investment and on the consumption of productive labour.  (See how Adam Smith scorns and shames the prodigals for harming the public benefit)

  Employ'd a Million of the Poor,
  And odious Pride a Million more
  Envy it self, and Vanity
  Were Ministers of Industry;
185 Their darling Folly, Fickleness
  In Diet, Furniture, and Dress,
  That strange, ridic'lous Vice, was made
  The very Wheel, that turn'd the Trade.
  Their Laws and Cloaths were equally
190 Objects of Mutability;
  For, what was well done for a Time,
  In half a Year became a Crime;
  Yet whilst they alter'd thus their Laws,
  Still finding and correcting Flaws,
195 They mended by Inconstancy
  Faults, which no Prudence could foresee.  
  Thus Vice nursed Ingenuity,  
  Which join'd with Time; and Industry      
  Had carry'd Life's Conveniencies,    
200 It's real Pleasures, Comforts, Ease,

real: not what widely is hypocritically said is pleasure. Remark O (real Pleasures, Comforts, Ease): ...the serious part of the world, and the generality of wise men that have lived ever since to this day, agree with the Stoics...that there can be no true felicity in what depends on things perishable, that peace within is the greatest blessing, and no conquest like that of our passions; that knowledge, temperance, fortitude, humility, and other embellishments of the mind are the most valuable acquisitions; that no man can be happy but he that is good; and that the virtuous are the only capable of enjoying real pleasures. I could write twice as much about the blessings of poverty as Seneca [a  Stoic] did, for the tenth part of his estate 1) , in the theory of this I am very perfect, but I am less sure about my practice, ... [in the poem]...I don't call things pleasures which men say are best, but such as they seem to be most pleased peaks among power and high rank. Is this just the awareness of the otherwise modest and frugal potentate that his office needs pomp? No! A burgomeister of Amsterdam in his plain black suit, followed perhaps by one footman, is fully as much respected and better obeyed than a Lord Mayor of London with al his splendid equipage and a great train of attendance. Where there is a real power 2)  it is ridiculous to think that any temperance or austerity of life should ever render the person in whom that power is lodged contemptible in his office, from an emperor to the beadle of a parish .All hypocrisy!... the real pleasures of all men are worldly and sensual, if we judge from their practice




  1) We fail to see Mdv. claiming that Poverty and Simple Robust "Stoic" Happiness, like water, gain value wherever they get scarce, and Mdv. does not deal here  (he does so elsewhere) with the fact that on the other hand the really poor are honest by ignorance, have no material means to spend virtuously, and hence no reason to favour some theory of virtue over another.

  2) Real power: The burgomeister of Amsterdam and his close allies, indeed most of them richer than the Mayor of London, had their capital invested in real estate, the Dutch United East India Company and - contrary to Mdv.'s idea of public benefit: a prudent gold and silver reserve. They did make sure everybody knew and feared their riches, simply a method used to advertise "real power" different from visibly surrounding yourself with luxury, and more beneficial to the growth of wealth (later that century the Dutch commercial elite nevertheless started to get a liking for luxury and this - pace Mdv - dragged the Dutch economy. See also my comments consumption versus investment and luxury and prodigality versus investment.

