The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:28 am

The Commonwealth of Oceana
by James Harrington




Table of Contents:

• Part I: The Preliminaries
• Part II: The Council of Legislators
• Part III: The Model of the Commonwealth of Oceana
• Part IV: The Corollary
• Description of Oceana
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:28 am


JAMES HARRINGTON, eldest son of Sir Sapcotes Harrington of Exton, in Rutlandshire, was born in the reign of James I, in January, 1661, five years before the death of Shakespeare. He was two or three years younger than John Milton. His great-grandfather was Sir James Harrington, who married Lucy, daughter of Sir William Sidney, lived with her to their golden wedding-day, and had eighteen children, through whom he counted himself, before his death, patriarch in a family that in his own time produced eight dukes, three marquises, seventy earls, twenty-seven viscounts, and thirty-six barons, sixteen of them all being Knights of the Garter. James Harrington's ideal of a commonwealth was the design, therefore, of a man in many ways connected with the chief nobility of England.

Sir Sapcotes Harrington married twice, and had by each of his wives two sons and two daughters. James Harrington was eldest son by the first marriage, which was to Jane, daughter of Sir William Samuel of Upton, in Northamptonshire. James Harrington's brother became a merchant; of his half-brothers, one went to sea, the other became a captain in the army.

As a child, James Harrington was studious, and so sedate that it was said playfully of him he rather kept his parents and teachers in awe than needed correction; but in after-life his quick wit made him full of playfulness in conversation. In 1629 he entered Trinity College, Oxford, as a gentleman commoner. There he had for tutor William Chillingworth, a Fellow of the college, who after conversion to the Church of Rome had reasoned his way back into Protestant opinions. Chillingworth became a famous champion of Protestantism in the question between the Churches, although many Protestants attacked him as unsound because he would not accept the Athanasian Creed and had some other reservations.

Harrington prepared himself for foreign travel by study of modern languages, but before he went abroad, and while he was still under age, his father died and he succeeded to his patrimony. The socage tenure of his estate gave him free choice of his own guardian, and he chose his mother's mother, Lady Samuel.

He then began the season of travel which usually followed studies at the university, a part of his training to which he had looked forward with especial interest. He went first to Holland, which had been in Queen Elizabeth's time the battle-ground of civil and religious liberty. Before he left England he used to say he knew of monarchy, anarchy, aristocracy, democracy, oligarchy, only as hard words to be looked for in a dictionary. But his interest in problems of government began to be awakened while he was among the Dutch. He served in the regiment of Lord Craven, and afterward in that of Sir Robert Stone; was much at The Hague; became familiar with the Court of the Prince of Orange, and with King James's daughter, the Queen of Bohemia, who, with her husband the Prince Elector, was then a fugitive to Holland. Lord Harrington, who had once acted as governor to the princess, and won her affection, was James Harrington's uncle, and she now cordially welcomed the young student of life for his uncle's sake, and for his own pleasantness of outward wit and inward gravity of thought. Harrington was taken with him by the exiled and plundered Prince Elector, when he paid a visit to the Court of Denmark, and he was intrusted afterward with the chief care of the prince's affairs in England.

From Holland, James Harrington passed through Flanders into France, and thence to Italy. When he came back to England, some courtiers who were with him in Rome told Charles I that Harrington had been too squeamish at the Pope's consecration of wax lights, in refusing to obtain a light, as others did, by kissing his Holiness's toe. The King told Harrington that he might have complied with a custom which only signified respect to a temporal prince. But his Majesty was satisfied with the reply, that having had the honor to kiss his Majesty's hand, he thought it beneath him to kiss any other prince's foot.

Of all places in Italy, Venice pleased Harrington best. He was deeply interested in the Venetian form of government, and his observations bore fruit in many suggestions for the administration of the Commonwealth of Oceana.

After his return to England, being of age, James Harrington cared actively for the interests of his younger brothers and sisters. It was he who made his brother William a merchant. William Harrington throve, and for his ingenuity in matters of construction he was afterward made one of the Fellows of the newly formed Royal Society. He took pains over the training of his sisters, making no difference between sisters and half-sisters, and treating his step-mother as a mother. He filled his home with loving-kindness, and was most liberal in giving help to friends. When he was told that he often threw away his bounty on ungrateful persons, he playfully told his advisers they were mercenary and that he saw they sold their gifts, since they expected so great a return as gratitude.

James Harrington's bent was for the study of life, and he made no active suit for court employment. But he went to court, where Charles I liked him, and admitted him as one of his privy chamber extraordinary, in which character he went with the King in his first expedition against the Scots.

Because Charles I knew him and liked him, and because he had shown himself no partisan of either side in the civil war, though he was known to be inclined, in the way of abstract opinion, toward a form of government that was not monarchy, the commissioners appointed in 1646 to bring Charles from Newcastle named Harrington as one of the King's attendants. The King was pleased, and Harrington was appointed a groom of the bedchamber at Holmby. He followed faithfully the fortunes of the fallen King, never saying even to the King himself a word in contradiction of his own principles of liberty, and finding nothing in his principles or in his temper that should prevent him from paying honor to his sovereign, and seeking to secure for him a happy issue out of his afflictions. Antony a Wood says that, "His Majesty loved Harrington's company, and, finding him to be an ingenious man, chose rather to converse with him than with others of his chamber: they had often discourses concerning government; but when they happened to talk of a commonwealth the King seemed not to endure it."

Harrington used all the influence he had with those in whose power the King was, to prevent the urging of avoidable questions that would stand in the way of such a treaty as they professed to seek during the King's imprisonment at Carisbrooke. Harrington's friendly interventions on the King's behalf before the Parliament commissioners at Newport caused him, indeed, to be suspected; and when the King was removed from Carisbrooke to Hurst Castle, Harrington was not allowed to remain in his service. But afterward, when King Charles was being taken to Windsor, Harrington got leave to bid him farewell at the door of his carriage. As he was about to kneel, the King took him by the hand and pulled him in. For a few days he was left with the King, but an oath was required of him that he would not assist in, or conceal knowledge of any attempt to procure, the King's escape. He would not take the oath; and was this time not only dismissed from the King's service but himself imprisoned, until Ireton obtained his release. Before the King's death, Harrington found his way to him again, and he was among those who were with Charles I upon the scaffold.

After the King's execution, Harrington was for some time secluded in his study. Monarchy was gone; some form of commonwealth was to be established; and he set to work upon the writing of "Oceana," calmly to show what form of government, since men were free to choose, to him seemed best.

He based his work on an opinion he had formed that the troubles of the time were not due wholly to the intemperance of faction, the misgovernment of a king, or the stubbornness of a people, but to change in the balance of property; and he laid the foundations of his commonwealth in the opinion that empire follows the balance of property. Then he showed the commonwealth of Oceana in action, with safeguards against future shiftings of that balance, and with a popular government in which all offices were filled by men chosen by ballot, who should hold office for a limited term. Thus there was to be a constant flow of new blood through the political system, and the representative was to be kept true as a reflection of the public mind.

The Commonwealth of Oceana was England. Harrington called Scotland Marpesia; and Ireland, Panopea. London he called Emporium; the Thames, Halcionia; Westminster, Hiera; Westminster Hall, Pantheon. The Palace of St. James was Alma; Hampton Court, Convallium; Windsor, Mount Celia. By Hemisna, Harrington meant the river Trent. Past sovereigns of England he renamed for Oceana: William the Conqueror became Turbo; King John, Adoxus; Richard II, Dicotome; Henry VII, Panurgus; Henry VIII, Coraunus; Elizabeth, Parthenia; James I, Morpheus. He referred to Hobbes as Leviathan; and to Francis Bacon, as Verulamius. Oliver Cromwell he renamed Olphaus Megaletor.

Harrington's book was seized while printing, and carried to Whitehall. Harrington went to Cromwell's daughter, Lady Claypole, played with her three-year-old child while waiting for her, and said to her, when she came and found him with her little girl upon his lap, "Madam, you have come in the nick of time, for I was just about to steal this pretty lady." "Why should you?" "Why shouldn't I, unless you cause your father to restore a child of mine that he has stolen?" It was only, he said, a kind of political romance; so far from any treason against her father that he hoped she would let him know it was to be dedicated to him. So the book was restored; and it was published in the time of Cromwell's Commonwealth, in the year 1656.

This treatise, which had its origin in the most direct pressure of the problem of government upon the minds of men continues the course of thought on which Machiavelli's "Prince" had formed one famous station, and Hobbes's "Leviathan," another.

"Oceana," when published, was widely read and actively attacked. One opponent of its doctrines was Dr. Henry Ferne, afterward Bishop of Chester. Another was Matthew Wren, eldest son to the Bishop of Ely. He was one of those who met for scientific research at the house of Dr. Wilkins, and had, said Harrington, "an excellent faculty of magnifying a louse and diminishing a commonwealth."

In 1659, Harrington published an abridgment of his Oceana as "The Art of Lawgiving," in three books. Other pieces followed, in which he defended or developed his opinions. He again urged them when Cromwell's Commonwealth was in its death-throes. Then he fell back upon argument at nightly meetings of a Rota Club which met in the New Palace Yard, Westminster. Milton's old pupil, Cyriac Skinner, was one of its members; and its elections were by ballot, with rotation in the tenure of all offices. The club was put an end to at the Restoration, when Harrington retired to his study and amused himself by putting his "System of Politics" into the form of "Aphorisms."

On December 28, 1661, James Harrington, then fifty years old, was arrested and carried to the Tower as a traitor. His Aphorisms were on his desk, and as they also were to be carried off, he asked only that they might first be stitched together in their proper order. Why he was arrested, he was not told. One of his sisters pleaded in vain to the King. He was falsely accused of complicity in an imaginary plot, of which nothing could be made by its investigators. No heed was paid to the frank denials of a man of the sincerest nature, who never had concealed his thoughts or actions. "Why," he was asked, at his first examination by Lord Lauderdale, who was one of his kinsmen, "why did he, as a private man, meddle with politics? What had a private man to do with government?" His answer was: "My lord, there is not any public person, nor any magistrate, that has written on politics, worth a button. All they that have been excellent in this way have been private men, as private men, my lord, as myself. There is Plato, there is Aristotle, there is Livy, there is Machiavel. My lord, I can sum up Aristotle's 'Politics' in a very few words: he says, there is the Barbarous Monarchy—such a one where the people have no votes in making the laws; he says, there is the Heroic Monarchy—such a one where the people have their votes in making the laws; and then, he says, there is Democracy, and affirms that a man cannot be said to have liberty but in a democracy only." Lord Lauderdale here showing impatience, Harrington added: "I say Aristotle says so. I have not said so much. And under what prince was it? Was it not under Alexander, the greatest prince then in the world? I beseech you, my lord, did Alexander hang up Aristotle? did he molest him? Livy, for a commonwealth, is one of the fullest authors; did not he write under Augustus Caesar? Did Caesar hang up Livy? did he molest him? Machiavel, what a commonwealthsman was he! but he wrote under the Medici when they were princes in Florence: did they hang up Machiavel, or did they molest him? I have done no otherwise than as the greatest politicians: the King will do no otherwise than as the greatest princes."

That was too much to hope, even in a dream, of the low-minded Charles II. Harrington could not obtain even the show of justice in a public trial. He was kept five months an untried prisoner in the Tower, only sheltered from daily brutalities by bribe to the lieutenant. When his habeas corpus had been moved for, it was at first flatly refused; and when it had been granted, Harrington was smuggled away from the Tower between one and two o'clock in the morning, and carried on board a ship that took him to closer imprisonment on St. Nicholas Island, opposite Plymouth. There his health suffered seriously, and his family obtained his removal to imprisonment in Plymouth by giving a bond of £5,000 as sureties against his escape. In Plymouth, Harrington suffered from scurvy, and at last he became insane.

When he had been made a complete wreck in body and in mind, his gracious Majesty restored Harrington to his family. He never recovered health, but still occupied himself much with his pen, writing, among other things, a serious argument to prove that they were themselves mad who thought him so.

In those last days of his shattered life James Harrington married an old friend of the family, a witty lady, daughter of Sir Marmaduke Dorrell, of Buckinghamshire. Gout was added to his troubles; then he was palsied; and he died at Westminster, at the age of sixty-six, on September 11, 1677. He was buried in St. Margaret's Church, by the grave of Sir Walter Raleigh, on the south side of the altar.

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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:30 am

Part 1 of 3


Showing the Principles of Government

JANOTTI, the most excellent describer of the Commonwealth of Venice, divides the whole series of government into two times or periods: the one ending with the liberty of Rome, which was the course or empire, as I may call it, of ancient prudence, first discovered to mankind by God himself in the fabric of the commonwealth of Israel, and afterward picked out of his footsteps in nature, and unanimously followed by the Greeks and Romans; the other beginning with the arms of Caesar, which, extinguishing liberty, were the transition of ancient into modern prudence, introduced by those inundations of Huns, Goths, Vandals, Lombards, Saxons, which, breaking the Roman Empire, deformed the whole face of the world with those ill-features of government, which at this time are become far worse in these western parts, except Venice, which, escaping the hands of the barbarians by virtue of its impregnable situation, has had its eye fixed upon ancient prudence, and is attained to a perfection even beyond the copy.

Relation being had to these two times, government (to define it de jure, or according to ancient prudence) is an art whereby a civil society of men is instituted and preserved upon the foundation of common right or interest; or, to follow Aristotle and Livy, it is the empire of laws, and not of men.

And government (to define it de facto, or according to modern prudence) is an art whereby some man, or some few men, subject a city or a nation, and rule it according to his or their private interest; which, because the laws in such cases are made according to the interest of a man, or of some few families, may be said to be the empire of men, and not of laws.

The former kind is that which Machiavel (whose books are neglected) is the only politician that has gone about to retrieve; and that Leviathan (who would have his book imposed upon the universities) goes about to destroy. For "it is," says he, "another error of Aristotle's politics that in a well-ordered commonwealth, not men should govern, but the laws. What man that has his natural senses, though he can neither write nor read, does not find himself governed by them he fears, and believes can kill or hurt him when he obeys not? or, who believes that the law can hurt him, which is but words and paper, without the hands and swords of men?" I confess that the magistrate upon his bench is that to the law which a gunner upon his platform is to his cannon. Nevertheless, I should not dare to argue with a man of any ingenuity after this manner. A whole army, though they can neither write nor read, are not afraid of a platform, which they know is but earth or stone; nor of a cannon, which, without a hand to give fire to it, is but cold iron; therefore a whole army is afraid of one man. But of this kind is the ratiocination of Leviathan, as I shall show in divers places that come in my way, throughout his whole politics, or worse; as where he says, "of Aristotle and of Cicero, of the Greeks, and of the Romans, who lived under popular States, that they derived those rights, not from the principles of nature, but transcribed them into their books out of the practice of their own commonwealths, as grammarians describe the rules of language out of poets." Which is as if a man should tell famous Harvey that he transcribed his circulation of the blood, not out of the principles of nature, but out of the anatomy of this or that body.

To go on therefore with his preliminary discourse, I shall divide it, according to the two definitions of government relating to Janotti's two times, in two parts: the first, treating of the principles of government in general, and according to the ancients; the second, treating of the late governments of Oceana in particular, and in that of modern prudence.

Government, according to the ancients, and their learned disciple Machiavel, the only politician of later ages, is of three kinds: the government of one man, or of the better sort, or of the whole people; which, by their more learned names, are called monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. These they hold, through their proneness to degenerate, to be all evil. For whereas they that govern should govern according to reason, if they govern according to passion they do that which they should not do. Wherefore, as reason and passion are two things, so government by reason is one thing, and the corruption of government by passion is another thing, but not always another government: as a body that is alive is one thing, and a body that is dead is another thing, but not always another creature, though the corruption of one comes at length to be the generation of another. The corruption then of monarchy is called tyranny; that of aristocracy, oligarchy and that of democracy, anarchy. But legislators, having found these three governments at the best to be naught, have invented another, consisting of a mixture of them all, which only is good. This is the doctrine of the ancients.

But Leviathan is positive that they are all deceived, and that there is no other government in nature than one of the three; as also that the flesh of them cannot stink, the names of their corruptions being but the names of men's fancies, which will be understood when we are shown which of them was Senatus Populusque Romanus.

To go my own way, and yet to follow the ancients, the principles of government are twofold: internal, or the goods of the mind; and external, or the goods of fortune. The goods of the mind are natural or acquired virtues, as wisdom, prudence, and courage, etc. The goods of fortune are riches. There be goods also of the body, as health, beauty, strength; but these are not to be brought into account upon this score, because if a man or an army acquires victory or empire, it is more from their discipline, arms, and courage than from their natural health, beauty, or strength, in regard that a people conquered may have more of natural strength, beauty, and health, and yet find little remedy. The principles of government then are in the goods of the mind, or in the goods of fortune. To the goods of the mind answers authority; to the goods of fortune, power or empire. Wherefore Leviathan, though he be right where he says that "riches are power," is mistaken where he says that "prudence, or the reputation of prudence, is power;" for the learning or prudence of a man is no more power than the learning or prudence of a book or author, which is properly authority. A learned writer may have authority though he has no power; and a foolish magistrate may have power, though he has otherwise no esteem or authority. The difference of these two is observed by Livy in Evander, of whom he says that he governed rather by the authority of others than by his own power.

To begin with riches, in regard that men are hung upon these, not of choice as upon the other, but of necessity and by the teeth; forasmuch as he who wants bread is his servant that will feed him, if a man thus feeds a whole people, they are under his empire.

Empire is of two kinds, domestic and national, or foreign and provincial.

Domestic empire is founded upon dominion. Dominion is property, real or personal; that is to say, in lands, or in money and goods.

Lands, or the parts and parcels of a territory, are held by the proprietor or proprietors, lord or lords of it, in some proportion; and such (except it be in a city that has little or no land, and whose revenue is in trade) as is the proportion or balance of dominion or property in land, such is the nature of the empire.

If one man be sole landlord of a territory, or overbalance the people, for example, three parts in four, he is grand seignior; for so the Turk is called from his property, and his empire is absolute monarchy.

If the few or a nobility, or a nobility with the clergy, be landlords, or overbalance the people to the like proportion, it makes the Gothic balance (to be shown at large in the second part of this discourse), and the empire is mixed monarchy, as that of Spain, Poland, and late of Oceana.

And if the whole people be landlords, or hold the lands so divided among them that no one man, or number of men, within the compass of the few or aristocracy, overbalance them, the empire (without the interposition of force) is a commonwealth.

If force be interposed in any of these three cases, it must either frame the government to the foundation, or the foundation to the government; or holding the government not according to the balance, it is not natural, but violent; and therefore if it be at the devotion of a prince, it is tyranny; if at the devotion of the few, oligarchy; or if in the power of the people, anarchy: Each of which confusions, the balance standing otherwise, is but of short continuance, because against the nature of the balance, which, not destroyed, destroys that which opposes it.

But there be certain other confusions, which, being rooted in the balance, are of longer continuance, and of worse consequence; as, first, where a nobility holds half the property, or about that proportion, and the people the other half; in which case, without altering the balance there is no remedy but the one must eat out the other, as the people did the nobility in Athens, and the nobility the people in Rome. Secondly, when a prince holds about half the dominion, and the people the other half (which was the case of the Roman emperors, planted partly upon their military colonies and partly upon the Senate and the people), the government becomes a very shambles, both of the princes and the people. Somewhat of this nature are certain governments at this day, which are said to subsist by confusion. In this case, to fix the balance is to entail misery; but in the three former, not to fix it is to lose the government. Wherefore it being unlawful in Turkey that any should possess land but the Grand Seignior, the balance is fixed by the law, and that empire firm. Nor, though the kings often sell was the throne of Oceana known to shake, until the statute of alienations broke the pillars, by giving way to the nobility to sell their estates. While Lacedaemon held to the division of land made by Lycurgus, it was immovable; but, breaking that, could stand no longer. This kind of law fixing the balance in lands is called agrarian, and was first introduced by God himself, who divided the land of Canaan to his people by lots, and is of such virtue that wherever it has held, that government has not altered, except by consent; as in that unparalleled example of the people of Israel, when being in liberty they would needs choose a king. But without an agrarian law, government, whether monarchical, aristocratical, or popular, has no long lease.

As for dominion, personal or in money, it may now and then stir up a Melius or a Manlius, which, if the Commonwealth be not provided with some kind of dictatorian power, may be dangerous, though it has been seldom or never successful; because to property producing empire, it is required that it should have some certain root or foothold, which, except in land, it cannot have, being otherwise as it were upon the wing.

Nevertheless, in such cities as subsist mostly by trade, and have little or no land, as Holland and Genoa, the balance of treasure may be equal to that of land in the cases mentioned.

But Leviathan, though he seems to skew at antiquity, following his furious master Carneades, has caught hold of the public sword, to which he reduces all manner and matter of government; as, where he affirms this opinion (that any monarch receives his power by covenant; that is to say, upon conditions) "to proceed from the not understanding this easy truth, that covenants being but words and breath, have no power to oblige, contain, constrain, or protect any man, but what they have from the public sword." But as he said of the law, that without this sword it is but paper, so he might have thought of this sword, that without a hand it is but cold iron. The hand which holds this sword is the militia of a nation; and the militia of a nation is either an army in the field, or ready for the field upon occasion. But an army is a beast that has a great belly, and must be fed: wherefore this will come to what pastures you have, and what pastures you have will come to the balance of property, without which the public sword is but a name or mere spitfrog. Wherefore, to set that which Leviathan says of arms and of contracts a little straighter, he that can graze this beast with the great belly, as the Turk does his Timariots, may well deride him that imagines he received his power by covenant, or is obliged to any such toy. It being in this case only that covenants are but words and breath. But if the property of the nobility, stocked with their tenants and retainers, be the pasture of that beast, the ox knows his master's crib; and it is impossible for a king in such a constitution to reign otherwise than by covenant; or if he break it, it is words that come to blows.

"But," says he, "when an assembly of men is made sovereign, then no man imagines any such covenant to have part in the institution." But what was that by Publicola of appeal to the people, or that whereby the people had their tribunes? "Fie," says he, "nobody is so dull as to say that the people of Rome made a covenant with the Romans, to hold the sovereignty on such or such conditions, which, not performed, the Romans might depose the Roman people." In which there be several remarkable things; for he holds the Commonwealth of Rome to have consisted of one assembly, whereas it consisted of the Senate and the people; that they were not upon covenant, whereas every law enacted by them was a covenant between them; that the one assembly was made sovereign, whereas the people, who only were sovereign, were such from the beginning, as appears by the ancient style of their covenants or laws—"The Senate has resolved, the people have decreed," that a council being made sovereign, cannot be made such upon conditions, whereas the Decemvirs being a council that was made sovereign, was made such upon conditions; that all conditions or covenants making a sovereign being made, are void; whence it must follow that, the Decemviri being made, were ever after the lawful government of Rome, and that it was unlawful for the Commonwealth of Rome to depose the Decemvirs; as also that Cicero, if he wrote otherwise out of his commonwealth, did not write out of nature. But to come to others that see more of this balance.

You have Aristotle full of it in divers places, especially where he says, that "immoderate wealth, as where one man or the few have greater possessions than the equality or the frame of the commonwealth will bear, is an occasion of sedition, which ends for the greater part in monarchy and that for this cause the ostracism has been received in divers places, as in Argos and Athens. But that it were better to prevent the growth in the beginning, than, when it has got head, to seek the remedy of such an evil."

Machiavel has missed it very narrowly and more dangerously for not fully perceiving that if a commonwealth be galled by the gentry it is by their overbalance, he speaks of the gentry as hostile to popular governments, and of popular governments as hostile to the gentry; and makes us believe that the people in such are so enraged against them, that where they meet a gentleman they kill him: which can never be proved by any one example, unless in civil war, seeing that even in Switzerland the gentry are not only safe, but in honor. But the balance, as I have laid it down, though unseen by Machiavel, is that which interprets him, and that which he confirms by his judgment in many others as well as in this place, where he concludes, "That he who will go about to make a commonwealth where there be many gentlemen, unless he first destroys them, undertakes an impossibility. And that he who goes about to introduce monarchy where the condition of the people is equal, shall never bring it to pass, unless he cull out such of them as are the most turbulent and ambitious, and make them gentlemen or noblemen, not in name but in effect; that is, by enriching them with lands, castles, and treasures, that may gain them power among the rest, and bring in the rest to dependence upon themselves, to the end that, they maintaining their ambition by the prince, the prince may maintain his power by them."

Wherefore, as in this place I agree with Machiavel, that a nobility or gentry, overbalancing a popular government, is the utter bane and destruction of it; so I shall show in another, that a nobility or gentry, in a popular government, not overbalancing it, is the very life and soul of it.

By what has been said, it should seem that we may lay aside further disputes of the public sword, or of the right of the militia; which, be the government what it will, or let it change how it can, is inseparable from the overbalance in dominion: nor, if otherwise stated by the law or custom (as in the Commonwealth of Rome, where the people having the sword, the nobility came to have the overbalance), avails it to any other end than destruction. For as a building swaying from the foundation must fall, so it fares with the law swaying from reason, and the militia from the balance of dominion. And thus much for the balance of national or domestic empire, which is in dominion.

The balance of foreign or provincial empire is of a contrary nature. A man may as well say that it is unlawful for him who has made a fair and honest purchase to have tenants, as for a government that has made a just progress and enlargement of itself to have provinces. But how a province may be justly acquired appertains to another place. In this I am to show no more than how or upon what kind of balance it is to be held; in order whereto I shall first show upon what kind of balance it is not to be held. It has been said, that national or independent empire, of what kind soever, is to be exercised by them that have the proper balance of dominion in the nation; wherefore provincial or dependent empire is not to be exercised by them that have the balance of dominion in the province, because that would bring the government from provincial and dependent, to national and independent. Absolute monarchy, as that of the Turks, neither plants its people at home nor abroad, otherwise than as tenants for life or at will; wherefore its national and provincial government is all one. But in governments that admit the citizen or subject to dominion in lands, the richest are they that share most of the power at home; whereas the richest among the provincials, though native subjects, or citizens that have been transplanted, are least admitted to the government abroad; for men, like flowers or roots being transplanted, take after the soil wherein they grow. Wherefore the Commonwealth of Rome, by planting colonies of its citizens within the bounds of Italy, took the best way of propagating itself, and naturalizing the country; whereas if it had planted such colonies without the bounds of Italy it would have alienated the citizens, and given a root to liberty abroad, that might have sprung up foreign or savage, and hostile to her: wherefore it never made any such dispersion of itself and its strength, till it was under the yoke of the Emperors, who, disburdening themselves of the people, as having less apprehension of what they could do abroad than at home, took a contrary course.

The Mamelukes (which, till any man show me the contrary, I shall presume to have been a commonwealth consisting of an army, whereof the common soldier was the people, the commissioned officer the Senate, and the general the prince) were foreigners, and by nation Circassians, that governed Egypt; wherefore these never durst plant themselves upon dominion, which growing naturally up into the national interest, must have dissolved the foreign yoke in that province.

The like in some sort may be said of Venice, the government whereof is usually mistaken; for Venice, though it does not take in the people, never excluded them. This commonwealth, the orders whereof are the most democratical or popular of all others, in regard of the exquisite rotation of the Senate, at the first institution took in the whole people; they that now live under the government without participation of it, are such as have since either voluntarily chosen so to do, or were subdued by arms. Wherefore the subject of Venice is governed by provinces, and the balance of dominion not standing, as has been said, with provincial government; as the Mamelukes durst not cast their government upon this balance in their provinces, lest the national interest should have rooted out the foreign, so neither dare the Venetians take in their subjects upon this balance, lest the foreign interest should root out the national (which is that of the 3,000 now governing), and by diffusing the commonwealth throughout her territories, lose the advantage of her situation, by which in great part it subsists. And such also is the government of the Spaniard in the Indies, to which he deputes natives of his own country, not admitting the creoles to the government of those provinces, though descended from Spaniards.

But if a prince or a commonwealth may hold a territory that is foreign in this, it may be asked why he may not hold one that is native in the like manner? To which I answer, because he can hold a foreign by a native territory, but not a native by a foreign; and as hitherto I have shown what is not the provincial balance, so by this answer it may appear what it is, namely, the overbalance of a native territory to a foreign; for as one country balances itself by the distribution of property according to the proportion of the same, so one country overbalances another by advantage of divers kinds. For example, the Commonwealth of Rome overbalanced her provinces by the vigor of a more excellent government opposed to a crazier. Or by a more exquisite militia opposed to one inferior in courage or discipline. The like was that of the Mamelukes, being a hardy people, to the Egyptians, that were a soft one. And the balance of situation is in this kind of wonderful effect; seeing the King of Denmark, being none of the most potent princes, is able at the Sound to take toll of the greatest; and as this King, by the advantage of the land, can make the sea tributary, so Venice, by the advantage of the sea, in whose arms she is impregnable, can make the land to feed her gulf. For the colonies in the Indies, they are yet babes that cannot live without sucking the breasts of their mother cities, but such as I mistake if when they come of age they do not wean themselves; which causes me to wonder at princes that delight to be exhausted in that way. And so much for the principles of power, whether national or provincial, domestic or foreign; being such as are external, and founded in the goods of fortune.

I come to the principles of authority, which are internal, and founded upon the goods of the mind. These the legislator that can unite in his government with those of fortune, comes nearest to the work of God, whose government consists of heaven and earth; which was said by Plato, though in different words, as, when princes should be philosophers, or philosophers princes, the world would be happy. And says Solomon: "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, which proceeds from the ruler (enimvero neque nobilem, neque ingenuum, nec libertinum quidem armis praeponere, regia utilitas est). Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich (either in virtue and wisdom, in the goods of the mind, or those of fortune upon that balance which gives them a sense of the national interest) sit in low places. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth." Sad complaints, that the principles of power and of authority, the goods of the mind and of fortune, do not meet and twine in the wreath or crown of empire! Wherefore, if we have anything of piety or of prudence, let us raise ourselves out of the mire of private interest to the contemplation of virtue, and put a hand to the removal of "this evil from under the sun;" this evil against which no government that is not secured can be good; this evil from which the government that is secure must be perfect. Solomon tells us that the cause of it is from the ruler, from those principles of power, which, balanced upon earthly trash, exclude the heavenly treasures of virtue, and that influence of it upon government which is authority. We have wandered the earth to find out the balance of power; but to find out that of authority we must ascend, as I said, nearer heaven, or to the image of God, which is the soul of man.

The soul of man (whose life or motion is perpetual contemplation or thought) is the mistress of two potent rivals, the one reason, the other passion, that are in continual suit; and, according as she gives up her will to these or either of them, is the felicity or misery which man partakes in this mortal life.

For, as whatever was passion in the contemplation of a man, being brought forth by his will into action, is vice and the bondage of sin; so whatever was reason in the contemplation of a man, being brought forth by his will into action, is virtue and the freedom of soul.

Again, as those actions of a man that were sin acquire to himself repentance or shame, and affect others with scorn or pity, so those actions of a man that are virtue acquire to himself honor, and upon others authority.

Now government is no other than the soul of a nation or city: wherefore that which was reason in the debate of a commonwealth being brought forth by the result, must be virtue; and forasmuch as the soul of a city or nation is the sovereign power, her virtue must be law. But the government whose law is virtue, and whose virtue is law, is the same whose empire is authority, and whose authority is empire.

Again, if the liberty of a man consists in the empire of his reason, the absence whereof would betray him to the bondage of his passions, then the liberty of a commonwealth consists in the empire of her laws, the absence whereof would betray her to the lust of tyrants. And these I conceive to be the principles upon which Aristotle and Livy (injuriously accused by Leviathan for not writing out of nature) have grounded their assertion, "that a commonwealth is an empire of laws and not of men." But they must not carry it so. "For," says he, "the liberty whereof there is so frequent and honorable mention in the histories and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the writings and discourses of those that from them have received all their learning in the politics, is not the liberty of particular men, but the liberty of the commonwealth." He might as well have said that the estates of particular men in a commonwealth are not the riches of particular men, but the riches of the commonwealth; for equality of estates causes equality of power, and equality of power is the liberty, not only of the commonwealth, but of every man.

But sure a man would never be thus irreverent with the greatest authors, and positive against all antiquity without some certain demonstration of truth—and what is it? Why, "there is written on the turrets of the city of Lucca in great characters at this day the word LIBERTAS; yet no man can thence infer that a particular man has more liberty or immunity from the service of the commonwealth there than in Constantinople. Whether a commonwealth be monarchical or popular the freedom is the same." The mountain has brought forth, and we have a little equivocation! For to say that a Lucchese has no more liberty or immunity from the laws of Lucca than a Turk has from those of Constantinople; and to say that a Lucchese has no more liberty or immunity by the laws of Lucca, than a Turk has by those of Constantinople, are pretty different speeches. The first may be said of all governments alike; the second scarce of any two; much less of these, seeing it is known that, whereas the greatest Bashaw is a tenant, as well of his head as of his estate, at the will of his lord, the meanest Lucchese that has land is a freeholder of both, and not to be controlled but by the law, and that framed by every private man to no other end (or they may thank themselves) than to protect the liberty of every private man, which by that means comes to be the liberty of the commonwealth.

But seeing they that make the laws in commonwealths are but men, the main question seems to be, how a commonwealth comes to be an empire of laws, and not of men? or how the debate or result of a commonwealth is so sure to be according to reason; seeing they who debate, and they who resolve, be but men? "And as often as reason is against a man, so often will a man be against reason."

