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Nedham and The Excellencie (1656) - Marchamont Nedham, Excellencie of a Free-State 
Excellencie of a Free-State: Or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth, edited and with an Introduction by Blair Worden (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Nedham and The Excellencie (1656)
Journalism, for which Nedham had such gifts, never satisfied him. He longed to write “treatises” that would give scope for more reflective writing and would command more public respect. “Serious truth,” he complained, “is not regarded in a pamphlet,” “the very name whereof is enough to raise a prejudice upon any other notions, how reasonable soever they be.”65 In August 1652 he concluded the last of his editorials in these words: “being confined to a few pages weekly, I have been able to give you but the bare hints of things done in haste, which may (perhaps) appear abroad in a more accomplished manner hereafter.”66
Four years later, on or around 29 June 1656, The Excellencie of a Free-State appeared.67 Most of it consisted of material reproduced, mostly in the same order, from the editorials that had run from September 1651 to August 1652, though on three occasions he returned to editorials published earlier in 1651 (one of which contained the material about Warwick the kingmaker).
Unlike the editorials, the republication presents Nedham’s material in a coherent and convenient form. It is, alas, not “more accomplished” than the earlier venture, and it is not the expanded version that is apparently anticipated by his statement that the editorials have contained only “bare hints” of his thinking. Although he made a number of adjustments to the editorials in 1656, he left their essential character and content intact. Journalists, who know that their material is soon forgotten, can afford to repeat it. If they write with a polemical purpose, as Nedham did, repetition may be necessary. To readers who encounter the editorials in their gathered form, the repetitions may be an irritant.68 Another deficiency, which lies in the opportunism and the distortions that characterize his historical illustrations, is likewise heightened when the editorials are viewed alongside each other. Perhaps those weaknesses help to explain why, as far as we can judge, The Excellencie made far less contemporary impact than the editorials had done. It did, however, resonate in two significant works by other writers. The title of Milton’s tract of 1660, The Readie and Easie Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth, and the Excellence Thereof, a book in whose composition and promotion Nedham was closely involved,69 echoes Nedham’s title: The Excellencie of a Free-State; or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth.70 The second writer is the Puritan politician Bulstrode Whitelocke, another associate of Nedham, whose reflections on the English constitution would acquire an eighteenth-century following. Whitelocke reproduced passages that appear in The Excellencie, without naming the book or its author, in his manuscript “Historie of the Parlement of England,” which he probably drew up after the Restoration, but in which he is likely to have drawn on notes made before it. Its main debt was to Nedham’s condemnation of the oppression of the people by classical oligarchies and to his discussion of the emergence of Rome’s tribunes and popular assemblies. On the subject of oligarchy Whitelocke “follow[ed] most the history of Rome,” “as affording most examples, and perhaps too many resemblances,” to English history.71
The publication of The Excellencie in 1656 is not to be understood merely as a bid to give permanence or status to arguments previously offered in an ephemeral form. It had another purpose. Politicus had been a vehicle for criticism of a regime of which it was simultaneously the most influential weekly organ. The Excellencie carried sharper, and more startling, criticism of the present power.72 Unlike Politicus it was not a government publication. Since Cromwell’s elevation to single rule in December 1653, Nedham had been working for the protectorate, still with Milton at his side, in the office of Cromwell’s secretary of state John Thurloe. From the beginning to the end of the Cromwellian regime, Politicus gave it unequivocal support. In February 1654 there was published, by the government printer Thomas Newcomb, who also printed Politicus, Nedham’s pamphlet A True State of the Case of the Commonwealth. It was the ablest and most influential work to appear in vindication of the new government. The regime and its supporters did what they could to promote it.73 Cromwell, in one of a number of indications that the protector turned to Nedham for help in the preparation of his speeches, would himself commend it and draw on its arguments in an address to Parliament in January 1655.74 The pamphlet was the only contemporary work to which he ever referred in such a way. It may be—for the evidence is inconclusive—that a copy of the tract was handed to each Member of Parliament during the critical debates over the authority of the protectorate in the same Parliament four months earlier.75 By contrast, the publication of The Excellencie was furtive. It made no mention of the earlier appearance of the material in Politicus. Its authorship was disguised by the pretense—or semipretense, for Nedham’s language has characteristically clever ambiguity—that the anonymous writer is a member of the army (p. 7).76 The publisher, Thomas Brewster, had a line in unorthodox or radical publications, and had fallen from government favor upon Cromwell’s elevation. Nedham took many risks in his career but none braver or rasher than the publication of The Excellencie. The treatise is an attack on the protectorate. That it did not cost him his freedom or even his job is intelligible only on the supposition that the government grasped what earlier powers had discovered: that politicians had more to gain from employing his gifts of propaganda, even at the cost of overlooking his departures from the official line, than from driving him into open opposition.77 In his survival as much as in the “tergiversations” that imperilled it, his career unseats our perceptions of Puritan politics.
