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.

Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:44 am

Part 5 of 9

"Nor was there any appearance of such a desire in the people of Rome (who from the time of Romulus had been very well contented with the power of result either in the parochial assemblies, as it was settled upon them by him, or in the meetings of the hundreds, as it was altered in their regard for the worse by Servius Tullius) till news was brought, some fifteen years after the exile of Tarquin, their late King (during which time the Senate had governed pretty well), that he was dead at the Court of Aristodemus the tyrant of Cumae. Whereupon the patricians, or nobility, began to let out the hitherto dissembled venom which is inherent in the root of oligarchy and fell immediately upon injuring the people beyond all moderation. For whereas the people had served both gallantly and contentedly in arms upon their own charges, and, though joint purchasers by their swords of the conquered lands, had not participated in the same to above two acres a man (the rest being secretly usurped by the patricians), they, through the meanness of their support and the greatness of their expense, being generally indebted, no sooner returned home with victory to lay down their arms, than they were snatched up by their creditors, the nobility, to cram jails. Whereupon, but with the greatest modesty that was ever known in the like case, they first fell upon debate, affirming 'That they were oppressed and captivated at home, while abroad they fought for liberty and empire, and that the freedom of the common people was safer in time of war than peace, among their enemies than their fellow-citizens.' It is true that when they could not get the Senate, through fear, as was pretended by the patricians, to assemble and take their grievances into consideration, they grew so much the warmer, that it was glad to meet; where Appius Claudius, a fierce spirit, was of opinion that recourse should be had to consular power, whereby some of the brands of sedition being taken off, the flame might be extinguished. Servilius, being of another temper, thought it better and safer to try if the people might be bowed than broken.

"But this debate was interrupted by tumultuous news of the near approach of the Volsci, a case in which the Senate had no recourse but to the people, who, contrary to their former custom upon the like occasions, would not stir a foot, but fell a-laughing, and saying, 'Let them fight that have something to fight for.' The Senate that had purses, and could not sing so well before the thief, being in a great perplexity, found no possible way out of it but to beseech Servilius, one of a genius well known to be popular, that he would accept of the consulship, and make some such use of it as might be helpful to the patrician interest. Servilius, accepting of the offer, and making use of his interest with the people, persuaded them to hope well of the good intention of the fathers, whom it would little beseem to be forced to those things which would lose their grace, and that in view of the enemy, if they came not freely; and withal published an edict, that no man should withhold a citizen of Rome by imprisonment from giving his name (for that was the way, as I shall have opportunity hereafter to show more at large, whereby they drew out their armies), nor to seize or sell any man's goods or children that were in the camp. Whereupon the people with a mighty concourse immediately took arms, marched forth, and (which to them was as easy as to be put into the humor, and that, as appears in this place, was not hard) totally defeated the Volsci first, then the Sabines (for the neighboring nations, hoping to have had a good bargain of the discord in Rome, were up in arms on all sides), and after the Sabines the Aurunci. Whence returning, victorious in three battles they expected no less than that the Senate would have made good their words, when Appius Claudius, the other Consul, of his innate pride, and that he might frustrate the faith of his colleague, caused the soldiers (who being set at liberty, had behaved themselves with such valor) to be restored at their return to their creditors and their jails.

"Great resort upon this was made by the people to Servilius, showing him their wounds, calling him to witness how they had behaved themselves, and minding him of his promise. Poor Servilius was sorry, but so overawed with the headiness of his colleague, and the obstinacy of the whole faction of the nobility, that, not daring to do anything either way, he lost both parties, the fathers conceiving that he was ambitious, and the people that he was false; while the Consul Claudius, continuing to countenance such as daily seized and imprisoned some of the indebted people, had still new and dangerous controversies with them, insomuch that the commonwealth was torn with horrid division, and the people (because they found it not so safe or so effectual in public) minded nothing but laying their heads together in private conventicles. For this Aulus Virginius and Titus Vetusius, the new Consuls, were reproved by the Senate as slothful, and upbraided with the virtue of Appius Claudius. Whereupon the Consuls having desired the Senate that they might know their pleasure, showed afterward their readiness to obey it, by summoning the people according to command, and requiring names whereby to draw forth an army for diversion, but no man would answer. Report hereof being made to the Senate, the younger sort of the fathers grew so hot with the Consuls that they desired them to abdicate the magistracy, which they had not the courage to defend.

"The Consuls, though they conceived themselves to be roughly handled, made this soft answer. 'Fathers conscript, that you may please to take notice it was foretold some horrid sedition is at hand, we shall only desire that they whose valor in this place is so great, may stand by us to see how we behave ourselves, and then be as resolute in your commands as you will; your fatherhoods may know if we be wanting in the performance.'

"At this some of the hot young noblemen returned with the Consuls to the tribunal, before which the people were yet standing; and the Consuls having generally required names in vain, to put it to something, required the name of one that was in their eye particularly; on whom, when he moved not, they commanded a lictor to lay hands, but the people, thronging about the party summoned, forbade the lictor, who durst not touch him; at which the hotspurs that came with the consuls, enraged by the affront, descended from the throne to the aid of the lictor; from whom in so doing they turned the indignation of the people upon themselves with such heat that the Consuls interposing, thought fit, by remitting the assembly, to appease the tumult; in which, nevertheless, there had been nothing but noise. Nor was there less in the Senate, being suddenly rallied upon this occasion, where they that received the repulse, with others whose heads were as addled as their own, fell upon the business as if it had been to be determined by clamor till the Consuls, upbraiding the Senate that it differed not from the market-place, reduced the house to orders.

"And the fathers, having been consulted accordingly, there were three opinions: Publius Virginius conceived that the consideration to be had upon the matter in question, or aid of the indebted and imprisoned people, was not to be further extended than to such as had engaged upon the promise made by Servilius; Titus Largius, that it was no time to think it enough, if men's merits were acknowledged, while the whole people, sunk under the weight of their debts, could not emerge without some common aid, which to restrain, by putting some into a better condition than others, would rather more inflame the discord than extinguish it; Appius Claudius (still upon the old haunt) would have it that the people were rather wanton than fierce; it was not oppression that necessitated, but their power that invited them to these freaks; the empire of the Consuls since the appeal to the people (whereby a plebeian might ask his fellows if he were a thief) being but a mere scarecrow. 'Go to,' says he, 'let us create the dictator, from whom there is no appeal, and then let me see more of this work, or him that shall forbid my lictor.'

"The advice of Appius was abhorred by many; and to introduce a general recision of debts with Largius, was to violate all faith; that of Virginius, as the most moderate, would have passed best, but that there were private interests, that constant bane of the public, which withstood it. So they concluded with Appius, who also had been dictator, if the Consuls and some of the graver sort had not thought it altogether unseasonable, at a time when the Volsci and the Sabines were up again, to venture so far upon alienation of the people: for which cause Valerius, being descended from the Publicolas, the most popular family, as also in his own person of a mild nature, was rather trusted with so rigid a magistracy. Whence it happened that the people, though they knew well enough against whom the Dictator was created, feared nothing from Valerius; but upon a new promise made to the same effect with that of Servilius, hoped better another time, and throwing away all disputes, gave their names roundly, went out, and, to be brief, came home again as victorious as in the former action, the Dictator entering the city in triumph. Nevertheless, when he came to press the Senate to make good his promise, and do something for the ease of the people, they regarded him no more as to that point than they had done Servilius. Whereupon the Dictator, in disdain to be made a stale, abdicated his magistracy, and went home. Here, then, was a victorious army without a captain, and a Senate pulling it by the beard in their gowns. What is it (if you have read the story, for there is not such another) that must follow? Can any man imagine that such only should be the opportunity upon which this people could run away?

"Alas, poor men, the AEqui and the Volsci and the Sabines were nothing, but the fathers invincible! There they sat, some 300 of them armed all in robes, and thundering with their tongues, without any hopes in the earth to reduce them to any tolerable conditions. Wherefore, not thinking it convenient to abide long so near them, away marches the army, and encamps in the fields. This retreat of the people is called the secession of Mount Aventin, where they lodged, very sad at their condition, but not letting fall so much as a word of murmur against the fathers. The Senate by this time were great lords, had the whole city to themselves; but certain neighbors were upon the way that might come to speak with them, not asking leave of the porter. Wherefore their minds became troubled, and an orator was posted to the people to make as good conditions with them as he could; but, whatever the terms were, to bring them home, and with all speed. And here it was covenanted between the Senate and the people, that these should have magistrates of their own election, called the tribunes, upon which they returned.

"To hold you no longer, the Senate having done this upon necessity, made frequent attempts to retract it again, while the tribunes, on the other side, to defend what they had got, instituted their Tributa Comitia, or council of the people; where they came in time, and, as disputes increased, to make laws without the authority of the Senate, called plebiscita. Now to conclude in the point at which I drive: such were the steps whereby the people of Rome came to assume debate, nor is it in art or nature to debar a people of the like effect, where there is the like cause. For Romulus, having in the election of his Senate squared out a nobility for the support of a throne, by making that of the patricians a distinct and hereditary order, planted the commonwealth upon two contrary interests or roots, which, shooting forth, in time produced two commonwealths, the one oligarchical in the nobility, the other a mere anarchy of the people, and ever after caused a perpetual feud and enmity between the Senate and the people, even to death.

"There is not a more noble or useful question in the politics than that which is started by Machiavel, whether means were to be found whereby the enmity that was between the Senate and the people of Rome could have been removed? Nor is there any other in which we, on the present occasion, are so much concerned, particularly in relation to this author; forasmuch as his judgment in the determination of the question standing, our commonwealth falls. And he that will erect a commonwealth against the judgment of Machiavel, is obliged to give such reasons for his enterprise as must not go a-begging. Wherefore to repeat the politician very honestly, but somewhat more briefly, he disputes thus:

"'There be two sorts of commonwealths, the one for preservation, as Lacedaemon and Venice; the other for increase, as Rome.

"'Lacedaemon, being governed by a King and a small Senate, could maintain itself a long time in that condition, because the inhabitants, being few, having put a bar upon the reception of strangers, and living in a strict observation of the laws of Lycurgus, which now had got reputation, and taken away all occasion of tumults, might well continue long in tranquillity. For the laws of Lycurgus introduced a greater equality in estates, and a less equality in honors, whence there was equal poverty; and the plebeians were less ambitious, because the honors or magistracies of the city could extend but to a few and were not communicable to the people, nor did the nobility by using them ill ever give them a desire to participate of the same. This proceeded from the kings, whose principality, being placed in the midst of the nobility, had no greater means whereby to support itself than to shield the people from all injury; whence the people, not fearing empire, desired it not; and so all occasion of enmity between the Senate and the people was taken away. But this union happened especially from two causes: the one that the inhabitants of Lacedaemon being few, could be governed by the few; the other, that, not receiving strangers into their commonwealth, they did not corrupt it, nor increase it to such a proportion as was not governable by the few.

"'Venice has not divided with her plebeians, but all are called gentlemen that be in administration of the government; for which government she is more beholden to chance than the wisdom of her law-makers; for many retiring to those islands, where that city is now built, from the inundations of barbarians that overwhelmed the Roman Empire, when they were increased to such a number that to live together it was necessary to have laws, they ordained a form of government, whereby assembling often in council upon affairs, and finding their number sufficient for government, they put a bar upon all such as repairing afterward to their city should become inhabitants, excluding them from participation of power. Whence they that were included in the administration had right, and they that were excluded, coming afterward, and being received upon no other conditions to be inhabitants, had no wrong, and therefore had no occasion, nor (being never trusted with arms) any means to be tumultuous. Wherefore this commonwealth might very well maintain itself in tranquillity.

"'These things considered, it is plain that the Roman legislators, to have introduced a quiet state, must have done one of these two things: either shut out strangers, as the Lacedemonians; or, as the Venetians, not allowed the people to bear arms. But they did neither. By which means the people, having power and increase, were in perpetual tumult. Nor is this to be helped in a commonwealth for increase, seeing if Rome had cut off the occasion of her tumults, she must have cut off the means of her increase, and by consequence of her greatness.

"'Wherefore let a legislator consider with himself whether he would make his commonwealth for preservation, in which case she may be free from tumults; or for increase, in which case she must be infested with them.

"'If he makes her for preservation, she may be quiet at home, but will be in danger abroad. First, because her foundation must be narrow, and therefore weak, as that of Lacedaemon, which lay but upon 30,000 citizens; or that of Venice, which lies but upon 3,000. Secondly, such a commonwealth must either be in peace, or war; if she be in peace, the few are soonest effeminated and corrupted and so obnoxious also to faction. If in war, succeeding ill, she is an easy prey; or succeeding well, ruined by increase: a weight which her foundation is not able to bear. For Lacedaemon, when she had made herself mistress upon the matter of all Greece, through a slight accident, the rebellion of Thebes, occasioned by the conspiracy of Pelopidas discovering this infirmity of her nature, the rest of her conquered cities immediately fell off, and in the turn as it were of a hand reduced her from the fullest tide to the lowest ebb of her fortune. And Venice having possessed herself of a great part of Italy by her purse, was no sooner in defence of it put to the trial of arms than she lost all in one battle.

"'Whence I conclude that in the ordination of a commonwealth a legislator is to think upon that which is most honorable, and, laying aside models for preservation, to follow the example of Rome conniving at, and temporizing with, the enmity between the Senate and the people, as a necessary step to the Roman greatness. For that any man should find out a balance that may take in the conveniences and shut out the inconveniences of both, I do not think it possible.' These are the words of the author, though the method be somewhat altered, to the end that I may the better turn them to my purpose.

"My lords, I do not know how you hearken to this sound; but to hear the greatest artist in the modern world giving sentence against our commonwealth is that with which I am nearly concerned. Wherefore, with all honor due to the prince of politicians, let us examine his reasoning with the same liberty which he has asserted to be the right of a free people. But we shall never come up to him, except by taking the business a little lower, we descend from effects to their causes. The causes of commotion in a commonwealth are either external or internal. External are from enemies, from subjects, or from servants. To dispute then what was the cause why Rome was infested by the Italian, or by the servile wars; why the slaves took the capitol; why the Lacedaemonians were near as frequently troubled with their helots as Rome with all those; or why Venice, whose situation is not trusted to the faith of men, has as good or better quarter with them whom she governs, than Rome had with the Latins; were to dispute upon external causes. The question put by Machiavel is of internal causes; whether the enmity that Was between the Senate and the people of Rome might have been removed. And to determine otherwise of this question than he does, I must lay down other principles than he has done. To which end I affirm that a commonwealth, internally considered, is either equal or unequal. A commonwealth that is internally equal, has no internal cause of commotion, and therefore can have no such effect but from without. A commonwealth internally unequal has no internal cause of quiet, and therefore can have no such effect but by diversion.

"To prove my assertions, I shall at this time make use of no other than his examples. Lacedaemon was externally unquiet, because she was externally unequal, that is as to her helots; and she was internally at rest, because she was equal in herself, both in root and branch; in the root by her agrarian, and in branch by the Senate, inasmuch as no man was thereto qualified but by election of the people. Which institution of Lycurgus is mentioned by Aristotle, where he says that rendering his citizens emulous (not careless) of that honor, he assigned to the people the election of the Senate. Wherefore Machiavel in this, as in other places, having his eye upon the division of patrician and plebeian families as they were in Rome, has quite mistaken the orders of this commonwealth, where there was no such thing. Nor did the quiet of it derive from the power of the kings, who were so far from shielding the people from the injury of the nobility, of which there was none in his sense but the Senate, that one declared end of the Senate at the institution was to shield the people from the kings, who from that time had but single votes. Neither did it proceed from the straitness of the Senate, or their keeping the people excluded from the government, that they were quiet, but from the equality of their administration, seeing the Senate (as is plain by the oracle, their fundamental law) had no more than the debate, and the result of the commonwealth belonged to the people.

"Wherefore when Theopompus and Polydorus, Kings of Lacedaemon, would have kept the people excluded from the government by adding to the ancient law this clause, 'If the determination of the people be faulty, it shall be lawful for the Senate to resume the debate,' the people immediately became unquiet, and resumed that debate, which ended not till they had set up their ephors, and caused that magistracy to be confirmed by their kings." For when Theopompus first ordained that the ephori or overseers should be created at Lacedaemon, to be such a restraint upon the kings there as the tribunes were upon the consuls at Rome, the Queen complained to him, that by this means he transmitted the royal authority greatly diminished to his children: "I leave indeed less," answered he, "but more lasting." And this was excellently said; for that power only is safe which is limited from doing hurt. Theopompus therefore, by confining the kingly power within the bounds of the laws, did recommend it by so much to the people's affection as he removed it from being arbitrary.' By which it may appear that a commonwealth for preservation, if she comes to be unequal, is as obnoxious to enmity between the Senate and the people as a commonwealth for increase; and that the tranquillity of Lacedaemon was derived from no other cause than her equality.

"For Venice, to say that she is quiet because she disarms her subjects, is to forget that Lacedaemon disarmed her helots, and yet could not in their regard be quiet; wherefore if Venice be defended from external causes of commotion, it is first through her situation, in which respect her subjects have no hope (and this indeed may be attributed to her fortune); and, secondly, through her exquisite justice, whence they have no will to invade her. But this can be attributed to no other cause than her prudence, which will appear to be greater, as we look nearer; for the effects that proceed from fortune, if there be any such thing, are like their cause, inconstant. But there never happened to any other commonwealth so undisturbed and constant a tranquillity and peace in herself as are in that of Venice; wherefore this must proceed from some other cause than chance. And we see that as she is of all others the most quiet, so the most equal commonwealth. Her body consists of one order, and her Senate is like a rolling stone, as was said, which never did, nor, while it continues upon that rotation, never shall gather the moss of a divided or ambitious interest, much less such a one as that which grasped the people of Rome in the talons of their own eagles. And if Machiavel, averse from doing this commonwealth right, had considered her orders, as his reader shall easily perceive he never did, he must have been so far from attributing the prudence of them to chance, that he would have touched up his admirable work to that perfection which, as to the civil part, has no pattern in the universal world but this of Venice.

"Rome, secure by her potent and victorious arms from all external causes of commotion, was either beholden for her peace at home to her enemies abroad, or could never rest her head. My lords, you that are parents of a commonwealth, and so freer agents than such as are merely natural, have a care. For, as no man shall show me a commonwealth born straight that ever became crooked, so no man shall show me a commonwealth born crooked that ever became straight. Rome was crooked in her birth, or rather prodigious. Her twins, the patrician and plebeian orders, came, as was shown by the foregoing story, into the world, one body but two heads, or rather two bellies; for, notwithstanding the fable out of AEsop, whereby Menenius Agrippa, the orator that was sent from the Senate to the people at Mount Aventin, showed the fathers to be the belly, and the people to be the arms and the legs (which except that, how slothful soever it might seem, they were nourished, not these only, but the whole body must languish and be dissolved), it is plain that the fathers were a distinct belly, such a one as took the meat indeed out of the people's mouths, but abhorring the agrarian, returned it not in the due and necessary nutrition of a commonwealth. Nevertheless, as the people that live about the cataracts of Nilus are said not to hear the noise, so neither the Roman writers, nor Machiavel the most conversant with them, seem among so many of the tribunitian storms to hear their natural voice; for though they could not miss of it so far as to attribute them to the strife of the people for participation in magistracy, or, in which Machiavel more particularly joins, to that about the agrarian, this was to take the business short, and the remedy for the disease.

"A people, when they are reduced to misery and despair, become their own politicians, as certain beasts, when they are sick, become their own physicians, and are carried by a natural instinct to the desire of such herbs as are their proper cure; but the people, for the greater part, are beneath the beasts in the use of them. Thus the people of Rome, though in their misery they had recourse by instinct, as it were, to the two main fundamentals of a commonwealth, participation of magistracy and the agrarian, did but taste and spit at them, not (which is necessary in physic) drink down the potion, and in that their healths. For when they had obtained participation of magistracy it was but lamely, not to a full and equal rotation in all elections; nor did they greatly regard it in what they had got. And when they had attained to the agrarian, they neglected it so far as to suffer the law to grow obsolete; but if you do not take the due dose of your medicines (as there be slight tastes which a man may have of philosophy that incline to atheism) it may chance to be poison, there being a like taste of the politics that inclines to confusion, as appears in the institution of the Roman tribunes, by which magistracy and no more the people were so far from attaining to peace, that they in getting but so much, got but heads for an eternal feud; whereas if they had attained in perfection either to the agrarian, they had introduced the equality and calm of Lacedaemon, or to rotation, and they had introduced that of Venice: and so there could have been no more enmity between the Senate and the people of Rome than there was between those orders in Lacedaemon, or is now in Venice. Wherefore Machiavel seems to me, in attributing the peace of Venice more to her luck than her prudence, of the whole stable to have saddled the wrong horse; for though Rome in her military part could beat it better, beyond all comparison, upon the sounding hoof, Venice for the civil part has plainly had the wings of Pegasus.

"The whole question then will come upon this point, whether the people of Rome could have obtained these orders? And first, to say that they could not have obtained them without altering the commonwealth, is no argument; seeing neither could they, without altering the commonwealth, have obtained their tribunes, which nevertheless were obtained. And if a man considers the posture that the people were in when they obtained their tribunes, they might as well, and with as great ease (forasmuch as the reason why the nobility yielded to the tribunes was no other than that there was no remedy) have obtained anything else. And for experience, it was in the like case that the Lacedaemonians did set up their ephors, and the Athenians, after the battle of Plataea, bowed the Senate (so hard a thing it is for a commonwealth that was born crooked to become straight) as much the other way. Nor, if it be objected that this must have ruined the nobility (and in that deprived the commonwealth of the greatness which she acquired by them), is this opinion holding, but confuted by the sequel of the story, showing plainly that the nobility, through the defect of such orders (that is to say, of rotation and the agrarian), came to eat up the people; and battening themselves in luxury, to be, as Sallust speaks of them, 'a most sluggish and lazy nobility, in whom, besides the name, there was no more than in a statue;' and to bring so mighty a commonwealth, and of so huge a glory, to so deplorable an end. Wherefore means might have been found to remove the enmity that was between the Senate and the people of Rome.

"My lords, if I have argued well, I have given you the comfort and assurance that, notwithstanding the judgment of Machiavel, your commonwealth is both safe and sound; but if I have not argued well, then take the comfort and assurance which he gives you while he is firm, that a legislator is to lay aside all other examples, and follow that of Rome only, conniving and temporizing with the enmity between the Senate and the people as a necessary step to the Roman greatness. Whence it follows that your commonwealth, at the worst, is that which he has given you his word is the best.

"I have held your lordships long, but upon an account of no small importance, which I can now sum up in these few words: where there is a liquorishness in a popular assembly to debate, it proceeds not from the constitution of the people, but of the commonwealth. Now that your commonwealth is of such a constitution as is naturally free from this kind of intemperance, is that which, to make good, I must divide the remainder of my discourse into two parts:

"The first, showing the several constitutions of the assemblies of the people in other commonwealths;

"The second, comparing our assembly of the people with theirs; and showing how it excludes the inconveniences and embraces the conveniences of them all.

"In the beginning of the first part I must take notice, that among the popular errors of our days it is no small one that men imagine the ancient governments of this kind to have consisted for the most part of one city that is, of one town; whereas by what we have learned of my 'lords that owned them, it appears that there was not any considerable one of such a Constitution but Carthage, till this in our days of Venice.

"For to begin with Israel, it consisted of the twelve tribes, locally spread or quartered throughout the whole territory, and these being called together by trumpets, constituted the Church or assembly of the people. The vastness of this weight, as also the slowness thence unavoidable, became a great cause (as has been shown at large by my Lord Phosphorus) of the breaking that commonwealth; notwithstanding that the Temple, and those religious ceremonies for which the people were at least annually obliged to repair thither, were no small ligament of the tribes, otherwise but slightly tacked together.

"Athens consisted of four tribes, taking in the whole people, both of the city and of the territory; not so gathered by Theseus into one town, as to exclude the country, but to the end that there might be some capital of the commonwealth: though true it be, that the congregation, consisting of the inhabitants within the walls, was sufficient to all intents and purposes, without those of the country. These also being exceeding numerous, became burdensome to themselves and dangerous to the commonwealth; the more for their ill-education, as is observed by Xenophon and Polybius, who compare them to mariners that in a calm are perpetually disputing and swaggering one with another, and never lay their hands to the common tackling or safety till they be all endangered by some storm. Which caused Thucydides, when he saw this people through the purchase of their misery become so much wiser as to reduce their Comitia or assemblies to 5,000, to say in his eighth book: 'And now, at least in my time, the Athenians seem to have ordered their State aright, consisting of a moderate tempor both of the few (by which he means the Senate of the Bean) and of the many,' or the 5,000. And he does not only give you his judgment, but the best proof of it; for 'this,' says he, 'was the first thing that, after so many misfortunes past, made the city again to raise her head.' The place I would desire your lordships to note, as the first example that I find, or think is to be found, of a popular assembly by way of representative.

"Lacedaemon consisted of 30,000 citizens dispersed throughout Laconia, one of the greatest provinces in all Greece, and divided, as by some authors is probable, into six tribes. Of the whole body of these, being gathered, consisted the great Church or assembly, which had the legislative power; the little church, gathered sometimes for matters of concern within the city, consisted of the Spartans only. These happened, like that of Venice, to be good constitutions of a congregation, but from an ill-cause the infirmity of a commonwealth, which through her paucity was oligarchical.

"Wherefore, go which way you will, it should seem that without a representative of the people, your commonwealth, consisting of a whole nation, can never avoid falling either into oligarchy or confusion.

"This was seen by the Romans, whose rustic tribes, extending themselves from the river Arno to the Vulturnus, that is, from Fesulae or Florence to Capua, invented a way of representative by lots: the tribe upon which the first fell being the prerogative, and some two or three more that had the rest, the jure vocatoe. These gave the suffrage of the commonwealth in two meetings; the prerogative at the first assembly, and the jure vocatoe at a second.