This is thought to be a shrewd saying, but will do no harm; for be it so that reason is nothing but interest, there be divers interests, and so divers reasons.

As first, there is private reason, which is the interest of a private man.

Secondly, there is reason of state, which is the interest (or error, as was said by Solomon) of the ruler or rulers, that is to say, of the prince, of the nobility, or of the people.

Thirdly there is that reason, which is the interest of mankind, or of the whole. "Now if we see even in those natural agents that want sense, that as in themselves they have a law which directs them in the means whereby they tend to their own perfection, so likewise that another law there is, which touches them as they are sociable parts united into one body, a law which binds them each to serve to others' good, and all to prefer the good of the whole, before whatsoever their own particular; as when stones, or heavy things, forsake their ordinary wont or centre, and fly upward, as if they heard themselves commanded to let go the good they privately wish, and to relieve the present distress of nature in common." There is a common right, law of nature, or interest of the whole, which is more excellent, and so acknowledged to be by the agents themselves, than the right or interest of the parts only. "Wherefore, though it may be truly said that the creatures are naturally carried forth to their proper utility or profit, that ought not to be taken in too general a sense; seeing divers of them abstain from their own profit, either in regard of those of the same kind, or at least of their young."

Mankind then must either be less just than the creature, or acknowledge also his common interest to be common right. And if reason be nothing else but interest, and the interest of mankind be the right interest, then the reason of mankind must be right reason. Now compute well; for if the interest of popular government come the nearest to the interest of mankind, then the reason of popular government must come the nearest to right reason.

But it may be said that the difficulty remains yet; for be the interest of popular government right reason, a man does not look upon reason as it is right or wrong in itself, but as it makes for him or against him. Wherefore, unless you can show such orders of a government as, like those of God in nature, shall be able to constrain this or that creature to shake off that inclination which is more peculiar to it, and take up that which regards the common good or interest, all this is to no more end than to persuade every man in a popular government not to carve himself of that which he desires most, but to be mannerly at the public table, and give the best from himself to decency and the common interest. But that such orders may be established as may, nay must, give the upper hand in all cases to common right or interest, notwithstanding the nearness of that which sticks to every man in private, and this in a way of equal certainty and facility, is known even to girls, being no other than those that are of common practice with them in divers cases. For example, two of them have a cake yet undivided, which was given between them: that each of them therefore might have that which is due, "Divide," says one to the other, "and I will choose; or let me divide, and you shall choose." If this be but once agreed upon, it is enough; for the divident, dividing unequally, loses, in regard that the other takes the better half. Wherefore she divides equally, and so both have right. "Oh, the depth of the wisdom of God." And yet "by the mouths of babes and sucklings has He set forth His strength;" that which great philosophers are disputing upon in vain is brought to light by two harmless girls, even the whole mystery of a commonwealth, which lies only in dividing and choosing. Nor has God (if his works in nature be understood) left so much to mankind to dispute upon as who shall divide and who choose, but distributed them forever into two orders, whereof the one has the natural right of dividing, and the other of choosing.

For example: A commonwealth is but a civil society of men: let us take any number of men (as twenty) and immediately make a commonwealth. Twenty men (if they be not all idiots, perhaps if they be) can never come so together but there will be such a difference in them that about a third will be wiser, or at least less foolish than all the rest; these upon acquaintance, though it be but small, will be discovered, and, as stags that have the largest heads, lead the herd; for while the six, discoursing and arguing one with another, show the eminence of their parts, the fourteen discover things that they never thought on; or are cleared in divers truths which had formerly perplexed them. Wherefore, in matter of common concernment, difficulty, or danger, they hang upon their lips, as children upon their fathers; and the influence thus acquired by the six, the eminence of whose parts are found to be a stay and comfort to the fourteen, is the authority of the fathers. Wherefore this can be no other than a natural aristocracy diffused by God throughout the whole body of mankind to this end and purpose; and therefore such as the people have not only a natural but a positive obligation to make use of as their guides; as where the people of Israel are commanded to "take wise men, and understanding, and known among their tribes, to be made rulers over them." The six then approved of, as in the present case, are the senate, not by hereditary right, or in regard of the greatness of their estates only, which would tend to such power as might force or draw the people, but by election for their excellent parts, which tends to the advancement of the influence of their virtue or authority that leads the people. Wherefore the office of the senate is not to be commanders, but counsellors, of the people; and that which is proper to counsellors is first to debate, and afterward to give advice in the business whereupon they have debated, whence the decrees of the senate are never laws, nor so called; and these being maturely framed, it is their duty to propose in the case to the people. Wherefore the senate is no more than the debate of the commonwealth. But to debate is to discern or put a difference between things that, being alike, are not the same; or it is separating and weighing this reason against that, and that reason against this, which is dividing.

The senate then having divided, who shall choose? Ask the girls: for if she that divided must have chosen also, it had been little worse for the other in case she had not divided at all, but kept the whole cake to herself, in regard that being to choose, too, she divided accordingly. Wherefore if the senate have any further power than to divide, the commonwealth can never be equal. But in a commonwealth consisting of a single council, there is no other to choose than that which divided; whence it is, that such a council fails not to scramble—that is, to be factious, there being no other dividing of the cake in that case but among themselves.

Nor is there any remedy but to have another council to choose. The wisdom of the few may be the light of mankind; but the interest of the few is not the profit of mankind nor of a commonwealth. Wherefore, seeing we have granted interest to be reason, they must not choose lest it put out their light. But as the council dividing consists of the wisdom of the commonwealth, so the assembly or council choosing should consist of the interest of the commonwealth: as the wisdom of the commonwealth is in the aristocracy, so the interest of the commonwealth is in the whole body of the people. And whereas this, in case the commonwealth consist of a whole nation, is too unwieldy a body to be assembled, this council is to consist of such a representative as may be equal, and so constituted, as can never contract any other interest than that of the whole people; the manner whereof, being such as is best shown by exemplification, I remit to the model. But in the present case, the six dividing, and the fourteen choosing, must of necessity take in the whole interest of the twenty.

Dividing and choosing, in the language of a commonwealth, is debating and resolving; and whatsoever, upon debate of the senate, is proposed to the people, and resolved by them, is enacted by the authority of the fathers, and by the power of the people, which concurring, make a law.

But the law being made, says Leviathan, "is but words and paper without the hands and swords of men;" wherefore as these two orders of a commonwealth, namely, the senate and the people, are legislative, so of necessity there must be a third to be executive of the laws made, and this is the magistracy. In which order, with the rest being wrought up by art, the commonwealth consists of "the senate proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing," whereby partaking of the aristocracy as in the senate, of the democracy as in the people, and of monarchy as in the magistracy, it is complete. Now there being no other commonwealth but this in art or nature, it is no wonder if Machiavel has shown us that the ancients held this only to be good; but it seems strange to me that they should hold that there could be any other, for if there be such a thing as pure monarchy, yet that there should be such a one as pure aristocracy or pure democracy is not in my understanding. But the magistracy, both in number and function, is different in different commonwealths. Nevertheless there is one condition of it that must be the same in every one, or it dissolves the commonwealth where it is wanting. And this is no less than that, as the hand of the magistrate is the executive power of the law, so the head of the magistrate is answerable to the people, that his execution be according to the law; by which Leviathan may see that the hand or sword that executes the law is in it and not above it.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:30 am

Part 2 of 3

Now whether I have rightly transcribed these principles of a commonwealth out of nature, I shall appeal to God and to the world—to God in the fabric of the Commonwealth of Israel, and to the world in the universal series of ancient prudence. But in regard the same commonwealths will be opened at large in the Council of legislators, I shall touch them for the present but slightly, beginning with that of Israel.

The Commonwealth of Israel consisted of the Senate, the people, and the magistracy.

The people by their first division, which was genealogical, were contained under their thirteen tribes, houses, or families; whereof the first-born in each was prince of his tribe, and had the leading of it: the tribe of Levi only, being set apart to serve at the altar, had no other prince but the high-priest. In their second division they were divided locally by their agrarian, or the distribution of the land of Canaan to them by lot, the tithe of all remaining to Levi; whence, according to their local division, the tribes are reckoned but twelve.

The assemblies of the people thus divided were methodically gathered by trumpets to the congregation: which was, it should seem, of two sorts. For if it were called with one trumpet only, the princes of the tribes and the elders only assembled; but if it were called with two, the whole people gathered themselves to the congregation, for so it is rendered by the English; but in the Greek it is called Ecclesia, or the Church of God, and by the Talmudist the great "Synagogue." The word Ecclesia was also anciently and properly used for the civil congregations, or assemblies of the people in Athens, Lacedaemon, and Ephesus, where it is so called in Scripture, though it be otherwise rendered by the translators, not much as I conceive to their commendation, seeing by that means they have lost us a good lesson, the apostles borrowing that name for their spiritual congregations, to the end that we might see they intended the government of the church to be democratical or popular, as is also plain in the rest of their constitutions.

The church or congregation of the people of Israel assembled in a military manner, and had the result of the commonwealth, or the power of confirming all their laws, though proposed even by God himself; as where they make him king, and where they reject or depose him as civil magistrate, and elect Saul. It is manifest that he gives no such example to a legislator in a popular government as to deny or evade the power of the people, which were a contradiction; but though he deservedly blames the ingratitude of the people in that action, he commands Samuel, being next under himself supreme magistrate, "to hearken to their voice" (for where the suffrage of the people goes for nothing, it is no commonwealth), and comforts him, saying, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them." But to reject him that he should not reign over them, was as civil magistrate to depose him. The power therefore which the people had to depose even God himself as he was civil magistrate, leaves little doubt but that they had power to have rejected any of those laws confirmed by them throughout the Scripture, which, to omit the several parcels, are generally contained under two heads: those that were made by covenant with the people in the land of Moab, and those which were made by covenant with the people in Horeb; which two, I think, amount to the whole body of the Israelitish laws.

But if all and every one of the laws of Israel being proposed by God, were no otherwise enacted than by covenant with the people, then that only which was resolved by the people of Israel was their law; and so the result of that commonwealth was in the people. Nor had the people the result only in matter of law, but the power in some cases of judicature; as also the right of levying war, cognizance in matter of religion, and the election of their magistrates, as the judge or dictator, the king, the prince: which functions were exercised by the Synagoga magna, or Congregation of Israel, not always in one manner, for sometimes they were performed by the suffrage of the people, viva voce, sometimes by the lot only, and at others by the ballot, or by a mixture of the lot with the suffrage, as in the case of Eldad and Medad, which I shall open with the Senate.

The Senate of Israel, called in the old Testament the Seventy Elders, and in the New the Sanhedrim (which word is usually translated "the Council"), was appointed by God, and consisted of seventy elders besides Moses, which were at first elected by the people, but in what manner is rather intimated than shown. Nevertheless, because I cannot otherwise understand the passage concerning Eldad and Medad, of whom it is said "that they were of them that were written, but went not up to the tabernacle," then with the Talmudists I conceive that Eldad and Medad had the suffrage of the tribes, and so were written as competitors for magistracy; but coming afterward to the lot, failed of it, and therefore went not up to the tabernacle, or place of confirmation by God, or to the session-house of the Senate, with the Seventy upon whom the lot fell to be senators; for the session-house of the Sanhedrim was first in the court of the tabernacle, and afterward in that of the Temple, where it came to be called the stone chamber or pavement. If this were the ballot of Israel, that of Venice is the same transposed; for in Venice the competitor is chosen as it were by the lot, in regard that the electors are so made, and the magistrate is chosen by the "suffrage of the great Council or assembly of the people." But the Sanhedrim of Israel being thus constituted, Moses, for his time, and after him his successor sat in the midst of it as prince or archon, and at his left hand the orator or father of the Senate; the rest, or the bench, coming round with either horn like a crescent, had a scribe attending upon the tip of it.

This Senate, in regard the legislator of Israel was infallible, and the laws given by God such as were not fit to be altered by men, is much different in the exercise of their power from all other senates, except that of the Areopagus in Athens, which also was little more than a supreme judicatory, for it will hardly, as I conceive, be found that the Sanhedrim proposed to the people till the return of the children of Israel out of captivity under Esdras, at which time there was a new law made—namely, for a kind of excommunication, or rather banishment, which had never been before in Israel. Nevertheless it is not to be thought that the Sanhedrim had not always that right, which from the time of Esdras is more frequently exercised, of proposing to the people, but that they forebore it in regard of the fulness and infallibility of the law already made, whereby it was needless. Wherefore the function of this Council, which is very rare in a senate, was executive, and consisted in the administration of the law made; and whereas the Council itself is often understood in Scripture by the priest and the Levite, there is no more in that save only that the priests and the Levites, who otherwise had no power at all, being in the younger years of this commonwealth, those that were best studied in the laws were the most frequently elected into the Sanhedrim. For the courts, consisting of three-and-twenty elders sitting in the gates of every city, and the triumvirates of judges constituted almost in every village, which were parts of the executive magistracy subordinate to the Sanhedrim, I shall take them at better leisure, and in the larger discourse; but these being that part of this commonwealth which was instituted by Moses upon the advice of Jethro the priest of Midian (as I conceive a heathen), are to me a sufficient warrant even from God himself, who confirmed them, to make further use of human prudence, wherever I find it bearing a testimony to itself, whether in heathen commonwealths or others; and the rather, because so it is, that we who have the holy Scriptures, and in them the original of a commonwealth, made by the same hand that made the world, are either altogether blind or negligent of it; while the heathens have all written theirs, as if they had had no other copy; as, to be more brief in the present account of that which you shall have more at large hereafter:

Athens consisted of the Senate of the Bean proposing, of the Church or Assembly of the people resolving, and too often debating, which was the ruin of it; as also of the Senate of the Areopagus, the nine archons, with divers other magistrates, executing.

Lacedaemon consisted of the Senate proposing, of the Church or congregation of the people resolving only, and never debating, which was the long life of it; and of the two kings, the court of the ephors, with divers other magistrates, executing.

Carthage consisted of the Senate proposing and sometimes resolving too, of the people resolving and sometimes debating too, for which fault she was reprehended by Aristotle; and she had her suffetes, and her hundred men, with other magistrates, executing.

Rome consisted of the Senate proposing, the concio or people resolving, and too often debating, which caused her storms; as also of the consuls, censors, aediles, tribunes, praetors, quaestors, and other magistrates, executing.

Venice consists of the Senate, or pregati, proposing, and sometimes resolving too, of the great Council or Assembly of the people, in whom the result is constitutively; as also of the doge, the signory, the censors, the dieci, the quazancies, and other magistrates, executing.

The proceeding of the Commonwealths of Switzerland and Holland is of a like nature, though after a more obscure manner; for the sovereignties, whether cantons, provinces, or cities, which are the people, send their deputies, commissioned and instructed by themselves (wherein they reserve the result in their own power), to the provincial or general convention, or Senate, where the deputies debate, but have no other power of result than what was conferred upon them by the people, or is further conferred by the same upon further occasion. And for the executive part they have magistrates or judges in every canton, province, or city, besides those which are more public, and relate to the league, as for adjusting controversies between one canton, province, or city and another, or the like between such persons as are not of the same canton, province, or city.

But that we may observe a little further how the heathen politicians have written, not only out of nature, but as it were out of Scripture: as in the Commonwealth of Israel, God is said to have been king, so the commonwealth where the law is king, is said by Aristotle to be "the kingdom of God." And where by the lusts or passions of men a power is set above that of the law deriving from reason, which is the dictate of God, God in that sense is rejected or deposed that he should not reign over them, as he was in Israel. And yet Leviathan will have it that "by reading of these Greek and Latin [he might as well in this sense have said Hebrew] authors, young men, and all others that are unprovided of the antidote of solid reason, receiving a strong and delightful impression of the great exploits of war achieved by the conductors of their armies, receive withal a pleasing idea of all they have done besides, and imagine their great prosperity not to have proceeded from the emulation of particular men, but from the virtue of their popular form of government, not considering the frequent seditions and civil wars produced by the imperfection of their polity." Where, first, the blame he lays to the heathen authors, is in his sense laid to the Scripture; and whereas he holds them to be young men, or men of no antidote that are of like opinions, it should seem that Machiavel, the sole retriever of this ancient prudence, is to his solid reason a beardless boy that has newly read Livy. And how solid his reason is, may appear where he grants the great prosperity of ancient commonwealths, which is to give up the controversy. For such an effect must have some adequate cause, which to evade he insinuates that it was nothing else but the emulation of particular men, as if so great an emulation could have been generated without as great virtue, so great virtue without the best education, and best education without the best law, or the best laws any otherwise than by the excellency of their polity.

But if some of these commonwealths, as being less perfect in their polity than others, have been more seditious, it is not more an argument of the infirmity of this or that commonwealth in particular, than of the excellency of that kind of polity in general, which if they, that have not altogether reached, have nevertheless had greater prosperity, what would befall them that should reach?

In answer to which question let me invite Leviathan, who of all other governments gives the advantage to monarchy for perfection, to a better disquisition of it by these three assertions.

The first, that the perfection of government lies upon such a libration in the frame of it, that no man or men in or under it can have the interest, or, having the interest, can have the power to disturb it with sedition.

The second, that monarchy, reaching the perfection of the kind, reaches not to the perfection of government, but must have some dangerous flaw in it.

The third, that popular government, reaching the perfection of the kind, reaches the perfection of government, and has no flaw in it.

The first assertion requires no proof.

For the proof of the second, monarchy, as has been shown, is of two kinds: the one by arms, the other by a nobility and there is no other kind in art or nature; for if there have 'been anciently some governments called kingdoms, as one of the Goths in Spain, and another of the Vandals in Africa, where the King ruled without a nobility and by a council of the people only it is expressly said by the authors that mention them that the, kings were but the captains, and that the people not only gave them laws, but deposed them as often as they pleased. Nor is it possible in reason that it should be otherwise in like cases; wherefore these were either no monarchies, or had greater flaws in them than any other.

But for a monarchy by arms, as that of the Turk (which, of all models that ever were, comes up to the perfection of the kind), it is not in the wit or power of man to cure it of this dangerous flaw, that the Janizaries have frequent interest and perpetual power to raise sedition, and to tear the magistrate, even the prince himself, in pieces. Therefore the monarchy of Turkey is no perfect government.

And for a monarchy by nobility, as of late in Oceana (which of all other models, before the declination of it, came up to the perfection in that kind), it was not in the power or wit of man to cure it of that dangerous flaw; that the nobility had frequent interest and perpetual power by their retainers and tenants to raise sedition; and (whereas the Janizaries occasion this kind of calamity no sooner than they make an end of it) to levy a lasting war, to the vast effusion of blood, and that even upon occasions wherein the people, but for their dependence upon their lords, had no concernment, as in the feud of the Red and White. The like has been frequent in Spain, France, Germany, and other monarchies of this kind; wherefore monarchy by a nobility is no perfect government.

For the proof of the third assertion: Leviathan yields it to me, that there is no other commonwealth but monarchical or popular; wherefore if no monarchy be a perfect government, then either there is no perfect government, or it must be popular, for which kind of constitution I have something more to say than Leviathan has said or ever will be able to say for monarchy. As,

First, that it is the government that was never conquered by any monarch, from the beginning of the world to this day, for if the commonwealths of Greece came under the yoke of the Kings of Macedon, they were first broken by themselves.

Secondly, that it is the government that has frequently led mighty monarchs in triumph.

Thirdly, that it is the government, which, if it has been seditious, it has not been so from any imperfection in the kind, but in the particular constitution; which, wherever the like has happened, must have been unequal.

Fourthly, that it is the government, which, if it has been anything near equal, was never seditious; or let him show me what sedition has happened in Lacedaemon or Venice.

Fifthly, that it is the government, which, attaining to perfect equality, has such a libration in the frame of it, that no man living can show which way any man or men, in or under it, can contract any such interest or power as should be able to disturb the commonwealth with sedition, wherefore an equal commonwealth is that only which is without flaw and contains in it the full perfection of government. But to return.

By what has been shown in reason and experience, it may appear, that though commonwealths in general be governments of the senate proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing, yet some are not so good at these orders as others, through some impediment or defect in the frame, balance, or capacity of them, according to which they are of divers kinds.

The first division of them is into such as are single, as Israel, Athens, Lacedaemon, etc.; and such as are by leagues, as those of the Achaeans, AEtolians, Lycians, Switz, and Hollanders.

The second (being Machiavel's) is into such as are for preservation, as Lacedaemon and Venice, and such as are for increase, as Athens and Rome; in which I can see no more than that the former takes in no more citizens than are necessary for defence, and the latter so many as are capable of increase.

The third division (unseen hitherto) is into equal and Unequal, and this is the main point, especially as to domestic peace and tranquillity; for to make a commonwealth unequal, is to divide it into parties, which sets them at perpetual variance, the one party endeavoring to preserve their eminence and inequality and the other to attain to equality; whence the people of Rome derived their perpetual strife with the nobility and Senate. But in an equal commonwealth there can be no more strife than there can be overbalance in equal weights; wherefore the Commonwealth of Venice, being that which of all others is the most equal in the constitution, is that wherein there never happened any strife between the Senate and the people.

An equal commonwealth is such a one as is equal both in the balance or foundation, and in the superstructure; that is to say, in her agrarian law and in her rotation.

An equal agrarian is a perpetual law, establishing and preserving the balance of dominion by such a distribution, that no one man or number of men, within the compass of the few or aristocracy, can come to overpower the whole people by their possessions in lands.

As the agrarian answers to the foundation, so does rotation to the superstructures.

Equal rotation is equal vicissitude in government, or succession to magistracy conferred for such convenient terms, enjoying equal vacations, as take in the whole body by parts, succeeding others, through the free election or suffrage of the people.

The contrary, whereunto is prolongation of magistracy, which, trashing the wheel of rotation, destroys the life or natural motion of a commonwealth.

The election or suffrage of the people is most free, where it is made or given in such a manner that it can neither oblige nor disoblige another, nor through fear of an enemy, or bashfulness toward a friend, impair a man's liberty.

Wherefore, says Cicero, the tablet or ballot of the people of Rome (who gave their votes by throwing tablets or little pieces of wood secretly into urns marked for the negative or affirmative) was a welcome constitution to the people, as that which, not impairing the assurance of their brows, increased the freedom of their judgment. I have not stood upon a more particular description of this ballot, because that of Venice exemplified in the model is of all others the most perfect.

An equal commonwealth (by that which has been said) is a government established upon an equal agrarian, arising into the superstructures or three orders, the Senate debating and proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing, by an equal rotation through the suffrage of the people given by the ballot. For though rotation may be without the ballot, and the ballot without rotation, yet the ballot not only as to the ensuing model includes both, but is by far the most equal way; for which cause under the name of the ballot I shall hereafter understand both that and rotation too.

Now having reasoned the principles of an equal commonwealth, I should come to give an instance of such a one in experience, if I could find it; but if this work be of any value, it lies in that it is the first example of a commonwealth that is perfectly equal. For Venice, though it comes the nearest, yet is a commonwealth for preservation; and such a one, considering the paucity of citizens taken in, and the number not taken in, is externally unequal; and though every commonwealth that holds provinces must in that regard be such, yet not to that degree. Nevertheless, Venice internally, and for her capacity, is by far the most equal, though it has not, in my judgment, arrived at the full perfection of equality; both because her laws supplying the defect of an agrarian are not so clear nor effectual at the foundation, nor her superstructures, by the virtue of her ballot or rotation, exactly librated; in regard that through the paucity of her citizens her greater magistracies are continually wheeled through a few hands, as is confessed by Janotti, where he says, that if a gentleman comes once to be Savio di terra ferma, it seldom happens that he fails from thenceforward to be adorned with some one of the greater magistracies, as Savi di mare, Savi di terra ferma, Savi Grandi, counsellors, those of the decemvirate or dictatorian council, the aurogatori, or censors, which require no vacation or interval. Wherefore if this in Venice, or that in Lacedaemon, where the kings were hereditary, and the Senators (though elected by the people) for life, cause no inequality (which is hard to be conceived) in a commonwealth for preservation, or such a one as consists of a few citizens; yet is it manifest that it would cause a very great one in a commonwealth for increase, or consisting of the many, which, by engrossing the magistracies in a few hands, would be obstructed in their rotation.

But there be who say (and think it a strong objection) that, let a commonwealth be as equal as you can imagine, two or three men when all is done will govern it; and there is that in it which, notwithstanding the pretended sufficiency of a popular State, amounts to a plain confession of the imbecility of that policy, and of the prerogative of monarchy; forasmuch as popular governments in difficult cases have had recourse to dictatorian power, as in Rome.

To which I answer, that as truth is a spark to which objections are like bellows, so in this respect our commonwealth shines; for the eminence acquired by suffrage of the people in a commonwealth, especially if it be popular and equal, can be ascended by no other steps than the universal acknowledgment of virtue: and where men excel in virtue, the commonwealth is stupid and unjust, if accordingly they do not excel in authority. Wherefore this is both the advantage of virtue, which has her due encouragement, and of the commonwealth, which has her due services. These are the philosophers which Plato would have to be princes, the princes which Solomon would have to be mounted, and their steeds are those of authority, not empire; or, if they be buckled to the chariot of empire, as that of the dictatorian power, like the chariot of the sun, it is glorious for terms and vacations or intervals. And as a commonwealth is a government of laws and not of men, so is this the principality of virtue, and not of man; if that fail or set in one, it rises in another who is created his immediate successor. And this takes away that vanity from under the sun, which is an error proceeding more or less from all other rulers under heaven but an equal commonwealth.

These things considered, it will be convenient in this place to speak a word to such as go about to insinuate to the nobility or gentry a fear of the people, or to the people a fear of the nobility or gentry; as if their interests were destructive to each other. When indeed an army may as well consist of soldiers without officers, or of officers without soldiers, as a commonwealth, especially such a one as is capable of greatness, of a people without a gentry, or of a gentry without a people. Wherefore this, though not always so intended, as may appear by Machiavel, who else would be guilty, is a pernicious error. There is something first in the making of a commonwealth, then in the governing of it, and last of all in the leading of its armies, which, though there be great divines, great lawyers, great men in all professions, seems to be peculiar only to the genius of a gentleman.

For so it is in the universal series of story, that if any man has founded a commonwealth, he was first a gentleman. Moses had his education by the daughter of Pharaoh; Theseus and Solon, of noble birth, were held by the Athenians worthy to be kings; Lycurgus was of the royal blood; Romulus and Numa princes; Brutus and Publicola patricians; the Gracchi, that lost their lives for the people of Rome and the restitution of that commonwealth, were the sons of a father adored with two triumphs, and of Cornelia the daughter of Scipio, who being demanded in marriage by King Ptolemy, disdained to become the Queen of Egypt. And the most renowned Olphaus Megaletor, sole legislator, as you will see anon, of the Commonwealth of Oceana, was derived from a noble family; nor will it be any occasion of scruple in this case, that Leviathan affirms the politics to be no ancienter than his book "De Cive." Such also as have got any fame in the civil government of a commonwealth, or by the leading of its armies, have been gentlemen; for so in all other respects were those plebeian magistrates elected by the people of Rome, being of known descents and of equal virtues, except only that they were excluded from the name by the usurpation of the patricians. Holland, through this defect at home, has borrowed princes for generals, and gentlemen of divers nations for commanders: and the Switzers, if they have any defect in this kind, rather lend their people to the colors of other princes, than make that noble use of them at home which should assert the liberty of mankind. For where there is not a nobility to hearten the people, they are slothful, regardless of the world, and of the public interest of liberty, as even those of Rome had been without their gentry: wherefore let the people embrace the gentry in peace, as the light of their eyes; and in war, as the trophy of their arms; and if Cornelia disdained to be Queen of Egypt, if a Roman consul looked down from his tribunal upon the greatest king, let the nobility love and cherish the people that afford them a throne so much higher in a commonwealth, in the acknowledgment of their virtue, than the crowns of monarchs.

But if the equality of a commonwealth consist in the equality first of the agrarian, and next of the rotation, then the inequality of a commonwealth must consist in the absence or inequality of the agrarian, or of the rotation, or of both.

Israel and Lacedaemon, which commonwealths (as the people of this, in Josephus, claims kindred of that) have great resemblance, were each of them equal in their agrarian, and unequal in their rotation, especially Israel, where the Sanhedrim, or Senate, first elected by the people, as appears by the words of Moses, took upon them ever after, without any precept of God, to substitute their successors by ordination; which having been there of civil use, as excommunication, community of goods, and other customs of the Essenes, who were many of them converted, came afterward to be introduced into the Christian Church. And the election of the judge, suffes, or dictator, was irregular, both for the occasion, the term, and the vacation of that magistracy. As you find in the book of Judges, where it is often repeated, that in those days there was no king in Israel—that is, no judge; and in the first of Samuel, where Eli judged Israel forty years, and Samuel, all his life. In Lacedaemon the election of the Senate being by suffrage of the people, though for life, was not altogether so unequal, yet the hereditary right of kings, were it not for the agrarian, had ruined her.

Athens and Rome were unequal as to their agrarian, that of Athens being infirm, and this of Rome none at all; for if it were more anciently carried it was never observed. Whence, by the time of Tiberius Gracchus, the nobility had almost eaten the people quite out of their lands, which they held in the occupation of tenants and servants, whereupon the remedy being too late, and too vehemently applied, that commonwealth was ruined.

These also were unequal in their rotation, but in a contrary manner. Athens, in regard that the Senate (chosen at once by lot, not by suffrage, and changed every year, not in part, but in the whole) consisted not of the natural aristocracy, nor sitting long enough to understand or to be perfect in their office, had no sufficient authority to restrain the people from that perpetual turbulence in the end, which was their ruin, notwithstanding the efforts of Nicias, who did all a man could do to help it. But as Athens, by the headiness of the people, so Rome fell by the ambition of the nobility, through the want of an equal rotation; which, if the people had got into the Senate, and timely into the magistracies (whereof the former was always usurped by the patricians, and the latter for the most part) they had both carried and held their agrarian, and that had rendered that commonwealth immovable.

But let a commonwealth be equal or unequal, it must consist, as has been shown by reason and all experience, of the three general orders; that is to say, of the Senate debating and proposing, of the people resolving, and of the magistracy executing. Wherefore I can never wonder enough at Leviathan, who, without any reason or example, will have it that a commonwealth consists of a single person, or of a single assembly; nor can I sufficiently pity those "thousand gentlemen, whose minds, which otherwise would have wavered, he has framed (as is affirmed by himself) in to a conscientious obedience (for so he is pleased to call it) of such a government."

But to finish this part of the discourse, which I intend for as complete an epitome of ancient prudence, and in that of the whole art of politics, as I am able to frame in so short a time:

The two first orders, that is to say, the Senate and the people, are legislative, whereunto answers that part of this science which by politicians is entitled "of laws;" and the third order is executive, to which answers that part of the same science which is styled "of the frame and course of courts or judicatories." A word to each of these will be necessary.

And first for laws: they are either ecclesiastical or civil, such as concern religion or government.

Laws, ecclesiastical, or such as concern religion, according to the universal course of ancient prudence, are in the power of the magistrate; but, according to the common practice of modern prudence, since the papacy, torn out of his hands.

But, as a government pretending to liberty, and yet suppressing liberty of conscience (which, because religion not according to a man's conscience can to him be none at all, is the main) must be a contradiction, so a man that, pleading for the liberty of private conscience, refuses liberty to the national conscience, must be absurd.

A commonwealth is nothing else but the national conscience. And if the conviction of a man's private conscience produces his private religion, the conviction of the national conscience must produce a national religion. Whether this be well reasoned, as also whether these two may stand together, will best be shown by the examples of the ancient commonwealths taken in their order.

In that of Israel the government of the national religion appertained not to the priests and Levites, otherwise than as they happened to be of the Sanhedrim, or Senate, to which they had no right at all but by election. It is in this capacity therefore that the people are commanded, under pain of death, "to hearken to them, and to do according to the sentence of the law which they should teach;" but in Israel the law ecclesiastical and civil was the same, therefore the Sanhedrim, having the power of one, had the power of both. But as the national religion appertained to the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim, so the liberty of conscience appertained, from the same date, and by the same right, to the prophets and their disciples; as where it is said, "I will raise up a prophet; and whoever will not hearken to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." The words relate to prophetic right, which was above all the orders of this commonwealth; whence Elijah not only refused to obey the King, but destroyed his messengers with fire. And whereas it was not lawful by the national religion to sacrifice in any other place than the Temple, a prophet was his own temple, and might sacrifice where he would, as Elijah did in Mount Carmel. By this right John the Baptist and our Saviour, to whom it more particularly related, had their disciples, and taught the people, whence is derived our present right of gathered congregations; wherefore the Christian religion grew up according to the orders of the Commonwealth of Israel, and not against them. Nor was liberty of conscience infringed by this government, till the civil liberty of the same was lost, as under Herod, Pilate, and Tiberius, a three-piled tyranny.