  To such a Height, the very Poor
  Lived better than the Rich before;
  And nothing could be added more:
  How vain is Mortals Happiness!
205 Had they but known the Bounds of Bliss;
  And, that Perfection here below
  Is more, than Gods can well bestow,
  The grumbling Brutes had been content
  With Ministers and Government.
  But they, at every ill Success,
  Like Creatures lost without Redress,
  Cursed Politicians, Armies, Fleets;
  Whilst every one cry'd, Damn the Cheats,
  And would, tho' Conscious of his own,
215 In Others barb'rously bear none. Judging others to different standards than yourself  
  One, that had got a Princely Store,    
  By cheating Master, King, and Poor,    
  Dared cry aloud; The Land must sink    
  For all its Fraud; And whom d'ye think    
220 The Sermonizing Rascal chid?    
  A Glover that sold Lamb for Kid . Fraudsters in the large chid fraudsters in the small  
  The last Thing was not done amiss,    
  Or cross'd the Publick Business;    
  But all the Rogues cry'd brazenly,    
225 Good Gods, had we but Honesty!    
  Merc'ry smiled at th'Impudence; Mercury (Hermes), Roman (Greek) god of trade and theft  
  And Others call'd it want of Sence,    
  Always to rail at what they loved:    
  But Jove, with Indignation moved, Mercury, Others and Jove: a common trick to say something sensitive about religion while not making yourself vulnerable to the accusation to affront the particular variant of Christian belief in your own vicinity. In fact, it became so usual that only dropping a name like Mercury or Jove made you suspicious among Christians. Bawling: talking nonsense  
230 At last in Anger swore, he'd rid [230]
  The bawling Hive of Fraud, and did.
  The very Moment it departs,
  And Honesty fills all their Hearts;    
  There shews 'em, like the Instructive Tree,    
235 Those Crimes, which they're ashamed to see?    
  Which now in Silence they confess,    
  By Blushing at their Uglyness;    
  Like Children, that would hide their Faults,    
  And by their Colour own their Thoughts;    
240 Imag'ning, when they're look'd upon,    
  That others see, what they have done.    
  But, Oh ye Gods! What Consternation,    
  How vast and sudden was the Alteration! Sudden Alteration: There is no mention whether Jove introduced real  virtue or the counterfeit (defined and explained in Origin of Moral Virtue), probably because, by definition, when counterfeit is perfect, the material apparitions and consequences of the two are identical (more). All dishonest skills seem to have been immediately abandoned. Jove must also have given everybody a flash "transition training" from dishonest in to honest techniques, because learning honest ways is not a mere matter of a sudden inspiration of virtue, it requires mastering formerly unknown techniques, takes time, hence is not a sudden thing (more).
Meat fell a Penny in the Pound
: At the introduction of honesty the formerly dishonest lack the money to buy meat (many similar examples will follow in the rest of the poem). And others who do suddenly not loose to cheats might to their surprise be left with more than they need buy it (resulting in net hoarding). But that is only a temporary imbalance. If  honesty takes money permanently out of circulation, this would mean honest people hoard massively. That would make money in high demand thus lower prices. Does that necessarily block the attainment of an "honest" national production large enough for Mdv.'s vast numbers to be employed and reap the public benefits of virtue? And if frugality prevails, could not the work of the nation's poor be redirected to producing, instead of luxuries, enormous amounts of simple necessities instead, enabling the nation spectacularly to multiply numbers allowing it through glorious wars to make mince meat of its neighbours?
  In half an Hour, the Nation round,
245 Meat fell a Penny in the Pound.  
  The Mask Hypocrisie's flung down,
  From the great Statesman to the Clown:
  And some, in borrow'd Looks well known,
  Appear'd like Strangers in their own.
250 The Bar was silent from that Day;  
  For now the willing Debtors pay,  
  Even what's by Creditors forgot;  
  Who quitted them, who had it not.    
  Those, that were in the Wrong, stood mute,    
255 And dropt the patch'd vexatious Suit.    
  On which, since nothing less can thrive,    
  Than Lawyers in an honest Hive,    
  All, except those, that got enough,    
  With Ink-horns by their Sides trooped off.    
260 Justice hang'd some, set others free;
  And, after Goal-delivery,    
  Her Presence be'ng no more requier'd,    
  With all her Train, and Pomp retir'd.    
  First marched 'some Smiths, with Locks and Grates,