"Now to make the parallel: all the inconveniences that you have observed in these assemblies are shut out, and all the conveniences taken into your prerogative. For first, it is that for which Athens, shaking off the blame of Xenophon and Polybius, came to deserve the praise of Thucydides, a representative. And, secondly, not, as I suspect in that of Athens, and is past suspicion in this of Rome, by lot, but by suffrage, as was also the late House of Commons, by which means in your prerogatives all the tribes of Oceana are jure vocatoe; and if a man shall except against the paucity of the standing number, it is a wheel, which in the revolution of a few years turns every hand that is fit, or fits every hand that it turns to the public work. Moreover, I am deceived if, upon due consideration, it does not fetch your tribes, with greater equality and ease to themselves and to the government, from the frontiers of Marpesia, than Rome ever brought any one of hers out of her pomoeria, or the nearest parts of her adjoining territories. To this you may add, that whereas a commonwealth, which in regard of the people is not of facility in execution, were sure enough in this nation to be cast off through impatience; your musters and galaxies are given to the people, as milk to babes, whereby when they are brought up through four days' election in a whole year (one at the parish, one at the hundred, and two at the tribe) to their strongest meat, it is of no harder digestion than to give their negative or affirmative as they see cause. There be gallant men among us that laugh at such an appeal or umpire; but I refer it whether you be more inclining to pardon them or me, who I confess have been this day laughing at a sober man, but without meaning him any harm, and that is Petrus Cunaeus, where speaking of the nature of the people, he says, 'that taking them apart, they are very simple, but yet in their assemblies they see and know something, and so runs away without troubling himself with what that something is. Whereas the people, taken apart, are but so many private interests; but if you take them together, they are the public interest.

"The public interest of a commonwealth, as has been shown, is nearest that of mankind, and that of mankind is right reason; but with aristocracy (whose reason or interest, when they are all together, as appeared by the patricians, is but that of a party) it is quite contrary: for as, taken apart, they are far wiser than the people considered in that manner, so, being put together, they are such fools, who by deposing the people, as did those of Rome, will saw off the branch whereupon they sit, or rather destroy the root of their own greatness. Wherefore Machiavel, following Aristotle, and yet going before him, may well assert, 'that the people are wiser and more constant in their resolutions than a prince:' which is the prerogative of popular government for wisdom. And hence it is that the prerogative of your commonwealth, as for wisdom so for power, is in the people, which (though I am not ignorant that the Roman prerogative was so called a proerogando, because their suffrage was first asked) gives the denomination to your prerogative tribe."

The elections, whether annual or triennial, being shown by the twenty-second, that which comes in the next place to be considered is—

The twenty-third order, "Showing the power, function, and manner of proceeding of the prerogative tribe.

"The power or function of the prerogative is of two parts: the one of result, in which it is the legislative, power, the other of judicature, in which regard it is the highest court, and the last appeal in this commonwealth.

"For the former part (the people by this constitution being not obliged by any law that is not of their own making or confirmation, by the result of the prerogative, their equal representative) it shall not be lawful for the Senate to require obedience from the people, nor for the people to give obedience to the Senate in or by any law that has not been promulgated, or printed and published for the space of six weeks, and afterward proposed by the authority of the Senate to the prerogative tribe, and resolved by the major vote of the same in the affirmative. Nor shall the Senate have any power to levy war, men, or money, otherwise than by the consent of the people so given, or by a law so enacted, except in cases of exigence, in which it is agreed that the power, both of the Senate and the people, shall be in the dictator so qualified, and for such a term of time, as is according to that constitution already prescribed. While a law is in promulgation, the censors shall animadvert upon the Senate, and the tribunes upon the people, that there be no laying of heads together, no conventicles or canvassing to carry on or oppose anything; but that all may be done in a free and open way.

"For the latter part of the power of the prerogative, or that whereby they are the supreme judicatory of this nation, and of the provinces of the same, the cognizances of crimes against the majesty of the people, such as high treason, as also of peculation, that is, robbery of the treasury, or defraudation of the commonwealth, appertains to this tribe. And if any person or persons, provincials or citizens, shall appeal to the people, it belongs to the prerogative to judge and determine the case; provided that if the appeal be from any court of justice in this nation or the provinces, the appellant shall first deposit £100 in the court from which he appeals, to be forfeited to the same if he be cast in his suit by the people. But the power of the Council of War being the expedition of this commonwealth, and the martial law of the strategus in the field, are those only from which there shall lie no appeal to the people.

"The proceeding of the prerogative in case of a proposition is to be thus ordered: The magistrates, proposing by authority of the Senate, shall rehearse the whole matter, and expound it to the people; which done, they shall put the whole together to the suffrage, with three boxes, the negative, the affirmative, and the non-sincere; and the suffrage being returned to the tribunes, and numbered in the presence of the proposers. If the major vote be in the non-sincere, the proposer shall desist, and the Senate shall resume the debate. If the major vote be in the negative, the proposers shall desist, and the Senate, too. But if the major vote be in the affirmative, then the tribe is clear and the proposers shall begin and put the whole matter, with the negative and the affirmative (leaving out the non-sincere) by clauses; and the suffrages being taken and numbered by the tribunes in the presence of the proposers, shall be written and reported by the tribunes of the Senate. And that which is proposed by the authority of the Senate, and confirmed by the command of the people, is the law of Oceana.

"The proceeding of the prerogative in a case of judicature is to be thus ordered: The tribunes being auditors of all causes appertaining to the cognizance of the people, shall have notice of the suit or trial, whether of appeal or otherwise, that is to be commenced; and if any one of them shall accept of the same, it appertains to him to introduce it. A cause being introduced, and the people mustered or assembled for the decision of the same, the tribunes are presidents of the court, having power to keep it to orders, and shall be seated upon a scaffold erected in the middle of the tribe. Upon the right hand shall stand a seat or large pulpit assigned to the plaintiff or the accuser; and, upon the left, another for the defendant, each if they please with his counsel. And the tribunes (being attended upon such occasions with so many ballotins, secretaries, doorkeepers, and messengers of the Senate as shall be requisite) one of them shall turn up a glass of the nature of an hour-glass, but such a one as is to be of an hour and a half's running; which being turned up, the party or counsel on the right hand may begin to speak to the people. If there be papers to be read, or witnesses to be examined, the officer shall lay the glass sideways till the papers be read and the witnesses examined, and then turn it up again; and so long as the glass is running, the party on the right hand has liberty to speak, and no longer. The party on the right hand having had his time, the like shall be done in every respect for the party on the left. And the cause being thus heard, the tribunes shall put the question to the tribe with a white, a black, and a red box (or non-sincere), whether guilty or not guilty. And if the suffrage being taken, the major vote be in the non-sincere, the cause shall be reheard upon the next juridicial day following, and put to the question in the same manner. If the major vote comes the second time in the non-sincere, the cause shall be heard again upon the third day; but at the third hearing the question shall be put without the non-sincere. Upon the first of the three days in which the major vote comes in the white box, the party accused is absolved; and upon the first of them in which it comes in the black box, the party accused is condemned. The party accused being condemned, the tribunes (if the case be criminal) shall put with the white and the black box these questions, or such of them as, regard had to the case, they shall conceive most proper:

1. Whether he shall have a writ of ease;
2. Whether he shall be fined so much or so much;
3. Whether he shall be confiscated;
4. Whether he shall be rendered incapable of magistracy;
5. Whether he shall be banished;
6. Whether he shall be put to death.

"These, or any three of these questions, whether simple or such as shall be thought fitly mixed, being put by the tribunes, that which has most above half the votes in the black box is the sentence of the people, which the troop of the third class is to see executed accordingly.

"But whereas by the constitution of this commonwealth it may appear that neither the propositions of the Senate nor the judicature of the people will be so frequent as to hold the prerogative in continual employment, the Senate, a main part of whose office it is to teach and instruct the people, shall duly (if they have no greater affairs to divert them) cause an oration to be made to the prerogative by some knight or magistrate of the Senate, to be chosen out of the ablest men, and from time to time appointed by the orator of the house, in the great hall of the Pantheon, while the Parliament resides in the town, or in some grove or sweet place in the field, while the Parliament for the heat of the year shall reside in the country, upon every Tuesday, morning or afternoon.

"And the orator appointed for the time to this office shall first repeat the orders of the commonwealth with all possible brevity; and then, making choice of one or some part of it, discourse thereof to the people. An oration or discourse of this nature, being afterward perused by the Council of State, may as they see cause be printed and published."

The Archon's comment upon the order I find to have been of this sense:


"To crave pardon for a word or two in further explanation of what was read, I shall briefly show how the constitution of this tribe or assembly answers to their function; and how their function, which is of two parts, the former in the result or legislative power, the latter in the supreme judicature of the commonwealth, answers to their constitution. Machiavel has a discourse, where he puts the question, 'Whether the guard of liberty may with more security be committed to the nobility or to the people?' Which doubt of his arises through the want of explaining his terms; for the guard of liberty can signify nothing else but the result of the commonwealth; so that to say that the guard of liberty may be committed to the nobility, is to say that the result may be committed to the Senate, in which case the people signify nothing.

"Now to show it was a mistake to affirm it to have been thus in Lacedaemon, sufficient has been spoken; and whereas he will have it to be so in Venice also: 'They,' says Contarini, 'in whom resides the supreme power of the whole commonwealth, and of the laws, and upon whose orders depends the authority as well of the Senate as of all the other magistrates, is the Great Council.' It is institutively in the Great Council, by the judgment of all that know that commonwealth; though, for the reasons shown, it be sometimes exercised by the Senate. Nor need I run over the commonwealths in this place for the proof of a thing so doubtless, and such as has been already made so apparent, as that the result of each was in the popular part of it. The popular part of yours, or the prerogative tribe, consists of seven deputies (whereof three are of the horse) annually elected out of every tribe of Oceana; which being fifty, amounts to 150 horse and 200 foot. And the prerogative consisting of three of these lists, consists of 450 horse and 600 foot, besides those of the provinces to be hereafter mentioned; by which means the overbalance in the suffrage remaining to the foot by 150 votes, you have to the support of a true and natural aristocracy the deepest root of a democracy that has been ever planted.

"Wherefore there is nothing in art or nature better qualified for the result than this assembly it is noted out of Cicero by Machiavel, 'That the people, though they are not so prone to find out truth of themselves as to follow custom or run into error yet if they be shown truth, they not only acknowledge and embrace it very suddenly, but are the most constant and faithful guardians and conservators of it.' it is your duty and office, whereto you are also qualified by the orders of this commonwealth, to have the people as you have your hawks and greyhounds, in leashes and slips, to range the fields and beat the bushes for them, for they are of a nature that is never good at this sport, but when you spring or start their proper quarry. Think not that they will stand to ask you what it is, or less know it than your hawks and greyhounds do theirs; but presently make such a flight or course, that a huntsman may as well undertake to run with his dogs, or a falconer to fly with his hawk, as an aristocracy at this game to compare with the people. The people of Rome were possessed of no less a prey than the empire of the world, when the nobility turned tails, and perched among daws upon the tower of monarchy. For though they did not all of them intend the thing, they would none of them endure the remedy, which was the agrarian.

"But the prerogative tribe has not only the result, but is the supreme judicature, and the ultimate appeal in this commonwealth. For the popular government that makes account to be of any standing, must make sure in the first place of the appeal to the people. As an estate in trust becomes a man's own if he be not answerable for it, so the power of a magistracy not accountable to the people, from whom it was received, becoming of private use, the commonwealth loses her liberty Wherefore the right of supreme judicature in the people (Without which there can be no such thing as popular government) is confirmed by the constant practice of all commonwealths; as that of Israel in the cases of Achan, and of the tribe of Benjamin, adjudged by the congregation.

"The dicasterian, or court called the heliaia in Athens, which (the comitia of that commonwealth consisting of the whole people, and so being too numerous to be a judicatory) was constituted sometimes of 500, at others of 1,000, or, according to the greatness of the cause, of 1,500, elected by the lot out of the whole body of the people, had, with the nine Archons that were presidents, the cognizance of such causes as were of highest importance in that State. The five ephors in Lacedaemon, which were popular magistrates, might question their kings, as appears by the cases of Pausanias, and of Agis, who being upon his trial in this court, was cried to by his mother to appeal to the people, as Plutarch has it in his life. The tribunes of the people of Rome (like, in the nature of their magistracy, and for some time in number, to the ephors, as being, according to Halicarnassus and Plutarch, instituted in imitation of them) had power to summon any man, his magistracy at least being expired (for from the Dictator there lay no appeal) to answer for himself to the people. As in the case of Coriolanus, who was going about to force the people, by withholding corn from them in a famine, to relinquish the magistracy of the tribunes, in that of Spurius Cassius for affecting tyranny, of Marcus Sergius for running away at Veii, of Caius Lucretius for spoiling his province, of Junius Silanus for making war without a command from the people against the Cimbri, with divers others. And the crimes of this nature were called loesoe majestatis, or high treason. Examples of such as were arraigned or tried for peculation, or defraudation of the commonwealth, were Marcus Curius for intercepting the money of the Samnites, Salinator for the unequal division of spoils to his soldiers, Marcus Posthumius for cheating the commonwealth by a feigned shipwreck. Causes of these two kinds were of a more public nature; but the like power upon appeals was also exercised by the people in private matters, even during the time of the kings, as in the case of Horatius. Nor is it otherwise with Venice, where the Doge Loredano was sentenced by the great Council, and Antonio Grimani, afterward doge, questioned, for that he, being admiral, had suffered the Turk to take Lepanto in view of his fleet.

"Nevertheless, there lay no appeal from the Roman dictator to the people; which, if there had, might have cost the commonwealth dear, when Spurius Melius, affecting empire, circumvented and debauched the tribunes: whereupon Titus Quintus Cincinnatus was created Dictator, who having chosen Servilius Ahala to be his lieutenant, or magister equitum, sent him to apprehend Melius, whom, while he disputed the commands of the Dictator and implored the aid of the people, Ahala cut off upon the place. By which example you may see in what cases the dictator may prevent the blow which is ready sometimes to fall ere the people be aware of the danger. Wherefore there lies no appeal from the Dieci, or the Council of Ten, in Venice, to the Great Council, nor from our Council of War to the people. For the way of proceeding of this tribe, or the ballot, it is, as was once said for all, Venetian.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:45 am

Part 6 of 9

"This discourse of judicatories whereupon we are fallen, brings us rather naturally than of design from the two general orders of every commonwealth, that is to say, from the debating part, or the Senate, and the resolving part, or the people, to the third, which is the executive part or the magistracy, whereupon I shall have no need to dwell, for the executive magistrates of this commonwealth are the strategus in arms; the signory in their several courts, as the chancery, the exchequer; as also the councils in divers cases within their instructions; the censors as well in their proper magistracy, as in the Council of Religion; the tribunes in the government of the prerogative, and that judicatory; and the judges with their courts; of all which so much is already said or known as may suffice.

"The Tuesday lectures or orations to the people will be of great benefit to the Senate, the prerogative, and the whole nation. To the Senate, because they will not only teach your Senators elocution, but keep the system of the government in their memories. Elocution is of great use to your Senators, for if they do not understand rhetoric (giving it at this time for granted that the art were not otherwise good) and come to treat with, or vindicate the cause of the commonwealth against some other nation that is good at it, the advantage will be subject to remain upon the merit of the art, and not upon the merit of the cause. Furthermore, the genius or soul of this government being in the whole and in every part, they will never be of ability in determination upon any particular, unless at the same time they have an idea of the whole. That this therefore must be, in that regard, of equal benefit to the prerogative, is plain; though these have a greater concernment in it. For this commonwealth is the estate of the people; and a man, you know, though he be virtuous, yet if he does not understand his estate, may run out or be cheated of it. Last of all, the treasures of the politics will by this means be so opened, rifled, and dispersed, that this nation will as soon dote, like the Indians, upon glass beads, as disturb your government with whimsies and freaks of mother-wit, or suffer themselves to be stuttered out of their liberties. There is not any reason why your grandees, your wise men of this age, that laugh out and openly at a commonwealth as the most ridiculous thing, do not appear to be, as in this regard they are, mere idiots, but that the people have not eyes."

There remains no more relating to the Senate and the people than—

The twenty-fourth order, "Whereby it is lawful for the province of Marpesia to have thirty knights of their own election continually present in the Senate of Oceana, together with sixty deputies of horse, and 120 of foot in the prerogative tribe, endued with equal power (respect had to their quality and number) in the debate and result of this commonwealth, provided that they observe the course or rotation of the same by the annual return of ten knights, twenty deputies of the horse, and forty of the foot. The like in all respects is lawful for Panopea; and the horse of both the provinces amounting to one troop, and the foot to one company, one captain and one cornet of the horse shall be annually chosen by Marpesia, and one captain and one ensign of the foot shall be annually chosen by Panopea."

The orb of the prerogative being thus complete, is not unnaturally compared to that of the moon, either in consideration of the light borrowed from the Senate, as from the sun; or of the ebbs and floods of the people, which are marked by the negative or affirmative of this tribe. And the constitution of the Senate and the people being shown, you have that of the Parliament of Oceana, consisting of the Senate proposing, and of the people resolving, which amounts to an act of Parliament. So the Parliament is the heart, which, consisting of two ventricles, the one greater and replenished with a grosser matter, the other less and full of a purer, sucks in and spouts forth the vital blood of Oceana by a perpetual circulation. Wherefore the life of this government is no more unnatural or obnoxious upon this score to dissolution than that of a man; nor to giddiness than the world; seeing the earth, whether it be itself or the heavens that are in rotation, is so far from being giddy, that it could not subsist without motion. But why should not this government be much rather capable of duration and steadiness by motion? Than which God has ordained no other to the universal commonwealth of mankind: seeing one generation comes and another goes, but the earth remains firm forever, that is, in her proper situation or place, whether she be moved or not moved upon her proper centre. The Senate, the people, and the magistracy, or the Parliament so constituted, as you have seen, is the guardian of this commonwealth, and the husband of such a wife as is elegantly described by Solomon: "She is like the merchant's ships; she brings her food from far. She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She perceives that her merchandise is good. She stretches forth her hands to the poor. She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes herself coverings of tapestry, her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known (by his robes) in the gates, when he sits among the senators of the land." The gates, or inferior courts, were branches, as it were, of the Sanhedrim, or Senate, of Israel. Nor is our commonwealth a worse housewife, nor has she less regard to her magistrates; as may pear by—

The twenty-fifth order, "That, whereas the public revenue is through the late civil wars dilapidated, the excise, being improved or improvable to the revenue of £1,000,000, be applied, for the space of eleven years to come, to the reparation of the same, and for the present maintenance of the magistrates, knights, deputies, and other officers, who, according to their several dignities and functions, shall annually receive toward the support of the same, as follows:

"The lord strategus marching, is, upon another account, to have field-pay as general.

Per Annum
The lord strategus sitting...... £2,000
The lord orator...... 2,000
The three commissioners of the seal... 4,500
The three commissioners of the treasury... 4,500
The two censors.... 3,000
The 290 knights, at £500 a man..... 145,000
The four ambassadors-in-ordinary.... 12,000
The Council of War for intelligence.... 3,000
The master of the ceremonies..... 500
The master of the horse...... 500
His substitute..... 150
The twelve ballotins for their winter liveries 240
For summer liveries... 120
For their board-wages...... 480
For the keeping of three coaches of state, twenty-four coach-horses, with coachmen and postilions. 1,500
For the grooms, and keeping of sixteen great horses for the master of the horse, and for the ballotins whom he is to govern and instruct in the art of riding.......... 480
The twenty secretaries of the Parliament... 2,000
The twenty doorkeepers, who are to attend with pole-axes,
For their coats....... 200
For their board-wages.... 1,000
The twenty messengers, which are trumpeters,
For their coats.... 200
For their board-wages..... 1,000
For ornament of the masters of the youth... 5,000
Sum £189,370

"Out of the personal estates of every man, who at his death bequeaths not above forty shillings to the muster of that hundred wherein it lies, shall be levied one per cent. till the solid revenue of the muster of the hundred amounts to £50 per annum for the prizes of the youth.

"The twelve ballotins are to be divided into three regions, according to the course of the Senate; the four of the first region to be elected at the tropic out of such children as the knights of the same shall offer, not being under eleven years of age, nor above thirteen. And their election shall be made by the lot at an urn set by the sergeant of the house for that purpose in the hall of the Pantheon. The livery of the commonwealth for the fashion or the color may be changed at the election of the strategus according to his fancy. But every knight during his session shall be bound to give to his footman, or some one of his footmen, the livery of the commonwealth.

"The prerogative tribe shall receive as follows:

By the week
The two tribunes of the horse..... £14 0
The two tribunes of the foot..... 12 0
The three captains of the horse..... 15 0
The three cornets..... 9 0
The three captains of the foot.... 12 0
The three ensigns........ 7 0
The 442 horse, at £2 a man..... 884 0
The 592 foot, at £1 10s a man.... 888 0
The six trumpeters..... 7 10
The three drummers........... 2 5
Sum by the week................ £1,850 15
Sum by the year............. £96,239 0
The total of the Senate, the people, and the magistracy.................... £287,459 15
The total of the Senate, the people, and the magistracy.................... £287,459 15

"The dignity of the commonwealth, and aids of the several magistracies and offices thereto belonging, bring provided for as aforesaid, the overplus of the excise, with the product of the sum rising, shall be carefully managed by the Senate and the people through the diligence of the officers of the Exchequer, till it amount to £8,000,000, or to the purchase of about £400,000 solid revenue. At which time, the term of eleven years being expired, the excise, except it be otherwise ordered by the Senate and the people, shall be totally remitted and abolished forever."

At this institution the taxes, as will better appear in the Corollary, were abated about one-half, which made the order, when it came to be tasted, to be of good relish with the people in the very beginning; though the advantages then were no ways comparable to the consequences to be hereafter shown. Nevertheless, my Lord Epimonus, who with much ado had been held till now, found it midsummer moon, and broke out of bedlam in this manner.


"I have a singing in my head like that of a cart-wheel, my brains are upon a rotation; and some are so merry, that a man cannot speak his griefs, but if your high-shod prerogative, and those same slouching fellows your tribunes, do not take my lord strategus's and my lord orator's heads, and jolt them together under the canopy, then let me be ridiculous to all posterity. For here is a commonwealth, to which if a man should take that of the 'prentices in their ancient administration of justice at Shrovetide, it were an aristocracy. You have set the very rabble with truncheons in their hands, and the gentry of this nation, like cocks with scarlet gills, and the golden combs of their salaries to boot, lest they should not be thrown at.

"Not a night can I sleep for some horrid apparition or other; one while these myrmidons are measuring silks by their quarterstaves, another stuffing their greasy pouches with my lord high treasurer's jacobuses. For they are above 1,000 in arms to 300, which, their gowns being pulled over their ears, are but in their doublets and hose. But what do I speak of 1,000? There be 2,000 in every tribe, that is, 100,000 in the whole nation, not only in the posture of an army, but in a civil capacity sufficient to give us what laws they please. Now everybody knows that the lower sort of people regard nothing but money; and you say it is the duty of a legislator to presume all men to be wicked: wherefore they must fall upon the richer, as they are an army; or, lest their minds should misgive them in such a villany, you have given them encouragement that they have a nearer way, seeing it may be done every whit as well as by the overbalancing power which they have in elections. There is a fair which is annually kept in the centre of these territories at Kiberton, a town famous for ale, and frequented by good fellows; where there is a solemnity of the pipers and fiddlers of this nation (I know not whether Lacedaemon, where the Senate kept account of the stops of the flutes and of the fiddle-strings of that commonwealth, bad any such custom) called the bull-running, and he that catches and holds the bull, is the annual and supreme magistrate of that comitia or congregation, called king piper, without whose license it is not lawful for any of those citizens to enjoy the liberty of his calling; nor is he otherwise legitimately qualified (or civitate donatus) to lead apes or bears in any perambulation of the same. Mine host of the Bear, in Kiberton, the father of ale, and patron of good football and cudgel players, has any time since I can remember been grand-chancellor of this order.

"Now, say I, seeing great things arise from small beginnings, what should hinder the people, prone to their own advantage and loving money, from having intelligence conveyed to them by this same king piper and his chancellor, with their loyal subjects the minstrels and bear-wards, masters of ceremonies, to which there is great recourse in their respective perambulations, and which they will commission and instruct, with directions to all the tribes, willing and commanding them, that as they wish their own good, they choose no other into the next primum mobile but of the ablest cudgel and football players? Which done as soon as said, your primum mobile, consisting of no other stuff, must of necessity be drawn forth into your nebulones and your galimofries; and so the silken purses of your Senate and prerogative being made of sows' ears, most of them blacksmiths, they will strike while the iron is hot, and beat your estates into hob-nails, mine host of the Bear being strategus, and king piper lord orator. Well, my lords, it might have been otherwise expressed, but this is well enough a-conscience. In your way, the wit of man shall not prevent this or the like inconvenience; but if this (for I have conferred with artists) be a mathematical demonstration, I could kneel to you, that ere it be too late we might return to some kind of sobriety. If we empty our purses with these pomps, salaries, coaches, lackeys, and pages, what can the people say less than that we have dressed a Senate and a prerogative for nothing but to go to the park with the ladies?"

My Lord Archon, whose meekness resembled that of Moses, vouchsafed this answer:


"For all this, I can see my Lord Epimonus every night in the park, and with ladies; nor do I blame this in a young man, or the respect which is and ought to be given to a sex that is one-half of the commonwealth of mankind, and without which the other would be none: but our magistrates, I doubt, may be somewhat of the oldest to perform this part with much acceptation; and, as the Italian proverb says, 'Servire e non gradire e cosa da far morire.' Wherefore we will lay no certain obligation upon them in this point, but leave them, if it please you, to their own fate or discretion. But this (for I know my Lord Epimonus loves me, though I can never get his esteem) I will say, if he had a mistress should use him so, he would find it a sad life; or I appeal to your lordships, how I can resent it from such a friend, that he puts king piper's politics in the balance with mine. King piper, I deny not, may teach his bears to dance, but they have the worst ear of all creatures. Now how he should make them keep time in fifty several tribes, and that two years together, for else it will be to no purpose, may be a small matter with my lord to promise; but it seems to me of impossible performance. First, through the nature of the bean; and, secondly, through that of the ballot; or how what he has hitherto thought so hard, is now come to be easy; but he may think that for expedition they will eat up these balls like apples.

