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The Excellencie of a Free-State - 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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The Excellencie of a Free-State
The Right Constitution
All Objections are answered, and
the best way to secure the Peoples
Some Errors of Government,
Rules of Policie.
Published by a Well-wisher to Posterity.
LONDON, Printed for Thomas Brewster, at the three
Bibles neer the West-end of Pauls. 1656.
To the Reader.
Taking notice of late with what impudence, and (the more is the pity) confidence, the Enemies of this Commonwealth in their publick Writings and Discourses labour to undermine the dear-bought Liberties and Freedoms of the People, in their declared Interest of a Free-State; I thought it high time, by counter-working them, to crush the Cockatrice in the Egg, that so it might never grow to be a Bird of prey: in order thereto, I have published this following Discourse to the World; that so the Eyes of the People being opened, they may see whether those high and ranting Discourses of personal Prerogative and unbounded Monarchy, (especially One lately published by Mr. Howel,Inspections.*that struts abroad with a brazen Face) or a due andorderly succession of the Supreme Authority in the hands of the Peoples Representatives, will best secure the Liberties and Freedoms of the People from the Incroachments and Usurpations of Tyranny, and answer the true Ends of the late Wars.
This Treatise is not intended for a particular Answer to Mr. Howel ’s said Book, but yet may obviate that part thereof which he calls, Some Reflexes upon Government: for his main design is not so much, (though that be part) to asperse the long Parliament, (and so through their sides to woundall their Friends and Adherents) as to lay a Foundation for absolute Tyranny, upon an unbounded Monarchy: and in order thereunto, he advises his Highness to lay aside Parliaments, (or at best, to make them Cyphers) and to govern the Nation Vi & Armis: not out of any Honour or respect he bears to his Person, but to bring the old Interest and Family into more credit and esteem with the People.
His Principles and Precedents, they are purely his own: for I am confident, that the most considerate part of those that did engage for the late King, are so far fromowning his Tenets, that they would rather lay aside the Family and Interest of the Stuarts , and declare for a Free-State, than indure to be yoked and enslaved by such an absolute Tyranny as he pleads for. My reason is this: because most of the Nobility and Gentry of this Nation have fair Estates of their own, free, without any dependence upon the Crown; and they would be as unwilling to render up their Estates and Posterities in the paw of the Lion, as the Commoners themselves.
His Precedents are as false as his Principles are bad: for proof hereof, take one (and that a main one) for all: he saith, That until the Reign of Henry the first, the Commons of England were not called to the Parliament at all, or had so much as a Consent in the making of Laws.
To prove that this is false, there is extant an old Latine Copy speaking of a Parliament in the Reign of King Ethelred; which telleth us, that in it were Universi Anglorum Optimates Ethelredi Regis Edicto: & convocata Plebis multitudine collectae Regis Edicto: A Writ of Summons for all the Lords, and for choiceof the Commons: a full and clear Parliament. My Author saith, The proofs of Parliaments, in Canute’s time, are so many, and so full, that they tire us altogether. His remarkable Letter from Rome, recorded by the Monk of Malmsbury, runs thus: To the Arch-Bishops, Bishops, &c. Primatibus & toti Genti Anglorum, tam Nobilibus, quam Plebeis. Hoveden is full in this also; Cujus (Edmundi) post mortem, Rex Canutus omnes Episcopos, Duces, nec non & Principes, cunctosque Optimates Gentis Angliae, Lundoniae congregrari jussit.Howel saith William the Conqueror first brought the word Parlament.A clear summons of Parliament: and the very name of Parliament is found (saith my Author) in his time, in the old Book of Edmunds-Bury. Rex Canutus, Anno Regni 5. cunctos Regni sui Praelatos, Proceresque, ac Magnates, ad suum convocans Parliamentum. And that it was a full Parliament, we may believe from the persons we finde there, at the Charterto that Monastery; confirmed by Hardicanute, but granted by Canute, in suo Publico Parliamento, praesistentibus personaliter in eodem Archi-Episcopis, Episcopis, Suffraganeis, Ducibus, Comitibus, Abbatibus, cum quam plurimis gregariis Militibus (Knights of shires it seems) & cum Populi multitudine copiosa (other Commons also) O mnibus tum eodem Parliamento personaliter existentibus . Edward the Confessor refers the repairing of Westminster to the Parliament: at length, cum totius Regni Electione, (they are his own words) he sets upon the decayed Minster.
But they that would know more of the Customs and Constitutions of this Nation, let them repair to those large Volumes, that are so frequent in print upon that Subject; especially that excellent Piece, The Rights of the Kingdom.*This may suffice to prove that the Commons were called to Parliament long before Henry the first.
Mr. Howel would have his Highness lay a Sesment for the repairing of Pauls without consent of Parliament.†I believe none will be offended with this following Discourse, but those that are Enemies to publick welfare: let such be offended still: it is not for their sakes that I publish this ensuing Treatise; but for your sakes, that have been noble Patriots, fellow-Souldiers; and Sufferers for the Liberties and Freedoms of your Country, that Posterity in after-ages may have something to say and shew to (if God shall permit any) succeeding Tyrants, where-fore their Fathers sacrificed their lives, and all that was dear to them: It was not to destroy Magistracy, but to regulate it; nor to confound Propriety, but to inlarge it: that the Prince as well as the People might be governed by Law; that Justice might be impartially distributed without respect of persons; that England might become a quiet Habitation for the Lion and the Lamb to lie down and feed together; and, that none might make the people afraid: it was for these things they fought and died; and that not as private persons neither, but by the publick command and conduct of the Supreme Power of the Nation, viz. the peoples Representatives in Parliament: and nothing will satisfie for all the Blood and Treasure that hath been spilt and spent, make England a glorious Commonwealth, and stop the mouths of all gainsayers; but a due and orderly succession of the Supreme Authority in the hands of the Peoples Representatives.
An Introduction to the Following Discourse.
[MP 71, 9-16 Oct. 1651]
1 When the Senators of Rome, in their publike Decrees and Orations, began to comply with and court the People, calling them Lords of the world; how easie a matter was it then for Gracchus to perswade them to un-Lord the Senate? In like manner, when Athens was quitted of Kings, the Power was no sooner declared to be in the People, but immediately they took it, and made sure of it in their own hands, by the advice of Solon, that excellent Lawgiver: for, as Cicero saith, There is a natural desire of Power and Sovereignty in every man: so that if any have once an opportunity to seize, they seldom neglect it; and if they are told it is their due, they venture life and all to attain it.*
If a People once conceive they ought to be free, this conception is immediately put in practice; and they free themselves. Their first care is to see, that their Laws, their Rights, their Deputies, their Officers, and all their Dependents, be setled in a state of freedom. This becoms like the Apple of the eye; the least grain, atome, or touch, will grieve it: it is an espoused virgin; they are extreme jealous over it.
Thus strangely affected were the Roman people, that if any one among them (though ne’er so deserving) were found to aspire, they presently fetch’d him down, as they did the gallant Maelius and Manlius; yea, their2 jealousie was so great, that they observed every man’s looks, his very nods, his garb, and his gait, whether he walked, conversed, and lived as a friend of Freedom among his neighbours. The supercilious eye, the lofty brow, and the grand paw were accounted Monsters, and no Character3 of Freedom; so that it was the special care of the wiser Patriots, to keep themselves in a demure and humble posture, for the avoiding of suspicion. Hence it was, that Collatinus, one of their Freedoms Founders, and of the first Consuls, living in some more State than ordinary, and keeping at too great a distance from the people, soon taught them to forget his former merits: insomuch, that they not onely turned him out of his Consulship, but quite out of the City into Banishment. But his Colleague Brutus, and that wise Man Valerius Publicola, by taking a contrary course, preserved themselves and their reputation. For, the one sacrificed his Children, those living Monuments of his House, to make the vulgar amends for an injury: the other courted them with the Title of Majesty, laid the Fasces, the Ensigns of Authority at their Feet, fixt all appeals at their Tribunals, and levelled the lofty Walls of his own stately House, for fear they should mistake it for a Castle. Thus also did Menenius Agrippa, Camillus, and other eminent Men in that popular State: so that by these4 means they made themselves the Darlings of the people, whilst many others of a more Grandee-humor, soon lost their Interest and Reputation.
Thus you see, that5 when a Peoples Right is once declared to them, it is almost impossible to keep it, or take it from them.
6 It is pity, that the people of England, being born as free as any people in the World, should be of such a supple humor and inclination, to bow under the ignoble pressures of an Arbitrary Tyranny, and so unapt to learn what true Freedom is. It is an inestimable Jewel, of more worth than your Estates, or your Lives: it consists not in a License to do what you list, but in these few particulars: First, in having wholesome Laws suted to every Man’s state and condition. Secondly, in a due and easie course of administration, as to Law and Justice, that the Remedies of Evil may be cheap and speedy. Thirdly, in a power of altering Government and Governours upon occasion. Fourthly, in an uninterrupted course of successive Parliaments, or Assemblies of the People. Fifthly, in a free Election of Members to sit in every Parliament, when Rules of Election are once established. By enjoying these onely, a people are said to enjoy their Rights, and to be truely stated in a condition of safety and Freedom.
[MP 73, 23-30 Oct. 1651]
Now if Liberty is the most precious Jewel under the Sun, then when7 it is once in possession, it requires more than an ordinary art and industry to preserve it. But the great question is, Which is the safest way? whether by committing of it into the hands of a standing Power, or by placing the Guardianship in the hands of the People, in a constant succession of their supreme Assemblys. The best way to determine this, is by observation out of Romane8 Stories; whereby it plainly appears, that people never had any real Liberty, till they were possess’d of the power of calling and dissolving the Supreme Assemblies, changing Governments, enacting and repealing Laws, together with a power of chusing and deputing whom they pleased to this work, as often as they should judge expedient, for their own well-being, and the good of the Publike. This power is said to be the first-born of that Peoples Freedom: and many a shrewd fit, many a pang and throw the Commonwealth had, before it could be brought forth in the world: which (Gracchus told them)* was a sore affliction from the gods, that they should suffer so much for the ignorance or negligence of their Ancestors, who when they drave out Kings, forgat to drive out the Mysteries and inconveniences of Kingly power, which were all reserved within the hands9 of the Senate. By this means the poor people missing the first opportunity of setling their freedom, soon lost it again: they10 were told they were a Free-state; and why? because (forsooth) they had no King, they had at length never a Tarquin to trouble them: but what was that to the purpose, as long as they had a Caius, and an Appius Claudius, and the rest of that gang, who infected the Senators with a11 humour of Kinging it from generation to generation? Alas, when the Romans were at this pass, they were just such another Free-state as was that of Sparta, in the days of yore, where they had a Senate too, to pull down the pride of Kings; but the people were left destitute of power and means to pull down the pride of the Senate; by which means indeed they12 became free to do what they list, whilst the people were confined within straiter bounds13 than ever. Such another Free-state in these daies is that of Venice, where the people are free from the Dominion of their Prince or Duke; but little better than slaves14 under the power of their Senate: but now in the Commonwealth of Athens the case was far otherwise; where it was the care of Solon, that famous Law-giver, to place both the exercise & interest of Supremacy in the hands of the people, so that nothing of a publick interest15 could be imposed, but what passed currant by vertue of their consent and Authority: he instituted that famous Council16 called the Areopagus, for the managing of State-transactions: but left the power of Legislation, or law-making, in a successive course of the peoples Assemblies; so that avoiding Kingly Tyranny on the one side, and Senatical incroachments on the other, he is celebrated by all Posterity, as the man that hath left the onely Patern of a Free-state fit for all the world to follow.
[MP 72, 16-23 Oct. 1651]
It is also to be observed, when17 Kings were driven out of Rome, though they were declared and called a Free-state, yet it was a long time ere they could be free indeed, in regard18Brutus cheated them with a meer shadow and pretence of liberty: he had indeed an Ambition high enough, and opportunity fair enough to have seized the Crown into his own hands; but there were many considerations that deterr’d him from it; for he well perceived how odious the name of King was grown: Besides, had he sought to Inthrone himself, men would have judged it was not love to his Country made him take up Arms19 , but desire of Dominion; nor could he forget, that serene20 privacy is to be preferr’d before Hazardous Royalty: For what hope could he have to keep the Seat long, who by his own example had taught the people both the Theory and practice of opposing Tyranny? It was necessary therefore that he should think of some other course more plausible, whereby to worke his own ends, and yet preserve the love of the people; who not having been used to liberty, did very little understand it, and therefore were the more easily gul’d out of the substance, and made content with the shadow.
For the carrying on this Design, all the projecting Grandees joyned pates together; wherein, as one observes, Regnum quidem nomen, sed non Regia potestas Româ fuit expulsa: Though the Name of King were exploded with alacrity, yet the Kingly power was retained with all Art and subtilty, and shared under another notion among themselves, who were the great ones of the City. For all Authority was confin’d within the walls of a standing Senate, out of which, two Consuls were chosen yeerly; & so by turns they dub’d one another with a new kinde of Regality: the people being no gainers at all by this alteration of Government, save onely, that (like Asses) they were sadled with new Paniers of Slavery.
But what followed? The Senate having got all power into their own hands, in a short time degenerated from their first Virtue and Institution, to the practice21 of Avarice, Riot, and Luxury; whereby the love of their Country was changed into a Study of Ambition and Faction: so that they fell into divisions among themselves, as well as oppressions over the people; by which divisions, some leading Grandees, more potent than their Fellows, took occasion to wipe their Noses, and to assume the Power into their own hands, to the number of ten persons. This Form of Government was known by the Name of the Decemvirate; wherein these new Usurpers, joyning Forces together, made themselves rich with the spoiles of the people, not caring by what unlawful means they purchased either Profit or Pleasure, till that growing every day more insupportable, they were in the end by force cashiered of their Tyranny.
How the Romans obtained their Rights and PriviledgesBut what then? The people being flesh’d with this Victory, and calling to minde how gallantly their Ancestors had in like manner banished Kings, began at last to know their own strength; and stomack’d it exceedingly, that themselves, on whose shoulders the frame of State was supported, (and for whose sakes all States are founded) should be so much vassalized at the will of others, that they who were Lords abroad, should be Slaves at home: so that they resolved to be ridden no longer under fair shews of Liberty. They raised a Tumult under the conduct of their Tribune Canuteius22 ; nor could they by any perswasion23 be induced to lay down Arms, till they were put in possession of their Rights and Priviledges.* They were made capable of Offices of the Government,24 even to the Dictatorship; had Officers of their own, called Tribunes, who were held sacred and inviolable, as Protectors† of the Commons, and retained a power of meeting and acting with all Freedom in their great Assemblies. Now, and never till now, could they be called a Free State, and Commonwealth, though long before declared so: for the way being open to all without exception, vertue, learning, and good Parts made as speedy a Ladder to climbe unto Honours, as Nobility of Birth; and a Good Man as much respected as a Great; which was a rare felicity of the Times, not to be expected again, but upon the dawning of another golden Age.Goodness preferred before Greatness.
The main Observation then arising out of this Discourse, is this: That not onely the Name of King, but the Thing King (whether in the hands of one or of many) was pluck’d up root and branch, before ever the Romans could attain to a full Establishment in their Rights and Freedoms.
[MP 70, 2-9 Oct. 1651]
What they did to preserve their Freedom.Now when Rome was thus declared25 A Free State, the next work was to establish their Freedom in some sure & certain way: & in order to this, the first business they pitch’d upon, was, not onely to ingage the people by an Oath against the return of Tarquin ’s Family to the Kingdom, but also against the admission of any such Officer as a King, for ever, because those brave men, who glorified themselves in laying the foundation of a Commonwealth, well knew, that in a short Revolution, others of a less publick Spirit would arise in their places, and gape again after a Kingdom.* And therefore it was the special26 care of those worthy Patriots, to imprint such Principles in mens mindes, as might actuate them with an irreconcilable enmity to the former Power: insomuch, that the very Name of King became odious to the Roman People; yea, and they were so zealous herein, that in process of time, when Caesar took occasion by Civil Discords to assume the Soveraignty into his single Hands, he durst not entertain it under the fatal27 Name of King, but clothed himself with the more plausible stile of Emperor28 ; which nevertheless could not secure him from the29 fatal stab that was given him by Brutus in revenge, on the behalf of the people. Our Neighbours of Holland traced this example at the heels, when upon recovery of their Freedom from Spain, they binde30 themselves by an Oath to abjure the Government, not onely of King Philip, but of all Kings for ever.Oaths in those days were not like an old Almanack.
Kings being cashiered out of Rome, then the Right of Liberty, together with the Government, was retained within the hands and bounds of the Patrician or Senatorian Order of Nobility; the people not being admitted into any share, till partly by Mutinies, and partly by Importunities31 , they compell’d the Senate to grant them an Interest in Offices of State, and in the Legislative Power, which were circumscribed before within the bounds of the Senate. Hence arose those Officers called Tribunes, and those Conventions called Assemblies of the People, which were as Bridles to restrain the Power and Ambition of the Senate, or Nobility.No Laws imposed, but with the Peoples Consent in their Assemblies. Before the erection of those, whilst all was in the hands of the Senate, the Nation was accounted Free, because not subjected to the will of any single person: But afterwards they were Free indeed, when no Laws could be imposed upon them, without a consent first had in the Peoples Assemblies: so that the Government in the end came to be setled in an equal mixture of both Interests, Patrician and Popular; under which Form, they attained to the height of all their Glory and Greatness. In this Form of Free-State, we now see the Venetian, where the Patrician is predominant, and the People a little too much kept under. The same Form is imbraced also by our Neighbours the United Provinces; but the best part of their Interest lies deposited in the hands of the people. Rome kept up their32 Senate as their standing Councel, for the managing of State-affairs, which require Wisdom and Experience: but as for making of Laws, and the main Acts of Supremacy, they were reserv’d to the Grand Assemblies; so that the People33 gave Rules whereby to govern, and the secrets of Government were intrusted in the hands of the Senate. And this Commonwealth ever34 thriv’d best, when the People had most Power, and used most Moderation: and though they made use of it now and then to fly out into extravagant courses, yet they were no lasting fits, like those distempers that brake out through the Ambition of the Senators. Besides, we cannot but take notice, as long as the Popular Interest continued regular, and more predominant than the other, so long the People were secure of their Liberties: which enjoyment, was a good Allay and Recompence, for many harsh inconveniences that brake out when they were unruly and irregular35 : Whereas, when the Senate afterwards worm’d the People out of Power, as that design went on by degrees, so Rome lost her Liberty; the Senate domineering over the People, and particular Factions over the Senate, till those Factions tearing one another to pieces, at length he that was head of the paramount surviving Faction, by name Caesar, took occasion to usurp over all, swallowing up the Rights and Liberties of the Romans, in the Gulph of a single Tyranny.The Romans lose their Rights and Liberties.
[MP 68, 18-25 Sep. 1651]
It was36 a Noble saying, (though Machiavel’ s) Not he that placeth a vertuous Government in his own hands, or family; but he that establisheth a free and lastingForm, for the Peoples constant security, is most to becommended.* Whosoever hath this oportunity, may improve his actions to a greater height of glory, than ever followed the fame of any ambitious Idol that hath grasp’d a Monarchy: for, as Cato saith in Plutarch, Even the greatest Kings, or Tyrants, are far inferiour to those that are eminent in Free-States and Commonwealths: Nor were those mighty Monarchs of old, to be compared with Epimanondas37 , Pericles, Themistocles, Marcus Curius, Amilcar, Fabius, and Scipio, and other excellent Captains in Free-States, which purchased themselves a fame, in defence of their Liberties.† And though the very name of Liberty was38 for a time grown odious, or ridiculous among us, having been39 long a stranger in these and other parts; yet in Ancient time, Nations were wont to reckon themselves so much the more Noble, as they were free from the Regal yoke: which was the cause why then there were so many Free-States in all parts of the world.40
The Romans flourished most when they were a Free-State.Nor is it onely a meer Gallantry of spirit that excites men to the love of Freedom; but experience assures it to be the most commodious and profitable way of Government, conducing every way to the enlarg ing a people41 in Wealth and Dominion. It is incredible to be spoken, (saith Salust) how exceedingly the Romane Commonwealth increased in a short time, after they had obtained Liberty. And Guicciardine42 affirms, That Free-States must needs be more pleasing to God than any other Form, because in them more regard is to be had to the common good, more care for the impartial distribution of Justice, and the mindes of men are more enflamed thereby to the love of Glory and Vertue, and become much more zealous in the love of Religion, than in any other Government whatsoever.‡
It is wonderful to consider, how mightily the Athenians were augmented in a few years, both in Wealth and Power, after they had freed themselves from the Tyranny of Pistratus43 : but the Romans arrived to such a height, as was beyond all imagination after the expulsion of their Kings, and Kingly Government. Nor44 do these things happen without special reason; it being usual45 in Free-States to be more tender of the Publick in all their Decrees, than of particular Interests: whereas the case is otherwise in a Monarchy, because in this Form the Princes pleasure weighs46 down all Considerations of the Common good. And hence it is, that a Nation hath no sooner lost its Liberty, and stoop’d under the yoke of a single Tyrant, but it immediately loseth its former lustre, the Body fills with ill humors, and may swell in Titles;47 but cannot thrive either in Power or Riches, according to that proportion which it formerly enjoyed, because all new Acquisitions are appropriated as the Princes peculiar, and in no wise conduce to the ease and benefit of the Publick.
[MP 37, 13-20 Feb. 1651]
It was the pride of Richard Nevil the great Earl of Warwick, and he reckoned it the greatest of earthly glories, to be called, (as indeed he was) a Kingmaker, in that he made and unmade Kings at his pleasure48 : for we read in our Chronicles, how that he first pull’d down the House of Lancaster, and brought King Henry the sixth from a Crown to a Prison; setting up the Title of the House of York, in the person of King Edward the fourth: afterwards, he deposed49 this Edward, drave him out of England, and restored the same Henry to the Crown, whom he had before depress’d. But the great Query is, Wherefore, and how this was done? One would have thought, there had been no hope of reconciliation betwixt him and the House of Lancaster, having so highly disobliged them, in casting down and imprisoning the person of Henry. But yet it is very observable of this man, Warwick, being50 on a sudden discontented with the change that51 he had made, because he missed of those ends which he aimed at, in bringing it about; and perceived other persons (whom he conceived his inferiours), to partake of the interest and favour of Edward; therefore, out of an emulous impatience of Spirit, he presently cast about to undo all that before he had done; he supprest the new Government, to advance52 the old.
From which piece of Story, we may very well conclude,53 how unsafe it is in a new alteration, to trust any man with too great a share of Government, or place of Trust; for such54 persons stand ever ready (like that Warwick) upon any occasion of discontent, or of serving their own Interests, to betray and alter the Government; especially if they have Warwick ’s main Guard, that is, if they can (as he did) bring the Prince whom they formerly disobliged, to come in upon their own terms, and upon such conditions as may bridle him, and secure the Power so in their own Hands, that whilst he King it onely in Title, themselves may be Kings de facto, and leave their old Friends in the lurch, or yeeld them up at Mercy, (as Warwick did) to gratifie the Tyrant55 , and their own Tyrannical ambition.
The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth.
[MP 77, 20-27 Nov. 1651]
The Romans having justly and nobly freed themselves from the Tyranny of Kings, and being in time brought to understand that the interest of Freedom consists in a due and orderly Succession of the Supreme Assemblies; they then made it their care, by all good ways and means, to fortifie the Commonwealth, and establish it in a free enjoyment of that Interest, as the onely bar to the return of Kings, and their main security against the subtil mining of Kingly humours and usurpations. The publicke Rostra, or Pulpits, sounded out the commendations of Freedom; their Augurs, or Prophets, found Freedom written in the entrails of Beasts, and collected it from the flight of the auspicious bird57 , the Sun-daring Eagle, spreading her wings aloft over the Capitol: the common people also, in their common58 discourses, breathed nothing but Freedom; and used the frequent mention of it, as a Charm against the return of Tyranny.59
Nor was it without reason, that this brave and active people were so studiously devoted to the preservation of their Freedom, when they had once attained it, considering how easie and excellent it is above all other Forms of Government, if it be kept within due bounds and order. It is an undeniable Rule, That the People (that is, such as shall be successively chosen to represent the People) are the best Keepers of their own Liberties; and that for these following Reasons.The people the best Keepers of their own Liberties.
First, because they never think of usurping60 over other mens Rights, but minde61 which way to preserve their own. Whereas, the case is far otherwise among Kings and Grandees, as all Nations in the world have felt to some purpose: for they naturally move within the circle of domination, as in their proper Centre; and count it no less Security than Wisdom and Policy, to brave it over the People.I Reason, because the people never think of usurping over other mens Rights Thus Suetonius tells us, how Caesar, Crassus, and another, Societatem iniere, nequid ageretur in Repub. quod displicuisset ulli e tribus: Made a bargain between themselves, that nothing should be done in the Commonwealth that displeased either of them three.* Such another Triumvirate of Grandees was that of Augustus, Lepidus, and Antonie, who agreed to share the world between themselves; and traced the same paths as the other did, to the top of worldly Tyranny, over the ruines of their Countries Liberties: they sav’d and destroy’d, depress’d and advanc’d whom they pleased, with a wet Finger.† But whilst the Government remained untouch’d in the peoples Hands, every particular man lived safe, (except the Ambitious) and no man could be undone, unless a true and satisfactory reason were rendered to the world for his destruction.