The Excellencie presents itself in its preface as a response to “high and ranting discourses of personal prerogative and unbounded monarchy” that have recently been published. Nedham singles out a work that appeared in September 1655, a month before The Excellencie was registered for publication.78 This was Som Sober Inspections . . . of theLate-long Parliament (London, 1655) by the royalist James Howell. In his royalist phase in 1648, Nedham’s newsbook Mercurius Pragmaticus had called Howell “that rare gentleman” and had commended a “seasonable” antiparliamentarian publication by him, “full of high reason and satisfaction.”79 A work by Howell of 1651 about the republic of Venice had been twice endorsed in editorials of Politicus (pp. 149, 161). Now, as so often, Nedham turned against a former literary ally. In 1654 Howell had urged Cromwell to follow the course against which Nedham, in Politicus, had warned in his allusions to Warwick the kingmaker. The protector, Howell proposed, should reach an agreement with the exiled court that would allow Charles II to assume the throne on Cromwell’s death.80Som Sober Inspections has other advice for Cromwell, of a kind that would have been equally unsavory to republicans. He should rid himself, urged Howell, of the obstructive capacity of parliaments that had blighted Stuart rule.
Nedham quickly admits that The Excellencie is “not intended for a particular answer” to Howell’s tract. His decision to begin with it, however, brings him two opportunities. First, he is able to give the initial impression that his book is directed, as the government would have liked it to be, against “the family and interest of the Stuarts,” and that his own sympathies are with “his Highness,” the protector. Disloyal to the protectorate as The Excellencie is, the disloyalty is never explicit. Its extent becomes evident when we recognize the second advantage that Nedham takes of the publication of Howell’s tract. He cleverly lets Howell’s plea for unfettered single rule, and his attack on parliamentary government and on the Parliament that Cromwell had dissolved in April 1653, set the terms of his own argument. Nedham agrees with Howell that the nation faces a choice between “unbounded monarchy” and rule by a parliament—and reaches the opposite answer. Two years earlier, in A True State, Nedham had portrayed the protectorate as a middle way between those choices. He had commended the Instrument of Government, the constitution on which the protectorate based its authority, for returning to the traditional balance of power between a single ruler and Parliament. In The Excellencie the middle way is forgotten. Readers of Nedham’s preface are now invited to decide which of two courses will “best secure the liberties and freedoms of the people from the encroachments and usurpations of tyranny, and answer the true ends of the late wars”: Howell’s program, or “a due and orderly succession of the supreme authority in the hands of the people’s representatives.”