"However, there is so much more in their way by the constitution of this, than is to be found in that of any other commonwealth, that I am reconciled, it now appearing plainly that the points of my lord's arrows are directed at no other white than to show the excellency of our government above others; which, as he proceeds further, is yet plainer; while he makes it appear that there can be no other elected by the people but smiths:

"'Brontesque Steropesque et nudus membra Pyracmon:'

"Othoniel, Aod, Gideon, Jephtha, Samson, as in Israel; Miltiades, Aristides, Themistocles, Cimon, Pericles, as in Athens; Papyrius, Cincinnatus, Camillus, Fabius Scipio, as in Rome: smiths of the fortune of the commonwealth; not such as forged hob-nails, but thunderbolts. Popular elections are of that kind, that all of the rest of the world is not able, either in number or glory, to equal those of these three commonwealths. These indeed were the ablest cudgel and football players; bright arms were their cudgels, and the world was the ball that lay at their feet. Wherefore we are not so to understand the maxim of legislators, which holds all men to be wicked, as if it related to mankind or a commonwealth, the interests whereof are the only straight lines they have whereby to reform the crooked; but as it relates to every man or party, under what color soever he or they pretend to be trusted apart, with or by the whole. Hence then it is derived, which is made good in all experience, that the aristocracy is ravenous, and not the people. Your highwaymen are not such as have trades, or have been brought up to industry; but such commonly whose education has pretended to that of gentlemen. My lord is so honest, he does not know the maxims that are of absolute necessity to the arts of wickedness; for it is most certain, if there be not more purses than thieves, that the thieves themselves must be forced to turn honest, because they cannot thrive by their trade; but now if the people should turn thieves, who sees not that there would be more thieves than purses? wherefore that a whole people should turn robbers or levellers, is as impossible in the end as in the means.

"But that I do not think your artist which you mentioned, whether astronomer or arithmetician, can tell me how many barley-corns would reach to the sun, I could be content he were called to the account, with which I shall conclude this point: when by the way I have chid my lords the legislators, who, as if they doubted my tackling could not hold, would leave me to flag in a perpetual calm, but for my Lord Epimonus, who breathes now and then into my sails and stirs the waters. A ship makes not her way so briskly as when she is handsomely brushed by the waves, and tumbles over those that seem to tumble against her; in which case I have perceived in the dark that light has been struck even out of the sea, as in this place, where my Lord Epimonus feigning to give us a demonstration of one thing, has given it of another, and of a better. For the people of this nation, if they amount in each tribe to 2,000 elders and 2,000 youths upon the annual roll, holding a fifth to the whole tribe, then the whole of a tribe, not accounting women and children, must amount to 20,000; and so the whole of all the tribes, being fifty, to 1,000,000.

"Now you have 10,000 parishes, and reckoning these one with another, each at £1,000 a year dry-rent, the rent or revenue of the nation, as it is or might be let to farm, amounts to £10,000,000; and £10,000,000 in revenue divided equally to 1,000,000 of men, comes but to £10 a year to each wherewith to maintain himself, his wife and children. But he that has a cow upon the common, and earns his shilling by the day at his labor, has twice as much already as this would come to for his share; because if the land were thus divided, there would be nobody to set him on work. So my Lord Epimonus's footman, who costs him thrice as much as one of these could thus get, would certainly lose by his bargain. What should we speak of those innumerable trades whereupon men live, not only better than others upon good shares of lands, but become also purchasers of greater estates? Is not this the demonstration which my lord meant, that the revenue of industry in a nation, at least in this, is three or four-fold greater than that of the mere rent? If the people then obstruct industry, they obstruct their own livelihood; but if they make a war, they obstruct industry. Take the bread out of the people's mouths, as did the Roman patricians, and you are sure enough of a war, in which case they may be levellers; but our agrarian causes their industry to flow with milk and honey. It will be owned that this is true, if the people were given to understand their own happiness; but where is it they do that? Let me reply with the like question, where do they not? They do not know their happiness it should seem in France, Spain, and Italy; but teach them what it is, and try whose sense is the truer.

"As to the late wars in Germany, it has been affirmed to me there, that the princes could never make the people to take arms while they had bread, and have therefore suffered countries now and then to be wasted that they might get soldiers. This you will find to be the certain pulse and temper of the people; and if they have been already proved to be the most wise and constant order of a government, why should we think (when no man can produce one example of the common soldiery in an army mutinying because they had not captains' pay) that the prerogative should jolt the heads of the Senate together because these have the better salaries, when it must be as evident to the people in a nation, as to the soldiery in an army, that it is no more possible their emoluments of this kind should be afforded by any commonwealth in the world to be made equal with those of the Senate, than that the common soldiers should be equal with the captains? It is enough for the common soldier that his virtue may bring him to be a captain, and more to the prerogative, that each of them is nearer to be a senator.

"If my lord thinks our salaries too great, and that the commonwealth is not housewife enough, whether is it better housewifery that she should keep her family from the snow, or suffer them to burn her house that they may warm themselves? for one of these must be. Do you think that she came off at a cheaper rate when men had their rewards by £1,000 or £2,000 a year in land if inheritance? if you say that they will be more godly than they have been, it may be ill taken; and if you cannot promise that, it is time we find out some way of stinting at least, if not curing them of that same sacra fames. On the other side, if a poor man (as such a one may save a city) gives his sweat to the public, with what conscience can you suffer his family in the meantime to starve? but he that lays his hand to this plough shall not lose by taking it off from his own, and a commonwealth that will mend this shall be penny-wise. The Sanhedrim of Israel, being the supreme, and a constant court of judicature, could not choose but be exceeding gainful. The Senate of the Bean in Athens, because it was but annual, was moderately salaried; but that of the Areopagites, being for life, bountifully; and what advantages the senators of Lacedaemon had, where there was little money or use of it, were in honors for life. The patricians having no profit, took all. Venice being a situation where a man goes but to the door for his employment, the honor is great and the reward very little; but in Holland a councillor of state has £1,500 Flemish a year, besides other accommodations. The States-General have more. And that commonwealth looks nearer her penny than ours needs to do.

"For the revenue of this nation, besides that of her industry, it—amounts, as has been shown, to £10,000,000; and the salaries in the whole come not to £300,000 a year. The beauty they will add to the commonwealth will be exceeding great, and the people will delight in this beauty of their commonwealth; the encouragement they will give to the study of the public being very progitable, the accommodation they will afford to your magistrates very honorable and easy. And the sum, when it or twice as much was spent in bunting and housekeeping, was never any grievance to the people. I am ashamed to stand huckling upon this point; it is sordid. Your magistrates are rather to be provided with further accommodations. For what if there should be sickness? whither will you have them to remove? And this city in the soundest times, for the heat of the year, is no wholesome abode: have a care of their healths to whom you commit your own. I would have the Senate and the people, except they see cause to the contrary, every first of June to remove into the country air for the space of three months. You are better fitted with summer-houses for them than if you had built them to that purpose.

"There is some twelve miles distant the convallium upon the river Halcionia, for the tribunes and the prerogative, a palace capable of 1,000 men; and twenty miles distant you have Mount Celia, reverend as well for the antiquity as state of a castle completely capable of the Senate, the proposers having lodgings in the convallium, and the tribunes in Celia, it holds the correspondency between the Senate and the people exactly And it is a small matter for the proposers, being attended with the coaches and officers of state, besides other conveniences of their own, to go a matter of five or ten miles (those seats are not much farther distant) to meet the people upon any heath or field that shall be appointed: where, having despatched their business, they may hunt their own venison (for I would have the great walled park upon the Halcionia to belong to the signory, and those about the convallium to the tribunes) and so go to supper. Pray, my lords, see that they do not pull down these houses to sell the lead of them; for when—you have considered on it, they cannot be spared. The founders of the school in Hiera provided that the boys should have a summer seat. You should have as much care of these magistrates. But there is such a selling, such a Jewish humor in our republicans, that I cannot tell what to say to it; only this, any man that knows what belongs to a commonwealth, or how diligent every nation in that case has been to preserve her ornaments, and shall see the waste lately made (the woods adjoining to this city, which served for the delight and health of it, being cut down to be sold for threepence), will you tell that they who did such things would never have made a commonwealth. The like may be said of the ruin or damage done upon our cathedrals, ornaments in which this nation excels all others. Nor shall this ever be excused upon the score of religion; for though it be true that God dwells not in houses made with hands, yet you cannot hold your assemblies but in such houses, and these are of the best that have been made with hands. Nor is it well argued that they are pompous, and therefore profane, or less proper for divine service, seeing the Christians in the primitive Church chose to meet with one accord in the Temple, so far were they from any inclination to pull it down."

The orders of this commonwealth, so far, or near so far as they concern the elders, together with the several speeches at the institution, which may serve for the better understanding of them as so many commentaries, being shown, I should now come from the elders to the youth, or from the civil constitution of this government to the military, but that I judge this the fittest place whereinto, by the way, to insert the government of the city though for the present but perfunctorily.

"'The metropolis or capital city of Oceana is commonly called Emporium, though it consists of two cities distinct, as well in name as in government, whereof the other is called Hiera, for which cause I shall treat of each apart, beginning with Emporium.

"Emporium, with the liberties, is under a twofold division, the one regarding the national, and the other the urban or city government. It is divided, in regard of the national government, into three tribes, and in respect of the urban into twenty six, which for distinction's sake are called wards, being contained under three tribes but unequally; wherefore the first tribe containing ten wards is called scazon, the second containing eight metoche, and the third containing as many telicouta, the bearing of which names in mind concerns the better understanding of the government.

"Every ward has her wardmote, court, or inquest, consisting of all that are of the clothing or liveries of companies residing within the same.

"Such are of the livery or clothing as have attained to the dignity to wear gowns and parti-colored hoods or tippets, according to the rules and ancient customs of their respective companies.

"A company is a brotherhood of tradesmen professing the same art, governed according to their charter by a master and wardens. Of these there be about sixty, whereof twelve are of greater dignity than the rest, that is to say, the mercers, grocers, drapers, fishmongers, goldsmiths, skinners, merchant-tailors, haberdashers, salters, ironmongers, vintners, clothworkers, which, with most of the rest, have common halls, divers of them being of ancient and magnificent structure, wherein they have frequent meetings, at the summons of their master or wardens, for the managing and regulation of their respective trades and mysteries. These companies, as I shall show, are the roots of the whole government of the city. For the liveries that reside in the same ward, meeting at the wardmote inquest (to which it belongs to take cognizance of all sorts of nuisances and violations of the customs and orders of the city, and to present them to the court of aldermen), have also power to make election of two sorts of magistrates or officers; the first of elders or aldermen of the ward, the second of deputies of the same, otherwise called common councilmen.

"The wards in these elections, because they do not elect all at once, but some one year and some another, observe the distinction of the three tribes; for example, the scazon, consisting of ten wards, makes election the first year of ten aldermen, one in each ward, and of 150 deputies, fifteen in each ward, all which are triennial magistrates or officers, that is to say, are to bear their dignity for the space of three years.

"The second year the metoche, consisting of eight wards, elects eight aldermen, one in each ward, and 120 deputies, fifteen in each ward, being also triennial magistrates.

"The third year telicouta, consisting of a like number of wards, elects an equal number of like magistrates for a like term. So that the whole number of the aldermen, according to that of the wards, amounts to twenty-six; and the whole number of the deputies, to 390.

"The aldermen thus elected have divers capacities; for, first, they are justices of the peace for the term, and in consequence of their election. Secondly, they are presidents of the wardmote and governors each of that ward whereby he was elected. And last of all, these magistrates being assembled together, constitute the Senate of the city, otherwise called the court of aldermen; but no man is capable of this election that is not worth £10,000. This court upon every new election makes choice of nine censors out of their own number.

"The deputies in like manner being assembled together, constitute the prerogative tribe of the city, otherwise called the common council, by which means the Senate and the people of the city were comprehended, as it were, by the motion of the national government, into the same wheel of annual, triennial, and perpetual revolution.

"But the liveries, over and above the right of these elections by their divisions mentioned, being assembled all together at the guild of the city, constitute another assembly called the common hall.

"The common hall has the right of two other elections; the one of the lord mayor, and the other of the two sheriffs, being annual magistrates. The lord mayor can be elected out of no other than one of the twelve companies of the first ranks; and the common hall agrees by the plurality of suffrages upon two names, which, being presented to the lord mayor for the time being, and the court of the aldermen, they elect one by their scrutiny. For so they call it, though it differs from that of the commonwealth. The orator or assistant to the lord mayor in holding of his courts, is some able lawyer elected by the court of aldermen, and called the recorder of Emporium.

"The lord mayor being thus elected, has two capacities: one regarding the nation, and the other the city. In that which regards the city, he is president of the court of aldermen, having power to assemble the same, or any other council of the city, as the common council or common hall, at his will and pleasure; and in that which regards the nation, he is commander-in-chief of the three tribes whereinto the city is divided; one of which he is to bring up in person at the national muster to the ballot, as his vice-comites, or high sheriffs, are to do by the other two, each at their distinct pavilion, where the nine aldermen, elected censors, are to officiate by three in each tribe, according to the rules and orders already given to the censors of the rustic tribes. And the tribes of the city have no other than one common phylarch, which is the court of aldermen and the common council, for which cause they elect not at their muster the first list called the prime magnitude.

"The conveniences of this alteration of the city government, besides the bent of it to a conformity with that of the nation, were many, whereof I shall mention but a few: as first, whereas men under the former administration, when the burden of some of these magistracies lay for life, were oftentimes chosen not for their fitness, but rather unfitness, or at least unwillingness to undergo such a weight, whereby they were put at great rates to fine for their ease; a man might now take his share in magistracy with that equity which is due to the public, and without any inconvenience to his private affairs. Secondly, whereas the city (inasmuch as the acts of the aristocracy, or court of aldermen, in their former way of proceeding, were rather impositions than propositions) was frequently disquieted with the inevitable consequence of disorder in the power of debate exercised by the popular part, or common council; the right of debate being henceforth established in the court of aldermen, and that of result in the common council, killed the branches of division in the root. Which for the present may suffice to have been said of the city of Emporium.

"That of Hiera consists as to the national government of two tribes, the first called agoroea, the second propola; but as to the peculiar policy of twelve manipuls, or wards divided into three cohorts, each cohort containing four wards, whereof the wards of the first cohort elect for the first year four burgesses, one in each ward, the wards of the second cohort for the second year four burgesses, one in each ward, and the wards of the third cohort for the third year four burgesses, one in each ward, all triennial magistrates; by which the twelve burgesses, making one court for the government of this city according to their instructions by act of Parliament, fall likewise into an annual, triennial, and perpetual revolution.

"This court being thus constituted, makes election of divers magistrates; as first, of a high steward, who is commonly some person of quality, and this magistracy is elected in the Senate by the scrutiny of this court; with him they choose some able lawyer to be his deputy, and to hold the court; and last of all they elect out of their own number six censors.

"The high steward is commander-in-chief of the two tribes, whereof he in person brings up the one at the national muster to the ballot, and his deputy the other at a distinct pavilion; the six censors chosen by the court officiating by three in each tribe at the urns; and these tribes have no other phylarch but this court.

"As for the manner of elections and suffrage, both in Emporium and Hiera, it may be said, once for all, that they are performed by ballot, and according to the respective rules already given.

"There be other cities and corporations throughout the territory, whose policy being much of this kind, would be tedious and not worth the labor to insert, nor dare I stay. Juvenum manus emicat ardens."

I return, according to the method of the commonwealth, to the remaining parts of her orbs, which are military and provincial; the military, except the strategus, and the polemarchs or field-officers, consisting of the youth only, and the provincial consisting of a mixture both of elders and of the youth.

To begin with the youth, or the military orbs, they are circles to which the commonwealth must have a care to keep close. A man is a spirit raised by the magic of nature; if she does not stand safe, and so that she may set him to some good and useful work, he spits fire, and blows up castles; for where there is life, there must be motion or work; and the work of idleness is mischief, but the work of industry is health. To set men to this, the commonwealth must begin betimes with them, or it will be too late; and the means whereby she sets them to it is education, the plastic art of government. But it is as frequent as sad in experience (whether through negligence, or, which in the consequence is all one or worse, over-fondness in the domestic performance of this duty) that innumerable children come to owe their utter perdition to their own parents, in each of which the commonwealth loses a citizen.

Wherefore the laws of a government, how wholesome soever in themselves, are such as, if men by a congruity in their education be not bred to find a relish in them, they will be sure to loathe and detest. The education therefore of a man's own children is not wholly to be committed or trusted to himself. You find in Livy the children of Brutus, having been bred under monarchy, and used to a court life, making faces at the Commonwealth of Rome: "A king (say they) is a man with whom you may prevail when you have need there should be law, or when you have need there should be no law; he has favors in the right, and he frowns not in the wrong place; he knows his friends from his enemies. But laws are deaf, inexorable things, such as make no difference between a gentleman and an ordinary fellow; a man can never be merry for them, for to trust altogether to his own innocence is a sad life." Unhappy wantons! Scipio, on the other side, when he was but a boy (about two or three and twenty), being informed that certain patricians of Roman gentlemen, through a qualm upon the defeat which Hannibal had given them at Cannae, were laying their heads together and contriving their flight with the transportation of their goods out of Rome, drew his sword, and setting himself at the door of the chamber where they were at council, protested "that who did not immediately swear not to desert the commonwealth, he would make his soul to desert his body." Let men argue as they please for monarchy, or against a commonwealth, the world shall never see any man so sottish or wicked as in cool blood to prefer the education of the sons of Brutus before that of Scipio; and of this mould, except a Melius or a Manlius, was the whole youth of that commonwealth, though not ordinarily so well cast.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:46 am

Part 7 of 9

Now the health of a government and the education of the youth being of the same pulse, no wonder if it has been the constant practice of well-ordered commonwealths to commit the care and feeling of it to public magistrates. A duty that was performed in such a manner by the Areopagites, as is elegantly praised by Isocrates, "the Athenians (says he) write not their laws upon dead walls, nor content themselves with having ordained punishments for crimes, but provide in such a way, by the education of their youth, that there be no crimes for punishment." He speaks of those laws which regarded manners, not of those orders which concerned the administration of the commonwealth, lest you should think he contradicts Xenophon and Polybius. The children of Lacedaemon, at the seventh year of their age, were delivered to the poedonomi, or schoolmasters, not mercenary, but magistrates of the commonwealth, to which they were accountable for their charge; and by these at the age of fourteen they were presented to other magistrates called the beidioei, having the inspection of the games and exercises, among which that of the platanista was famous, a kind of fight in squadrons, but somewhat too fierce. When they came to be of military age they were listed of the mora, and so continued in readiness for public service under the discipline of the polemarchs. But the Roman education and discipline by the centuries and classes is that to which the Commonwealth of Oceana has had a more particular regard in her three essays, being certain degrees by which the youth commence as it were in arms for magistracy, as appears by—

The twenty-sixth order, instituting, "That if a parent has but one son, the education of that one son shall be wholly at the disposition of that parent. But whereas there be free schools erected and endowed, or to be erected and endowed in every tribe of this nation, to a sufficient proportion for the education of the children of the same (which schools, to the end there be no detriment or hindrance to the scholars upon case of removing from one to another, are every of them to be governed by the strict inspection of the censors of the tribes, both upon the schoolmaster's manner of life and teaching, and the proficiency of the children, after the rules and method of that in Hiera) if a parent has more sons than one, the censors of the tribes shall animadvert upon and punish him that sends not his sons within the ninth year of their age to some one of the schools of a tribe, there to be kept and taught, if he be able, at his own charges; and if he be not able, gratis, till they arrive at the age of fifteen years. And a parent may expect of his sons at the fifteenth year of their age, according to his choice or ability, whether it be to service in the way of apprentices to some trade or otherwise, or to further study, as by sending them to the inns of court, of chancery, or to one of the universities of this nation. But he that takes not upon him one of the professions proper to some of those places, shall not continue longer in any of them than till he has attained to the age of eighteen years; and every man having not at the age of eighteen years taken upon him, or addicted himself to the profession of the law, theology, or physic, and being no servant, shall be capable of the essays of the youth, and no other person whatsoever, except a man, having taken upon him such a profession, happens to lay it by ere he arrives at three or four and twenty years of age, and be admitted to this capacity by the respective. Phylarchs being satisfied that he kept not out so long with any design to evade the service of the commonwealth; but, that being no sooner at his own disposal, it was no sooner in his choice to come in. And if any youth or other person of this nation have a desire to travel into foreign countries upon occasion of business, delight, or further improvement of his education, the same shall be lawful for him upon a pass obtained from the censors in Parliament, putting a convenient limit to the time, and recommending him to the ambassadors by whom he shall be assisted, and to whom he shall yield honor and obedience in their respective residences. Every youth at his return from his travel is to present the censors with a paper of his own writing, containing the interest of state or form of government of the countries, or some one of the countries, where he has been; and if it be good, the censors shall cause it to be printed and published, prefixing a line in commendation of the author.

"Every Wednesday next ensuing the last of December, the whole youth of every parish, that is to say, every man (not excepted by the foregoing part of the order), being from eighteen years of age to thirty, shall repair at the sound of the bell to their respective church, and being there assembled in presence of the overseers, who are to govern the ballot, and the constable who is to officiate at the urn, shall, after the manner of the elders, elect every fifth man of their whole number (provided that they choose not above one of two brothers at one election, nor above half if they be four or upward) to be a stratiot or deputy of the youth; and the list of the stratiots so elected being taken by the overseers, shall be entered in the parish book, and diligently preserved as a record, called the first essay. They whose estates by the law are able, or whose friends are willing, to mount them, shall be of the horse, the rest are of the foot. And he who has been one year of this list, is not capable of being re-elected till after another year's interval.

"Every Wednesday next ensuing the last of January, the stratiots being mustered at the rendezvous of their respective hundreds, shall, in the presence of the jurymen, who are overseers of that ballot, and of the high constable who is to officiate at the urn, elect out of the horse of their troop or company one captain, and one ensign or cornet, to the command of the same. And the jurymen having entered the list of the hundred into a record to be diligently kept at the rendezvous of the same, the first public game of this commonwealth shall begin and be performed in this manner. Whereas there is to be at every rendezvous of a hundred, one cannon, culverin, or saker, the prize arms being forged by sworn armorers of this commonwealth, and for their proof, besides their beauty, viewed and tried at the tower of Emporium, shall be exposed by the justice of peace appertaining to that hundred (the said justice with the jurymen being judges of the game), and the judges shall deliver to the horseman that gains the prize at the career, one suit of arms being of the value £20, to the pikeman that gains the prize at throwing the bullet, one suit of arms of the value of £10, to the musketeer that gains the prize at the mark with his musket, one suit of arms of the value of £10, and to the cannoneer that gains the prize at the mark with the cannon, culverin, or saker, a chain of silver being the value of £10, provided that no one man at the same muster plays above one of the prizes. Whosoever gains a prize is bound to wear it (if it be his lot) upon service; and no man shall sell or give away any armor thus won, except he has lawfully attained to two or more of them at the games.

"The games being ended, and the muster dismissed, the captain of the troop or company shall repair with a copy of the list to the lord lieutenant of the tribe, and the high constable with a duplicate of the same to the custos rotulorum, or muster-master general, to be also communicated to the censors; in each of which the jurymen, giving a note upon every name of an only son, shall certify the list is without subterfuge or evasion; or, if it be not, an account of those upon whom the evasion or subterfuge lies, to the end that the phylarch or the censors may animadvert accordingly.

"And every Wednesday next ensuing the last of February, the lord lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the censors, and the conductor, shall receive the whole muster of the youth of that tribe at the rendezvous of the same, distributing the horse and foot with their officers, according to the directions given in the like case for the distribution of the elders; and the whole squadron being put by that means in battalia, the second game of this commonwealth shall begin by the exercise of the youth in all the parts of their military discipline according to the orders of Parliament, or direction of the Council of War in that case. And the £100 allowed by the Parliament for the ornament of the muster in every tribe, shall be expended by the phylarch upon such artificial castles, citadels, or the like devices, as may make the best and most profitable sport for the youth and their spectators.

"Which being ended, the censors having prepared the urns by putting into the horse-urn 220 gold balls, whereof ten are to be marked with the letter M and other ten with the letter P; into the foot-urn 700 gold balls, whereof fifty are to be marked, with the letter M and fifty with the letter P; and after they have made the gold balls in each urn, by the addition of silver balls to the same, in number equal with the horse and foot of the stratiots, the lord lieutenant shall call the stratiots to the urns, where they that draw the silver balls shall return to their places, and they that draw the gold balls shall fall off to the pavilion, where, for the space of one hour, they may chop and change their balls according as one can agree with another, whose lot he likes better.

"But the hour being out, the conductor separating them whose gold balls have no letter from those whose balls are marked, shall cause the crier to call the alphabet, as first A; whereupon all they whose gold balls are not marked, and whose surnames begin with the letter A, shall repair to a clerk appertaining to the custos rotulorum, who shall first take the names of that letter; then those of B, and so on, till all the names be alphabetically enrolled. And the youth of this list being 600 foot in a tribe, that is, 30,000 foot in all the tribes; and 200 horse in a tribe, that is, 10,000 horse in all the tribes, are the second essay of the stratiots, and the standing army of this commonwealth to be always ready upon command to march. They whose balls are marked with M, amounting, by twenty horse and fifty foot in a tribe, to 2,500 foot and 500 horse in all the tribes, and they whose balls are marked with P, in every point correspondent, are parts of the third essay; they in M being straight to march for Marpesia, and they of P for Panopea, to the ends and according to the further directions following in the order for the provincial orbs.