To proceed, Athens preserved her religion, by the testimony of Paul, with great superstition: if Alcibiades, that atheistical fellow had not showed them a pair of heels, they had shaven off his head for shaving their Mercuries, and making their gods look ridiculously upon them without beards. Nevertheless, if Paul reasoned with them, they loved news, for which he was the more welcome; and if he converted Dionysius the Areopagite, that is, one of the senators, there followed neither any hurt to him, nor loss of honor to Dionysius. And for Rome, if Cicero, in his most excellent book "De Natura Deorum," overthrew the national religion of that commonwealth, he was never the further from being consul. But there is a meanness and poorness in modern prudence, not only to the damage of civil government, but of religion itself; for to make a man in matter of religion, which admits not of sensible demonstration (jurare in verba magistri), engage to believe no otherwise than is believed by my lord bishop, or Goodman Presbyter is a pedantism that has made the sword to be a rod in the hands of schoolmasters; by which means, whereas the Christian religion is the furthest of any from countenancing war, there never was a war of religion but since Christianity, for which we are beholden to the Pope; for the Pope not giving liberty of conscience to princes and commonwealths, they cannot give that to their subjects which they have not themselves, whence both princes and subjects, either through his instigation or their own disputes, have introduced that execrable custom, never known in the world before, of fighting for religion, and denying the magistrate to have any jurisdiction concerning it, whereas the magistrate's losing the power of religion loses the liberty of conscience, which in that case has nothing to protect it. But if the people be otherwise taught, it concerns them to look about them, and to distinguish between the shrieking of the lapwing and the voice of the turtle.

To come to civil laws. If they stand one way and the balance another, it is the case of a government which of necessity must be new modelled; wherefore your lawyers, advising you upon the like occasions to fit your government to their laws, are no more to be regarded than your tailor if he should desire you to fit your body to his doublet. There is also danger in the plausible pretence of reforming the law, except the government be first good, in which case it is a good tree, and (trouble not yourselves overmuch) brings not forth evil fruit; otherwise, if the tree be evil, you can never reform the fruit, or if a root that is naught bring forth fruit of this kind that seems to be good, take the more heed, for it is the ranker poison. It was nowise probable, if Augustus had not made excellent laws, that the bowels of Rome could have come to be so miserably eaten out by the tyranny of Tiberius and his successors. The best rule as to your laws in general is that they be few. Rome, by the testimony of Cicero, Was best governed under those of the twelve tables; and by that of Tacitus, Plurimoe leges, corruptissima respublica. You will be told that where the laws be few they leave much to arbitrary power; but where they be many, they leave more, the laws in this case, according to Justinian and the best lawyers, being as litigious as the suitors. Solon made few, Lycurgus fewer, laws; and commonwealths have the fewest at this day of all other governments.

Now to conclude this part with a word de judiciis, or of the constitution or course of courts; it is a discourse not otherwise capable of being well managed but by particular examples, both the constitution and course of courts being divers in different governments, but best beyond compare in Venice, where they regard not so much the arbitrary power of their courts as the constitution of them, whereby that arbitrary power being altogether unable to retard or do hurt to business, produces and must produce the quickest despatch, and the most righteous dictates of justice that are perhaps in human nature. The manner I shall not stand in this place to describe, because it is exemplified at large in the judicature of the people of Oceana. And thus much of ancient prudence, and the first branch of this preliminary discourse.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:31 am

Part 3 of 3


In the second part I shall endeavor to show the rise, progress, and declination of modern prudence.

The date of this kind of policy is to be computed, as was shown, from those inundations of Goths, Vandals, Huns, and Lombards that overwhelmed the Roman Empire. But as there is no appearance in the bulk or constitution of modern prudence, that it should ever have been able to come up and grapple with the ancient, so something of necessity must have interposed whereby this came to be enervated, and that to receive strength and encouragement. And this was the execrable reign of the Roman emperors taking rise from (that felix scelus) the arms of Caesar, in which storm the ship of the Roman Commonwealth was forced to disburden itself of that precious freight, which never since could emerge or raise its head but in the Gulf of Venice.

It is said in Scripture, "Thy evil is of thyself, O Israel!" to which answers that of the moralists, "None is hurt but by himself," as also the whole matter of the politics; at present this example of the Romans, who, through a negligence committed in their agrarian laws, let in the sink of luxury, and forfeited the inestimable treasure of liberty for themselves and their posterity.

Their agrarian laws were such whereby their lands ought to have been divided among the people, either without mention of a colony, in which case they were not obliged to change their abode; or with mention and upon condition of a colony, in which case they were to change their abode, and leaving the city, to plant themselves upon the lands so assigned. The lands assigned, or that ought to have been assigned, in either of these ways, were of three kinds: such as were taken from the enemy and distributed to the people; or such as were taken from the enemy, and, under color of being reserved to the public use, were through stealth possessed by the nobility; or such as were bought with the public money to be distributed. Of the laws offered in these cases, those which divided the lands taken from the enemy, or purchased with the public money, never occasioned any dispute; but such as drove at dispossessing the nobility of their usurpations, and dividing the common purchase of the sword among the people, were never touched but they caused earthquakes, nor could they ever be obtained by the people; or being obtained, be observed by the nobility, who not only preserved their prey, but growing vastly rich upon it, bought the people by degrees quite out of those shares that had been conferred upon them. This the Gracchi coming too late to perceive found the balance of the commonwealth to be lost; but putting the people (when they had least force) by forcible means upon the recovery of it, did ill, seeing it neither could nor did tend to any more than to show them by worse effects that what the wisdom of their leaders had discovered was true. For quite contrary to what has happened in Oceana, where, the balance falling to the people, they have overthrown the nobility, that nobility of Rome, under the conduct of Sylla, overthrew the people and the commonwealth; seeing Sylla first introduced that new balance which was the foundation of the succeeding monarchy, in the plantation of military colonies, instituted by his distribution of the conquered lands, not now of enemies, but of citizens, to forty-seven legions of his soldiers; so that how he came to be perpetual dictator, or other magistrates to succeed him in like power, is no miracle.

These military colonies (in which manner succeeding emperors continued, as Augustus by the distribution of the veterans, whereby he had overcome Brutus and Cassius to plant their soldiery) consisted of such as I conceive were they that are called milites beneficiarii; in regard that the tenure of their lands was by way of benefices, that is, for life, and upon condition of duty or service in the war upon their own charge. These benefices Alexander Severus granted to the heirs of the incumbents, but upon the same conditions. And such was the dominion by which the Roman emperors gave their balance. But to the beneficiaries, as was no less than necessary for the safety of the prince, a matter of 8,000 by the example of Augustus were added, which departed not from his sides, but were his perpetual guard, called Pretorian bands; though these, according to the incurable flaw already observed in this kind of government, became the most frequent butchers of their lords that are to be found in story. Thus far the Roman monarchy is much the same with that at this day in Turkey, consisting of a camp and a horse-quarter; a camp in regard of the Spahis and Janizaries, the perpetual guard of the prince, except they also chance to be liquorish after his blood; and a horse-quarter in regard of the distribution of his whole land to tenants for life, upon condition of continual service, or as often as they shall be commanded at their own charge by timars, being a word which they say signifies benefices, that it shall save me a labor of opening the government.

But the fame of Mahomet and his prudence is especially founded in this, that whereas the Roman monarchy, except that of Israel, was the most imperfect, the Turkish is the most perfect that ever was. Which happened in that the Roman (as the Israelitish of the Sanhedrim and the congregation) had a mixture of the Senate and the people; and the Turkish is pure. And that this was pure, and the other mixed, happened not through the wisdom of the legislators, but the different genius of the nations; the people of the Eastern parts, except the Israelites, which is to be attributed to their agrarian, having been such as scarce ever knew any other condition than that of slavery; and these of the Wester having ever had such a relish of liberty, as through what despair soever could never be brought to stand still while the yoke was putting on their necks, but by being fed with some hopes of reserving to themselves some part of their freedom.

Wherefore Julius Caesar (saith Suetonius) contented himself in naming half the magistrates, to leave the rest to the suffrage of the people. And Maecenas, though he would not have Augustus to give the people their liberty, would not have him take it quite away. Whence this empire, being neither hawk nor buzzard, made a flight accordingly; and the prince being perpetually tossed (having the avarice of the soldiery on this hand to satisfy upon the people, and the Senate and the people on the other to be defended from the soldiery), seldom died any other death than by one horn of this dilemma, as is noted more at large by Machiavel.

But the Pretorian bands, those bestial executioners of their captain's tyranny upon others, and of their own upon him, having continued from the time of Augustus, were by Constantine the Great (incensed against them for taking part with his adversary Maxentius) removed from their strong garrison which they held in Rome, and distributed into divers provinces. The benefices of the soldiers that were hitherto held for life and upon duty, were by this prince made hereditary, so that the whole foundation whereupon this empire was first built being now removed, shows plainly that the emperors must long before this have found out some other way of support; and this was by stipendiating the Goths, a people that, deriving their roots from the northern parts of Germany, or out of Sweden, had, through their victories obtained against Domitian, long since spread their branches to so near a neighborhood with the Roman territories that they began to overshadow them. For the emperors making use of them in their armies, as the French do at this day of the Switz, gave them that under the notion of a stipend, which they received as tribute, coming, if there were any default in the payment, so often to distrain for it, that in the time of Honorius they sacked Rome, and possessed themselves of Italy. And such was the transition of ancient into modern prudence, or that breach, which being followed in every part of the Roman Empire with inundations of Vandals, Huns, Lombards, Franks, Saxons, overwhelmed ancient languages, learning, prudence, manners, cities, changing the names of rivers, countries, seas, mountains, and men; Camillus, Caesar, and Pompey, being come to Edmund, Richard, and Geoffrey.

To open the groundwork or balance of these new politicians: "Feudum," says Calvin the lawyer, "is a Gothic word of divers significations; for it is taken either for war, or for a possession of conquered lands, distributed by the victor to such of his captains and soldiers as had merited in his wars, upon condition to acknowledge him to be their perpetual lord, and themselves to be his subjects."

Of these there were three kinds or orders: the first of nobility distinguished by the titles of dukes, marquises, earls, and these being gratified with the cities, castles, and villages of the conquered Italians, their feuds participated of royal dignity, and were called regalia, by which they had right to coin money, create magistrates, take toll, customs, confiscations, and the like.

Feuds of the second order were such as, with the consent of the King, were bestowed by these feudatory princes upon men of inferior quality, called their barons, on condition that next to the King they should defend the dignities and fortunes of their lords in arms.

The lowest order of feuds were such, as being conferred by those of the second order upon private men, whether noble not noble, obliged them in the like duty to their superiors; the were called vavasors. And this is the Gothic balance, by which all the kingdoms this day in Christendom were at first erected; for which cause, if I had time, I should open in this place the Empire of Germany, and the Kingdoms of France, Spain, and Poland; but so much as has been said being sufficient for the discovery of the principles of modern prudence in general, I shall divide the remainder of my discourse, which is more particular, into three parts:

The first, showing the constitution of the late monarchy of Oceana;

The second, the dissolution of the same; and

The third, the generation of the present commonwealth.

The constitution of the late monarchy of Oceana is to be considered in relation to the different nations by whom it has been successively subdued and governed. The first of these were the Romans, the second the Teutons, the third the Scandians, and the fourth the Neustrians.

The government of the Romans, who held it as a province, I shall omit, because I am to speak of their provincial government in another place, only it is to be remembered here, that if we have given over running up and down naked, and with dappled hides, learned to write and read, and to be instructed with good arts, for all these we are beholden to the Romans, either immediately or mediately by the Teutons; for that the Teutons had the arts from no other hand is plain enough by their language, which has yet no word to signify either writing or reading, but what is derived from the Latin. Furthermore, by the help of these arts so learned, we have been capable of that religion which we have long since received; wherefore it seems to me that we ought not to detract from the memory of the Romans, by whose means we are, as it were, of beasts become men, and by whose means we might yet of obscure and ignorant men (if we thought not too well of ourselves) become a wise and a great people.

The Romans having governed Oceana provincially, the Teutons were the first that introduced the form of the late monarchy. To these succeeded the Scandians, of whom (because their reign was short, as also because they made little alteration in the government as to the form) I shall take no notice. But the Teutons going to work upon the Gothic balance, divided the whole nation into three sorts of feuds, that of ealdorman, that of king's thane, and that of middle thane.

When the kingdom was first divided into precincts will be as hard to show as when it began first to be governed. It being impossible that there should be any government without some division. The division that was in use with the Teutons was by counties, and every county had either its ealdorman or high reeve. The title of ealdorman came in time to eorl, or erl, and that of high reeve to high sheriff.

Earl of the shire or county denoted the king's thane, or tenant by grand sergeantry or knight's service, in chief or in capite; his possessions were sometimes the whole territory from whence he had his denomination, that is, the whole county; sometimes more than one county, and sometimes less, the remaining part being in the crown. He had also sometimes a third, or some other customary part of the profits of certain cities, boroughs, or other places within his earldom. For an example of the possessions of earls in ancient times, Ethelred had to him and his heirs the whole Kingdom of Mercia, containing three or four counties; and there were others that had little less.

King's thane was also an honorary title, to which he was qualified that had five hides of land held immediately of the King by service of personal attendance; insomuch that if a churl or countryman had thriven to this proportion, having a church, a kitchen, a bell-house (that is, a hall with a bell in it to call his family to dinner), a borough-gate with a seat (that is, a porch) of his own, and any distinct office in the King's court, then was he the King's thane. But the proportion of a hide-land, otherwise called caruca, or a plough-land, is difficult to be understood, because it was not certain; nevertheless it is generally conceived to be so much as may be managed with one plough, and would yield the maintenance of the same, with the appurtenances in all kinds.

The middle thane was feudal, but not honorary; he was also called a vavasor, and his lands a vavasory, which held of some mesne lord, and not immediately of the King.

Possessions and their tenures, being of this nature, show the balance of the Teuton monarchy, wherein the riches of earls were so vast that to arise from the balance of their dominion to their power, they were not only called reguli, or little kings, but were such indeed; their jurisdiction being of two sorts, either that which was exercised by them in the court of their countries, or in the high court of the kingdom.

In the territory denominating an earl, if it were all his own, the courts held, and the profits of that jurisdiction were to his own use and benefit. But if he had but some part of his county, then his jurisdiction and courts, saving perhaps in those possessions that were his own, were held by him to the King's use and benefit; that is, he commonly supplied the office which the sheriffs regularly executed in counties that had no earls, and whence they came to be called viscounts. The court of the county that had an earl was held by the earl and the bishop of the diocese, after the manner of the sheriffs' turns to this day; by which means both the ecclesiastical and temporal laws were given in charge together to the country. The causes of vavasors or vavasories appertained to the cognizance of this court, where wills were proved, judgment and execution given, cases criminal and civil determined.

The King's thanes had the like jurisdiction in their thane lands as lords in their manors, where they also kept courts.

Besides these in particular, both the earls and King's thanes, together with the bishops, abbots, and vavasors, or middle thanes, had in the high court or parliament in the kingdom a more public jurisdiction, consisting first of deliberative power for advising upon and assenting to new laws; secondly, giving counsel in matters of state and thirdly, of judicature upon suits and complaints. I shall not omit to enlighten the obscurity of these times, in which there is little to be found of a methodical constitution of this high court, by the addition of an argument, which I conceive to bear a strong testimony to itself, though taken out of a late writing that conceals the author. "It is well known," says he, "that in every quarter of the realm a great many boroughs do yet send burgesses to the parliament which nevertheless be so anciently and so long since decayed and gone to naught, that they cannot be showed to have been of any reputation since the Conquest, much less to have obtained any such privilege by the grant of any succeeding king: wherefore these must have had this right by more ancient usage, and before the Conquest, they being unable now to show whence they derived it."

This argument, though there be more, I shall pitch upon as sufficient to prove: First, that the lower sort of the people had right to session in Parliament during the time of the Teutons. Secondly, that they were qualified to the same by election in their boroughs, and if knights of the shire, as no doubt they are, be as ancient in the counties. Thirdly if it be a good argument to say that the commons during the reign of the Teutons were elected into Parliament because they are so now, and no man can show when this custom began, I see not which way it should be an ill one to say that the commons during the reign of the Teutons constituted also a distinct house because they do so now, unless any man can show that they did ever sit in the same house with the lords. Wherefore to conclude this part, I conceive for these, and other reasons to be mentioned hereafter, that the Parliament of the Teutons consisted of the King, the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons of the nation, notwithstanding the style of divers acts of Parliament, which runs, as that of Magna Charta, in the King's name only, seeing the same was nevertheless enacted by the King, peers, and commons of the land, as is testified in those words by a subsequent act.

The monarchy of the Teutons had stood in this posture about 220 years; when Turbo, Duke of Neustria, making his claim to the crown of one of their kings that died childless, followed it with successful arms, and, being possessed of the kingdom, used it as conquered, distributing the earldoms, thane-lands, bishoprics, and prelacies of the whole realm among his Neustrians. From this time the earl came to be called comes, consul, and dux, though consul and dux grew afterward out of use; the King's thanes came to be called barons, and their lands baronies; the middle thane holding still of a mesne lord, retained the name of vavasor.

The earl or comes continued to have the third part of the pleas of the county paid to him by the sheriff or vice—comes, now a distinct officer in every county depending upon the King; saving that such earls as had their counties to their own use were now counts-palatine, and had under the King regal jurisdiction; insomuch that they constituted their own sheriffs, granted pardons, and issued writs in their own names; nor did the King's writ of ordinary justice run in their dominions till a late statute, whereby much of this privilege was taken away.

For barons they came from henceforth to be in different times of three kinds: barons by their estates and tenures, barons by writ, and barons created by letters-patent. From Turbo the first to Adoxus the seventh king from the Conquest, barons had their denomination from their possessions and tenures. And these were either spiritual or temporal; for not only the thanelands, but the possessions of bishops, as also of some twenty six abbots, and two priors, were now erected into baronies, whence the lords spiritual that had suffrage in the Teuton Parliament as spiritual lords came to have it in the Neustrian Parliament as barons, and were made subject, which they had not formerly been, to knights' service in chief. Barony coming henceforth to signify all honorary possessions as well of earls as barons, and baronage to denote all kinds of lords as well spiritual as temporal having right to sit in Parliament, the baronies in this sense were sometimes more, and sometimes fewer, but commonly about 200 or 250, containing in them a matter of 60,000 feuda militum, or knights' fees, whereof some 28,000 were in the clergy.

It is ill-luck that no man can tell what the land of a knight's fee, reckoned in some writs at £40 a year, and in others at £10, was certainly worth, for by such a help we might have exactly demonstrated the balance of this government. But, says Coke, it contained twelve plough-lands, and that was thought to be the most certain account. But this again is extremely uncertain; for one plough out of some land that was fruitful might work more than ten out of some other that was barren. Nevertheless, seeing it appears by Bracton, that of earldoms and baronies it was wont to be said that the whole kingdom was composed, as also that these, consisting of 60,000 knights' fees, furnished 60,000 men for the King's service, being the whole militia of this monarchy, it cannot be imagined that the vavasories or freeholds in the people amounted to any considerable proportion. Wherefore the balance and foundation of this government were in the 60,000 knights' fees, and these being possessed by the 250 lords, it was a government of the few, or of the nobility, wherein the people might also assemble, but could have no more than a mere name. And the clergy, holding a third of the whole nation, as is plain by the Parliament-roll, it is an absurdity (seeing the clergy of France came first through their riches to be a state of that kingdom) to acknowledge the people to have been a state of this realm, and not to allow it to the clergy, who were so much more weighty in the balance, which is that of all other whence a state or order in a government is denominated. Wherefore this monarchy consisted of the King, and of the three ordines regni, or estates, the lords spiritual and temporal, and the commons; it consisted of these, I say, as to the balance, though, during the reign of some of these kings, not as to the administration.

For the ambition of Turbo, and some of those that more immediately succeeded him, to be absolute princes, strove against the nature of their foundation, and, inasmuch as he had divided almost the whole realm among his Neustrians, with some encouragement for a while. But the Neustrians, while they were but foreign plants, having no security against the natives, but in growing up by their princes' sides, were no sooner well rooted in their vast dominions than they came up according to the infallible consequence of the balance domestic, and, contracting the national interest of the baronage, grew as fierce in the vindication of the ancient rights and liberties of the same, as if they had been always natives: whence, the kings being as obstinate on the one side for their absolute power, as these on the other for their immunities, grew certain wars, which took their denomination from the barons.

This fire about the middle of the reign of Adoxus began to break out. And whereas the predecessors of this King had divers times been forced to summon councils resembling those of the Teutons, to which the lords only that were barons by dominion and tenure had hitherto repaired, Adoxus, seeing the effects of such dominion, began first not to call such as were barons by writ (for that was according to the practice of ancient times), but to call such by writs as were otherwise no barons; by which means, striving to avoid the consequence of the balance, in coming unwillingly to set the government straight, he was the first that set it awry. For the barons in his reign, and his successors, having vindicated their ancient authority, restored the Parliament with all the rights and privileges of the same, saving that from thenceforth the kings had found out a way whereby to help themselves against the mighty by creatures of their own, and such as had no other support but by their favor.. By which means this government, being indeed the masterpiece of modern prudence, has been cried up to the skies, as the only invention whereby at once to maintain the sovereignty of a prince and the liberty of the people. Whereas, indeed, it has been no other than a wrestling-match, wherein the nobility, as they have been stronger, have thrown the King, or the King, if he has been stronger, has thrown the nobility; or the King, where he has had a nobility, and could bring them to his party has thrown the people, as in France and Spain; or the people, where they have had no nobility, or could get them to be of their party, have thrown the King, as in Holland, and of later times in Oceana.

But they came not to this strength, but by such approaches and degrees as remain to be further opened. For whereas the barons by writ, as the sixty-four abbots and thirty-six priors that were so called, were but pro temp ore, Dicotome, being the twelfth king from the Conquest, began to make barons by letters-patent, with the addition of honorary pensions for the maintenance of their dignities to them and their heirs; so that they were hands in the King's purse and had no shoulders for his throne. Of these, when the house of peers came once to be full, as will be seen hereafter, there was nothing more empty. But for the present, the throne having other supports, they did not hurt that so much as they did the King; for the old barons, taking Dicotome's prodigality to such creatures so ill that they deposed him, got the trick of it, and never gave over setting up and pulling down their kings according to their various interests, and that faction of the White and Red, into which they have been thenceforth divided, till Panurgus, the eighteenth king from the Conquest, was more by their favor than his right advanced to the crown. This King, through his natural subtlety, reflecting at once upon the greatness of their power, and the inconstancy of their favor, began to find another flaw in this kind of government, which is also noted by Machiavel namely, that a throne supported by a nobility is not so hard to be ascended as kept warm. Wherefore his secret jealousy, lest the dissension of the nobility, as it brought him in might throw him out, made him travel in ways undiscovered by them, to ends as little foreseen by himself, while to establish his own safety, he, by mixing water with their wine, first began to open those sluices that have since overwhelmed not the King only, but the throne. For whereas a nobility strikes not at the throne, without which they cannot subsist, but at some king that they do not like, popular power strikes through the King at the throne, as that which is incompatible with it. Now that Panurgus, in abating the power of the nobility, was the cause whence it came to fall into the hands of the people, appears by those several statutes that were made in his reign, as that for population, those against retainers, and that for alienations.

By the statute of population, all houses of husbandry that were used with twenty acres of ground and upward, were to be maintained and kept up forever with a competent proportion of land laid to them, and in no wise, as appears by a subsequent statute, to be severed. By which means the houses being kept up, did of necessity enforce dwellers; and the proportion of land to be tilled being kept up, did of necessity enforce the dweller not to be a beggar or cottager, but a man of some substance, that might keep hinds and servants and set the plough a-going. This did mightily concern, says the historian of that prince, the might and manhood of the kingdom, and in effect amortize a great part of the lands to the hold and possession of the yeomanry or middle people, who living not in a servile or indigent fashion, were much unlinked from dependence upon their lords, and living in a free and plentiful manner, became a more excellent infantry, but such a one upon which the lords had so little power, that from henceforth they may be computed to have been disarmed.

And as they had lost their infantry after this manner, so their cavalry and commanders were cut off by the statute of retainers; for whereas it was the custom of the nobility to have younger brothers of good houses, mettled fellows, and such as were knowing in the feats of arms about them, they who were longer followed with so dangerous a train, escaped not such punishments as made them take up.

Henceforth the country lives and great tables of the nobility, which no longer nourished veins that would bleed for them, were fruitless and loathsome till they changed the air, and of princes became courtiers; where their revenues, never to have been exhausted by beef and mutton, were found narrow, whence followed racking of rents, and at length sale of lands, the riddance through the statute of alienations being rendered far more quick and facile than formerly it had been through the new invention of entails.

To this it happened that Coraunus, the successor of that King, dissolving the abbeys, brought, with the declining state of the nobility, so vast a prey to the industry of the people, that the balance of the commonwealth was too apparently in the popular party to be unseen by the wise Council of Queen Parthenia, who, converting her reign through the perpetual love tricks that passed between her and her people into a kind of romance, wholly neglected the nobility. And by these degrees came the House of Commons to raise that head, which since has been so high and formidable to their princes that they have looked pale upon those assemblies. Nor was there anything now wanting to the destruction of the throne, but that the people, not apt to see their own strength, should be put to feel it; when a prince, as stiff in disputes as the nerve of monarchy was grown slack, received that unhappy encouragement from his clergy which became his utter ruin, while trusting more to their logic than the rough philosophy of his Parliament, it came to an irreparable breach; for the house of peers, which alone had stood in this gap, now sinking down between the King and the commons, showed that Crassus was dead and the isthmus broken. But a monarchy, divested of its nobility, has no refuge under heaven but an army. Wherefore the dissolution of this government caused the war, not the war the dissolution of this government.

Of the King's success with his arms it is not necessary to give any further account than that they proved as ineffectual as his nobility; but without a nobility or an army (as has been shown) there can be no monarchy. Wherefore what is there in nature that can arise out of these ashes but a popular government, or a new monarchy to be erected by the victorious army?

To erect a monarchy, be it never so new, unless like Leviathan you can hang it, as the country-fellow speaks, by geometry (for what else is it to say, that every other man must give up his will to the will of this one man without any other foundation?), it must stand upon old principles—that is, upon a nobility or an army planted on a due balance of dominion. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam, was an adage of Caesar, and there is no standing for a monarchy unless it finds this balance, or makes it. If it finds it, the work is done to its hand; for, where there is inequality of estates, there must be inequality of power; and where there is inequality of power, there can be no commonwealth. To make it, the sword must extirpate out of dominion all other roots of power, and plant an army upon that ground. An army may be planted nationally or provincially. To plant it nationally, it must be in one of the four ways mentioned, that is, either monarchically in part, as the Roman beneficiarii; or monarchically, in the whole, as the Turkish Timariots; aristocratically that is, by earls and barons, as the Neustrians were planted by Turbo; or democratically, that is, by equal lots, as the Israelitish army in the land of Canaan by Joshua. In every one of these ways there must not only be confiscations, but confiscations to such a proportion as may answer to the work intended.

Confiscation of a people that never fought against you, but whose arms you have borne, and in which you have been victorious, and this upon premeditation and in cold blood, I should have thought to be against any example in human nature, but for those alleged by Machiavel of Agathocles, and Oliveretto di Fermo, the former whereof being captain-general of the Syracusans, upon a day assembled the Senate and the people, as if he had something to communicate with them, when at a sign given he cut the senators in pieces to a man, and all the richest of the people, by which means he came to be king. The proceedings of Oliveretto, in making himself Prince of Fermo, were somewhat different in circumstances, but of the same nature. Nevertheless Catiline, who had a spirit equal to any of these in his intended mischief, could never bring the like to pass in Rome. The head of a small commonwealth, such a one as was that of Syracuse or Fermo, is easily brought to the block; but that a populous nation, such as Rome, had not such a one, was the grief of Nero. If Sylvia or Caesar attained to be princes, it was by civil war, and such civil war as yielded rich spoils, there being a vast nobility to be confiscated; which also was the case in Oceana, when it yielded earth by earldoms, and baronies to the Neustrian for the plantation of his new potentates. Where a conqueror finds the riches of a land in the hands of the few, the forfeitures are easy, and amount to vast advantage; but where the people have equal shares, the confiscation of many comes to little, and is not only dangerous but fruitless.

The Romans, in one of their defeats of the Volsci, found among the captives certain Tusculans, who, upon examination, confessed that the arms they bore were by command of their State; whereupon information being given to the Senate by the general Camillus, he was forthwith commanded to march against Tusculum which doing accordingly, he found the Tusculan fields full of husbandmen, that stirred not otherwise from the plough than to furnish his army with all kinds of accommodations and victuals. Drawing near to the city, he saw the gates wide open, the magistrates coming out in their gowns to salute and bid him welcome; entering, the shops were all at work, and open, the streets sounded with the noise of schoolboys at their books; there was no face of war. Whereupon Camillus, causing the Senate to assemble, told them, that though the art was understood, yet had they at length found out the true arms whereby the Romans were most undoubtedly to be conquered, for which cause he would not anticipate the Senate, to which he desired them forthwith to send, which they did accordingly; and their dictator with the rest of their ambassadors being found by the Roman senators as they went into the house standing sadly at the door were sent for in as friends, and not as enemies; where the dictator having said, "If we have offended, the fault was not so great as is our penitence and your virtue," the Senate gave them peace forthwith, and soon after made the Tusculans citizens of Rome.

But putting the case, of which the world is not able to show an example, that the forfeiture of a populous nation, not conquered, but friends, and in cool blood, might be taken, your army must be planted in one of the ways mentioned. To plant it in the way of absolute monarchy, that is, upon feuds for life, such as the Timars, a country as large and fruitful as that of Greece, would afford you but 16,000 Timariots, for that is the most the Turk (being the best husband that ever was of this kind) makes of it at this day: and if Oceana, which is less in fruitfulness by one-half, and in extent by three parts, should have no greater a force, whoever breaks her in one battle, may be sure she shall never rise; for such (as was noted by Machiavel) is the nature of the Turkish monarchy, if you break it in two battles, you have destroyed its whole militia, and the rest being all slaves, you hold it without any further resistance. Wherefore the erection of an absolute monarchy in Oceana, or in any other country that is no larger, without making it a certain prey to the first invader is altogether impossible.

To plant by halves, as the Roman emperors did their beneficiaries, or military colonies, it must be either for life; and this an army of Oceaners in their own country, especially having estates of inheritance, will never bear because such an army so planted is as well confiscated as the people; nor had the Mamelukes been contented with such usage in Egypt, but that they were foreigners, and daring not to mix with the natives, it was of absolute necessity to their being.

Or planting them upon inheritance, whether aristocratically as the Neustrians, or democratically as the Israelites, they grow up by certain consequences into the national interest, and this, if they be planted popularly, comes to a commonwealth; if by way of nobility, to a mixed monarchy, which of all other will be found to be the only kind of monarchy whereof this nation, or any other that is of no greater extent, has been or can be capable; for if the Israelites, though their democratical balance, being fixed by their agrarian, stood firm, be yet found to have elected kings, it was because, their territory lying open, they were perpetually invaded, and being perpetually invaded, turned themselves to anything which, through the want of experience, they thought might be a remedy; whence their mistake in election of their kings, under whom they gained nothing, but, on the contrary, lost all they had acquired by their commonwealth, both estates and liberties, is not only apparent, but without parallel. And if there have been, as was shown, a kingdom of the Goths in Spain, and of the Vandals in Asia, consisting of a single person and a Parliament (taking a parliament to be a council of the people only, without a nobility), it is expressly said of those councils that they deposed their kings as often as they pleased; nor can there be any other consequence of such a government, seeing where there is a council of the people they do never receive laws, but give them; and a council giving laws to a single person, he has no means in the world whereby to be any more than a subordinate magistrate but force: in which case he is not a single person and a parliament, but a single person and an army, which army again must be planted as has been shown, or can be of no long continuance.

It is true, that the provincial balance bring in nature quite contrary to the national, you are no way to plant a provincial army upon dominion. But then you must have a native territory in strength, situation, or government, able to overbalance the foreign, or you can never hold it. That an army should in any other case be long supported by a mere tax, is a mere fancy as void of all reason and experience as if a man should think to maintain such a one by robbing of orchards; for a mere tax is but pulling of plum-trees, the roots whereof are in other men's grounds, who, suffering perpetual violence, come to hate the author of it; and it is a maxim, that no prince that is hated by his people can be safe. Arms planted upon dominion extirpate enemies and make friends; but maintained by a mere tax, have enemies that have roots, and friends that have none.

To conclude, Oceana, or any other nation of no greater extent, must have a competent nobility, or is altogether incapable of monarchy; for where there is equality of estates, there must be equality of power, and where there is equality of power, there can be no monarchy.

To come then to the generation of the commonwealth. It has been shown how, through the ways and means used by Panurgus to abase the nobility, and so to mend that flaw which we have asserted to be incurable in this kind of constitution, he suffered the balance to fall into the power of the people, and so broke the government; but the balance being in the people, the commonwealth (though they do not see it) is already in the nature of them. There wants nothing else but time, which is slow and dangerous, or art, which would be more quick and secure, for the bringing those native arms, wherewithal they are found already, to resist, they know not how, everything that opposes them, to such maturity as may fix them upon their own strength and bottom.

But whereas this art is prudence, and that part of prudence which regards the present work is nothing else but the skill of raising such superstructures of government as are natural to the known foundations, they never mind the foundation, but through certain animosities, wherewith by striving one against another they are infected, or through freaks, by which, not regarding the course of things, nor how they conduce to their purpose, they are given to building in the air, come to be divided and subdivided into endless parties and factions, both civil and ecclesiastical, which, briefly to open, I shall first speak of the people in general, and then of their divisions.