Secondly, the People are best Keepers of their own Liberty,The peoples care is, that publick Authority be constituted for publick ends. because it is ever the Peoples care to see, that Authority be so constituted, that it shall be rather a burthen than benefit to those that undertake it; and be qualified with such slender advantages of profit or pleasure, that men shall reap little by the enjoyment. The happy consequence whereof is this, that none but honest, generous, and publick Spirits, will then desire to be in Authority, and that onely for the Common good. Hence it was, that in the Infancy of the Romane Liberty, there was no canvasing of Voices; but single and plain-hearted men were called, intreated, and in a manner forced with importunity to the Helm of Government, in regard of that great trouble and pains that followed the imployment. Thus Cincinnatus was fetch’d out of the Field from his Plow, and placed (much against his will) in the sublime Dignity of Dictator: so the noble Camillus, and Fabius, and Curius, were, with much adoe, drawn from the recreation of Gardening, to the trouble of Governing: and the Consul-yeer being over, they returned with much gladness again to their private employment.62
[MP 78, 27 Nov.-4 Dec. 1651]
Succession in power is the grand preventive of Corruption.A third Reason why the People in their Supreme Assemblies successively chosen, are the best Keepers of their Liberty, is,63 because as motion in Bodies natural, so succession in civil, is the grand preventive of corruption. The Truth of this will appear very clearly, if we weigh the effects of every standing Authority from first to last in the Romane State: for whilst they were governed by a continued Power in one and the same Hands, the People were ever in danger of losing their Liberty: sometimes in danger of being swallowed up by Kingly aspirers, witness the design of Maelius, Manlius, and others; sometimes in danger of a surprise by a Grandee Cabinet or Junta64 , who by contracting a particular Interest, distinct from that which they had in common with the people, so ordered the matter in time, that partly by their own strength, and partly by advantage65 of Power, to gratifie and curb whom they pleased, and to wind in other Councils66 and parties to their own, they still brought the lesser into such subjection, that in the end they were forced all either to yeild to the pleasure of the Grandees, or be broken by them. By these practices, they produced that upstart Tyranny of the Decemviri, when ten men made a shift to enslave the Senate, as well as the people. Lastly, by continuing power too long in the hands of particular persons, they were swallow’d up67 by two Triumvirates of Emperors by turns, who never left pecking at one another, till Julius and Augustus, having beaten all Competitors out of the Field, subjected all to the will of a single Emperour. If this were so among the Romans, how happy then is any Nation, and how much ought they to joy in the Wisdom and Justice of their Trustees, where certain Limits and Bounds are fixed to the Powers in being, by a declared succession of the supreme Authority in the hands of the People!68
[MP 79, 4-11 Dec. 1651]
69 A fourth Reason is, because a succession of supreme Powers doth not onely keep them from corruption, but it kills that grand Cankerworm of a Commonwealth, to wit, Faction: for, as Faction is an adhering to, and a promoting of an Interest, that is distinct from the true and declared Interest of State: so it is a matter of necessity, that those that drive it on, must have time to improve their slights and projects, in disguising their designs, drawing in Instruments and Parties, and in worming out of their opposites. The effecting of all this, requires some length of time: therefore the only prevention70 is a due succession and revolution of Authority in the Hands of the People.A succession of Supreme Power kills that Cankerworm of a Commonwealth, to wit, Faction.
That this is most true, appears not onely by Reason, but by Example: if we observe the several turns of Faction in the Romane Government. What made their Kings so bold, as to incroach and tyrannize over the People, but the very same course71 that heightned our Kings heretofore in England, to wit, a continuation of Power in their own Persons and Families? Then, after the Romans became a Commonwealth, was it not for the same Reason, that the Senate fell into such heats72 and fits among themselves? Did not Appius Claudius and his Junta, by the same means, Lord it73 over the Senate? Whence was it, that Sylla and Marius caused so many proscriptions, cruelties, and combustions in Rome, but by an extraordinary continuation of Power in themselves? How came it to pass likewise, that Julius Caesar aspired, and in the end attained the Empire? and, that the People of Rome quite lost their Liberty, was it not by the same means? For, had not the Senate and People so long protracted the Power74 of Pompey and Caesar; had Pompey had less command in Asia, and Caesar less in Gallia, Rome might have stood much longer in the possession of her Liberty.
After the death of Caesar, it was probable enough, they might then have recovered their Liberty, but that they ran again into the same Error, as before: for by a continuation of Power in the hands of Octavius, Lepidus, and Antonie, the Commonwealth came to be rent and divided into three several Factions; two of which being worn out by each other, onely Octavius remained; who considering, that the Title of perpetual Dictator was the ruine of his Father Julius, continued the Government onely for a set-time, and procured it to be setled upon himself but for ten yeers. But what was the effect of this continuation of Power? Even this, That as the former protractings had been75 the occasions of Faction, so this produced a Tyranny: for, at the end of every ten yeers, he wanted no pretence to renew a lease of the Government; and by this means so played his Cards, that at length76 he easily and utterly extinguished the small remains of the Roman Freedom.
The Observation then arising from hence, is this, that the onely way for a people to preserve themselves in the enjoyment of their Freedom, and to avoid those fatal inconveniences of Faction and Tyranny, is, to maintain a due and orderly succession of Power and Persons. This was, and is, good Commonwealths77 Language; and without this Rule, it is impossible any Nation should long subsist in a State of Freedom. So that the Wisdom, the Piety, the Justice, and the self-denial of those Governours in Free-States, is worthy of all honour and admiration, who have, or shall at any time as willingly resign their Trusts, as ever they took them up; and have so far denied themselves, as to prefix Limits and Bounds to their own Authority. This was it that made Brutus so famous in the beginning of the Romane Commonwealth.78 For this also it was, that History hath left so reverend a remembrance of Scipio, Camillus, and Virginus79; as did Cato likewise of Pompey: whilst the ten Grandee Usurpers, with Sylla, and Caesar, and the Names of others that practised the contrary, are left as odious upon the Roman Record, as the Name of Richard the third80 , will be in our modern Chronicle, to all Posterity.
[MP “79” (80), 11-18 Dec. 1651]
A succession of Powers & Persons is the onely remedy against self-seeking.A fifth Reason to prove the Life of Liberty lies in succession of Powers and Persons, is, because it is the onely Remedy81 against Self-seeking, with all the powerful Temptations and Charms of self-interest: for the attaining of particular ends, requires length of time, as well as the creating and promoting of a Faction: both these designs must lie long in fermentation, or else they can never gain the beloved opportunity to bring matters to perfection. The Truth of this appears likewise in the Story of the Romane State: for, as long as all Authority was confined within the Walls of a standing Senate, they being more studious of their own, than the common good, in a short time the Commonwealth was turned altogether into a private; insomuch, that the people became not onely incapable of any Honour and Authority; but well-nigh reduced to flat beggery. Hence it was, that so many Quarrels and Combustions arose one after another: for, the Great Ones having made use of their time, in drawing all to themselves, the People were forc’d to live upon borrowing; and when they could borrow no longer, they fell into a general Mutiny, and forsook the City: nor could they be pacified till all Accounts were quitted; and then, with much adoe, they were wrought upon with the Eloquence of Menenius Agrippa, with his excellent Fable of a Mutiny in a natural Body, among the Members against the Belly.*
Thus, as the first Insurrection was occasioned by the Usury and Exactions of the Great Ones; who by their long continuance in Power, had drawn all unto themselves: so the second was occasioned by the Lordliness of those ten Persons, who being elected to do Justice, according to the Laws, made use of their time, onely to confirm their Power, and Greaten themselves, by replenishing their own Coffers, ingrossing of Offices, and preferring their own Kindred and Alliances: and at length, improved Self-Interest so high, that they domineered, like absolute Tyrants, advancing and depressing whom they pleased, without respect of Merit or Insufficiency, Vice or Vertue; so that having secured all in their own Hands, they over-ruled82 their Fellow-Senators at pleasure, as well as the People.83
Many more instances of After-times might be given; but these are sufficient whereupon to ground this Observation84 , That as the first Founders of the Roman Liberty did well in driving out their Kings; so on the other side, they did very ill in setling a standing Authority within themselves: for, by this means, lying open to the Temptations of Honour and Profit, (which are Sails too big for any humane bulk) they were immediately swallowed up of Self85 ; and taking their rise from the opportunity of a continued Power, made use of the Publick onely to advance their Private, whereby they put the Commonwealth86 into frequent flames of discontent and sedition; which might all have been prevented, could they have denied themselves at first, and setled the State Free indeed, (as they ought to have done) by placing an orderly succession of supreme87 Authority in the Hands of the People.88
[MP 81, 18-25 Dec. 1651]
The end of all Government, being the good & ease of the people, they best know where the shooe pinches.A sixth Reason, why a Free-State is much more excellent than a Government by Grandees or Kings; and, that the People are the best Keepers of their own Liberties, is,89 because, as the end of all Government is (or ought to be) the good and ease of the People, in a secure enjoyment of their Rights, without Pressure and Oppression: so questionless the People, who are most sensible of their own Burthens, being once put into a capacity and Freedom of Acting, are the most likely to provide Remedies for their own Relief; they onely know where the shooe wrings,* what Grievances are most heavy, and what future Fences they stand in need of, to shelter them from the injurious Assaults of those Powers that are above them: and therefore it is but Reason, they should see that none be interested in the supreme Authority, but Persons of their own election, and such as must in a short time return again into the same condition with themselves, to reap the same Benefit or Burthen, by the Laws enacted, that befalls the rest of the People. Then the issue of such a Constitution must needs be this, That no Load shall be laid upon any, but what is common to all, and that always by common consent; not to serve the Lusts of any, but onely to supply the Necessities of their Country.
But when it happens, that a supreme Power long continues in the Hands of any Person or Persons; they, by greatness of place, being seated above the middle Region of the People, sit secure from all windes and weathers, and from those storms of violence that nip and terrifie the inferiour part of the World: whereas, if by a successive Revolution of Authority, they came to be degraded of their Earthly Godheads, and return into the same condition with other Mortals, they must needs be the more sensible and tender of what shall be laid upon them. The strongest Obligation that can be laid upon any Man in pub-lick Matters, is, To see that he ingage in nothing but what must either offensively or beneficially reflect upon himself: for as, if any be never so good a Patriot, yet if his power be prolonged, he will finde it hard to keep Self from creeping in upon him, and prompting him to some Extravagancies for his own private Benefit; so, on the other side, if he be shortly to return to a condition common with the rest of his Brethren, self-Interest90 bindes him to do nothing but what is Just and Equal; he himself being to reap the good or evil of what is done, as well as the meanest of the people.
This without controversie must needs be the most Noble, the most Just, and the most excellent way of Government in Free-States; without which, it is obvious to common sense, no Nation can long continue in a state of Freedom: as appears likewise by Example out of the Romane Story. For what more noble Patriots were there ever in the World, than the Romane Senators were, whilst they were kept under by their Kings, and felt the same Burthens of their fury, as did the rest of the people? but afterwards being freed from the Kingly yoke, and having secured all power within the hands of themselves and their posterity, they at length fell into the same Absurdities that had been before committed by their Kings; so that this new yoke became more intolerable than the former. Nor could the people finde any Remedy, untill91 they procured that necessary office of the Tribunes; who being invested with a temporary Authority by the peoples Election, remained the more sensible of their condition, and were as Moderators between the Power of the Great Ones, and the Rights of the People.
What more excellent Patriot could there be than Manlius, till he became corrupted by Time and Power? Who more Noble, and Courteous, and Well-affected to the common good, than was Appius Claudius92 at first? but afterwards, having obtained a Continuation of the Government in his own hands, he soon lost his primitive Innocency and Integrity, and devoted himself to all the Practices of an Absolute Tyrant.93 Many others might be reckon’d up. And therefore, hence it was, That when the Senate (for some Reasons) thought to continue Lucius Quintius in the Consulship longer than the usual time; that gallant Man utterly refused it,* and chose rather to deny himself, than that a Precedent so prejudicial to the Romane Freedom should be made for his sake, by a Prerogative94 of Authority in his hands, beyond the ordinary Custome.95
[MP 82, 25 Dec. 1651-1 Jan. 1652]
In this Government the door of Dignity stands open to all that ascend thither by the steps of Worth and Vertue.A seventh Reason why a people qualified with a due and orderly succession of their Supreme Assemblies, are the best keepers of their own Liberties, is, Because96 , as in other Forms, those persons onely have access to Government, who are apt to serve the lust and will of the Prince, or else are parties or97 compliers with some powerful Faction: so in this Form of Government by the People, the door of Dignity stands open to all (without exception) that ascend thither by the steps of Worth and Vertue: the consideration whereof hath this noble effect in Free-States, That it edges mens spirits with an active emulation, and raiseth them to a lofty pitch of designe and action.
The truth of this is very observable in the Romane State98 : for, during the Vassalage of that People under Kings, we read not of any notable Exploits, but finde them confined within a narrow compass, oppress’d at home, and ever and anon ready to be swallowed up by their enemies. After this Government of Kings was abolished, you know that of Grandees in a standing Senate was next erected; under which Form, they made shift to enlarge their bounds a little: but the most they could then do, was only to secure themselves from the attempts of the banished Tarquins, and those petty neighbours that envied the small increase of their Dominion. But at length, when the State was made free indeed, and the People admitted into a share and interest in the Government, as well as the Great Ones; then it was, and never till then, that their thoughts and power began to exceed the bounds of Italy, and aspire towards that prodigious Empire. For, while the road of Preferment lay plain to every man, no publike work was done, nor any Conquest made; but every man thought he did and conquered all for himself, as long as he remained valiant and vertuous: it was not Alliance, nor Friendship, nor Faction, nor Riches, that could advance men; but Knowledge, Valour, and vertuous Poverty, was preferred above them all.
For the confirmation whereof, we finde in the same Story, how that many99 of their brave Patriots and Conquerors were men of the meanest Fortune, and of so rare a temper of spirit, that they little cared to improve them, or enrich themselves by their publike employment: so that when they died, they were fain to be buried at the publike charge. We finde Cincinnatus, a man of mean fortune, fetch’d from the Plough, to the dignity of a Dictator: for he had100 no more than four acres of land, which he tilled with his own hands. Yet so it101 happened, that when the Roman Consul with his whole Army was in great peril, being circumvented and straitned by the Equuns102 , and the City of Rome it self in a trembling condition103 ; then, with one consent, they pitch’d upon Cincinnatus, as the fittest man for their deliverance: and he behaved himself so well104 , with so much magnanimity, integrity, and wisdom, that he relieved the Consul, routed and utterly subdued the Enemy, and gave as it were a new life to his Countries Liberties: which work being over, he with all willingness quitted his Authority, and returned to the condition of a painful private life.
This Example might seem strange, but that we know it was ordinary in that State, till it grew corrupt again: for, we read also, how Lucius Tarquin, (not of the Tyrants family) a man of mean fortune, yet of great worth, was chosen General of the Horse, and drawn to it out of the Country, in which place he surpassed all the Romane youth for gallant behaviour. Such another plain Country-fellow was Attilius Regulus, the scourge of Carthage in his time; of whom many eminent points of Bravery were105 recorded: as were also most of those Heroick spirits that succeeded, down to the times of Lucius Paulus106Emilius, by whose Conquests, the first charms and inchantments of Luxury were brought out of Asia to Rome, and there they soon swallowed up the remainders of primitive integrity and simplicity. And yet it is very observable also, that so much of the ancient severity was remaining still even in the time of this Paulus, the famous General, that a Silver dish, that was part of the Spoil, being given to a son-in-law of his, who had fought stoutly in that war, it was thought a great reward; and observed by the Historian,* to be the first piece of plate that ever was seen in the Family.
This Observation then arises from this Discourse,107 That as Rome never thrived till it was setled in a Freedom of the People; so that Freedom was preserved,108 and that109 Interest best advanced, when all Places of Honour and Trust were exposed to men of Merit, without distinction; which happiness could never be obtained, until110 the people were instated in a capacity of preferring whom they thought worthy, by a Freedom of electing men successively into their Supreme Offices and Assemblies. So long as this Custome continued, and Merit took place, the people made shift111 to keep and encrease their Liberties: but when it lay neglected, and the stream of Preferment began to run along with the favour and pleasure of particular powerful men, then Vice and Compliance making way for Advancement, the people could keep their Liberties no longer; but both their Liberties and themselves were made the price of every man’s Ambition and Luxury.The People are the best Keepers of their Liberty, because they only are concerned in the point of Liberty.
[MP 83, 1-8 Jan. 1652]
The eighth Reason, why the People in their Assemblies are the best Keepers of their Liberty, is,112 because it is they onely that are concerned in the point of Liberty: for, whereas in other Forms the main Interest and Concernment both of Kings and Grandees, lies either in keeping the People in utter ignorance what Liberty is, or else in allowing and pleasing them onely with the name and shadow of Liberty in stead of the substance: so in Free-States the People being sensible of their past condition in former times113 , under the Power of Great Ones, and comparing it with the possibilities and enjoyments of the present, become immediately instructed, that their main Interest and Concernment consists in Liberty; and are taught by common sense, that the onely way to secure it from the reach of Great Ones, is, to place it in the Peoples Hands, adorned with all the Prerogatives and Rights of Supremacy. The Truth of it is, the Interest of Freedom is a Virgin that every one seeks to deflower; and like a Virgin, it must be kept from114 any other Form, or else (so great is the Lust of mankinde after dominion) there follows a rape upon the first opportunity. This being considered, it will easily be granted, That Liberty must needs lie more secure in the Peoples than in any others hands, because they are most concerned in it: and the careful eyeing of this Concernment, is that which makes them both jealous and zealous; so that nothing will satisfie, but the keeping of a constant Guard against the Attempts and Incroachments of any powerful or crafty Underminers.
Hence it is, that the115 People having once tasted the Sweets of Freedom, are116 so extreamly affected with it, that if they discover, or do but suspect the least Design to incroach117 upon it, they count it a Crime never to be forgiven for any consideration whatsoever. Thus it was in the Romane State, where one gave up his Children, another his Brother to death, to revenge an Attempt against common Liberty: divers also sacrificed their Lives, to preserve it; and some their best Friends, to vindicate it, upon bare suspicion; as in the Cases of Maelius, and Manlius, and others, after manifest violation, as in the Case of Caesar.
Nor was it thus onely in Rome; but we finde also as notable instances of revenge in the Free-People of Greece, upon the same occasion. But the most notable of all, is that which happened in the Island of Corcyra, during the war of Peloponnesus: where the People having been rook’d of Liberty by the slights and power of the Grandees, and afterwards by the assistance of the Free-states118 of Athens recovering it again, took occasion thereupon to clap up all the Grandees, & chop’d off ten of their Heads at one time, in part of satisfaction for the Injury: but yet this would not serve the turn; for, some delay being made in executing of the rest, the People grew so inraged, that they ran, and pull’d down the very Walls, and buried them in the ruines and rubbish of the Prison.
We see it also in the Free-State of Florence, where Cosmus the first Founder of the Tuscan -Tyranny, having made shipwrack of their Liberty, and seized all into his own Hands; though he enslaved their Bodies, yet he could not subdue their Hearts, nor wear their past Liberty out of Memory; for upon the first opportunity, they sought revenge, and a recovery; forcing him to fly for the safety of his Life: and though afterwards he made way for his Return and Re-establishment by Treachery, yet now after so long a time, the old Freedom is fresh119 in memory, and would shew it self again upon a favourable occasion.
But of all Modern Instances, the most strange is that of the Land of Holstein; which being deprived of Liberty, and about seventy yeers120 since made a Dutchy, and an Appendix to the Crown of Denmark; though the Inhabitants be but a Boorish, poor, silly Generation, yet still they retain a sense of Indignation at the loss of their Liberty; and being given to drink, the usual Complement in the midst of their Cups, is this, Here is121a health to the remembrance of our Liberty.
Thus you see what an impression the love of Freedom makes in the minds of the people: so that122 it will be easily concluded, They must be the best Keepers of their own Liberties; being more tender and more concerned in their security, than any powerful pretenders whatsoever.
[MP 84, 8-15 Jan. 1652]
The Government of a Free State is less Luxurious, than Kings or GrandeesThe ninth Reason to justifie a Free-State, is,123 because in Free-States the People are less Luxurious, than Kings or Grandees use to be. Now, this is most certain, that where Luxury takes place, there is as natural a tendency to Tyranny, as there is from the Cause to the Effect: for, you know the Nature of Luxury lies altogether in Excess. It is a Universal Depravation of Manners, without Reason, without Moderation; it is the Canine appetite of a corrupt Will and Phant’sie, which nothing can satisfie; but in every Action, in every Imagination, it flies beyond the Bounds of Honesty,124 Just, and Good, into all Extremity: so that it will easily be granted, That Form of Government must needs be the most excellent, and the Peoples Liberty most secured,125 where Governours are least exposed to the baits and snares of Luxury.
The evidence of this may be made out, not onely by Reason, but by Examples old126 and new. And first, by Reason, it is evident, That the People must needs be less luxurious than Kings or the Great Ones, because they are bounded within a more lowly pitch of Desire and Imagination: give them but panem & circenses; Bread, Sport and Ease, and they are abundantly satisfied. Besides, the People have less means and opportunities for Luxury, than those pompous standing powers, whether in the hands of one or many: so that were they never so much inclined to Vice or Vanity, yet they are not able to run on to the same measure of Excess and Riot. Secondly, as it appears they are less Luxurious; so, for this Cause also, it is cleer, They (that is, their successive Representatives) must be the best Governours; not onely, because the current of succession keeps them the less corrupt and presumptious; but also, because, being the more free from luxurious Courses, they are likewise free from those oppressive127 and injurious Practices, which Kings and Grandees are most commonly led and forced128 unto, to hold up the port and splendor of their Tyranny, and to satisfie those natural appetites of Covetousness, Pride, Ambition and Ostentation, which are the perpetual Attendants of Great Ones, and Luxury. Thus much for Reason.
Now, for Example, we might produce a Cloud of Instances, to shew, That Free-States, or the People duely qualified with the Supreme Authority, are less devoted to Luxury, than the Grandee or Kingly Powers: but we shall give you onely a few.
The first that comes in our way is the State of Athens, which, whilst it remained free in the Peoples Hands, was adorned with such Governours as gave themselves up to a serious, abstemious, severe course of Life; so that whilst Temperance and Liberty walked hand in hand, they improved the points of Valour and Prudence so high, that in a short time they became the onely Arbitrators of all Affairs in Greece. But being at the height, then (after the common fate of all worldly Powers) they began to decline; for, (contrary to the Rules of a Free-State) permitting some men to greaten themselves, by continuing long in Power and Authority, they soon lost their pure Principles of Severity and Libertie: for, up-started129 those thirty Grandees, (commonly called the Tyrants) who having usurped a standing Authority unto themselves, presently quitted the old Discipline and Freedom, gave up themselves first to Charms of Luxury, and afterwards to all the practices of an absolute Tyranny. Such also was the condition of that State, when at another time (as in the dayes of Pistratus130 ) it was usurp’d in the hands of a single Tyrant.
From Athens let us pass to Rome, where we finde it in the dayes of Tarquin, dissolved into Debauchery. Upon the change of Government, their manners were somewhat mended, as were the Governours in the Senate: but that being a standing Power, soon grew corrupt; and first let in Luxury, then Tyranny, till the people being interested in the Government, established a good Discipline and Freedom both together; which was upheld with all Severity, till the ten Grandees came in play after; whose131 Deposition, Liberty, and Sobriety began to breath again, till the dayes of Sylla, Marius, and other132 Grandees that followed down to Caesar, in whose time Luxury and Tyranny grew to such a height, that unless it were in the Life and Conversation of Cato, there was not so much as one spark, that could be raked out of the ashes, of the old Roman Discipline and Freedom; so that of all the World, onely Cato remained as a Monument of that Temperance, Virtue and Freedom, which flourished under the Government of the People.133
Omitting many other Examples, our Conclusion upon134 these Particulars shall be this, That since the Grandee or Kingly Powers, are ever more luxurious, than the popular are, or can be: and since Luxury ever brings on Tyranny, as the onely bane of Liberty; certainly the Rights and Priviledges of the People, placed and provided for, in a due and orderly succession of their Supreme Assemblies, must needs remain more secure in their own Hands, than in any others whatsoever.135
[MP 85, 15-22 Jan. 1652]
A tenth Reason, to prove the excellency of a Free-State or Government by the People, above any other Form of Government, is,136 because under this Government, the People are ever indued with a more magnanimous, active, and noble temper of Spirit, than under the Grandeur of any standing power whatsoever. And this arises from that apprehension which every particular Man hath of his own immediate share in the publick Interest, as well as of that security which he possesses137 in the enjoyment of his private Fortune, free from the reach of any Arbitrary Power. Hence it is, that whensoever any good success or happiness betides the Publick, every one counts it his own:In a Free-State, the People are ever more magnanimous and valiant. if the Commonwealth conquer, thrive in Dominion, Wealth or Honour, he reckons all done for himself; if he sees138 Distributions of Honour, high Offices, or great Rewards, to Valiant, Vertuous, or139 Learned Persons, he esteems them as his own, as long as he hath a door left open to succeed in the same Dignities and Enjoyments, if he can attain unto the same measure of Desert. This it is140 which makes men aspire unto great Actions, when the Reward depends not upon the Will and Pleasure of particular Persons, as it doth under all standing Powers; but is conferred upon Men (without any consideration of Birth or Fortune) according to merit, as it ever is, and ought to be in Free-States, that are rightly constituted.