It soon becomes evident that the unbounded ruler that Nedham has in mind is not a Stuart. It is the usurper and tyrant Cromwell. It also soon becomes evident that the alternative Nedham offers is a return to the parliamentary sovereignty that Cromwell has broken. His purpose is achieved by a sleight of hand adroit even by his standards. A True State had reminded parliamentarian readers that “the original ground of our first engaging in the war” against Charles I had not been the attainment of parliamentary or republican government. The king’s opponents had fought against tyranny, not kingship. They had sought to “regulate” the “disorders and excesses” of Charles I’s rule.81 The preface to The Excellencie likewise has passages that seem reassuring to mainstream parliamentary opinion. Claiming to speak for “all” the “friends and adherents” of the Long Parliament, Nedham remembers that it took up arms “not to destroy magistracy, but to regulate it; nor to confound propriety, but to enlarge it: that the prince as well as the people might be governed by law.” Yet before we know where we are he has contrived to indicate that “the true ends of the late war” will be “answered” by the rule of sovereign parliaments, which will make England “a glorious commonwealth.” For in The Excellencie the “due and orderly succession . . . in the hands of the people’s representatives” is a defining feature, even the defining one, of a “free state,” of which the book celebrates the “excellencie.” It was the sovereign parliament of 1649-53, and it alone, that had declared England a “free state.” The protectorate shunned the term.
No more than Politicus does The Excellencie provide an unambiguous vindication of the imperfect free state of 1649-53. Almost all the criticisms of the Rump that are visible in the newsbook reappear in The Excellencie. But the most damaging criticism, which had been directed at the Parliament’s reluctance to hold elections, had lost much of its force as a result of the Rump’s expulsion. Once removed from power, the victims of the coup committed themselves to the “constant succession” of parliaments that Politicus had demanded. Nedham now stands with its former members against Cromwell’s destruction of parliamentary supremacy and against the tyranny with which the protector was alleged to have replaced it. Former prominent members of the Commonwealth regime, John Bradshaw among them, protested and conspired against Cromwell’s rule. They liked to remind the protector that his expulsion of the Long Parliament had breached the treason act passed by the Commonwealth in 1649. Politicus had warned him that in accumulating power he risked “the guilt of treason against the interest and majesty of the people.” The Excellencie, by repeating that passage (p. 102), confirms his crime. Another linguistic echo works to similar effect. Under the protectorate, men of Bradshaw’s outlook, standing on the principle of parliamentary supremacy, were called “commonwealthmen” or “commonwealthsmen.” Politicus had urged the English to “learn to be true commonwealth’s-men.” That plea, too, reappears in The Excellencie (p. 81).
We cannot say why Nedham, or his publisher, delayed nine months between registering The Excellencie and publishing it. It seems likely that the book, when it went to the printer in 1656, stood as it had done, or much as it had done, the previous year82 —but with one exception. The concluding passage of the tract looks like a late addition. It reverts from the concluding editorials of Politicus to an earlier one, of November 1651, which now reappears as “a word of advice” to the electorate. The decision to call the parliament of 1656 was made at the end of May. The council’s order for the issuing of electoral writs was agreed, as Politicus informed the nation, on or around 1 July.83The Excellencie (published on or around 29 June) appeared as an election manifesto. Its advice was to elect commonwealthmen. They were active in the election campaign, none more so than Henry Neville, who had been an ally of Nedham under the Commonwealth, and the quashing of whose election by the protectorate became a cause célèbre. Cromwell’s executive council forbade all those commonwealthmen who won election in 1656 to sit in the Parliament, which in 1657 gave legislative sanction to the protectorate, brought it closer to the traditional forms of monarchy, and made Cromwell “king in all but name.”84
Around six weeks before the publication of The Excellencie, another tract hostile to the protectorate had appeared: A Healing Question Propounded (London, 1656) by Sir Henry Vane. A hero of Milton, Vane was a former member of the Long Parliament who had been a crucial ally of Cromwell in it, but who had broken bitterly with him in 1653. The Excellencie carried an advertisement for another work by Vane that was unsympathetic to the protector, The Retired Mans Meditations, which Thomas Brewster had published in 1655. In November 1656 there appeared the Oceana of James Harrington, to which Harrington’s intimate friend Henry Neville reportedly contributed, and which conformed to Neville’s own views. Oceana, like Nedham’s editorials in Politicus and like The Excellencie, has an anti-Cromwellian purpose that is intelligible only when its wording is set against its immediate political background.85 It seems that Harrington had drafted it not long after the regicide, and that in 1656 the draft was adapted, as the editorials of Politicus were in The Excellencie, to the circumstances of the protectorate. Amid a number of differences between Oceana and The Excellencie, the most pronounced of them arising from Harrington’s dislike of the spirit of political partisanship that Nedham’s propaganda espoused, there is a striking series of parallels between the republican arguments of the two men.86 If Harrington’s treatise indeed originated, like Nedham’s, under the Rump, we are left to remark on the fertility of that era in political thought and reflection, producing as it also did Hobbes’s Leviathan, the debate over the sovereignty of the sword, Marvell’s “Horatian Ode,” and the rhetorical triumph of the Defensio published by Milton on behalf of the regicide.