A people, says Machiavel, that is corrupt, is not capable of a commonwealth. But in showing what a corrupt people is, he has either involved himself, or me; nor can I otherwise come out of the labyrinth, than by saying, the balance altering a people, as to the foregoing government, must of necessity be corrupt; but corruption in this sense signifies no more than that the corruption of one government, as in natural bodies, is the generation of another. Wherefore if the balance alters from monarchy, the corruption of the people in this case is that which makes them capable of a commonwealth. But whereas I am not ignorant that the corruption which he means is in manners, this also is from the balance. For the balance leading from monarchical into popular abates the luxury of the nobility, and, enriching the people, brings the government from a more private to a more public interest which coming nearer, as has been shown, to justice and right reason, the people upon a like alteration is so far from such a corruption of manners as should render them incapable of a commonwealth, that of necessity they must thereby contract such a reformation of manners as will bear no other kind of government. On the other side, where the balance changes from popular to oligarchical or monarchical, the public interest, with the reason and justice included in the sane, becomes more private; luxury is introduced in the room of temperance, and servitude in that of freedom, which causes such a corruption of manners both in the nobility and people, as, by the example of Rome in the time of the Triumvirs, is more at large discovered by the author to have been altogether incapable of a commonwealth.

But the balance of Oceana changing quite contrary to that of Rome, the manners of the people were not thereby corrupted, but, on the contrary, adapted to a commonwealth. For differences of opinion in a people not rightly informed of their balance, or a division into parties (while there is not any common ligament of power sufficient to reconcile or hold them) is no sufficient proof of corruption. Nevertheless, seeing this must needs be matter of scandal and danger, it will not be amiss, in showing what were the parties, to show what were their errors.

The parties into which this nation was divided, were temporal or spiritual; and the temporal parties were especially two, the one royalists, the other republicans, each of which asserted their different causes, either out of prudence or ignorance, out of interest or conscience.

For prudence, either that of the ancients is inferior to the modern, which we have hitherto been setting face to face, that anyone may judge, or that of the royalist must be inferior to that of the commonwealths man. And for interest, taking the commonwealths man to have really intended the public, for otherwise he is a hypocrite and the worst of men, that of the royalist must of necessity have been more private. Wherefore, the whole dispute will come upon matter of conscience, and this, whether it be urged by the right of kings, the obligation of former laws, or of the oath of allegiance, is absolved by the balance.

For if the right of kings were as immediately derived from the breath of God as the life of man, yet this excludes not death and dissolution. But, that the dissolution of the late monarchy was as natural as the death of man, has been already shown. Wherefore it remains with the royalists to discover by what reason or experience it is possible for a monarchy to stand upon a popular balance; or, the balance being popular, as well the oath of allegiance, as all other monarchical laws, imply an impossibility, and are therefore void.

To the commonwealths man I have no more to say, but that if he excludes any party, he is not truly such, nor shall ever found a commonwealth upon the natural principle of the same, which is justice. And the royalist for having not opposed a commonwealth in Oceana, where the laws were so ambiguous that they might be eternally disputed and never reconciled, can neither be justly for that cause excluded from his full and equal share in the government; nor prudently for this reason, that a commonwealth consisting of a party will be in perpetual labor for her own destruction: whence it was that the Romans, having conquered the Albans, incorporated them with equal right into the commonwealth. And if the royalists be "flesh of your flesh," and nearer of blood than were the Albans to the Romans, you being also both Christians, the argument is the stronger. Nevertheless there is no reason that a commonwealth should any more favor a party remaining in fixed opposition against it, than Brutus did his own sons. But if it fixes them upon that opposition, it is its own fault, not theirs; and this is done by excluding them. Men that have equal possessions and the same security for their estates and their liberties that you have, have the same cause with you to defend both; but if you will liberty, though for monarchy; and be trampling, they fight for you for tyranny, though under the name of a commonwealth: the nature of orders in a government rightly instituted being void of all jealousy, because, let the parties which it embraces be what they will, its orders are such as they neither would resist if they could, nor could if they would, as has been partly already shown, and will appear more at large by the following model.

The parties that are spiritual are of more kinds than I need mention; some for a national religion, and others for liberty of conscience, with such animosity on both sides, as if these two could not consist together, and of which I have already sufficiently spoken, to show that indeed the one cannot well subsist without the other But they of all the rest are the most dangerous, who, holding that the saints must govern, go about to reduce the commonwealth to a party, as well for the reasons already shown, as that their pretences are against Scripture, where the saints are commanded to submit to the higher powers, and to be subject to the ordinance of man. And that men, pretending under the notion of saints or religion to civil power, have hitherto never failed to dishonor that profession, the world is full of examples, whereof I shall confine myself at present only to a couple, the one of old, the other of new Rome.

In old Rome, the patricians or nobility pretending to be the godly party, were questioned by the people for engrossing all the magistracies of that commonwealth, and had nothing to say why they did so, but that magistracy required a kind of holiness which was not in the people; at which the people were filled with such indignation as had come to cutting of throats, if the nobility had not immediately laid by the insolency of that plea; which nevertheless when they had done, the people for a long time after continued to elect no other but patrician magistrates.

The example of new Rome in the rise and practice of the hierarchy (too well known to require any further illustration) is far more immodest.

This has been the course of nature; and when it has pleased or shall please God to introduce anything that is above the course of nature, he will, as he has always done, confirm it by miracle; for so in his prophecy of the reign of Christ upon earth he expressly promises, seeing that "the souls of them that were beheaded for Jesus, shall be seen to live and reign with him;" which will be an object of sense, the rather, because the rest of the dead are not to live again till the thousand years be finished. And it is not lawful for men to persuade us that a thing already is, though there be no such object of our sense, which God has told us shall not be till it be an object of our sense.

The saintship of a people as to government, consists in the election of magistrates fearing God, and hating covetousness, and not in their confining themselves, or being confined, to men of this or that party or profession. It consists in making the most prudent and religious choice they can; yet not in trusting to men, but, next God, to their own orders. "Give us good men, and they will make us good laws," is the maxim of a demagogue, and is (through the alteration which is commonly perceivable in men, when they have power to work their own wills) exceeding fallible. But "give us good orders, and they will make us good men," is the maxim of a legislator, and the most infallible in the politics.

But these divisions (however there be some good men that look sadly on them) are trivial things; first as to the civil concern, because the government, whereof this nation is capable, being once seen, takes in all interests. And, secondly, as to the spiritual; because as the pretence of religion has always been turbulent in broken governments, so where the government has been sound and steady, religion has never shown itself with any other face than that of its natural sweetness and tranquillity, nor is there any reason why it should, wherefore the errors of the people are occasioned by their governors. If they be doubtful of the way, or wander from it, it is because their guides misled them; and the guides of the people are never so well qualified for leading by any virtue of their own, as by that of the government.

The government of Oceana (as it stood at the time whereof we discourse, consisting of one single Council of the people, exclusively of the King and the Lords) was called a Parliament: nevertheless the parliaments of the Teutons and of the Neustrians consisted, as has been shown, of the King, lords, and commons; wherefore this, under an old name, was a new thing a parliament consisting of a single assembly elected by the people, and invested with the whole power of the government, without any covenants, conditions, or orders whatsoever. So new a thing, that neither ancient nor modern prudence can show any avowed example of the like. And there is scarce anything that seems to me so strange as that (whereas there was nothing more familiar with these councillors than to bring the Scripture to the house) there should not be a man of them that so much as offered to bring the house to the Scripture, wherein, as has been shown, is contained that original, whereof all the rest of the commonwealths seem to be copies. Certainly if Leviathan (who is surer of nothing than that a popular commonwealth consists but of one council) transcribed his doctrine out of this assembly, for him to except against Aristotle and Cicero for writing out of their own commonwealths was not so fair play; or if the Parliament transcribed out of him, it had been an honor better due to Moses. But where one of them should have an example but from the other, I cannot imagine, there being nothing of this kind that I can find in story, but the oligarchy of Athens, the Thirty Tyrants of the same, and the Roman Decemvirs.

For the oligarchy, Thucydides tells us, that it was a Senate or council of 400, pretending to a balancing council of the people consisting of 5,000, but not producing them; wherein you have the definition of an oligarchy, which is a single council both debating and resolving, dividing and choosing, and what that must come to was shown by the example of the girls, and is apparent by the experience of all times; wherefore the thirty set up by the Lacedaemonians (when they had conquered Athens) are called tyrants by all authors, Leviathan only excepted, who will have them against all the world to have been an aristocracy, but for what reason I cannot imagine; these also, as void of any balance, having been void of that which is essential to every commonwealth, whether aristocratical or popular, except he be pleased with them, because that, according to the testimony of Xenophon, they killed more men in eight months than the Lacedaemonians had done in ten years; "oppressing the people (to use Sir Walter Raleigh's words) with all base and intolerable slavery."

The usurped government of the Decemvirs in Rome was of the same kind. Wherefore in the fear of God let Christian legislators (setting the pattern given in the Mount on the one side, and these execrable examples on the other) know the right hand from the left; and so much the rather, because those things which do not conduce to the good of the governed are fallacious, if they appear to be good for the governors. God, in chastising a people, is accustomed to burn his rod. The empire of these oligarchies was not so violent as short, nor did they fall upon the people, but in their own immediate ruin. A council without a balance is not a commonwealth, but an oligarchy; and every oligarchy, except it be put to the defence of its wickedness or power against some outward danger, is factious. Wherefore the errors of the people being from their governors (which maxim in the politics bearing a sufficient testimony to itself, is also proved by Machiavel), if the people of Oceana have been factious, the cause is apparent, but what remedy?

In answer to this question, I come now to the army, of which the most victorious captain and incomparable patriot, Olphaus Megaletor, was now general, who being a much greater master of that art whereof I have made a rough draught in these preliminaries, had such sad reflections upon the ways and proceedings of the Parliament as cast him upon books and all other means of diversion, among which he happened on this place of Machiavel: "Thrice happy is that people which chances to have a man able to give them such a government at once, as without alteration may secure them of their liberties; seeing it was certain that Lacedaemon, in observing the laws of Lycurgus, continued about 800 years without any dangerous tumult or corruption." My lord general (as it is said of Themistocles, that he could not sleep for the glory obtained by Miltiades at the battle of Marathon) took so new and deep an impression at these words of the much greater glory of Lycurgus, that, being on this side assaulted with the emulation of his illustrious object, and on the other with the misery of the nation, which seemed (as it were ruined by his victory) to cast itself at his feet, he was almost wholly deprived of his natural rest, till the debate he had within himself came to a firm resolution, that the greatest advantages of a commonwealth are, first, that the legislator should be one man; and, secondly, that the government should be made all together, or at once. For the first, it is certain, says Machiavel, that a commonwealth is seldom or never well turned or constituted, except it has been the work of one man; for which cause a wise legislator, and one whose mind is firmly set, not upon private but the public interest, not upon his posterity but upon his country, may justly endeavor to get the sovereign power into his own hands, nor shall any man that is master of reason blame such extraordinary means as in that case will be necessary, the end proving no other than the constitution of a well-ordered commonwealth.

The reason of this is demonstrable; for the ordinary means not failing, the commonwealth has no need of a legislator, but the ordinary means failing, there is no recourse to be had but to such as are extraordinary. And, whereas a book or a building has not been known to attain to its perfection if it has not had a sole author or architect, a commonwealth, as to the fabric of it, is of the like nature. And thus it may be made at once; in which there be great advantages; for a commonwealth made at once, takes security at the same time it lends money; and trusts not itself to the faith of men, but launches immediately forth into the empire of laws, and, being set straight, brings the manners of its citizens to its rule, whence followed that uprightness which was in Lacedaemon. But manners that are rooted in men, bow the tenderness of a commonwealth coming up by twigs to their bent, whence followed the obliquity that was in Rome, and those perpetual repairs by the consuls' axes, and tribunes' hammers, which could never finish that commonwealth but in destruction.

My lord general being clear in these points, and of the necessity of some other course than would be thought upon by the Parliament, appointed a meeting of the army, where he spoke his sense agreeable to these preliminaries with such success to the soldiery, that the Parliament was soon after deposed; had he himself, in the great hall of the Pantheon or palace of justice, situated in Emporium, the capital city, was created by the universal suffrage of the army, Lord Archon, or sole legislator of Oceana, upon which theatre you have, to conclude this piece, a person introduced, whose fame shall never draw its curtain.

The Lord Archon being created, fifty select persons to assist him, by laboring in the mines of ancient prudence, and bringing its hidden treasures to new light, were added, with the style also of legislators, and sat as a council, whereof he was the sole director and president.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:33 am


OF this piece, being the greater half of the whole work, I shall be able at this time to give no further account, than very briefly to show at what it aims.

My Lord Archon, in opening the Council of legislators, made it appear how unsafe a thing it is to follow fancy in the fabric of a commonwealth; and how necessary that the archives of ancient prudence should be ransacked before any councillor should presume to offer any other matter in order to the work in hand, or toward the consideration to be had by the Council upon a model of government. Wherefore he caused an urn to be brought, and every one of the councillors to draw a lot. By the lots as they were drawn,

The Commonwealth of / Fell to

Israel / Phosphorus de Auge
Athens / Navarchus de Paralo
Lacedaemon / Laco de Scytale
Carthage / Mago de Syrtibus
The Achaeans, AEtolians, and Lycians / Aratus de Isthmo
The Switz Alpester / de Fulmine
Holland and the United Provinces / Glaucus de Ulna
Rome / Dolabella de Enyo
Venice Lynceus de Stella

These contained in them all those excellencies whereof a commonwealth is capable; so that to have added more had been to no purpose. Upon time given to the councillors, by their own studies and those of their friends, to prepare themselves, they were opened in the order, and by the persons mentioned at the Council of legislators, and afterward by order of the same were repeated at the council of the prytans to the people; for in drawing of the lots, there were about a dozen of them inscribed with the letter P, whereby the councillors that drew them became prytans.

The prytans were a committee or council sitting in the great hall of Pantheon, to whom it was lawful for any man to offer anything in order to the fabric of the commonwealth; for which cause, that they might not be oppressed by the throng, there was a rail about the table where they sat, and on each side of the same a pulpit; that on the right hand for any man that would propose anything, and that on the left for any other that would oppose him. And all parties (being indemnified by proclamation of the Archon) were invited to dispute their own interests, or propose whatever they thought fit (in order to the future government) to the council of the prytans, who, having a guard of about two or three hundred men, lest the heat of dispute might break the peace, had the right of moderators, and were to report from time to time such propositions or occurrences as they thought fit, to the Council of legislators sitting more privately in the palace called Alma.

This was that which made the people (who were neither safely to be admitted, nor conveniently to be excluded in the framing of the commonwealth) verily believe, when it came forth, that it was no other than that whereof they themselves had been the makers.

Moreover, this Council sat divers months after the publishing and during the promulgation of the model to the people; by which means there is scarce anything was said or written for or against the said model but you shall have it with the next impression of this work, by way of oration addressed to and moderated by the prytans.

By this means the Council of legislators had their necessary solitude and due aim in their greater work, as being acquainted from time to time with the pulse of the people, and yet without any manner of interruption or disturbance.

Wherefore every commonwealth in its place having been opened by due method—that is, first, by the people; secondly, by the Senate; and, thirdly, by the magistracy-the Council upon mature debate took such results or orders out of each, and out of every part of each of them, as upon opening the same they thought fit; which being put from time to time in writing by the clerk or secretary, there remained no more in the conclusion, than putting the orders so taken together, to view and examine them with a diligent eye, that it might be clearly discovered whether they did interfere, or could anywise come to interfere or jostle one with the other. For as such orders jostling or coming to jostle one another are the certain dissolution of the commonwealth, so, taken upon the proof of like experience, and neither jostling nor showing which way they can possibly come to jostle one another, they make a perfect and (for aught that in human prudence can be foreseen) an immortal commonwealth.

And such was the art whereby my Lord Archon (taking council of the Commonwealth of Israel, as of Moses; and of the rest of the commonwealths, as of Jethro) framed the model of the Commonwealth of Oceana.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:39 am

Part 1 of 9


WHEREAS my Lord Archon, being from Moses and Lycurgus the first legislator that hitherto is found in history to have introduced or erected an entire commonwealth at once, happened, like them also, to be more intent upon putting the same into execution or action, than into writing; by which means the model came to be promulgated or published with more brevity and less illustration than are necessary for their understanding who have not been acquainted with the whole proceedings of the Council of legislators, and of the prytans, where it was asserted and cleared from all objections and doubts: to the end that I may supply what was wanting in the promulgated epitome to a more full and perfect narrative of the whole, I shall rather take the commonwealth practically; and as it has now given an account of itself in some years' revolutions (as Dicearchus is said to have done that of Lacedaemon, first transcribed by his hand some three or four hundred years after the institution), yet not omitting to add for proof to every order such debates and speeches of the legislators in their Council, or at least such parts of them as may best discover the reason of the government; nor such ways and means as were used in the institution or rise of the building, not to be so well conceived, without some knowledge given of the engines wherewithal the mighty weight was moved. But through the entire omission of the Council of legislators or workmen that squared every stone to this structure in the quarries of ancient prudence, the proof of the first part of this discourse will be lame, except I insert, as well for illustration as to avoid frequent repetition, three remarkable testimonies in this place.

The first is taken out of the Commonwealth of Israel: "So Moses hearkened to the voice of Jethro, his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people;" tribunes, as it is in the vulgar Latin; or phylarchs, that is, princes of the tribes, sitting upon twelve thrones, and judging the twelve tribes of Israel; and next to these he chose rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens, which were the steps and rise of this commonwealth from its foundation or root to its proper elevation or accomplishment in the Sanhedrim, and the congregation, already opened in the preliminaries.

The second is taken out of Lacedaemon, as Lycurgus (for the greater impression of his institutions upon the minds of his citizens) pretended to have received the model of that commonwealth from the oracle of Apollo at Delphos, the words whereof are thus recorded by Plutarch in the life of that famous legislator: "When thou shalt have divided the people into tribes (which were six) and oboe (which were five in every tribe), thou shalt constitute the Senate, consisting, with the two Kings, of thirty councillors, who, according as occasion requires, shall cause the congregation to be assembled between the bridge and the river Gnacion, where the Senate shall propose to the people, and dismiss them without suffering them to debate." The oboe were lineages into which every tribe was divided, and in each tribe there was another division containing all those of the same that were of military age, which being called the mora, was subdivided into troops and companies that were kept in perpetual discipline under the command of a magistrate called the polemarch.

The third is taken out of the Commonwealth of Rome, or those parts of it which are comprised in the first and second books of Livy, where the people, according to the institution by Romulus, are first divided into thirty curias or parishes, whereof he elected, by three out of each curia, the Senate, which, from his reign to that or Servius Tullius, proposed to the parishes or parochial congregations; and these being called the Comitia curiata, had the election of the kings, the confirmation of their laws, and the last appeal in matters of judicature, as appears in the case of Horatius that killed his sister; till, in the reign of Servius (for the other kings kept not to the institution of Romulus), the people being grown somewhat, the power of the Curiata was for the greater part translated to the Centuriata comitia instituted by this King, which distributed the people, according to the sense of valuation of their estates, into six classes, every one containing about forty centuries, divided into youth and elders; the youth for field-service, the elders for the defence of their territory, all armed and under continual discipline, in which they assembled both upon military and civil occasions. But when the Senate proposed to the people, the horse only, whereof there were twelve centuries, consisting of the richest sort over and above those of the foot enumerated, were called with the first classes of the foot to the suffrage; or if these accorded not, then the second classes were called to them, but seldom or never any of the rest. Wherefore the people, after the expulsion of the kings, growing impatient of this inequality, rested not till they had reduced the suffrage as it had been in the Comitia curiato to the whole people again; but in another way, that is to say, by the Comitia tributa, which thereupon were instituted, being a council where the people in exigencies made laws without the Senate, which laws were called plebiscita. This Council is that in regard whereof Cicero and other great wits so frequently inveigh against the people, and sometimes even Livy as at the first institution of it. To say the truth, it was a kind of anarchy, whereof the people could not be excusable, if there had not, through the courses taken by the Senate, been otherwise a necessity that they must have seen the commonwealth run into oligarchy.

The manner how the Comitia curiata, centuriata or tributa were called, during the time of the commonwealth, to the suffrage, was by lot: the curia, century, or tribe, whereon the first lot fell, being styled principium, or the prerogative; and the other curioe, centuries or tribes, whereon the second, third, and fourth lots, etc., fell, the jure vocatoe. From henceforth not the first classes, as in the times of Servius, but the prerogative, whether curia, century, or tribe, came first to the suffrage, whose vote was called omen proerogativum, and seldom failed to be leading to the rest of the tribes. The jure vocatoe, in the order of their lots, came next: the manner of giving suffrage was, by casting wooden tablets, marked for the affirmative or the negative, into certain urns standing upon a scaffold, as they marched over it in files, which for the resemblance it bore was called the bridge. The candidate, or competitor, who had most suffrages in a curia, century, or tribe, was said to have that curia, century, or tribe; and he who had most of the curioe, centuries, or tribes, carried the magistracy.

These three places being premised, as such upon which there will be frequent reflection, I come to the narrative, divided into two parts, the first containing the institution, the second the constitution of the commonwealth, in each whereof I shall distinguish the orders, as those which contain the whole model, from the rest of the discourse, which tends only to the explanation or proof of them.

In the institution or building of a commonwealth, the first work, as that of builders, can be no other than fitting and distributing the materials.

The materials of a commonwealth are the people, and the people of Oceana were distributed by casting them into certain divisions, regarding their quality, their age, their wealth, and the places of their residence or habitation, which was done by the ensuing orders.

The first order "distributes the people into freemen or citizens and servants, while such; for if they attain to liberty, that is, to live of themselves, they are freemen or citizens."

This order needs no proof, in regard of the nature of servitude, which is inconsistent with freedom, or participation of government in a commonwealth.

The second order "distributes citizens into youth and elders (such as are from eighteen years of age to thirty, being accounted youth; and such as are of thirty and upward, elders), and establishes that the youth shall be the marching armies, and the elders the standing garrisons of this nation."

A commonwealth, whose arms are in the hands of her servants, had need be situated, as is elegantly said of Venice by Contarini, out of the reach of their clutches; witness the danger run by that of Carthage in the rebellion of Spendius and Matho. But though a city, if one swallow makes a summer, may thus chance to be safe, yet shall it never be great; for if Carthage or Venice acquired any fame in their arms, it is known to have happened through the mere virtue of their captains, and not of their orders; wherefore Israel, Lacedaemon,
and Rome entailed their arms upon the prime of their citizens, divided, at least in Lacedaemon and Rome, into youth and elders: the youth for the field, and the elders for defence of the territory.

The third order "distributes the citizens into horse and foot, by the sense or valuation of their estates; they who have above £100 a year in lands, goods, or moneys, being obliged to be of the horse, and they who have under that sum to be of the foot. But if a man has prodigally wasted and spent his patrimony, he is neither capable of magistracy, office, or suffrage in the commonwealth."

Citizens are not only to defend the commonwealth, but according to their abilities, as the Romans under Servius Tullius (regard had to their estates), were some enrolled in the horse centuries, and others of the foot, with arms enjoined accordingly, nor could it be otherwise in the rest of the commonwealths, though out of historical remains, that are so much darker, it be not so clearly probable. And the necessary prerogative to be given by a commonwealth to estates, is in some measure in the nature of industry, and the use of it to the public. "The Roman people," says Julius Exuperantius, "were divided into classes, and taxed according to the value of their estates. All that were worth the sums appointed were employed in the wars; for they most eagerly contend for the victory; who fight for liberty in defence of their country and possessions. But the poorer sort were polled only for their heads (which was all they had) and kept in garrison at home in time of war; for these might betray the armies for bread, by reason of their poverty, which is the reason that Marius, to whom the care of the government ought not to have been committed, was the first that led them into the field;" and his success was accordingly. There is a mean in things; as exorbitant riches overthrow the balance of a commonwealth, so extreme poverty cannot hold it, nor is by any means to be trusted with it. The clause in the order concerning the prodigal is Athenian, and a very laudable one; for he that could not live upon his patrimony, if he comes to touch the public money, makes a commonwealth bankrupt.

The fourth order "distributes the people according to the places of their habitation, into parishes, hundreds, and tribes."

For except the people be methodically distributed, they cannot be methodically collected; but the being of a commonwealth consists in the methodical collection of the people: wherefore you have the Israelitish divisions into rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens; and of the whole commonwealth into tribes: the Laconic into oboe, moras, and tribes; the Roman into tribes, centuries, and classes; and something there must of necessity be in every government of the like nature, as that in the late monarchy—by counties. But this being the only institution in Oceana, except that of the agrarian, which required any charge or included any difficulty, engages me to a more particular description of the manner how it was performed, as follows:

A thousand surveyors, commissioned and instructed by the Lord Archon and the Council, being divided into two equal numbers, each under the inspection of two surveyors-general, were distributed into the northern and southern parts of the territory, divided by the river Hemisua, the whole whereof contains about 10,000 parishes, some ten of those being assigned to each surveyor; for as to this matter there needed no great exactness, it tending only by showing whither everyone was to, begin, to the more orderly carrying repair and whereabout to on of the work; the nature of their instructions otherwise regarding rather the number of the inhabitants than of the parishes. The surveyors, therefore, being every one furnished with a convenient proportion of urns, balls, and balloting-boxes—in the use whereof they had been formerly exercised—and now arriving each at his respective parish, being with the people by teaching them their first lesson, which was the ballot; and though they found them in the beginning somewhat froward, as at toys, with which, while they were in expectation of greater matters from a Council of legislators, they conceived themselves to be abused, they came within a little while to think them pretty sport, and at length such as might very soberly be used in good earnest; whereupon the surveyors began the institution included in—

The first order, requiring "That upon the first Monday next ensuing the last of December the bigger bell in every parish throughout the nation be rung at eight of the clock in the morning, and continue ringing for the space of one hour; and that all the elders of the parish respectively repair to the church before the bell has done ringing, where, dividing themselves into two equal numbers, or as near equal as may be, they shall take their places according to their dignities, if they be of divers qualities, and according to their seniority, if they be of the same, the one half on the one side, and the other half on the other, in the body of the church, which done, they shall make oath to the overseers of the parish for the time being (instead of these the surveyors were to officiate at the institution, or first assembly) by holding up their hands, to make a fair election according to the laws of the ballot, as they are hereafter explained, of such persons, amounting to a fifth part of their whole number, to be their deputies, and to exercise their power in manner hereafter explained, as they shall think in their consciences to be fittest for that trust, and will acquit themselves of it to the best advantage of the commonwealth. And oath being thus made, they shall proceed to election, if the elders of the parish amount to 1,000 by the ballot of the tribe, as it is in due place explained, and if the elders of the parish amount to fifty or upward, but within the number of 1,000, by the ballot of the hundred, as it is in due place explained. But, if the elders amount not to fifty, then they shall proceed to the ballot of the parish, as it is in this place and after this manner explained.

"The two overseers for the time being shall seat themselves at the upper end of the middle alley, with a table before them, their faces being toward the congregation, and the constable for the time being shall set an urn before the table, into which he shall put so many balls as there be elders present, whereof there shall be one that is gilded, the rest being white; and when the constable has shaken the urn, sufficiently to mix the balls, the overseers shall call the elders to the urn, who from each side of the church shall come up the middle alley in two files, every man passing by the urn, and drawing out one ball; which, if it be silver, he shall cast into a bowl standing at the foot of the urn, and return by the outward alley on his side to his place. But he who draws the golden ball is the proposer, and shall be seated between the overseers, where he shall begin in what order he pleases, and name such as, upon his oath already taken, he conceives fittest to be chosen, one by one, to the elders; and the party named shall withdraw while the congregation is balloting his name by the double box or boxes appointed and marked on the outward part, to show which side is affirmative and which negative, being carried by a boy or boys appointed by the overseers, to every one of the elders, who shall hold up a pellet made of linen rags between his finger and his thumb, and put it after such a manner into the box, as though no man can see into which side he puts it, yet any man may see that he puts in but one pellet or suffrage. And the suffrage of the congregation being thus, given, shall be returned with the box or boxes to the overseers, who opening the same, shall pour the affirmative balls into a white bowl standing upon the table on the right hand, to be numbered by the first overseer; and the negative into a green bowl standing on the left hand, to be numbered by the second overseer; and the suffrages being numbered, he who has the major part in the affirmative is one of the deputies of the parish, and when so many deputies are chosen as amount to a full fifth part of the whole number of the elders, the ballot for that time shall cease. The deputies being chosen are to be listed by the overseers in order as they were chosen, except only that such as are horse must be listed in the first place with the rest, proportionable to the number of the congregation, after this manner."

Anno Domini


A.A. Equestrian Order, First Deputy
B.B. Second Deputy,
C.C. Third Deputy,
D.D. Fourth Deputy,
E.E. Fifty Deputy,

Of the parish of in the hundred of and the tribe of, which parish at the present election contains twenty elders, whereof one is of the horse or equestrian order.

"The first and second in the list are overseers by consequence; the third is the constable, and the fourth and fifth are churchwardens; the persons so chosen are deputies of the parish for the space of one year from their election, and no longer, nor may they be elected two years together. This list, being the primum mobile, or first mover of the commonwealth, is to be registered in a book diligently kept and preserved by the overseers, who are responsible in their places, for these and other duties to be hereafter mentioned, to the censors of the tribe; and the congregation is to observe the present order, as they will answer the contrary to the phylarch, or prerogative troop of the tribe, which, in case of failure in the whole or any part of it, have power to fine them or any of them at discretion, but under an appeal to the Parliament."

For proof of this order, first, in reason, it is with all politicians past dispute that paternal power is in the right of nature; and this is no other than the derivation of power from fathers of families as the natural root of a commonwealth. And for experience, if it be otherwise in that of Holland, I know no other example of the like kind. In Israel, the sovereign power came clearly from the natural root, the elders of the whole people; and Rome was born, Comitiis curiatis, in her parochial congregations, out of which Romulus first raised her Senate, then all the rest of the orders of that commonwealth, which rose so high: for the depth of a commonwealth is the just height of it—

"She raises up her head unto the skies,
Near as her root unto the centre lies."

And if the Commonwealth of Rome was born of thirty parishes, this of Oceana was born of 10,000. But whereas mention in the birth of this is made of an equestrian order, it may startle such as know that the division of the people of Rome, at the institution of that commonwealth into orders, was the occasion of its ruin. The distinction of the patrician as a hereditary order from the very institution, engrossing all the magistracies, was indeed the destruction of Rome; but to a knight or one of the equestrian order, says Horace,

"Si quadringentis sex septem millia desunt,
Plebs eris."

By which it should seem that this order was not otherwise hereditary than a man's estate, nor did it give any claim to magistracy; wherefore you shall never find that it disquieted the commonwealth, nor does the name denote any more in Oceana than the duty of such a man's estate to the public.

But the surveyors, both in this place and in others, forasmuch as they could not observe all the circumstances of this order, especially that of the time of election, did for the first as well as they could; and, the elections being made and registered, took each of them copies of those lists which were within their allotments, which done they produced—

The sixth order, directing "in case a parson or vicar of a parish comes to be removed by death or by the censors, that the congregation of the parish assemble and depute one or two elders by the ballot, who upon the charge of the parish shall repair to one of the universities of this nation with a certificate signed by the overseers, and addressed to the vice-chancellor, which certificate, giving notice of the death or removal of the parson or vicar, of the value of the parsonage or vicarage, and of the desire of the congregation to receive a probationer from that university, the vice-chancellor, upon the receipt thereof, shall call a convocation, and having made choice of a fit person, shall return him in due time to the parish, where the person so returned shall return the full fruits of the benefice or vicarage, and do the duty of the parson or vicar, for the space of one year, as probationer; and that being expired, the congregation of the elders shall put their probationer to the ballot, and if he attains not to two parts in three of the suffrage affirmative, he shall take his leave of the parish, and they shall send in like manner as before for another probationer; but if their probationer obtains two parts in three of the suffrage affirmative, he is then pastor of that parish. And the pastor of the parish shall pray with the congregation, preach the Word, and administer the sacraments to the same, according to the directory to be hereafter appointed by the Parliament. Nevertheless such as are of gathered congregations, or from time to time shall join with any of them, are in no wise obliged to this way of electing their teachers, or to give their votes in this case, but wholly left to the liberty of their own consciences, and to that way of worship which they shall choose, being not popish, Jewish, or idolatrous. And to the end they may be the better protected by the State in the exercise of the same, they are desired to make choice, and such manner as they best like, of certain magistrates in every one of their congregations, which we could wish might be four in each of them, to be auditors in cases of differences or distaste, if any through variety of opinions, that may be grievous or injurious to them, shall fall out. And such auditors or magistrates shall have power to examine the matter, and inform themselves, to the end that if they think it of sufficient weight, they may acquaint the phylarch with it, or introduce it into the Council of Religion; where all such causes as those magistrates introduce shall from time to time be heard and determined according to such laws as are or shall hereafter be provided by the Parliament for the just defence of the liberty of conscience."