Bad people had formerly caused public benefits. The thug who formerly broke the bakers' house, created employment by spending his booty and forcing the baker to take measures to better lock and secure his property. In the Chapter A Search into the Nature of Society: not only bad people, even bad ships did so, by boosting spending and employment on repair, maintenance and replacement much better than good ships. Now, by Jove, all these benefits are gone:  But does Mandeville see that the thug, by the act of Jove now shifting his profession to tailoring or shoe making, enables the baker to attend to his bread and invest his money in profitable business satisfying real needs? Would not such a concentration of labour on production instead of stealing from each other make a stronger nation able to sustain higher numbers enabling it to make mince meat of even stronger enemies? It is not at all by abolishing crime but by reducing investment that the Hive goes down. (see also consumption versus investment) The "bad-ship-good-commerce" argument was later amusingly used by Bastiat, reacting to the proposal of Bordeaux to not lead the first railway Paris-Madrid through town, and instead make terminals at both sides of it, because this would stimulate the commerce of the city. Bastiat proposed to follow this reasoning neatly to its very end: to build a negative railway along the entire route (none at all, that is), which would be the cheapest investment and the most beneficial to all commerce between Paris and Madrid!

265 Fetters, and Doors with Iron-Plates;  
  Next Goalers, Turnkeys, and Assistants:
  Before the Goddess, at some distance,
  Her cheif and faithful Minister  
  Squire Catch, the Laws great Finisher,  
270 Bore not th'imaginary Sword,  
  But his own Tools, an Ax and Cord;  
  Then on a Cloud the Hood-wink'd fair  
  Justice her self was push'd by Air:  
  About her Chariot, and behind,  
275 Were Sergeants, 'Bums of every kind,    
  Tip-Staffs, and all those Officers,    
  That squeese a Living out of Tears. All those previously employed to make unwilling debtors pay.  
  Tho' Physick liv'd, whilst Folks were ill,    
  None would prescribe, but Bees of Skill;    
280 Which, through the Hive dispers'd so wide,    
  That none of 'em had need to ride,    
  Waved vain Disputes; and strove to free    
  The Patients of their Misery;    
  Left Drugs in cheating Countries grown,    
285 And used the Product of their own,    
  Knowing the Gods sent no Disease    
  To Nations without remedies.    
  Their Clergy rouz'd from Laziness,    
  Laid not their Charge on Journey-Bees;    
290 But serv'd themselves, exempt from Vice,    
  The Gods with Pray'r and Sacrifice;    
  All those, that were unfit, or knew,    
  Their Service might be spared, withdrew;    
  Nor was their Business for so many,    
295 (If th'Honest stand in need of any.)    
  Few only with the High-Priest staid,    
  To whom the rest Obedience paid:    
  Himself, employ'd in holy Cares;    
  Resign'd to others State Affairs:    
300 He chased no Starv'ling from his Door,    
  Nor pinch'd the Wages of the Poor:    
  But at his House the Hungry's fed,    
  The Hireling finds unmeasur'd Bread,    
  The needy Trav'ler Board and Bed. Outlier remark, not exactly supporting the overall message: here honesty boosts the economy!  
305 Among the King's great Ministers,    
  And all th'inferiour Officers    
  The Change was great; for frugally    
  They now lived on their Salary.

Remark Q (for frugally, They now lived on their Salary): Frugality is hard to impose on people as a pure virtue. It comes spontaneously if you make them poor but that is not beneficial to the nation. Better make them rich: install equal property rights, and civilize them, which means: teach them all sorts of sophisticated vices and hypocrisy. For the Dutch, frugality is generally speaking their interest 1) , but Dutch sailors returning home are encouraged to spend years of wages in a few weeks and hurry back on board for the next trip. If you teach the simple and poor to save, they will use the balance remaining to reduce labour time, the very source of national wealth, and enjoy leisure. By frugally hoarding  money, that is, gold and silver, you reduce demand on markets, hence block the use of the fruits of the Earth and of labour, more real treasures than the gold of Brazil and the silver of Peru.