"If the polemarchs or field officers be elected by the scrutiny of the Council of War, and the strategus commanded by the Parliament or the Dictator to march, the lord lieutenants (who have power to muster and discipline the youth so often as they receive orders for the same from the Council of War) are to deliver the second essay, or so many of them as shall be commanded, to the conductors, who shall present them to the lord strategus at the time and place appointed by his Excellency to be the general rendezvous of Oceana, where the Council of War shall have the accommodation of horses and arms for his men in readiness; and the lord strategus having armed, mounted, and distributed them, whether according to the recommendation of their prize arms, or otherwise, shall lead them away to his shipping, being also ready and provided with victuals, ammunition, artillery, and all other necessaries; commanding them, and disposing of the whole conduct of the war by his sole power and authority. And this is the third essay of the stratiots, which being shipped, or marched out of their tribes, the lord lieutenants shall re-elect the second essay out of the remaining part of the first, and the Senate another strategus.

"If any veteran or veterans of this nation, the term of whose youth or militia is expired, having a desire to be entertained in the further service of the commonwealth, shall present him or themselves at the rendezvous of Oceana to the strategus, it is in his power to take on such and so many of them as shall be agreed by the polemarchs, and to send back an equal number of the stratiots.

"And for the better managing of the proper forces of this nation, the lord strategus, by appointment of the Council of War, and out of such levies as they shall have made in either or both of the provinces to that end, shall receive auxiliaries by sea or elsewhere at some certain place, not exceeding his proper arms in number.

"And whosoever shall refuse any one of his three essays, except upon cause shown, he be dispensed withal by the phylarch, or, if the phylarch be not assembled, by the censors of his tribe, shall be deemed a helot or public servant, shall pay a fifth part of his yearly revenue, besides all other taxes, to the commonwealth for his protection, and be incapable of bearing any magistracy except such as is proper to the law. Nevertheless if a man has but two sons, the lord lieutenant shall not suffer above one of them to come to the Urn at one election of the second essay, and though he has above two sons, there shall not come above half the brothers at one election; and if a man has but one son, he shall not come to the urn at all without the consent of his parents, or his guardians, nor shall it be any reproach to him or impediment to his bearing of magistracy."

This order, with relation to foreign expeditions, will be proved and explained together with—

The twenty-seventh order, "Providing, in case of invasion apprehended, that the lords high sheriffs of the tribes, upon commands received from the Parliament or the Dictator, distribute the bands of the elders into divisions, after the nature of the essays of the youth; and that the second division or essay of the elders, being made and consisting of 30,000 foot and 10,000 horse, be ready to march with the second essay of the youth, and be brought also by the conductors to the strategus.

"The second essay of the elders and youth being marched out of their tribes, the lords high sheriffs and lieutenants shall have the remaining part of the annual bands both of elders and youth in readiness, which, if the beacons be fired, shall march to the rendezvous to be in that case appointed by the Parliament or the Dictator: And the beacons being fired, the curiata comitia, or parochial congregations, shall elect a fourth both of elders and youth to be immediately upon the guard of the tribes, and dividing themselves as aforesaid, to march also in their divisions according to orders, which method in case of extremity shall proceed to the election of a third, or the levy of a second, or of the last man in the nation, by the power of the lords high sheriffs, to the end that the commonwealth in her utmost pressure may show her trust that God in his justice will remember mercy, by humbling herself, and yet preserving her courage, discipline, and constancy, even to the last drop of her blood and the utmost farthing.

"The services performed by the youth, or by the elders, in case of invasion, and according to this order, shall be at their proper cost and charges that are any ways able to endure it; but if there be such as are known in their parishes to be so indigent that they cannot march out of their tribes, nor undergo the burden in this case incumbent, then the congregations of their parishes shall furnish them with sufficient sums of money to be repaid upon the certificate of the same by the Parliament when the action shall be over. And of that which is respectively enjoined by this order, any tribe, parish, magistrate, or person that shall fail, is to answer for it, at the Council of War, as a deserter of his country."

The Archon, being the greatest captain of his own, if not of any age, added much to the glory of this commonwealth, by interweaving the militia with more art and lustre than any legislator from or before the time of Servius Tullius, who constituted the Roman militia. But as the bones or skeleton of a man, though the greatest part of his beauty be contained in their proportion or symmetry, yet shown without flesh are a spectacle that is rather horrid than entertaining, so without discourses are the orders of a commonwealth; which, if she goes forth in that manner, may complain of her friends that they stand mute and staring upon her. Wherefore this order was thus fleshed by the Lord Archon:


"Diogenes seeing a young fellow drunk, told him that his father was drunk when he begot him. For this, in natural generation, I must confess I see no reason; but in the political it is right. The vices of the people are from their governors; those of their governors from their laws or orders; and those of their laws or orders from their legislators. Whatever was in the womb imperfect, as to her proper work, comes very rarely or never at all to perfection afterward; and the formation of a citizen in the womb of the commonwealth is his education.

"Education by the first of the foregoing orders is of six kinds: at the school, in the mechanics, at the universities, at the inns of court or chancery, in travels, and in military discipline, some of which I shall but touch, and some I shall handle more at large.

"That which is proposed for the erecting and endowing of schools throughout the tribes, capable of all the children of the same, and able to give to the poor the education of theirs gratis, is only matter of direction in case of very great charity, as easing the needy of the charge of their children from the ninth to the fifteenth year of their age, during which time their work cannot be profitable; and restoring them when they may be of use, furnished with tools whereof there are advantages to be made in every work, seeing he that can read and use his pen has some convenience by it in the meanest vocation. And it cannot be conceived but that which comes, though in small parcels, to the advantage of every man in his vocation, must amount to the advantage of every vocation, and so to that of the whole commonwealth. Wherefore this is commended to the charity of every wise-hearted and well-minded man, to be done in time, and as God shall stir him up or enable him; there being such provision already in the case as may give us leave to proceed without obstruction.

"Parents, under animadversion of the censors, are to dispose of their children at the fifteenth year of their age to something; but what, is left, according to their abilities or inclination, at their own choice. This, with the multitude, must be to the mechanics, that is to say to agriculture or husbandry, to manufactures, or to merchandise.

"Agriculture is the bread of the nation; we are hung upon it by the teeth; it is a mighty nursery of strength, the best army, and the most assured knapsack; it is managed with the least turbulent or ambitious, and the most innocent hands of all other arts. Wherefore I am of Aristotle's opinion, that a commonwealth of husbandmen—and such is ours—must be the best of all others. Certainly my lords, you have no measure of what ought to be, but what can be, done for the encouragement of this profession. I could wish I were husband good enough to direct something to this end; but racking of rents is a vile thing in the richer sort, an uncharitable one to the poorer, a perfect mark of slavery, and nips your commonwealth in the fairest blossom. On the other side, if there should be too much ease given in this kind, it would occasion sloth, and so destroy industry, the principal nerve of a commonwealth. But if aught might be done to hold the balance even between these two, it would be a work in this nation equal to that for which Fabius was surnamed Maximus by the Romans.

"In manufactures and merchandise the Hollander has gotten the start of us; but at the long run it will be found that a people working upon a foreign commodity does but farm the manufacture, and that it is really entailed upon them only where the growth of it is native; as also that it is one thing to have the carriage of other men's goods, and another for a man to bring his own to the best market. Wherefore (nature having provided encouragement for these arts in this nation above all others, where, the people growing, they of necessity must also increase) it cannot but establish them upon a far more sure and effectual foundation than that of the Hollanders. But these educations are in order to the first things or necessities of nature; as husbandry to the food, manufacture to the clothing, and merchandise to the purse of the commonwealth.

"There be other things in nature, which being second as to their order, for their dignity and value are first; and such to which the other are but accommodations; of this sort are especially these: religion, justice, courage, and wisdom.

"The education that answers to religion in our government is that of the universities. Moses, the divine legislator, was not only skilful in all the learning of the Egyptians, but took also into the fabric of his commonwealth the learning of the Midianites in the advice of Jethro; and his foundation of a university laid in the tabernacle, and finished in the Temple, became that pinnacle from whence (according to many Jewish and Christian authors) all the learning in the world has taken wing; as the philosophy of the Stoics from the Pharisees; that of the Epicureans from the Sadducees; and from the learning of the Jews, so often quoted by our Saviour, and fulfilled in him, the Christian religion. Athens was the most famous university in her days; and her senators, that is to say, the Areopagites, were all philosophers. Lacedaemon, to speak truth, though she could write and read, was not very bookish. But he that disputes hence against universities, disputes by the same argument against agriculture, manufacture, and merchandise; every one of these having been equally forbid by Lycurgus, not for itself (for if he had not been learned in all the learning of Crete, and well travelled in the knowledge of other governments, he had never made his commonwealth), but for the diversion which they must have given his citizens from their arms, who, being but few, if they had minded anything else, must have deserted the commonwealth. For Rome, she had ingenium par ingenio, was as learned as great, and held our College of Augurs in much reverence. Venice has taken her religion upon trust. Holland cannot attend it to be very studious. Nor does Switzerland mind it much; yet are they all addicted to their universities. We cut down trees to build houses; but I would have somebody show me, by what reason or experience the cutting down of a university should tend to the setting up of a commonwealth. Of this I am sure, that the perfection of a commonwealth is not to be attained without the knowledge of ancient prudence, nor the knowledge of ancient prudence without learning, nor learning without schools of good literature, and these are such as we call universities.

"Now though mere university learning of itself be that which (to speak the words of Verulamius) 'crafty men contemn, and simple men only admire, yet is it such as wise men have use of; for studies do not teach their own use, but that is a wisdom without and above them, won by observation. Expert men may execute, and perhaps judge, of particulars one by one; but the general councils and the plots, and the marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned.' Wherefore if you would have your children to be statesmen, let them drink by all means of these fountains, where perhaps there were never any. But what though the water a man drinks be not nourishment, it is the vehicle without which he cannot be nourished.

"Nor is religion less concerned in this point than government: for take away your universities, and in a few years you lose it. "The holy Scriptures are written in Hebrew and Greek; they that have neither of these languages may think light of both; but find me a man that has one in perfection, the study of whose whole life it has not been. Again, this is apparent to us in daily conversation, that if four or five persons that have lived together be talking, another speaking the same language may come in, and yet understand very little of their discourse, in that it relates to circumstances, persons, things, times and places which he knows not. It is no otherwise with a man, having no insight of the times in which they were written, and the circumstances to which they relate, in the reading of ancient books, whether they be divine or human. For example, when we fall upon the discourse about baptism and regeneration that was between our Saviour and Nicodemus, where Christ reproaches him with his ignorance in this matter. 'Art thou a doctor in Israel, and understandest not these things?' What shall we think of it? or wherefore should a doctor in Israel have understood these things more than another, but that both baptism and regeneration, as was showed at large by my Lord Phosphorus, were doctrines held in Israel? I instance in one place of a hundred, which he, that has not mastered the circumstances to which they relate, cannot understand. Wherefore to the understanding of the Scripture, it is necessary to have ancient languages, and the knowledge of ancient times, or the aid of them who have such knowledge; and to have such as may be always able and ready to give such aid (unless you would borrow it of another nation, which would not only be base, but deceitful) it is necessary to a commonwealth that she have schools of good literature, or universities of her own.

"We are commanded, as has been said more than once, to search the Scriptures; and which of them search the Scriptures, they that take this pains in ancient languages and learning, or they that will not, but trust to translations only, and to words as they sound to present circumstances? than which nothing is more fallible, or certain to lose the true sense of Scriptures, pretended to be above human understanding, for no other cause than that they are below it. But in searching the Scriptures by the proper use of our universities, we have been heretofore blest with greater victories and trophies against the purple hosts and golden standards of the Romish hierarchy than any nation; and therefore why we should relinquish this upon the presumption of some, that because there is a greater light which they have, I do not know. There is a greater light than the sun, but it does not extinguish the sun, nor does any light of God's giving extinguish that of nature, but increase and sanctify it. Wherefore, neither the honor bore by the Israelitish, Roman, or any other commonwealth that I have shown, to their ecclesiastics, consisted in being governed by them, but in consulting them in matters of religion, upon whose responses or oracles they did afterward as they thought fit.

"Nor would I be here mistaken, as if, by affirming the universities to be, in order both to religion and government, of absolute necessity, I declared them or the ministry in any wise fit to be trusted, so far as to exercise any power not derived from the civil magistrate in the administration of either, if the Jewish religion were directed and established by Moses, it was directed and established by the civil magistrate; or if Moses exercised this administration as a prophet, the same prophet did invest with the same administration the Sanhedrim, and not the priests; and so does our commonwealth the Senate, and not the clergy. They who had the supreme administration or government of the national religion in Athens, were the first Archon, the rex sacrificulus, or high-priest, and a polemarch, which magistrates were ordained or elected by the holding up of hands in the church, congregation, or comitia of the people. The religion of Lacedaemon was governed by the kings, who were also high-priests, and officiated at the sacrifice; these had power to substitute their pythii, ambassadors, or nuncios, by which, not without concurrence of the Senate, they held intelligence with the oracle of Apollo at Delphos. And the ecclesiastical part of the Commonwealth of Rome was governed by the pontifex maximus, the rex sacrificulus, and the Flamens, all ordained or elected by the people, the pontifex by the tribes, the King by the centuries, and the Flamens by the parishes.

"I do not mind you of these things, as if, for the matter, there were any parallel to be drawn out of their superstitions to our religion, but to show that for the manner, ancient prudence is as well a rule in divine as human things; nay, and such a one as the apostles themselves, ordaining elders by the holding up of hands in every congregation, have exactly followed; for some of the congregations where they thus ordained elders were those of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, the countries of Lycaona, Pisidia, Pamphilia, Perga, with Attalia. Now that these cities and countries, when the Romans propagated their empire into Asia, were found most of them commonwealths, and that many of the rest were endued with like power, so that the people living under the protection of the Roman emperors continued to elect their own magistrates, is so known a thing, that I wonder whence it is that men, quite contrary to the universal proof of these examples, will have ecclesiastical government to be necessarily distinct from civil power, when the right of the elders ordained by the holding up of hands in every congregation to teach the people, was plainly derived from the same civil power by which they ordained the rest of their magistrates. And it is not otherwise in our commonwealth, where the parochial congregation elects or ordains its pastor. To object the Commonwealth of Venice in this place, were to show us that it has been no otherwise but where the civil power has lost the liberty of her conscience by embracing popery; as also that to take away the liberty of conscience in this administration from the civil power, were a proceeding which has no other precedent than such as is popish.

"Wherefore your religion is settled after the following manner: the universities are the seminaries of that part which is national, by which means others with all safety may be permitted to follow the liberty of their own consciences, in regard that, however they behave themselves, the ignorance of the unlearned in this case cannot lose your religion nor disturb your government, which otherwise it would most certainly do; and the universities with their emoluments, as also the benefices of the whole nation, are to be improved by such augmentations as may make a very decent and comfortable subsistence for the ministry, which is neither to be allowed synods nor assemblies, except upon the occasion shown in the universities, when they are consulted by the Council of State, and suffered to meddle with affairs of religion, nor to be capable of any other public preferment whatsoever; by which means the interest of the learned can never come to corrupt your religion, nor disturb your government, which otherwise it would most certainly do. Venice, though she does not see, or cannot help the corruption of her religion, is yet so circumspect to avoid disturbance of her government in this kind, that her Council proceeds not to election of magistrates till it be proclaimed fora papalini, by which words such as have consanguinity with red hats, or relation to the Court of Rome, are warned to withdraw.

"If a minister in Holland meddles with matter of state, the magistrate sends him a pair of shoes; whereupon, if he does not go, he is driven away from his charge. I wonder why ministers, of all men, should be perpetually tampering with government; first because they, as well as others, have it in express charge to submit themselves to the ordinances of men; and secondly because these ordinances of men must go upon such political principles as they of all others, by anything that can be found in their writings or actions, least understand: whence you have the suffrage of all nations to this sense, that an ounce of wisdom is worth a pound of clergy. Your greatest clerks are not your wisest men: and when some foul absurdity in state is committed, it is common with the French, and even the Italians, to call it 'pas de clerc,' or 'governo de prete.' They may bear with men that will be preaching without study, while they will be governing without prudence. My lords, if you know not how to rule your clergy, you will most certainly, like a man that cannot rule his wife, have neither quiet at home nor honor abroad. Their honest vocation is to teach your children at the schools and the universities, and the people in the parishes, and yours is concerned to see that they do not play the shrews, of which parts does consist the education of your commonwealth, so far as it regards religion.

"To justice, or that part of it which is commonly executive, answers the education of the inns of court and chancery. Upon which to philosophize, requires a public kind of learning that I have not. But they who take upon them any profession proper to the educations mentioned—that is, theology, physic, or law—are not at leisure for the essays. Wherefore the essays, being degrees whereby the youth commence for all magistracies, offices, and honors in the parish, hundred, tribe, Senate, or prerogative; divines, physicians, and lawyers not taking these degrees, exclude themselves from all such magistracies, offices, and honors. And whereas lawyers are likest to exact further reason for this, they (growing up from the most gainful art at the bar to those magistracies upon the bench which are continually appropriated to themselves, and not only endowed with the greatest revenues, but also held for life) have the least reason of all the rest to pretend to any other, especially in an equal commonwealth, where accumulation of magistracy or to take a person engaged by his profit to the laws, as they stand, into the power, which is legislative, and which should keep them to what they were, or ought to he, were a solecism in prudence. It is true that the legislative power may have need of advice and assistance from the executive magistracy, or such as are learned in the law; for which cause the judges are, as they have heretofore been, assistants in the Senate. Nor, however it came about, can I see any reason why a judge, being but an assistant or lawyer, should be member of a legislative council.

"I deny not that the Roman patricians were all patrons, and that the whole people were clients, some to one family and some to another, by which means they had their causes pleaded and defended in some appearance gratis; for the patron took no money, though if he had a daughter to marry, his clients were to pay her portion, nor was this so great a grievance. But if the client accused his patron, gave testimony or suffrage against him, it was a crime of such a nature that any man might lawfully kill him as a traitor; and this, as being the nerve of the optimacy, was a great cause of ruin to that commonwealth; for when the people would carry anything that pleased not the Senate, the senators were ill provided if they could not intercede-that is, oppose it by their clients; with whom, to vote otherwise than they pleased, was the highest crime. The observation of this bond till the time of the Gracchi—that is to say, till it was too late, or to no purpose to break it—was the cause why, in all the former heats and disputes that had happened between the Senate and the people, it never came to blows, which indeed was good; but withal, the people could have no remedy, which was certainly evil. Wherefore I am of opinion that a senator ought not to be a patron or advocate, nor a patron or advocate to be a senator; for if his practice be gratis it debauches the people, and if it be mercenary it debauches himself: take it which way you will, when he should be making of laws, he will be knitting of nets.

"Lycurgus, as I said, by being a traveller became a legislator, but in times when prudence was another thing. Nevertheless we may not shut out this part of education in a commonwealth, which will be herself a traveller; for those of this make have seen the world, especially because this is certain (though it be not regarded in our times, when things being left to take their chance, it fares with us accordingly) that no man can be a politician except he be first a historian or a traveller; for except he can see what must be, or what may be, he is no politician. Now if he has no knowledge in history he cannot tell what has been, and if he has not been a traveller, he cannot tell what is; but he that neither knows what has been, nor what is, can never tell what must be, or what may be. Furthermore, the embassies-in-ordinary by our constitution are the prizes of young men, more especially such as have been travellers. Wherefore they of these inclinations, having leave of the censors, owe them an account of their time, and cannot choose but lay it out with some ambition of praise or reward, where both are open, whence you will have eyes abroad, and better choice of public ministers, your gallants showing themselves not more to the ladies at their balls than to your commonwealth at her Academy when they return from their travels.

"But this commonwealth being constituted more especially of two elements, arms and councils, drives by a natural instinct at courage and wisdom; which he who has attained is arrived at the perfection of human nature. It is true that these virtues must have some natural root in him that is capable of them; but this amounts not to so great a matter as some will have it. For if poverty makes an industrious, a moderate estate a temperate, and a lavish fortune a wanton man, and this be the common course of things, wisdom then is rather of necessity than inclination. And that an army which was meditating upon flight, has been brought by despair to win the field, is so far from being strange, that like causes will evermore produce like effects. Wherefore this commonwealth drives her citizens like wedges; there is no way with them but thorough, nor end but that glory whereof man is capable by art or nature. That the genius of the Roman families commonly preserved itself throughout the line (as to instance in some, the Manlii were still severe, the Publicolae lovers, and the Appii haters of the people) is attributed by Machiavel to their education; nor, if interest might add to the reason why the genius of a patrician was one thing, and that of a plebeian another, is the like so apparent between different nations, who, according to their different educations, have yet as different manners. It was anciently noted, and long confirmed by the actions of the French, that in their first assaults their courage was more than that of men, and for the rest less than that of women, which nevertheless, through the amendment of their discipline, we see now to be otherwise. I will not say but that some man or nation upon an equal improvement of this kind may be lighter than some other; but certainly education is the scale without which no man or nation can truly know his or her own weight or value. By our histories we can tell when one Marpesian would have beaten ten Oceaners, and when one Oceaner would have beaten ten Marpesians. Marc Antony was a Roman, but how did that appear in the embraces of Cleopatra? You must have some other education for your youth, or they, like that passage, will show better in romance than true story.

"The custom of the Commonwealth of Rome in distributing her magistracies without respect of age, happened to do well in Corvinus and Scipio; for which cause Machiavel (with whom that which was done by Rome, and that which is well done, are for the most part all one) commends this course. Yet how much it did worse at other times, is obvious in Pompey and Caesar, examples by which Boccalini illustrates the prudence of Venice in her contrary practice, affirming it to have been no small step to the ruin of the Roman liberty, that these (having tasted in their youth of the supreme honors) had no greater in their age to hope for, but by perpetuating of the same in themselves; which came to blood and ended in tyranny. The opinion of Verulamius is safe: 'The errors,' says he, 'of young men are the ruin of business; whereas the errors of old men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner.' But though their wisdom be little, their courage is great; wherefore (to come to the main education of this commonwealth) the militia of Oceana is the province of youth.

"The distribution of this province by the essays is so fully described in the order, that I need repeat nothing; the order itself being but a repetition or copy of that original, which in ancient prudence is of all others the fairest, as that from whence the Commonwealth of Rome more particularly derived the empire of the world. And there is much more reason in this age, when governments are universally broken, or swerved from their foundations, and the people groan under tyranny, that the same causes (which could not be withstood when the world was full of popular governments) should have the like effects.

"The causes in the Commonwealth of Rome, whereof the empire of the world was not any miraculous, but a natural (nay, I may safely say a necessary) consequence, are contained in that part of her discipline which was domestic, and in that which she exercises in her provinces or conquest. Of the latter I shall have better occasion to speak when we come to our provincial orbs; the former divided the whole people by tribes, amounting, as Livy and Cicero show, at their full growth to thirty-five, and every tribe by the sense or valuation of estates into five classes: for the sixth being proletary, that is the nursery, or such as through their poverty contributed nothing to the commonwealth but children, was not reckoned nor used in arms. And this is the first point of the militia, in which modern prudence is quite contrary to the ancient; for whereas we, excusing the rich and arming the poor, become the vassals of our servants, they, by excusing the poor and arming such as were rich enough to be freemen, became lords of the earth. The nobility and gentry of this nation, who understand so little what it is to be the lords of the earth that they have not been able to keep their own lands, will think it a strange education for their children to be common soldiers, and obliged to all the duties of arms; nevertheless it is not for four shillings a week, but to be capable of being the best man in the field or in the city the latter part of which consideration makes the common soldier herein a better man than the general of any monarchical army.

"And whereas it may be thought that this would drink deep of noble blood, I dare boldly say, take the Roman nobility in the heat of their fiercest wars, and you shall not find such a shambles of them as has been made of ours by mere luxury and slothfulness; which, killing the body, kill the soul also: Animasque in vulnere ponunt. Whereas common right is that which he who stands in the vindication of, has used that sword of justice for which he receives the purple of magistracy. The glory of a man on earth can go no higher, and if he falls he rises again, and comes sooner to that reward which is so much higher as heaven is above the earth. To return to the Roman example: every class was divided, as has been more than once shown, into centuries, and every century was equally divided into youth and elders; the youth for foreign service, and the elders for the guard of the territory. In the first class were about eighteen centuries of horse, being those which, by the institution of Servius, were first called to the suffrage in the centurial assemblies. But the delectus, or levy of an army, which is the present business, proceeded, according to Polybius, in this manner:

"Upon a war decreed, the Consuls elected four-and-twenty military tribunes or colonels, whereof ten, being such as had merited their tenth stipend, were younger officers. The tribunes being chosen, the Consuls appointed a day to the tribes, when those in them of military age were to appear at the capitol. The day being come, and the youth assembled accordingly, the Consuls ascended their tribunal, and the younger tribunes were straight divided into four parts after this manner: four were assigned to the first legion (a legion at the most consisted of 6,000 foot and 300 horse), three to the second, four to the third, and three to the fourth. The younger tribunes being thus distributed, two of the elder were assigned to the first legion, three to the second, two to the third, and three to the fourth; and the officers of each legion thus assigned, having drawn the tribes by lot, and being seated according to their divisions at a convenient distance from each other, the tribe of the first lot was called, whereupon they that were of it knowing the business, and being prepared, presently bolted out four of their number, in the choice whereof such care was taken that they offered none that was not a citizen, no citizen that was not of the youth, no youth that was not of some one of the five classes, nor any one of the five classes that was not expert at his exercises. Moreover, they used such diligence in matching them for age and stature, that the officers of the legion, except they happened to be acquainted with the youth so bolted, were forced to put themselves upon fortune, while they of the first legion chose one, they of the second the next, they of the third another and the fourth youth fell to the last legion; and thus was the election (the legions and the tribes varying according to their lots) carried on till the foot were complete.