The Truth of this will appear much more evident, if ye list a little to take a view of the condition of People, under various Forms of Government: for, the Romanes of old, while under Kings, (as you heard before) remained141 a very inconsiderable People, either in Dominion or Reputation; and could never inlarge their Command very far beyond the Walls of their City. Afterwards, being reduced unto that standing power of the Senate, they began to thrive a little better, &, for a little time: yet all they142 could do, was only to struggle that for a subsistence among bad Neighbours. But at length, when the People began to know, claim, and possess their Liberties in being govern’d by a succession of their Supreme Officers and Assemblies; then it was, and never till then, that they laid the Foundation, and built the Structure of that wondrous Empire that overshadowed the whole World143 . And truely the founding of it must needs be more144 wonderful, and a great Argument of an extraordinary Courage and Magnanimity, wherewith the People was indued in145 Recovery of Liberty; because their first Conquests were laid in the ruine of mighty Nations, and such as were every jot as free as themselves: which made the difficulties so much the more, by how much the more free (and consequently, the more couragious) they were, against whom they made opposition: for as in those dayes the World abounded with Free-States, more than any other Form, as all over Italy, Gallia, Spain, and Africa, &c. so specially146 in Italy, where the Tuscans, the Samnites, and other Emulators and Competitors of the Romane Freedom,* approved themselves magnanimous Defenders of their Liberty against Rome, that they endured Wars so147 many yeers with utmost extremity, before ever they could [be] brought to bow under the Romane Yoke148 . This magnanimous State of Freedom, was the cause also why Charthage149 was enabled so long, not only to oppose, but often150 to hazard the Romane Fortune, and usurp the Laurel. It brought Hannibal within view, and the Gauls within the Walls of the City, to a besieging of the Capitol; to shew, that their Freedom had given them the courage to rob her of her Maiden-head, who afterwards became Mistriss of the whole World. But what serves all this for, but151 onely to shew, That as nothing but a State of Freedom could have enabled those Nations with a Courage sufficient so long to withstand the Romane Power: so Rome her self also was beholden to this State of Freedom, for those Sons of Courage which brought the Necks of her Sister-States and Nations under her Girdle? And it is observable also in after-times, when Tyranny took place against152 Liberty, the Romans soon lost their ancient Courage and Magnanimity; first under usurping Dictators, then under Emperors, and in the end, the Empire it self.153
Now, as on the one side, we feel154 a loss of Courage and Magnanimity, follow155 the loss of Freedom: so, on the other side, the People ever grow magnanimous and couragious156 upon a Recovery; witness at present, the valiant Swisses, the Hollanders, and not long since, our own Nation, when declared a Free-State, and a Re-establishment of our Freedom in the hands of the People procured, (though not secured) what noble Designs were undertaken and prosecuted with success? The Consideration157 whereof, must needs make highly for the Honour of all Governours in Free-States, who have been, or shall be instrumental in redeeming and setting158 any People in a fulness of Freedom, that is, in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies.
[MP 86, 22-29 Jan. 1652]
No determinations are carried but by consent of the People.The eleventh Reason is159 , because in this Form no Determinations being carried, but by consent of the People; therefore they must needs remain secure out of the reach of Tyranny, and free from the Arbitrary Disposition of any commanding Power. In this Case, as the People know what Laws they are to obey, and what Penalties they are to undergo, in case of Transgression; so having their share and interest in the making of Laws, with the Penalties annexed, they become the more inexcusable if they offend, and the more willingly submit unto punishment when they suffer for any offence. Now the case is usually far otherwise, under all standing Powers: for, when Government is managed in the hands of a particular Person, or continued in the hands of a certain number of Great Men, the People then have no Laws but what Kings and Great Men please to give: Nor do they know how to walk by those Laws, or how to understand them, because the sense is oftentimes left at uncertainty; and it is reckoned a great Mystery of State in those Forms of Government, That no Laws shall be of any sense or force, but as the Great Ones please to expound them: so as160 by this means, the People many times are left as it were without Law161 , because they bear no other construction and meaning, but what sutes with particular mens Interests and Phant’sies; not with Right Reason, or the Publike Liberty.
For the proof of this under Kingly Government, we might run all the world over; but our own Nation affords162 Instances enough in the Practices of all our Kings: yet this Evil never came to such a height, as it did in the Raign of Henry the seventh; who by usurping a Prerogative of expounding the Laws after his own pleasure, made them rather Snares, than Instruments of Relief, (like a grand Catch-pole) to pill, poll, and geld the Purses of the People; as his Son Harry did after him, to deprive many Gallant Men both of their Lives and Fortunes. For, the Judges being reputed the Oracles of the Law, and the power of creating Judges being usurp’d by Kings, they had a care ever to create such, as would make the Laws speak in Favour of them, upon any occasion. The Truth whereof hath abundantly appeared in the dayes of the late King163 , and his Father James, whose usual Language was this: As long as I have power of making what Judges and Bishops I please, I am sure to have no Law nor Gospel but what shall please me.164
This very providing165 for this Inconvenience, was the great Commendation of Lycurgus his Institution in Sparta; who, though he cut out the Lacedemonian Commonwealth166 after the Grandee fashion, confirming the Supremacy within the Walls of the Senate167 , (for their King was but a Cypher) yet he so ordered the matter, that he took away the Grandeur; that as their King was of little more value than any one of the Senators; so the Senate was restrained by Laws, walking in168 the same even pace of subjection with the People; having very few Offices of Dignity or Profit allowed, which might make them swell with State and Ambition; but were prescribed also the same Rules of Frugality, Plainness, and Moderation, as were the Common People: by which means immoderate lusts and desires being prevented in the Great Ones, they were the less inclined to Pride and Oppression; and no great profit or pleasure being to be gotten by Authority, very few desired it; and such as were in it, sate free from Envie, by which means they avoided that odium and emulation which169 uses to rage betwixt the Great Ones and the People in that Form of Government.
But now the case is far otherwise in the Commonwealth of Venice, where the People being excluded from all interest in Government, the power of making and executing of Laws, and bearing of Offices, with all other Immunities, lies onely in the hands of a standing Senate, and their Kindred, which they call the Patrocian, or Noble Order. Their Duke, or Prince, is indeed restrained, and made just such another Officer as were the Lacedemonian Kings; differing from the rest of the Senate, onely in a Corner of his Cap, besides a little outward Ceremony and Splendor: but the Senators themselves have Liberty at random, Arbitrarily to ramble, and do what they please with the people: who excepting the City it self, are so extreamly oppress’d in all their Territories, living by no Law, but the Arbitrary Dictates of the Senate, that it seems rather a Junta, than a Commonwealth170 ; and the Subjects take so little content in it, that seeing more to be enjoyed under the Turk, they that are his Borderers take all opportunities to revolt171 , and submit rather to the mercy of a Pagan-Tyranny. Which disposition if you consider, together with the little Courage in their Subjects, by reason they press them so hard; and how that they are forced, for this cause, to relie upon Forrain Mercenaries in all warlike Expeditions, you might wonder how this State hath held up so long; but that we know the Interest of Christendom, being concerned in her Security, she hath been chiefly supported by the Supplies and Arms of others.
Therefore our Conclusion172 shall be this, That since Kings, and all standing Powers, are so inclinable to act according to their own Wills and Interests, in making, expounding, and executing of Laws to the prejudice of the Peoples Liberty and Security: and seeing the onely way to prevent Arbitrariness, is, That no Laws or Dominations173 whatsoever should be made, but by the Peoples Consent and Election: therefore it must of necessity be granted, that the People are the best Keepers of their own Liberties, being setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies.
[MP 87, 29 Jan.-5 Feb. 1652]
174 A twelfth Reason is, because this Form is most sutable to the Nature and Reason of Mankinde:A Free-State is most sutable to the Nature and Reason of mankinde. for, as Cicero saith175 , Man is a noble Creature, born with Affections to rule, rather than obey; there being in every man a natural appetite or desire of Principality.* And therefore the Reason why176 one man is content to submit to the Government of another, is, not because he conceives himself to have less right than another to govern; but either because he findes himself less able, or else because he judgeth it will be more convenient for himself, and that community whereof he is a Member, if he submits177 unto another’s Government. Nemini178purere vult animus a naturâ bene informatus, nisi, &c. saith the same Cicero: that is to say, in honest English, A minde well in-structed by the light of Nature, will pay obedience unto none, but such as command, direct, or govern, for its good and benefit.* From both which passages and expressions of that Oracle of Humane wisdom, these three Inferences do naturally arise: First, that by the light of Nature people are taught to be their own Carvers and Contrivers, in the framing of that Government under which they mean to live. Secondly, that none are to preside in Government, or sit at the Helm, but such as shall be judged fit, and chosen by the People. Thirdly, that the People are the onely proper Judges of the convenience or inconvenience of a Government when it is erected, and of the behaviour of Governours after they are chosen: which three Deductions179 appear to be no more, but an Explanation of this most excellent Maxime, That the Original and Fountain of all just Power and Government is in the People.
This being so, that a Free-State-Government by the People, that is, by their successive Representatives, or supreme Assemblies, duely chosen, is most natural, and onely sutable to the Reason of mankinde: then it follows, that the other forms, whether it be of a standing Power in the Hands of a particular person, as a King; or of a set number of Great Ones, as in a Senate, are besides the Dictates180 of Nature, being meer artificial devices of Great Men, squared out onely to serve the Ends and Interests of Avarice, Pride and Ambition of a few, to a vassalizing of the Community. The Truth whereof appears so much the more, if we consider, That a181 Consent and free Election of the People, which is the most natural Way and Form of governing, hath no real effect in the other Forms; but is either supplanted by Craft and Custome, or swallowed up by a pernicious pretence of Right (in one or many) to govern, onely by vertue of an Hereditary succession. Now certainly, were there no other Argument to prove the excellency of Government by the People, &c. beyond the other Forms; yet this one might suffice, That in the Peoples Form, men have Liberty to make use of that Reason and Understanding God hath given them, in chusing of Governours, and providing for their own safety in182 Government: but in the other Forms of a standing183 Power, all Authority being entailed to certain Persons and Families, in a course of inheritance, men are alwayes deprived of the use of their Reason about choice of Governours, and forced to receive them blindely, and at all adventure184 : which course being so destructive to the Reason, common Interest, and Majesty of that Noble Creature, called Man, that he should not in a matter of so high consequence as Government, (wherein the good and safety of all is concerned) have a Freedom of Choice and Judgement, must needs be the most irrational and brutish Principle in the World, and fit onely to be hissed out of the World, together with all Forms of standing Power (whether in Kings, or others) which have served for no other end, but transform185 Men into Beasts, and mortified mankinde with misery through all Generations.
The Truth of this is evident all the World over; first, by sad Examples of Monarchy: for, the Kingly form having been retained in a course of Inheritance, men being forced to take what comes next for a Governour, whether it be Male or Female, a wise Man or a Fool, Good or Bad; so that the major part of Hereditary Princes, have been Tyrannous and Wicked by Nature, or made so by Education and Opportunity: the People have been for the most part banded186 to and fro, with their Lives and Fortunes, at the Will and Pleasure of some one single unworthy Fellow, who usually assumes the greater confidence in his unrighteous dealing, because he knows the People are tied in that Form to him and his, though he practice all the Injustice in the World. This was it that brought on Tyranny in Rome, first under their Kings, afterwards under Emperors: for it is to be observed out of the187 Story, that all those Emperors which ruled by right of Inheritance, proved most of them no better than savage Beasts, and all of them Wicked except Titus. ’Tis true indeed, That a Nation may have some respite and recruit now and then, by the Vertue and Valour of a single Prince; yet this is very rare; and when it doth happen, it usually lasts188 no longer than for his Life, because his Son or Successor (for the most part) proves more weak or vitious, than himself was Virtuous, as you may see in the several Lists of Kings throughout Great Britain,*France, Spain, and all the World. But this is not all the Inconvenience, that Hereditary Princes have been and are for the most part Wicked in their own Persons: for, as great Inconveniences happen by their being litigious189 in their Titles; witness the bloody disputes between190 the Princes of the Blood in France, as also in England, between the two Houses of Yorke and Lancaster; to which many more might be reckoned out of all other Kingdoms; which miseries, the people might have avoided, had they not been tied to one particular Line of Succession. Therefore, if any Kingly Form be tolerable, it must be that which is by Election, chosen by the Peoples Representatives, and made an Officer of Trust by them, to whom they are to be accountable. And herein, as Kings are onely tolerable upon this account, as Elective; so these Elective Kings191 are as intolerable upon another account, because their present Greatness gives them opportunity ever to practise such slights, that in a short time, the Government that192 they received onely for their own Lives, will become entailed upon their Families, whereby the Peoples Election will be made of no effect further, than193 for Fashion, to mock the poor People, and adorn the Triumphs of an aspiring194 Tyranny; as it hath been seen in the Elective Kingdoms of Bohemia, Poland, Hungaria195, and Sweden; where the Forms of Election were, and are still retained; but the Power swallowed up, and the Kingdoms made Hereditary; not only in Sweden, by the Artifice of Gustavus Ericus; but also in Poland, and the Empire, where the peoples right of election was soon eaten out by the cunning of the two Families of Casimira196 and Austria.
Let this serve to manifest,197 that a Government by a free Election and Consent of the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is more consonant to the light of Nature and Reason, and consequently much more excellent than any Hereditary standing Power198 whatsoever. To take off all mis-constructions; when we mention the People, observe all along, that we do not mean the confused promiscuous Body of the People, nor any part of the people who have forfeited their Rights by Delinquency, Neutrality, or Apostacy, &c. in relation199 to the divided state of any Nation; for they are not to be reckon’d within the Lists of the People200 .
[MP 88, 5-12 Feb. 1652]
In this Government there are fewer opportunities of Oppression and Tyranny, then under any other Form.The thirteenth Reason, to prove the excellency of a Free-State above any other Form, is,201 because in Free-States there are fewer opportunities of Oppression and Tyranny, than in the other Forms. And this appears, in that it is ever the care of Free-Commonwealths202 , for the most part, to preserve, not an Equality, (which were irrational and odious) but an Equability of Condition among all the Members; so that no particular Man or Men shall be permitted to grow over-great in Power; nor any Rank of Men be allowed above the ordinary Standard, to assume unto themselves the State and Title of Nobility.
The Observation of the former, secures the Peoples Liberty from the reach of their own Officers, such as being entrusted with the Affairs of high Trust and Imployment, either in Campe and Council,203 might perhaps take occasion thereby to aspire beyond Reason, if not restrained and prevented.
The Observation of the later204 , secures the People from the pressures and Ambition of such petty Tyrants, as would usurp and claim a Prerogative, Power, and Greatness above others, by Birth and Inheritance. These are a sort of Men not to be endured in any well-ordered Commonwealth; for they alwayes bear a Natural and Implacable Hate towards the People, making it their Interest to deprive them of their Liberty; so that if at any time it happen, that any great Man or Men whatsoever, arrive to so much Power and Confidence, as to think of usurping, or to be in a Condition to be tempted thereunto; these are the first that will set them on, mingle Interests with them, and become the prime Instruments in heaving them up into the Seat of Tyranny.
For the clearing of these Truths; and first, to manifest the Inconvenience of permitting any persons to be205 over-great in any State; and that Free-States that206 have not avoided it, have soon lost their Liberty, we shall produce a File of Examples. In Greece we finde, that the Free-State of Athens lost its Liberty upon that account once, when they suffered certain of the Senators to over-top the rest in power; which occasioned that multiplied Tyranny, made famous by the name of the thirty Tyrants: at another time, when by the same Error they were constrained, through the power of Pistratus207 , to stoop unto his single Tyranny.
Upon this score also, the people of Syracusa had the same misfortune under the Tyrant Hiero, as had they of Sicily under Dyonisius and Agathocles.
In Rome also the case is208 the same too: for during the time that Liberty was included within the Senate, they gave both Maelius & Manlius an opportunity to aspire, by permitting them a growth of too much Greatness: but by good fortune escaping their clutches, they afterwards fell as foolishly into the hands of ten of their Fellow-Senators, called the Decemviri, in giving them so much power as tempted them unto Tyranny. Afterwards, when the people scuffled, and made a shift to recover their Liberty out of the hands of the Senate, they committed the same Error too, by permitting of209 their Servants to grow over-great; such as Sylla, who by power tyrannized and made himself Dictator for five yeers, as Caesar afterwards setled the Dictatorship upon himself for ever: and after Caesar ’s death, they might have recovered their Liberty again, if they had taken care (as they might easily have done) to prevent the growing Greatness of Augustus, who gaining power first, by the courtesie & good will of the Senate and People, made use of it to establish himself in a Tyranny, which could never after be extinguished, but in the ruine of the Roman Empire it self.
Thus also the Free-State of Florence foolishly ruined it self by the greatning of Cosmus; first, permitting him to ingross the Power, which gave him opportunity to be a tyrant; & then as foolishly forcing him to declare himself a Tyrant, by an unseasonable demand of the power back out of his hands. Many more instances might be fetch’d out of Milan, Switzerland, and other places: but we have one neerer home, and of a later date, in Holland; whereby, permitting the Family of Orange to greaten a little more than beseemed a Member of a Free-State, they were insensibly reduced to the last cast, to run the hazzard of the loss of their Liberty.
Therefore one prime Principle of State, is,210 To keep any man, though he have deserved never so well by good success or service, from being too great or popular: it is a notable means (and so esteemed by all Free-States) to keep and preserve a Commonwealth from211 the Rapes of Usurpation.212
[MP 91, 26 Feb.-4 Mar. 1652]
In this form all Powers are accountable for misdemeanours in Government.A fourteenth Reason, (and though the last, yet not the least) to prove a Free-State or Government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is much more excellent than any other Form, is,213 because in this Form, all Powers are accountable for misdemeanors in Government, in regard of the nimble Returns and Periods of the Peoples Election: by which means, he that ere-while was a Governour, being reduced to the condition of a Subject, lies open to the force of the Laws, and may with ease be brought to punishment for his offence; so that after the observation of such a course, others which succeed, will become the less daring to offend, or to abuse their Trust in Authority, to an oppression of the People. Such a course as this, cuts the very throat of all Tyranny; and doth not onely root it up when at full growth, but crusheth214 the Cockatrice in the Egg, destroys it in the Seed, in the principal,215 and in the very possibilities of its being for ever after. And as the safety of the People, is the Soveraign and Supreme Law; so an establishment of this Nature, is an impregnable Bulwark of the Peoples safety, because without it, no certain Benefit can be obtained by the ordinary Laws; which if they should be dispensed by uncontrolable, unaccountable Persons in Power, shall never be interpreted, but in their own sense; nor executed, but after their own Wills and Pleasure.
Now, this is most certain, That as in the Government of the People, the successive Revolution of Authority by their consent, hath ever been the onely Bank against Inundations of Arbitrary Power and Tyranny; so on the other side, it is as sure, That all standing Powers have and ever do assume unto themselves an Arbitrary Exercise of their own dictates at pleasure, and make it their onely Interest to settle themselves in an unaccountable state of Dominion216 : so that, though they commit all the injustice in the World, their custome hath been still to perswade men, partly by strong pretence of Argument, and partly by force, that they may do what they list; and that they are not bound to give an account of their Actions to any, but to God217 himself. This Doctrine of Tyranny hath taken the deeper Root in mens mindes, because the greatest218 part was ever inclined to adore the Golden Idol of Tyranny in every Form: by which219 means the rabble of mankinde being prejudicated in this particular, and having plac’d their corrupt humour or interest in base fawning, and the favour of present Great Ones; Therefore if any resolute Spirit happen to broach and maintain true Principles of Freedom, or do at any time arise to so much courage, as to perform a noble Act of Justice, in calling Tyrants to an account, presently he draws all the enmity and fury of the World about him. But in Commonwealths it is and ought to be otherwise; for, in the Monuments of the Grecian and Romane Freedom, we finde, those Nations were wont to heap all the Honours they could invent, by publick Rewards, Consecration of Statues, and Crowns220 of Laurel, upon such worthy Patriots: and as if on earth all were too little, they inroll’d them in heaven among the221 Deities. And all this they did out of a Noble sense of Commonweal-interest;222 knowing that the life of Liberty consists in a strict hand, and zeal against Tyrants and Tyranny, and by keeping persons in power from all the occasions of it: which cannot be better done, than (according to the custom of all States that are really free) by leaving them liable to account: which happiness was never seen yet under the sun, by any Law or Custom established, save onely in those States, where all men are brought to taste of Subjection as well as Rule, and the Government setled by a due succession of Authority, by consent of the People.
In Switzerland the people are free indeed,223 because all Officers and Governours in the Cantons, are questionable by the People in their successive Assemblies.
The Inference from the fore-going particulars, is easie, That since Freedom is to be preserved no other way in a Commonwealth, but by keeping Officers and Governours in an accountable state; and since it appears no standing Powers can never be called to an account224 without much difficulty, or involving a Nation in Blood or Misery. And since a revolution of Government in the Peoples hands, hath ever been the onely means to make Governours accountable, and prevent the inconveniences of Tyranny, Distraction, and Misery; therefore for this, and those other reasons fore-going225 , we may conclude, That a Free-State, or Government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is far more excellent every way, than any other Form whatsoever.226
All Objections Against the Government of the People, Answered.
[MP 92, 4-11 Mar. 1652]
Considering, That in times past, the People of this Nation were bred up and instructed in the brutish Principles of Monarchy, by which means they have been the more averse from entertaining Notions of a more noble Form: and remembring, that not long since we were put into a better course, upon the declared Interest of a Free-State, or Commonwealth; I conceived nothing could more highly tend to the propagation of that good Interest, and the Honour of its Founders, than to manifest the Inconveniences and ill Consequences of the other Forms; and so to root up their Principles, that the good People227 , who but the other day were invested228 in the possession of a more excellent way, may (in order to their re-establishment) understand what Commonwealth-Principles are and229 thereby become the more resolute to defend them against the common Enemy; learn to be true Commonwealths men, and zealous against Monarchick-Interest, in all its appearances and incroachments whatsoever. To this end we have set down our Position, That a Free-State, or Government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is the most excellent Form of Government; which (I humbly conceive) hath been sufficiently proved, both by Reason and Example: but because many pretences of Objection are in being, and such as by many are taken for granted; therefore it falls in of course, that we may refute them: which being done with the same evidence of Reason and Example, I doubt not but it will stop all the Mouths, not onely of Ignorance, but even of Malice and Flattery, which have presumed to prophane that pure way of a Free-State, or Government by the People.
A Free state the only preservative against Levelling and confusion of propriety.That Objection of Royalists, and others, which we shall first take notice of, is this, That the erecting of such a Government would be to set on Levelling and Confusion.
For answer, If we take Levelling in the common usage and application of the term in these days, it is of an odious signification, as if it levell’d all men in point of Estates, made all things common to all, destroyed propriety, introduced a community of enjoyments among men; which is a Scandal fastned by the cunning of the common Enemy upon this kinde of Government, which they hate above all others; because, were the People once put in possession of their Liberty, and made sensible of the great Benefits they may reap by its injoyment, the hopes of all the Royal Sticklers would be utterly extinct, in regard it would be the likeliest means to prevent a return of the Interest of Monarchy: for no Person or Parties seeking or setting up a private Interest of their own, distinct from the Publick, it will stop the Mouths of all Gain-sayers. But230 the Truth is, This way of Free-State, or Government by the People in their successive Assemblies, is so far from introducing a community, that it is the onely preservative of Propriety in every particular: the Reasons whereof are plain: for, as on the one side, it is not in Reason to be imagined, that so choice a Body, as the Representative of a Nation, should agree to destroy one another in their several Rights and Interests: on the231 other side, all Determinations being carried in this Form by common Consent, every Man’s particular Interest must needs be fairly provided for, against the Arbitrary disposition of others; therefore, whatever is contrary to this, is levelling indeed; because it placeth every Man’s Right under the Will of another, and is no less than Tyranny; which seating it self in an unlimited uncontrollable Prerogative over others without their Consent, becomes the very bane of propriety; and however disquieted, or in what Form soever it appears, is indeed the very Interest of Monarchy.
Now that a Free-State, or successive Government of the People, &c. is the onely preservative of Propriety, appears by Instances all the World over; yet we shall cite but a few.