This order consists of three parts, the first restoring the power of ordination to the people, which, that it originally belongs to them, is clear, though not in English yet in Scripture, where the apostles ordained elders by the holding up of hands in every congregation, that is, by the suffrage of the people, which was also given in some of those cities by the ballot. And though it may be shown that the apostles ordained some by the laying on of hands, it will not be shown that they did so in every congregation.

Excommunication, as not clearly provable out of the Scripture, being omitted, the second part of the order implies and establishes a national religion; for there be degrees of knowledge in divine things; true religion is not to be learned without searching the Scripture; the Scriptures cannot be searched by us unless we have them to search; and if we have nothing else, or (which is all one) understand nothing else but a translation, we may be (as in the place alleged we have been) beguiled or misled by the translation, while we should be searching the true sense of the Scripture, which cannot be attained in a natural way (and a commonwealth is not to presume upon that which is supernatural) but by the knowledge of the original and of antiquity, acquired by our own studies, or those of some others, for even faith comes by hearing. Wherefore a commonwealth not making provision of men from time to time, knowing in the original languages wherein the Scriptures were written, and versed in those antiquities to which they so frequently relate, that the true sense of them depends in great part upon that knowledge, can never be secure that she shall not lose the Scripture, and by consequence her religion; which to preserve she must institute some method of this knowledge, and some use of such as have acquired it, which amounts to a national religion.

The commonwealth having thus performed her duty toward God, as a rational creature, by the best application of her reason to Scripture, and for the preservation of religion in the purity of the same, yet pretends not to infallibility, but comes in the third part of the order, establishing liberty of conscience according to the instructions given to her Council of Religion, to raise up her hands to heaven for further light; in which proceeding she follows that (as was shown in the preliminaries) of Israel, who, though her national religion was always a part of her civil law, gave to her prophets the upper hand of all her orders.

But the surveyors having now done with the parishes, took their leave; so a parish is the first division of land occasioned by the first collection of the people of Oceana, whose function proper to that place is comprised in the six preceding orders.

The next step in the progress of the surveyors was to a meeting of the nearest of them, as their work lay, by twenties; where conferring their lists, and computing the deputies contained therein, as the number of them in parishes, being nearest neighbors, amounted to 100, or as even as might conveniently be brought with that account, they cast them and those parishes into the precinct which (be the deputies ever since more or fewer) is still called the hundred; and to every one of these precincts they appointed a certain place, being the most convenient town within the same, for the annual rendezvous; which done, each surveyor, returning to his hundred, and summoning the deputies contained in his lists to the rendezvous, they appeared and received—

The seventh order, requiring, "That upon the first Monday next ensuing the last of January, the deputies of every parish annually assemble in arms at the rendezvous of the hundred, and there elect out of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one captain, one ensign of their troop or century, each of these out of the horse; and one juryman, one coroner, one high constable, out of the foot. The election to be made by the ballot in this manner. The jurymen for the time being are to be overseers of the ballot (instead of these, the surveyors are to officiate at the first assembly), and to look to the performance of the same according to what was directed in the ballot of the parishes, saving that the high constable setting forth the urn shall have five several suits of gold balls, and one dozen of every suit; whereof the first shall be marked with the letter A, the second with the letter B, the third with C, the fourth with D, and the fifth with E: and of each of these suits he shall cast one ball into his hat, or into a little urn, and shaking the balls together, present them to the first overseer, who shall draw one, and the suit which is so drawn by the overseer shall be of use for that day, and no other; for example, if the overseer drew an A, the high constable shall put seven gold balls marked with the letter A into the urn, with so many silver ones as shall bring them even with the number of the deputies, who being sworn, as before, at the ballot of the parish to make a fair election, shall be called to the urn; and every man coming in manner as was there shown, shall draw one ball, which, if it be silver, he shall cast it into a bowl standing at the foot of the urn, and return to his place: but the first that draws a gold ball (showing it to the overseers, who if it has not the letter of the present ballot, have power to apprehend and punish him) is the first elector, the second the second elector, and so to the seventh; which order they are to observe in their function. "The electors as they are drawn shall be placed upon the bench by the overseers, till the whole number be complete, and then be conducted, with the list of the officers to be chosen, into a place apart, where, being private, the first elector shall name a person to the first office in the list; and if the person so named, being balloted by the rest of the electors, attains not to the better half of the suffrages in the affirmative, the first elector shall continue nominating others, till one of them so nominated by him attains to the plurality of the suffrages in the affirmative, and be written first competitor to the first office. This done, the second elector shall observe in his turn the like order; and so the rest of the electors, naming competitors each to his respective office in the list, till one competitor be chosen to every office: and when one competitor is chosen to every office, the first elector shall begin again to name a second competitor to the first office, and the rest successively shall name to the rest of the offices till two competitors be chosen to every office; the like shall be repeated till three competitors be chosen to every office. And when three competitors are chosen to every office, the list shall be returned to the overseers, or such as the overseers, in case they or either of them happened to be electors, have substituted in his or their place or places; and the overseers or substitutes having caused the list to be read to the congregation, shall put the competitors, in order as they are written, to the ballot of the congregation; and the rest of the proceedings being carried on in the manner directed in the fifth order, that competitor, of the three written to each office, who has most of the suffrages above half in the affirmative, is the officer. The list being after this manner completed, shall be entered into a register, to be kept at the rendezvous of the hundred, under inspection of the magistrates of the same, after the manner following:

Anno Domini


A.A. Equestrian Order, Justice of the Peace,
B.B. Equestrian Order, First Juryman,
C.C. Equestrian Order, Captain of the Hundred,
D.D. Equestrian Order, Ensign,
E.E. Second Juryman,
F.F. High Constable,
G.G. Coroner,

Of the hundred of in the tribe of, which hundred consists at this election of 105 deputies.

"The list being entered, the high constable shall take three copies of the same, whereof he shall presently return one to the lord high sheriff of the tribe, a second to the lord custos rotulorum, and a third to the censors; or these, through the want of such magistrates at the first muster, may be returned to the orator, to be appointed for that tribe. To the observation of all and every part of this order, the officers and deputies of the hundred are all and every of them obliged, as they will answer it to the phylarch, who has power, in case of failure in the whole or any part, to fine all or any of them so failing at discretion, or according to such laws as shall hereafter be provided in that case, but under an appeal to the Parliament." There is little in this order worthy of any further account, but that it answers to the rulers of hundreds in Israel, to the mora or military part of the tribe in Lacedaemon, and to the century in Rome. The jurymen, being two in a hundred, and so forty in a tribe, give the latitude allowed by the law for exceptions. And whereas the golden balls at this ballot begin to be marked with letters, whereof one is to be drawn immediately before it begins, this is to the end that the letter being unknown, men may be frustrated of tricks or foul play, whereas otherwise a man may bring a golden ball with him, and make as if he had drawn it out of the urn. The surveyors, when they had taken copies of these lists, had accomplished their work in the hundreds.

So a hundred is the second division of land occasioned by the second collection of the people, whose civil and military functions proper to this place are comprised in the foregoing order.

Having stated the hundreds, they met once again by twenties, where there was nothing more easy than to cast every twenty hundreds, as they lay most conveniently together, into one tribe; so the whole territory of Oceana, consisting of about 10,000 parishes, came to be cast into 1,000 hundreds, and into fifty tribes. In every tribe at the place appointed for the annual rendezvous of the same, were then, or soon after begun those buildings which are now called pavilions; each of them standing with one open side upon fair columns, like the porch of some ancient temple, and looking into a field capable of the muster of some 4,000 men; before each pavilion stand three pillars sustaining urns for the ballot, that on the right hand equal in height to the brow of a horseman, being called the horse urn, that on the left hand, with bridges on either side to bring it equal in height with the brow of a footman, being called the foot urn, and the middle urn, with a bridge on the side toward the foot urn, the other side, as left for the horse, being without one; and here ended the whole work of the surveyors, who returned to the Lord Archon with this—


Imprimis: Urns, balls, and balloting-boxes for 10,000 parishes,
the same being wooden-ware, £20,000
Item: Provision of the like kind for a thousand hundreds
Item: Urns and balls of metal, with balloting-boxes for fifty
Item: For erecting of fifty pavilions,
Item: Wages for four surveyors-general at £1,000 a man
Item: Wages for the rest of the surveyors, being 1,000 at £250 a
Sum Total £339,000

This is no great matter of charge for the building of a commonwealth, in regard that it has cost (which was pleaded by the surveyors) as much to rig a few ships. Nevertheless that proves not them to be honest, nor their account to be just; but they had their money for once, though their reckoning be plainly guilty of a crime, to cost him his neck that commits it another time, it being impossible for a commonwealth (without an exact provision that it be not abused in this kind) to subsist; for if no regard should be had of the charge (though that may go deep), yet the debauchery and corruption whereto, by negligence in accounts, it infallibly exposes its citizens, and thereby lessens the public faith, which is the nerve and ligament of government, ought to be prevented. But the surveyors being despatched, the Lord Archon was very curious in giving names to his tribes, which having caused to be written in scrolls cast into an urn, and presented to the councillors, each of them drew one, and was accordingly sent to the tribe in his lot, as orators of the same, a magistracy no otherwise instituted, than for once and pro tempore, to the end that the council upon so great an occasion might both congratulate with the tribes, and assist at the first muster in some things of necessity to be differently carried from the established administration and future course of the commonwealth.

The orators being arrived, every one as soon as might be, at the rendezvous of his tribe, gave notice to the hundreds, and summoned the muster which appeared for the most part upon good horses, and already indifferently well armed; as to instance in one for all, the tribe of Nubia, where Hermes de Caduceo, lord orator of the same, after a short salutation and a hearty welcome, applied himself to his business, which began with—

The eighth order requiring "That the lord high sheriff as commander-in-chief, and the lord custos rotulorum as muster-master of the tribe (or the orator for the first muster), upon reception of the lists of their hundreds, returned to them by the high constables of the same, presently cause them to be cast up, dividing the horse from the foot, and listing the horse by their names in troops, each troop containing about 100 in number, to be inscribed First, Second, or Third troop, etc., according to the order agreed upon by the said magistrates; which done, they shall list the foot in like manner, and inscribe the companies in like order. These lists upon the eve of the muster shall be delivered to certain trumpeters and drummers, whereof there shall be fifteen of each sort (as well for the present as otherwise to be hereafter mentioned) stipendiated by the tribe. And the trumpeters and drummers shall be in the field before the pavilion, upon the day of the muster, so soon as it is light, where they shall stand every one with his list in his hand, at a due distance, placed according to the order of the list, the trumpeters with the lists of the horse on the right hand, and the drummers with the lists of the foot on the left hand; where having sounded awhile, each of them shall begin to call and continue calling the names of the deputies, as they come into the field, till both the horse and foot be gathered by that means into their due order. The horse and foot being in order, the lord lieutenant of the tribe shall cast so many gold balls marked with the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., as there be troops of horse in the field, together with so many silver balls as there be companies, marked in the same manner, into a little urn, to which he shall call the captains; and the captains drawing the gold balls shall command the horse, and those that draw the silver the foot, each in the order of his lot. The like shall be done by the conductor at the same time for the ensigns at another urn; and they that draw the gold balls shall be cornets, the left ensigns."

This order may puzzle the reader, but tends to a wonderful speed of the muster, to which it would be a great matter to lose a day in ranging and marshalling, whereas by virtue of this the tribe is no sooner in the field than in battalia, nor sooner in battalia than called to the urns or the ballot by virtue of—

The ninth order, "Whereby the censors (or the orator for the first muster) upon reception of the lists of the hundreds from the high constables, according as is directed by the seventh order are to make their notes for the urns beforehand, with regard had to the lists of the magistrates, to be elected by the ensuing orders, that is to say, by the first list called the prime magnitude, six; and by the second called the galaxy, nine. Wherefore the censors are to put into the middle urn for the election of the first list twenty-four gold balls, with twenty-six blanks or silver balls, in all sixty; and into the side urns sixty gold balls, divided into each according to the different number of the horse and foot; that is to say, if the horse and the foot be equal, equally, and if the horse and the foot be unequal, unequally, by an arithmetical proportion. The like shall be done the second day of the muster for the second list, except that the censors shall put into the middle urn thirty-six gold balls with twenty-four blanks, in all sixty; and sixty gold balls into the side urns, divided respectively into the number of the horse and the foot; and the gold balls in the side urns at either ballot are by the addition of blanks to be brought even with the number of the ballotants at either urn respectively. The censors having prepared their notes, as has been shown, and being come at the day appointed into the field, shall present a little urn to the lord high sheriff, who is to draw twice for the letters to be used that day, the one at the side urns, and the other at the middle. And the censors having fitted the urns accordingly, shall place themselves in certain movable seats or pulpits (to be kept for that use in the pavilion) the first censor before the horse urn, the second before the foot urn, the lord lieutenant doing the office of censor pro tempore at the middle urn; where all and every one of them shall cause the laws of the ballot to be diligently observed, taking a special care that no man be suffered to come above once to the urn (whereof it more particularly concerns the sub-censors, that is to say, the overseers of every parish, to be careful, they being each in this regard responsible for their respective parishes) or to draw above one ball, which if it be gold, he is to present to the censor, who shall look upon the letter; and if it be not that of the day, and of the respective urn, apprehend the party, who for this or any other like disorder is obnoxious to the phylarch."
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:41 am

Part 2 of 9

This order being observed by the censors, it is not possible for the people, if they can but draw the balls, though they understand nothing at all of the ballot, to be out. To philosophize further upon this art, though there be nothing more rational, were not worth the while, because in writing it will be perplexed, and the first practice of it gives the demonstration; whence it came to pass that the orator, after some needless pains in the explanation of the two foregoing orders, betaking himself to exemplify the same, found the work done to his hand, for the tribe, as eager upon a business of this nature, had retained one of the surveyors, out of whom (before the orator arrived) they had got the whole mystery by a stolen muster, at which in order to the ballot they had made certain magistrates pro tempore. Wherefore he found not only the pavilion (for this time a tent) erected with three posts, supplying the place of pillars to the urns, but the urns being prepared with a just number of balls for the first ballot, to become the field, and the occasion very gallantly with their covers made in the manner of helmets, open at either ear to give passage to the hands of the ballotants, and slanting with noble plumes to direct the march of the people.

Wherefore he proceeded to—

The tenth order, "Requiring of the deputies of the parishes, that upon every Monday next ensuing the last of February, they make their personal appearance, horse and foot in arms accordingly, at the rendezvous of the tribe, where, being in discipline, the horse upon the right, and the foot upon the left, before the pavilion, and having made oath by holding up their hands, upon the tender of it by the lord high sheriff, to make election without favor, and of such only as they shall judge fittest for the commonwealth, the conductor shill take three balls, the one inscribed with these words (outward files), another with these words (inward files), and the third with these (middle files), which balls he shall cast into a little urn, and present it to the lord high sheriff, who, drawing one, shall give the words of command, as they are thereupon inscribed, and the ballot shall begin accordingly. For example, if the ball be inscribed 'Middle files,' the ballot shall begin by the middle; that is, the two files that are middle to the horse shall draw out first to the horse urn, and the two files that are middle to the foot shall draw out first to the foot urn, and be followed by all the rest of the files as they are next to them in order. The like shall be done by the inward, or by the outward files in case they be first called. And the files, as every man has drawn his ball, if it be silver, shall behind at the urn to countermarch to their places, but he that has drawn a gold ball at a side urn shall proceed to the middle urn, where if the balls he draws be silver he shall also countermarch, but if it be gold he shall take his place upon a form set across the pavilion, with his face toward the lord high sheriff, who shall be seated in the middle of the pavilion, with certain clerks by him, one of which shall write down the names of every elector, that is, of every one that drew a gold ball at the middle urn, and in the order his ball was drawn, till the electors amount to six in number. And the first six electors, horse and foot promiscuously, are the first order of electors; the second six (still accounting them as they are drawn) the second order, the third six the third order, and the fourth six the fourth order of electors; every elector having place in his order, according to the order wherein he was drawn. But so soon as the first order of electors is complete, the lord high sheriff shall send them with a copy of the following list, and a clerk that understands the ballot, immediately to a little tent standing before the pavilion in his eye, to which no other person but themselves, during the election, shall approach. The list shall be written in this manner:"

Anno Domini


1. The Lord High Sheriff, Commander-in-Chief,
2. Lord Lieutenant,
3. Lord Custos Rotulorum, Muster-Master-General,
4. The Conductor, being Quarter-master General,
5. The First Censor,
6. The Second Censor,

Of the tribe of Nubia, containing at the present muster 700 horse and 1,500 foot, in all 22,000 deputies.

"And the electors of the first band or order, being six, shall each of them name to his respective magistracy in the left such as are not already elected in the hundreds, till one competitor be chosen to every magistracy in the list by the ballot of the electors of the first order, which done, the list with the competitors thereunto annexed shall be returned to the lord high sheriff by the clerk attending that order, but the electors shall keep their places; for they have already given their suffrage, and may not enter into the ballot of the tribe. If there arises any dispute in an order of electors, one of the censors or sub-censors appointed by them in case they be electors, shall enter into the tent of that order, and that order shall stand to his judgment in the decision of the controversy. The like shall be done exactly by each other order of electors, being sent as they are drawn, each with another copy of the same list, into a distinct tent, till there be returned to the lord high sheriff four competitors to every magistracy in the list; that is to say, one competitor elected to every office in every one of the four orders, which competitors the lord high sheriff shall cause to be pronounced or read by a crier to the congregation, and the congregation having heard the whole lists repeated, the names shall be put by the lord high sheriff to the tribe, one by one, beginning with the first competitor in the first order, thence proceeding to the first competitor in the second order, and so to the first in the third and fourth orders. And the suffrages being taken in boxes by boys (as has been already shown) shall be poured into the bowls standing before the censors, who shall be seated at each end of the table in the pavilion, the one numbering the affirmatives and the other the negatives, and he of the four competitors to the first magistracy that has most above half the suffrages of the tribe in the affirmative, is the first magistrate. The like is to be done successively by the rest of the competitors in their order. But because soon after the boxes are sent out for the first name, there be others sent out for the second, and so for the third, etc., by which means divers names are successively at one and the same time in balloting; the boy that carries a box shall sing or repeat continually the name of the competitor for whom that box is carrying, with that also of the magistracy to which he is proposed. A magistrate of the tribe happening to be an elector, may substitute any one of his own order to execute his other function. The magistrates of the prime magnitude being thus elected, shall receive the present charge of the tribe."

If it be objected against this order that the magistrates to be elected by it will be men of more inferior rank than those of the hundreds, in regard that those are chosen first, it may be remembered that so were the burgesses in the former government, nevertheless the knights of the shire were men of greater quality; and the election at the hundred is made by a council of electors, of whom less cannot be expected than the discretion of naming persons fittest for those capacities, with an eye upon these to be elected at the tribe. As for what may be objected in point of difficulty, it is demonstrable by the foregoing orders, that a man might bring 10,000 men, if there were occasion, with as much ease, and as suddenly to perform the ballot, as he can make 5,000 men, drawing them out by double files, to march a quarter of a mile. But because at this ballot, to go up and down the field, distributing the linen pellets to every man, with which he is to ballot or give suffrage, would lose a great deal of time, therefore a man's wife, his daughters, or others, make him his provision of pellets before the ballot, and he comes into the field with a matter of a score of them in his pocket. And now I have as good as done with the sport. The next is—

The eleventh order, "Explaining the duties and functions of the magistrates contained in the list of the prime magnitude, and those of the hundreds, beginning with the lord high sheriff, who, over and above his more ancient offices, and those added by the former order, is the first magistrate of the phylarch, or prerogative troop. The lord lieutenant, over and above his duty mentioned, is commander-in-chief of the musters of the youth, and second magistrate of the phylarch. The custos rotulorum is to return the yearly muster-rolls of the tribe, as well that of the youth as of the elders, to the rolls in emporium, and is the third magistrate of the phylarch. The censors by themselves and their sub-censors, that is, the overseers of the parishes, are to see that the respective laws of the ballot be observed in all the popular assemblies of the tribe. They have power also to put such national ministers, as in preaching shall intermeddle with matters of government, out of their livings, except the party appeals to the phylarch, or to the Council of Religion, where in that case the censors shall prosecute. All and every one of these magistrates, together with the justices of peace, and the jurymen of the hundreds, amounting in the whole number to threescore and six, are the prerogative troop or phylarch of the tribe.

"The function of the phylarch or prerogative troop is fivefold:

"First, they are the council of the tribe, and as such to govern the musters of the same according to the foregoing orders, having cognizance of what has passed in the congregation or elections made in the parishes or the hundreds, with power to punish any undue practices, or variation from their respective rules and orders, under an appeal to the Parliament. A marriage legitimately is to be pronounced by the parochial congregation, the muster of the hundred, or the phylarch. And if a tribe have a desire (which they are to express at the muster by their captains, every troop by his own) to petition the Parliament the phylarch, as the council, shall frame the petition in the pavilion, and propose it by clauses to the ballot of the whole tribe; and the clauses that shall be affirmed by the ballot of the tribe, and signed by the hands of the six magistrates of the prime magnitude, shall be received and esteemed by the Parliament as the petition of the tribe, and no other.

"Secondly, the phylarch has power to call to their assistance what other troops of the tribe they please (he they elders or youth, whose discipline will be hereafter directed), and with these to receive the judges itinerant in their circuits, whom the magistrates of the phylarch shall assist upon the bench, and the juries elsewhere in their proper functions according to the more ancient laws and customs of this nation.

"Thirdly, the phylarch shall hold the court called the quartersessions according to the ancient custom, and therein shall also hear causes in order to the protection of liberty of conscience, by such rules as are or shall hereafter be appointed by the Parliament.

"Fourthly, all commissions issued into the tribes by the Parliament, or by the chancery, are to be directed to the phylarch, or some of that troop, and executed by the same respectively.

"Fifthly, in the case of levies of money the Parliament shall tax the phylarchs, the phylarchs shall tax the hundreds, the hundreds the parishes, and the parishes shall levy it upon themselves. The parishes having levied the tax-money accordingly, shall return it to the officers of the hundreds, the hundred to the phylarchs, and the phylarchs to the Exchequer. But if a man has ten children living, he shall pay no taxes; if he has five living, he shall pay but half taxes; if he has been married three years, or be above twenty-five years of age, and has no child or children lawfully begotten, he shall pay double taxes. And if there happen to grow any dispute upon these or such other orders as shall or may hereto be added hereafter, the phylarchs shall judge the tribes, and the Parliament shall judge the phylarchs. For the rest, if any man shall go about to introduce the right or power of debate into any popular council or congregation of this nation, the phylarch or any magistrate of the hundred, or of the tribe, shall cause him presently to be sent in custody to the Council of War."

The part of the order relating to the rolls in Emporium being of singular use, is not unworthy to be somewhat better opened. In what manner the lists of the parishes, hundreds, and tribes are made, has been shown in their respective orders, where, after the parties are elected, they give an account of the whole number of the elders or deputies in their respective assemblies or musters; the like for this part exactly is done by the youth in their discipline (to be hereafter shown) wherefore the lists of the parishes, youth and elders, being summed up, give the whole number of the people able to bear arms, and the lists of the tribes, youth and elders, being summed up, give the whole number of the people bearing arms. This account, being annually recorded by the master of the rolls, is called the "Pillar of Nilus," because the people, being the riches of the commonwealth, as they are found to rise or fall by the degrees of this pillar, like that river, give an account of the public harvest.

Thus much for the description of the first day's work at the muster, which happened (as has been shown) to be done as soon as said; for as in practice it is of small difficulty, so requires it not much time, seeing the great Council of Venice, consisting of a like number, begins at twelve of the clock, and elects nine magistrates in one afternoon. But the tribe being dismissed for this night, repaired to their quarters, under the conduct of their new magistrates. The next morning returning to the field very early, the orator proceeded to—

The twelfth order, "Directing the muster of the tribe in the second day's election, being that of the list called the galaxy; in which the censors shall prepare the urns according to the directions given in the ninth order for the second ballot; that is to say, with thirty-six gold balls in the middle urn, making four orders, and nine electors in every order, according to the number of the magistrates in the list of the galaxy, which is as follows:

1. Knight
2. Knight
To be chosen out of the horse.
3. Deputy
4. Deputy
5. Deputy
To be chosen out of the horse.
6. Deputy
7. Deputy
8. Deputy
9. Deputy
To be chosen out of the foot.

"The rest of the ballot shall proceed exactly according to that of the first day. But, forasmuch as the commonwealth demands as well the fruits of a man's body as of his mind, he that has not been married shall not be capable of these magistracies till he be married. If a deputy already chosen to be an officer in the parish, in the hundred, or in the tribe, be afterward chosen of the galaxy, it shall be lawful for him to delegate his office in the parish, in the hundred, or in the tribe, to any one of his own order being not already chosen into office. The knights and deputies being chosen, shall be brought to the head of the tribe by the lord high sheriff, who shall administer to them this oath: 'Ye shall well and truly observe and keep the orders and customs of this commonwealth which the people have chosen.' And if any of them shall refuse the oath, he shall be rejected, and that competitor which had the most voices next shall be called in his place, who, if he takes the oath, shall be entered in the list; but if he also refuses the oath, he who had most voices next shall be called, and so till the number of nine out of those competitors which had most voices be sworn knights and deputies of the galaxy. (This clause, in regard to the late divisions, and to the end that no violence be offered to any man's conscience, to be of force but for the first three years only.) The knights of the galaxy being elected and sworn, are to repair, by the Monday next ensuing to the last of March, to the Pantheon or palace of justice, situated in the metropolis of this commonwealth (except the Parliament, by reason of a contagious sickness, or some other occasion, has adjourned to another part of the nation), where they are to take their places in the Senate, and continue in full power and commission as senators for the full term of three years next ensuing the date of their election. The deputies of the galaxy are to repair by the same day (except as before excepted) to the halo situated in Emporium, where they are to be listed of the prerogative tribe, or equal representative of the people; and to continue in full power and commission as their deputies for the full term of three years next ensuing their election. But, forasmuch as the term of every magistracy or office in this commonwealth requires an equal vacation, a knight or deputy of the galaxy, having fulfilled his term of three years, shall not be re-elected into the same galaxy or any other, till he has also fulfilled his three years' vacation."

Whoever shall rightly consider the foregoing orders, will be as little able to find how it is possible that a worshipful knight should declare himself in ale and beef worthy to serve his country, as how my lord high sheriff's honor, in case he were protected from the law, could play the knave. But though the foregoing orders, so far as they regard the constitution of the Senate and the people, requiring no more as to an ordinary election than is therein explained, that is but one-third part of their knights and deputies, are perfect; yet must we in this place, and as to the institution, of necessity erect a scaffold. For the commonwealth to the first creation of her councils in full number, required thrice as many as are eligible by the foregoing orders. Wherefore the orator whose aid in this place was most necessary, rightly informing the people of the reason, stayed them two days longer at the muster, and took this course. One list, containing two knights and seven deputies, he caused to be chosen upon the second day; which list being called the first galaxy, qualified the parties elected of it with power for the term of one year, and no longer: another list, containing two knights and seven deputies more, he caused to be chosen the third day, which list being called the second galaxy, qualified the parties elected of it with power for the term of two years, and no longer. And upon the fourth day he chose the third galaxy, according as it is directed by the order, empowered for three years; which lists successively falling (like the signs or constellations of one hemisphere, which setting, cause those of the other to rise) cast the great orbs of this commonwealth into an annual, triennial, and perpetual revolution.

The business of the muster being thus happily finished, Hermes de Caduceo, lord orator of the tribe of Nubia, being now put into her first rapture, caused one of the censor's pulpits to be planted in front of the squadron, and ascending into the same, spake after this manner:


"We have this day solemnized the happy nuptials of the two greatest princes that are upon the earth or in nature, arms and councils, in the mutual embraces whereof consists your whole commonwealth; whose councils upon their perpetual wheelings, marches, and countermarches, create her armies, and whose armies with the golden volleys of the ballot at once create and salute her councils. There be those (such is the world at present) that think it ridiculous to see a nation exercising its civil functions in military discipline; while they, committing their buff to their servants, come themselves to hold trenchards. For what avails it such as are unarmed, or (which is all one) whose education acquaints them not with the proper use of their swords, to be called citizens? What were 2,000 or 3,000 of you, though never so well affected to your country, but naked, to one troop of mercenary soldiers? If they should come upon the field and say, 'Gentlemen, it is thought fit that such and such men should be chosen by you,' where were your liberty? or, 'Gentlemen, parliaments are exceeding good, but you are to have a little patience; these times are not so fit for them,' where were your commonwealth? What causes the monarchy of the Turks but servants in arms? What was it that begot the glorious Commonwealth of Rome but the sword in the hands of her citizens? Wherefore my glad eyes salute the serenity and brightness of this day with a shower that shall not cloud it.

"Behold the army of Israel become a commonwealth, and the Commonwealth of Israel remaining an army, with her rulers of tens and of fifties, her rulers of hundreds and thousands, drawing near (as this day throughout our happy fields) to the lot by her tribes, increased above threefold, and led up by her phylarchs or princes, to sit upon fifty thrones, judging the fifty tribes of Oceana! Or, is it Athens, breaking from her iron sepulchre, where she has been so long trampled by hosts of Janizaries? For certainly that is the voice of Theseus, having gathered his scattered Athenians into one city. This freeborn nation lives not upon the dole or bounty of one man, but distributing her annual magistracies and honors with her own hand, is herself King People—(At which the orator was awhile interrupted with shouts, but at length proceeded.) is it grave Lacedaemon in her armed tribe, divided by her oboe and her mora, which appears to chide me that I teach the people to talk, or conceive such language as is dressed like a woman, to be a fit usher of the joys of liberty into the hearts of men? is it Rome in her victorious arms (for so she held her concio or congregation) that congratulates with us, for finding out that which she could not hit on, and binding up her Comitia curiata, centuriata, and tributa, in one inviolable league of union? Or is it the great council of incomparable Venice, bowling forth by the selfsame ballot her immortal commonwealth? For, neither by reason nor by experience is it impossible that a commonwealth should be immortal; seeing the people being the materials, never die; and the form, which is motion, must, without opposition, be endless. The bowl which is thrown from your hand, if there be no rub, no impediment, shall never cease: for which cause the glorious luminaries that are the bowls of God, were once thrown forever; and next these, those of Venice. But certainly, my lords, whatever these great examples may have shown us, we are the first that have shown to the world a commonwealth established in her rise upon fifty such towers, and so garrisoned as are the tribes of Oceana, containing 100,000 elders upon the annual list, and yet but an outguard; besides her marching armies to be equal in the discipline, and in the number of her youth.

"And forasmuch as sovereign power is a necessary but a formidable creature, not unlike the powder which (as you are soldiers) is at once your safety and your danger, being subject to take fire against you as well as for you, how well and securely is she, by your galaxies so collected as to be in full force and vigor and yet so distributed that it is impossible you should be blown up by your own magazine? Let them who will have it, that power if it be confined cannot be sovereign, tell us, whether our rivers do not enjoy a more secure and fruitful reign within their proper banks, than if it were lawful for them, in ravaging our harvests, to spill themselves? whether souls, not confined to their peculiar bodies, do govern them any more than those of witches in their trances? whether power, not confined to the bounds of reason and virtue, has any other bounds than those of vice and passion? or if vice and passion be boundless, and reason and virtue have certain limits, on which of these thrones holy men should anoint their sovereign? But to blow away this dust, the sovereign power of a commonwealth is no more bounded, that is to say straitened, than that of a monarch; but is balanced. The eagle mounts not to her proper pitch, if she be bounded, nor is free if she be not balanced. And lest a monarch should think he can reach further with his sceptre, the Roman eagle upon such a balance spread her wings from the ocean to Euphrates. Receive the sovereign power; you have received it, hold it fast, embrace it forever in your shining arms. The virtue of the loadstone is not impaired or limited, but receives strength and nourishment, by being bound in iron. And so giving your lordships much joy, I take my leave of this tribe."

The orator descending, had the period of his speech made with a vast applause and exultation of the whole tribe, attending him for that night to his quarter, as the phylarch with some commanded troops did the next day to the frontiers of the tribe, where leave was taken on both sides with more tears than grief.

So a tribe is the third division of land occasioned by the third collection of the people, whose functions proper to that place are contained in the five foregoing orders.

The institution of the commonwealth was such as needed those props and scaffolds which may have troubled the reader; but I shall here take them away, and come to the constitution which stands by itself, and yields a clearer prospect.

The motions, by what has been already shown, are spherical; and spherical motions have their proper centre, for which cause (ere I proceed further) it will be necessary, for the better understanding of the whole, that I discover the centre whereupon the motions of this commonwealth are formed.

The centre, or basis of every government, is no other than the fundamental laws of the same.

Fundamental laws are such as state what it is that a man, and what the means may call his own, that is to say, property; be whereby a man may enjoy his own, that is to say, protection. The first is also called dominion, and the second empire or sovereign power, whereof this (as has been shown) is the natural product of the former, for such as is the balance of dominion in a nation, such is the nature of its empire.