"The like course with little alteration was taken by the horse officers till the horse also were complete. This was called giving of names, which the children of Israel did also by lot; and if any man refused to give his name, he was sold for a slave, or his estate confiscated to the commonwealth. 'When Marcus Curius the Consul was forced to make a sudden levy, and none of the youth would give in their names, all the tribes being put to the lot, he commanded the first name drawn out of the urn of the Pollian tribe (which happened to come first) to be called; but the youth not answering, he ordered his goods to be sold; which was conformable to the law in Israel, according to which Saul took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout the tribes, saying, 'Whosoever comes not forth to battle after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.' By which you may observe also that they who had no cattle were not of the militia in Israel. But the age of the Roman youth by the Tullian law determined at thirty; and by the law (though it should seem by Machiavel and others that this was not well observed) a man could not stand for magistracy till he was miles emeritus, or had fulfilled the full term of his militia, which was complete in his tenth stipend or service, nor was he afterward obliged under any penalty to give his name, except the commonwealth were invaded, in which case the elders were as well obliged as the youth. The Consul might also levy milites evocatos, or soldiers, commanded men out of such as had served their turn, and this at his discretion. The legions being thus complete, were divided by two to each consul, and in these no man had right to serve but a Roman citizen; now because two legions made but a small army, the Romans added to every one of their arms an equal number of foot, and a double number of horse levied among their Latin or Italian associates; so a consular army, with the legions and auxiliaries, amounted to about 30,000, and whereas they commonly levied two such armies together, these being joined made about 60,000.

"The steps whereby our militia follows the greatest captain, are the three essays; the first, elected by a fifth man in the parishes, and amounting in the whole to 100,000, choose their officers at the hundreds, where they fall also to their games or exercises, invited by handsome prizes, such as for themselves and the honor of them will be coveted, such as will render the hundred a place of sports, and exercise of arms all the year long, such as in the space of ten years will equip 30,000 men horse and foot, with such arms for their forge, proof, and beauty, as (notwithstanding the argyraspides, or silver shields of Alexander's guards) were never worn by so many, such as will present marks of virtue and direction to your general or strategus in the distribution of his army, which doubles the value of them to the proprietors, who are bound to wear them, and eases the commonwealth of so much charge, so many being armed already.

"But here will be the objection now. How shall such a revenue be compassed? Fifty pounds a year in every hundred is a great deal, not so easily raised; men will not part with their money, nor would the sum, as it is proposed by the order of Pompey, rise in many years. These are difficulties that fit our genius exactly, and yet £1,000 in each hundred, once levied, establishes the revenue forever. Now the hundreds one with another are worth £10,000 a year dry-rent, over and above personal estates, which bring it to twice the value, so that a twentieth part of one year's revenue of the hundred does it, if you cannot afford this while you pay taxes, though from henceforth they will be but small ones, do it when you pay none, if it be then too much for one year, do it in two; if it be too much for two years, do it in four. What husbands have we hitherto been? what is become of greater sums? My lords, if you should thus cast your bread upon the waters, after many days you shall find it; stand not huckling when you are offered corn and your money again in the mouth of the sack.

"But to proceed: the first essay being officered at the hundreds, and mustered at the tribes (where they are entertained with other sports, which will be very fine ones), proceeds to the election of the second essay, or standing army of this nation, consisting of 30,000 foot and 10,000 horse; and these, upon a war decreed, being delivered at the rendezvous of Oceana to the strategus, are the third essay, which answers to the Roman legions. But you may observe, that whereas the consuls elected the military tribunes, and raised commanded men out of the veterans at their own discretion, our polemarchs, or field officers, are elected by the scrutiny of the Council of War, and our veterans not otherwise taken on than as volunteers, and with the consent of the polemarchs, which may serve for the removal of certain scruples which might otherwise be incident in this place, though without encouragement by the Roman way of proceeding, much less by that which is proposed. But whereas the Roman legions in all amounted not in one army to above 30,000 men, or little more, you have here 40,000; and whereas they added auxiliaries, it is in this regard that Marpesia will be a greater revenue to you than if you had the Indies; for whereas heretofore she has yielded you nothing but her native thistles, in ploughing out the rankness of her aristocracy by your agrarian, you will find her an inexhaustible magazine of men, and to her own advantage, who will make a far better account by the arms than by the pins of Poland. Wherefore as a consular army consisted of about an equal number of auxiliaries added to their legions by their Latin or Italian associates, you may add to a parliamentary army an equal number of Marpesians or Panopeans, as that colony shall hereafter be able to supply you, by which means the commonwealth will be able to go forth to battle with 80,000 men.

"To make wars with small forces is no husbandry, but a waste, a disease, a lingering and painful consumption of men and money the Romans making theirs thick, made them short, and had little regard to money, as that which they who have men enough can command where it is fittest that it should be levied. All the ancient monarchies by this means got on wing, and attained to vast riches. Whereas your modern princes being dear purchasers of small parcels, have but empty pockets. But it may be some will accuse the order of rashness, in that it commits the sole conduct of the war to the general; and the custom of Venice by her proveditori, or checks upon her commanders-in-chief, may seem to be of greater prudence; but in this part of our government neither Venice nor any nation that makes use of mercenary forces is for our instruction. A mercenary army, with a standing general, is like the fatal sister that spins; but proper forces, with an annual magistrate, are like her that cuts the thread. Their interests are quite contrary, and yet you have a better proveditor than the Venetian, another strategus sitting with an army standing by him; whereupon that which is marching, if there were any probability it should, would find as little possibility that it could recoil, as a foreign enemy to invade you. These things considered, a war will appear to be of a contrary nature to that of all other reckonings, inasmuch as of this you must never look to have a good account if you be strict in imposing checks. Let a council of huntsmen, assembled beforehand, tell you which way the stag shall run, where you shall cast about at the fault, and how you shall ride to be in at the chase all the day; but these may as well do that, as a council of war direct a general. The hours that have painted wings, and of different colors, are his council; he must be like the eye that makes not the scene, but has it so soon as it changes. That in many counsellors there is strength, is spoken of civil administrations; as to those that are military, there is nothing more certain than that in many counsellors there is weakness. Joint commissions in military affairs, are like hunting your hounds in their couples. In the Attic War Cleomenes and Demaratus, Kings of Lacedaemon, being thus coupled, tugged one against another; and while they should have joined against the Persian, were the cause of the common calamity, whereupon that commonwealth took better counsel, and made a law whereby from henceforth there went at once but one of her kings to battle.

"'The Fidenati being in rebellion, and having slain the colony of the Romans, four tribunes with consular power were created by the people of Rome, whereof one being left for the guard of the city, the other three were sent against the Fidenati, who, through the division that happened among them, brought nothing home but dishonor, whereupon the Romans created the Dictator, and Livy gives his judgment in these words: "The three tribunes with consular power were a lesson how useless in war is the joint command of several generals; for each following his own counsels, while they all differed in their opinions, gave by this opportunity an advantage to the enemy." When the consuls Quintus and Agrippa were sent against the AEqui, Agrippa for this reason refused to go with his colleague, saying: "That in the administration of great actions it was most safe that the chief command should be lodged in one person." And if the ruin of modern armies were well considered, most of it would be found to have fallen upon this point, it being in this case far safer to trust to any one man of common prudence, than to any two or more together of the greatest parts.' The consuls indeed, being equal in power, while one was present with the Senate, and the other in the field with the army, made a good balance; and this with us is exactly followed by the election of a new strategus upon the march of the old one.

"The seven-and-twentieth order, whereby the elders in case of invasion are obliged to equal duty with the youth, and each upon their own charge, is suitable to reason (for every man defends his own estate) and to our copy, as in the war with the Samnites and Tuscans. 'The Senate ordered a vacation to be proclaimed, and a levy to be made of all sorts of persons, and not only the freemen and youths were listed, but cohorts of the old men were likewise formed.' This nation of all others is the least obnoxious to invasion. Oceana, says a French politician, is a beast that cannot be devoured but by herself. Nevertheless, that government is not perfect which is not provided at all points; and in this (ad triarios res rediit) the elders being such as in a martial state must be veterans, the commonwealth invaded gathers strength like Antaeus by her fall, while the whole number of the elders, consisting of 500,000, and the youth of as many, being brought up according to the order, give twelve successive battles, each battle consisting of 80,000 men, half elders and half youth. And the commonwealth, whose constitution can be no stranger to any of those virtues which are to be acquired in human life, grows familiar with death ere she dies. If the hand of God be upon her for her transgressions, she shall mourn for her sins, and lie in the dust for her iniquities, without losing her manhood.

"'Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidam ferient ruinoe.'"

The remaining part, being the constitution of the provincial orb, is partly civil, or consisting of the elders; and partly military, or consisting of the youth. The civil part of the provincial orb is directed by—

The twenty-eighth order, "Whereby the council of a province being constituted of twelve knights, divided by four into three regions (for their term and revolution conformable to the Parliament), is perpetuated by the annual election at the tropic of four knights (being triennial magistrates) out of the region of the Senate whose term expires; and of one knight out of the same region to be strategus or general of the province, which magistracy is annual. The strategus or magistrate thus chosen shall be as well president of the provincial council with power to propose to the same, as general of the army. The council for the rest shall elect weekly provosts, having any two of them also right to propose after the manner of the senatorian councils of Oceana. And whereas all provincial councils are members of the Council of State, they may and ought to keep diligent correspondence with the same, which is to be done after this manner: Any opinion or opinions legitimately proposed and debated at a provincial council, being thereupon signed by the strategus or any two of the provosts, may be transmitted to the Council of State in Oceana; and the Council of State proceeding upon the same in their natural course (whether by their own power, if it be a matter within their instructions; or by authority of the Senate thereupon consulted, if it be a matter of state which is not in their instructions; or by authority of the Senate and command of the people, if it be a matter of law, as for the levies of men or money upon common use and safety) shall return such answers, advice, or orders as in any of the ways mentioned shall be determined upon the case.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:46 am

Part 8 of 9

"The provincial councils of Marpesia and Panopea respectively shall take special care that the agrarian laws, as also all other laws that be or shall from time to time be enacted by the Parliament of Oceana, for either of them, be duly put in execution; they shall manage and receive the customs of either nation for the shipping of Oceana, being the common guard; they shall have a care that moderate and sufficient pay upon the respective province be duly raised for the support and maintenance of the officers and soldiers, or army of the same, in the most effectual, constant, and convenient way; they shall receive the regalia, or public revenues of those nations, out of which every councillor shall have for his term, and to his proper use, the sum of £500 per annum, and the strategus £500 as president, beside his pay as general, which shall be £1,000, the reminder to go to the use of the knights and deputies of the respective provinces, to be paid, if it will reach, according to the rates of Oceana; if not, by an equal distribution, respectively, or the overplus, if there be any, to be returned to the Treasury of Oceana. They shall manage the lands (if there be any such held in either of the provinces by the commonwealth of Oceana, in dominion) and return the rents into the Exchequer. If the commonwealth comes to be possessed of richer provinces, the pay of the general or strategus, and of the councils, may be respectively increased. The people for the rest shall elect their own magistrates, and be governed by their own laws, having power also to appeal from their native or provincial magistrates, if they please, to the people of Oceana. And whereas there may be such as receiving injury, are not able to prosecute their appeals at so great a distance, eight sergeants-at-law, being sworn by the commissioners of the seal, shall be sent by four into each province once in two years; who, dividing the same by circuits, shall hear such causes, and having gathered and introduced them, shall return to the several appellants, gratis, the determinations and decrees of the people in their several cases.

"The term of a knight in a provincial orb, as to domestic magistracies, shall be esteemed a vacation, and no bar to present election to any other honor, his provincial magistracy being expired.

"The quorum of a provincial council, as also of every other council or assembly in Oceana, shall in time of health consist of two parts in three of the whole number proper to that council or assembly; and in a time of sickness, of one part in three; but of the Senate there can be no quorum without three of the signory, nor of a council without two of the provosts."

The civil part of the provincial orb being declared by the foregoing order, the military part of the same is constituted by—

The twenty-ninth order, "Whereby the stratiots of the third essay having drawn the gold balls marked with the letter M, and being ten horse and fifty foot in a tribe, that is to say, 500 horse and 2,500 foot in all, the tribes shall be delivered by the respective conductors to the provincial strategus or general, at such a time and place, or rendezvous, as he shall appoint by order and certificate of his election, and the strategus having received the horse and foot mentioned, which are the third classes of his provincial guard or army, shall forthwith lead them away to Marpesia, where the army consists of three classes, each class containing 3,000 men, whereof 500 are horse; and receiving the new strategus with the third class, the old strategus with the first class shall be dismissed by the provincial council. The same method with the stratiots of the letter P, is to be observed for the provincial orb of Panopea; and the commonwealth coming to acquire new provinces, the Senate and the people may erect new orbs in like manner, consisting of greater or less numbers, according as is required by the respective occasion. If a stratiot has once served his term in a provincial orb, and happens afterward to draw the letter of a province at the election of the second essay, he may refuse his lot; and if he refuses it, the censor of that urn shall cause the files balloting at the same to make a halt; and if the stratiot produces the certificate of his strategus or general, that he has served his time accordingly, the censor throwing the ball that he drew into the urn again, and taking out a blank, shall dismiss the youth, and cause the ballot to proceed."

To perfect the whole structure of this commonwealth, some directions are given to the third essay, or army marching, in—

The thirtieth order. "'When thou goest to battle against thy enemies, and seest horses and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them, for the Lord thy God is he that goes with thee to fight for thee against thy enemies. And when thou dividest the spoil, it shall be as a statute and an ordinance to thee, that as his part is that goes down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarries by the stuff; that is (as to the commonwealth of Oceana) the spoil takin of the enemy (except clothes, arms, horses, ammunition, and victuals, to be divided to the soldiery by the strategus and the polemarchs upon the place according to their discretion) shall be delivered to four commissaries of the spoils elected and sworn by the Council of War, which commissaries shall be allowed shipping by the State, and convoys according as occasion shall require by the strategus, to the end that having a bill of lading signed by three or more of the polemarchs, they may ship and bring, or cause such spoils to be brought to the prize-office in Oceana, where they shall be sold, and the profit arising by such spoils shall be divided into three parts, whereof one shall go to the Treasury, another shall be paid to the soldiery of this nation, and a third to the auxiliaries at their return from their service, provided that the said auxiliaries be equal in number to the proper forces of this nation, otherwise their share shall be so much less as they themselves are fewer in number; the rest of the two-thirds to go to the officers and soldiers of the proper forces. And the spoils so divided to the proper forces, shall be subdivided into three equal parts, whereof one shall go to the officers, and two to the common soldiers, the like for the auxiliaries. And the share allotted the officers shall be divided into four equal parts, whereof one shall go to the strategus, another to the polemarchs, a third to the colonels, and a fourth to the captains, cornets, ensigns, and under-officers, receiving their share of the spoil as common soldiers, the like for the auxiliaries. And this upon pain, in the case of failure, of what the people of Oceana (to whom the cognizance of peculation or crimes of this nature is properly appertaining) shall adjudge or decree."

Upon these three last orders the Archon seemed to be haranguing at the head of his army in this manner:


"A government of this make is a commonwealth for increase. Of those for preservation, the inconveniences and frailties have been shown: their roots are narrow, such as do not run, have no fibres; their tops weak and dangerously exposed to the weather, except you chance to find one, as Venice, planted in a flower-pot, and if she grows, she grows topheavy, and falls, too. But you cannot plant an oak in a flowerpot; she must have earth for her root, and heaven for her branches.

"'Imperium Oceano, famam quoe terminet astris.'

"Rome was said to be broken by her own weight, but poetically; for that weight by which she was pretended to be ruined was supported in her emperors by a far slighter foundation. And in the common experience of good architecture, there is nothing more known than that buildings stand the firmer and the longer for their own weight, nor ever swerve through any other internal cause than that their materials are corruptible; but the people never die, nor, as a political body, are subject to any other corruption than that which derives from their government. Unless a man will deny the chain of causes, in which he denies God, he must also acknowledge the chain of effects; wherefore there can be no effect in nature that is not from the first cause, and those successive links of the chain without which it could not have been. Now except a man can show the contrary in a commonwealth, if there be no cause of corruption in the first make of it, there can never be any such effect. Let no man's superstition impose profaneness upon this assertion; for as man is sinful, but yet the universe is perfect, so may the citizen be sinful, and yet the commonwealth be perfect. And as man, seeing the world is perfect, can never commit any such sin as shall render it imperfect, or bring it to a natural dissolution, so the citizen, where the commonwealth is perfect, can never commit any such crime as will render it imperfect, or bring it to a natural dissolution.

"To come to experience: Venice, notwithstanding we have found some flaws in it, is the only commonwealth in the make whereof no man can find a cause of dissolution; for which reason we behold her (though she consists of men that are not without sin) at this day with 1,000 years upon her back, yet for any internal cause, as young, as fresh, and free from decay, or any appearance of it, as she was born; but whatever in nature is not sensible of decay by the course of 1,000 years, is capable of the whole age of nature; by which calculation, for any check that I am able to give myself, a commonwealth, rightly ordered, may for any internal causes be as immortal or long-lived as the world. But if this be true, those commonwealths that are naturally fallen, must have derived their ruin from the rise of them. Israel and Athens died, not natural, but violent deaths, in which manner the world itself is to die. We are speaking of those causes of dissolution which are natural to government; and they are but two, either contradiction or inequality. If a commonwealth be a contradiction, she must needs destroy herself; and if she be unequal, it tends to strife, and strife to ruin. By the former of these fell Lacedaemon, by the latter Rome. Lacedaemon being made altogether for war, and yet not for increase, her natural progress became her natural dissolution, and the building of her own victorious hand too heavy for her foundation, so that she fell, indeed, by her own weight. But Rome perished through her native inequality, which how it inveterated the bosoms of the Senate and the people each against other, and even to death, has been shown at large.

"Look well to it, my lords, for if there be a contradiction or inequality in your commonwealth, it must fall; but if it has neither of these, it has no principle of mortality. Do not think me impudent; if this be truth, I shall commit a gross indiscretion in concealing it. Sure I am that Machiavel is for the immortality of a commonwealth upon far weaker principles. 'If a commonwealth,' says he, 'were so happy as to be provided often with men, that, when she is swerving from her principles, should reduce her to her institution, she would be immortal.' But a commonwealth, as we have demonstrated, swerves not from her principles, but by and through her institution; if she brought no bias into the world with her, her course for any internal cause must be straightforward, as we see is that of Venice. She cannot turn to the right hand nor to the left, but by some rub, which is not an internal, but external, cause: against such she can be no way fortified but through her situation, as is Venice, or through her militia, as was Rome, by which examples a commonwealth may be secure of those also. Think me not vain, for I cannot conceal my opinion here; a commonwealth that is rightly instituted can never swerve, nor one that is not rightly instituted be secured from swerving by reduction to her first principles; wherefore it is no less apparent in this place that Machiavel understood not a commonwealth as to the whole piece, than where having told you that a tribune, or any other citizen of Rome, might propose a law to the people, and debate it with them, he adds, 'this order was good while the people were good; but when the people became evil, it became most pernicious.' As if this order (through which, with the like, the people most apparently became evil) could ever have been good, or that the people or the commonwealth could ever have become good, by being reduced to such principles as were the original of their evil.

"The disease of Rome was, as has been shown, from the native inequality of her balance, and no otherwise from the empire of the world, than as, this falling into one scale, that of the nobility (an evil in such a fabric inevitable) kicked out the people. Wherefore a man that could have made her to throw away the empire of the world, might in that have reduced her to her principles, and yet have been so far from rendering her immortal that, going no further, he should never have cured her. But your commonwealth is founded upon an equal agrarian; and if the earth be given to the sons of men, this balance is the balance of justice, such a one as in having due regard to the different industry of different men, yet faithfully judges the poor' And the king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever;, much more the commonwealth, seeing that equality, which is the necessary dissolution of monarchy, is the generation, the very life and soul, of a commonwealth. And now, if ever, I may be excusable, seeing my assertion, that the throne of a commonwealth may be established forever, is consonant to the holy Scriptures.

"The balance of a commonwealth that is equal is of such a nature that whatever falls into her empire must fall equally; and if the whole earth falls into your scales, it must fall equally, and so you may be a greater people and yet not swerve from your principles one hair. Nay, you will be so far from that that you must bring the world in such a case to your balance, even to the balance of justice. But hearken, my lords; are we on earth, do we see the sun, or are we visiting those shady places which are feigned by the poets?

"'Continuo auditoe voces, vagitus et ingens.'

"These Gothic empires that are yet in the world, were at the first, though they had legs of their own, but a heavy and unwieldy burden; but their foundations being now broken, the iron of them enters even into the souls of the oppressed; and hear the voice of their comforters: 'My father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.' Hearken, I say, if thy brother cries to thee in affliction, wilt thou not hear him? This is a commonwealth of the fabric that has an open ear and a public concern; she is not made for herself only, but given as a magistrate of God to mankind, for the vindication of common right and the law of nature. Wherefore says Cicero of the like, that of the Romans, 'We have rather undertaken the patronage than the empire of the world.' If you, not regarding this example, like some other nations that are upon the point to smart for it, shall, having attained to your own liberty, bear the sword of your common magistracy in vain, sit still and fold your arms, or, which is worse, let out the blood of your people to tyrants, to be shed in the defence of their yokes like water, and so not only turn the grace of God into wantonness, but his justice into wormwood: I say if you do thus, you are not now making a commonwealth, but heaping coals of fire upon your own heads. A commonwealth of this make is a minister of God upon earth, to the end that the world may be governed with righteousness. For which cause (that I may come at length to our present business) the orders last rehearsed are buds of empire, such as with the blessing of God may spread the arms of your commonwealth, like a holy asylum, to the distressed world, and give the earth her sabbath of years, or rest from her labors, under the shadow of your wings. It is upon this point where the writings of Machiavel, having for the rest excelled all other authors, come as far to excel themselves.

"Commonwealths, says he, have had three ways of propagating themselves: One after the manner of monarchies, by imposing the yoke, which was the way of Athens, and, toward the latter times, of Lacedaemon; another by equal leagues, which is the way of Switzerland (I shall add of Holland, though since his time); a third by unequal leagues, which, to the shame of the world, was never practised, nay, nor so much as seen or minded, by any other commonwealth but that only of Rome. They will each of them, either for caution or imitation, be worthy to be well weighed, which is the proper work of this place. Athens and Lacedaemon have been the occasion of great scandal to the world, in two, or at least one of two regards: the first, their emulation, which involved Greece in perpetual wars; the second, their way of propagation, which by imposing yokes upon others, was plainly contradictory to their own principles.

"For the first: governments, be they of what kind soever, if they be planted too close, are like trees, that impatient in their growth to have it hindered, eat out one another. It was not unknown to these in speculation, or, if you read the story of Agesilaus, in action, that either of them with 30,000 men might have mastered the East; and certainly, if the one had not stood in the other's light, Alexander had come too late to that end, which was the means (and would be if they were to live again) of ruin, at least to one of them; wherefore with any man that understands the nature of government this is excusable. So it was between Oceana and Marpesia; so it is between France and Spain, though less excusable; and so it ever will be in the like cases. But to come to the second occasion of scandal by them given, which was in the way of their propagation, it is not excusable; for they brought their confederates under bondage, by which means Athens gave occasion of the Peloponnesian War, the wound of which she died stinking, when Lacedaemon, taking the same infection from her carcass, soon followed.

"Wherefore, my lords, let these be warnings to you not to make that liberty which God has given you a snare to others in practising this kind of enlargement to yourselves.

"The second way of propagation or enlargement used by commonwealths is that of Switzerland and Holland, equal leagues; this, though it be not otherwise mischievous, is useless to the world, and dangerous to themselves: useless to the world, for as the former governments were storks, these are blocks, have no sense of honor, or concern in the sufferings of others. But as the AEtolians, a state of the like fabric, were reproached by Philip of Macedon to prostitute themselves; by letting out their arms to the lusts of others, while they leave their own liberty barren and without legitimate issue; so I do not defame these people; the Switzer for valor has no superior, the Hollander for industry no equal; but themselves in the meantime shall so much the less excuse their governments, seeing that to the Switz it is well enough known that the ensigns of his commonwealth have no other motto than in te converte manus; and that of the Hollander, though he sweats more gold than the Spaniard digs, lets him languish in debt; for she herself lives upon charity. These are dangerous to themselves, precarious governments, such as do not command, but beg their bread from province to province, in coats that being patched up of all colors are in effect of none. That their cantons and provinces are so many arrows, is good; but they are so many bows too, which is naught.

"Like to these was the commonwealth of the ancient Tuscans, hung together like bobbins, without a hand to weave with them; therefore easily overcome by the Romans, though at that time, for number, a far less considerable people. If your liberty be not a root that grows, it will be a branch that withers, which consideration brings me to the paragon, the Commonwealth of Rome.

"The ways and means whereby the Romans acquired the patronage, and in that the empire, of the world were different, according to the different condition of their commonwealth in her rise and in her growth: in her rise she proceeded rather by colonies, in her growth by unequal leagues. Colonies without the bounds of Italy she planted none (such dispersion of the Roman citizen as to plant him in foreign parts, till the contrary interest of the emperors brought in that practice, was unlawful), nor did she ever demolish any city within that compass, or divest it of liberty; but whereas the most of them were commonwealths, stirred 'up by emulation of her great felicity to war against her, if she overcame any, she confiscated some part of their lands that were the greatest incendiaries, or causes of the trouble, upon which she planted colonies of her own people, preserving the rest of their lands and liberties for the natives or inhabitants. By this way of proceeding, that I may be as brief as possible, she did many and great things. For in confirming of liberty, she propagated her empire; in holding the inhabitants from rebellion, she put a curb upon the incursion of enemies; in exonerating herself of the poorer sort, she multiplied her citizens; in rewarding her veterans, she rendered the rest less seditious; and in acquiring to herself the reverence of a common parent, she from time to time became the mother of new-born cities.

"In her further growth the way of her propagation went more upon leagues, which for the first division were of two kinds, social and provincial.

"Again, social leagues, or leagues of society, were of two kinds:

"The first called Latinity or Latin, the second Italian right." The league between the Romans and the Latins, or Latin right, approached nearest to jus quiritium, or the right of a native Roman. The man or the city that was honored with this right, was civitate donatus cum suffragio, adopted a citizen of Rome, with the right of giving suffrage with the people in some cases, as those of conformation of law, or determination in judicature, if both the Consuls were agreed, not otherwise; wherefore that coming to little, the greatest and most peculiar part of this privilege was, that who had borne magistracy (at least that of oedile or quoestor) in any Latin city, was by consequence of the same a citizen of Rome at all points.