Under Monarchs, we shall finde ever, That the Subjects had nothing that they could call their own; neither Lives, nor Fortunes, nor Wives, nor any thing else that the Monarch pleased to command, because the poor people knew no remedy against the levelling Will of an unbounded Soveraignity; as may be seen in the Records of all Nations that have stoop’d under that wretched Form: whereof we have also very sad Examples in France, and other Kingdoms, at this very day, where the People have nothing of Propriety; but all depends upon the Royal Pleasure, as it did of late here in England. Moreover, it is very observable, That in Kingdoms where the People have enjoyed any thing of Liberty and Propriety, they have been such Kingdoms onely, where the frame of Government hath been so well tempered, as that the best share of it hath been retained in the Peoples Hands; and by how much the greater influence the People have had therein, so much the more sure and certain they have been, in the enjoyment of their Propriety.232
To pass by many other Instances, consider how firm the Aragonians were in their Liberties and Properties, so long as they held their hold over their Kings in their supreme Assemblies; and no sooner had Philip the second deprived them of their share in the Government, but themselves and their properties233 became a prey (and have been ever since) to the Will and Pleasure of their Kings.
The like also may be said of France234, where, as long as the Peoples Interest bore sway in their supreme Assemblies, they235 could call their Lives and Fortunes their own, and no longer: for, all that have succeeded since Lewis the eleventh, followed his levelling pattern so far, that in short time they destroyed the Peoples Property, and became the greatest Levellers in Christendom. We were almost at the same pass236 here in England: for, as long as the Peoples Interest was preserved by frequent and successive Parliaments; so long we were in some measure secure of our Properties: but as Kings began to worm the People out of their share in Government, by discontinuing of Parliaments; So they carried on their levelling design, to the destroying of our Properties; and had by this means brought it so high, that the Oracles of the Law and Gospel spake it out with a good levelling Grace, That all was the King’s, and that we had nothing we might call our own.
Thus you see how much Levelling, and little of Propriety237 , the people have had certain under Monarchs; and if any at all, by what means and upon what terms they have had it. Nor hath it been thus onely under Kings; but we finde, the People have ever had as little of Property238 secure, under all other Forms of standing Powers239 ; which have produced as errant Levellers in this particular, as any of the Monarchies. In the Free-State of Athens, as long as the People kept free indeed, in an enjoyment of their successive Assemblies, so long they were secure in their Properties240 , and no longer. For, to say nothing of their Kings, whose History is very obscure, we finde, after they were laid side, they erected another Form of standing Power, in a single Person, called, a Governour, for Life; who was also accountable for misdemeanours: but yet a Tryal being made of nine of them, the People saw so little security by them, that they pitch’d upon another standing Form of Decimal Government241 ; and being oppress’d by them too, they were cashier’d. The like miseries they tasted under the standing power of Thirty, which were a sort of Levellers more rank than all the rest; who put to death, banished, pill’d, and poll’d whom they pleased, without Cause or Exception; so that the poor people having been tormented under all the Forms of standing Power, were in the end forced (as their242 last remedy) to take Sanctuary under the Form of a Free-State, in their successive Assemblies.
And though it may be objected, That afterwards they fell into many divisions and miseries, even in that Form: yet whoever observes the Story, shall finde, it was not the fault of the Government, but of themselves, in swerving from the Rules of a Free-State, by permitting the continuance of Power in particular hands; who having an opportunity thereby to create Parties of their own among the People, did for their own ends, inveigle, ingage, and intangle them in popular Tumults and Divisions. This was the true Reason of their Miscarriages243 . And if ever any Government of the People did miscarry, it was upon that account244 .
Thus also the Lacedemonians, after they had for some yeers tryed the Government of one King, then of two Kings at once of two distinct Families; afterwards came in the Ephori, as Supervisers of their Kings: after (I say) they had tryed245 themselves through all the Forms of a standing Power, and found them all to be Levellers of the Peoples Interest and Property246 , then necessity taught them to seek shelter in a Free-State, under which they lived happily, till by a forementioned247 Error of the Athenians, they were drawn into Parties by powerful Persons, and so made the Instruments of Division among themselves, for the bringing of new Levellers into play; such as were Manchanidas and Nabis, who succeeded each other in a Tyranny.
In old Rome, after the standing Form of Kings was extinct, and a new one established, the people found as little of safety and property as ever: for, the standing Senate, and the Decemviri, proved as great Levellers, as Kings: so that they were forced to settle the Government of the People by a due and orderly248 succession of their supreme Assemblies. Then they began again to recover their propertie249 , in having somewhat they might call their own; and they happily enjoyed it, till, as by the same Error of the Lacedemonians and Athenians, swerving from the Rules of a Free-State, lengthning of power in particular hands, they were drawn and divided into Parties, to serve the lusts of such powerful men as by craft became their Leaders: so that by this means (through their own default) they were deprived of their Liberty long before the dayes of Imperial Tyranny. Thus Cinna, Sylla, Marius, and the rest of that succeeding Gang, down to Caesar, used the Peoples favour, to obtain a continuation of power in their own hands; and then having sadled the people with a new standing Form of their own, they immediately rooted up the Peoples Liberty and Property, by Arbitrary Sentences of death, Proscriptions, Fines, and Confiscations: which strain250 of levelling, (more intolerable than the former) was maintained by the same Arts of Devillish Policy down to Caesar; who striking in a Favourite251 of the People, and making use of their Affections to lengthen power in his own hands: at length, by this Errour of the people, gained opportunity to introduce a new levelling Form of standing power in himself, to an utter and irrecoverable ruine of the Romane Liberty and property252 .
In Florence they have been in the same case there, under every Form of standing power. It was so, when the Great Ones ruled: it was so under Goderino,* it was so under Savanarola the Monk. When they once began to lengthen power by the peoples Favour, they presently fell to levelling and domineering, as did Cosmus afterwards, that crafty Founder of the present Dukedom.
Upon the same terms, the Republick of Pisa lost themselves, and became the prey of several Usurpations.
Mantua was once a Free-City of the Empire; but neglecting their successive Assemblies, and permitting the Great Ones, and most Wealthy, to form a standing power in themselves: the people were so vexed with them, that one Passerimo getting power in his own hands, and then lengthening it by Artifice, turn’d Leveller too, subjecting all to his own will; so that the poor people, to rid their hands of him, were forced to pitch upon another, as bad, and translate their power into a petty Dukedom, in the hands of the Family of Gonzaga.
We may from hence safely conclude253 against all objecting Monarchs and Royalists, of what name and Title soever, that254 a Free-State or Commonwealth by the people in their successive Assemblies is so far from levelling or destroying propertie255 , that in all ages it hath been the onely preservative of Liberty and property, and the onely remedy against the Levellings and Usurpations of standing powers: for, it is cleer, That Kings256 and all standing powers are the Levellers.
[MP 93, 11-18 Mar. 1652]
257 A second Objection in the Mouths of many, is this, That the erecting of such a Form in the Peoples hands, were the ready way to cause confusionin Government; when all persons (without distinction) are allowed a right to chuse and be chosen members of the supreme Assemblies.258
A Free state gives no cause of confusion.For answer to this, know, we must consider a Commonwealth259 in a twofold condition: either in its setled state, when fully stablished and founded, and when all men were260 supposed Friends to its establishment; or else when it is newly founding or founded, and that in the close of a civil War, upon the ruine of a former Government, and those that stood for it; in which case it ever hath a great party within it self, that are enemies to its establishment.
As to the first, to wit, a Commonwealth in its setled and composed state, when all men within it are presumed to be its Friends, questionless, a right to chuse and to be chosen261 , is then to be allowed the people, (without distinction) in as great a latitude, as may stand with right Reason and Convenience, for managing a matter of so high Consequence as their Supreme Assemblies; wherein somewhat must be left to humane Prudence; and therefore that latitude being to be admitted more or less, according to the Nature, Circumstances, and Necessities of any Nation, is not here to be determined.
But as to a Commonwealth under the second consideration, when it is founding, or newly founded, in the close of a Civil War, upon the ruine of a former Government; In this case, (I say) to make no distinction betwixt men; but to allow the conquered part of the people an equal right to chuse and to be chosen, & c. were not onely262 to take away all proportion in policy, but the ready way to destroy the Commonwealth, and by a promiscuous mixture of opposite Interests, to turn all into confusion.
Now, that the Enemies of Liberty, being subdued upon the close of a Civil War, are not to be allowed sharers in the Rights of the people, is evident, for divers Reasons: not onely because such an allowance would be a means to give them opportunity to sow the seeds of new Broyls and Divisions, and bring a new hazard upon the Liberties of the People, (which are Reasons derived from Convenience): but there is a more special Argument from the equity of the thing, according to the Law and Custom of Nations, That such as have commenced War, to serve the Lusts of Tyrants against the Peoples Interest, should not be received263 any longer a part of the people, but may be handled as slaves when subdued, if their Subduers please so to use them; because by their Treasons against the Majesty of the people, (which they ought to have maintained) they have made forfeiture of all their Rights and Priviledges, as Members of the People; and therefore if it happens in this case at any time, That any Immunities, Properties or Enjoyments be indulged unto them, they must not take them as their own by Right, but as Boons bestowed upon them by the peoples courtesie.
The old Commonwealth of Greece was264 very severe in this particular: for, as they were wont to heap up all Honours they could vent, upon such as did or suffered any thing for the maintenance of their Liberty; so, on the other side they punished the Underminers of it, or those that any wayes appeared against it, with utmost extremity; persecuting them with Forfeitures, both of Life and Fortune; and if they escaped with Life, they usually became slaves: and many times they persecuted them, being dead, branding265 their Memories with an Eternal Mark of Infamy.
In old Rome they dealt more mildly with the greatest part of those that had sided with the Tarquins after their Expulsion: but yet they were not restored to all their former Priviledges. In process of time, as oft as any conspired against the Peoples Interest, in their successive Assemblies; after they had once gotten them, themselves were banished, and their Estates confiscated, not excepting many of the Senators, as well as others; and made for ever incapable of any Trust in the Commonwealth266 .
Afterwards, they took the same course with as many of Catiline’s Fellow-Traytors and Conspirators, as were worthy any thing; and had no doubt sufficiently paid Caesar’ s Abettors in the same Coin, but that he wore out all opposites with his prosperous Treason. Thus Millain267 , and the rest of those States, when they were free, as also the Swisses and Hollanders, in the Infancy of the Helvetian and Belgick Freedoms, who took the same course with all those unnatural Paricides and Apostates, that offered first to strangle their Liberty in the Birth, or afterwards in the Cradle, by secret Conspiracy, or open violence. Nor ought this to seem strange, since if a right of Conquest may be used over a Forain, who onely is to be accounted a fair, enemy: much more against such, as against the light of Nature, shall engage themselves in so foul practices, as tend to ruine the Liberty of their Native Country.
Seeing therefore that the people in their Government, upon all occasions of Civil War against their Liberties, have been most zealous in vindicating those Attempts upon the heads of the Conspirators: seeing also, that upon the close of a Civil War, they have a Right; and not onely a Right, but usually a very great Resolution to keep out those Enemies of Liberty, whom they conquer, from a participation of any Right in Government: therefore in this case also, as well as the former, we may conclude, That they in their successive Assemblies, are so far from levelling the Interest of Government into all hands, without distinction, that their principal care is ever to preserve it in their own, to prevent the return of new Wars, old Interests, and Confusion.
[MP 94, 18-25 Mar. 1652]
268 But there is a third Objection against it, drawn from a pretending269 inconvenience of such a succession; alledging, That the management of State-Affairs requires Judgement and Experience; which is not to be expected from new Members comming into those Assemblies upon every election.
Affairs of State as well managed under a Free-State as under any Form.Now, because the very Life of Liberty lies in a succession of Powers and Persons; therefore it is meet I should be somewhat precise & punctual by way of answer to this particular. Observe then, that in Government two things are to be considered: Acta Imperii, and Arcana Imperii: that is, Acts of State, and Secrets of State. By Acts of State, we mean the Laws and Ordinances of the Legislative Power: these are the things that have most influence upon a Commonwealth270 , to its ill or well-being; and are the onely Remedies for such bad Customes, Inconveniences, and Incroachments as afflict and grieve it. Wherefore, matters of grievance being matters of common sense, and such are obvious to the people, who best know where the shooe pinches271 them; certainly, there is no need of any great skill or judgement in passing or applying a Law for Remedy272 , which is the proper work of the people in their supreme Assemblies; and such, as every ordinary Understanding is instructed in by the Light of Nature: so that, as to this, there can be no danger by instituting an orderly succession of the people.
But as for those things called Arcana Imperii, Secrets of State, or the executive part of Government, during the Intervals of their Supreme Assemblies; these things being of a Nature remote from ordinary apprehensions, and such as necessarily require prudence, time, and experience, to fit men for management: Much in Reason may be said, and must be granted, for the continuation of such Trusts in the same hands, as relate to matter of Counsel273 , or Administration of Justice, more or less, according to their good or ill-behaviour. A prudential continuation of these, may (without question) and ought to be allowed upon discretion; because, if they do amiss, they are easily accountable to the peoples Assemblies. But now the case is otherwise, as to these Supreme Assemblies, where a few, easie, necessary things, such as common sense and reason instruct men in, are the fittest things for them to apply themselves unto: and there the Peoples Trustees are to continue, of right, no longer than meer Necessity requires, for their own redress and safety; which being provided for, they are to return into a condition of Subjection and Obedience, with the rest of the people, to such Laws and Government as themselves have erected: by which means alone, they will be able to know whether they have done well or ill, when they feel the effects of what they have done. Otherwise, if any thing happen to be done amiss, what way can there be for remedy? since no Appeal is to be had from the Supreme Body of the People, except a due course of Succession be preserved from hand to hand, by the Peoples choice; and other persons thereupon admitted (upon the same terms) into the same Authority.
This is the truth, as we have made manifest both by Reason and Example: therefore we shall adde a little to our former Discourse274 , by way of Illustration.
In Athens, when govern’d by the People, we finde, it was their course to uphold constant returns and periods of Succession in their Supreme Assemblies, for remedy of Grievances; and they had a standing Council275 , called the Areopagus, to whom all their Secrets of State were committed, together with the administration of Government during the Intervals of those Assemblies, at whose return they were accountable; and warily continued, or excluded, as the People found cause.
In Sparta they had the like; as also in Rome, after the People had once got their successive Assemblies, wherein they passed Laws for Government: and not knowing how to be rid of their hereditary Senate, they permitted them and their families to continue a standing Council276 ; but yet controllable by, and accountable to their Assemblies, who secluded and banished many of them for their misdemeanours: so that by this means the people had an opportunity to make use of their Wisdom, and curb their Ambition.
In Florence (when free) the Government was after the same Mode.277
In Holland also, and Switzerland, they have their Supreme Assemblies frequent by Election, with exceeding benefit, but no prejudice to Affairs: for the frequencie of those successive Meetings, preserves their Liberty, and provides Laws; the Execution whereof is committed to others, and affairs of State to a Council278 of their own choice, accountable to themselves: where their State-concernments very seldom miscarry, because they place and displace their Counsellors279 with extraordinary care and caution.
By these particulars, you may perceive the vanity of the aforesaid Objection, and how slender a pretence it is against that excellent course of Successive Assemblies; since affairs of State are as well disposed (or rather better) under this Form, than any other.
[MP 95, 25 Mar.-1 Apr. 1652]
Discontents & Tumults, no natural effects of a Free-State.A fourth Objection commonly used against the Constitution of a Free-State, or Government by the People in their successive Assemblies, is this: That such a Government brings great Damage to thePublike, by their frequent Discontents, Divisions, and Tumults, that arise within it.
For answer to this, it is requisite that we take notice of those Occasions which are the common causes of such humours in this Form: which being once known, it will easily appear whence those Inconveniences do arise, and not from any default in the nature of the Government: they are commonly these three.
First, when any of their fellow-Citizens, or Members of the Commonweal, shall arrogate any thing of Power and Priviledge unto themselves, or their Families, whereby to Grandize or greaten themselves, beyond the ordinary size and standard280 of the People. We finde this to be most true, by the course of affairs in the Romane State, as they are recorded by Livy; who plainly shews, that upon the expulsion of the Tarquins, though the senate introduced a new Government, yet their retaining the power of the old within the hands of themselves and their Families, was the occasion of all those after-Discontents and Tumults that arose among the People. For, had Brutus made them free, when he declared them so; or had the Senate a little after, followed the advice and example of Publicola,* and some others as honest as he; all occasion of Discontent had been taken away: but when the People saw the Senators seated in a lofty posture over281 them; when they felt the weight of that State and Dignity pressing upon shoulders that were promised to be at ease, and free; when they found themselves exempted from the enjoyment of the same common Priviledges, excluded from all Offices, or Alliance with the Senators; their purses emptied of Money, their bellies of Meat, and their hearts of Hope: then it was, that they began to grumble and mutiny; and never until they got a power to bridle the Great ones, by an happie succession of their Supreme Assemblies.282
A second Occasion of the peoples being inclined to Discontent and Tumult, under their Free Form of Government, appears in Story to be this: When they felt themselves not fairly dealt withal, by such as became their Leaders and Generals. Thus283 in Syracusa, Dionysius cloathing himself with a pretence of the peoples Liberties284 ; and being by that means made their General285 , and then making use of that power to other ends than was pretended, became the Fire-Brand of that State, and put the people all into Flames, for the expulsion of him, who had made a Forfeiture of all his glorious pretences.†
Thus in Sparta the people were peaceable enough under their own Government, till they found themselves over-reached, and their credulity abused by such as they trusted, whose designs were laid in the dark, for the converting of Liberty into Tyranny, under Manchanidas and Nabis. In old Rome, under the peoples Government, it is true, it was a sad sight oftentimes to see the people swarming in tumults, their shops shut up, and all trading given over throughout the City, and somtimes the City forsaken and left empty.
But here, as also in Athens, the Occasion was286 the same: for, as the people naturally love Peace and Ease; so finding themselves often out-witted and abused by the slights and fears of the Senate, they presently (as it is their Nature upon such Occasions) grew out of all patience. The case was the same also, when any one of their Senators, or of themselves, arrived to any height287 of power by insinuating into the peoples favour, upon specious and popular pretences, and then made a forfeiture of those pretences, by taking a contrary course. Thus Sylla of the Senatorian order, and Marius of the Plebeian, both got power into their hands, upon pretence of the peoples good, (as many others did before and after, not onely in Rome, but in other Free-States also) but288 forfeiting their pretences by taking Arbitrary courses, they were the sole Causes of all those Tumults and Slaughters among the Romanes, the infamy whereof hath most injuriously been cast upon the peoples Government, by the profane pens of such as have been bold in Pension or Relation in the Courts of Princes.
Thus Caesar also himself, striking as a Favorite of the people upon fair pretences, and forfeiting them, when in power, was the onely cause of all those succeeding Civil Broyles and Tragedies among the people.
A third Occasion of the Peoples being inclined to Discontent and Tumult in a Free-State, is this, when they are sensible of Oppression. For, I say again, The people are naturally of a peaceable temper, minding nothing, but a free Enjoyment: but if once they finde themselves circumvented, misled, or squeezed by such as they have intrusted, then they swell like the Sea, and over-run the Bounds of Just and Honest, ruining all before them.
In a word, there is not one precedent of Tumults or Sedition can be cited out of all Stories289 , by the Enemies of Freedom, against the peoples Government; but it will appear likewise thereby, that the people were not in fault, but either drawn in, or provoked thereto, by the Craft or Injustice of such fair Pretenders as have had by-ends of their own, and by-designs upon the publick Liberty.
Nevertheless, admit that the people were tumultuous in their own Nature; yet those Tumults (when they happen) are more easily to be borne, than these Inconveniences that arise from the Tyranny of Monarchs and290 Great Ones: for popular Tumults have these three Qualities:
First, The Injury of them never extends further than some few Persons; and those (for the most part) guilty enough; as were the thirty Grandees in Athens, the Ten in Rome, and those other State-Mountebanks, that suffered for their Practices by the Peoples Fury.
Secondly, Those Tumults are not lasting, but (like fits) quickly over: for, an Eloquent Oration, or Perswasion, (as we see in the Example of Menenius Agrippa) or the Reputation of some grave or honest Man, (as in the Example of Virginus291, and afterwards of Cato) doth very easily reduce and pacifie them.
Thirdly, The ending of those Tumults, though they have ruined some particulars, yet it appears they have usually turned to the good of the Publick: for we see, that both in Athens and Rome, the Great Ones were by this means kept in awe from Injustice; the Spirits of the people were kept warm with high thoughts of themselves and their Liberty (which turned much to the inlargement of their Empire.)
And lastly, By this means they came off alwayes with good Laws for their profit, (as in the case of the Law of twelve Tables, brought from Athens to Rome)* or else with an Augmentation of their Immunities, and Priviledges (as in the case of procuring the Tribunes, and their Supreme Assemblies) and afterwards in the frequent confirmation of them against the Incroachments of the Nobles.
Now the case is far otherwise under the standing power of the Great Ones; they, in their Counsels, Projects, and Designs, are fast and tenacious; so that the Evils under those Forms are more remediless. Besides, they reach to the whole Body of a Commonweal: and so the Evils are more Universal. And lastly, those Tumults, Quarrels, and Inconveniences that arise from among them, never tend nor end, but to the farther oppression and suppression of the people in their Interest and Propriety.
For conclusion then: by these particulars you may plainly see the vanity of this Objection about Tumults, how far they are from being natural effects of the Peoples Government; insomuch, as by the Records of History, it appears rather that they have been the necessary consequences292 of such Tricks and Cheats of Great Men, as in the dayes of yore have been put upon the people.
[MP 96, 1-8 Apr. 1652]
Calumniation less used under the peoples Government, than under any other Form.A fifth Objection against the Form of a Free-State293 , or Government by the people in their successive Assemblies, and which we finde most in the Mouths of Royalists and Parasites, is this, That little security is to be had therein for the more wealthy and powerful sort of men, in regard of that Liberty which the people assume unto themselves, to accuse or calumniate whom they please upon any occasion.
For answer to this, know, That calumniation (which signifies ambitious slandering of men, by whisperings, reports, or false accusations) was never allowed or approved in this Form of Government. ’Tis true indeed, that such Extravagancies there have been (more or less) in all Forms whatsoever; but in this, less than any: it being most in use under standing Powers of Great ones, who make it their grand Engine to remove or ruine all persons that stand in the way of them and their designes: And for this purpose, it hath ever been their common custom to have Instruments ready at hand; as we see in all the Stories of Kings and Grandees from time to time; yea, and by Aristotle himself,* together with the whole train of Commentators, it is particularly mark’d out inter flagitia Dominationis, to be one of the peculiar enormities that attend294 the Lordly interest of Dominion295 .
The Romane State, after it grew corrupt, is a sufficient Instance; where we finde, that not onely the ten Grandees, but all that succeeded them in that domineering humour over the People, ever kept a Retinue well stock’d with Calumniators and Informers, (such as we call Knights of the Post) to snap those that in any wise appeared for the Peoples Liberties. This was their constant trade, as it was afterwards also of their Emperours. But all the while that the People kept their power entire in the Supreme Assemblies, we read not of its being brought into any constant practice. Sometimes indeed, those great Commanders that had done them many eminent Services, were, by reason of some after-actions, called to an account296 ; and having, by an ingrosment of Power, render’d themselves suspected, and burthensome to the Commonwealth, were commanded to retire, (as were both the Scipio ’ s.)
And in the Stories of the Athenian Commonwealth, we finde, that by their lofty and unwary carriage, they stirr’d up the Peoples fear and jealousie so far, as to question and send divers of them into Banishment, notwithstanding all their former merits; as we read of Alcibiades, Themistocles, and others: whereas, if the Rules of a Free-State had been punctually observed, by preserving a discreet revolution of Powers, and an equability, or moderate state of particular persons, there had been no occasion of Incroachment on the one part, or of Fear on the other; nor could the prying Royalist have had the least pretence or shadow of Invective against the Peoples Government in this particular297 .
Thus much of Calumniation, which is less frequent under the Peoples Form, than any other.
Now as to the point of Accusing, or liberty of Accusation by the People, before their Supreme Assemblies; it is a thing so essentially necessary for the preservation of a Commonwealth, that there is no possibility of having persons kept accountable without it; and, by consequence, no security of Life and Estate, Liberty and Property. And of what excellent use this is, for the publike benefit of any State, appears in these two particulars.
First, it is298 apparent, that the reason wherefore Kings, and all other standing Powers, have presumed to abuse the People, is, because their continuation of Authority having been a means to state299 them in a condition of Impunity, the People either durst not, or could not assume a liberty of Accusation; and so have linger’d without remedy, whilst Great Men have proceeded without control to an Augmentation of their misery: whereas if a just Liberty of Accusation be kept in ure, and Great Persons by this means lie300 liable to questioning, the Commonwealth301 must needs be the more secure; because none then will dare to intrench, or attempt ought, against their Liberty; and in case any do, they may with much ease be suppress’d. All which amounts, in effect, to a full confirmation of this most excellent Maxime, recorded in Policie: Maximè interest Repub. Libertatis, ut liberè possis Civem aliquem accusare: It most302 highly concerns the Freedom of a Commonwealth, that the People have liberty of accusing any persons whatsoever.