1) Mdv. does not explain the curious interest Dutch would and Londoners would not have in frugality. In fact frugality arose as a high priority protestant virtue, with the effect that money was not consumed but invested in businesses (more wages to be spent produce more goods to be sold) and thus boosted the growth of the Dutch national production and wealth (more: luxury and prodigality versus investment).

  That a poor Bee should Ten times come
310 To ask his Due, a trifling Sum,
  And by some well hir'd Clerk be made,
  To give a Crown, or ne'er be paid;
  Would now be called a down-right Cheat,
  Tho' formerly a Perquisite.
315 All Places; managed first by Three,  
  Who watch'd each other's Knavery,  
  And often for a Fellow-feeling,  
  Promoted, one anothers Stealing,  
  Are happily supply'd by one;  
320 By which some Thousands more are gone.    
  No Honour now could be content,    
  To live, and owe for what was spent.    
  Liveries in Brokers Shops are hung,    
  They part with Coaches for a Song;    
325 Sell Stately Horses by whole Sets;    
  And Country Houses to pay Debts. prices and trade volumes of luxury goods decrease  
  Vain Cost is shunn'd as much as Fraud;    
  They have no forces kept Abroad;    
  Laugh at the Esteem of Foreigners,    
330 And empty Glory got by Wars;    
  They fight but for their Country's Sake,    
  When Right or Liberty's at Stake. war spending goes down, peacefulness, maintaining right and liberty  
  Now mind the glorious Hive, and see,    
  How Honesty and Trade agree:    
335 The Shew is gone, it thins apace; Shew: show  
  And looks with quite another Face,    
  For 't was not only that they went,    
  By whom vast Sums were Yearly spent;    
  But Multitudes, that lived on them,    
340 Were daily forc'd to do the same.    
  In vain to other Trades they'd fly; employment down in branches of industry selling to the dishonest (examples follow)  
  All were o're-stocked accordingly.  
  The Price of Land, and Houses falls    
  Mirac'lous Palaces, whose Walls,    
345  Like those of Thebes, were raised by Play,    
  Are to be let; whilst the once gay,    
  Well-seated Houshould Gods would be    
  More pleased t'expire in Flames, than see;    
  The mean Inscription on the Door    
350 Smile at the lofty Ones they bore.    
  The Building Trace is quite destroy'd,    
  Artificers are not employ'd;    
  No Limner for his Art is famed;    
  Stone-cutters, Garvers are not named.    
355 Those, that remain'd, grown temp'rate, strive,    
  So how to spend; but how to live;    
  And, when they paid the Tavern Score,    
  Resolv'd to enter it no more:    
  No Vintners Jilt in all the Hive    
360 Could wear now Cloth of Gold and thrive;    
  Nor Torcol; such vast sums advance,    
  For Burgundy and Ortelans;    
  The Courtier's gone, that with his Miss    
  Supp'd at his House on Christmass Peas;    
365 Spending as much in two Hours stay,    
  As keeps a Troop of Horse a Day.    
  The Haughty Chloe; to live Great,


  Had made her Husband rob the State:

Remark T (to live Great, Had made her Husband rob the State): ...  a considerable proportion of what the prosperity of London and trade in general, and consequently the honour, strength, safety, and all the worldly interest of the nation consist in, depends entirely on the deceit and vile stratagems of women ... few of [whom] scruple to employ even the most tender minutes of wedlock to promote a sordid interest ... clothes, furniture of all sorts, equipages, jewels ... a vast article in trade ... the loss [of which] would be a greater calamity to such a nation as ours, than it is possible to conceive any other, a raging pestilence not excepted. Digression: I lay down as the first principle of all societies ... duty of every member ... to be good, virtue ought to be encouraged, vice discountenanced, the laws obeyed, and the transgressors punished ... but ... since the fall of Adam ... no society [big or small] can be raised onto such a rich and mighty kingdom, or so raised, subsist in their wealth and power for any considerable time, without the vices of man ... Now I cannot see what immorality there is in ... teaching ... the difference between such action as proceed from a victory over the passions, and those that are only the result of a conquest which one passion obtains over another: that is, between real and counterfeited virtue ... What hurt do I do man if I make him more known to himself than he was before? I write among the few that can think abstractly and have their minds elevated above the vulgar. If I have shown the way to worldly greatness, I have always without hesitation preferred the road that leads to virtue, involving breakdown of printing presses, melting the founds, burn all books in public hands except the Bible, knock down foreign trade, prohibit all commerce with strangers ... restore to the clergy, the King and the barons their ancient privileges ... build new churches and convert all the coin you have into sacred utensils.[& cet.]. The epicure might object there may be a middle ground. Mandeville then suggests by a  parable of a crypto Christian society that exactly this middle ground is the most brutally and treacherously vicious hypocrisy.

