Essays upon several projects: or, effectual ways for advancing the interest of the nation.:
Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731.
Page  31


MAN is the worst of all God's Creatures to shift for himself; no other Animal is ever starv'd to death; Nature without, has provided them both Food and Cloaths; and Nature within, has plac'd an Instinct that never fails to direct them to pro|per means for a supply; but Man must either Work or Starve, Slave or Dye; he has indeed Reason given him to direct him, and few who follow the Dictates of that Reason come to such unhappy Exigencies; but when by the Errors of a Man's Youth he has reduc'd himself to such a degree of Distress, as to be abso|lutely without Three things, Money, Friends, and Health, he Dies in a Ditch, or in some worse place, an Hospital.

Page  32 Ten thousand ways there are to bring a Man to this, and but very few to bring him out again.

Death is the universal Deliverer, and therefore some who want Courage to bear what they see before 'em, Hang themselves for fear; for certainly Self|destruction is the effect of Cowardice in the highest extream.

Others break the Bounds of Laws to satisfy that general Law of Nature, and turn open Thieves, House-breakers, Highway-men, Clippers, Coiners, &c. till they run the length of the Gallows, and get a Deliverance the nearest way at St. Tyburn.

Others being masters of more Cun|ning than their Neighbours, turn their Thoughts to Private Methods of Trick and Cheat, a Modern way of Thieve|ing, every jot as Criminal, and in some degree worse than the other, by which honest men are gull'd Page  33 with fair pretences to part from their Money, and then left to take their Course with the Author, who sculks behind the curtain of a Protection, or in the Mint or Friars, and bids defi|ance as well to Honesty as the Law.

Others yet urg'd by the same ne|cessity, turn their thoughts to Honest Invention, founded upon the Plat|form of Ingenuity and Integrity.

These two last sorts are those we call Projectors; and as there was always more Geese than Swans, the number of the latter are very inconsiderable in comparison of the former; and as the greater number denominates the less, the just Contempt we have of the former sort, bespatters the other, who like Cuckolds bear the reproach of other Peoples Crimes.

A meer Projector then is a Con|temptible thing, driven by his own desperate Fortune to such a Streight, Page  34 that he must be deliver'd by a Mira|cle, or Starve; and when he has beat his Brains for some such Miracle in vain, he finds no remedy but to paint up some Bauble or other, as Players make Puppets talk big, to show like a strange thing, and then cry it up for a New Invention, gets a Patent for it, divides it into Shares, and they must be Sold; ways and means are not wanting to Swell the new Whim to a vast Magnitude; Thousands, and Hundreds of thousands are the least of his discourse, and sometimes Mil|lions; till the Ambition of some ho|nest Coxcomb is wheedl'd to part with his Money for it, and then

—Nascitur ridiculus mus.
the Adventurer is left to carry on the Project, and the Projector laughs at him. The Diver shall walk at the Page  35 bottom of the Thames; the Saltpeter-Maker shall Build Tom T—ds Pond into Houses; the Engineers Build Mo|dels and Windmills to draw Water, till Funds are rais'd to carry it on, by Men who have more Money than Brains, and then good night Patent and Invention; the Projector has done his business, and is gone.

But the Honest Projector is he, who having by fair and plain principles of Sense, Honesty, and Ingenuity, brought any Contrivance to a suitable Perfe|ction, makes out what he pretends to, picks no body's pocket, puts his Pro|ject in Execution, and contents him|self with the real Produce, as the pro|fit of his Invention.