Wherefore the fundamental laws of Oceana, or the centre of this commonwealth, are the agrarian and the ballot: the agrarian by the balance of dominion preserving equality in the root; and the ballot by an equal rotation conveying it into the branch, or exercise of sovereign power, as, to begin with the former, appears by—

The thirteenth order, "Constituting the agrarian laws of Oceana, Marpesia, and Panopea, whereby it is ordained, first, for all such lands as are lying and being within the proper territories of Oceana, that every man who is at present possessed, or shall hereafter be possessed, of an estate in land exceeding the revenue of £2,000 a year, and having more than one son, shall leave his lands either equally divided among them, in case the lands amount to above £2,000 a year to each, or so near equally, in case they come under, that the greater part or portion of the same remaining to the eldest exceed not the value of £2,000 revenue. And no man, not in present possession of lands above the value of £2,000 by the year, shall receive, enjoy (except by lawful inheritance) acquire, or, purchase to himself lands within the said territories, amounting, with those already in his possession, above the said revenue. And if a man has a daughter or daughters, except she be an heiress or they be heiresses, he shall not leave or give to any. One of them in marriage, or otherwise, for her portion, above the value of £1,500 in lands, goods, and moneys. Nor shall any friend, kinsman, or kinswoman add to her or their portion or portions that are so provided for, to make any one of them greater. Nor shall any man demand or have more in marriage with any woman. Nevertheless an heiress shall enjoy her lawful inheritance, and a widow, whatsoever the bounty or affection of her husband shall bequeath to her, to be divided in the first generation, wherein it is divisible according as has been shown.

"Secondly, for lands lying and being within the territories of Marpesia, the agrarian shall hold in all parts as it is established in Oceana, except only in the standard or proportion of estates in land, which shall be set for Marpesia, at £500. And,

"Thirdly, for Panopea, the agrarian shall hold in all parts, as in Oceana. And whosoever possessing above the proportion allowed by these laws, shall be lawfully convicted of the same, shall forfeit the overplus to the use of the State."

Agrarian laws of all others have ever been the greatest bugbears, and so in the institution were these, at which time it was ridiculous to see how strange a fear appeared in everybody of that which, being good for all, could hurt nobody. But instead of the proof of this order, I shall out of those many debates that happened ere it could be passed, insert two speeches that were made at the Council of legislators, the first by the Right Honorable Philautus de Garbo, a young man, being heir-apparent to a very noble family, and one of the councillors, who expressed himself as follows:

"May it please your Highness, my Lord Archon of Oceana.

"If I did not, to my capacity, know from how profound a councillor I dissent, it would certainly be no hard task to make it as light as the day. First, that an agrarian is altogether unnecessary; secondly, that it is dangerous to a commonwealth; thirdly, that it is insufficient to keep out monarchy; fourthly, that it ruins families; fifthly, that it destroys industry; and last of all, that though it were indeed of any good use, it will be a matter of such difficulty to introduce in this nation, and so to settle that it may be lasting, as is altogether invincible.

"First, that an agrarian is unnecessary to a commonwealth, what clearer testimony can there be than that the commonwealths which are our contemporaries (Venice, to which your Highness gives the upper hand of all antiquity, being one) have no such thing? And there can be no reason why they have it not, seeing it is in the sovereign power at any time to establish such an order, but that they need it not; wherefore no wonder if Aristotle, who pretends to be a good commonwealths man, has long since derided Phaleas, to whom it was attributed by the Greeks, for his invention.

"Secondly, that an agrarian is dangerous to a commonwealth is affirmed upon no slight authority seeing Machiavel is positive that it was the dissension which happened about the agrarian that caused the destruction of Rome; nor do I think that it did much better in Lacedaemon, as I shall show anon.

"Thirdly, that it is insufficient to keep out monarchy cannot without impiety be denied, the holy Scriptures bearing witness that the Commonwealth of Israel, notwithstanding her agrarian, submitted her neck to the arbitrary yoke of her princes.

"Fourthly, therefore, to come to my next assertion, that it is destructive to families: this also is so apparent, that it needs pity rather than proof. Why alas, do you bind a nobility (which no generation shall deny to have been the first that freely sacrificed their blood to the ancient liberties of this people) on an unholy altar? Why are the people taught that their liberty, which, except our noble ancestors had been born, must have long since been buried, cannot now be born except we be buried? A commonwealth should have the innocence of the dove. Let us leave this purchase of her birth to the serpent, which eats itself out of the womb of its mother.

"Fifthly but it may be said, perhaps, that we are fallen from our first love, become proud and idle. It is certain, my lords, that the hand of God is not upon us for nothing. But take heed how you admit of such assaults and sallies upon men's estates, as may slacken the nerve of labor, and give others also reason to believe that their sweat is vain; or else, whatsoever be pretended, your agrarian (which is my fifth assertion) must indeed destroy industry. For, that so it did in Lacedaemon is most apparent, as also that it could do no otherwise, where every man having his forty quarters of barley, with wine proportionable, supplied him out of his own lot by his laborer or helot; and being confined in that to the scantling above which he might not live, there was not any such thing as a trade, or other art, except that of war, in exercise. Wherefore a Spartan, if he were not in arms, must sit and play with his Angers, whence ensued perpetual war, and, the estate of the city being as little capable of increase as that of the citizens, her inevitable ruin. Now what better ends you can propose to yourselves in the like ways, I do not so well see as I perceive that there may be worse; for Lacedaemon yet was free from civil war: but if you employ your citizens no better than she did, I cannot promise you that you shall fare so well, because they are still desirous of war that hope that it may be profitable to them; and the strongest security you can give of peace, is to make it gainful. Otherwise men will rather choose that whereby they may break your laws, than that whereby your laws may break them. Which I speak not so much in relation to the nobility or such as would be holding, as to the people or them that would be getting; the passion in these being so much the stronger, as a man's felicity is weaker in the fruition of things, than in their prosecution and increase.

"Truly, my lords, it is my fear, that by taking of more hands, and the best from industry, you will farther endamage it, than can be repaired by laying on a few, and the worst; while the nobility must be forced to send their sons to the plough, and, as if this were not enough, to marry their daughters also to farmers.

"Sixthly, but I do not see (to come to the last point) how it is possible that this thing should be brought about, to your good I mean, though it may to the destruction of many. For that the agrarian of Israel, or that of Lacedaemon, might stand, is no such miracle; the lands, without any consideration of the former proprietor, being surveyed and cast into equal lots, which could neither be bought, nor sold, nor multiplied: so that they knew whereabout to have a man. But in this nation no such division can be introduced, the lands being already in the hands of proprietors, and such whose estates lie very rarely together, but mixed one with another being also of tenures in nature so different, that as there is no experience that an agrarian was ever introduced in such a case, so there is no appearance how or reason why it should: but that which is against reason and experience is impossible."

The case of my Lord Philautus was the most concerned in the whole nation; for he had four younger brothers, his father being yet living, to whom he was heir of £10,000 a year. Wherefore being a man both of good parts and esteem, his words wrought both upon men's reason and passions, and had borne a stroke at the head of the business, if my Lord Archon had not interposed the buckler in this oration:


"My Lord Philautus has made a thing which is easy to seem hard; if the thanks were due to his eloquence, it would be worthy of less praise than that he owes it to his merit, and the love he has most deservedly purchased of all men: nor is it rationally to be feared that he who is so much beforehand in his private, should be in arrear in his public, capacity. Wherefore, my lord's tenderness throughout his speech arising from no other principle than his solicitude lest the agrarian should be hurtful to his country, it is no less than my duty to give the best satisfaction I am able to so good a patriot, taking every one of his doubts in the order proposed. And,

"First, whereas my lord, upon observation of the modern commonwealths, is of opinion that an agrarian is not necessary: it must be confessed that at the first sight of them there is some appearance favoring his assertion, but upon accidents of no precedent to us. For the commonwealths of Switzerland and Holland, I mean of those leagues, being situated in countries not alluring the inhabitants to wantonness, but obliging them to universal industry, have an implicit agrarian in the nature of them: and being not obnoxious to a growing nobility (which, as long as their former monarchies had spread the wing over them, could either not at all be hatched, or was soon broken) are of no example to us, whose experience in this point has been to the contrary. But what if even in these governments there be indeed an explicit agrarian? For when the law commands an equal or near equal distribution of a man's estate in land among his children, as it is done in those countries, a nobility cannot grow; and so there needs no agrarian, or rather there is one. And for the growth of the nobility in Venice (if so it be, for Machiavel observes in that republic, as a cause of it, a great mediocrity of estates) it is not a point that she is to fear, but might study, seeing she consists of nothing else but nobility, by which, whatever their estates suck from the people, especially if it comes equally, is digested into the better blood of that commonwealth, which is all, or the greatest, benefit they can have by accumulation. For how unequal soever you will have them to be in their incomes, they have officers of the pomp, to bring them equal in expenses, or at least in the ostentation or show of them. And so unless the advantage of an estate consists more in the measure than in the use of it, the authority of Venice does but enforce our agrarian; nor shall a man evade or elude the prudence of it, by the authority of any other commonwealth.

"For if a commonwealth has been introduced at once, as those of Israel and Lacedaemon, you are certain to find her underlaid with this as the main foundation; nor, if she is obliged more to fortune than prudence, has she raised her head without musing upon this matter, as appears by that of Athens, which through her defect in this point, says Aristotle, introduced her ostracism, as most of the democracies of Greece. But, not to restrain a fundamental of such latitude to any one kind of government, do we not yet see that if there be a sole landlord of a vast territory, he is the Turk? that if a few landlords overbalance a populous country, they have store of servants? that if a people be in an equal balance, they can have no lords? that no government can otherwise be erected, than upon some one of these foundations? that no one of these foundations (each being else apt to change into some other) can give any security to the government, unless it be fixed? that through the want of this fixation, potent monarchy and commonwealths have fallen upon the heads of the people, and accompanied their own sad ruins with vast effusions of innocent blood? Let the fame, as was the merit of the ancient nobility of this nation, be equal to or above what has been already said, or can be spoken, yet have we seen not only their glory but that of a throne, the most indulgent to and least invasive for so many ages upon the liberty of a people that the world has known, through the mere want of fixing her foot by a proportionable agrarian upon her proper foundation, to have fallen with such horror as has been a spectacle of astonishment to the whole earth. And were it well argued from one calamity, that we ought not to prevent another? Nor is Aristotle so good a commonwealths man for deriding the invention of Phaleas as in recollecting himself, where he says that democracies, when a less part of their citizens overtop the rest in wealth, degenerate into oligarchies and principalities; and, which comes nearer to the present purpose, that the greater part of the nobility of Tarentum coming accidentally to be ruined, the government of the few came by consequence to be changed into that of the many.

"These things considered, I cannot see how an agrarian, as to the fixation or security of a government, can be less than necessary. And if a cure be necessary, it excuses not the patient, his disease being otherwise desperate, that it is dangerous; which was the case of Rome, not so stated by Machiavel, where he says, that the strife about the agrarian caused the destruction of that commonwealth. As if when a senator was not rich (as Crassus held) except he could pay an army, that commonwealth could expect nothing but ruin whether in strife about the agrarian, or without it. 'Of late,' says Livy, 'riches have introduced avarice, and voluptuous pleasures abounding have through lust and luxury begot a desire of lasting and destroying all good orders.' if the greatest security of a commonwealth consists in being provided with the proper antidote against this poison, her greatest danger, must be from the absence of an agrarian, which is the whole truth of the Roman example. For the Laconic, I shall reserve the further explication of it, as my lord also did, to another place; and first see whether an agrarian proportioned to a popular government be sufficient to keep out monarchy. My lord is for the negative, and fortified by the people of Israel electing a king. To which I say that the action of the people therein expressed is a full answer to the objection of that example; for the monarchy neither grew upon them, nor could; by reason of the agrarian, possibly have invaded them, if they had not pulled it upon themselves by the election of a king. Which being an accident, the like whereof is not to be found in any other people so planted, nor in this till, as it is manifest, they were given up by God to infatuation (for says he to Samuel, 'They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them,), has something in it which is apparent, by what went before, to have been besides the course of nature, and by what followed.

"For the King having no other foundation than the calamities of the people, so often beaten by their enemies, that despairing of themselves they were contented with any change, if he had peace as in the days of Solomon, left but a slippery throne to his successor, as appeared by Rehoboam. And the agrarian, notwithstanding the monarchy thus introduced, so faithfully preserved the root of that commonwealth, that it shot forth oftener and by intervals continued longer than any other government, as may be computed from the institution of the same by Joshua, 1,465 years before Christ, to the total dissolution of it, which happened in the reign of the emperor Adrian, 135 years after the incarnation. A people planted upon an equal agrarian, and holding to it, if they part with their liberty, must do it upon good-will, and make but a bad title of their bounty. As to instance yet further in that which is proposed by the present order to this nation, the standard whereof is at £2,000 a year; the whole territory of Oceana being divided by this proportion, amounts to 5,000 lots. So the lands of Oceana being thus distributed, and bound to this distribution, can never fall to fewer than 5,000 proprietors. But 5,000 proprietors so seized will not agree to break the agrarian, for that were to agree to rob one another; nor to bring in a king, because they must maintain him, and can have no benefit by him; nor to exclude the people, because they can have as little by that, and must spoil their militia. So the commonwealth continuing upon the balance proposed, though it should come into 5,000 hands, can never alter, and that it should ever come into 5,000 hands is as improbable as anything in the world that is not altogether impossible.

"My lord's other considerations are more private, as that, this order destroys families; which is as if one should lay the ruin of some ancient castle to the herbs which usually grow out of them, the destruction of those families being that indeed which naturally produced this order. For we do not now argue for that which we would have, but for that which we are already possessed of, as would appear if a note were but taken of all such as have at this day above £2,000 a year in Oceana. If my lord should grant (and I will put it with the most) that they who are proprietors in land, exceeding this proportion, exceed not 300, with what brow can the interest of so few be balanced with that of the whole nation? or rather, what interest have they to put in such a balance? they would live as they had been accustomed to do; who hinders them? they would enjoy their estates; who touches them? they would dispose of what they have according to the interest of their families; it is that which we desire. A man has one son, let him be called; would he enjoy his father's estate? it is his, his son's, and his son's son's after him. A man has five sons, let them be called; would they enjoy their father's estate? It is divided among them; for we have four votes for one in the same family, and therefore this must be the interest of the family, or the family knows not its own interest. If a man shall dispute otherwise, he must draw his arguments from custom and from greatness, which was the interest of the monarchy, not of the family; and we are now a commonwealth. If the monarchy could not bear with such divisions because they tendered to a commonwealth, neither can a commonwealth connive at such accumulations because they tend to a monarchy. If the monarchy might make bold with so many for the good of one, we may make bold with one for the good of so many, nay, for the good of all.

"My lords, it comes into my mind, that which upon occasion of the variety of parties enumerated in our late civil wars, was said by a friend of mine coming home from his travels, about the latter end of these troubles; that he admired how it came to pass, that younger brothers, especially being so many more in number than their elder did not unite as one man against a tyranny, the like whereof has not been exercised in any other nation. And truly, when I consider that our countrymen are none of the worst-natured, I must confess I marvel much how it comes to pass that we should use our children as we do our puppies—take one, lay it in the lap, feed it with every good bit, and drown five; nay, yet worse, forasmuch as the puppies are once drowned, whereas the children are left perpetually drowning. Really, my lords, it is a flinty custom! and all this for his cruel ambition, that would raise himself a pillar a golden pillar for his monument, though he has children, his own reviving flesh, and a kind of immortality. And this is that interest of a family, for which we are to think ill of a government that will not endure it. But quiet ourselves; the land through which the river Nilus wanders in one stream, is barren; but where it parts into seven, it multiplies its fertile shores by distributing, yet keeping and improving, such a propriety and nutrition, as is a prudent agrarian to a well-ordered commonwealth.

"Nor (to come to the fifth assertion) is a political body rendered any fitter for industry by having one gouty and another withered leg, than a natural. It tends not to the improvement of merchandise that there be some who have no need of their trading, and others that are not able to follow it. If confinement discourages industry, an estate in money is not confined, and lest industry should want whereupon to work, land is not engrossed or entailed upon any man, but remains at its devotion. I wonder whence the computation can arise, that this should discourage industry. Two thousand pounds a year a man may enjoy in Oceana, as much in Panopea, £500 in Marpesia; there be other plantations, and the commonwealth will have more. Who knows how far the arms of our agrarian may extend themselves? and whether he that might have left a pillar, may not leave a temple of many pillars to his more pious memory? Where there is some measure in riches, a man may be rich, but if you will have them to be infinite, there will be no end of starving himself, and wanting what he has: and what pains does such a one take to be poor Furthermore, if a man shall think that there may be an industry less greasy or more noble, and so cast his thoughts upon the commonwealth, he will have leisure for her and she riches and honors for him; his sweat shall smell like Alexander's. My Lord Philautus is a young man who, enjoying his £10,000 a year, may keep a noble house in the old way, and have homely guests; and having but two, by the means proposed, may take the upper hand of his great ancestors; with reverence to whom, I may say, there has not been one of them would have disputed his place with a Roman consul.

"My lord, do not break my heart; the nobility shall go to no other ploughs than those which we call our consuls. But, says he, it having been so with Lacedaemon, that neither the city nor the citizens were capable of increase, a blow was given by that agrarian, which ruined both. And what are we concerned with that agrarian, or that blow while our citizens and our city (and that by our agrarian) are both capable of increase? The Spartan, if he made a conquest, had no citizens to hold it; the Oceaner will have enow. The Spartan could have no trade; the Oceaner may have all. The agrarian in Laconia, that it might bind on knapsacks, forbidding all other arts but that of war, could not make an army of above 30,000 citizens. The agrarian in Oceana, without interruption of traffic, provides us in the fifth part of the youth an annual source or fresh spring of 100,000, besides our provincial auxiliaries, out of which to draw marching armies; and as many elders, not feeble, but men most of them in the flower of their age, and in arms for the defence of our territories. The agrarian in Laconia banished money, this multiplies it; that allowed a matter of twenty or thirty acres to a man, this 2,000 or 3,000; there is no comparison between them. And yet I differ so much from my lord, or his opinion that the agrarian was the ruin of Lacedaemon, that I hold it no less than demonstrable to have been her main support. For if, banishing all other diversions, it could not make an army of above 30,000, then, letting in all other diversions, it must have broken that army. Wherefore Lysander, bringing in the golden spoils of Athens, irrevocably ruined that commonwealth; and is a warning to us, that in giving encouragement to industry, we also remember that covetousness is the root of all evil. And our agrarian can never be the cause of those seditions threatened by my lord, but is the proper cure of them, as Lucan notes well in the state of Rome before the civil wars, which happened through the want of such an antidote.

"Why then are we mistaken, as if we intended not equal advantages in our commonwealth to either sex, because we would not have women's fortunes consist in that metal which exposes them to cutpurses? If a man cuts my purse I may have him by the heels or by the neck for it; whereas a man may cut a woman's purse, and have her for his pains in fetters. How brutish, and much more than brutish, is that commonwealth which prefers the earth before the fruits of the womb? If the people be her treasure, the staff by which she is sustained and comforted, with what justice can she suffer them, by whom she is most enriched, to be for that cause the most impoverished? And yet we see the gifts of God, and the bounties of heaven in fruitful families, through this wretched custom of marrying for money, become their insupportable grief and poverty. Nor falls this so heavy upon the lower sort, being better able to shift for themselves, as upon the nobility or gentry. For what avails it in this case, from whence their veins have derived their blood; while they shall see the tallow of a chandler sooner converted into that beauty which is required in a bride? I appeal, whether my Lord Philautus or myself be the advocate of nobility; against which, in the case proposed by me, there would be nothing to hold the balance. And why is a woman, if she may have but £1,500, undone? If she be unmarried, what nobleman allows his daughter in that case a greater revenue than so much money may command? And if she marry, no nobleman can give his daughter a greater portion than she has. Who is hurt in this case?—nay, who is not benefited? If the agrarian gives us the sweat of our brows without diminution; if it prepares our table; if it makes our cup to overflow, and above all this, in providing for our children, anoints our heads with that oil which takes away the greatest of worldly cares; what man, that is not besotted with a covetousness as vain as endless, can imagine such a constitution to be his poverty? Seeing where no woman can be considerable for her portion, no portion will be considerable with a woman; and so his children will not only find better preferments without his brokage, but more freedom of their own affections. "We are wonderful severe in laws, that they shall not marry without our consent, as if it were care and tenderness over them; but is it not lest we should not have the other £1,000 with this son, or the other £100 a year more in jointure for that daughter? These, when we are crossed in them, are the sins for which we water our couch with tears, but not of penitence. Seeing whereas it is a mischief beyond any that we can do to our enemies, we persist to make nothing of breaking the affection of our children. But there is in this agrarian a homage to pure and spotless love, the consequence whereof I will not give for all your romances. An alderman makes not his daughter a countess till he has given her £20,000, nor a romance a considerable mistress till she be a princess; these are characters of bastard love. But if our agrarian excludes ambition and covetousness, we shall at length have the care of our own breed, in which we have been curious as to our dogs and horses. The marriage-bed will be truly legitimate, and the race of the commonwealth not spurious. But (impar magnanimis ausis, imparque dolori) I am hurled from all my hopes by my lord's last assertion of impossibility, that the root from whence we imagine these fruits should be planted or thrive in this soil. And why? Because of the mixture of estates and variety of tenures. Nevertheless, there is yet extant in the Exchequer an old survey of the whole nation; wherefore such a thing is not impossible. Now if a new survey were taken at the present rates, and the law made that no man should hold hereafter above so much land as is valued therein at £2,000 a year, it would amount to a good and sufficient agrarian. It is true that there would remain some difficulty in the different kind of rents, and that it is a matter requiring not only more leisure than we have, but an authority which may be better able to bow men to a more general consent than is to be wrought out of them by such as are in our capacity. Wherefore as to the manner, it is necessary that we refer it to the Parliament; but as to the matter, they cannot otherwise fix their government upon the right balance.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:41 am

Part 3 of 9

"I shall conclude with a few words to some parts of the order, which my lord has omitted. As first to the consequences of the agrarian to be settled in Marpesia, which irreparably breaks the aristocracy of that nation; being of such a nature, as standing, it is not possible that you should govern. For while the people of that country are little better than the cattle of the nobility, you must not wonder if, according as these can make their markets with foreign princes, you find those to be driven upon your grounds. And if you be so tender, now you have it in your power, as not to hold a hand upon them that may prevent the slaughter which must otherwise ensue in like cases, the blood will lie at your door. But in holding such a hand upon them, you may settle the agrarian; and in settling the agrarian, you give that people not only liberty, but lands; which makes your protection necessary to their security; and their contribution due to your protection, as to their own safety.

"For the agrarian of Panopea, it allowing such proportions of so good land, men that conceive themselves straitened by this in Oceana, will begin there to let themselves forth, where every citizen will in time have his villa. And there is no question, but the improvement of that country by this means must be far greater than it has been in the best of former times. I have no more to say, but that in those ancient and heroic ages (when men thought that to be necessary which was virtuous) the nobility of Athens, having the people so much engaged in their debt that there remained no other question among these than which of those should be king, no sooner heard Solon speak than they quitted their debts, and restored the commonwealth; which ever after held a solemn and annual feast called the Sisacthia, or Recision, in memory of that action. Nor is this example the phoenix; for at the institution by Lycurgus, the nobility having estates (as ours here) in the lands of Laconia, upon no other valuable consideration than the commonwealth proposed by him, threw them up to be parcelled by his agrarian. But now when no man is desired to throw up a farthing of his money, or a shovelful of his earth, and that all we can do is but to make a virtue of necessity, we are disputing whether we should have peace or war. For peace you cannot have without some government, nor any government without the proper balance. Wherefore if you will not fix this which you have, the rest is blood, for without blood you can bring in no other."

By these speeches made at the institution of the agrarian you may perceive what were the grounds of it. The next is—

The fourteenth order, "Constituting the ballot of Venice, as it is fitted by several alterations, and appointed to every assembly, to be the constant and only way of giving suffrage in this commonwealth, according to the following scheme."

I shall endeavor by the following figure to demonstrate the manner of the Venetian ballot (a thing as difficult in discourse or writing, as facile in practice) according to the use of it in Oceana. The whole figure represents the Senate, containing, as to the house or form of sitting, a square and a half; the tribunal at the upper end being ascended by four steps. On the uppermost of these sit the magistrates that constitute the signory of the commonwealth, that is to say, A the strategus; B the orator; C the three commissioners of the great seal; D the three commissioners of the Treasury, whereof one, E, exercises for the present the office of a censor at the middle urn, F To the two upper steps of the tribunal answer G, G-G, G, the two long benches next the wall on each side of the house; the outwardmost of which are equal in height to the uppermost step, and the innermost equal in height to the next. Of these four benches consists the first seal; as the second seat consists in like manner of those four benches H, H-H, H, which being next the floor, are equal in height to the two nethermost steps of the throne. So the whole house is distributed into two seats, each consisting of four benches.

This distribution causes not only the greater conveniency; as will be shown, to the senators in the exercise of their function at the ballot, but a greater grace to the aspect of the Senate. In the middle of the outward benches stand I, 12 the chairs of the censors, those being their ordinary places, though upon occasion of the ballot they descend, and sit where they are shown by K, K at each of the outward urns L, L. Those M, M that sit with their tables, and the bowls N, N before them, upon the halfspace or second step of the tribunal from the floor, are the clerks or secretaries of the house. Upon the short seats O, O on the floor (which should have been represented by woolsacks) sit: P, the two tribunes of the horse. Q, the two tribunes of the foot; and R, R-R, R the judges, all which magistrates are assistants, but have no suffrage. This posture of the Senate considered, the ballot is performed as follows:

First, whereas the gold balls are of several suits, and accordingly marked with several letters of the alphabet, a secretary presents a little urn (wherein there is one ball of every suit or mark) to the strategus and the orator; and look what letter the strategus draws, the same and no other is to be used for that time in the middle urn F; the like for the letter drawn by the orator is to be observed for the side urns L, L, that is to say if the strategus drew a ball with an A, all the gold balls in the middle urn for that day are marked with the letter A; and if the orator drew a B, all the gold balls in the side urn for that day are marked with the letter B, which done immediately before the ballot, and so the letter unknown to the ballotants, they can use no fraud or juggling; otherwise a man might carry a gold ball in his hand, and seem to have drawn it out of an urn. He that draws a gold ball at any urn, delivers it to the censor or assessor of that urn, who views the character, and allows accordingly of his lot.

The strategus and the orator having drawn for the letters, the urns are prepared accordingly by one of the commissioners and the two censors. The preparation of the urns is After this manner. If the Senate be to elect, for example, the list called the tropic of magistrates, which is this:

1. The Lord Strategus;

2. The Lord Orator;

3. The Third Commissioner of the Great Seal;

4. The Third Commissioner of the Treasury;

5. The First Censor;

6. The Second Censor;

this list or schedule consists of six magistracies, and to every magistracy there are to be four competitors; that is, in all four-and-twenty competitors proposed to the house. They that are to propose the competitors are called electors, and no elector can propose above one competitor: wherefore for the proposing of four-and-twenty competitors you must have four-and-twenty electors; and whereas the ballot consists of a lot and of a suffrage, the lot is for no other use than for the designation of electors; and he that draws a gold ball at the middle urn is an elector. Now, as to have four-and-twenty competitors proposed, you must have four-and-twenty electors made, so to have four-and-twenty electors made by lot, you must have four-and-twenty gold balls in the middle urn; and these (because otherwise it would be no lot) mixed with a competent number of blanks, or silver balls. Wherefore to the four-and-twenty gold balls cast six-and-twenty silver ones, and those (reckoning the blanks with the prizes) make fifty balls in the middle urn. This done (because no man can come to the middle urn that has not first drawn a gold ball at one of the side urns) and to be sure that the prizes or gold balls in this urn be all drawn, there must come to it fifty persons; therefore there must be in each of the side urns five-and-twenty gold balls, which in both come to fifty; and to the end that every senator may have his lot, the gold balls in the side urns are to be made up with blanks equal to the number of the ballotants at either urn; for example, the house consisting of 300 senators, there must be in each of the side urns 125 blanks and twenty-five prizes, which come in both the side urns to 300 balls. This is the whole mystery of preparing the urns, which the censors having skill to do accordingly, the rest of the ballot, whether the parties balloting understand it or not must of necessary consequence come right; and they can neither be out, nor fall into any confusion in the exercise of this art.

But the ballot, as I said, is of two parts, lot and suffrage, or the proposition and result. The lot determines who shall propose the competitors; and the result of the Senate, which of the competitors shall be the magistrates. The whole, to begin with the lot, proceeds in this manner:

The first secretary with an audible voice reads first the list of the magistrates to be chosen for the day, then the oath for fair election, at which the senators hold up their hands; which done, another secretary presents a little urn to the strategus, in which are four balls, each of them having one of these four inscriptions: "First seat at the upper end," "First seat at the lower end," "Second seat at the upper end," "Second seat at the lower end." And look which of them the strategus draws, the secretary pronouncing the inscription with a loud voice, the seat so called comes accordingly to the urns: this in the figure is the second seat at the upper end. The manner of their coming to the side urns is in double files, that being two holes in the cover of each side urn, by which means two may draw at once. The senators therefore S, S-S, S are coming from the upper end of their seats H, H-H, H to the side urns L, L. The senators T T-T are drawing. The senator V has drawn a gold ball at his side urn, and is going to the middle urn F, where the senator W, having done the like at the other side urn, is already drawing. But the senators X, X-X, X having drawn blanks at their side urns, and thrown them into the bowls Y Y standing at the feet of the urns, are marching by the lower end into their seats again; the senator a having done the like at the middle urn, is also throwing his blank into the bowl b and marching to his seat again: for a man by a prize at a side urn gains no more than right to come to the middle urn, where, if he draws a blank, his fortune at the side urn comes to nothing at all; wherefore he also returns to his place. But the senator C has had a prize at the middle urn, where the commissioner, having viewed his ball, and found the mark to be right, he marches up the steps to the seat of the electors, which is the form d set across the tribunal, where he places himself, according as he was drawn, with the other electors e, e, e drawn before him. These are not to look back, but sit with their faces toward the signory or state, till their number amount to that of the magistrates to be that day chosen, which for the present, as was shown, are six: wherefore six electors being made, they are reckoned according as they were drawn: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, in their order, and the first six that are chosen are the first order of electors.

The first order of electors being made, are conducted by a secretary, with a copy of the list to be chosen, out of the Senate, and into a committee or council-chamber, being neither suffered by the way, nor in their room (till the ballot be ended), to have conference with any but themselves; wherefore the secretary, having given them their oath that they shall make election according to the law and their conscience, delivers them the list, and seats himself at the lower end of the table with his pen and paper, while another secretary keeps the door.

By such time as the first order of electors are thus seated, the second order of electors is drawn, who, with a second copy of the same list, are conducted into another committee-chamber, by other secretaries performing the same office with the former.

The like exactly is done by the third and by the fourth orders (or hands, as the Venetians call them) of electors, by which means you have the four-and-twenty electors divided according to the four copies of the same list, by six, into four hands or orders; and every one of these orders names one competitor to every magistracy in the list; that is to say, the first elector names to the first magistracy, the second elector to the second magistracy, and so forth. But though the electors, as has been shown, are chosen by mere lot, yet the competitors by them named are not chosen by any lot, but by the suffrage of the whole order for example, the first elector in the first order proposes a name to be strategus, which name is balloted by himself and the other five electors, and if the name so balloted attain not to above half the suffrages, it is laid aside, and the first elector names another to the same magistracy and so in case this also fails, another, till one he has named, whether it be himself, or some other, has attained to above half the suffrages in the affirmative; and the name so attaining to above half the suffrages in the affirmative is written to the first magistracy in the list by the secretary which being done, the second elector of the first order, names to 'the second magistracy till one of his nomination be chosen to the same. The like is done by the rest of the electors of the first order, till one competitor be chosen, and written to every magistracy in their list. Now the second, third, and fourth orders of electors doing exactly after the same manner, it comes to pass that one competitor to every magistracy being chosen in each order, there be in all four competitors chosen to every magistracy.

If any controversy arises in an order of electors, one of the censors (these being at this game the groom-porters) is advertised by the secretary who brings him in, and the electors disputing are bound to acquiesce in his sentence. For which cause it is that the censors do not ballot at the urns; the signory also abstains, lest it should deform the house: wherefore the blanks in the side urns are by so many the fewer. And so much for the lot, which is of the greater art but less consequence, because it concerns proposition only: but all (except the tribunes and the judges, which being but assistants have no suffrage) are to ballot at the result, to which I now come.

The four orders of electors having perfected their lists, the face of the house is changed: for the urns are taken away, and every senator and magistrate is seated in his proper place, saving the electors, who, having given their suffrages already, may not stir out of their chambers till the house have given theirs, and the rest of the ballot be performed; which follows in this manner:

The four lists being presented by the secretaries of each council of electors to the signory, are first read, according to their order, to the house, with an audible voice; and then the competitors are put to the ballot or suffrage of the whole Senate in this manner: A, A named to be strategus in the first order, whereupon eight ballotins, or pages, such as are expressed by the figures f, f, take eight of the boxes represented, though rudely, by the figures g, g, and go four on the one and four on the other side of the house, that is, one to every bench, signifying "A, A named to be the strategus in the first order.." and every magistrate or senator (beginning by the strategus and the orator first) holds up a little pellet of linen, as the box passes, between his finger and his thumb, that men may see he has but one, and then puts it into the same. The box consisting in the inner part of two boxes, being painted on the outside white and green, to distinguish the affirmative from the negative side, is so made that when your hand is in it, no man can see to which of the sides you put the suffrage, nor hear to which it falls, because the pellet being linen, makes no noise. The strategus and the orator having begun, all the rest do the like.

