Plutus seldom came among honest men. Ask why he replied that among men there are many rogues, so it is no wonder he should miss the smaller number.

Mankind has more rogues than honest people.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

One complained to Plutus that he seldom came among men of probity. “I am blind,” replied Plutus, “and as among men there is a great majority of rogues, it is no wonder that I should miss the smaller number.”


[Note: The Northcote fable is the same fable as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustrations and Application associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]


It is but too well known, that those who take the most trouble to cultivate their minds, or to practice the higher virtues, are not those best calculated to get money, nor are they the great majority of mankind. Such may have the reward of passing through life with safety, tranquillity, and competence, but riches will seldom be their lot. And whenever wealth has been in the possession of such characters, it will commonly be found to have devolved to them from others.

Therefore as men of probity are confessedly the most rare, Plutus was certainly right in saying they are the most difficult to be found, among the multitude who press hard upon him and are clamorous for his favours. J. N.

JN Fable 090

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: J. Jackson (1828)

JN Fable 090a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)