If Nedham was not the profoundest of the thinkers of the Commonwealth, he could at least have claimed, under the protectorate, to have been the most prophetic of them. The reappearance in The Excellencie of the warnings that Politicus had given Cromwell imparts a quality of dramatic irony to the work. But Nedham was not content to repeat those warnings. By deft adjustments of wording he points to the difference of context and of purpose between the editorials, which were written to secure and extend republican rule, and the book, which was intended to restore it. Having reminded the reader, in the first sentence of the preface, that England has been “declared” to be a “free state,” Nedham time and again alters the wording of Politicus so as to bring the term “free state” before the reader’s eye (pp. 83, 95, 98, 105). Even on occasions when the term is reproduced from Politicus, Nedham redeploys it so as to underline Cromwell’s destruction of the republic. Politicus, in urging the English not to re-admit the Stuarts, had advised them “to keep close to the rules of a free state, for the barring out of monarchy,” and had commended the founders of commonwealths, such as En gland’s rulers of 1649, who “have blocked up the way against monarchal tyranny, by declaring for the liberty of the people.” In 1656, when England had, or was getting, a new monarchy (under whatever name), Nedham amended his wording and cited “the rules of a free state, for the turning out of monarchy” and commended founders of commonwealths “who shall block up the way against monarchic tyranny” by declaring—as Nedham would have wanted the parliament of 1656 to do—“for the liberty of the people” (p. 82). Other changes likewise draw hostile attention to Cromwell’s usurpation. In Politicus “it is good commonwealth language” to maintain “that a due and orderly succession of power and persons” is the only means to preserve freedom and avoid tyranny. In The Excellencie “it was, and is, good commonwealth language” to do so (p. 23). In Politicus, the people are “now invested” in the possession of the “excellent” government of a free state: in the tract, they “but the other day were invested” in it (p. 81). The arguments of Politicus were replies to “all objecting monarchs and royalists”: The Excellencie, to remind readers that a new kind of kingly power had arisen in the Stuarts’ place, answered “all objecting monarchs and royalists, of what name and title soever” (p. 52). Another change enabled Nedham to glance at what he, and not he alone,87 mockingly called the “holy war” which from the end of 1654 Cromwell had been fighting against Spain and which The Excellencie ascribes not to the zealous anti-Catholic motives professed by the regime but to the sinister principle of “reason of state” (p. 108). Further alterations enabled Nedham to use two terms that the commonwealthmen habitually applied to Cromwell’s regime after his assumption of the protectorate. First, like them he alludes to the “apostacy” of those who support it (p. 42). Second, like the commonwealthmen, who refused to call Cromwell “protector,” he instead alludes to him as the “general” (p. 58), the military title which his own ambition had prolonged, and by virtue of which he had seized power in April 1653.88 He does, however, reproduce from Politicus his commendation of Rome’s tribunes as the “protectors” of the people—but the noun is now italicized, a change that hints at the unhappy contrast between the Roman past and the English present (p. 13).89
When, in October 1655, Nedham registered The Excellencie, the protectorate’s fortunes were low. Its attempt to secure parliamentary sanction for the Instrument of Government in the previous winter had been rebuffed, and it had resorted instead to the military rule of the major-generals. Over the summer of 1655 there seem to have been discussions within the regime, perhaps born of desperation, of a proposal to return to hereditary rule under the Cromwell family, a prospect that could have prompted or speeded the composition of The Excellencie. Late in the summer news came through of the humiliating defeat of an ambitious expedition sent by Cromwell to attack the Spanish empire in the new world. The political and fiscal paralysis that would induce the government to call the parliament of 1656 was already apparent. Perhaps Nedham, as at other