"Italian right was also a donation of the city, but without suffrage: they who were in either of these leagues, were governed by their own laws and magistrates, having all the rights, as to liberty, of citizens of Rome, yielding and praying to the commonwealth as head of the league, and having in the conduct of all affairs appertaining to the common cause, such aid of men and money as was particularly agreed to upon the merit of the cause, and specified in their respective leagues, whence such leagues came to be called equal or unequal accordingly.

"Provincial leagues were of different extension, according to the merit and capacity of a conquered people; but they were all of one kind, for every province was governed by Roman magistrates, as a praetor or a proconsul, according to the dignity of the province, for the civil administration and conduct of the provincial army, and a quaestor for the gathering of the public revenue, from which magistrates a province might appeal to Rome.

"For the better understanding of these particulars, I shall exemplify in as many of them as is needful, and first in Macedon:

"The Macedonians were thrice conquered by the Romans, first under the conduct of Titus Quintus Flaminius; secondly, under that of Lucius AEmilius Paulus; and, thirdly under that of Quintus Caecilius Metellus, thence called Macedonicus.

"For the first time Philip of Macedon, who (possessed of Acrocorinthus) boasted no less than was true, that he had Greece in fetters, being overcome by Flaminius, had his kingdom restored to him, upon condition that he should immediately set all the cities which he held in Greece and in Asia at liberty, and that he should not make war out of Macedon but by leave of the Senate of Rome; which Philip (having no other way to save anything) agreed should be done accordingly.

"The Grecians being at this time assembled at the isthmian games, where the concourse was mighty great, a crier, appointed to the office by Flaminius, was heard among them proclaiming all Greece to be free; to which the people being amazed at so hopeless a thing, gave little credit, till they received such testimony of the truth as put it past all doubt, whereupon they fell immediately on running to the proconsul with flowers and garlands, and such violent expressions of their admiration and joy, as, if Flaminius, a young man, about thirty-three, had not also been very strong, he must have died of no other death than their kindness, while everyone striving to touch his hand, they bore him up and down the field with an unruly throng, full of such ejaculations as these: How is there a people in the world, that at their own charge, at their own peril, will fight for the liberty of another? Did they live at the next door to the fire? Or what kind of men are these, whose business it is to pass the seas, that the world may be governed with righteousness? The cities of Greece and of Asia shake off their iron fetters at the voice of a crier was it madness to imagine such a thing, and is it done? O virtue! O felicity! O fame!

"In this example your lordships have a donation of liberty or of Italian right to a people, by restitution to what they had formerly enjoyed; and some particular men, families or cities, according to their merit of the Romans, if not upon this, yet upon the like occasions, were gratified with Latinity." But Philip's share by this means did not please him, wherefore the league was broken by his son Perseus; and the Macedonians thereupon for the second time conquered by AEmilius Paulus, their King taken, and they some time after the victory summoned to the tribunal of the general; where, remembering how little hope they ought to have of pardon, they expected some dreadful sentence: when AEmilius, in the first place, declared the Macedonians to be free, in the full possession of their lands, goods, and laws, with right to elect annual magistrates, yielding and paying to the people of Rome one-half of the tribute which they were accustomed to pay to their own kings. This done he went on, making so skilful a division of the country in order to the methodizing of the people, and casting them into the form of popular government, that the Macedonians, being first surprised with the virtue of the Romans, began now to alter the scene of their admiration, that a stranger should do such things for them in their own country, and with such facility as they had never so much as once imagined to be possible. Nor was this all; for AEmilius, as if not dictating to conquered enemies, but to some well-deserving friends, gave them in the last place laws so suitable, and contrived with such care and prudence, that long use and experience (the only correctness of works of this nature) could never find a fault in them.

"In this example you have a donation of liberty, or of Italian right, to a people that had not tasted of it before, but were now taught how to use it.

"My lords, the royalists should compare what we are doing, and we what hitherto we have done for them, with this example. It is a shame that while we are boasting up ourselves above all others, we should yet be so far from imitating such examples as these, that we do not so much as understand that if government be the parent of manners, where there are no heroic virtues, there is no heroic government.

"But the Macedonians rebelling, at the name of a false Philip, the third time against the Romans, were by them judged incapable of liberty, and reduced by Metellus to a province.

"Now whereas it remains that I explain the nature of a province, I shall rather choose that of Sicily, because, having been the first which the Romans made, the descriptions of the rest relate to it.

"'We have so received the Sicilian cities into amity,' says Cicero, 'that they enjoy their ancient laws; and upon no other condition than of the same obedience to the people of Rome, which they formerly yielded to their own princes or superiors.' So the Sicilians, whereas they had been parcelled out to divers princes, and into divers states (the cause of perpetual wars, whereby, hewing one another down, they became sacrifices to the ambition of their neighbors, or of some invader), were now received at the old rate into a new protection which could hold them, and in which no enemy durst touch them; nor was it possible, as the case then stood, for the Sicilians to receive, or for the Romans to give more.

"A Roman province is defined by Sigonius as a region having provincial right. Provincial right in general was to be governed by a Roman praetor, or consul, in matters at least of state, and of the militia; and by a quaeStor, whose office it was to receive the public revenue. Provincial right in particular was different, according to the different leagues or agreements between the commonwealth, and the people reduced into a province. 'Siculi hoc jure sunt, ut quod civis cum cive agat, domi certet suis legibus; quod siculus cum siculo non ejusdem civitatis, ut de eo proetor judices, ex P. Rupilii decreto, sortiatur. Quod privatus a populo petit, aut populus a privato, senatus ex aliqua civitate, qui judicet, datur, cui alternoe civitates rejectoe sunt. Quod vivis Romanus a siculo petit, siculus judex datur quod siculus a cive Romano, civis Romanus datur. Coeterarum rerum selecti judices ex civium Romanorum conventu proponi solent. Inter aratores et decumanos lege frumentaria, quam Hieronicam appellant, judicia fiunt.' Because the rest would oblige me to a discourse too large for this place, it shall suffice that I have showed you how it was in Sicily.

"My lords, upon the fabric of your provincial orb I shall not hold you; because it is sufficiently described in the order, and I cannot believe that you think it inferior to the way of a praetor and a quaestor. But whereas the provincial way of the Roman Commonwealth was that whereby it held the empire of the world, and your orbs are intended to be capable at least of the like use, there may arise many controversies, as whether such a course be lawful, whether it be feasible; and, seeing that the Romans were ruined upon that point, whether it would not be to the destruction of the commonwealth.

"For the first: if the empire of a commonwealth be an occasion to ask whether it be lawful for a commonwealth to aspire to the empire of the world, it is to ask whether it be lawful for it to do its duty, or to put the world into a better condition than it was before.

"And to ask whether this be feasible, is to ask why the Oceaner, being under the like administration of government, may not do as much with 200 men as the Roman did with 100; for comparing their commonwealths in their rise, the difference is yet greater: now that Rome (seris avaritia luxuriaque), through the natural thirst of her constitution, came at length with the fulness of her provinces to burst herself, this is no otherwise to be understood than as when a man that from his own evil constitution had contracted the dropsy, dies with drinking, it being apparent that in case her agrarian had held, she could never have been thus ruined, and I have already demonstrated that your agrarian being once poised, can never break or swerve.

"Wherefore to draw toward some conclusion of this discourse, let me inculcate the use, by selecting a few considerations out of many. The regard had in this place to the empire of the world appertains to a well-ordered commonwealth, more especially for two reasons:

"1. The facility of this great enterprise, by a government of the model proposed;

"2. The danger that you would run in the omission of such a government.

"The facility of this enterprise, upon the grounds already laid, must needs be great, forasmuch as the empire of the world has been, both in reason and experience, the necessary consequence of a commonwealth of this nature only; for though it has been given to all kinds to drive at it, since that of Athens or Lacedaemon, if the one had not hung in the other's light, might have gained it, yet could neither of them have held it; not Athens, through the manner of her propagation, which, being by downright tyranny, could not preserve what she had, nor Lacedaemon, because she was overthrown by the weight of a less conquest. The facility then of this great enterprise being peculiar to popular government, I shall consider it, first, in gaining, and secondly, in holding.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:47 am

Part 9 of 9

"For the former, volenti non fit injuria. It is said of the people under Eumenes, that they would not have changed them no their subjection for liberty; wherefore the Romans gave disturbance. If a people be contented with their government, it is a certain sign that it is good, and much good do them with it. The sword of your magistracy is for a terror to them that do evil. Eumenes had the fear of God, or of the Romans, before his eyes; concerning such he has given you no commission.

"But till we can say, here are the Romans, where is Eumenes? do not think that the late appearances of God to you have been altogether for yourselves; 'He has surely seen the affliction of your brethren, and heard their cry by reason of their task masters.' For to believe otherwise is not only to be mindless of his ways, but altogether deaf. If you have ears to hear, this is the way in which you will certainly be called upon; for if, while there is no stock of liberty no sanctuary of the afflicted, it be a common object to behold a people casting themselves out of the pan of one prince into the fire of another, what can you think, but if the world should see the Roman 'eagle again, she would renew her age and her flight? Nor did ever she spread her wings with better omen than will be read in your ensigns; which if, called in by an oppressed people they interpose between them and their yoke, the people themselves must either do nothing in the meantime or have no more pains to take for their wished fruit than to gather it, if that be not likewise done for them. Wherefore this must needs be easy, and yet you have a greater facility than is in the arm of flesh; for if the cause of mankind be the cause of God, the Lord of Hosts will be your captain, and you shall be a praise to the whole earth.

"The facility of holding is in the way of your propagation; if you take that of Athens and Lacedemon, you shall rain snares, but either catch or hold nothing. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: if setting up for liberty you impose yokes, he will infallibly destroy you. On the other side, to go about a work of this nature by a league without a head, is to abdicate that magistracy wherewith he has not only endued you, but whereof he will require an account of you; for, 'cursed is he that does the work of the Lord negligently.' Wherefore you are to take the course of Rome: if you have subdued a nation that is capable of liberty, you shall make them a present of it, as did Flaminius to Greece, and AEmilius to Macedon, reserving to yourselves some part of that revenue which was legally paid to the former government, together with the right of being head of the league, which includes such levies of men and money as shall be necessary for the carrying on of the public work.

"For if a people have by your means attained to freedom, they owe both to the cause and you such aid as may propagate the like fruit to the rest of the world. But whereas every nation is not capable of her liberty to this degree, lest you be put to doing and undoing of things, as the Romans were in Macedon, you shall diligently observe what nation is fit for her liberty to this degree, and what not; which is to be done by two marks, the first if she be willing to 'help the Lord against the mighty;' for if she has no care of the liberty of mankind she deserves not her own. But because in this you may be deceived by pretences, which, continuing for a while specious, may afterward vanish; the other is more certain, and that is if she be capable of an equal agrarian; which that it was not observed by excellent AEmilius in his donation of liberty, and introduction of a popular state among the Macedonians, I am more than moved to believe for two reasons; the first, because at the same time the agrarian was odious to the Roman patricians; the second, that the pseudo-Philip could afterward so easily recover Macedon, which could not have happened but by the nobility, and their impatience, having great estates, to be equalled with the people; for that the people should otherwise, at the mere sound of a name, have thrown away their liberty, is incredible. Wherefore be assured that the nation where you cannot establish an equal agrarian, is incapable of its liberty as to this kind of donation. For example, except the aristocracy in Marpesia be dissolved, neither can that people have their liberty there, nor you govern at home; for they continuing still liable to be sold by their lords to foreign princes, there will never (especially in a country of which there is no other profit to be made) be want of such merchants and drovers, while you must be the market where they are to receive their second payment.

"Nor can the aristocracy there be dissolved but by your means, in relation whereto you are provided with your provincial orb; which, being proportioned to the measure of the nation that you have vindicated or conquered, will easily hold it: for there is not a people in the world more difficult to be held than the Marpesians, which, though by themselves it be ascribed to their own nature, is truly to be attributed to that of their country. Nevertheless, you having 9,000 men upon the continual guard of it, that, threatened by any sudden insurrection, have places of retreat, and an army of 40,000 men upon a day's warning ready to march to their rescue, it is not to be rationally shown which way they can possibly slip out of your hands. And if a man should think that upon a province more remote and divided by the sea, you have not the like hold, he has not so well considered your wings as your talons, your shipping being of such a nature as makes the descent of your armies almost of equal facility in any country, so that what you take you hold, both because your militia, being already populous, will be of great growth in itself, and also through your confederates, by whom in taking and holding you are still more enabled to do both.

"Nor shall you easier hold than the people under your empire or patronage may be held. My lords, I would not go to the door to see whether it be close shut; this is no underhand dealing, nor a game at which he shall have any advantage against you who sees your cards, but, on the contrary the advantage shall be your own: for with 18,000 men (which number I put, because it circulates your orb by the annual change of 6,000) having established your matters in the order shown, you will, be able to hold the greatest province; and 18,000 men, allowing them greater pay than any prince ever gave, will not stand the province in £1,000,000 revenue; in consideration whereof, they shall have their own estates free to themselves, and be governed by their own laws and magistrates; which, if the revenue of the province be in dry-rent (as there may be some that are four times as big as Oceana) £40,000,000, will bring it with that of industry, to speak with the least, to twice the value: so that the people there, who at this day are so oppressed that they have nothing at all whereon to live, shall for £1,000,000 paid to you, receive at least £79,000,000 to their proper use: in which place I appeal to any man, whether the empire described can be other than the patronage of the world.

"Now if you add to the propagation of civil liberty (so natural to this commonwealth that it cannot be omitted) the propagation of the liberty of conscience, this empire, this patronage of the world, is the kingdom of Christ: for as the kingdom of God the Father was a commonwealth, so shall the kingdom of God the Son; 'the people shall be willing in the day of his power.'

"Having showed you in this and other places some of those inestimable benefits of this kind of government, together with the natural and facile emanation of them from their fountain, I come (lest God who has appeared to you, for he is the God of nature, in the glorious constellation of these subordinate causes, whereof we have hitherto been taking the true elevation, should shake off the dust of his feet against you) to warn you of the dangers which you, not taking the opportunity, will incur by omission.

"Machiavel, speaking of the defect of Venice, through her want of proper arms, cries out, 'This cut her wings, and spoiled her mount to heaven.' If you lay your commonwealth upon any other foundation than the people, you frustrate yourself of proper arms, and so lose the empire of the world; nor is this all, but some other nation will have it.

"Columbus offered gold to one of your kings, through whose happy incredulity another prince has drunk the poison, even to the consumption of his people; but I do not offer you a nerve of war that is made of purse-strings, such a one as has drawn the face of the earth into convulsions, but such as is natural to her health and beauty. Look you to it, where there is tumbling and tossing upon the bed of sickness, it must end in death or recovery. Though the people of the world, in the dregs of the Gothic empire, be yet tumbling and tossing upon the bed of sickness, they cannot die; nor is there any means of recovery for them but by ancient prudence, whence of necessity it must come to pass that this drug be better known, if France, Italy, and Spain were not all sick, all corrupted together, there would be none of them so; for the sick would not be able to withstand the sound, nor the sound to preserve their health, without curing of the sick. The first of these nations (which if you stay her leisure, will in my mind be France) that recovers the health of ancient prudence, shall certainly govern the world; for what did Italy when she had it? and as you were in that, so shall you in the like case be reduced to a province; I do not speak at random. Italy, in the consulship of Lucius AEmilius Papus and Caius Attilius Regulus, armed, upon the Gallic tumult that then happened of herself, and without the aid of foreign auxiliaries, 70,000 horse and 700,000 foot; but as Italy is the least of those three countries in extent, so is France now the most populous.

"'I, decus, I, nostrum, melioribus utere fatis.'

"My dear lords, Oceana is as the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley. As the lily among thorns, such is my love among the daughters. She is comely as the tents of Kedar, and terrible as an army with banners. Her neck is as the tower of David, builded for an armory, whereon there hang 1,000 bucklers and shields of mighty men. Let me hear thy voice in the morning, whom my soul loves. The south has dropped, and the west is breathing upon thy garden of spices. Arise, queen of the earth, arise, holy spouse of Jesus; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time for the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. Arise, I say, come forth, and do not tarry: ah! wherefore should my eyes behold thee by the rivers of Babylon, hanging thy harps upon the willows, thou fairest among women?

"Excellent patriots, if the people be sovereign, here is that which establishes their prerogative; if we be sincere, here is that which disburdens our souls, and makes good all our engagements; if we be charitable, here is that which embraces all parties; if we would be settled, here is that which will stand, and last forever.

"If our religion be anything else but a vain boast, scratching and defacing human nature or reason, which, being the image of God, makes it a kind of murder, here is that empire whence 'justice shall run down like a river, and judgment like a mighty stream.' Who is it then that calls us? or, what is in our way? A lion! Is it not the dragon, that old serpent? For what wretched shifts are these? Here is a great deal; might we not have some of this at one time, and some at another?

"My lords, permit me to give you the sum, or brief:


"The centre or fundamental laws are, first, the agrarian, proportioned at £2,000 a year in land, lying and being within the proper territory of Oceana, and stating property in land at such a balance, that the power can never swerve out of the hands of the many.

"Secondly, the ballot conveying this equal sap from the root, by an equal election or rotation, into the branches of magistracy or sovereign power.

"The orbs of this commonwealth being civil, military, or provincial, are, as it were, cast upon this mould or centre by the divisions of the people; first, into citizens and servants; secondly, into youth and elders; thirdly, into such as have £100 a year in lands, goods, or moneys, who are of the horse; and such as have under, who are of the foot; fourthly, they are divided by their usual residence into parishes, hundreds, and tribes.

"The civil orbs consist of the elders, and are thus created: every Monday next ensuing the last of December, the elders in every parish elect the fifth man to be a deputy, which is but half a day's work; every Monday next ensuing the last of January, the deputies meet at their respective hundred, and elect out of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one coroner, and one high constable of the foot, one day's work.

"Every Monday next ensuing the last of February, the hundreds meet at their respective tribe, and there elect the lords high sheriff, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the conductor, the two censors out of the horse, the magistrates of the tribe and of the hundreds, with the jurymen constituting the phylarch, and who assist in their respective offices at the assizes, hold the quarter-sessions, etc. The day following the tribe elects the annual galaxy, consisting of two knights and three deputies out of the horse, with four deputies out of the foot, thereby endued with power, as magistrates of the whole nation, for the term of three years. An officer chosen at the hundred may not be elected a magistrate of the tribe; but a magistrate or officer either of the hundred or of the tribe, being elected into the galaxy, may substitute any one of his office in the hundred or in own order to his magistracy or office in the hundred or in the tribe. This of the muster is two days' work. So the body of the people is annually, at the charge of three days' work and a half, in their own tribes, for the perpetuation of their power, receiving over and above the magistracies so divided among them.

"Every Monday next ensuing the last of March, the knights, being 100 in all the tribes, take their places in the Senate. The knights, having taken their places in the Senate, make the third region of the same, and the house proceeds to the senatorian elections. Senatorian elections are annual, biennial, or emergent.

"The annual are performed by the tropic.

"The tropic is a schedule consisting of two parts; the first by which the senatorian magistrates are elected; and the second, by which the senatorian councils are perpetuated.

"The first part is of this tenor:

The lord strategus,
The lord orator,
The first censor,
The second censor,

"Annual magistrates and therefore such as may be elected out of any region; the term of every region having at the tropic one year at the least unexpired.

The third commissioner of the seal,
The third commissioner of the Treasury.

"Triennial magistrates, and therefore such as can be chosen out of the third region only, as that alone which has the term of three years unexpired.

"The strategus and the orator sitting, are consuls, or presidents of the Senate.

"The strategus marching is general of the army, in which case a new strategus is to be elected in his room.

"The strategus sitting with six commissioners, being councillors of the nation, are the signory of the commonwealth."

The censors are magistrates of the ballot, presidents of the Council for Religion, and chancellors of the universities.

"The second part of the tropic perpetuates the Council of State, by the election of five knights out of the first region of the Senate, to be the first region of that council consisting of fifteen knights, five in every region.

"The like is done by the election of four into the Council of Religion, and four into the Council of Trade, out of the same region in the Senate; each of these councils consisting of twelve knights, four in every region.

"But the Council of War, consisting of nine knights, three in every region, is elected by and out of the Council of State, as the other councils are elected by and out of the Senate. And if the Senate add a juncta of nine knights more, elected out of their own number, for the term of three months, the Council of War, by virtue of that addition, is Dictator of Oceana for the said term.

"The signory jointly or severally has right of session and suffrage in every senatorial council, and to propose either to the Senate, or any of them. And every region in a council electing one weekly provost, any two of those provosts have power also to propose to their respective council, as the proper and peculiar proposers of the same, for which cause they hold an academy, where any man, either by word of mouth or writing, may propose to the proposers.

"Next to the elections of the tropic is the biennial election of one ambassador-in-ordinary, by the ballot of the house, to the residence of France; at which time the resident of France removes to Spain, he of Spain to Venice, he of Venice to Constantinople, and he of Constantinople returns. So the orb of the residents is wheeled about in eight years, by the biennial election of one ambassador-in-ordinary.

"The last kind of election is emergent. Emergent elections are made by the scrutiny. Election by scrutiny is when a competitor, being made by a council, and brought into the Senate, the Senate chooses four more competitors to him, and putting all five to the ballot, he who has most above half the suffrages is the magistrate. The polemarchs or field officers are chosen by the scrutiny of the Council of War; an ambassador-extraordinary by the scrutiny of the Council of State; the judges and sergeants-at-law by the scrutiny of the seal; and the barons and prime officers of the Exchequer, by the scrutiny of the Treasury..

"The opinion or opinions that are legitimately proposed to any council must be debated by the same, and so many as are resolved upon the debate are introduced into the Senate, where they are debated and resolved, or rejected by the whole house; that which is resolved by the Senate is a decree which is good in matters of state, but no law, except it be proposed to and resolved by the prerogative.

"The deputies of the galaxy being three horse and four foot in a tribe, amount in all the tribes to 150 horse and 200 foot; which, having entered the prerogative, and chosen their captains, cornet, and ensign (triennial officers), make the third class, consisting of one troop and one company; and so, joining with the whole prerogative, elect four annual magistrates, called tribunes, whereof two are of the horse and two of the foot. These have the command of the prerogative sessions, and suffrage in the Council of War, and sessions without suffrage in the Senate.

"The Senate having passed a decree which they would propose to the people, cause it to be printed and published, or promulgated for the space of six weeks, which, being ordered, they choose their proposers. The proposers must be magistrates, that is, the commissioners of the seal, those of the Treasury, or the censors. These being chosen, desire the muster of the tribunes, and appoint the day. The people being assembled at the day appointed, and the decree proposed, that which is proposed by authority of the Senate, and commanded by the people, is the law of Oceana, or an act of Parliament.

"So the Parliament of Oceana consists of the Senate proposing, and the people resolving.

"The people or prerogative are also the supreme judicatory of this nation, having power of hearing and determining all causes of appeal from all magistrates, or courts provincial or domestic, as also to question any magistrate, the term of his magistracy being expired, if the case be introduced by the tribunes, or any one of them.

"The military orbs consist of the youth, that is, such as are from eighteen to thirty years of age; and are created in the following manner:

"Every Wednesday next ensuing the last of December, the youth of every parish, assembling, elect the fifth of their number to be their deputies; the deputies of the youth are called stratiots, and this is the first essay.

"Every Wednesday next ensuing the last of January, the stratiots, assembling at the hundred, elect their captain and their ensign, and fall to their games and sports.

"Every Wednesday next ensuing the last of February the stratiots are received by the lord lieutenant, their commander-in-chief, with the conductors and the censors; and, having been disciplined and entertained with other games, are called to the urns, where they elect the second essay, consisting of 200 horse and 600 foot in a tribe; that is, of 10,000 horse and 30,000 foot in all the tribes, which is the standing army of this nation, to march at any warning. They also elect at the same time a part of the third essay, by the mixture of balls marked with the letter M and the letter P, for Marpesia and Panopea; they of either mark being ten horse and fifty foot in a tribe, that is, 500 horse and 2,500 foot in all the tribes, which are forthwith to march to their respective provinces.

"But the third essay of this nation more properly so called, is when the strategus with the polemarchs (the Senate and the people or the Dictator having decreed a war) receive in return of his warrants the second essay from the hands of the conductors at the rendezvous of Oceana; which army, marching with all accommodations provided by the Council of War, the Senate elects a new strategus, and the lords-lieutenant a new second essay.

"A youth, except he be an only son, refusing any one of his three essays, without sufficient cause shown to the phylarch or the censors, is incapable of magistracy, and is fined a fifth part of his yearly rent, or of his estate, for protection. In case of invasion the elders are obliged to like duty with the youth, and upon their own charge.

"The provincial orb consisting in part of the elders, and in part of the youth, is thus created:

"Four knights out of the first region falling, are elected in the Senate to be the first region of the provincial orb of Marpesia; these, being triennial magistrates, take their places in the provincial council, consisting of twelve knights, four in every region, each region choosing their weekly provosts of the council thus constituted. One knight more, chosen out of the same region in the Senate, being an annual magistrate, is president, with power to propose; and the opinions proposed by the president, or any two of the provosts, are debated by the council, and, if there be occasion of further power or instruction than they yet have, transmitted to the Council of State, with which the provincial is to hold intelligence.

"The president of this council is also strategus or general of the provincial army; wherefore the conductors, upon notice of his election, and appointment of his rendezvous, deliver to him the stratiots of his letter, which he takes with him into his province; and the provincial army having received the new strategus with the third class, the council dismisses the old strategus with the first class. The like is done for Panopea, or any other province.

"But whereas the term of every other magistracy or election in this commonwealth, whether annual or triennial, requires an equal vacation, the term of a provincial councillor or magistrate requires no vacation at all. The quorum of a provincial, as also that of every other council and assembly, requires two-thirds in a time of health, and one-third in a time of sickness.

"I think I have omitted nothing but the props and scaffolds, which are not of use but in building. And how much is here? Show me another commonwealth in this compass? how many things? Show me another entire government consisting but of thirty orders. If you now go to law with anybody, there lie to some of our courts 200 original writs: if you stir your hand, there go more nerves and bones to that motion; if you play, you have more cards in the pack; nay, you could not sit with your ease in that chair, if it consisted not of more parts. Will you not then allow to your legislator, what you can afford your upholsterer, or to the throne, what is necessary to a chair?