Secondly, it appears, this Liberty is most necessary, because, as it hath been the onely Remedy against the Injustice of great and powerful persons; so it hath been the onely means to extinguish those Emulations, Jealousies, and Suspicions, which usually abound with fury in mens mindes, when they see such persons seated so far above, that they are not able to reach them, or bring them (as it becomes all earthly Powers)303 to an account of their actions: of which Liberty when the People have seen themselves deprived in time past, it is sad to consider how they have flown out into such absurd and extraordinary courses, in hope of Remedy, as have caused not onely Distraction, but many times utter Ruine to the Publike. Most of those Tumults304 in old Rome, were occasioned for want of this liberty in ordinary; as those that happened under the Decemviri: so that the People, not having freedom to accuse and question their Justice, were enflamed to commit sudden Outrages, to be revenged upon them. But when they had once obtained power to accuse or question any man, by assistance of their Tribunes; then we meet with none of those heats and fits among them; but they referr’d themselves over305 , with much content, to the ordinary course of proceeding. A pregnant Instance whereof, we have in the Case of Coriolanus; who having done some injury to the people, they finding him befriended and upheld by the Great ones, resolved to be revenged upon him with their own hands; and had torn him in pieces as he came out of the Senate, but that the Tribunes immediately step’d in, and not onely promised, but appointed them a day of Hearing against him; and so all was calm again, and quiet: whereas, if this ordinary course of Remedy, in calling him to account, had not been allow’d, and he been destroy’d in a Mutiny, a world of sad Consequences must have befallen the Commonwealth306 , by reason of those Enormities and Revenges that would have risen, upon the ruine of so considerable a person.
In the Stories of Florence also, we read of one Valesius, who greatning himself into little less than the posture of a Prince in that Republike, he so confirm’d himself, that the people not being able to regulate his extravagancies by any ordinary proceedings, they betook themselves to that unhappie remedy of Arms; and it cost the best blood and lives in that State, before they could bring him down: involving them in a world of Miseries, which might have been avoided, had they taken care to preserve their old Liberty of Accusation and Question, and being able to take a course with him in an ordinary way of progress307 .
Thus also in the same State, Soderino, a man of the same size, interest, and humour; when the People saw that they had lost their Liberty, in being unable to question him, ran like madmen upon a Remedy as bad as the Disease, and called in the Spaniard to suppress him308 : so that turned almost to the ruine of the State, which might have been prevented, could they have repress’d him by the ordinary way of Accusation and Question309 .*
From these310 Premises, then, let us conclude, That seeing the crooked way of Calumniation is less used under the Peoples Form of Government, than any other: and since the retaining of a Regular course, for admitting and deciding of all Complaints and Controversies by way of Accusation, is of absolute necessity to the safety and well-being of a Commonwealth311 ; Therefore this Objection is of as little weight as the rest, so as in any wise to diminish the Dignity and Reputation of a Free-State, or Government by the People in their successive Assemblies.
[MP 97, 8-15 Apr. 1652]
A sixth Objection against the Form of a Free-State, or Government by the People; is alleadged by many, to this effect: That People by nature are factious, inconstant, and ungrateful.
Faction, inconstancy, and ingratitude, no natural effects of the peoples Government.For answer, first, as to the point of being Factious, we have already shewn, that this Government, stated in a succession of its Supreme Assemblies, is the onely preventive of Faction; because, in creating a Faction, there is a necessity, that those which endeavour it, must have oportunity to improve their slights and projects, in disguising their Designes; drawing in Instruments and Parties, and in worming out Opposites: the effecting of all which, requires some length of time; which cannot be had, and consequently, no Faction form’d, when Government is not fixed in particular persons, but managed by due succession and revolution of Authority in the hands of the People.
Besides, it is to be considered, that the People are never the first or principal in Faction: they are never the authors and contrivers of it, but ever the parties that are drawn into Sidings by the influence of standing Powers, to serve their interests and designes.
Thus Sylla and Marius, Pompey and Caesar, continuing power in their own hands312 , cleft the Romane Empire at several times into several Parties: as afterwards it was cleft into three by the Triumvirate; wherein the people had no hand, being (as they are alwayes) purely passive, and passionately divided, according as they were wrought upon by the subtil Insinuations of the prime Engineers of each Faction.
Thus Italy was divided into Guelph and Gibelline; and France torn in two by the two Families of Orleance and Burgundi: also, by the Guisians and their Confederates; wherein313 the people had no further314 hand, than as they were acted by the perswasions and pretences of two powerful parties.
The case also was the same in315England, in times past, when the Grandee-Game316 was in action between317 the two Families of Yorke and Lancaster. So that it is clear enough, The people in their own nature are not inclined to be Factious, nor are they ever ingaged that way, farther than as their Nature is abused, and drawn in by powerful persons.
The second particular of this Objection, is Inconstancy; which holds true indeed in them that are debauched, and in the corrupted State of a Commonwealth, when degenerated from its pure Principles; as we finde in that of Athens, Rome, Florence, and others: but yet in Rome you may see as pregnant instances of that peoples constancy, as of any other sort of men whatsoever: for, they continued constant irreconcilable Enemies to all Tyranny in general, and318 Kingly power in particular.
In like manner, when they had once gotten their successive Assemblies, they remained so firm & stiff to uphold them, that the succeeding Tyrants could not in a long time, nor without extraordinary cunning and caution deprive them of that onely Evidence of their Liberty.
Moreover, it is observable of this people, That in making their Elections they could never be perswaded to chuse a known Infamous, Vitious, or unworthy Fellow; so that they seldom or never erred in the choice of their Tribunes and other Officers. And as in the framing of Laws, their aim was ever at the general Good, it being their own Interest, quatenus the people; so their constancy in the conservation of those Laws was most remarkable: for, notwithstanding all the crafty Devices and Fetches of the Nobles, the people could never be woo’d to a consent of abrogating any one Law, till by the alteration of Time, Affairs, and other Circumstances, it did plainly appear inconvenient.
But the case hath ever been otherwise under Kings and all standing Powers, who usually ran into all the extreams of Inconstancy, upon every new Project, petty Humour, and Occasion, that seemed319 favourable for effecting of their by-designs. And in order hereunto, Stories will inform you, That it hath been their Custome, to shift Principles every Moon, and cashier all Oaths, Protestations, Promises, and Engagements, and blot out the Memory of them with a wet Finger.
This was very remarkable in the late King320 , whose inconstancy in this kinde, was beyond compare; who no sooner had passed any Promises, made Vows and Protestations, fix’d321 Appeals in the High Court of Heaven, in the behalf of Himself and his Family; but presently he forfeited all, and cancell’d them by his Actions.322
As to the third point, of Ingratitude, it is much charged upon this Form of Government; because we read both in Athens and Rome, of divers unhandsome Returns made to some worthy Persons that had done high services for those Commonwealths; as Alcibiades, Themistocles, Phocion, Miltiades, Furius,Camillus, Coriolanus, and both the Scipio’s; the cause323 of whose misfortunes is described by Plutarch and Livy, to be their own lofty and unwary carriage; Having (say they) by an ingrossment of power, rendred themselves suspected, and burthensome to the Commonwealth, and thereby stirred up the peoples fear & jealousie: whereas if they had kept themselves within the Rules of a Free-State, by permitting324 a disceet Revolution of power in particular hands; there had been no occasion of incroachment on the one part, nor of fear on the other. Of all325 , the Scipio’s indeed were most to be pitied, because their only326 fault seems to be too much power and greatness, (which indeed is the greatest fault that Members of a Commonwealth can be guilty of, if seriously considered;) insomuch, that being grown formidable to their Fellow-Senators, they were by them removed: and so it appears to have been the act of the Nobles, (upon their own score and Interest) and not of the people. But as for Camillus and Coriolanus, they sufficiently deserved whatsoever327 befel them, because they made use of the power and reputation328 they had gotten by their former merits, onely to maligne and exercise an implacable hate towards the peoples Interest. Nevertheless, the people restored Camillus again to his Estate and Honour, after some little time of Banishment.
And though this accident in a Free-State hath been objected by many, as a great deffect; yet others again do highly commend the humour: For (say they) it is not onely a good sign of a Commonwealths being in pure and perfect health, when the people are thus active, zealous, and jealous in the behalf of their Liberties329 , that will permit no such growth of power as may endanger it; but it is also a convenient means to curb the Ambition of its Citizens, and make them contain within due bounds, when they see there is no presuming after Inlargements, and Accessions of Powers and Greatness330 , without incurring the danger and indignation of the people.
Thus much of the Reason why the people many times cast off persons that have done them eminent services: yet on the other side, they were so far from Ingratitude, that they have alwayes331 been excessive in their Rewards and Honours, to such men as deserved any way of the Publike, whilst they conformed themselves to Rules, and kept in a posture suiting to Liberty332 . Witness their Consecration of Statues, Incense, Sacrifices, and Crowns of Laurel, inrolling such men in the number of their Deities.
Therefore the crime of Ingratitude cannot in any peculiar manner be fastned upon the People: but if we consult the Stories of all standing Powers, we may produce innumerable testimonies of their Ingratitude toward such as have done them the greatest service; ill recompence being a Mystery of State practised by all Kings and Grandees, who (as Tacitus tells us)* ever count themselves disobliged, by the bravest actions of their subjects.
Upon this account, Alexander hated Antipater and Parmenio, and put the latter to death. Thus the Emperour Ve-spasian cashiered and ruined the meritorious Antonies333 . Thus also was Alphonsus Albuquerque served by his Master the King of Portugal; and Consalvus the Great, by Ferdinand of Aragon: as was also that Stanley of the House of Derby, who set the Crown upon King Henry the seventh’s head. Thus Sylla the Romane Grandee destroyed his choicest Instruments that help’d him into the Saddle; as Augustus served his friend Cicero, and exposed him to the malice and murther of Anthonie.
Innumerable are the Examples of this kinde, which evidence, that such unworthy dealings are the effect334 of all standing Powers; and therefore more properly to be objected against them, than against the Government of the People.
335 Thus having answered all, or the main Objections, brought by the adversaries of a Free-State; before we proceed to the Errours of Government, and Rules of Policie, it will not be amiss, but very convenient, to say something of that which indeed is the very Foundation of all the rest; to wit, That the Original of all Just Power and Government is in the PEOPLE.
The Original of All Just Power Is in the People.
[MP 98, 15-22 Apr. 1652]
336 Those Men that deny this Position, are fain to run up as high as Noah and Adam, to gain a pretence for their Opinion: alledging, That the primitive or first Governments of the World were not instituted by the consent and election of those that were governed, but by an absolute Authority invested in the persons governing.* Thus they say our first Parent ruled, by a plenary Power and Authority in himself onely, as did also the Patriarchs before and after the Flood too, for some time, becoming Princes by vertue of a paternal right over all the Families of their own Generation and Extraction: so that the Fathers, by reason of their extraordinary long Lives, and the multiplicity of Wives, happened to be Lords of Kingdoms or Principalities of their own begetting.
And so some deriving the Pedigree or Government of this Paternal Right of Soveraignty, would by all means conclude, That the Original of Government, neither was nor ought to be in the People.
For answer to this, consider, That Magistracy or Government is to be considered, as Natural, or as Political: Naturally he was a true publick Magistrate or Father of his Country, who in those Patriarchal times ruled over his own Children and their Descendants. This Form of Government was only temporary, and took an end not long after the Flood, when Nimrod changed it, and by force combining numbers of distinct Families into one Body, and subjecting them to his own Regiment, did, by an Arbitrary Power, seated in his own Will and Sword, constrain them to submit unto what Laws and Conditions himself pleased to impose on337 them.
Thus the Paternal Form became changed into a Tyrannical. Neither of these had (I confess) their Original in or from the People, nor hath either of them any relation to that Government which we intend in our Position.
But secondly, There is a Government Political, not grounded in Nature, nor upon Paternal Right by Natural Generation; but founded upon the free Election, Consent or mutual Compact of men entring into a form of civil society. This is the Government we now speak of, it having been in request in most ages, and still is: whereas the other was long since out of date, being used onely in the first age of the World, as proper onely for that time.
So that to prevent all Objections of this nature, when we speak here of Government, we mean onely the Political, which is by Consent or Compact; whose original we shall prove to be in the people. As for the Government of the Israelites, first under Moses, then Joshua and the Judges; The Scripture plainly shews, that they were extraordinary Governours, being of God’s immediate institution, who raised them up by his Spirit, and imposed them upon that people; whose peculiar happiness it was in cases of this nature, to have so infallible and sure a direction; so that their Government was a Theocracie, (as some have called it) having God himself for its onely Original: and therefore no wonder we have in that time & Nation, so few visible foot-steps of the peoples Election, or of an institution by Compact. But yet we finde after the Judges, when this people rejected this more immediate way of Government by God, (as the Lord told Samuel, They have not rejected thee, but me)* and desired a Government after the manner of other Nations; then God seems to forbear the use of his Prerogative, and leave them to an exercise of their own natural Rights and Liberties, to make choice of a new Government and Governour by suffrage and compact.
The Government they aimed at, was Kingly: God himself was displeased at it, and so was Samuel too; who, in hope to continue the old Form, and to fright them from the new, tells them, what Monsters in Government Kings would prove, by assuming unto themselves an Arbitrary Power, (not that a King might lawfully and by right do what Samuel describes, but338 onely to shew how far Kings would presume to abuse their power; which no doubt Samuel foresaw, not onely by Reason, but by the Spirit of Prophecie.) Nevertheless the people would have a King; say they, Nay, but there shall be a King over us: whereupon, saith God to Samuel, Hearken to their voice.† Where we339 plainly see; first, God gives them leave to use their own natural Rights340 , in making choice of their own Form341 of Government; but then indeed, for the choice of their Governor, there was one thing extraordinary, in that God appointed them one, he vouchsafing still in an extraordinary and immediate manner to be their Director and Protector: but yet, though God was pleased to nominate the person, he left the confirmation and ratification of the Kingship unto the people; to shew, that naturally the right of all was in them, however the exercise of it were superseded at that time, by his Divine pleasure, as to the point of nomination: for, that the people might understand it was their Right, Samuel calls them all to Mizpeh, as if the matter were all to be done anew on their part; and there by lot, they at length made choice of Saul, and so immediately by proclaiming him with shouts and acclamations: and then having had proof of his valour against the Amorites, they meet at Gilgal, and proclaim him King once again, to shew that (naturally) the validity of the Kingship depended wholly upon the peoples consent and confirmation. And so you see the first and most eminent evidence of the institution of Political Government in Scripture doth notoriously demonstrate, that its original is in or from the people; and therefore I shall wave any further instances in cases of the like nature out of Scripture, which are not a few. Onely let it be remembred, that Peter in his first Epistle, calls all Government the Ordinance of man,* (in the Original, the creation of man, a Creature of a mans making) to shew, that in all its forms it depends onely upon the will & pleasure of the people.
We might insist farther to evince the Truth of this by strength of Reason; but let this serve to assert the right of the thing; and as for the rest, every man will easily believe it very consonant to reason, if he reflect upon the matter of fact, and consider, that it hath been the unanimous practice of all the Nations of the World, to assert their own Rights of Election and Consent (as often as they had opportunity) in the various turns of institution and alteration of Government. In Italy of old they had most Free-States, and few Princes; now all Princes, and no Free-States. Naples, after many Revolutions, is under Spain, Rome under a Pope, and under him one Senator, in stead of those many that were wont to be; Venice and Genoa have Senators and Dukes, but the Dukes are of small power; Florence, Ferrara, Mantua, Parma, and Savoy, have no Senators, but Dukes only, and they absolute; Burgundy, Lorain, Gascoin, and Britany, had once Kings, then Dukes, but now are incorporated into France: so all the Principalities of Germany that now are, were once imbodied in one entire Regiment: Castile, Aragon, Portugal, & Barcelona, were once distinct Kingdoms, but now united all to Spain, save Portugal, which fell off the other day; France was first one Kingdom under Pharamond, afterwards parted into four Kingdoms, and at last become one again: England consisted of Free-States till the Romans yoked it, afterwards it was divided into seven Kingdoms, and in the end it became one again. Thus you see how the world is subject to shiftings of Government: and though it be most true, that the power of the Sword hath been most prevalent in many of these changes, yet some of them have been chiefly managed, (as they ought) by the peoples Consent; and even in those where the Sword hath made way, the peoples consent hath ever been drawn and taken in afterwards, for corroboration of Title; it having been the custom of all Usurpers, to make their investitures appear as just as they could, by getting the Communities Consent ex post facto, and entring into some compact with them, for the better establishing themselves with a shew of legality: which act of all Tyrants and Usurpers, is a manifest (though tacite) confession of theirs, That de jure the original of all Power and Government, is and ought to be in the people.
Errours of Government; And Rules of Policie.
[MP 99, 22-29 Apr. 1652]
Having proved342 that the Originall of all just Power and Government is in the People; and that the Government of the People, in a due and orderly succession of their supream Assemblies, is much more excellent than any other Form, I suppose it falls in of course, in the next place, to note, and observe those common Errors in Policie, wherein most Countries of the World, (especially that part of it called Christendome) have been long intangled; that when the mystery of Tyrannie is undress’t, and stript of all its gaudy Robes, and gay Appearances, it may be hiss’t out of the Civill part of Mankind into the company of the more barbarous and brutish Nations.
One Errour in Government, is a corrupt division of a State into Ecclesiastical and civil.The first Errour that we shall observe in antient Christian Policie, and which hath indeed been a main foundation of Tyranny, is that corrupt Division of a State, into Ecclesiastical and Civil; A fault whereof our latest Refiners of Political Discourse, are as guilty in their Writings, as any others: But that there is the least footstep, in the Scripture, for Christians to follow such a Division of State, or to allow of a National way of Churching, which is the Root of that Division, could never yet be proved by any; and the contrary is very clear from the drift and scope of the Gospel. We read, indeed, of the Common-wealth of Israel343 being thus divided, and that it was done according to Rules and Constitutions of Gods own appointment; it being Gods way then, when he was pleased, to make choice of that people onely, out of all the World, to be his own peculiar, and so fixed his Church there in a Nationall Form: Then, it was confined and restrained to that particular Nation, excluding all others. But if any man will argue from hence, that it is lawfull for any Nation now under the Gospel to follow this pattern; then it behoves him, 1. to prove, that God intended the Jewish Government as a pattern for us to follow under the Gospel. And if any man will pretend to this, then in the second place, it will concern him to prove, that we are to follow it in every particular, or onely in some particulars. That we are to follow it in every one, no sober man did ever yet affirm: And if they will have us to follow it in some particulars, relinquishing the rest, then it concerns him to produce some Rule or Command out of Scripture, plainly pointing out what parts of it we are to imbrace, and what not; or else he will never be able to make it appear, that the Form of the Commonwealth of Israel was ever intended, either in the whole, or in part, as a Pattern for Christians to follow under the Gospel. But never was any such Rule alleadged yet out of Scripture by those that pretend to a Nationall Church.344
And therefore, if we seriously reflect upon the Design of God, in sending345 Christ into the World, we shall find it was to set an end to that Pompous Administration of the Jewish Form; that as his Church and People were formerly confined within the Narrow Pale of a particular Nation, so now the Pale should be broken down, and all Nations taken into the Church: Not all Nations in a lump; nor any whole Nations, or National Bodies to be formed into Churches; for his Church or People, now under the Gospel, are not to be a Body Political, but Spiritual and Mystical: Not a promiscuous confusion of persons, taken in at adventure; but an orderly collection, a picking and chusing of such as are called and sanctified; and not346 a company of men forced in, by Commands and Constitutions, of Worldly Powers and Prudence; but of such as are brought in by the Power and Efficacy of Christs Word and Spirit: for he himself hath said, My Kingdome is not of this World; itis not from hence,* & c.347 And therefore, that hand which hitherto hath presumed, in most Nations, to erect a Power, called Ecclesiastick, in equipage with the Civil, to bear sway, and bind mens Consciences to retain348 Notions, ordained for Orthodox, upon civill penalties, under colour of prudence, good order, discipline, preventing of Heresie, advancing of Christs Kingdome; and to this end, hath twisted the Spiritual Power (as they call it) with the Worldly and secular interest of State: This (I say) hath been the very right hand of Antichrist, opposing Christ in his way: Whose Kingdom, Government, Governours, Officers, and Rulers; Laws, Ordinances, and Statutes, being not of this World, (I mean, jure humano,) depend349 not upon the helps and devices of Worldly wisdom.
Upon this score and pretence, the Infant Mystery of Iniquity began to work in the very Cradle of Christianity.
Afterwards it grew up by the indulgence of Constantine, and other Christian Emperours, whom though God used in many good things for the suppression of gross Heathen Idolatry, yet (by Gods permission) they were carryed away, and their eyes so far dazled, through the glorious pretences of the Prelates and Bishops, that they could not see the old Serpent in a new Form wrapt up in a Mystery; for, Satan had a new Game now to play, which he managed thus: First, he led a great part of the World away with dangerous Errours, thereby to find an occasion for the Prelates, to carry on the mystery of their Profession; and so, under pretence of suppressing those dangerous errors they easily scrued themselves into the Civil Power: and for continuing of it the surer in their own hands, they made bold to baptize whole Nations with the name of Christian, that they might (under the same pretence) gain a share of Power and Authority with the Magistrate in every Nation; which they soon effected.
The Infant, being thus nurst, grew up in a short time to a perfect man, the man of sin (if the Pope be the man, which is yet controverted by some:) for, the Prelates having gotten the power in their hands, began then to quarrel, who should be the greatest among them. At length he of Rome bore away the Bell; and so the next step was, that, from National Churches they proceed to have a Mother-Church of all Nations. A fair progress and pitch, indeed, from a small beginning: and now being up, they defied all with Bell, Book, and Candle, excommunicating and deposing Kings and Emperours, and binding mens Consciences still, under the first specious pretence of suppressing Heresie, to believe onely in their Arbitrary Dictates, Traditions, and Errours, which are the greatest Blasphemies, Errours, and Heresies, that ever were in the World. Now they were up, see what a do there was to get any part of them down again. What a Quarter and Commotion there was in Germany, when Luther first brake the Ice? And the like here in England, when our first Reformers began their Work: These men, in part, did well, but having banished the Popes actual Tyranny, they left the Seed, and Principle of it, still behind, which was, a State Ecclesiastical united with the Civil; for, the Bishops twisted their own interest again with that of the Crown, upon a Protestant Accompt; and by vertue of that, persecuted those they called Puritans, for not being as Orthodox (they said) as themselves.
To conclude, if it be considered350 , that most of the Civil Wars, and Broiles, throughout Europe, have been occasioned, by permitting the settlement of Clergy-Interest, with the Secular, in National Formes, and Churches, it will doubtless be understood, that the Division of a State into Ecclesiastical and Civil, must351 needs be one of the main Errors in352 Christian Policy.
[MP 100, 29 Apr.-6 May 1652]
The not preventing the passage of Tyranny, out of one Form into another, is a main Error of Policie.A second Error which353 we shall note, and which is very frequent under all Formes of Government, is this; that care hath not been taken at all times, and upon all occasions of Alteration, to prevent the passage of Tyranny out of one Form into another, in all the Nations of the World: for, it is most clear, by observing the Affairs and Actions of past-Ages, and Nations, that the interest of absolute Monarchy, and its Inconveniencies, have been visible and fatal under the other Forms (where they have not been prevented) and given us an undeniable proof of this Maxime by Experience in all Times; That the Interest of Monarchy may reside in the hands of many, as well as of a single person.
The Interest of absolute Monarchy, we conceive to be an unlimited, uncontrolable, unaccountable station of Power and Authority in the hands of a particular person, who governs onely according to the Dictates of his own Will and Pleasure. And though it hath often bin disguised by Sophisters in Policy, so as it hath lost its own name, by shifting Formes; yet really, and effectually, the thing in it self hath bin discovered under the artificial covers of every Form, in the various Revolutions of Government: So that nothing more concerns a People established in a state of Freedom, than to be instructed in things of this Nature, that the means of its preservation being understood, and the subtil sleight of old Projectors brought into open view, they may become the more zealous to promote the one, and prevent the other, if any old game should happen to be plaid over anew, by any succeeding Generation.
It is very observable in Athens, that when they had laid aside their King, the Kingly power was retained still in all the after-turns of Government: for their Decimal Governours, and their Thirty (commonly called the Tyrants) were but a multiplied Monarchy, the Monarchal Interest being held up as high as ever, in keeping the exercise of the Supremacy out of the peoples hands, and seating themselves in an unaccountable state of Power and Authority, which was somewhat a worse condition, than the354 people were in before; for their Kings had Supervisors, and there were also Senatick Assemblies, that did restrain and correct them: but the new Governors having none, ran into all the heats and fits, and wild extravagancies, of an unbounded Prerogative: by which means, Necessity and Extremity opening the peoples Eyes, they, at length, saw all the Inconveniencies of Kingship wrapt up in new Forms, and rather increased, than diminished; so that (as the onely Remedy), they dislodged the Power out of those hands, putting it into their own, and placing it in a constant orderly Revolution of persons Elective by the Community. And now being at this fair pass, one would have thought there was no shelter for a Monarchal355 Interest, under a popular Form too. But alas, they found the contrary; for, the people not keeping a strict Watch over themselves, according to the Rules of a Free State; but being won by specious pretences, and deluded by created Necessities, to intrust the management of Affairs into some particular hands, such an occasion was given thereby to those men to frame parties of their own, that by this means, they in a short time became able to stand upon their own legs, and do what they list without the peoples consent: and in the end, not onely discontinued, but utterly extirpated their successive Assemblies.