The ballotins having thus gathered the suffrages, bring them before the signory, in whose presence the outward boxes being opened, they take out the inner boxes, whereof the affirmative is white, and the negative green, and pour the white in the bowl N on the right hand, which is white also, and the green into the bowl N on the left, which is also green. These bowls or basins (better represented at the lower end of the figure by h, i) being upon this occasion set before the tables of the secretaries at the upper end N, N, the white on the right hand, and the green on the left, the secretaries on each side number the balls, by which, if they find that the affirmatives amount not to above one-half, they write not the name that was balloted, but if they amount to above one-half, they write it, adding the number of above half the suffrages to which it attained. The first name being written, or laid aside, the next that is put is BB named to be strategus in the second order; the third CC, named to be strategus in the third order; the fourth DD, named to be strategus in the fourth order and he of these four competitors that has most above half in the affirmative, is the magistrate; or if none of them attain to above half, the nomination for that magistracy is to be repeated by such new electors as shall be chosen at the next ballot. And so, as is exemplified in the first magistracy, proceeds the ballot of the rest; first in the first, then in the second, and so in the third and fourth orders.

Now whereas it may happen that AA, for example, being named strategus in the first order, may also be named to the same or some one or more other magistracies in one or more of the other orders; his name is first balloted where it is first written, that is to the more worthy magistracy, whereof if he misses, he is balloted as it comes in course for the next, and so for the rest, if he misses of that, as often as he is named.

And because to be named twice, or oftener, whether to the same or some other magistracy, is the stronger recommendation, the note must not fail to be given upon the name, at the proposition in this manner: AA named to be strategus in the first, and in the second order, or AA named to be strategus in the first and the third, in the first and the fourth, etc. But if he be named to the same magistracy in the first, second, third, and fourth orders, he can have no competitor; wherefore attaining to above half the suffrages, he is the magistrate. Or thus: AA named to be strategus in the first, to be censor in the second, to be orator in the third, and to be commissioner of the seal in the fourth order, or the like in more or fewer orders, in which cases if he misses of the first magistracy, he is balloted to the second; if he misses of the second, to the third; and if he misses of the third, to the fourth.

The ballot not finished before sunset, though the election of the magistrates already chosen be good, voids the election of such competitors as being chosen are not yet furnished with magistracies, as if they had never been named (for this is no juggling-box, but an art that must see the sun), and the ballot for the remaining magistracies is to be repeated the next day by new orders of electors, and such competitors as by them shall be elected. And so in the like manner, if of all the names proposed to the same magistracy, no one of them attains to above half the suffrages in the affirmative.

The senatorian ballot of Oceana being thus described, those of the parish, of the hundred, and of the tribe, being so little different, that in this they are all contained, and by this may be easily understood, are yet fully described, and made plain enough before in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth orders.

This, therefore, is the general order, whence those branches of the ballot, some whereof you have already seen, are derived; which, with those that follow, were all read and debated in this place at the institution. When my Lord Epimonus de Garrula, being one of the councillors, and having no further patience (though the rulers were composed by the agent of this commonwealth, residing for that purpose at Venice) than to hear the direction for the parishes, stood up and made way for himself in this manner:


"Under correction of Mr. Peregrin, Spy, our very learned agent and intelligencer, I have seen the world a little, Venice, and (as gentlemen are permitted to do) the great Council balloting. And truly I must needs say, that it is for a dumb show the goodliest that I ever beheld with my eyes. You should have some would take it ill, as if the noble Venetians thought themselves too good to speak to strangers, but they observed them not so narrowly. The truth is, they have nothing to say to their acquaintance; or men that are in council sure would have tongues: for a council, and not a word spoken in it, is a contradiction. But there is such a pudder with their marching and countermarching, as, though never a one of them draw a sword, you would think they were training; which till I found that they did it only to entertain strangers, I came from among them as wise as I went thither But in the Parliament of Oceana you had no balls nor dancing, but sober conversation; a man might know and be known, show his parts, and improve them. And now if you take the advice of this same fellow, you will spoil all with his whimsies. Mr. Speaker—cry you mercy, my Lord Archon, I mean—set the wisest man of your house in the great Council of Venice, and you will not know him from a fool. Whereas nothing is more certain than that flat and dull fellows in the judgment of all such as used to keep company with them before, upon election into our house, have immediately chitted like barley in the vat, where it acquires a new spirit, and flowed forth into language, that I am as confident as I am here, if there were not such as delight to abuse us, is far better than Tully's; or, let anybody but translate one of his orations, and speak it in the house, and see if everybody do not laugh at him.

"This is a great matter, Mr. Speaker; they do not cant it with your book-learning, your orbs, your centres, your prime magnitudes, and your nebulones, things I profess that would make a sober man run stark mad to hear them; while we, who should be considering the honor of our country and that it goes now or never upon our hand, whether it shall be ridiculous to all the world, are going to nine-holes or trow madam for our business, like your dumb Venetian, whom this same Sir Politic your resident, that never saw him do anything but make faces, would insinuate to you, at this distance, to have the only knack of state. Whereas if you should take the pains, as I have done, to look a little nearer, you would find these same wonderful things to be nothing else but mere natural fopperies, or capriccios as they call them in Italian, even of the meanest, of that nation. For, put the case you be travelling in Italy, ask your contadino, that is, the next country-fellow you meet, some question, and presently he ballots you an answer with a nod, which is affirmative; or a shake with his head, which is the negative box; or a shrug with his shoulder, which is the bossolo di non sinceri. Good! You will admire Sandys for telling you, that grotta di cane is a miracle: and I shall be laughed at, for assuring you, that it is nothing else but such a damp (continued by the neighborhood of certain sulphur mines) as through accidental heat does sometimes happen in our coalpits. But ingratitude must not discourage an honest man from doing good. There is not, I say, such a tongue-tied generation under heaven as your Italian, that you should not wonder if he makes signs. But our people must have something in their diurnals; we must ever and anon be telling them our minds; or if we be at it when we raise taxes, like those gentlemen with the finger and the thumb, they will swear that we are cutpurses. Come, I know what I have heard them say, when some men had money that wrought hard enough for it; and do you conceive they will be better pleased when they shall be told that upon like occasions you are at mumchance or stool-ball?

"I do not speak for myself; for though I shall always acknowledge that I got more by one year's sitting in the house than by my three years' travels, it was not of that kind. But I hate that this same Spy, for pretending to have played at billiards with the most serene Commonwealth of Venice, should make such fools of us here, when I know that he must have had his intelligence from some corn-cutter upon the Rialto; for a noble Venetian would be hanged if he should keep such a fellow company. And yet if I do not think he has made you all dote, never trust me, my Lord Archon is sometimes in such strange raptures. Well, good my lord, let me be heard as well as your apple squire. Venice has fresh blood in her cheeks, I must confess, yet she is but an old lady. N or has he picked her cabinet; these he sends you are none of her receipts, I can assure you; he bought them for a Julio at St. Mark's of a mountebank. She has no other wash, upon my knowledge, for that same envied complexion of hers but her marshes, being a little better scented, saving your presence, than a chamber-pot. My lords, I know what I say, but you will never have done with it, that neither the great Turk, nor any of those little Turks her neighbors, have been able to spoil her! Why you may as well wonder that weasels do not suck eggs in swans' nests. Do you think that it has lain in the devotion of her beads; which you that have puked so much at popery, are now at length resolved shall consecrate M. Parson, and be dropped by every one of his congregation, while those same whimsical intelligences your surveyors (you will break my heart) give the turn to your primum mobile! And so I think they will; (for you will find that money is the primum mobile) and they will turn you thus out of some £300,000 or £400,000: a pretty sum for urns and balls, for boxes and pills, which these same quacksalvers are to administer to the parishes; and for what disease I marvel! Or how does it work? Out comes a constable, an overseer, and a churchwarden! Mr. Speaker, I am amazed!"

Never was there goose so stuck with lard as my Lord Epimonus's speech with laughter, the Archon having much ado to recover himself in such a manner as might enable him to return these thanks:

"In your whole lives, my lords, were you never entertained with so much ingenuity, my Lord Epimonus having at once mended all the faults of travellers. For, first, whereas they are abominable liars, he has not told you (except some malicious body has misinformed him concerning poor Spy) one syllable of falsehood. And, secondly, whereas they never fail to give the upper hand in all their discourses to foreign nations, still jostling their own into the kennel, he bears an honor to his country that will not dissolve in Cephalonia, nor be corrupted with figs and melons, which I can assure you is an ordinary obligation; and therefore hold it a matter of public concern that we be to no occasion of quenching my lord's affections, nor is there any such great matter between us, but, in my opinion, might be easily reconciled, for though that which my lord gained by sitting in the house, I steadfastly believe, as he can affirm, was got fairly yet dare I not, nor do I think, that upon consideration he will promise for other gamesters, especially when they were at it so high, as he intimates not only to have been in use, but to be like enough to come about again. Wherefore say I, let them throw with boxes, for unless we will be below the politics of an ordinary, there is no such bar to cogging, it is known to his lordship that our game is most at a throw, and that every cast of our dice is in our suffrages, nor will he deny that partiality in a suffrage is downright cogging.

"If the Venetian boxes be the most sovereign of all remedies against this same cogging, is it not a strange thing that they should be thrown first into the fire by a fair gamester? Men are naturally subject to all kinds of passions; some you have that are not able to withstand the brow of an enemy, and others that make nothing of this, are less proof against that of a friend. So that if your suffrage be barefaced, I dare say you shall not have one fair cast in twenty. But whatever a man's fortune be at the box, he neither knows whom to thank, nor whom to challenge. Wherefore (that my lord may have a charitable opinion of the choice affection which I confess to have, above all other beauties, for that of incomparable Venice) there is in this way of suffrage no less than a demonstration that it is the most pure, and the purity of the suffrage in a popular government is the health, if not the life of it, seeing the soul is not otherwise breathed into the sovereign power than by the suffrage of the people. Wherefore no wonder if Postellus be of opinion that this use of the ball is the very same with that of the bean in Athens, or that others, by the text concerning Eldad and Medad, derive it from the Commonwealth of Israel. There is another thing, though not so material to us, that my lord will excuse me if I be not willing to yield, which is, that Venice subsists only by her situation. It is true that a man in time of war may be more secure from his enemies by being in a citadel, but not from his diseases; wherefore the first cause, if he lives long, is his good constitution, without which his citadel were to little purpose, and it is not otherwise with Venice."

With this speech of the Archon I conclude the proof of the agrarian and the ballot, being the fundamental laws of this commonwealth, and come now from the centre to the circumferences or orbs, whereof some have been already shown; as how the parishes annually pour themselves into the hundreds, the hundreds into the tribes, and the tribes into the galaxies; the annual galaxy of every tribe consisting of two knights and seven deputies, whereof the knights constitute the Senate; the deputies, the prerogative tribe, commonly called the people; and the Senate and people constitute the sovereign power or Parliament of Oceana. Whereof to show what the Parliament is, I must first open the Senate, and then the prerogative tribe.

To begin with the Senate, of which (as a man is differently represented by a picture drawer and by an anatomist) I shall first discover the face or aspect, and then the parts, with the use of them. Every Monday morning in the summer at seven, and in the winter at eight, the great bell in the clock-house at the Pantheon begins, and continues ringing for the space of one hour; in which time the magistrates of the Senate, being attended according to their quality, with a respective number of the ballotins, doorkeepers, and messengers, and having the ensigns of their magistracies borne before them, as the sword before the strategus, the mace before the orator, a mace with the seal before the commissioners of the chancery, the like with the purse before the commissioners of the treasury, and a silver wand, like those in use with the universities, before each of the censors, being chancellors of the same. These, with the knights, in all 300, assemble in the house or hall of the Senate.

The house or hall of the Senate being situated in the Pantheon or palace of justice, is a room consisting of a square and a half. In the middle of the lower end is the door, at the upper end hangs a rich state overshadowing the greater part of a large throne, or half-pace of two stages; the first ascended by two steps from the floor, and the second about the middle rising two steps higher. Upon this stand two chairs, in that on the right hand sits the strategus, in the other the orator adorned with scarlet robes, after the fashion that was used by the dukes in the aristocracy. At the right end of the upper stage stand three chairs, in which the three commissioners of the seal are placed; and at the other end sit the three commissioners of the treasury, every one in a robe or habit like that of the earls. Of these magistrates of this upper stage consists the signory. At either end of the lower stage stands a little table, to which the secretaries of the Senate are set with their tufted sleeves in the habit of civil lawyers. To the four steps, whereby the two stages of the throne are ascended, answer four long benches, which successively deriving from every one of the steps, continue their respective height, and extend themselves by the side walls toward the lower end of the house, every bench being divided by numeral characters into the thirty-seven parts or places. Upon the upper benches sit the censors in the robes of barons; the first in the middle of the right hand bench, and the second directly opposite to him on the other side. Upon the rest of the benches sit the knights, who, if they be called to the urns, distributing themselves by the figures, come in equal files, either by the first seat, which consists of the two upper benches on either side; or by the second seat, consisting of the two lower benches on either side, beginning also at the upper or at the lower ends of the same, according to the lot whereby they are called; for which end the benches are open, and ascended at either end with easy stairs and large passages.

The rest of the ballot is conformable to that of the tribe; the censors of the house sitting at the side urn, and the youngest magistrate of the signory at the middle, the urns being placed before the throne, and prepared according to the number of the magistrates to be at that time chosen by the rules already given to the censors of the tribes. But before the benches of the knights on either side stands one being shorter, and at the upper end of this sit the two tribunes of the horse. At the upper end of the other the two tribunes of the foot in their arms, the rest of the benches being covered by the judges of the land in their robes. But these magistrates have no suffrage, nor the tribunes, though they derive their presence in the Senate from the Romans, nor the judges, though they derive theirs from the ancient Senate of Oceana. Every Monday this assembly sits of course; at other times, if there be occasion, any magistrate of the house, by giving order for the bell, or by his lictor or ensign-bearer, calls a senate. And every magistrate or knight during his session has the title, place, and honor of a duke, earl, baron, or knight respectively And every one that has borne the same magistracy by his third session, has his respective place and title during the term of his life, which is all the honor conferred by this commonwealth, except upon the master of the ceremonies, the master of the horse, and the king of the heralds, who are knights by their places. And thus you have the face of the Senate, in which there is scarce any feature that is not Roman or Venetian; nor do the horns of the crescent extend themselves much unlike those of the Sanhedrim, on either hand of the prince, and of the father of that Senate. But upon beauty, in which every man has his fancy, we will not otherwise philosophize than to remember that there is something more than decency in the robe of a judge, that would not be well spared from the bench; and that the gravest magistrate to whom you can commit the sword of justice, will find a quickness in the spurs of honor, which, if they be not laid to virtue, will lay themselves to that which may rout a commonwealth.

To come from the face of the Senate to the constitution and use of the parts: it is contained in the peculiar orders. And the orders which are peculiar to the Senate, are either of election or instruction.

Elections in the Senate are of three sorts: annual, biennial, and extraordinary.

Annual elections are performed by the schedule called the tropic; and the tropic consists of two parts: the one containing the magistrates, and the other the councils to be yearly elected. The schedule or tropic of the magistrates is as follows in—

The fifteenth order requiring, "That upon every Monday next ensuing the last of March, the knights of the annual galaxies taking their places in the Senate, be called the third region of the same; and that the house having dismissed the first region, and received the third, proceed to election of the magistrates contained in the first part of the tropic, by the ensuing schedule:

The lord strategus,
The lord orator,
the first censor,
The second censor,
Annual magistrates,
The third commissioner of the seal,
The third commissioner of the Treasury,
Triennal magistrates.

"The annual magistrates (provided that no one man bears above one of those honors during the term of one session) may be elected out of any region. But the triennial magistrates may not be elected out of any other than the third region only, lest the term of their session expire before that of their honor; and (it being unlawful for a man to bear magistracy any longer than he is thereto qualified by the election of the people) cause a fraction in the rotation of this commonwealth.

"The strategus is first president of the Senate, and general of the army, if it be commanded to march; in which case there shall be a second strategus elected to be first president of the Senate, and general of the second army, and if this also be commanded to march, a third strategus shill be chosen, and so on, as long as the commonwealth sends forth armies.

"The lord orator is the second and more peculiar president of the Senate to whom it appertains to keep the house to orders.

"The censors, whereof the first, by consequence of his election, is chancellor of the University of Clio, and the second of that of Calliope, are presidents of the Council for Religion and magistrates, to whom it belongs to keep the house to the order of the ballot. They are also inquisitors into the ways and means of acquiring magistracy, and have power to punish indirect proceedings in the same, by removing a knight or magistrate out of the house, under appeal to the Senate.

"The commissioners of the seal being three, whereof the third is annually chosen out of the third region, are judges in chancery.

"The commissioners of the Treasury being three, whereof the third is annually chosen out of the third region, are judges in the exchequer, and every magistrate of this schedule has right to propose to the Senate.

"But the strategus with the six commissioners is the signory of this commonwealth, having right of session and suffrage in every council of the Senate, and power either jointly or severally to propose in all or any of them."

I have little in this order to observe and prove but that the strategus is the same honor both in name and thing that was borne, among others, by Philopemen and Aratus in the Commonwealth of the Achaeans; the like having been in use also with the AEtolians. The orator, called otherwise the speaker, is, with small alteration, the same that had been of former use in this nation. These two, if you will, may be compared to the consuls in Rome, or the suffetes in Carthage, for their magistracy is scarce different.

The censors derive their power of removing a senator from those of Rome, the government of the ballot from those of Venice, and that of animadversion upon the ambitious, or canvass for magistracy, from both.

The signory, with the whole right and use of that magistracy to be hereafter more fully explained, is almost purely Venetian.

The second part of the tropic is directed by—

The sixteenth order" Whereby the constitution of the councils being four; that is to say, the Council of State, the Council of War, the Council of Religion, and the Council of Trade, is rendered conformable in their revolutions to that of the Senate. As: First, by the annual election of five knights out of the first region of the Senate into the Council of State, consisting of fifteen knights, five in every region. Secondly, by the annual election of three knights out of the third region of the Council of State, to be proposed by the provosts, and elected by that council, into the Council of War, consisting of nine knights, three in every region, not excluded by this election from remaining members also of the Council of State. The four tribunes of the people have right of session and suffrage in the Council of War. Thirdly, by the annual election of four knights out of the third region of the Senate into the Council of Religion, consisting of twelve knights, four in every region; of this council the censors are presidents. Fourthly, by the annual election of four knights out of the third region of the Senate into the Council of Trade, consisting of twelve knights, four in every region. And each region, in every one of these councils thus constituted, shall weekly and interchangeably elect one provost whose magistracy shall continue for one week; nor shall he be re-elected into the same till every knight of that region in the same council has once borne the same magistracy. And the provosts being one in every region, three in every council, and twelve in all, beside their other capacities, shall assemble and be a council, or rather an Academy apart, to certain ends and purposes to be hereafter further explained with those of the rest of the councils."

This order is of no other use than the frame and turn of the councils, and yet of no small one; for in motion consists life, and the motion of a commonwealth will never be current unless it be circular. Men that, like my Lord Epimonus, not enduring the resemblance of this kind of government to orbs and spheres, fall on physicking and purging it, do no more than is necessary; for if it be not in rotation both as to persons and things, it will be very sick. The people of Rome, as to persons, if they had not been taken up by the wheel of magistracy, had overturned the chariot of the Senate. And those of Lacedaemon, as to things, had not been so quiet when the Senate trashed their business, by encroaching upon the result, if by the institution of the ephors they had not brought it about again. So that if you allow not a commonwealth her rotation, in which consists her equality, you reduce her to a party, and then it is necessary that you be physicians indeed, or rather farriers; for you will have strong patients, and such as must be haltered and cast, or yourselves may need bone-setters. Wherefore the councils of this commonwealth, both in regard of their elections, and, as will be shown, of their affairs, are uniform with the Senate in their revolutions; not as whirlpits to swallow, but to bite, and with the screws of their rotation to hold and turn a business (like the vice of a smith) to the hand of the workman. Without engines of which nature it is not possible for the Senate, much less for the people, to be perfect artificers in a political capacity. But I shall not hold you longer from—

The seventeenth order, "Directing biennial elections, or the constitution of the orb of ambassador-in-ordinary, consisting of four residences, the revolution whereof is performed in eight years, and preserved through the election of one ambassador in two years by the ballot of the Senate to repair to the Court of France, and reside there for the term of two years; and the term of two years being expired, to remove from thence to the Court of Spain, there to continue for the space of two years, and thence to remove to the State of Venice, and after two years' residence in that city to conclude with his residence at Constantinople for a like term of time, and so to return. A knight of the Senate, or a deputy of the prerogative, may not be elected ambassador-in-ordinary, because a knight or deputy so chosen must either lose his session, which would cause an unevenness in the motion of this commonwealth, or accumulate magistracy, which agrees not with equality of the same. Nor may any man be elected into this capacity that is above five-and-thirty years of age, lest the commonwealth lose the charge of his education, by being deprived at his return of the fruit of it, or else enjoy it not long through the defects of nature."

This order is the perspective of the commonwealth, whereby she foresees danger; or the traffic, whereby she receives every two years the return of a statesman enriched with eight years' experience from the prime marts of negotiation in Europe. And so much for the elections in the Senate that are ordinary; such as are extraordinary follow in—

The eighteenth order, "Appointing all elections upon emergent occasions, except that of the dictator, to be made by the scrutiny, or that kind of election whereby a council comes to be a fifth order of electors. For example, if there be occasion of an ambassador-extraordinary, the provosts of the Council of State, or any two of them, shall propose to the same, till one competitor be chosen by that council; and the council having chosen a competitor, shall bring his name into the Senate, which in the usual way shall choose four more competitors to the same magistracy; and put them, with the competitor of the council, to the ballot of the house, by which he of the five that is chosen is said to be elected by the scrutiny of the Council of State. A vice-admiral, a polemarch, or field officer, shall be elected after the same manner, by the scrutiny of the Council of War. A judge or sergeant-at-law, by the scrutiny of the commissioners of the seal. A baron, or considerable officer of the Exchequer, by the scrutiny of the commissioners of the Treasury: Men in magistracy, or out of it, are equally capable of election by the scrutiny; but a magistrate or officer elected by the scrutiny to a military employment, if he be neither a knight of the Senate nor a deputy of the prerogative, ought to have his office confirmed by the prerogative, because the militia in a commonwealth, where the people are sovereign, is not lawful to be touched injussu populi.

The Romans were so curious that, though their consuls were elected in the centuriate assemblies, they might not touch the militia, except they were confirmed in the parochial assemblies; for a magistrate not receiving his power from the people, takes it from them, and to take away their power is to take away their liberty. As to the election by the scrutiny, it is easily perceived to be Venetian, there being no such way to take in the knowledge; which in all reason must be best in every council of such men as are most fit for their turns, and yet to keep them from the bias of particular affection or interest under that pretence; for the cause why the great Council in Venice scarce ever elects any other than the name that is brought in by the scrutiny, is very probable to be, that they may... This election is the last of those appertaining to the Senate. The councils being chosen by the orders already shown, it remains that we come to those whereby they are instructed and the orders of instruction to the councils are two: the first for the matter whereupon they are to proceed, and the second for the manner of their proceeding. The matter of the councils is distributed to them by—

The nineteenth order "Distributing to every council such businesses as are properly to belong to their cognizance, whereof some they shall receive and determine, and others they shall receive, prepare, and introduce into the house: as, first,

"The Council of State is to receive all addresses, intelligences, and letters of negotiation; to give audience to ambassadors sent to, and to draw up instructions for such as shall be sent by, this commonwealth; to receive propositions from, and hold intelligence with, the provincial councils; to consider upon all laws to be enacted, amended, or repealed, and upon all levies of men or money, war or peace, leagues or associations to be made by this commonwealth, so far forth as is conducible to the orderly preparation of the same to be introduced by them into the Senate; provided, that all such affairs, as otherwise appertaining to the Council of State, are, for the good of the commonwealth, to be carried with greater secrecy, be managed by the Council of War, with power to receive and send forth agents, spies, emissaries, intelligencers, frigots, and to manage affairs of that nature, if it be necessary without communication to the Senate, till such time as it may be had without detriment to the business. But they shall have no power to engage the commonwealth in a war without the consent of the Senate and the people. It appertains also to this council to take charge of the fleet as admiral, and of all storehouses, armories, arsenals, and magazines appertaining to this commonwealth. They shall keep a diligent record of the military expeditions from time to time reported by him that was strategus or general, or one of the polemarchs in that action; or at least so far as the experience of such commanders may tend to the improvement of the military discipline, which they shall digest and introduce into the Senate; and if the Senate shall thereupon frame any article, they shall see that it be observed, in the musters or education of the youth. And whereas the Council of War is the sentinel or scout of this commonwealth, if any person or persons shall go about to introduce debate into any popular assembly of the same, or otherwise to alter the present government, or strike at the root of it, they shall apprehend, or cause to be apprehended, seized, imprisoned, and examine, arraign, acquit, or condemn, and cause to be executed any such person or persons, by their proper power and authority and without appeal.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:42 am

Part 4 of 9

"The Council of Religion, as the arbiter of this commonwealth in cases of conscience more peculiarly appertaining to religion, Christian charity, and a pious life, shall have the care of the national religion, and the protection of the liberty of conscience with the cognizance of all causes relating to either of them. And first as to the national religion: they shall cause all places or preferments of the best revenue in either of the universities to be conferred upon no other than such of the most learned and pious men as have dedicated themselves to the study of theology. They shall also take a special care that, by such augmentations as be or shall hereafter be appointed by the Senate, every benefice in this nation be improved at least to the value of £100 a year. And to the end that there be no interest at all, whereby the divines or teachers of the national religion may be corrupted, or corrupt religion, they shall be capable of no other kind of employment or preferment in this commonwealth. And whereas a directory for the administration of the national religion is to be prepared by this council, they shall in this and other debates of this nature proceed in manner following: a question arising in matter of religion shall be put and stated by the council in writing, which writing the censors shall send by their beadles (being proctors chosen to attend them) each to the university whereof he is chancellor, and the vice-chancellor of the same receiving the writing, shall call a convocation of all the divines of that university being above forty years of age. And the universities, upon a point so proposed, shall have no manner of intelligence or correspondence one with another, till their debates be ended, and they have made return of their answers to the Council of Religion by two or three of their own members, that they may clear their sense, if any doubt should arise, to the council, which done, they shall return, and the council, having received such information, shall proceed according to their own judgments, in the preparation of the whole matter for the Senate: that so the interest of the learned being removed, there may be a right application of reason to Scripture, which is the foundation of the national religion.

"Secondly, this council, as to the protection of the liberty of conscience, shall suffer no coercive power in the matter of religion to be exercised in this nation; the teachers of the natural religion being no other than such as voluntarily undertake that calling, and their auditors or hearers no other than are also voluntary. Nor shall any gathered congregation be molested or interrupted in their way of worship (being neither Jewish nor idolatrous), but vigilantly and vigorously protected and defended in the enjoyment, practice, and profession of the same. And if there be officers or auditors appointed by any such congregation for the introduction of causes into the Council of Religion, all such causes so introduced shall be received, heard, and determined by the same, with recourse had, if need be, to the Senate.

"Thirdly, every petition addressed to the Senate, except that of a tribe, shall be received, examined, and debated by this council; and such only as they, upon such examination and debate had, shall think fit, may be introduced into the Senate.

"The Council of Trade being the vena porta of this nation, shall hereafter receive instructions more at large. For the present, their experience, attaining to a right understanding of those trades and mysteries that feed the veins of this commonwealth, and a true distinction of them from those that suck or exhaust the same, they shall acquaint the Senate with the conveniences and inconveniences, to the end that encouragement may be applied to the one, and remedy to the other.

"The Academy of the provosts, being the affability of the commonwealth, shall assemble every day toward the evening in a fair room, having certain withdrawing-rooms thereto belonging; and all sorts of company that will repair thither for conversation or discourse, so it be upon matters of government, news, or intelligence, or to propose anything to the councils, shall be freely and affably received in the outer chamber, and heard in the way of civil conversation, which is to be managed without any other awe or ceremony than is thereto usually appertaining, to the end that every man may be free, and that what is proposed by one, may be argued or discoursed by the rest, except the matter be of secrecy; in which case the provosts, or some of them, shall take such as desire audience into one of the withdrawing-rooms. And the provosts are to give their minds that this academy be so governed, adorned, and preserved, as may be most attractive to men of parts and good affections to the commonwealth, for the excellency of the conversation.

"Furthermore, if any man, not being able or willing to come in person, has any advice to give which he judges may be for the good of the commonwealth, he may write his mind to the Academy of the provosts, in a letter signed or not signed, which letter shall be left with the doorkeeper of the Academy. Nor shall any person delivering such a letter be seized, molested, or detained, though it should prove to be a libel. But the letters so delivered shall be presented to the provosts; and in case they be so many that they cannot well be perused by the provosts themselves, they shall distribute them as they please to be read by the gentlemen of the Academy, who, finding anything in them material, will find matter of discourse; or if they happen upon a business that requires privacy, return it with a note upon it to a provost. And the provosts by the secretaries attending shall cause such notes out of discourses or letters to be taken as they please, to the end that they may propose, as occasion serves, what any two of them shall think fit out of their notes so taken to their respective councils; to the end that not only the ear of the commonwealth be open to all, but that men of such education being in her eve, she may upon emergent elections or occasions be always provided of her choice of fit persons.

"Every council being adorned with a state for the signory, shall be attended by two secretaries, two doorkeepers, and two messengers-in-ordinary, and have power to command more upon emergencies, as occasion requires. And the Academy shall be attended with two secretaries, two messengers, and two doorkeepers; this with the other councils being provided with their further conveniences at the charge of the State.

"But whereas it is incident to commonwealths, upon emergencies requiring extraordinary speed or secrecy, either through their natural delays or unnatural haste, to incur equal danger, while holding to the slow pace of their orders, they come not in time to defend themselves from some sudden blow; or breaking them for the greater speed, they but haste to their own destruction; if the Senate shall at any time make election of nine knights-extraordinary, to be added to the Council of War, as a juncta for the term of three months, the Council of War with the juncta so added, is for the term of the same Dictator of Oceana, having power to levy men and money, to make war and peace, as also to enact laws, which shall be good for the space of one year (if they be not sooner repealed by the Senate and the people) and for no longer time, except they be confirmed by the Senate and the people. And the whole administration of the commonwealth for the term of the said three months shall be in the Dictator, provided that the Dictator shall have no power to do anything that tends not to his proper end and institution, but all to the preservation of the commonwealth as it is established, and for the sudden restitution of the same to the natural channel and common course of government. And all acts, orders, decrees, or laws of the Council of War with the junota being thus created, shall be signed,


This order of instructions to the councils being (as in a matter of that nature is requisite) very large, I have used my best skill to abbreviate it in such manner as might show no more of it than is necessary to the understanding of the whole, though as to the parts, or further duties of the councils, I have omitted many things of singular use in a commonwealth. But it was discoursed at the council by the Archon in this manner:


"Your councils, except the Dictator only, are proper and native springs and sources, you see, which (hanging a few sticks and straws, that, as less considerable, would otherwise be more troublesome, upon the banks of their peculiar channels) derive the full stream of business into the Senate, so pure, and so far from the possibility of being troubled or stained (as will Undeniably appear by the course contained in the ensuing order) with any kind of private interest or partiality, that it shall never be possible for any assembly hearkening to the advice or information of this or that worthy member (either instructed upon his pillow, or while he was making himself ready, or by the petition or ticket which he received at the door) to have half the security in his faith, or advantage by his wisdom; such a Senate or council being, through the uncertainty of the winds, like a wave of the sea. Nor shall it otherwise mend the matter by flowing up into dry ditches, or referring businesses to be better examined by committees, than to go further about with it to less purpose; if it does not ebb back again with the more mud in it. For in a case referred to an occasional committee, of which any member that is desirous may get himself named, and to which nobody will come but either for the sake of his friend or his own interest; it fares little better as to the information of the Senate, than if it had been referred to the parties. Wherefore the Athenians being distributed into four tribes, out of which by equal numbers they annually chose 400 men, called the Senate of the Bean, because the ballot at their election was performed by the use of beans, divided them by fifties into eight parts. And every fifty in their turn, for one-eighth part of the year, was a council apart called the Prytans.