"My lords, if you will have fewer orders in a commonwealth, you will have more; for where she is not perfect at first, every day, every hour will produce a new order, the end whereof is to have no order at all, but to grind with the clack of some demagogue. Is he providing already for his golden thumb? Lift up your heads; away with ambition, that fulsome complexion of a statesman, tempered, like Sylla's, with blood and muck. 'And the Lord give to his senators wisdom; and make our faces to shine, that we may be a light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide their feet in the way of peace.'—In the name of God, what's the matter?"

Philadelphus, the secretary of the council, having performed his task in reading the several orders as you have seen, upon the receipt of a packet from his correspondent Boccalini, secretary of Parnassus, in reading one of the letters, burst forth into such a violent passion of weeping and downright howling, that the legislators, being startled with the apprehension of some horrid news, one of them had no sooner snatched the letter out of his hand, than the rest crying, "Read, read," he obeyed in this manner:

"The 3d instant his Phoebean majesty having taken the nature of free states into his royal consideration, and being steadily persuaded that the laws in such governments are incomparably better and more surely directed to the good of mankind than in any other; that the courage of such a people is the aptest tinder to noble fire; that the genius of such a soil is that wherein the roots of good literature are least worm-eaten with pedantism, and where their fruits have ever come to the greatest maturity and highest relish, conceived such a loathing of their ambition and tyranny, who, usurping the liberty of their native countries, become slaves to themselves, inasmuch as (be it never so contrary to their own nature or consciences) they have taken the earnest of sin, and are engaged to persecute all men that are good with the same or greater rigor than is ordained by laws for the wicked, for none ever administered that power by good which he purchased by ill arts—Phoebus, I say, having considered this, assembled all the senators residing in the learned court at the theatre of Melpomene, where he caused Caesar the Dictator to come upon the stage, and his sister Actia, his nephew Augustus, Julia his daughter, with the children which she had by Marcus Agrippa, Lucius and Caius Caesars, Agrippa Posthumus, Julia, and Agrippina, with the numerous progeny which she bore to her renowned husband Germanicus, to enter. A miserable scene in any, but most deplorable in the eyes of Caesar, thus beholding what havoc his prodigious ambition, not satisfied with his own bloody ghost, had made upon his more innocent remains, even to the total extinction of his family. For it is (seeing where there is any humanity, there must be some compassion) not to be spoken without tears, that of the full branches deriving from Octavia the eldest sister, and Julia the daughter of Augustus, there should not be one fruit or blossom that was not cut off or blasted by the sword, famine, or poison.

"Now might the great soul of Caesar have been full; and yet that which poured in as much or more was to behold that execrable race of the Claudii, having hunted and sucked his blood, with the thirst of tigers, to be rewarded with the Roman Empire, and remain in full possession of that famous patrimony: a spectacle to pollute the light of heaven! Nevertheless, as if Caesar had not yet enough, his Phoeban majesty caused to be introduced on the other side of the theatre, the most illustrious and happy prince Andrea Doria, with his dear posterity, embraced by the soft and constant arms of the city of Genoa, into whose bosom, ever fruitful in her gratitude, he had dropped her fair liberty like the dew of heaven, which, when the Roman tyrant beheld, and how much more fresh that laurel was worn with a firm root in the hearts of the people than that which he had torn off, he fell into such a horrid distortion of limbs and countenance, that the senators, who had thought themselves steel and flint at such an object, having hitherto stood in their reverend snow-like thawing Alps, now covered their faces with their large sleeves."

"My lords," said the Archon, rising, "witty Philadelphus has given us grave admonition in dreadful tragedy. Discite justitiam moniti, et non temnere divos. Great and glorious Caesar the highest character of flesh, yet could not rule but by that part of man which is the beast; but a commonwealth is a monarchy; to her God is king, inasmuch as reason, his dictate, is her sovereign power." Which said, he adjourned the Council. And the model was soon after promulgated. Quod bonum, foelix, faustumque sit huic reipublicoe. Agite quirites, censuere patres, jubeat populus. (The sea roared, and the floods clapped their hands.)


The Proclamation of his Highness the Lord Archon of Oceana upon Promulgation of the Model,

"Whereas his Highness and the Council, in the framing of the model promulgated, have not had any private interest or ambition but the fear of God and the good of this people before their eyes; and it remains their desire that this great work may be carried on accordingly. This present greeting is to inform the good people of this land, that as the Council of Prytans sat during the framing of the model, to receive from time to time such propositions as should be offered by any wise-hearted or public-spirited man, toward the institution of a well-ordered commonwealth, so the said Council is to sit as formerly in the great hall of the Pantheon during promulgation (which is to continue for the space of three months) to receive, weigh, and, as there shall be occasion, transmit to the Council of Legislators, all such objections as shall be made against the said model, whether in the whole or in any part. Wherefore that nothing be done rashly or without the consent of the people, such, of what party soever, with whom there may remain any doubts or difficulties, are desired with all convenient speed to address themselves to the said prytans; where, if such objections, doubts, or difficulties receive solution to the satisfaction of the auditory, they shall have public thanks, but if the said objections, doubts, or difficulties receive no solution to the satisfaction of the auditory, then the model promulgated shall be reviewed, and the party that was the occasion of the review, shall receive public thanks, together with the best horse in his Highness's stable, and be one of the Council of Legislators. And so God have you in his keeping."

I should now write the same Council of the Prytans, but for two reasons: the one, that having had but a small time for that which is already done, I am over-labored; the other, that there may be new objections. Wherefore, if my reader has any such as to the model, I entreat him to address himself by way of oration, as it were, to the prytans, that when this rough draught comes to be a work, his speech being faithfully inserted in this place, may give or receive correction to amendment; for what is written will be weighed. But conversation, in these days, is a game at which they are best provided that have light gold; it is like the sport of women that make flowers of straws, which must be stuck up but may not be touched. Nor, which is worse, is this the fault of conversation only: but to the examiner I say if to invent method and teach an art be all one, let him show that this method is not truly invented, or this art is faithfully taught.

I cannot conclude a circle (and such is this commonwealth) without turning the end into the beginning. The time of promulgation being expired, the surveyors were sent down, who having in due season made report that their work was perfect, the orators followed, under the administration of which officers and magistrates the commonwealth was ratified and established by the whole body of the people, in their parochial, hundred, and county assemblies. And the orators being, by virtue of their scrolls or lots, members of their respective tribes, were elected each the first knight of the third list, or galaxy; wherefore, having at their return assisted the Archon in putting the Senate and the people or prerogative into motion, they abdicated the magistracy both of orators and legislators.
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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:02 am


FOR the rest (says Plutarch, closing up the story of Lycurgus) when he saw that his government had taken root, and was in the very plantation strong enough to stand by itself, he conceived such a delight within him, as God is described by Plato to have done when he had finished the creation of the world, and saw his own orbs move below him: for in the art of man (being the imitation of nature, which is the art of God) there is nothing so like the first call of beautiful order out of chaos and confusion, as the architecture of a well-ordered commonwealth. Wherefore Lycurgus, seeing in effect that his orders were good, fell into deep contemplation how he might render them, so far as could be effected by human providence, unalterable and immortal. To which end he assembled the people, and remonstrated to them: That for aught he could perceive, their policy was already such, and so well established, as was sufficient to entail upon them and theirs all that virtue and felicity whereof human life is capable: nevertheless that there being another thing of greater concern than all the rest, whereof he was not yet provided to give them a perfect account, nor could till he had consulted the oracle of Apollo, he desired that they would observe his laws without any change or alteration whatsoever till his return from Delphos; to which all the people cheerfully and unanimously engaged themselves by promise, desiring him that he would make as much haste as he could. But Lycurgus, before he went, began with the kings and the senators, and thence taking the whole people in order, made them all swear to that which they had promised, and then took his journey. Being arrived at Delphos, he sacrificed to Apollo, and afterward inquired if the policy which he had established was good and sufficient for a virtuous and happy life?

By the way, it has been a maxim with legislators not to give checks to the present superstition, but to make the best use of it, as that which is always the most powerful with the people; otherwise, though Plutarch, being a priest, was interested in the cause, there is nothing plainer than Cicero, in his book "De Divinatione" has made it, that there was never any such thing as an oracle, except in the cunning of the priests. But to be civil to the author, the god answered to Lycurgus that his policy was exquisite, and that his city, holding to the strict observation of his form of government, should attain to the height of fame and glory. Which oracle Lycurgus causing to be written, failed not of transmitting to his Lacedaemon. This done, that his citizens might be forever inviolably bound by their oath, that they would alter nothing till his return, he took so firm a resolution to die in the place, that from thenceforward, receiving no manner of food, he soon after performed it accordingly. Nor was he deceived in the consequence; for his city became the first in glory and excellency of government in the whole world. And so much for Lycurgus, according to Plutarch.

My Lord Archon, when he beheld not only the rapture of motion, but of joy and harmony, into which his spheres (without any manner of obstruction or interfering, but as if it had been naturally) were cast, conceived not less of exultation in his spirit; but saw no more necessity or reason why he should administer an oath to the Senate and the people that they would observe his institutions, than to a man in perfect health and felicity of constitution that he would not kill himself. Nevertheless whereas Christianity, though it forbids violent hands, consists no less in self-denial than any other religion, he resolved that all unreasonable desires should die upon the spot; to which end that no manner of food might be left to ambition, he entered into the Senate with a unanimous applause, and having spoken of his government as Lycurgus did when he assembled the people, he abdicated the magistracy of Archon. The Senate, as struck with astonishment, continued silent, men upon so sudden an accident being altogether unprovided of what to say; till the Archon withdrawing, and being almost at the door, divers of the knights flew from their places, offering as it were to lay violent hands on him, while he escaping, left the Senate with the tears in their eyes, of children that had lost their father and to rid himself of all further importunity, retired to a country house of his, being remote, and very private, insomuch that no man could tell for some time what was become of him.

Thus the law-maker happened to be the first object and reflection of the law made; for as liberty of all things is the most welcome to a people, so is there nothing more abhorrent from their nature than ingratitude. We, accusing the Roman people of this crime against some of their greatest benefactors, as Camillus, heap mistake upon mistake; for being not so competent judges of what belongs to liberty as they were, we take upon us to be more competent judges of virtue. And whereas virtue, for being a vulgar thing among them, was of no less rate than jewels are with such as wear the most, we are selling this precious stone, which we have ignorantly raked out of the Roman ruins, at such a rate as the Switzers did that which they took in the baggage of Charles of Burgundy. For that Camillus had stood more firm against the ruin of Rome than her capitol, was acknowledged; but on the other side, that he stood as firm for the patricians against the liberty of the people, was as plain; wherefore he never wanted those of the people that would die at his foot in the field, nor that would withstand him to his beard in the city. An example in which they that think Camillus had wrong, neither do themselves right, nor the people of Rome; who in this signify no less than that they had a scorn of slavery beyond the fear of ruin, which is the height of magnanimity.

The like might be shown by other examples objected against this and other popular governments, as in the banishment of Aristides the Just from Athens, by the ostracism, which, first, was no punishment, nor ever understood for so much as a disparagement; but tended only to the security of the commonwealth, through the removal of a citizen (whose riches or power with a party was suspected) out of harm's way for the space of ten years, neither to the diminution of his estate or honor. And next, though the virtue of Aristides might in itself be unquestioned, yet for him under the name of the Just to become universal umpire of the people in all cases, even to the neglect of the legal ways and orders of the commonwealth, approached so much to the prince, that the Athenians, doing Aristides no wrong, did their government no more than right in removing him; which therefore is not so probable to have come to pass, as Plutarch presumes, through the envy of Themistocles, seeing Aristides was far more popular than Themistocles, who soon after took the same walk upon a worse occasion. Wherefore as Machiavel, for anything since alleged, has irrefragably proved that popular governments are of all others the least ungrateful, so the obscurity, I say, into which my Lord Archon had now withdrawn himself caused a universal sadness and clouds in the minds of men upon the glory of his rising commonwealth.

Much had been ventilated in private discourse, and the people (for the nation was yet divided into parties that had not lost their animosities), being troubled, bent their eyes upon the Senate, when after some time spent in devotion, and the solemn action of thanksgiving, his Excellency Navarchus de Paralo in the tribe of Dorean, lord strategus of Oceana (though in a new commonwealth a very prudent magistrate) proposed his part or opinion in such a manner to the Council of State, that, passing the ballot of the same with great unanimity and applause, it was introduced into the Senate, where it passed with greater. Wherefore the decree being forthwith printed and published, copies were returned by the secretaries to the phylarchs (which is the manner of promulgation) and the commissioners of the seal, that is to say, the Right Honorable Phosphorus de Auge in the tribe of Eudia, Dolabella d'Enyo in the tribe of Turmae, and Linceus de Stella in the tribe of Nubia, being elected proposers pro tempore, bespoke of the tribunes a muster of the people to be held that day six weeks, which was the time allowed for promulgation at the halo.

The satisfaction which the people throughout the tribes received upon promulgation of the decree, loaded the carriers with weekly letters between friend and friend, whether magistrates or private persons. But the day for proposition being come, and the prerogative upon the place appointed in discipline, Sanguine de Ringwood in the tribe of Saltum, captain of the Phoenix, marched by order of the tribunes with his troop to the piazza of the Pantheon, where his trumpets, entering into the great hall, by their blazon gave notice of his arrival; at which the sergeant of the house came down, and returning, in formed the proposers, who descending, were received at the foot of the stairs by the captain, and attended to the coaches of state, with which Calcar de Gilvo in the tribe of Phalera, master of the horse, and the ballotins upon their great horses, stood waiting at the gate.

The proposers being in their coaches, the train for the pomp, the same that is used at the reception of ambassadors, proceeded in this order. In the front marched the troop with the cornet in the van and the captain in the rear; next the troop came the twenty messengers or trumpets, the ballotins upon the curvet with their usher in the van, and the master of the horse in the rear; next the ballotins, Bronchus de Rauco, in the tribe of Bestia, king of the heralds, with his fraternity in their coats-of-arms, and next to Sir Bronchus, Boristhenes de Holiwater in the tribe of Ave, master of the ceremonies; the mace and the seal of the chancery went immediately before the coaches, and on either side, the doorkeepers or guard of the Senate, with their pole-axes, accompanied with some 300 or 400 footmen belonging to the knights or senators, the trumpeters, ballotins, guards, postilions, coachmen and footmen, being very gallant in the liveries of the commonwealth, but all, except the ballotins, without hats, in lieu whereof they wore black velvet calots, being pointed with a little peak at the forehead. After the proposers came a long file of coaches full of such gentlemen as use to grace the commonwealth upon the like occasions. In this posture they moved slowly through the streets (affording, in the gravity of the pomp and the welcomeness of the end, a most reverend and acceptable prospect to the people all the way from the Pantheon, being about half a mile) and arrived at the halo, where they found the prerogative in a close body environed with scaffolds that were covered with spectators. The tribunes received the proposers, and conducted them into a seat placed in the front of the tribe, like a pulpit, but that it was of some length, and well adorned by the heralds with all manner of birds and beasts, except that they were ill-painted, and never a one of his natural color. The tribunes were placed at a table that stood below the long seat, those of the horse in the middle, and those of the foot at either end, with each of them a bowl or basin before him, that on the right hand being white, and the other green: in the middle of the table stood a third, which was red. And the housekeepers of the pavilion, who had already delivered a proportion of linen balls or pellets to every one of the tribe, now presented boxes to the ballotins. But the proposers as they entered the gallery, or long seat, having put off their hats by way of salutation, were answered by the people with a shout; whereupon the younger commissioners seated themselves at either end; and the first, standing in the middle, spoke after this manner:


"While I find in myself what a felicity it is to salute you by this name, and in every face, anointed as it were with the oil of gladness, a full and sufficient testimony of the like sense, to go about to feast you with words, who are already filled with that food of the mind which, being of pleasing and wholesome digestion, takes in the definition of true joy, were a needless enterprise. I shall rather put you in mind of that thankfulness which is due, than puff you up with anything that might seem vain. Is it from the arms of flesh that we derive these blessings? Behold the Commonwealth of Rome falling upon her own victorious sword. Or is it from our own wisdom, whose counsels had brought it even to that pass, that we began to repent ourselves of victory? Far be it from us, my lords, to sacrifice to our own nets, which we ourselves have so narrowly escaped! Let us rather lay our mouths in the dust, and look up (as was taught the other day when we were better instructed in this lesson) to the hills with our gratitude. Nevertheless, seeing we read how God upon the neglect of his prophets has been provoked to wrath, it must needs follow that he expects honor should be given to them by whom he has chosen to work as his instruments. For which cause, nothing doubting of my warrant, I shall proceed to that which more particularly concerns the present occasion, the discovery of my Lord Archon's virtues and merit, to be ever placed by this nation in their true meridian.

"My lords, I am not upon a subject which persuades me to balk, but necessitates me to seek out the greatest examples. To begin with Alexander, erecting trophies common to his sword and the pestilence: to what good of mankind did he infect the air with his heap of carcasses? The sword of war, if it be any otherwise used than as the sword of magistracy, for the fear and punishment of those that do evil, is as guilty in the sight of God as the sword of a murderer; nay more, for if the blood of Abel, of one innocent man, cried in the ears of the Lord for vengeance, what shall the blood of an innocent nation? Of this kind of empire, the throne of ambition, and the quarry of a mighty hunter, it has been truly said that it is but a great robbery. But if Alexander had restored the liberty of Greece, and propagated it to mankind, he had done like my Lord Archon, and might have been truly called the Great. Alexander cared not to steal a victory that would be given; but my Lord Archon has torn away a victory which had been stolen, while we went tamely yielding up obedience to a nation reaping in our fields, whose fields he has subjected to our empire, and nailed them with his victorious sword to their native Caucasus.

"Machiavel gives a handsome caution: 'Let no man,' says he, 'be circumvented with the glory of Caesar, from the false reflection of their pens, who through the longer continuance of his empire in the name than in the family, changed their freedom for flattery. But if a man would know truly what the Romans thought of Caesar, let them observe what they said of Catiline.'" And yet by how much he who has perpetrated some heinous crime is more execrable than he who did but attempt it, by so much is Caesar more execrable than Catiline. On the contrary, let him that would know what ancient and heroic times, what the Greeks and Romans would both have thought and said of my Lord Archon, observe what they thought and said of Solon, Lycurgus, Brutus, and Publicola. And yet by how much his virtue, that is crowned with the perfection of his work, is beyond theirs, who were either inferior in their aim, or in their performance; by so much is my Lord Archon to be preferred before Solon, Lycurgus, Brutus, and Publicola.

"Nor will we shun the most illustrious example of Scipio: this hero, though never so little less, yet was he not the founder of a commonwealth; and for the rest, allowing his virtue to have been of the most untainted ray in what did it outshine this of my Lord Archon? But if dazzling the eyes of the magistrates it overawed liberty, Rome might be allowed some excuse that she did not like it, and I, if I admit not of this comparison: for where is my Lord Archon? Is there a genius, how free soever, which in his presence would not find itself to be under power? He is shrunk into clouds, he seeks obscurity in a nation that sees by his light. He is impatient of his own glory, lest it should stand between you and your liberty."

Liberty! What is even that, if we may not be grateful? And if we may, we have none: for who has anything that he does not owe? My lords, there be some hard conditions of virtue: if this debt were exacted, it were not due; whereas being cancelled, we are all entered into bonds. On the other side, if we make such a payment as will not stand with a free people, we do not enrich my Lord Archon, but rob him of his whole estate immense glory.

"These particulars had in due deliberation and mature debate, according to the order of this commonwealth, it is proposed by authority of the Senate, to you my lords the people of Oceana:

"I. That the dignity and office of Archon, or protector of the commonwealth of Oceana, be and are hereby conferred, by the Senate and the people of Oceana, upon the most illustrious Prince and sole legislator of this commonwealth, Olphaus Megaletor, pater patrioe, whom God preserve, for the term of his natural life, yet remaining of the ancient.

"II. That £350,000 per annum revenue, be estated upon the said illustrious Prince, or Lord Archon, for the said term, and to the proper and peculiar use of his Highness.

"III. That the Lord Archon have the reception of all foreign ambassadors, by and with the Council of State, according to the orders of this commonwealth.

"IV. That the Lord Archon have a standing army of 12,000 defrayed upon a monthly tax, during the term of three years, for the protection of this commonwealth against dissenting parties, to be governed, directed, and commanded by and with the advice of the Council of War, according to the orders of this commonwealth.

"V. That this commonwealth make no distinction of persons or parties, but every man being elected and sworn, according to the orders of the same, be equally capable of magistracy, or not elected, be equally capable of liberty, and the enjoyment of his estate free from all other than common taxes.

"VI. That a man putting a distinction upon himself, refusing oath upon election, or declaring himself of a party not conformable to the civil government, may within any time of his the three years' standing of the army transport himself and his estate, without molestation or impediment, into any other nation.

"VII. That in case there remains any distinction of parties not conforming to the civil government of this commonwealth, after the three years of the standing army being expired, and the commonwealth be thereby forced to prolong the term of the said army, the pay from henceforth of the said army be levied upon the estates of such parties so remaining unconformable to the civil government."

The proposer having ended his oration, the trumpets sounded; and the tribunes of the horse being mounted to view the ballot, caused the tribe (which thronging up to the speech, came almost round the gallery) to retreat about twenty paces, when Linceus de Stella, receiving the propositions, repaired with Bronchus de Rauco the herald, to a little scaffold erected in the middle of the tribe, where he seated himself, the herald standing bare upon his right hand. The ballotins, having their boxes ready, stood before the gallery, and at the command of the tribunes marched, one to every troop on horseback, and one to every company on foot, each of them being followed by other children that bore red boxes: now this is putting the question whether the question should be put. And the suffrage being very suddenly returned to the tribunes at the table, and numbered in the view of the proposers, the votes were all in the affirmative, whereupon the red or doubtful boxes were laid aside, it appearing that the tribe, whether for the negative or affirmative, Was clear in the matter. Wherefore the herald began from the scaffold in the middle of the tribe, to pronounce the first proposition, and the ballotins marching with the negative or affirmative only, Bronchus, with his voice like thunder, continued to repeat the proposition over and over again, so long as it was in balloting. The like was done for every clause, till the ballot was finished, and the tribunes assembling, had signed the points, that is to say, the number of every suffrage, as it was taken by the secretary upon the tale of the tribunes, and in the sight of the proposers; for this may not be omitted: it is the pulse of the people. Now whereas it appertains to the tribunes to report the suffrage of the people to the Senate, they cast the lot for this office with three silver balls and one gold one; and it fell upon the Right Worshipful Argus de Crookhorn, in the tribe of Pascua, first tribune of the foot. Argus, being a good sufficient man in his own country, was yet of the mind that he should make but a bad spokesman, and therefore became something blank at his luck, till his colleagues persuaded him that it was no such great matter, if he could but read, having his paper before him. The proposers, taking coach, received a volley upon the field, and returned in the same order, save that, being accompanied with the tribunes, they were also attended by the whole prerogative to the piazza of the Pantheon, where, with another volley, they took their leaves. Argus, who had not thought upon his wife and children all the way, went very gravely up: and everyone being seated, the Senate by their silence seemed to call for the report, which Argus, standing up, delivered in this wise:


"So it is, that it has fallen to my lot to report to your excellencies in the votes of the people, taken upon the 3d instant, in the first year of this commonwealth, at the halo; the Right Honorable Phosphorus de Auge in the tribe of Eudia, Dolabella d'Enyo in the tribe of Turmae, and Linceus de Stella in the tribe of Nubia, lords commissioners of the great seal of Oceana, and proposers pro temporibus, together with my brethren the tribunes, and myself being present. Wherefore these are to certify to your fatherhoods, that the said votes of the people were as follows, that is to say:

To the first proposition, nemine contradicente;

To the second, nemine contradicente;

To the third, the like;

To the fourth, 211, above half;

To the fifth, 201, above half;

To the sixth, 150, above half, in the affirmative;

To the seventh, nemine contradicente again, and so forth.

"My Lords, it is a language that is out of my prayers, and if I be out at it, no harm—

"But as concerning my Lord Archon (as I was saying) these are to signify to you the true-heartedness and goodwill which are in the people, seeing by joining with you, as one man, they confess that all they have to give is too little for his highness. For truly fathers, if he who is able to do harm, and does none, may well be called honest; what shall we say to my Lord Archon's highness, who having had it in his power to have done us the greatest mischief that ever befell a poor nation, so willing to trust such as they thought well of, has done us so much good, as we should never have known how to do ourselves? Which was so sweetly delivered by my Lord Chancellor Phosphorus to the people, that I dare say there was never a one of them could forbear to do as I do-and, it please your fatherhoods, they be tears of joy. Aye, my Lord Archon shall walk the streets (if it be for his ease I mean) with a switch, while the people run after him and pray for him; he shall not wet his foot; they will strew flowers in his way; he shall sit higher in their hearts, and in the judgment of all good men, than the kings that go upstairs to their seats; and one of these had as good pull two or three of his fellows out of their great chairs as wrong him or meddle with him; he has two or three hundred thousand men, that when you say the word, shall sell themselves to their shirts for him, and die at his foot. His pillow is of down, and his grave shall be as soft, over which they that are alive shall wring their hands. And to come to your fatherhoods, most truly so called, as being the loving parents of the people, truly you do not know what a feeling they have of your kindness, seeing you are so bound up, that if there comes any harm, they may thank themselves. And, alas! poor souls, they see that they are given to be of so many minds, that though they always mean well, yet if there comes any good, they may thank them that teach them better. Wherefore there was never such a thing as this invented, they do verily believe that it is no other than the same which they always had in their very heads, if they could have but told how to bring it out. As now for a sample: my lords the proposers had no sooner said your minds, than they found it to be that which heart could wish. And your fatherhoods may comfort yourselves, that there is not a people in the world more willing to learn what is for their own good, nor more apt to see it, when you have showed it them. Wherefore they do love you as they do their own selves; honor you as fathers; resolve to give you as it were obedience forever, and so thanking you for your most good and excellent laws, they do pray for you as the very worthies of the land, right honorable lords and fathers assembled in Parliament."