In Rome also, the Case was the same under every Alteration; and all occasioned, by the crafty contrivances of Grandising Parties, and the peoples own facility and negligence, in suffering themselves to be deluded: for, with the Tarquin’s, (as it is observed by Livy, and others) onely the name King was expelled, but not the thing; the Power & Interest of Kingship was still retained in the Senate, and ingrossed by the Consuls: For, besides the Rape of Lucrece, among the other faults objected against Tarquin, this was most considerable, That he had acted all things, after his own head, and discontinued Consultations with the Senate, which was the very height of Arbitrary Power. But yet as soon as the Senate was in the saddle, they forgat what was charged by themselves upon Tarquin, and ran into the same Errour, by establishing an Arbitrary, Hereditary, unaccountable Power in themselves, and their Posterity, not admitting the people (whose interest and liberty they had pleaded,) into any share in Consultation, or Government, as they ought to have done, by a present erecting of their successive Assemblies: so that you see the same Kingly Interest, which was in one before, resided then in the hands of many. Nor is it my Observation onely, but pointed out by Livy, in his second Book, as in many other places; Cum à Patribus, non Consules, sed Carnifices, &c. When (saith he) the Senators strove to create, not Consuls, but Executioners, and Tormentors, to vex & tear the people, &c.* And in another place of the same Book, Consules, immoderatâ, infinitaq; potestate, omnes metus legum, &c. The Consuls, having an immoderate and unlimited Power, turned the terror of Laws and punishments onely upon the people, themselves (in the mean while) being accountable to none but to themselves, and their Confederates in the Senate.*
Then the Consular Government being cashiered, came on the Decemviri. Cum Consulari Imperio ac Regio, sine provocatione, (saith my Author) being invested with a Consular and Kingly Power, without appeal to any other.†
And in his third Book he saith, Decem Regum species erat, it was a Form of ten Kings,‡ the miseries of the people being increased ten times more then they were under Kings, and Consuls: For remedy therefore, the ten were cashiered also; and Consuls being restored, it was thought fit for the bridling of their Power, to revive also the Dictatorship (which was a Temporary Kingship, used onely now and then upon occasion of Necessity) and also those Deputies of the people called Tribunes, which one would have thought had bin sufficient Bars against Monarchick Interest, especially being assisted by the peoples successive Assemblies. But yet for all this, the people were cheated through their own neglect, and bestowing too much confidence and trust upon such as they thought their friends: For when they swerved from the Rules of a Free-State, by lengthning the Dictatorship in any hand, then Monarchick-Interest stept in there, as it did under Sylla, Caesar, and others, long before it returned to a declared Monarchal Form; and when they lengthned Commands in their Armies, then it crept in there, as it did under the afore-named persons, as well as Marius, Cinna, and others also; and even Pompey himself, not forgetting also the pranks of the two Triumvirales, who all made a shift under every Form, being sometimes called Consuls, sometimes Dictators, and sometimes Tribunes of the people, to out-act all the Flagitious Enormities of an absolute Monarchy.356 It is also evident357 in the Story of Florence, that that Commonwealth, even when it seemed most free, could never quite shake off the Interest of Monarchy: for, it was ever the business of one Upstart, or other; either in the Senate, or among the People, to make way to their own ambitious Ends, and hoist themselves into a Kingly posture through the Peoples favour, as we may see in the Actions of Savanarola the Monk, Soderino, and the Medices, whose Family did (as we see at this day) fix it self at length in the State of an absolute Monarchy, under the Title of a Dukedom. Nor can it be forgotten, how much of Monarchy (of late) crept into the United Provinces.
Now the Use that is to be made of this Discourse, is this,358 that since it is clear, the Interest of Monarchy may reside in a Consul, as well as in a King; in a Dictator, as well as in a Consul; in the hands359 of many, as well as of a single person; and that its Custom hath bin to lurk under every Form, in the various turnes of Government, therefore as it concerns every people in a State of Freedome, to keep close to the Rules of a Free-State, for the turning360 out of Monarchy (whether simple, or compound, both name and thing, in one or many) by which means onely they will be inabled to avoid this second Error in Policy; so they ought ever to have a Reverent and Noble respect of such Founders of Free-States, and Common-wealths, as shall block up the way against Monarchick Tyranny, by declaring for the Liberty of the People, as it consists in a due and orderly succession of Authority, in their supream Assemblies.
[MP 101, 6-13 May 1652]
A keeping the people in ignorance of the essential wayes and meanes that are necessary for the peoples Liberty, is an Error in a Free-State.A third Errour in Policy, which ought especially notice to be taken of361 , and prevented in a Free-State, hath bin a keeping of the people ignorant of those ways and means that are essentially necessary for the preservation of their Liberty; for, implicite Faith, and blind Obedience, hath hitherto passed currant, and been equally pressed and practised by Grandees, both Spirituall and Temporal, upon the People; so that they have in all Nations shared the Authority362 between them. And though many quarrels have risen in times past between Kings, and their Clergy, touching their several Jurisdictions, yet the mysteries of Domination have been still kept under lock and key: so that their Prerogative remained entire ever above the reach and knowledge of the People: by which means, Monarchs and other standing Powers, have seen their own Interest363 provided for, as well as in the Popes in this mysterious Maxime, Ignorance364is the Mother of Devotion.
But these things ought not to be so, among a people that have declared themselves a Free-State:365 For, they should not onely know what Freedome is, and have it represented in all its lively and lovely Features, that they may grow zealous and jealous over it; but, that it may be a Zeal according to knowledge and good purpose: it is without all question, most necessary, that they be made acquainted, and throughly instructed in the Meanes and Rules of its preservation, against the Adulterous Wiles and Rapes of any projecting Sophisters that may arise hereafter.
And doubtless, this endeavour of mine, in laying down the Rules of preserving a Free-State, will appear so much the more necessary, if we consider, that all the Inconveniencies that in Times have happened under this Form, to imbroyl, or ruine it, have proceeded (as we have formerly proved) either from the peoples neglect, or rather ignorance of those Meanes and Rules that should be committed unto them, both for Practice, and Observation: having therefore made brief Collections out of the Monuments of this kind of Learning, I shall here insert them, that the People of every Common-wealth366 , which mean to preserve their Freedom, may be informed how to steer their course, according to such Rules as have bin put in practice heretofore by, divers Nations.
It hath bin one Rule in all Free States, to abjure a toleration of Kings, and Kingly Government.First, it hath bin a Custom, not only to breed up all the young Fry in Principles of Dislike and Enmity against Kingly Government; but also to cause all that were capable of swearing, to enter into an Oath of Abjuration, to abjure a toleration of Kings, and Kingly Power, in time to come.
Thus the Hollanders preserved themselves also, entering into an Oath of Abjuration,* not onely against King Philip, and his Family, but all Kings for ever.
And Brutus, to make sure work, did not onely do this, but divided the Royal Revenues among the People; which was a good way to make them resolute to Extremity, knowing, That if ever any King came in play again, He would take all away again by vertue of his Prerogative and Crown: He brake also all the Images and Statues of the Tarquins, and he levell’d368 their houses with the ground, that they might not remain as Temptations to any ambitious Spirits. Suitable to this policy, was that of Henry the 8th, who when he disposed of the Revenues of Abbies, demolished also the Building; saying, Destroy the Nests, and the Rookes will ne’re return again. Which, questionless, was a most sure way, both in him, and Brutus, to be imitated, or neglected, as there may be occasion. But they thought, in a case of this Nature, that the convenience in keeping them, could not countervail the danger.
It hath bin a Rule in all Free-States, not to suffer particular persons to Grandise more then ordinary.Secondly, It hath bin usual not to suffer particular persons to Grandise, or greaten themselves more than ordinary; for that, by the Romans, was called, affectatio Regni, an aspiring to Kingship: Which being observed in Maelius and Manlius, two noble Ro-mans, that had deserved highly of the State, yet their369 past-merits & services, could not exempt them from the just anger of the People, who made them Examples to Posterity: Yea, the Name of the latter, (though Livy cals him an incomparable man, had he not lived in a Free-State,)† was ever after disowned by his whole Family, that famous Family of the Manlii; and both the Name and Memory of Him, and of his Consulship, was rased out of all publike Records, by Decree of the Senate.370
The not keeping close to this Rule, had of late like to have cost the Low-countries, the loss of their Liberty371 ; for the Wealth of the House of Orange, grown up to excess, and permitting the last man to match into a Kingly Family, put other thoughts and designs into his head, than beseemed a member of a Free-State; which, had he not been prevented, by the Providence of God, and a dark night, might372 in all probability, have reduced them under the Yoak of Kingly Power.*
A third Rule in policy, not to permit a continuation of Command and Power in the hands of particular person[s] and families.Thirdly, Especial care hath been taken, non Diurnare Imperia, not to permit a Continuation of Command and Authority373 , in the hands of particular persons, or families. This point we have been very large in: The374 Romans had a notable care herein, till they grew corrupt. Livy, in his fourth Book, saith, Libertatis magna custodia est, si magna Imperia esse non sinas, & temporis modus imponatur: It is a grand preservative of Liberty, if you do not permit great Powers and Commands to continue long; and if so be you limit, in point of time.† To this purpose, they had a Law, called the Emilian375Law, to restrain them; as we find in the Ninth Book, where he brings in a Noble Roman, saying thus: Hoc quidem Regno simile est; And this,376 indeed, is like a Kingship. That I alone should bear this great office of the Censorship, Triennium & sex menses, three years and six moneths, contrary to the Emilian377Law.‡ In his third Book also, he speaks of it, as of a monstrous business, That the Ides378 of May were come (which was the time of their years choice) and yet no new Election appointed: Idveró Regnum haud dubiè videre, deploratur in perspetuum libertas. It without doubt seems no other than a Kingdom, and Liberty is utterly lost for ever.§ It was Treason for any man to hold that high office of the Dictatorship in his own hand, beyond six moneths. He that would see notable stuff to this purpose, let him read Ciceroes Epistles379 to Atticus, concerning Caesar.|| The care of that people, in this particular, appeared also, that they would not permit any man to bear the same office twice together.
This was observed likewise (as Aristotle tells us) in all the Free-States of Greece.
And in Rome we find Cincinnatus, one of the brave Romane Generals, making a Speech unto the People, to perswade them, to let him lay down his Command. Now the time was come, though the Enemy was380 almost at their Gates, and never more need, than at that time, of his valour and prudence, as the people told him: but no perswasion would serve the turn; resign he would, telling them, There would be more danger to the State, in prolonging his Power, than from the Enemy, since it might prove a President most pernicious to the Romane Freedome.* Such another Speech was made by M. Ru-tilius Censorinus, to the People, when they forced him to undergo the office of Censor twice together, contrary to the intent and practice of their Ancestors; yet he accepted it: but (as Plutarch tells us) upon this condition; That a Law might pass against the Title in that, and other Officers, least it should be drawn into President in time to come.† Thus the People dealt also with their own Tribunes, the Law being, That none of them should be continued two years together. So tender were the Romans, in this particular, as one principal Rule and Means, for the preservation of their Liberty.381
[MP 102, 13-20 May 1652]
Not to let two of one Family bear Offices of Trust at one time.A fourth Rule,382 not to let two of one Family to bear Offices of High Trust at one time, nor to permit a Continuation of great Powers in any one383 Family. The former, usually brings on the latter: And if the latter be prevented, there is the less danger in the former: but however, both are to be avoided: The reason is evident,384 because a permission of them, gives a particular Family an opportunity, to bring their own private Interest into competition, with that of the Publique: from whence presently ensues this grand inconvenience in State, the Affairs of the Commonwealth385 will be made subservient to the ends of a few persons; no Corn shall be measured, but in their bushel; nor any Materials be allowed for the Publick Work, unless they square well with the building of a private Interest, or Family. This therefore, was a principal point of State among the386 Romans, Ne duo vel plures ex una familia magnos Magistratus gerant eodem tempore; Let not two or more of one Family, bear great Offices at the same time. And a little after it follows, Ne magna Imperia ab unâ familiâ praescribantur, Let not great Commands be prescribed, or continued, by one Family.
That little liberty which was left to the Romans, after that fatal stab given to Caesar in the Senate-house, might have been preserved, had they prevented his Kinsman Octavius from succeeding him in the possession of an extraordinary Power. The effecting whereof was Ciceroes work, and, indeed, his principal errour: as he often afterwards acknowledged;* which may serve to shew, That the wisest man may be sometimes mistaken387 : For he brought the other into play; whereas388 had he quitted his spleen, and consulted his brain, he must questionless have seen, that a siding with Anthony had been more convenient, then with the other; who being once admitted into Power, soon drew the Parties, and Interests of his Uncle Julius, to become his own; and with a wet finger, not onely cast off his friend Cicero, but contrived the ruine of the Republick, and Him, both together.
The Florentine Family of the Medices, who hold an absolute Command at this day, made themselves, by continuing Power in their hands, in a short time so considerable, that they durst openly bid defiance to Publick389 Liberty, which might have continued much longer, had not Casinus390 been so easily admitted to succeed his Cousin Alexander.
It is observable also, of the same Family, that one of them being Pope, they then hatched Designs upon several parts of Italy, not doubting but to391 carry them by favour of the Pope their Kinsman: but he dying before their Ends were effected, they then made a Party in the Conclave, for the creating of Julian de Medicis, who was Brother to the former Pope, and had like to have carried it, till Pompeius Columba392 stood up, and shewed them how dangerous and prejudicial it must of necessity prove, to the Liberties of Italy, that the Popedom should be continued in one house, in the hands of two brothers one after another.
What Effects the continuation of Power, in the Family of Orange, hath had in the United Provinces, is every mans observation; and that Nation sufficiently felt, long before the Project came to maturity, in this last mans dayes; and had he left a son of sufficient years behind him, to have stept immediatly into his place,* perhaps the Design might have gone on: but certainly that People have wisely improved their opportunity, (the Cockatrice being not flech’d) in reducing393 that Family into a temper more suitable to a State and Interest of Liberty.
What made the antient Roman Senate, in a short time, so intollerable to that People, but because they carryed all by Families; as the Senate of Venice doth now at this day: where, if the Constitution were otherwise, the people would then (perhaps) be much more sensible what it is to be in a State of Freedom.
The Majesty and Authority of the Suffrages, or votes of the Supream Assembly to be kept intire.Fifthly, It hath bin usual in Free-States, to hold up the Majesty and Authority of their Suffrages, or Votes intire, in their Senators, or supream Assemblies: for if this were not look’d to, and secured from controle, or influence of any other Power, then Actum erat de libertate, Liberty and Authority became lost for ever. So long as the Roman people kept up their credit and Authority, as sacred, in their Tribunes, and Supream Assemblies, so long they continued really free: but when by their own neglect, they gave Sylla, and his Party, in the Senate, an opportunity of power to curb them, then their Suffrages (once esteemed as sacred) were troden under foot; for immediately after, they came to debate and act but by courtesie, the Authority left being by Sylla, after the expiration of his Dictatorship, in the hands of the standing Senate, so that it could never after be regained by the People. Nor did the Senate themselves keep it long in their own hands: for when Caesar marched to Rome, he deprived them also of the Authority of their Suffrages; onely in a formal way made use of them, and so under a shadow of legality, he assumed that power unto394 himself, which they durst not deny him.395
Just in the same manner dealt Cosmus with the Flerentine Senate: he made use of their Suffrages, but he had so plaid his Cards beforehand, that they durst not but yield to his Ambition. So also Tiberius, when he endeavored to settle himself, first brought the Suffrages of the Senate at his own Devotion, that they durst not but consent to his Establishment; and then so ordered the matter, that he might seem to do nothing, not only without their consent; but to be forced to accept the Empire by their intreaty: so that you see, there was an Empire, in Effect, long before it was declared in Formality.
From hence, therefore, we may clearly deduce the necessity of this Rule in a Free-State, from the practice of times past, that no State can prefer396 its Freedom, but by maintaining the free Suffrage of the People in full vigour, untainted with the influence, or mixture, of any Commanding Power.397
[MP 103, 20-27 May 1652]
398 A sixth Rule in Practice hath been this; to see, that the people be continually trained up in the Exercise of Arms, and the Militia lodged onely in the Peoples hands; or that part of them, which are most firm to the Interest of Liberty, that so the Power may rest fully in the Disposition of their Supream Assemblies. The happy consequence whereof, was ever to this purpose:The people are to be continually trained up in the exercise of Armes, and the Militia lodged in the hands of those that are firm to the Interest of the Nation.
That nothing could at any time be imposed upon the people, but by their consent399 ; that is, by the consent of themselves; or of such as were by them intrusted: this was a Rule most strictly practised in all the Free-States of Greece: For, as Aristotle tells us, in his fourth Book of Politicks, they ever had special care400 to place the Use and Exercise of Arms in the people: because (say they) the Common-wealth is theirs who held401 the Arms.*
The Sword, and Soveraignty, ever walk hand in hand together. The Romans were very curious in this particular, after they had gained a plenary possession of Liberty in their Tribunes, and successive Assemblies, Rome it self, and the Territories about it, was trained up perpetually in Arms, and the whole Common-weal, by this means became one formal Militia, a generall Exercise of the best part of the people in the use of Arms, was the onely Bulwark of their Liberty: This was reckoned the surest way to preserve it both at home, and abroad: the Majesty of the People being secured thereby, as well against Domestick Affronts from any of their own Citizens, as against the forraign Invasions of bad Neighbors.
Their Arms were never lodged in the hands of any, but such as had an Interest in the Publick; such as were acted by that Interest, not drawn only by Pay; such as thought themselves well paid, in repelling Invaders, that they might with Freedome return to their Affairs: For, the truth is, so long as Rome acted by the pure Principles of a Free-State, it used no Arms to defend it self, but, such as we call, sufficient men; such, as for the most part were men of Estate, Masters of Families, that took Arms (only upon occasion) proAris & Focis, for their Wives, their Children, and their Countrey. In those days there was no difference, in order, between the Citizen, the Husbandman, and the Souldier: for, he that was a Citizen, or Villager yesterday, became a Souldier the next, if the Publick Liberty required it; and that being secured, by repelling of Invaders, both Forreign and Domestick, immediatly the Souldier became Citizen again: so that the first and best brave Roman Generals, and Souldiers, came from the Plough, and returned thither when the Work was over.
This was the usual course even before they had gained their Tribunes and Assemblies; that is, in the Infancy of the Senate, immediately after the Expulsion of their Kings: for, then even in the Senatick Assembly, there were some Sparks of Liberty in being, and they took this course to maintain it.
The Tarquins being driven out, but having a Party left still within, that attempted to make several402 Invasions, with confidence to carry all before them: and yet in the Intervalls, we find not any form of souldiery; only the Militia was lodged and exercised in the hands of that Party, which was firm to the Interest of Freedom, who upon all occasions, drew forth at a Nod of the Senate, with little charge to the Publick, and so rescued themselves out of the Clawes of Kingly Tyranny.
Nor do we find in after-times, that they permitted a Deposition of the Arms of the Common-wealth403 in any other way, till that their Empire increasing, necessity constrained them to erect a continued stipendary Souldiery (abroad in forreign parts) either for the holding, or winning of Provinces. Then Luxury increasing with Dominion, the strict Rule and Discipline of Freedome was soon quitted; Forces were kept up at home, (but what the consequences were, stories will tell you) as well as in the Provinces abroad.
The Ambition of Cinna, the horid Tyranny of Sylla, the insolence of Marius, and the self-ends of divers other Leaders, both before, and after them, filled all Italy with Tragedies, and the World with wonder: so that in the end, the People404 seeing what misery they had brought on themselves, by keeping their Armies within the bowels of Italy, passed a Law to prevent it, and to employ them abroad, or at a convenient distance: the Law was, That if any General marched over the River of Rubicon405 , he should be declared a publike Enemy.
And in the passage of that River, this following Inscription was erected, to put the men of Arms in mind of their duty: Imperator, sive miles, sive Tyrannus armatus quisquis, sistito vexillum armaq; deponito, nec citra hunc Amnem trajicitio:406 General, or Souldier, or Tyrant in Arms, whosoever thou be, stand, quit thy Standard, and lay aside thy Arms, or else cross not this River.*
For this cause it was, that when Caesar had presumed once to march over this River, he conceived himself so far ingaged, that there was no Retreat; no Game next, but have at all, advanceth407 to Rome it self, into a possession of the Empire.
By this means it was, the Common-wealth408 having lost its Arms, lost it self too, the Power being reduced both effectually and formally into the hands of a single Person, and his Dependants, who, ever after, kept the Armes out of the hands of the People.
Then followed the erecting of a Praetorian Band, instead of a Publick Militia409, he being followed herein by Augustus, and the rest of his Successors, imitated of latter-times by the Grand Seignor; by Cosmus the first great Duke of Tuscany; by the Muscovite, the Russian, the Tartar, and the French, who by that means are all Absolute; and it was strongly endeavored here too in England by the late King410 , who first attempted it by a Design of introducing Forreigners, viz. the German Horse, and afterwards by corrupting of the Natives; as when he laboured the Army in the North, in their return to rifle the Parliament, neglected Train-Bands; and at length, flew out himself into open Arms against the Nation.
So that you see, the way of Freedome hath bin to lodge the Arms of a Common-Weal, in the hands of that part of the People, which are firm to its Establishment.411
[MP 104, 27 May-3 June 1652]
Children educated and instructed in the Principles of Freedom.Seventhly, that Children412 should be educated and instructed in the Principles of Freedom. Aristotle speaks plainly to this purpose, saying; That the institution of Youth, should be accommodated to that Form of Government, under which they live; forasmuch, as it makes exceedingly for preservation of the present Government, whatsoever it be.* The Reason of it appears in this; because all the Tinctures and Impression that men receive in their Youth, they retain in the full Age, though never so bad, unless they happen (which is very rare) to quell the corrupt Principles of Education by an Excellency of Reason, and sound Judgment.
And for confirmation of this, we might cite the various Testimonies of Plutarch, Isocrates, with many more, both Philosophers, Orators, and others, that have treated of this particular, touching the Education of Children, as it relates either to Domestick, or Civil Government: But we shall take it for granted, without more ado, supposing none will deny, of what effect it is, in all the Concernments of Mankind, either in Conversation, or in Action.
The necessity of this Point, appears from hence, as well as the Reason; That if care be not taken to temper the Youth of a Common-Wealth, with Principles and Humours suitable to that Form, no sure settlement, or peace, can ever be expected: for Schools, Academies, with all other Seed-plots, and Seminaries of Youth, will otherwise be but so many Nurseries of Rebellion, publike Enemies, and unnatural Monsters that will tear the bowels of their Mother-Countrey: And this Neglect, if it follow an alteration of Government, after a Civil War, is so much the more dangerous; because, as long as Youngsters are nuzled413 up in the old Ways and Rudiments, by the old ill-affected Paedagogues, there will ever be a hankering after the Old Government, which must ever be in a fair probability of return, when new Generations shall be catechised into old Tenets and Affections, contrary to the Establishment of a Free-State: That being taken for the declared Interest of this Nation. Therefore, the consequence of such Neglect is clearly this, That the Enmity will be immortal, a Settlement impossible: there must be a perpetual Disposition to Civil-War, in stead of Civil Society.414
Upon this account415 it was, that in Plutarch and Isocrates, we find so many good Testimonies of the great care that was had amongst all the Free-States of Greece in this particular, which tyed up their Paedagogues and Teachers, to certain Rules; and selected certain Authors to be read onely, as Classical, for the Institution of their Youth: And, that it was so in the days of Julius Caesar, even in that barbarous Country of Gallia, appeares by Caesars own Commentaries, who tells, how that it was the main office of those famous men amongst them called Druides416 , to breed up their Youth not onely in Religion, but also to instruct them in the Nature of a Common-wealth417 , and mould them with Principles, answerable to the Government418 .*
If we reflect upon the two Grand Turns of State in Rome, the first, from a Monarchy to a Free-State; and then from a Free-State, to a Monarchy again; they minister matter of notable Observation in this particular.
In the first, we find how difficult it was for the Romans to preserve their Freedom when they had gotten it, because most of the Youth had bin educated in Monarchical Principles, and such419 Tutors were ever inclining that way upon the least opportunity: so that the sons even of Brutus himself, (who was the Founder of their Liberty) quitted that natural affection which they owed unto their Father, and Countrey; and being sway’d by the Monarchick Principles of corrupt Education, drew in a great part of the Roman Youth, (like themselves,) to joyn with them in a Design for the bringing back of the Tarquins to the Kingdom.
It is very observable also, what a do that Common-wealth420 had to settle, so long as any of the old stock of Education were living, because those corrupt points of Discipline and Government, wherewith they were seasoned when young, could not be worn out with Age; but hurried many of them along with the storm of every Insurrection and Invasion of the publike Enemy.
On the other side, in the Turn of a Free-State, to a Monarchy again, we see with what difficulty Caesar met, in setling his own Domination over a People that had been educated in a Free-State, and in Principles of Freedom; insomuch, that in the end it cost him his life, being stab’d for his Usurpation by a combination of some of the Senators, and the Fact applauded not onely by the People, but by Cicero,* and all the Roman Writers, and others that had been bred up under the Form of Freedom.