"The Prytans in their distinct council receiving all comers, and giving ear to every man that had anything to propose concerning the commonwealth, had power to debate and prepare all the businesses that were to be introduced into the Senate. The Achaeans had ten selected magistrates called the demiurgs, constituting a council apart called the synarchy, which, with the strategus, prepared all the business that was introduced into their Senate. But both the Senate of the Athenians, and that of the Achaeans, would have wondered if a man had told them that they were to receive all comers and discourses, to the end that they might refer them afterward to the Prytans or the synarchy, much less to an occasional committee, exposed to the catch that catch may of the parties interested. And yet Venice in this, as in most of her orders, excels them all by the constitution of her councils, that of the College, and the other of the Dieci, or Council of Ten. The course of the College is exactly described in the ensuing order: and for that of the Dieci, it so little differs from what it has bestowed upon Our Dictator, that I need not make any particular description of it. But to dictatorian power in general, and the use of it (because it must needs be of difficult digestion to such as, puking still at ancient prudence, show themselves to be in the nursery of mother-wit); it is no less than necessary to say something. And, first, in a commonwealth that is not wrought up, or perfected, this power will be of very frequent, if not continual, use; wherefore it is said more than once, upon defects of the government, in the book of Judges, 'that in those days there was no king in Israel.' Nor has the translator, though for 'no king, he should have said 'no judge,' abused you so much; seeing that the Dictator (and such was the Judge of Israel) or the dictatorian power being in a single person, so little differs from monarchy, which followed in that, that from the same cause there has been no other effect in any commonwealth: as in Rome was manifest by Sylla and Caesar, who to make themselves absolute or sovereign, had no more to do than to prolong their magistracy, for the dictatorian power was reputed divine, and therefore irresistible.

"Nevertheless, so it is, that without this power, which is so dangerous, and subject to introduce monarchy, a commonwealth cannot be safe from falling into the like dissolution; unless you have an expedient in this case of your own, and bound up by your providence from recoiling. Expedients in some cases you must not only have, but be beholden for them to such whom you must trust at a pinch, when you have not leisure to stand with them for security; which will be a thousand times more dangerous. And there can never be a commonwealth otherwise than by the order in debate wrought up to that perfection; but this necessity must sometimes happen in regard of her natural slowness and openness, and the suddenness of assaults that may be made upon her, as also the secrecy which in some cases may be of absolute necessity to her affairs. Whence Machiavel concludes it positively, that a commonwealth unprovided of such a refuge, must fall to ruin; for her course is either broken by the blow in one of those cases, or by herself, while it startles her out of her orders. And indeed a commonwealth is like a greyhound, which, having once coasted, will never after run fair, but grow slothful; and when it comes to make a common practice of taking nearer ways than its orders, it is dissolved: for the being of a commonwealth consists in its orders. Wherefore at this list you will be exposed to danger, if you have not provided beforehand for the safety of your resort in the like cases: nor is it sufficient that your resort be safe, unless it be as secret and quick; for if it be slow or open, your former inconveniences are not remedied.

"Now for our imitation in this part, there is nothing in experience like that of the Council of Ten in Venice; the benefit whereof would be too long to be shown in the whole piece, and therefore I shall take but a pattern out of Janotti. In the war, says he, which the Venetians had with Florence in Casentin, the Florentines, finding a necessity in their affairs far from any other inclination in themselves to ask their peace, sent ambassadors about it to Venice, where they were no sooner heard, than the bargain was struck up by the Council of Ten: and everybody admiring (seeing this commonwealth stood upon the higher ground) what should be the reason of such haste, the council upon the return of the ambassadors imparted letters to the Senate, whereby it appeared that the Turks had newly launched a formidable fleet against their State, which, had it been understood by the Florentines, it was well enough known they would have made no peace. Wherefore the service of the Ten was highly applauded by the Senate, and celebrated by the Venetians. Whereby may appear not only in part what use there is of dictatorian power in that government, but that it is assumed at the discretion of that Council; whereas in this of Oceana it is not otherwise intrusted than when the Senate, in the election of nine knights-extraordinary, gives at once the commission, and takes security in a balance, added to the Council of War, though securer before by the tribunes of the people than that of Venice, which yet never incurred jealousy; for if the younger nobility have been often girding at it, that happened not so much through the apprehension of danger in it to the commonwealth, as through the awe of it upon themselves. Wherefore the graver have doubtlessly shown their prudence in the law whereby the magistracy of these councillors being to last till' their successors be created, the council is established."

The instructions of the councils for their matter being shown, it remains that I show the instructions for the manner of their proceeding, as they follow in—

The twentieth order, "Containing the method of debates to be observed by the magistrates and the councils successively in order to a decree of the Senate.

"The magistrates of the signory, as councillors of this commonwealth, shall take into their consideration all matters of state or of government; and, having right to propose in any council, may, any one or more of them, propose what business he or they please in that council to which it most properly belongs. And, that the councils may be held to their duty, the said magistrates are superintendents and inspectors of the same, with right to propose to the Senate.

"The censors have equal power with these magistrates, but in relation to the Council of Religion only.

"Any two of the three provosts in every council may propose to, and are the more peculiar proposers of, the same council; to the end that there be not only an inspection and superintendency of business in general, but that every work be also committed to a peculiar hand.

"Any one or more of the magistrates, or any two of the provosts respectively having proposed, the council shall debate the business so proposed, to which they of the third region that are willing shall speak first in their order; they of the second, next; and they of the first, last; and the opinions of those that proposed or spoke, as they shall be thought the most considerable by the council, shall be taken by the secretary of the same in writing, and each of them signed with the name of the author.

"The opinions being thus prepared, any magistrate of the signory, the censors, or any two of the provosts of that council, upon this occasion may assemble the Senate.

"The Senate being assembled, the opinions (for example, if they be four) shall be read in their order, that is, according to the order or dignity of the magistrates or councillors by which they were signed. And being read, if any of the council introducing them will speak, they, as best acquainted with the business, shall have precedence; and after them the senators shall speak according to their regions, beginning by the third first, and so continuing till every man that will has spoken; and when the opinions have been sufficiently debated, they shall be put all together to the ballot after this manner:

"Four secretaries, carrying each of them one of the opinions in one hand, with a white box in the other, and each following the other, according to the order of the opinions, shall present his box, naming the author of his opinion to every senator; and one secretary or ballotin with a green box shall follow the four white ones; and one secretary or ballotin with a red box shall follow the green one; and every senator shall put one ball into some one of these six boxes. The suffrage being gathered and opened before the signory, if the red box or non-sincere had above half the suffrages, the opinions shall be all cast out, for the major part of the house is not clear in the business. If no one of the four opinions had above half the suffrages in the affirmative, that which had fewest shall be cast out, and the other three shall be balloted again. If no one of the three had above half, that which had fewest shall be cast out, and the other two shall ballot again. If neither of the two had above half, that which had fewest shall be cast out, and the remaining opinion shall be balloted again. And if the remaining opinion has not above half, it shall also be cast out. But the first of the opinions that arrives at most above half in the affirmative, is the decree of the Senate. The opinions being all of them cast out by the non-sincere, may be reviewed, if occasion permits, by the council, and brought in again. If they be cast out by the negative, the case being of advice only; the house approves not, and there is an end of it: the case being necessary, and admitting delay, the council is to think again upon the business, and to bring in new opinions; but the case being necessary, and not admitting delay, the Senate immediately electing the juncta shall create the Dictator. 'And let the Dictator,' as the Roman saying is, 'take care that the commonwealth receives no harm.'"

This in case the debate concludes not in a decree. But if a decree be passed, it is either in matter of state or government according to law enacted already, and then it is good without going any further, or it is in matter of law to be enacted, repealed, or amended; and then the decree of the Senate, especially if it be for a war, or for a levy of men or money, is invalid, without the result of the commonwealth, which is in the prerogative tribe, or representative of the people.

"The Senate having prepared a decree to be proposed to the people, shall appoint their proposers; and no other may propose for the Senate to the people but the magistrates of the house; that is to say, the three commissioners of the seal, or any two of them; the three of the Treasury, or any two of them; or the two censors.

"The Senate having appointed their proposers, shall require of the tribunes a muster of the people at a set time and place: and the tribunes or any two of them having mustered the people accordingly, the proposers shall propose the sense or decree of the Senate by clauses to the people. And that which is proposed by the authority of the Senate, and resolved by the command of the people, is the law of Oceana." To this order, implicitly containing the sum very near of the whole civil part of the commonwealth, my Lord Archon spoke thus in council:


"There is a saying, that a man must cut his coat according to his cloth. When I consider what God has allowed or furnished to our present work, I am amazed. You would have a popular government; he has weighed it to you in the present balance, as I may say, to a drachm; you have no more to do but to fix it. For the superstructures of such a government they require a good aristocracy: and you have, or have had a nobility or gentry the best studied, and the best writers, at least next that of Italy, in the whole world; nor have they been inferior, when so exercised, in the leading of armies. But the people are the main body of a commonwealth; show me from the treasuries of the snow (as it is in Job) to the burning zone a people whose shoulder so universally and so exactly fits the corselet. Nevertheless, it were convenient to be well provided with auxiliaries. There is Marpesia, through her fruitfulness, inexhaustible of men, and men through her barrenness not only enured to hardship, but in your arms. It may be said that Venice, excepting only that she takes not in the people, is the most incomparable situation of a commonwealth. You are Venice, taking in your people and your auxiliaries too. My lords, the children of Israel were makers of brick before they were builders of a commonwealth; but our brick is made, our mortar tempered, the cedars of Lebanon are hewed and squared to our hands. Has this been the work of man? Or is it in man to withstand this work? 'Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproves God, let him answer it.' For our parts, everything is so laid that when we come to have use of it, it is the next at hand; and unless we can conceive that God and nature do anything in vain, there is no more for us to do but to despatch. The piece which we have reached to us in the foregoing orders, is the aristocracy. Athens, as has been shown, was plainly lost through the want of a good aristocracy.

"But the sufficiency of an aristocracy goes demonstrably upon the hand of the nobility or gentry; for that the politics can be mastered without study, or that the people can have leisure to study, is a vain imagination; and what kind of aristocracy divines and lawyers would make, let their incurable running upon their own narrow bias and their perpetual invectives against Machiavel (though in some places justly reprovable, yet the only politician, and incomparable patron of the people) serve for instruction. I will stand no more to the judgment of lawyers and divines in this work, than to that of so many other tradesmen; but if this model chances to wander abroad, I recommend it to the Roman speculativi (the most complete gentlemen of this age) for their censure; or with my Lord Epimonus his leave, send 300 or 400 copies to your agent at Venice to be presented to the magistrates there; and when they have considered them, to be proposed to the debate of the Senate, the most competent judges under heaven, who, though they have great affairs, will not refuse to return you the oracle of their ballot. The councillors of princes I will not trust; they are but journeymen. The wisdom of these later times in princes' affairs (says Verulamius) is rather fine deliveries and shiftings of dangers when they be near, than solid and grounded courses to keep them off. Their councillors do not derive their proceedings from any sound root of government that may contain the demonstration, and assure the success of them, but are expedient-mongers, givers of themselves to help a lame dog over a stile; else how comes it to pass that the fame of Cardinal Richelieu has been like thunder, whereof we hear the noise, but can make no demonstration of the reason? But to return: if neither the people, nor divines and lawyers, can be the aristocracy of a nation, there remains only the nobility; in which style, to avoid further repetition, I shall understand the gentry also, as the French do by the word noblesse.

"Now to treat of the nobility in such sort as may be less obnoxious to mistake, it will be convenient, and answerable to the present occasion, that I divide my discourse into four parts:

"The first, treating of nobility, and the kinds of it;

"The second, of their capacity of the Senate;

"The third, of the divers kinds of senates;

"The fourth, of the Senate, according to the foregoing orders.

"Nobility may be defined divers ways; for it is either ancient riches, or ancient virtue, or a title conferred by a prince or a commonwealth.

"Nobility of the first kind may be subdivided into two others, such as hold an overbalance in dominion or property to the whole people, or such as hold not an overbalance, in the former case, a nobility (such was the Gothic, of which sufficient has been spoken) is incompatible with popular government; for to popular government it is essential that power should be in the people, but the overbalance of a nobility in dominion draws the power to themselves. Wherefore in this sense it is that Machiavel is to be understood, where he says, that these are pernicious in a commonwealth; and of France, Spain, and Italy, that they are nations which for this cause are the corruption of the world: for otherwise nobility may, according to his definition (which is, 'that they are such as live upon their own revenues in plenty, without engagement either to the tilling of their lands, or other work for their livelihood '), hold an underbalance to the people; in which case they are not only safe, but necessary to the natural mixture of a well-ordered commonwealth.

"For how else can you have a commonwealth that is not altogether mechanic? or what comparison is there of such commonwealths as are, or come nearest to mechanic—for example, Athens, Switzerland, Holland, to Lacedaemon, Rome, and Venice, plumed with their aristocracies? Your mechanics, till they have first feathered their nests, like the fowls of the air whose whole employment is to seek their food, are so busied in their private concernments that they have neither leisure to study the public, nor are safely to be trusted with it, because a man is not faithfully embarked in this kind of ship, if he has no share in the freight. But if his share be such as gives him leisure by his private advantage to reflect upon that of the public, what other name is there for this sort of men, being a leur aise, but (as Machiavel you see calls them) nobility? Especially when their families come to be such as are noted for their services done to the commonwealth, and so take into their ancient riches ancient virtue, which is the second definition of nobility, but such a one as is scarce possible in nature without the former. 'For as the baggage,' says Verulamius, 'is to an army, so are riches to virtue; they cannot be spared nor left behind, though they be impediments, such as not only hinder the march, but sometimes through the care of them lose or disturb the victory.' Of this latter sort is the nobility of Oceana; the best of all others because they, having no stamp whence to derive their price, can have it no otherwise than by their intrinsic value. The third definition of nobility, is a title, honor, or distinction from the people, conferred or allowed by the prince or the commonwealth. And this may be two ways, either without any stamp or privilege, as in Oceana; or with such privileges as are inconsiderable, as in Athens after the battle of Plataea, whence the nobility had no right, as such, but to religious offices, or inspection of the public games, to which they were also to be elected by the people; or with privileges, and those considerable ones, as the nobility in Athens before the battle of Plataea, and the patricians in Rome each of which had right, or claimed it, to the Senate and all the magistracies; wherein for some time they only by their stamp were current.

"But to begin higher, and to speak more at large of nobility in their several capacities of the Senate. The phylarchs, or princes of the tribes of Israel, were the most renowned, or, as the Latin, the most noble of the congregation, whereof by hereditary right they had the leading and judging. The patriarchs, or princes of families, according as they declared their pedigrees, had the like right as to their families; but neither in these nor the former was there any hereditary right to the Sanhedrim: though there be little question but the wise men and understanding, and known among their tribes, which the people took or elected into those or other magistracies, and whom Moses made rulers over them, must have been of these, seeing they could not choose but be the most known among the tribes, and were likeliest by the advantages of education to be the most wise and understanding.

"Solon having found the Athenians neither locally nor genealogically, but by their different ways of life, divided into four tribes—that is, into the soldiery, the tradesmen, the husbandmen, and the goatherds—instituted a new distribution of them, according to the sense or valuation of their estates, into four classes: the first, second, and third consisting of such as were proprietors in land, distinguished by the rate of their freeholds, with that stamp upon them, which making them capable of adding honor to their riches, that is to say, of the Senate, and all the magistracies, excluded the fourth, being the body of the people, and far greater in number than the former three, from all other right, as to those capacities, except the election of these, who by this means became an hereditary aristocracy or senatorian order of nobility. This was that course which came afterward to be the destruction of Rome, and had now ruined Athens. The nobility, according to the inevitable nature of such a one, having laid the plot how to divest the people of the result, and so to draw the whole power of the commonwealth to themselves; which in all likelihood they had done, if the people, coming by mere chance to be victorious in the battle of Plataea, and famous for defending Greece against the Persians, had not returned with such courage as irresistibly broke the classes, to which of old they had borne a white tooth, brought the nobility to equal terms, and the Senate with the magistracies to be common to both; the magistracies by suffrage, and the Senate (which was the mischief of it, as I shall show anon in that constitution) by lot only." The Lacedaemonians were in the manner, and for the same cause with the Venetians at this day, no other than a nobility even according to the definition given of nobility by Machiavel; for they neither exercised any trade, nor labored their lands or lots, which was done by their helots: wherefore some nobility may be far from pernicious in a commonwealth by Machiavel's own testimony, who is an admirer of this, though the servants thereof were more in number than the citizens. To these servants I hold the answer of Lycurgus—when he bade him who asked why he did not admit the people to the government of his commonwealth, to go home and admit his servants to the government of his family-to relate: for neither were the Lacedaemonians servants, nor, further, capable of the government, unless, whereas the congregation had the result, he should have given them the debate also; every one of these that attained to sixty years of age, and the major vote of the congregation, being equally capable of the Senate.

"The nobility of Rome, and their capacity of the Senate, I have already described by that of Athens before the battle of Plataea, saving only that the Athenian was never eligible into the Senate without the suffrage of the people till the introduction of the lot, but the Roman nobility ever: for the patricians were elected into the Senate by the kings; by the consuls, or the censors, or if a plebeian happened to be conscribed, he and his posterity became patricians. Nor, though the people had many disputes with the nobility, did this ever come in controversy, which, if there had been nothing else, might in my judgment have been enough to overturn that commonwealth.

"The Venetian nobility, but that they are richer, and not military, resemble at all other points the Lacedaemonian, as I have already shown. These Machiavel excepts from his rule, by saying that their estates are rather personal than real, or of any great revenue in land, which comes to our account, and shows that a nobility or party of the nobility, not overbalancing in dominion, is not dangerous, but of necessary use in every commonwealth, provided it be rightly ordered; for if it be so ordered as was that of Rome, though they do not overbalance at the beginning, as they did not there, it will not be long ere they do, as is clear both in reason and experience toward the latter end. That the nobility only be capable of the Senate is there only not dangerous, where there be no other citizens, as in this government and that of Lacedaemon.

"The nobility of Holland and Switzerland, though but few, have privileges not only distinct from the people, but so great that in some sovereignties they have a negative voice; an example which I am far from commending, being such as (if those governments were not cantonized, divided, and subdivided into many petty sovereignties that balance one another, and in which the nobility, except they had a prince at the head of them, can never join to make work) would be the most dangerous that ever was, but the Gothic, of which it favors. For in ancient commonwealths you shall never find a nobility to have had a negative but by the poll, which, the people being far more in number, came to nothing; whereas these have it, be they never so few by their stamp or order.

"Ours of Oceana have nothing else but their education and their leisure for the public, furnished by their ease and competent riches: and their intrinsic value, which, according as it comes to hold weight in the judgment or suffrage of the people, is their only way to honor and preferment. Wherefore I would have your lordships to look upon your children as such, who, if they come to shake off some part of their baggage, shall make the more quick and glorious march; for it was nothing else but the baggage, sordidly plundered by the nobility of Rome, that lost the victory of the whole world in the midst of her triumph.

"Having followed the nobility thus close, they bring us, according to their natural course and divers kinds, to the divers constitutions of the Senate.

"That of Israel (as was shown by my right noble Lord Phosphorus de Auge, in the opening of the commonwealth) consisted of seventy elders, elected at first by the people. But whereas they were for life, they ever after (though without any divine precept for it) substituted their successors by ordination, which ceremony was most usually performed by imposition of hands; and by this means a commonwealth of as popular institution as can be found became, as it is accounted by Josephus, aristocratical. From this ordination derives that which was introduced by the Apostles into the Christian Church; for which cause I think it is that the Presbyterians would have the government of the Church to be aristocratical, though the Apostles, to the end, as I conceive, that they might give no occasion to such a mistake, but show that they intended the government of the Church to be popular, ordained elders, as has been shown, by the holding up of hands (or free suffrage of the people) in every congregation or ecclesia: for that is the word in the original, being borrowed from the civil congregations of the people in Athens and Lacedaemon, which were so called; and the word for holding up of hands in the text is also the very same, which signified the suffrage of the people in Athens, chirotonante; for the suffrage of the Athenians was given per chirotonian, says Emmius.

"The Council of the Bean (as was shown by my Lord Navarchus de Paralo in his full discourse), being the proposing Senate of Athens (for that of the Areopagites was a judicatory), consisted of 400, some say 500 senators, elected annually, all at once, and by a mere lot without suffrage. Wherefore though the Senate, to correct the temerity of the lot, had power to cast out such as they should judge unworthy of that honor, this related to manners only, and was not sufficient to repair the commonwealth, which by such means became impotent; and forasmuch as her Senate consisted not of the natural aristocracy, which in a commonwealth is the only spur and rein of the people, it was cast headlong by the rashness of her demagogues or grandees into ruin; while her Senate, like the Roman tribunes (who almost always, instead of governing, were rather governed by the multitude), proposed not to the result only, but to the debate also of the people, who were therefore called to the pulpits, where some vomited, and others drank, poison.

"The Senate of Lacedaemon, most truly discovered by my Lord Laco de Scytale, consisted but of thirty for life, whereof the two kings, having but single votes, were hereditary, the rest elected by the free suffrage of the people, but out of such as were sixty years of age. These had the whole debate of the commonwealth in themselves, and proposed to the result only of the people. And now the riddle which I have heretofore found troublesome to unfold, is out; that is to say, why Athens and Lacedaemon, consisting each of the Senate and the people, the one should be held a democracy, and the other an aristocracy, or laudable oligarchy, as it is termed by Isocrates; for that word is not, wherever you meet it, to be branded, Seeing it is used also by Aristotle, Plutarch, and others, sometimes in a good sense. The main difference was that the people in this had the result only, and in that the debate and result, too. But for my part, where the people have the election of the Senate, not bound to a distinct order, and the result, which is the sovereign power, I hold them to have that share in the government (the Senate being not for life) whereof, with the safety of the commonwealth, they are capable in nature, and such a government, for that cause, to be democracy; though I do not deny but in Lacedaemon, the paucity of the senators considered, it might be called oligarchy, in comparison of Athens; or, if we look on their continuance for life, though they had been more, aristocracy.

"The Senate of Rome (whose fame has been heard to thunder in the eloquence of my Lord Dolabella d'Enyo) consisting of 300, was, in regard of the number, less oligarchical than that of Lacedaemon; but more in regard of the patricians, who, having an hereditary capacity of the same, were not elected to that honor by the people; but, being conscribed by the censors, enjoyed it for life. Wherefore these, if they had their wills, would have resolved as well as debated; which set the people at such variance with them as dissolved the commonwealth; whereas if the people had enjoyed the result, that about the agrarian, as well as all other strife, must of necessity have ceased.

"The Senates of Switzerland and Holland (as I have learnt of my Lords Alpester and Glaucus), being bound up (like the sheaf of arrows which the latter gives) by leagues, lie like those in their quivers; but arrows, when they come to be drawn, fly from this way and from that; and I am contented that these concerned us not.

"That of Venice (by the faithful testimony of my most excellent Lord Linceus de Stella) has obliged a world, sufficiently punished by its own blindness and ingratitude, to repent and be wiser: for whereas a commonwealth in which there is no senate, or where the senate is corrupt, cannot stand, the great Council of Venice, like the statue of Nilus, leans upon an urn or waterpot, which pours forth the Senate in so pure and perpetual a stream, as being unable to stagnate, is forever incapable of corruption. The fuller description of this Senate is contained in that of Oceana; and that of Oceana in the foregoing orders. To every one of which, because something has been already said, I shall not speak in particular. But in general, your Senate, and the other assembly, or the prerogative, as I shall show in due place, are perpetual, not as lakes or puddles, but as the rivers of Eden; and are beds made, as you have seen, to receive the whole people, by a due and faithful vicissitude, into their current. They are not, as in the late way, alternate. Alternate life in government is the alternate death of it.

"This was the Gothic work, whereby the former government (which was not only a ship, but a gust, too) could never open her sails, but in danger to overset herself, neither could make any voyage nor lie safe in her own harbor. The wars of later ages, says Verulamius, seem to be made in the dark, in respect of the glory and honor which reflected on men from the wars in ancient times. Their shipping of this sort Was for voyages; ours dare not launch, nor lies it safe at home. Your Gothic politicians seem to me rather to have invented some new ammunition or gunpowder, in their King and Parliament, than government. For what is become of the princes (a kind of people) in Germany?—blown up. Where are the estates, or the power of the people in France?—blown up. Where is that of the people in Arragon, and the rest of the Spanish kingdoms?—blown up. On the other side, where is the King of Spain's power in Holland?—blown up. Where is that of the Austrian princes in Switzerland?—blown up. This perpetual peevishness and jealousy, under the alternate empire of the prince and of the people, are obnoxious to every spark. Nor shall any man show a reason that will be holding in prudence, why the people of Oceana have blown up their King, but that their kings did not first blow up them. The rest is discourse for ladies. Wherefore your parliaments are not henceforth to come out of the bag of AEolus, but by your galaxies, to be the perpetual food of the fire of Vesta.

"Your galaxies, which divide the house into so many regions, are three; one of which constituting the third region is annually chosen, but for the term of three years; which causes the house (having at once blossoms, fruit half ripe, and others dropping off in full maturity) to resemble an orange tree, such as is at the same time an education or spring, and a harvest, too; for the people have made a very ill-choice in the man, who is not easily capable of the perfect knowledge in one year of the senatorian orders; which knowledge, allowing him for the first to have been a novice, brings him the second year to practise, and time enough. For at this rate you must always have 200 knowing men in the government. And thus the vicissitude of your senators is not perceivable in the steadiness and perpetuity of your Senate; which, like that of Venice, being always changing, is forever the same. And though other politicians have not so well imitated their patter, there is nothing more obvious in nature, seeing a man who wears the same flesh but a short time, is nevertheless the same man, and of the same genius; and whence is this but from the constancy of nature, in holding a man to her orders? Wherefore keep also to your orders. But this is a mean request; your orders will be worth little if they do not hold you to them, wherefore embark. They are like a ship, if you be once aboard, you do not carry them, but they you; and see how Venice stands to her tackling: you will no more forsake them than you will leap into the sea.

"But they are very many and difficult. O my Lords, what seaman casts away his card because it has four-and-twenty points of the compass? and yet those are very near as many and as difficult as the orders in the whole circumference of your commonwealth. Consider, how have we been tossed with every wind of doctrine, lost by the glib tongues of your demagogues and grandees in our own havens? A company of fiddlers that have disturbed your rest for your groat; £2,000 to one, £3,000 a year to another, has been nothing. And for what? Is there one of them that yet knows what a commonwealth is? And are you yet afraid of such a government in which these shall not dare to scrape for fear of the statute? Themistocles could not fiddle, but could make of a small city a great commonwealth: these have fiddled, and for your money, till they have brought a great commonwealth to a small city.

"It grieves me, while I consider how, and from what causes, imaginary difficulties will be aggravated, that the foregoing orders are not capable of any greater clearness in discourse or writing; but if a man should make a book, describing every trick and passage, it would fare no otherwise with a game at cards; and this is no more, if a man plays upon the square. 'There is a great difference,' says Verulamius, 'between a cunning man and a wise man (between a demagogue and a legislator), not only in point of honesty, but in point of ability as there be that can pack the cards, and yet cannot play well; so there be some that are good in canvasses and fractions, that are otherwise weak men.' Allow me but these orders, and let them come with their cards in their sleeves, or pack if they can. 'Again,' says he, 'it is one thing to understand persons, and another to understand matters; for many are perfect in men's humors that are not greatly capable of the real part of business, which is the constitution of one that has studied men more than books. But there is nothing more hurtful in a State than that cunning men should pass for wise.' His words are an oracle. As Dionysius, when he could no longer exercise his tyranny among men, turned schoolmaster, that he might exercise it among boys. Allow me but these orders, and your grandees, so well skilled in the baits and palates of men, shall turn rat-catchers.

"And whereas 'councils (as is discreetly observed by the same author in his time) are at this day, in most places, but familiar meetings (somewhat like the Academy of our provosts), where matters are rather talked on than debated, and run too swift to order an act of council,' give me my orders, and see if I have not puzzled your demagogues.

"It is not so much my desire to return upon haunts, as theirs that will not be satisfied; wherefore if, notwithstanding what was said of dividing and choosing in our preliminary discourses, men will yet be returning to the question, Why the Senate must be a council apart (though even in Athens, where it was of no other constitution than the popular assembly, the distinction of it from the other was never held less than necessary) this may be added to the former reasons, that if the aristocracy be not for the debate, it is for nothing; but if it be for debate, it must have convenience for it; and what convenience is there for debate in a crowd, where there is nothing but jostling, treading upon one another, and stirring of blood, than which in this case there is nothing more dangerous? Truly, it was not ill said of my Lord Epimonus, that Venice plays her game, as it were, at billiards or nine-holes; and so may your lordships, unless your ribs be so strong that you think better of football: for such sport is debate in a popular assembly as, notwithstanding the distinction of the Senate, was the destruction of Athens."

This speech concluded the debate which happened at the institution of the Senate. The next assembly is that of the people or prerogative tribe.

The face, or mien, of the prerogative tribe for the arms, the horses, and the discipline, but more especially for the select men, is that of a very noble regiment, or rather of two; the one of horse, divided into three troops (besides that of the provinces, which will be shown hereafter), with their captains, cornets, and two tribunes of the horse at the head of them; the other of foot in three companies (beside that of the provinces), with their captains, ensigns, and two tribunes of the foot at the head of them. The first troop is called the Phoenix, the second the Pelican, and the third the Swallow. The first company the Cypress, the second the Myrtle, and the third the Spray. Of these again (not without a near resemblance of the Roman division of a tribe) the Phoenix and the Cypress constitute the first class, the Pelican and the Myrtle the second, and the Swallow with the Spray the third, renewed every spring by—

The one-and-twentieth order, "Directing, that upon every Monday next ensuing the last of March, the deputies of the annual galaxy arriving at the pavilion in the halo, and electing one captain and one cornet of the Swallow (triennial officers) by and out of the cavalry at the horse urn, according to the rules contained in the ballot of the hundred; and one captain with one ensign of the Spray (triennial officers) by and out of the infantry at the foot urn, after the same way of balloting, constitute and become the third classes of the prerogative tribe."

Seven deputies are annually returned by every tribe, whereof three are horse and four are foot; and there be fifty tribes: so the Swallow must consist of 150 horse, the Spray of 200 foot. And the rest of the classes being two, each of them in number equal, the whole prerogative (beside the provinces, that is, the knights and deputies of Marpesia and Panopea) must consist of 1,050 deputies. And these troops and companies may as well be called centuries as those of the Romans; for the Romans related not, in so naming theirs, to the number. And whereas they were distributed according to the valuation of their estates, so are these; which, by virtue of the last order, are now accommodated with their triennial officers. But there be others appertaining to this tribe whose election, being of far greater importance, is annual, as follows in

The twenty-second order, "Whereby the first class having elected their triennial officers, and made oath to the old tribunes, that they will neither introduce, cause, nor to their power suffer debate to be introduced into any popular assembly of this government, but to their utmost be aiding and assisting to seize and deliver any person or persons in that way offending, and striking at the root of this commonwealth, to the Council of War, are to proceed with the other two classes of the prerogative tribe to election of the new tribunes, being four annual magistrates, whereof two are to be elected out of the cavalry at the horse urn, and two out of the infantry at the foot urn, according to the common ballot of the tribes. And they may be promiscuously chosen out of any classes, provided that the same person shall not be capable of bearing the tribunitian honor twice in the term of one galaxy. The tribunes thus chosen shall receive the tribe (in reference to the power of mustering and disciplining the same) as commanders-in-chief, and for the rest as magistrates, whose proper function is prescribed by the next order. The tribunes may give leave to any number of the prerogative, not exceeding 100 at a time, to be absent, so they be not magistrates nor officers, and return within three months. If a magistrate or officer has a necessary occasion, he may also be absent for the space of one month, provided that there be not above three cornets or ensigns, two captains, or one tribune so absent at one time."

To this the Archon spoke at the institution after this manner:


"It is affirmed by Cicero, in his oration for Flaccus, that the commonwealths of Greece were all shaken or ruined by the intemperance of their Comitia, or assemblies of the people. The truth is, if good heed in this point be not taken, a commonwealth will have bad legs. But all the world knows he should have excepted Lacedaemon, where the people, as has been shown by the oracle, had no power at all of debate, nor (till after Lysander, whose avarice opened a gulf that was not long ere it swallowed up his country) came it ever to be exercised by them. Whence that commonwealth stood longest and firmest of any other but this, in our days, of Venice; which, having underlaid herself with the like institution, owes a great, if not the greater, part of her steadiness to the same principle; the great Council, which is with her the people, by the authority of my Lord Epimonus, never speaking a word. Nor shall any commonwealth, where the people in their political capacity is talkative, ever see half the days of one of these, but, being carried away by vainglorious men (that, as Overbury says, void more than they drink), swim down the stream, as did Athens, the most prating of these dames, when that same ranting fellow Alcibiades fell a-demagoguing for the Silician War.

"But whereas debate, by the authority and experience of Lacedaemon and Venice, is not to be committed to the people in a well-ordered government, it may be said that the order specified is but a slight bar in a matter of like danger; for so much as an oath, if there be no recourse upon the breach of it, is a weak tie for such hands as have the sword in them, wherefore what should hinder the people of Oceana, if they happen not to regard an oath from assuming debate, and making themselves as much an anarchy as those of Athens? To which I answer, Take the common sort in a private capacity, and, except they be injured, you shall find them to have a bashfulness in the presence of the better sort, or wiser men, acknowledging their abilities by attention, and accounting it no mean honor to receive respect from them; but if they be injured by them, they hate them, and the more for being wise or great, because that makes it the greater injury. Nor refrain they in this case from any kind of intemperance of speech, if of action. It is no otherwise with a people in their political capacity; you shall never find that they have assumed debate for itself, but for something else. Wherefore in Lacedaemon where there was, and in Venice where there is, nothing else for which they should assume it, they have never shown so much as an inclination to it.
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