  But now she sells her Furniture,
370 Which the Indies had been ransack'd for;
  Contracts the expensive Bill of Fare,
  And wears her strong Suit a whole Year:
  The slight and fickle Age is past;
  And Cloaths, as wel as Fashions last.
375 Weavers that ioyn'd rich Silk with Plate,
  And all the Trades subordinate,
  Are gone. Still Peace and Plenty reign,
  And every thing is cheap, tho' plain;    
  Kind Nature, free from Gard'ners Force,
380 Allows all Fruits in her own Course;
  But Rarities cannot be had,
  Where Pains to get 'em are not paid.    
  As Pride and Luxury decrease,    
  So by degrees they leave the Seas,    
385 Not Merchants now; but Companies    
  Remove whole Manufacturies.    
  All Arts and Crafts neglected lie;    
  Content the Bane of Industry,    
  Makes 'em admire their homely Store,    
390 And neither seek, nor covet more.    
  So few in the vast Hive remain;    
  The Hundredth part they can't maintain    
  Against th'Insults of numerous Foes;    
  Whom yet they valiantly oppose;    
395 Till some well-fenced Retreat is found;    
  And here they die, or stand their Ground,    
  No Hireling in their Armies known;    
  But bravely fighting for their own;    
  Their Courage and Integrity    
400 At last were crown'd with Victory.    
  They triumph'd not without their Cost,    
  For many Thousand Bees were lost.    
  Hard'ned with Toils, and Exercise    
  They counted Ease it self a Vice; .  
405 Which so improv'd their Temperance,
  That to avoid Extravagance,
  They flew into a hollow tree,    
  Blest with content and Honesty.    


          The M O R A L.


  THEN leave Complaints: Fools only strive  
410 To make a Great and honest Hive.  
  T' enjoy the World's Conveniencies,           
  Be famed in War, yet live in Ease Remark Y (T' enjoy the World's Conveniencies): This moral recommendation does not extend to the poor! (continued: Some Are More Equal Than Others)  
  Without great Vices, is a vain
  Eutopia seated in the Brain.  
  Fraud, Luxury, and Pride must live; 415
  Whilst we the Benefits receive.
  Hunger's a dreadful Plague no doubt, Hunger here used as metaphor for vice  
  Yet who digests or thrives without?    
  Do we not owe the Growth of Wine    
420 To the dry, crooked, shabby Vine? The "ugly" Vine used as metaphor for benefit yielding vice  
  Which, whist its shutes neglected stood,    
  Choak'd other Plants, and ran to Wood;    
  But blest us with his Noble Fruit;    
  As soon as it was tied, and cut:    
425 So Vice is beneficial found,    
  When it's by Justice lopt and bound; Justice may be, to use Mdv.'s Remark O, very perfect in the theory of this, but how about its practise? (There are wise men, but what are their virtues?)  
  Nay, where the People would be great,  
  As necessary to the State,    
  As Hunger is to make 'em eat.    
430 Bare Virtue can't make Nations live    
  In Splendour; they, that would revive    
  A Golden Age, must be as free,    
  For Acorns, as for Honesty. Acorns is what the hungry eat when there is no decent food.