And afterwards, when Augustus took upon him the Inheritance and Title, of his Uncle Caesar, he did it, lento pede, very slowly and warily, for fear of conjuring up the same spirit in the people, that had flown into revenge against his Uncle, for his Rape upon their Liberty.
And it is Noted by Tacitus, that among the other advantages that Augustus had for his Establishment, there was this: That he never declared himself, till, after many delayes and shifts, for the continuation of Power in his own hands, he got insensibly into the Throne, when the old men were most of them dead, and the young Generation grown up, having been pretty well educated and inured to his Lordly Domination. The words of Tacitus are these: “All (saith he) was quiet in the City, the old names of the Magistrates remained unchanged; the young men were all born after Augustus his victory at Actium: and the greatest part of the old men, during the Civil Wars; when the Free-State was imbroiled and usurpt (in effect, though retained still in name by powerful and ambitious persons) so that when he assumed and owned the Empire, there was not one man Living, that had so much as seen the ancient Form of Government of a Free-State421 ; which indeed facilitated his Design very much, the Generation then Living, being by his Artifice and Power, bred up to his own Monarchy-Interest and Devotion.”*
We might be larger, but this is enough, to shew of what consequence the careful Education of Youth, is, in the Constitution422 of Government: and therefore, without doubt, it is one essential point to be observed in the Establishment of a Free-State, that all wayes and meanes be used for their seasoning and instruction in the principles of Freedom.
[MP 105, 3-10 June 1652]
423 The Eighth Rule, is, that which more especially relates unto the People themselves in point of behaviour, viz. That being once possessed of Liberty, they ought to use it with moderation, lest it turn to licentiousness;Cautions for the people to observe. which, as it is a Tyranny it self, so in the end it usually occasions the corruption and conversion of a Free State, into Monarchical424 Tyranny: And therefore (by way of prevention) it is necessary to set down a few Cautions.
First, That in a Free State, it is above all things necessary to avoid Civil Dissention; and to remember this, That the uttermost Remedy is not to be used upon every Distemper or Default of those that shall be intrusted with the Peoples Power and Authority: for, if one Inconvenience happen in Government, the correction, or curing of it by violence, introduceth a thousand: And for a man to think Civil War, or the Sword, is a way to be ordinarily used for the recovery of a sick-State, it were as great a madness, as to give strong Waters in a high Feaver: or as if he should let himself blood in the Heart, to cure the aking of his Head.
The People are not to use the utmost remedy in all cases of male administration.And therefore, seeing that Enormity of Tumult, Dissention, and Sedition, is the main that hath been objected by Tyrants, & their Creatures, against the Peoples Government, the onely Expedient to confute it is, That those People, that are, or shall be setled, in a State of Freedom, do425 (upon all occasions) give them the Lie, by a discreet and moderate behaviour in all their proceedings, and a due reverence of such as they have once elected, and made their Superiors.
And as this is most requisite on the one side; so on the other side, if there be just (but they must be sure it be just426 ) cause to use sharp and quick Remedies, for the Cure of a Common-wealth,427 then (seeing all Majesty and Authority is really and fundamentally in the people, and but Ministerially in their Trustees, or Representatives) it concerns the people by all means to see to the Cure.
And that is, in a word, in such cases onely, as appear to be manifest intrenchments (either in design, or in being) by men of Power, upon the Fundamentals, or Essentials, of their Liberty, without which, Liberty cannot consist.
What those Essentials are, may be collected out of the past-discourse; the sense428 of all shall be illustrated by one instance.
It is that famous Contention which lasted for three hundred years in Rome betwixt the Senate and the People, about the dividing of such Lands as were conquered and taken from the Enemy.
The Senators, they sharing the lands amongst themselves, allowed little, or none, unto the people; which gave such Discontents, that the people made a Law to curb them; enacting, That no Senator should possess above 500 Acres of Land.
The Senators cryed, it was against their Liberty, thus to be abridged by the people: And the people cryed, it was inconsistent with Liberty, that the Senators should thus greaten themselvs by an ingrosment of wealth and power into their own hands. Livy saith,* The people in this, said right, and the Senators did wrong: but that they both did ill, in making it a ground of Civil Dissention; for, in process of time, when the Gracchi, who were supposed great Patrons of Liberty, took upon them to side with the people, they did, instead of finding out some moderate wayes and Expedients to reduce the Senators to Reason, proceed with such heat and violence, that the Senate being jealous of their own safety, were forced to chuse Sylla for their General: which being observed by the people, they also raised an Army, and made Marius their General: so that here you see it came to a downright Civil-War.
The occasion, indeed, was given by the Senators; (for, there was no reason they should Grandise themselves in so gross a manner as they did) but yet the occasion ought not to have bin so taken, and prosecuted with such violence as it was by the People: for seeing more temperate wayes had been practised by their Ancestors, and might have been found out again, to curb the Ambition of their Nobility in the Senate: Therefore, the People ought, first, to have tryed those wayes again, and have used all other means to have brought things about, rather than by a misguided heat and violence to rush into Arms; which as it is the most desperate Remedy, so it ought never to be used, but when all other courses have been tried in vain, and when the Publick Liberty is really concerned by an imminent Danger, or invincible Necessity: For, this Quarrel, which questionless might have been composed, was, through indiscretion, made the ground of so bloudy a Civil-war, that what through Fines, Banishment, inhumane Cruelties, acted on both sides, Defeats in the open Field, and Massacres within the City, it cost the best Bloud and Estates of the Nobility and Commons; and in the end, it cost them also their Liberty.
For it is worthy observation, that out of the Root of this Civil war, sprang that Noble one429 , which was managed between Pompey and Caesar, and which will serve to illustrate the other part of our discourse, in shewing, When it is that the people may make use of the utmost, remedy;In What Case the Romans used the utmost remedy that is430 , in case of an intrenchment, manifestly designed, & acted upon the Publick Liberty. For Caesar having given manifest cause of Suspition to the Senat & people, by his acting amongst his Soldiers431 ; and then by a down-right march with them over Rubicon towards Rome, (which was treason by the Law) this was a plain usurpation, and drew an invincible necessity, upon the people, and Senate432 , to arm form their Liberty, and commence a Civil war under the conduct of Pompey; so that this last war was necessary as the other was needlesse, if they could have kept within the bounds of prudence, and moderation.
We have a very notable433 instance also in our own Nation, which may serve for a Just example to all the world in point of behaviour.434 If we run over the Catalogue of the late Kings435 defaults in government, we find extraordinary patience in the people, notwithstanding his extraordinary incroachments from time to time. It were needless to reckon up the several Monopolies, Impositions, and other oppressions of the People, both in soul and body, which are made publick and known to all the World; together with that highest of all Practices, not onely in dissolving Parliaments abruptly, but professedly designing the ruine of Parliaments, in depriving the People of their due Succession. Yet notwithstanding all this, that desperate Remedy of the Sword was for-born, untill invincible Necessity did put it into their hands, for the preservation of themselves, with their Rights and Liberties.436
And so by these Examples, any people in a State of Freedom, may be sufficiently instructed how to demean themselves, for the avoiding of Licentiousness, Tumult, and Civil Dissention, which are the principal Inconveniences charged by Royalists, upon Free-States and Common-wealths:437 from hence, also, may be observed all the necessary points of prudence, and forbearance, which ought to take place in respect of Superiors, till it shall evidently appear unto a people, that there is a Design on foot to surprize and seize their Liberties.438
[MP 106, 10-17 June 1652]
439 A second Caution, is, in relation to their Elective Power, that in all Elections of Magistrates, they have an especiall Eye upon the Publick, in making choice of such persons onely, as have appeared most eminent, and active, in the Establishment and440 Love of Freedom.
In such hands the Guardianship of Liberty may be safely441 placed, because such men have made the Publick Interest, and their own, all one; and therefore will neither betray, nor desert it, in prosperity or adversity; whereas men of another qualification and temper, if they get into Authority, care not to serve the Publick any further442 , than the publike serves them, and will draw off and on443 as they find their Opportunity: Yea, and take this for a certain Rule, that if any person be admitted into Power, that loves not the Common-wealth444 , above all other considerations, such a man is (as we say) every mans money; any State-Marchant may have him for a Factor: and for good consideration, he will often make Returns upon the Publike Interest, have a stock going in every Party, and with men of every Opinion, and (if occasion serve) truck with the Common-Enemy, and Commonwealth445 , both together.
But that you may see, I do not speak without book, it is Aristotles opinion, as well as mine; who saith, in the first446 of his Politicks, being thus translated, Per negligentiam mutatur status Reipublicae, cum ad Potestates assumuntur illi qui praesentem statum non amant: The Form of a Common-wealth447 is then altered by negligence, when those men are taken into Power, which do not love the present Establishment,* it is not onely a way to preserve a Common-wealth, to avoid those that hate it, but those also are as much to be avoided, that do not love it; that is, who are not earnestly wedded to it by an inward active principle of Affection: And the reason is very evident, because their Affections being of an indifferent Nature, remain ready to run out into any Form, Interest, or Party, that offers it self upon the least alteration or temptation whatsoever. For this, we might give you instance448 enough, and too much; but waving them, it may suffice, that most of the Broils, Tumults, and Civil Dissentions, that ever hapned in Free-States, have been occasioned by the Ambitious, Treacherous, and Indirect Practices of such persons admitted into Power, as have not been firm in their hearts to the Interest of Liberty.
The truth of this is (omitting many others) to be seen in the Romane State449 , after its Liberty was fully setled in a Succession of the Peoples supream Assemblies.
For the Nobility in the Senate, being men of another Interest (however they pretended) and, sometimes by cunning, sometimes by corrupting, getting Trust from the People, did by combination and complyance with their Fellow-Senators, so garble, perplex, and turmoil the Peoples Affairs, Concernments, and Understandings, that at length, what they could never have done by force, as Opposites, they effected by fraud, as Friends, to deprive the People of a quiet and comfortable enjoyment of their Freedome.
Faction, Alliance, & Affection is to be avoided in all Elections.A third Caution is, That in all their Elections of any into the Supream Court, or Councels, they be not led by any bent450 of Faction, Alliance, or Affection, and that none be taken in, but purely upon the account of merit.
The former course hath ever bin the occasion of discontents, sidings, and Parties.
The latter, stops the mouths of men, that perhaps are contrary minded, and draws the consent and approbation of all the World, when they see men put in Authority, that have a clear reputation of transcendent Honesty and Wisdom.
That people are to avoid all false charges against persons in Authority.A fourth Caution, is, That as it is the secret of Liberty, that all Magistrates, and publike Officers, be kept in an accountable state, liable to render an account of their Behaviour and Actions; and also, that the people have freedom to accuse whom they please: so on the other side, it concerns them, above all things, to avoid false Charges, Accusations, Calumniations451 against Persons in Authority, which are the greatest abuses and blemishes of Liberty, and have been the most frequent Causes of Tumult and Dissention.
The Banishment, called Ostracism, among the Athenians, was instituted (at first) upon a just and noble ground: so452 was that called Petatism, among the Lacedemonians,* to turn such out of the Commonwealth453 , who had rendered themselves suspected against the common Liberty: but yet the abuse of it afterwards proved most pernicious, to the imbroyling of those States with Civil Dissention, when it was perverted by some petulant spirits, to an opposition of some few (and but few) of their best deserving Citizens.
The Romans also, in their state of Liberty, retained this freedom also, of keeping all persons accountable and accusing whom they pleased, but then they were very cautious also, to retain that Decree of the Senate, called, Turpilianum454 , in full force and vertue, whereby a severe Fine was set on the Heads of all Calumniators, and false Accusers.†
The due Observation of this Rule preserved that State a long time from Usurpation by men in power on the one side, and from popular clamour and Tumults on the other side.
As the people are to avoid ingratitude, so likewise to have a care not to intrust any particular persons, with an unlimited Power.A fifth Caution is, That, as by all means they should beware of Ingratitude, and unhandsome Returns, to such as have done eminent services for the Common-wealth455 ; So it concerns them, for the publike peace and security, not to impose a Trust in the hands of any person or persons further, than as they may take it back again at pleasure.
The Reason is, because, (as the Proverb saith) Honores mutant mores, Honours change mens manners;‡ Accessions, and Continuations of Power and Greatness, expose the mind to temptations: They are Sailes too big for any Bulk of Mortality to steer an even course456 by.
The Kingdoms of the World, and the Glories of them, are Baites that seldome failes457 when the Tempter goes a fishing: and none but he, that was more than man, could have refused them. How many Free-States & Common-wealths have paid dear for their Experience in this particular? who by trusting their own servants too far, have been forced, in the end to receive them for their Masters. Nor is it to be wondred at by any, considering that immoderate Power soon lets in high and ambitious thoughts; and where they are once admitted, no Design so absur’d, or contrary to a mans principles, but he rusheth into it, without the least remorse or consideration: for the Spirit of Ambition, is a Spirit of Giddiness, it foxes men that receive it, and makes them more drunk than the spirit of Wine.
So that were they never so wise, just, and honest before, they afterwards become the contrary, meer sots, non compos mentis, being hurried on without fear or wit, in all their undertakings: And therefore, without question, it highly concerns a People that have redeemed and rescued their Liberties out of the hands of Tyranny, and are declared a Free-State, so to regulate458 their Affairs, that all Temptations, and Opportunities of Ambition, may be removed out of the way: or else there follows a necessity of Tumult and Civil Dissention, the common consequence whereof hath ever been a Ruine of the publike Freedome.
This459Caesar, who first took Arms upon the Publick Score, and became the Peoples Leader, letting in Ambitious Thoughts to his unbounded Power, soon shook hands with his first Friends and Principles, and became another man: so that upon the first fair Opportunity, he turn’d his Armes on the Publick Liberty.
Thus did Sylla serve the Senate, and Marius also the People, being the same Tyrant, in effect, though not in name, nor in an open manner.
Thus did Pisistratus at Athens, Agathocles in Sicily, Cosmos, Soderino, and Savaranola in Florence, Castrucio in Luca, and others, in many other places: Nor must it be forgotten what the Family of Orange would have done in Holland; for upon the very same account have Usurpations bin commenced in all Free-States throughout the World.460
[MP 107, 17-24 June 1652]
Treason against the Peoples Liberties, not to be pardoned.The Ninth, and last Rule, for preservation of the Publick Freedome, is this461 , That it be made an unpardonable Crime, to incur the guilt of Treason against the Interest and Majesty of the People.
And for the clearing of this, it will be requisite to muster up those various Particulars that come within the compass of Treason, according to the Practice, and Opinion of other Nations. The 1. remarkable Treason in old Rome, after its Establishment in a State of Freedome, was that of Brutus his sons, who entered into a formal Conspiracy for the bringing back of the Tarquins to the Kingdom by force of Arms.462
This Brutus was the Founder of the Roman Liberty; and therefore one would have thought the young men might have obtained an easie pardon: But such was the zeal of the Romans, for the preservation of their Freedom, that they were all put to death without mercy; and, that all others in time to come, might be deprived of the least hope of being spared upon the like occasion, their own Father was the man most forward to bring them to Execution.
This was Treason in gross: but in after-time, there started up more refined pieces of Treason; as may be collected out of the Actions of Maelius and Manlius, two persons that had deserved highly of the Common wealth463 ; but especially the latter, who saved it from ruine, when the Gauls had besieged the Capitol.
Nevertheless, presuming afterwards upon the People, because of his extraordinary Merits, He, by greating himself beyond the size of a good Citizen; and entertaining Thoughts and Counsels of surprising the Peoples Liberties, was condemned to death; but yet not without the Peoples pitty (as indeed it was an unhappy Necessity, that they should be forced to destroy him that had saved them from destruction). To the same end came Maelius also, upon the like occasion.
Another sort of Treason there was contrived likewise against that People;
And that was by those Magistrates, called the Decemviri, touching whose Actions, and the Ground of their Condemnation, I onely let you know,
That you may be sufficiently informed by other Pens then mine; such as the Historian Livy, Pomponius, Dionysius, and others, that have written of the Roman Affaires and Antiquities.
A fourth sort of Treason against that People, was manifest Usurpation, acted over and over, long before the time of Caesar.
Some other Particulars also, there were, of less consideration, that came within the compass of Treason; And in all, they were very strict to vindicate the Interest of the Common-Wealth, without respect of Persons.
To those passages out of the old Common-wealth464 of Rome, let us add the rest we have to say about this point, out of the practices of the present State of Venice, the most exact for Punctillo’s of that465 Nature that ever was in the World; and therefore, questionless, it is the most principal cause of her so long continuance: It is, there, Death without mercy, for any man to have the least attempt, or thought, of conspiring against the Common-weal, and in several other Cases, as followeth.466
Secondly, it is Treason467 in case any Senator betray Counsels: there it is an unpardonable Crime, and such a mortal sin, that draws on Death without mercy.
This severity also, was retained in the Roman State, where such as became guilty of this Crime, were either468 burnt alive, or hanged upon a Gibbet: Hereupon, (saith Valerius Max. lib. 2.) when any matter was delivered, or debated, it was, as if no man had heard a syllable of what had been said among so many:* From whence it came to pass, that the Decrees of their Senate were called Tacita, that is to say; things concealed; because never discovered, untill they came to Execution.469
Thirdly, it is Treason, without470 mercy, for any Senators, or other Officers of Venice, to receive Gifts, or Pensions, from any forreign Prince, or State, upon any pretence whatsoever. It was an old Proverb among the Heathens471 , That the gods themselves might be taken with gifts: and therefore the consequences must needs be dangerous, in the inferiour Courts of States and Princes; since nothing can be carryed in this Case, according to Native Interest, and Sound Reason; but onely by Pluralities of Forreign Dictates, and Compliances: But in472Venice they are so free from this treacherous Impiety, that all States which transact with them, must do it above-board, consult before-hand with their brains, and not their purses: so that (as Thuanus* saith) the King of France needs not use much labour to purchase an Interest with any Prince, or State in Italy, unless it be the Venetian Republick, where all Forreign Compliances, and Pensioners, are punished with utmost severity; but escape well enough, in other places.
Fourthly, it is Treason for any of her Senators to have any private Conference with Forreign Ambassadors and Agents.473 It is very observable also, among our Neighbours of the Low-Countries, that one Article of the Charge, whereby they took off Barnevelts head, was, for that he held familiarity and converse with the Spanish Ambassador, at the same time when Spain was an474 Enemy.
Thus you have475 a brief Description of Treason, in the most notable kinds of it, according to the Customes and Opinions of two of the most eminent Free-States, (which may serve instead of all the rest) that hath been in the World; who, as a principal Rule and Means for the preservation of Freedom, made it a Crime unpardonable, to incur the guilt of Treason, in any of these kinds, against the Interest and Majesty of the People in a Free-State.476
[MP 108, 24 June-1 July 1652]
A fourth error in Policy, & which is indeed Epidemical,Reason of State preferred before Rules of Honesty, is an Error in policy. hath been the Regulation of affaires by Reason of State, not by the479 strict Rule of Honest.480 But for fear be481 mistaken, you are to understand, that by Reason of State here, we do not condemn the equitable Results of prudence and right Reason: for upon determinations of this nature depends the safety of all states, and princes; but that reason of state that flowes from a corrupt principle to an indirect end; that reason of state, which is the states mans reason, or rather his will and lust, when he admits Ambition to be a reason, Perferment, Power, Profit, Revenge, and Opportunity, to be reason, sufficient to put him upon any designe of Action that may tend to the present advantage; though contrary to the Law of God, or the law of common honesty & of Nations.
A more lively description of this strange Pocus called Reason of State, take as followeth.482 It is the most soveraign Commander, & the most important Counsellor. Reason of State is the Care and compass of the ship, the life of a State. That which answers all objections, and quarrels, about Mall government. That’s it, which makes483 War, imposes Taxes, cuts off Offenders, pardons Offenders, sends and treats Ambassadors.
It can say and unsay, do and undo, baulk the Common Road, make High-wayes to become By-wayes, and the furthest about, to become the nearest Cut. If a difficult Knot come to be untied, which neither the Divine by Scripture, nor Lawyer by Case or precedent can untie, then Reason of State, or a hundred wayes more, which Idiots knows not, dissolves it. This is that great Empress which the Italians call Raggione distato. It can rant as a Souldier, complement as a Monsieur, trick it as a Juggler, strut it as a States man, and is as changable as the Moon, in the variety of her appearances.
But we may take notice of a more excellent way in oppsition to this sandy Foundation of Policy, called Reason of State,484viz. a simple reliance upon God in the vigorous and present actings of all Righteousness, exprest by honest men, in plain language, to this effect; Fiat justitia, & fractus illabatur Orbis; Deal uprightly, walke close and real to your promises, and principles, though the Fabrick of Heaven and earth should fall, yet God is able to support, he expects but so much faith as will counterpoise a grain of mustard-seed. Besides, in following singly, a just and righteous principle, a man gains this advantage, that we485 may go on boldly, with a mind free from that torturing sollicitude of success, (* he is subject to none of those heats and colds, those fits and frights, wherewith men are perpetually vexed, for fear of discovery or miscarriage, when they have once intangled themselves in any by-acting of Engagements486 ) he either prospers, to the great good of his Nation, or else dies with honour and triumph.
But those that follow the other principle of Humane Invention, and serve that Italian Goddess, Raggione di Stato, they may live awhile as gods, but shall die like men, and perish like one of the Princes.
But because words will not serve the turn, take a few Examples of those many, that might be fetcht from all Ages, and Nations. It was Reason of State, made Pharoah hold the Israe-lites in bondage, and afterwards, when they were freed, to endeavour to bring them back again to their old slavery: but you know what he came to; It was Reason of State, that made Saul to spare Agag, and plot the ruine of David.
It was Reason of State, that made Jeroboam to set up Calves in Dan and Bethel.
It was Reason of State, (and a shrew’d one too) when Achitophel caused Absalom, to defile his Fathers Concubines in the sight of all Israel. You know what end they both came to. It was the same, that caused Abner, first, to take part with the house of Saul; and that caused Joab to kil him after he came to be his Rival in Fame, and the Favour of David: their Ends were both bloudy.
Hence it was, that Solomon having pardoned Adonijah, thought fit afterwards to put him to death, upon a very slender occasion.
And Jehu, though he had Warrant from God to destroy all the house of Ahab his Master; yet, because in the Execution of it, he mingled Reason of State, in relation to his own Interest, and minded the Establishment of himself thereby, more than the Command and Honour of God, in the Execution of Justice: therefore God cursed him for his pains, threatning by the mouth of the Prophet Hosea, to avenge the bloud of Ahabs family upon the house of Jehu.
It was Reason of State, that moved Herod to endeavour the destruction of Christ, as soon as he was born.
It was Reason of State in the Jewes, (lest the Romans should come and take away their Place and Nation) and in Pilate, (lest he should be thought no friend to Caesar) that made them both joyn in crucifying the Lord of Glory, and incur that heavy Curse, which at length fell upon the Jewish Place and Nation.
It is Reason of State, that makes the Pope and the Cardinals stick so close one to another, and binds them and the Monarchs of Christendom in one common Interest, for the greatning of themselves, and the inslaving of the People; for which, a sad destruction doth attend them.
487 It was Reason of State, that destroyed so many millions of men (forsooth) in the Holy War; that so Princes might not have time to take notice of the Popes Usurpation, nor the People leisure and opportunity to call their Princes to an account for their unbounded Tyranny.
It was Reason of State, that was pleaded in behalf488 of Borgia, to justifie all his Villanies, in wading through so much bloud and mischief to a Principality in Italy; but he escaped not, to enjoy the fruit of all his labour.
It was the same Devil, that made Henry the 4. of France, to renounce his Religion, and turn Papist, to secure himself from Popish Reveng; but God punisht him, and sent a Popish Dagger through his heart.
It made Richard the Third in England, to butcher his own Nephew; for which, vengeance pursued him, being at last tied a thwart a horse back489 , naked and bloudy, like a Calf of the Shambles.
It made Henry the 7.490 to extinguish the Line of Plantagenet, and his Son after him, not onely to dabble his hands in the bloud of many, but to persecute491 the Protestants, notwithstanding that he fell heavy also upon the Papists.
It made his Daughter Mary to fill up the measure of her Fathers iniquities, as they could not be expiated by the vertues of her sister, and Successor, whose only fault was, in following Reason of State so far, as to serve the Interest of Monarchy, above that of Religion, by upholding an Order of Prelacy; so that in her the direct Line of that Family ended.
After this, it was wicked Reason of State, that continued Monarchy, and brought in a Scotch-man upon us. This was James, who was so great an Admirer of Reason of State, that he adopted it for its own Darling, by the name of King-craft: and his Motto, No Bishop, no King, shewed, that he prefer’d Reason of State, before the Interest of Religion; as in other things, before honesty: witness, among many other, his quitting the Cause of God, and the Palatinate, to keep fair with the house of Austria: for which, and for the same Reason of State, put in practice by his Son Charles, for the ruine of Religion and Liberty, by a bloudy war, the whole Family hath been brought to a sad destruction.