times in his career, was preparing to jump ship. But there is an alternative, or additional, possibility. Under the Rump his arguments, offensive or troubling as they must have been in varying degrees to a high proportion of the nation’s rulers, would have had support or protection from such radical figures as John Bradshaw and Henry Marten. Perhaps he had protectors, or even supporters, in Whitehall now. The protectorate, like the Rump before it, was a divided regime. Alongside those who wanted to steer it toward the resumption of monarchy, there were men, the military leaders Charles Fleetwood and John Desborough—Cromwell’s sonin-law and brother-in-law—at their fore, who saw the protectorate as a means to preserve the nation and the Puritan cause from the anarchy into which it had descended in 1653, but who resisted the monarchical trend that had followed Cromwell’s elevation. In opposition to it they were ready, in the manner of many politicians of the era, to endorse the publication of arguments bolder than their own positions. Fleetwood gave Sir Henry Vane encouragement to write A Healing Question Propounded. In 1654 Desborough had striven to protect a writer, John Streater, whose statements of republican principles were remarkably close to Nedham’s.90 He was, however, more vulnerable than Nedham. Being inflexibly committed to his principles, he had nothing to offer the government in return for toleration of his arguments. In 1654 he got into trouble for publishing a “discourse” in which “the excellence of a free state was maintained, and the inconveniences of a tyranny or single person were fully demonstrated.” Troops were sent to Streater’s house, perhaps at Thurloe’s behest, to silence him.91 In 1656 Streater would be the printer of Harrington’s Oceana.
Fleetwood and Desborough, however troubled they might have been by Nedham’s main argument, could have been expected to welcome certain of the adjustments that were made in The Excellencie to material that had appeared in Politicus. In The Excellencie Nedham fleetingly and tentatively allows for a possibility that he had ruled out in 1651-52 and that the tract of 1656 otherwise excludes: the appointment of a king, who would be “chosen by the people’s representatives, and made an officer of trust by them” (p. 41). In some men’s eyes, at least, that proposal would have been compatible, as the principles laid down on behalf of the protectorate in Nedham’s A True State in 1654 would not have been, with the sovereignty of Parliament, to which the king would be subordinate. The wording recalls that of the army when, before its march on London in December 1648, it contemplated the enthronement of an elected monarch.92Politicus had insisted that England’s republic be kept free from “mixture” with any other form of government. That stipulation was omitted from The Excellencie (p. 141). Perhaps the reminder in the preface that parliament had fought the king so that “the prince as well as the people might be governed by law” was another hint that the unqualified republicanism demanded by the main body of the tract was not nonnegotiable. Support could have been found within The Excellencie for the continuation of Cromwell in office, with reduced powers defined and delegated by a sovereign parliament.
Not only was it a solution that might have satisfied Fleetwood and Desborough. It would have more or less accorded with the goals of Presbyterian members of the Parliament of 1654-55 who had been appalled by the pure republicanism of the commonwealthmen, and who had accordingly been ready to help keep the protectorate in being, but who had insisted that the definition of the protector’s powers was a matter for Parliament alone. The editorials of Politicus had recalled the misconduct of those Members of Parliament and their allies in 1647. The Excellencie dropped those accusations (pp. 139, 158, 170, 173), which in any case now belonged to the past. Nedham does nothing to indicate any diminution of his aversion to Presbyterian bigotry, but he does omit the last of the editorials of Politicus, the more inflammatory of the two that he had directed at the clerical estate, which the Presbyterians championed. In other places on the periphery of its argument his tract likewise offers concessions, or the hope of them, to political groups distant from the commonwealthmen.