Argus came off beyond his own expectation; for thinking right, and speaking as he thought, it was apparent by the house and the thanks they gave him, that they esteemed him to be absolutely of the best sort of orators; upon which having a mind that till then misgave him, he became very crounse, and much delighted with that which might go down the next week in print to his wife and neighbors. Livy makes the Roman tribunes to speak in the same style with the consuls, which could not be, and therefore for aught in him to the contrary, Volero and Canuleius might have spoken in no better style than Argus. However, they were not created the first year of the commonwealth; and the tribunes of Oceana are since become better orators than were needful. But the laws being enacted, had the preamble annexed, and were delivered to Bronchus, who loved nothing in the earth so much as to go staring and bellowing up and down the town, like a stag in a forest, as he now did, with his fraternity in their coats-of-arms, and I know not how many trumpets, proclaiming the act of parliament; when, meeting my Lord Archon, whom from a retreat that was without affectation, as being for devotion only and to implore a blessing by prayer and fasting upon his labors, now newly arrived in town, the herald of the tribe of Bestia set up his throat, and having chanted out his lesson, passed as haughtily by him as if his own had been the better office, which in this place was very well taken, though Bronchus for his high mind happened afterward upon some disasters, too long to tell, that spoiled much of his embroidery.

My Lord Archon's arrival being known, the signory, accompanied by the tribunes, repaired to him, with the news he had already heard by the herald, to which my lord strategus added that his highness could not doubt upon the demonstrations given, but the minds of men were firm in the opinion that he could be no seeker of himself in the way of earthly pomp and glory, and that the gratitude of the Senate and the people could not therefore be understood to have any such reflection upon him. But so it was, that in regard of dangers abroad, and parties at home, they durst not trust themselves without a standing army, nor a standing army in any man's hands but those of his highness.

The Archon made answer, that he ever expected this would be the sense of the Senate and the people; and this being their sense, he should have been sorry they had made choice of any other than himself for a standing general; first, because it could not have been more to their own safety, and secondly because so long as they should have need of a standing army, 'his work was, not done, that he would not dispute against the judgment of the Senate and the people, nor ought that to be. Nevertheless, he made little doubt but experience would show every party their own interest in this government, and that better improved than they could expect from any other; that men's animosities should overbalance their interest for any time was impossible, that humor could never be lasting, nor through the constitution of the government of any effect at the first charge. For supposing the worst, and that the people had chosen no other into the Senate and the prerogative than royalists, a matter of 1,400 men must have taken their oaths at their election, with an intention to go quite contrary not only to their oaths so taken, but to their own interest; for being estated in the sovereign power, they must have decreed it from themselves (such an example for which there was never any experience, nor can there be any reason), or holding it, it must have done in their hands as well every wit as in any other. Furthermore, they must have removed the government from a foundation that apparently would hold, to set it upon another which apparently would not hold; which things if they could not come to pass, the Senate and the people consisting wholly of royalists, much less by a parcel of them elected. But if the fear of the Senate and of the people derived from a party without, such a one as would not be elected, nor engage themselves to the commonwealth by an oath; this again must be so large, as would go quite contrary to their own interest, they being as free and as fully estated in their liberty as any other, or so narrow that they could do no hurt, while the people being in arms, and at the beck of the strategus, every tribe would at any time make a better army than such a party; and there being no parties at home, fears from abroad would vanish. But seeing it was otherwise determined by the Senate and the people, the best course was to take that which they held the safest, in which, with his humble thanks for their great bounty, he was resolved to serve them with all duty and obedience.

A very short time after the royalists, now equal citizens, made good the Archon's judgment, there being no other that found anything near so great a sweet in the government. For he who has not been acquainted with affliction, says Seneca, knows but half the things of this world.

Moreover they saw plainly, that to restore the ancient government they must cast up their estates into the hands of 300 men; wherefore in case the Senate and the prerogative, consisting of 1,300 men, had been all royalists, there must of necessity have been, and be forever, 1,000 against this or any such vote. But the Senate, being informed by the signory that the Archon had accepted of his dignity and office, caused a third chair to be set for his Highness, between those of the strategus and the orator in the house, the like at every council; to which he repaired, not of necessity, but at his pleasure, being the best, and as Argus not vainly said, the greatest prince in the world; for in the pomp of his court he was not inferior to any, and in the field he was followed with a force that was formidable to all. Nor was there a cause in the nature of this constitution to put him to the charge of guards, to spoil his stomach or his sleep: insomuch, as being handsomely disputed by the wits of the academy, whether my Lord Archon, if he had been ambitious, could have made himself so great, it was carried clear in the negative; not only for the reasons drawn from the present balance, which was popular, but putting the case the balance had been monarchical. For there be some nations, whereof this is one, that will bear a prince in a commonwealth far higher than it is possible for them to bear a monarch. Spain looked upon the Prince of Orange as her most formidable enemy; but if ever there be a monarch in Holland, he will be the Spaniard's best friend. For whereas a prince in a commonwealth derives his greatness from the root of the people, a monarch derives his from one of those balances which nip them in the root; by which means the Low Countries under a monarch were poor and inconsiderable, but in bearing a prince could grow to a miraculous height, and give the glory of his actions by far the upper hand of the greatest king in Christendom. There are kings in Europe, to whom a king of Oceana would be put a petit companion. But the Prince of this commonwealth is the terror and judge of them all.

That which my Lord Archon now minded most was the agrarian, upon which debate he incessantly thrust the Senate and the Council of State, to the end it might be planted upon some firm root, as the main point and basis of perpetuity to the commonwealth.

And these are some of the most remarkable passages that happened in the first year of this government. About the latter end of the second, the army was disbanded, but the taxes continued at £30,000 a month, for three years and a half. By which means a piece of artillery was planted, and a portion of land to the value of £50 a year purchased for the maintenance of the games, and of the prize arms forever, in each hundred.

With the eleventh year of the commonwealth, the term of the excise, allotted for the maintenance of the Senate and the people and for the raising of a public revenue, expired. By which time the Exchequer, over and above the annual salaries, amounting to £300,000 accumulating every year out of £1,000,000 income, £700,000 in banco, brought it with a product of the sum, rising to about £8,000,000 in the whole: whereby at several times they had purchased to the Senate and the people £400,000 per annum solid revenue; which, besides the lands held in Panopea, together with the perquisites of either province, was held sufficient for a public revenue. Nevertheless, taxes being now wholly taken off, the excise, of no great burden (and many specious advantages not vainly proposed in the heightening of the public revenue), was very cheerfully established by the Senate and the people, for the term of ten years longer, and the same course being taken, the public revenue was found in the one-and-twentieth year of the commonwealth to be worth £1,000,000 in good land. Whereupon the excise was so abolished for the present, as withal resolved to be the best, the most fruitful and easy way of raising taxes, according to future exigencies.

But the revenue being now such as was able to be a yearly purchaser, gave a jealousy that by this means the balance of the commonwealth, consisting in private fortunes, might be eaten out, whence this year is famous for that law whereby the Senate and the people, forbidding any further purchase of lands to the public within the dominions of Oceana and the adjacent provinces, put the agrarian upon the commonwealth herself. These increases are things which men addicted to monarchy deride as impossible, whereby they unwarily urge a strong argument against that which they would defend. For having their eyes fixed upon the pomp and expense, by which not only every child of a king, being a prince, exhausts his father's coffers, but favorites and servile spirits, devoted to the flattery of those princes, grow insolent and profuse, returning a fit gratitude to their masters, whom, while they hold it honorable to deceive, they suck and keep eternally poor: it follows that they do not see how it should be possible for a commonwealth to clothe herself in purple, and thrive so strangely upon that which would make a prince's hair grow through his hood, and not afford him bread. As if it were a miracle that a careless and prodigal man should bring £10,000 a year to nothing, or that an industrious and frugal man brings a little to £10,000 a year. But the fruit of one man's industry and frugality can never be like that of a commonwealth; first, because the greatness of the increase follows the greatness of the stock or principal; and, secondly, because a frugal father is for the most part succeeded by a lavish son; whereas a commonwealth is her own heir.

This year a part was proposed by the Right Honorable Aureus de Woolsack in the tribe of Pecus, first commissioner of the Treasury, to the Council of State, which soon after passed the ballot of the Senate and the people, by which the lands of the public revenue, amounting to £1,000,000, were equally divided into £5,000 lots, entered by their names and parcels into a lot-book preserved in the Exchequer. And if any orphan, being a maid, should cast her estate into the Exchequer for £1,400, the Treasury was bound by the law to pay her quarterly £200 a year, free from taxes, for her life, and to assign her a lot for her security; if she married, her husband was neither to take out the principal without her consent (acknowledged by herself to one of the commissioners of the Treasury, who, according as he found it to be free, or forced, was to allow or disallow of it), nor any other way engage it than to her proper use. But if the principal were taken out, the Treasury was not bound to repay any more of it than £1,000, nor might that be repaid at any time, save within the first year of her marriage: the like was to be done by a half or quarter lot respectively.

This was found to be a great charity to the weaker sex, and as some say, who are more skilful in the like affairs than myself, of good profit to the commonwealth.

Now began the native spleen of Oceana to be much purged, and men not to affect sullenness and pedantism. The elders could remember that they had been youths. Wit and gallantry were so far from being thought crimes in themselves, that care was taken to preserve their innocence. For which cause it was proposed to the Council for Religion by the Right Honorable Cadiscus de Clero, in the tribe of Stamnum, first censor, that such women as, living in gallantry and view about the town, were of evil fame, and could not show that they were maintained by their own estates or industry, or such as, having estates of their own, were yet wasteful in 'their way of life, and of ill-example to others, should be obnoxious to the animadversion of the Council of Religion, or of the censors: in which the proceeding should be after this manner. Notice should be first given of the scandal to the party offending, in private: if there were no amendment within the space of six months, she should be summoned and rebuked before the said Council or censors; and, if after other six months it were found that neither this availed, she should be censored not to appear at any public meetings, games, or recreations, upon penalty of being taken up by the doorkeepers or guards of the Senate, and by them to be detained, till for every such offence £5 were duly paid for her enlargement.

Furthermore, if any common strumpet should be found or any scurrility or profaneness represented at either of the theatres, the prelates for every such offence should be fined £20 by the said Council, and the poet, for every such offence on his part, should be whipped. This law relates to another, which was also enacted the same year upon this occasion.

The youth and wits of the Academy having put the business so home in the defence of comedies that the provosts had nothing but the consequences provided against by the foregoing law to object, prevailed so far that two of the provosts of the Council of State joined in a proposition, which after much ado came to a law, whereby £100,000 was allotted for the building of two theatres on each side of the piazza of the halo: and two annual magistrates called prelates, chosen out of the knights, were added to the tropic, the one called the prelate of the buskin, for inspection of the tragic scene called Melpomene; and the other the prelate of the sock, for the comic called Thalia, which magistrates had each £500 a year allowed out of the profits of the theatres; the rest, except £800 a year to four poets, payable into the Exchequer. A poet laureate created in one of these theatres by the strategus, receives a wreath of £500 in gold, paid out of the said profits. But no man is capable of this creation that had not two parts in three of the suffrages at the Academy, assembled after six weeks' warning and upon that occasion.

These things among us are sure enough to be censured, but not know the nature of a commonwealth; that they are free, and yet to curb the genius in a lawful recreation to which they are naturally is to tell a tale of a tub. I have heard the Protestant ministers in France, by men that were wise and of their own profession, much blamed in that they forbade dancing, a recreation to which the genius of that air is so inclining that they lost many who would not lose that: nor do they less than blame the former determination of rashness, who now gently connive at that which they had so roughly forbidden. These sports in Oceana are so governed, that they are pleasing for private diversion, and profitable to the public: for the theatres soon defrayed their own charge, and now bring in a good revenue. All this is so far from the detriment of virtue, that it is to the improvement of it, seeing women that heretofore made havoc of their honor that they might have their pleasures are now incapable of their pleasures if they lose their honor.

About the one-and-fortieth year of the commonwealth, the censors, according to their annual custom, reported the pillar of Nilus, by which it was found that the people were increased very near one-third. Whereupon the Council of War was appointed by the Senate to bring in a state of war, and the treasurers the state of the Treasury. The state of war, or the pay and charge of an army, was soon after exhibited by the Council in this account:


The lord strategus, marching £10,000
General of the horse... 2,000
Lieutenant-general... 2,000
General of the artillery.... 1,000
Commissary-general... 1,000
Major-general.... 1,000
Quartermaster-general... 1,000
Two adjutants to the major-general... 1,000
Forty colonels..... 40,000
100 captains of horse, at £500 a man... 50,000
300 captains of foot, at £300 a man... 90,000
100 cornets, at £100 a man.... 10,000
300 ensigns, at £50 a man.... 15,000
800 Quartermasters, Sergeants, Trumpeters, Drummers, 20,000
10,000 horse, at 2s 6d per day each... 470,000
30,000 foot, at 1s per day each.... 500,000
Chirurgeons... 400
40,000 auxiliaries, amounting to within a little as much... 1,100,000
The charge of mounting 20,000 horse.. 300,000
The train of artillery, holding a 3d to the whole 900,000
Sum total £3,514,400

Arms and ammunition are not reckoned, as those which are furnished out of the store or arsenal of Emporium: nor wastage, as that which goes upon the account of the fleet, maintained by the customs; which customs, through the care of the Council for Trade and growth of traffic, were long since improved to about £1,000,000 revenue. The house being thus informed of a state of war, the commissioners brought in—

Received from the one-and-twentieth of the commonwealth:
By £700,000 a year in bank, with the product of the sum rising.............. £16,000,000

Expended from the one-and-twentieth of this commonwealth:
Imprimis, for the addition of arms for 100,000 men to the arsenal, or tower of Emporium...... £1,000,000
For the storing of the same with artillery... 300,000
For the storing of the same with ammunition... 200,000
For beautifying the cities, parks, gardens, public walks, and places for recreation of Emporium and Hiera, with public buildings, aqueducts, statues, and fountains, etc...... 1,500,000
Extraordinary embassies... 150,000
Sum........ £3,150,000
Remaining in the Treasury, the salaries of the Exchequer being defalked....... £12,000,000

By comparison of which accounts if a war with an army of 80,000 men were to be made by the penny, yet was the commonwealth able to maintain such a one above three years without levying a tax. But it is against all experience, sense, and reason that such an army should not be soon broken, or make a great progress; in either of which cases, the charge ceases; or rather if a right course be taken in the latter, profit comes in: for the Romans had no other considerable way but victory whereby to fill their treasury, which nevertheless was seldom empty. Alexander did not consult his purse upon his design for Persia: it is observed by Machiavel, that Livy, arguing what the event in reason must have been had that King invaded Rome, and diligently measuring what on each side was necessary to such a war, never speaks a word of money. No man imagines that the Gauls, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Lombards, Saxons, Normans, made their inroads or conquests by the strength of the purse; and if it be thought enough, according to the dialect of our age, to say in answer to these things that those times are past and gone: what money did the late Gustavus, the most victorious of modern princes, bring out of Sweden with him into Germany? An army that goes upon a golden leg will be as lame as if it were a wooden one; but proper forces have nerves and muscles in them, such for which, having £4,000,000 or £5,000,000, a sum easy enough, with a revenue like this of Oceana, to be had at any time in readiness, you need never, or very rarely, charge the people with taxes. What influence the commonwealth by such arms has had upon the world, I leave to historians, whose custom it has been of old to be as diligent observers of foreign actions as careless of those domestic revolutions which (less pleasant it may be, as not partaking so much of the romance) are to statesmen of far greater profit; and this fault, if it be not mine, is so much more frequent with modern writers, as has caused me to undertake this work; on which to give my own judgment, it is performed as much above the time I have been about it, as below the dignity of the matter.

But I cannot depart out of this country till I have taken leave of my Lord Archon, a prince of immense felicity who having built as high with his counsels as he digged deep with his sword, had now seen fifty years measured with his own unerring orbs.

Timoleon (such a hater of tyrants that, not able to persuade his brother Timophanes to relinquish the tyranny of Corinth, he slew him) was afterward elected by the people (the Sicilians groaning to them from under the like burden) to be sent to their relief: whereupon Teleclides, the man at that time of most authority in the Commonwealth of Corinth, stood up, and giving an exhortation to Timoleon, how he should behave himself in this expedition, told him that if he restored the Sicilians to liberty, it would be acknowledged that he destroyed a tyrant; if otherwise, he must expect to hear he had murdered a king. Timoleon, taking his leave with a very small provision for so great a design, pursued it with a courage not inferior to, and a felicity beyond, any that had been known to that day in mortal flesh, having in the space of eight years utterly rooted out of all Sicily those weeds of tyranny, through the detestation whereof men fled in such abundance from their native country that whole cities were left desolate, and brought it to such a pass that others, through the fame of his virtues and the excellency of the soil, flocked as fast from all quarters to it as to the garden of the world: while he, being presented by the people of Syracuse with his town-house and his country retreat, the sweetest places in either, lived with his wife and children a most quiet, happy, and holy life; for he attributed no part of his success to himself, but all to the blessing and providence of the gods. As he passed his time in this manner, admired and honored by mankind, Laphistius, an envious demagogue, going to summon him upon some pretence or other to answer for himself before the assembly, the people fell into such a mutiny as could not be appeased but by Timoleon, who, understanding the matter, reproved them, by repeating the pains and travel which he had gone through, to no other end than that every man might have the free use of the laws. Wherefore when Daemenetus, another demagogue, had brought the same design about again, and blamed him impertinently to the people for things which he did when he was general, Timoleon answered nothing, but raising up his hands, gave the gods thanks for their return to his frequent prayers, that he might but live to see the Syracusans so free, that they could question whom they pleased.

Not long after, being old, through some natural imperfection, he fell blind; but the Syracusans by their perpetual visits held him, though he could not see, their greatest object: if there arrived strangers, they brought him to see this sight. Whatever came in debate at the assembly, if it were of small consequence, they determined it themselves; but if of importance, they always sent for Timoleon, who, being brought by his servants in a chair, and set in the middle of the theatre, there ever followed a great shout, after which some time was allowed for the benedictions of the people; and then the matter proposed, when Timoleon had spoken to it, was put to the suffrage; which given, his servants bore him back in his chair, accompanied by the people clapping their hands, and making all expressions of joy and applause, till, leaving him at his house, they returned to the despatch of their business. And this was the life of Timoleon, till he died of age, and dropped like a mature fruit, while the eyes of the people were as the showers of autumn.

The life and death of my Lord Archon (but that he had his senses to the last, and that his character, as not the restorer, but the founder of a commonwealth, was greater) are so exactly the same, that (seeing by men wholly ignorant of antiquity I am accused of writing romance) I shall repeat nothing: but tell you that this year the whole nation of Oceana, even to the women and children, were in mourning, where so great or sad a funeral pomp had never been seen or known. Some time after the performance of the obsequies a Colossus, mounted on a brazen horse of excellent fabric, was erected in the piazza of the Pantheon, engraved with this inscription on the eastern side of the pedestal:

And on the wester with the following:
Piae et Perpetuae Memorie
Invincible in the Field The Greatest of Captains
Inviolable in his Faith The Best of Princes
Unfeigned in his Zeal The Happiest of Legislators
Immortal in his Fame The Most Sincere of Christians
Who setting the Kingdoms of Earth at Liberty,
Took the Kingdom of the Heavens by Violence.

Anno AEtat. suoe 116

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Re: The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington

Postby admin » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:03 am


OCEANA is saluted by the panegyrist after this manner: "O the most blessed and fortunate of all countries, Oceana! how deservedly has nature with the bounties of heaven and earth endued thee! Thy ever fruitful womb not closed with ice nor dissolved by the raging star; where Ceres and Bacchus are perpetual twins: thy woods are not the harbor of devouring beasts, nor thy continual verdure the ambush of serpents, but the food of innumerable herds and flocks presenting thee, their shepherdess, with distended dugs or golden fleeces. The wings of thy night involve thee not in the horror of darkness, but have still some white feather; and thy day is (that for which we esteem life) the longest." But this ecstasy of Pliny, as is observed by Bertius, seems to allude as well to Marpesia and Panopea, now provinces of this commonwealth, as to Oceana itself.

To speak of the people in each of these countries. This of Oceana, for so soft a one, is the most martial in the whole world. "Let States that aim at greatness," says Verulamius, "take heed how their nobility and gentlemen multiply too fast, for that makes the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain driven out of heart, and in effect but a gentleman's laborer; just as you may see in coppice woods, if you leave the staddels too thick, you shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes; so in countries, if the gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base; and you will bring it to that at last, that not the hundreth poll will be fit for a helmet, specially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army, and so there will be great population and little strength. This of which I speak has been nowhere better seen than by comparing of Oceana and France, whereof Oceana, though far less in territory and population, has been nevertheless an overmatch, in regard the middle people of Oceana make good solders, which the peasants in France do not." In which words Verulamius, as Machiavel has done before him, harps much upon a string which he has not perfectly tuned, and that is, the balance of dominion or property, as it follows more plainly, in his praise "of the profound and admirable device of Panurgus, King of Oceana, in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land to them as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition, and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings. And thus, indeed," says he, "you shall attain to Virgil's character which he gives of ancient Italy." But the tillage, bringing up a good soldiery, brings up a good commonwealth; which the author in the praise of Panurgus did not mind, nor Panurgus in deserving that praise; for where the owner of the plough comes to have the sword, too, he will use it in defence of his own; whence it has happened that the people of Oceana, in proportion to their property, have been always free. And the genius of this nation has ever had some resemblance with that of ancient Italy, which was wholly addicted to commonwealths, and where Rome came to make the greatest account of her rustic tribes, and to call her consuls from the plough; for in the way of parliaments, which was the government of this realm, men of country lives have been still intrusted with the greatest affairs, and the people have constantly had an aversion to the ways of the court. Ambition, loving to be gay and to fawn, has been a gallantry looked upon as having something in it of the livery; and husbandry, or the country way of life, though of a grosser spinning, as the best stuff of a commonwealth, according to Aristotle, such a one being the most obstinate assertress of her liberty and the least subject to innovation or turbulency. Wherefore till the foundations, as will be hereafter shown, were removed, this people was observed to be the least subject to shakings and turbulency of any; whereas commonwealths, upon which the city life has had the stronger influence, as Athens, have seldom or never been quiet, but at the best are found to have injured their own business by overdoing it. Whence the urban tribes of Rome, consisting of the Turba forensis, and libertines that had received their freedom by manumission, were of no reputation in comparison of the rustics. It is true that with Venice it may seem to be otherwise, in regard the gentlemen (for so are all such called as have a right to that government) are wholly addicted to the city life; but then the Turba forensis, the secretaries, Cittadini, with the rest of the populace, are wholly excluded. Otherwise a commonwealth consisting but of one city would doubtless be stormy, in regard that ambition would be every man's trade; but where it consists of a country, the plough in the hands of the owner finds him a better calling, and produces the most innocent and steady genius of a commonwealth, such as is that of Oceana.

Marpesia, being the northern part of the same island, is the dry-nurse of a populous and hardy nation, but where the staddels have been formerly too thick, whence their courage answered not their hardiness, except in the nobility, who govern much after the manner of Poland, but that the King was not elective till the people received their liberty; the yoke of the nobility being broken by the commonwealth of Oceana, which in grateful return is thereby provided with an inexhaustible magazine of auxiliaries.

Panopea, the soft mother of a slothful and pusillanimous people, is a neighbor island, anciently subjected by the arms of Oceana; since almost depopulated for shaking the yoke, and at length replanted with a new race. But, through what virtues of the soil or vice of the air soever it be, they come still to degenerate. Wherefore seeing it is neither likely to yield men fit for arms, nor necessary it should, it had been the interest of Oceana so to have disposed of this province, being both rich in the nature of the soil, and full of commodious ports for trade, that it might have been ordered for the best in relation to her purse, which in my opinion, if it had been thought upon in time, might have been best done by planting it with Jews, allowing them their own rites and laws; for that would have brought them suddenly from all parts of the world, and in sufficient numbers. And though the Jews be now altogether for merchandise, yet in the land of Canaan (except since their exile from whence they have not been landlords) they were altogether for agriculture; and there is no cause why a man should doubt, but having a fruitful country and excellent ports, too, they would be good at both. Panopea, well peopled, would be worth a matter of £4,000,000 dry-rents; that is, besides the advantage of the agriculture and trade, which, with a nation of that industry, come at least to as much more. Wherefore Panopea, being farmed out to the Jews and their heirs forever, for the pay of a provincial army to protect them during the term of seven years, and for £2,000,000 annual revenue from that time forward, besides the customs, which would pay the provincial army, would have been a bargain of such advantage, both to them and this commonwealth, as is not to be found otherwise by either. To receive the Jews after any other manner into a commonwealth were to maim it; for they of all nations never incorporate, but taking up the room of a limb, are of no use office to the body, while they suck the nourishment which would sustain a natural and useful member.

If Panopea had been so disposed of, that knapsack, with the Marpesian auxiliary, had been an inestimable treasure; the situation of these countries being islands (as appears by Venice how advantageous such a one is to the like government) seems to have been designed by God for a commonwealth. And yet that, through the straitness of the place and defect of proper arms, can be no more than a commonwealth for preservation; whereas this, reduced to the like government, is a commonwealth for increase, and upon the mightiest foundation that any has been laid from the beginning of the world to this day.

"Illam arcta capiens Neptunus compede stringit:
Hanc autem glaucis captus complectitur ulnis."

The sea gives law to the growth of Venice, but the growth of Oceana gives law to the sea.

These countries, having been anciently distinct and hostile kingdoms, came by Morpheus the Marpesian, who succeeded by hereditary right to the crown of Oceana, not only to be joined under one head, but to be cast, as it were by a charm, into that profound sleep, which, broken at length by the trumpet of civil war, has produced those effects that have given occasion to the preceding discourse, divided into four parts.
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