In their despair and anger at Cromwell’s usurpation, commonwealth-men had tried to form an anti-Cromwellian front, a tactic that would be repeated by Henry Neville and allies of his in the elections of 1656.93 The commonwealthmen even appealed, as Levellers had sometimes done in the years since 1649, to those fellow victims of Cromwellian or military rule, the royalists, whom The Excellencie also aspired to win over. Even though it remained hostile to the memory of Charles I, and even though it offered royalists, at least for the time being, no prospect of participation in politics, the tract took a much softer line against the Stuart cause than Politicus had done. The phrase “the late tyrant,” used of Charles I in Politicus, became, in 1656, “the late king” (pp. 37, 67, 92, 98). In the same year Harrington’s republican treatise Oceana likewise shielded Charles from the charge of tyranny. To Harrington, as to Nedham in The Excellencie, the tyrant was Cromwell.94Politicus had vilified “the odious . . . name of Stuart,” but The Excellencie replaced it with that of Richard III, the usurping king and former lord protector, whose name stood, in antiprotectoral thinking, for the usurper Cromwell.95 The social radicalism of the newsbook, which had corresponded to a marked trend of the political writing and agitation of 1651-52, but which would have exercised less public appeal by 1656, was toned down in The Excellencie. Criticisms of the social oppression which Politicus had discerned in the oligarchical republic of Venice were now reduced. The term “public popular militia” gives way to the tamer “public militia” (p. 92). Even as Nedham prepares, in the preface to The Excellencie, to argue for a contentious and animating political programme, he offers the prospect that the nation can become “a quiet habitation” where “none might make the people afraid.” By such tactics does he seek to portray the republicanism of Politicus as the natural creed not only of the radicals in parliament and army but of the broad, essentially conservative parliamentarian cause. To that end the republicanism is presented in what, at least to outward appearances, is a diluted form. Neville and other republicans would adopt the same tactic in Parliament in 1659.96
[65. ]Worden, “ ‘Wit in a Roundhead,’ ” p. 303.
[66. ]A comparable passage had appeared in April 1652 (p. 157): perhaps the editorials had nearly been terminated at that time.
[67. ]For the approximate date of publication see G. K. Fortescue, ed., Catalogue of the Pamphlets . . . collected by George Thomason, 1640-1661, 2 vols. (London, 1908), 2:153.
[68. ]The repetitions irritated a reviewer upon the book’s republication in 1767. Monthly Review, January 1767, p. 39.
[69. ]LP, pp. 349-53.
[70. ]Ibid., pp. 77n, 133-36, 409.
[71. ]Stowe MS 333, fols. 103-20, British Library. While Whitelocke’s longer extracts from Nedham seem to have been taken from the text of The Excellencie rather than of Politicus (for on the two pertinent occasions when the texts of those two publications diverge, Whitelocke’s wording is that of the tract rather than of the newsbook), there is one brief passage in which Whitelocke carries an echo of Politicus (fol. 113v, on Appius Claudius; see p. 177, below), and another that has material also to be found in Nedham’s The Case of the Commonwealth (fol. 120v, on Sallust; Knachel, pp. 116-17). While Whitelocke, in composing his manuscript, may simply have moved among Nedham’s publications, there is perhaps an alternative possibility: that he drew on a compendium of notes made available to him by Nedham. There is a hint elsewhere of literary collaboration between the two men. In 1652 Nedham, in dedicating his translation of John Selden’s Mare Clausum to Parliament in 1652, said that his work for the book had been much “indebted,” “(as I also am for many other favours), to a Right Honourable Member of your own great assembly” (Selden, Of the Dominion, sig. A2v). The obvious candidate is Selden’s friend and devoted admirer Whitelocke, whose own writing drew extensively on Selden’s. Though Whitelocke was no republican, he, like Nedham, defies the customary categorizations of Puritan politics. Like him he worked for, and was paid by, the protectorate while regarding it as a tyranny. Like him he had Leveller connections and sympathies that can surprise readers accustomed to his other faces. See Ruth Spalding, Contemporaries of Bulstrode Whitelocke 1605-1675 (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 457-63; Whitelocke, Memorials, 4:187. For the connections between Whitelocke and Nedham see, too, Spalding, Contemporaries of Bulstrode Whitelocke, pp. 215-18; LP, pp. 134-36.
[72. ]LP, pp. 305-13.
[73. ]State Papers of John Thurloe, ed. Birch, 2:164; John Goodwin, Peace Protected (London, 1654), pp. 71-72.
[74. ]LP, p. 141.
[75. ]A Perfect Diurnall; or, Occurrences of Certain Military Affairs (London, 1654), 4-11 September 1654, p, 152; A Perfect Account (London, n.d.), 6-13 September 1654, p. 1535.
[76. ]It is uncertain whether another republican attack on the protectorate, the Harringtonian tract carrying the title A Copy of a Letter from an Officer of the Army in Ireland (London, 1656), was really written by a soldier. The Political Works of James Harrington, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1977), pp. 10-12.
[77. ]He served the protectorate adroitly not only as a writer but as an informer and as a ruthless orchestrator of favorable addresses to the regime from the localities. LP, pp. 25-26. For his manipulation of news in the government’s interests see Patrick Little, “John Thurloe and the Offer of the Crown to Oliver Cromwell,” in Oliver Cromwell: New Perspectives, ed. Patrick Little (Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 223, 226-27.
[78. ]For the registration see A Transcript of the Registers of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, 3 vols. (London, 1913-14), 2:20. The fact that The Excellencie was registered can be taken to eliminate any possibility that the book was somehow published without Nedham’s willing involvement.
[79. ]Mercurius Pragmaticus, 26 September 1648, p. 16.
[80. ]Howell, Admonition.
[81. ]A True State of the Case of the Commonwealth (London, 1654), pp. 5-6.
[82. ]The book carried an advertisement for three of the publisher’s other productions, all of them carrying the date 1655. See Appendix A.
[83. ]Cromwell, Writings and Speeches, ed. Abbott, 4:169, 198.
[84. ]Roy Sherwood, Oliver Cromwell: King in All But Name (Stroud, U.K.: Sutton, 1997).
[85. ]Wootton, Republicanism, pp. 113-26; LP, pp. 105-15.
[86. ]I have explained the point in Wootton, Republicanism, pp. 111-14, although I should have paid more attention to the resemblances between the proposals and arguments advanced by the two writers for dividing and balancing the functions and powers of a senate and a popular assembly. Note, too, in Harrington’s account in Oceana of the age when “the world was full of popular governments” (Harrington, Political Works, l. 3, p. 312), the echo of Nedham’s allusion to the times when “the world abounded with free-states” (p. 35; compare p. 73).
[87. ]Patrick Little and David L. Smith, Parliaments and Politics During the Cromwellian Protectorate (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 257.
[88. ]For the practice of making barbed interlinear allusions to Cromwell as the “general” see LP, pp. 317-18. It had begun before 1653 (p. xl), and was used in Lilburne’s anti-Cromwellian tracts.
[89. ]Compare Nedham’s ingeniously hostile deployment of the same noun in 1659. LP, p. 44.
[90. ]LP, pp. 313-16; Wootton, Republicanism, p. 138 and n. 88.
[91. ]John Streater, Secret Reasons of State (London, 1659), p. 18; LP, p. 312.
[92. ]Worden, “Republicanism, Regicide and Republic,” pp. 320-21.
[93. ]Thurloe State Papers, 5:296.
[94. ]LP, pp. 105-14.
[95. ]William Prynne, King Richard the Third Revived (London, 1657), PRO 31.3/92, fol. 197, The National Archives.
[96. ]Wootton, Republicanism, pp. 126-38.