These492 Examples are sufficient to shew that Reason of State, prefer’d before the Rule of Honesty, is an Errour in Policy with a vengeance; as they that will not believe, shall be sure to feel it, since it brings unavoidable Ruine, not onely to particular persons, but upon whole Families, and Nations.
[MP 109, 1-8 July 1652]
A uniting of the Legislative and Executive Powers in one and the same hands, an Errour in Policy.A fifth Errour in Policy hath been this, viz. a permitting of the Legislative and Executive Powers of a State, to rest in one and the same hands and persons. By the Legislative Power, we understand the Power of making, altering, or repealing Laws, which in all well-ordered Governments, hath ever been lodged in a succession of the supream Councels of Assemblies of a Nation.
By the Executive Power, we mean that Power which is derived from the other, and by their Authority transfer’d into the hand or hands of one Person, (called a Prince) or into the hands of many (called States) for the administration of Government, in the Execution of those Laws. In the keeping of these two Powers distinct, flowing in distinct Channels, so that they may never meet in one, save upon some short extraordinary occasion consists the safety of a State.493
The Reason is evident; because if the Law-makers, (who ever have the Supream Power) should be also the constant Administrators and Dispencers of Law and Justice, then (by consequence) the People would be left without Remedy, in case of Injustice, since no Appeal can lie under Heaven against such as have the Supremacy; which, if once admitted, were inconsistent with the very intent and natural import of true Policy: which ever supposeth, that men in Power may be unrighteous; and therefore (presuming the worst) points alwayes, in all determinations, at the Enormities and Remedies of Government, on the behalf of the People.
For the clearing of this, it is worthy your observation; that in all Kingdomes and States whatsoever, where they have had any thing of Freedom among them, the Legislative and Executive Powers have been managed in distinct hands: That is to say, the Law-makers have set down Laws, as Rules of Government; and then put Power into the hands of others (not their own) to govern by those Rules; by which means the people were happy, having no Governours, but such as were liable to give an account of Government to the supream Councel of Law-makers. And on the other side, it is no less worthy of a very serious observation; That Kings and standing States never became absolute over the People, till they brought both the making and execution of Lawes into their own hands: and as this Usurpation of theirs took place by degrees, so unlimited Arbitrary Power crept up into the Throne, there to domineer o’re the World, and defie the Liberties of the People.
Cicero, in his second Book de Offic. and his third, de Legibus, speaking of the first institution of Kings, tells us, how they were at first left to govern at their own discretion without Laws.* Then their Wills494 , and their Words, were Law, the making and execution of Lawes was in one and the same hands.
But what was the consequence? Nothing but Injustice, and Injustice without Remedy, till the People were taught by Necessity to ordain Lawes, as Rules whereby they ought to govern. Then began the meeting of the People successively in their supream Assemblies, to make Laws; whereby Kings (in such places as continued under the Kingly Form) were limited and restrained, so that they could do nothing in Government, but what was agreeable to Law; for which they were accountable, as well as other Officers were in other Forms of Government, to those supream Councels and Assemblies: Witness all the old stories of Athens, Sparta, and other Countries of Greece, where you shall find, that the Law-making, and the Law-executing Powers, were placed in distinct hands under every Form of Government: For, so much of Freedom they retained still under every Form, till they were both swallowed up (as they were several times) by an absolute Domination.
In old Rome, we find Romulus their first King cut in495 pieces by the Senate, for taking upon him to make and execute Laws at his own pleasure. And Livy tells us, that the reason why they expel’d Tarquin their last King, was, because he took the Executive and Legislative Powers both into his own hands, making himself both Legislator and Officer, inconsulto Senatu, without advice, and in defiance of the Senate.*
Kings496 being cashiered, then their Standing-Senates497 came in play, who making and executing Laws, by Decrees of their own, soon grew intolerable, and put the people upon divers desperate Adventures, to get the Legislative Power out of their hands, and place it in their own; that is, in a succession of their Supream Assemblies: But the Executive Power they left, part in the hands of Officers of their own, and part in the Senate; in which State it continued some hundreds of years, to the great happiness and content of all, till the Senate by sleights and subtilties got both Powers into their own possession again, and turned all into confusion.
Afterwards, their Emperors (though Usurpers) durst not at first turn both these Powers into the Channel of their own unbounded Will; but did it by degrees, that they might the more insensibly deprive the people of their Liberty, till at length they openly made and executed Laws at their own pleasures, being both Legislators and Officers, without giving an account to any: and so there was an end of the Roman Liberty.
To come nearer home, let us look into the old Constitution of the Common-wealths498 , and Kingdomes of Europe: We find in the Italian States; Venice, which having the Legislative and Executive Power, confined within the narrow Pale of its Nobility in the Senate, is not so free as once Florence was with Siena, Millan, and the rest; before their Dukes, by arrogating both those Powers to themselves, worm’d them out of their Liberty.
Of all those States there, onely Genoa remains in a free posture, by keeping the Power of Legislation onely in their supream Assemblies, and leaving the Execution of Law in a titular Duke, and a Councel, the keeping of these Powers asunder within their proper Sphere, is one principal Reason why they have been able to exclude Tyranny out of their own State, while it hath run the Round in Italy.
What made the Grand Seignior absolute of old, but his ingrossing both these499 Powers? and of late the Kings of Spain and France? In ancient time the case stood far otherwise; for in Ambrosio Morales his Chronicle* you will finde, that in Spain the Legislative power was lodged onely in their supreme Councel500 , and their King was no more but an elective Officer, to execute such Laws as they made, and in case of failing501 , to give them an accompt, and submit to their judgements, which was the common practice; as you may see also in Mariana:† It was so also in Aragon, till it was united to Castile, by the Mariage of Ferdinand, and Isabel; and then both States soon lost their liberty, by the projects of Ferdinand and his successors, who drew the powers of Legislation and Execution of Law, within the verge and influence of the Prerogative Royall: whilest these two powers were kept distinct, then these States were free; but the ingrossing of them in one and the same hands, was the losse of their Freedom.502
France likewise was once as free as any Nation under Heaven: though the King of late hath done all, and been all in all, till the time of Lewis the eleventh: he was no more but an Officer of State, regulated by Law, to see the Laws put in execution; and the Legislative Power (that) rested in the Assembly of the 3. Estates; but Lewis, by snatching both these Powers into the single hands of himselfe, and his successors, rookt them of their Liberty; which they may now recover again, if they have but so much manhood, as to reduce the two Powers into their ancient, or into better Channels.
This pattern of Lewis was followed close by the late King of England503 , who by our ancient Laws, was the same here, that Lewis ought to have been in France, an Officer in trust, to see to the execution of the Lawes: but by aiming at the same ends which Lewis attained, and straining, by the ruine of Parliaments, to reduce the Legislative Power, as well as the Executive into his own hands, he instead of an absolute Tyranny, which might have followed his project, brought a swift destruction upon himself and504 Family.
Thus you see it appears, that the keeping of these two Powers distinct, hath505 been a ground preservative of the peoples Interest, whereas their uniting hath been its ruine all along in so many Ages and Nations.
[MP 110, 8-15 July 1652]
Affairs of State transacted by a few, is an Errour in Policy.A sixth errour in Policy, observable in the practices of other times and Nations, hath been a reducing transactions, and in Interest506 of the Publick, into the disposition and power of a few particuler persons. The ill consequences whereof have ever bin these; that matters were not wont to be carried by fair, friendly, and legal507 debates, but by Design and Surprisal; not by freedom, and consent of the people, in their open Assemblies; but according to the premeditated Resolutions, and forestalments of Crafty projectors in private Cabinets, and Junto’s; not according to the true Interest of State, but in order to the serving of mens ends; not for the benefit, and improvement of the people, but to keep them under as ignorant of true Liberty, as the Horse and Mule; that they might be Bridled and Sadled, & Ridden, under the wise pretences of being Governed and kept in Order. But the Grand and worse consequences of all, hath been this; that such Collegues, Partners, and Ingrossers of Power having once brought about their ends by lying practies upon the people; have ever faln into fits of Emulation against themselves, and the next design hath ever bin to rook their fellows, and rid themselves of competitors; so that at length they have been their own executioners, and ruined one another. And had it been only the destruction of themselves, the matter were not considerable; but the people having by this means been torn with Civill dissentions, and the miseries of War, by being drawn into Parties, according to their severall humors and affections; the usuall event ever was, that in the end they have been seized as the prey of some single Tyrant.
An example of this there was in the State of Athens, under the Government of those thirty men, who usurped the power into their own hands, and were afterwards called the thirty Tyrants, for their odious behaviour; for Xenophon tells us, that they drew the determinations of all things into their own Closets, but seemed to manage them, calculis & suffragiis Plebis, by the Votes of the people, which they had brought to their own devotion in the Assembly, to countenance their proceedings.* And their custom was, if any sort of men complained, and murmured at their doings, or appeared for the Publique, immediately to snap them off by the losse of life or fortune, under a pretence of being seditious, and turbulent fellows against the peace of their Tyranny. These Juncto-men had not been many moneths in possession, but they began to quarrel with one another; and the reason why the game went not on, against one another, was because the people took it out of their hands, and diverted the course of their spleen against each other, into a care of mutuall defence, they being assaulted on every side, by popular arms and clamors, for the recovery of liberty. So you see the event of these thirty mens combination, was no lesse then a civill War; and it ended in their banishment. But as great a mischief followed, for a new Junto of ten men got into their places, whose Government proving little lesse odious than the former, gave an occasion to new changes, which never left shifting, till at last they fell into a single Tyranny. And the wilder sort of people, having by a sad experience, felt the fruits of their own error, in following the lusts and parties of particular powerful persons, grew wise; and combining with the honester sort, they all as one man, set their shoulders to the work, and restored the primitive Majesty, and Authority of their supreme Assemblies.
Herodotus in his second Book, tells us, that Monarchy being abolished in Egypt, after the death of King Setho, and a Declaration published for the freedom of the people, immediately the Administration of all Affaires was ingross’t in the hands of twelve Grandees, who having made themselves secure against the people, in a few years fell to quarrelling with one another, (as the manner is) about their share508 in the Government. This drew the people into severall parties, and so a civill Warre ensued; wherein Psammeticus (one of the twelve) having slain all his Partners, left the people in the lurch, and instead of a free State, seated himself in the possession of a single Tyranny.*
But of all old instances, the most famous are the two Triumvirates that were in Rome. The first was that of Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus, who having drawn the affairs of the Empire, and the whole World into their own particular hands, acting and determining all in a private Junto of their own, without the advice or consent of the Senate and people, unless it were now and then to make stalking horses of them, for the more clearly509 conveyance of some unpleasing design: These men, having made an agreement among themselves, that nothing should be done in the Commonwealth510 , but what pleased their own humor, it was not long ere the spirit of Ambition set them flying at the faces of one another, and drew the whole World upon the Stage, to act that bloody Tragedy, whose Catastrophe was the death of Pompey, and the Dominion511 of Caesar. The second Triumvirate was erected after the fatall stab given to Caesar in the Senate, between Octavius (afterwards Emperor by the name of Augustus,) Lepidus, and Antony: these having drawn all Affairs into their own hands, and shared the World between them, presently fell abandying against one another. Augustus picking a quarrell with Lepidus, gave him a lift out of his Authority, and confined him to a close imprisonment in the City. This being done first, he had the more hope and opportunity next for the outing of Anthony: he picks a quarrel with him too, begins a new civill Warre, wherein Rome and a great part of the World was engaged to serve his ambition; and things being brought to the decision of a Battell, and the ruine of Anthony, he afterwards seated, and secured himself in the injoyment of a single Tyranny.
Omitting many other instances, here in England, it is worthy observation, that in the great contest between Henry the third, and the Barons, about the liberties of themselves and the people, the King being forced at length to yield, the Lords, instead of freeing the Nation indeed, ingrossed all power into their own hands, under the name of the Twenty-foure Conservators of the Kingdom, and behaved themselves like totidem.Tyranny, so many Tyrants, acting all in their own Names, and in Junto’s of their own, wholly neglecting, or else overruling Parliaments. But then not agreeing among themselves, there were three or four of them defeated the other twenty, and drew the intire management of Affairs into their own hands, viz. the Earles of Leicester, Gloucester, Hereford, and Spencer; yet it continued so not long; for, Leicester getting all into his own power, fell at enmity with Gloucester, and was defeated512 by him.
At length, Leicester putting his Fortune to a Battel, was slain; and the King thereupon, getting all power back again took advantage of that opportunity for the greatning of himself, and Prerogative.
And so you see, All that the people got by the effusion of their bloud, and loss of their peace, was, That instead of one Tyrant, they had Twenty Four, and then Four; and after them, a single Usurper, (which was Montfort, Earl of Leicester) and he being gone, they were forced to serve their old Tyrant Henry the Third again, who by this means, became the more secure and firm in his Tyranny: whereas if they had dealt like men of honour, and made the Nation as free as they pretended, not ingrossing all into513 their own private hands, but instating the liberty of England, Paramount above the regall prerogative, in a due and constant course of successive Parliaments, (without which, liberty is but a meere name and shadow) then all the succeeding inconveniences had been surely prevented: the bloody bickering afterwards might have been avoided, their own persons and honors preserved, Kings either cashiered or regulated, as they ought to have been, and the whole Nation freed from those after-gripes and pangs, inflicted by that Henry and his corrupt Line of successors.514
The World affords many instances of this kinde, but these are sufficient to manifest the fatall consequences that have happened, in permitting publick transactions and interests to be ingrossed, and rest in the power of a few particuler persons, and that it deserves to be markt (as one saith) with a black Cole, as a most pernitious error in Policy.515
[MP 111, 15-22 July 1652]
A seventh error in Policy, is the driving516 of Factions and Parties.Driving of Faction and Parties, a main Errour in Policy. Now that you may know what Faction is, and which is the factious Party in any State or Kingdom, afflicted with that infirmity: the onely way is first to finde out the true and declared Interest of State; and then if you observe any Designes, Counsels, Actings, or Persons, moving in opposition to that which is the true publick Interest, it may be infallibly concluded, that there lies the Faction, and the factious Party, which is so much the more dangerous, in regard it not only afflicts and tears Common-wealths517 with divisions and discords at home, but in the end exposes them to the mercy (or rather) the malice518 of some publick enemy, either at home, or from abroad, and brings a sad desolation, and ruine upon the Estates, lives, and liberties of the people.
There is a notable faction we read of in this Roman story, which was that of the Decemviri, who being intrusted with the Government, and the time of their trust expired, they instead of making a Resignation, combined together for the Perpetuation of the power in their own hands, contrary to the intent of their first Election, and in defiance of that which twelve moneths before had been declared the interest of the Commonwealth.519 The grand Engineer among them was Appius Claudius, who managed his designe by promising the Nobility, that if they would stick to the Decemviri, then the Decemviri would stick to them, and joyn with them, in keeping under the people and their Tribunes, and to defeat them of their successive Assemblies. By this means he sowed the seeds of an immortall enmity between the Senate and the people; though himself and his Collegues were notwithstanding deceived of their own establishment, and soon cashiered from their imperious Domination.520
If we consider also what befell Carthage521, and how it came to ruine: the story tells us, it was occasioned by their Factions, the whole Senate being divided betwixt two potent Families of Hannibal and Hanno; by which means they were disinabled, from carrying on their Warre with Unanimity522 and alacrity, as was requisite against such wary Gamesters, as the Romans, who made such use of their Civil Dissentions, that they soon laid the glory of that famous Republick in the dust.
It was Faction and Civil Dissention that destroyed Rome itself; that is to say, her Liberty, and made her stoop under the Yoak of Caesar.
And it must not be omitted, that when her Liberty was first established, and Tarquin expelled, he had like to have made his way back again, by reason of their Divisions. And though he mist his aym there, yet Pisistratus, another Tyrant, being driven out of Athens, made a shift to get in again, by reason of their mutual Divisions.523
It was the same Devil of Faction, and Civil Dissention, (as Philip de Comines tells us) that made way for the Turk into Hungaria,* as it let him in before into Constantinople, that admitted the Goths and Vandals into Spain and Italy; the Romans into Jerusalem, first under Pompey; and afterwards under Vespasian and Titus.
It was the cause why Genoa, for a time, was content to submit to the Family of Sforza, Dukes of Millan. It brought the Spaniard into Sicily and Naples; and the French once into Millain, where they outed the aforenamed Family of Sforza.524
From hence, therefore, let us conclude, that no Errour is more dangerous, no Treason more pernicious to a Common-wealth525 , than the driving of Faction.
[MP 112, 22-29 July 1652]
Breach of Vows and Promises, a main Error in Policy.An Eighth and last Errour, observable in practice526 of Times, and Nations, hath been a violation of Faith, Principles, Promises, and Engagements, upon every Turn of Time, and advantage. An Impiety that ought to be exploded out of all Nations, that bear the Name of Christians527 : And yet we find it often pass, among the less discerning sort of men, for admirable Policy: and those Impostors that used it, have had the luck to be esteemed the onely Politicians. But yet, lest so many wise men of the World, as have been given up to this monstrous vanity, should be thought to have no reason for it, I remember, I find it usually exprest in Machiavel, to be this,528 becaus the greatest part of the world being wicked, unjust, deceitful, full of treachery and circumvention, there is a Necessity that those which are down-right, and confine themselves to the strict Rule of Honesty, must ever look to be over-reached by the Knavery of others. And take this for certain, (saith he) Qui se virum bonum omnibus partibus profiteri studet, eum certè inter tot non bonos periclitari necesse est.* He which endeavours to approve himself an honest man to all parties, must of necessity miscarry among so many that are not honest: Because some men are wicked and perfidious, I must be so too. This is a sad inference, and fit onely for the practice of Italy, where he wrote it.
The ancient Heathen would have loathed this; and the Romans (who were the noblest of them all) did in all their actions detest it, reckoning plain honesty to have been the onely Policy, and the foundation of their Greatness, (Favendo pietati fideique, populus Romanus ad tantum fastigii pervenerit). The people of Rome attained to so great a height, by observing Faith and Piety: whereof you shall see529 an Instance or two.
In the War between them, and Porsena King of the Tuscans, it so happened, that their City was besieged by Porsena: but peace being made, upon some advantagious Conditions for the Tuscans, the Romanes, for the performance of their530 Conditions, were forced to yield up divers Noble Virgins.
These Virgins, after some time, made an escape from the Tuscans, and came back to Rome, but were demanded again.
Hereupon the Senate, though they were then recovered, and in a posture, able to have defied the Tuscans, and denied the performance of those harsh Conditions, chose rather to preserve their Faith inviolable, then to take the present advantage; and so delivered up the Virgins.
The behaviour also of Attilius Regulus, is very memorable, who being prisoner at Carthage, and condemned to a cruel Death, was, notwithstanding, permitted to go to Rome, upon his bare Paroll, to propound certain Terms to the Senate; which if they yielded, then he was to have his liberty: if not, he was to return again to Carthage, and to suffer.531
The Senate not yielding, He, rather then violate his Faith, did return and suffer, being put into a Barrel spiked with Nails, and tumbled down a Hill by the Carthagenians. Nor was it the temper onely of a few persons; but general throughout the whole Nation, as might be shown by innumerable Examples; especially in their Leagues and Treaties with other Nations.532
[MP 113, 29 July-5 Aug. 1652]
533 But that you may the better know, and avoid the impious Impostors, I shall534 represent them in Machiavels own language; who in that unworthy book of his, entituled, The Prince, hath made a most unhappy Description of the Wiles that have been used by those Jugglers; and thereby left a Lesson upon Record, which hath been practised ever since by all the State-Rooks in Christendom. And therefore, since they have made so ill use of it, I suppose the best way to prevent the further operation of the poyson, is, to set it down here before you, (as I shall do verbatim535 , without adding, or diminishing a syllable) and then make two or three Inferences thereupon, for the practice of the people.*
In what manner Princes ought to keep their Words. How commendable536 in a Prince it is to keep his Word, and live with Integrity, not making use of Cunning and Subtilty, every one knows well: Yet we see by Experience, in these our dayes, that those Princes have effected great matters, who have made small reckoning of keeping their words, and have known by their Craft, how to turn and wind men about, and in the end overcome those who have grounded upon the Truth.
You must then know, there are two kinds of Combating or Fighting: the one, by Right of the Laws: the other, meerly by Force. That first way is proper to Men: The other is also common to Beasts. But because the first many times suffices not, there is a necessity to make recourse to the second: wherefore, it behoves a Prince to know how to make good use of that part which belongs to a Beast, as well as that which is proper to a Man.
This part hath been covertly shew’d to Princes by antient Writers; who say, that Achilles, and many others of those antient Princes, were intrusted to Chiron the Centaure, to be brought up under his Discipline: The morall of this, having for their Teacher, one that was half a Beast, and half a Man, was nothing else, but that it was needful for a Prince to understand how to make his advantage of the one, and other Nature, because neither could subsist without the other.
A Prince then being necessitated to know how to make use of that part belonging to a Beast, ought to serve himself of the Conditions of the Fox, and the Lyon; for the Lyon cannot keep himself from Snares, nor the Fox defend himself against the Wolves. He had need then be a Fox, that he may beware of the Snares; and a Lyon, that he may scare the Wolves. Those that stand wholly upon the Lyon, understand not themselves.
And therefore a wise Prince cannot, nor ought not to keep his Faith given, when the observance thereof turnes to disadvantage, and the occasions that made him promise, are past: for if men were all good, this Rule would not be allowable; but being they are full of mischief, and will not make it good to thee, neither art thou tied to keep it with them: nor shall a Prince ever want lawfull occasions to give colour to this breach. Very many modern Examples hereof might be alleadged, wherein might be shewed, how many Peaces concluded, and how many Promises made, have been violated and broken by Infidelity of Princes; and ordinarily things have best succeeded with him that hath bin nearest the Fox in condition.
But it is necessary to understand, how to set a good colour upon this Disposition, and be able to feign and dissemble throughly; and men are so simple, and yield so much to the present Necessities, that he who hath a mind to deceive, shall alwayes find another that will be deceived. I will not conceal any of the Examples that have been of late; Alexander the sixth never did any thing else, than deceive men, and never meant otherwise, and always found whom to work upon; yet never was there man that would protest more effectually, nor aver any thing with more solemn Oaths, and observe them less then he: nevertheless, his Couzenage thrived well with him, for he knew how to play his part cunningly.
Therefore is there no necessitie for a Prince to be endued with all those above written qualities, but it behoves well that he seeme to be so: or rather I will boldly say this, that having those qualities, and alwaies regulating himself by them, they are hurtfull; but seeming to have them, they are advantageous, as to seeme pittyfull, faithfull, milde, religious, and indeed to be so (provided with all thou beest of such a composition, that if need require thee to use the contrary, thou canst, and know’st how to apply thy selfe thereto). And it suffices to conceive this, that a Prince, and especially a new Prince, cannot observe all these things, for which men are held good, he being often forced, for the maintenance of his State, to do contrary to his faith, charity, humanity, and religion. And therefore it behoves him to have a mind so disposed as to turn and take the advantage of all winds and fortunes; and as formerly I said, not forsake the good while he can; but to know to make use of the evil upon necessity. A Prince then ought to have a speciall care, that he never let fall any words, but what are all seasoned with the five above written qualities: and let him seem to him that sees and knows him, all pitty, all faith, all integrity, all humanity, all religion; nor is there any thing more necessarie for him to seem to have, than the last quality: for all men in generall judge thereof, rather by the sight than by the touch; for every man, may come to the sight of him, few come to the touch and feeling of him; every man may come to see what thou seemest; few come to understand and perceive what thou art: and those few dare not oppose the opinion of many, who have the Majesty of state to protect them. And in all mens actions, especially those of Princes, wherein there is no judgment to appeal unto, men forbear to give their censures till the events, and ends of thing. Let a Prince therefore take the surest courses he can to maintaine his life and state, the meanes shall alwaies be thought honorable, and commended by every one: for the vulgar is ever taken with the appearance and event of a thing, and for the most part of the people, they are but the vulgar, the others that are but few, take place where the vulgar have no subssistence. A Prince there is in these daies, whom I shall not do well to name, that preaches nothing but peace and faith, but had he kept the one and the other, severall times had they taken from him his State and reputation.*
This is the old Court Gospel, which hath gained many thousand of Proselytes, among the great ones, from time to time, and the inferences arising thence in behalfe of the people, in briefe are these: That since the great ones of the world, have been very few that have avoyded this doctrine, therefore it concerns the people to keep a strict hand and eie upon them all, and impose not overmuch or long confidence in any.
If the Right of laws be the way of men, and force of beasts and great ones, not onely advised, but inclined to the latter, then it concernes any Nation or people to secure themselves, and keep Great men from degenerating into beasts, by holding up of law, liberty, priviledge, birthright, elective power, against the ignoble beastly way of powerfull domination.
If of all beasts, a Prince should some times resemble the Lyon, and somtimes the Fox, then people ought to observe great ones in both the disguises, and be sure to cage the Lyon, and unkennel the Fox, and never leave till they have stript the one, and unrais’d the other.
If a Prince cannot, and ought not to keep his faith given, when the observance thereof turnes to disadvantage, and the occasions that made him promise, are past; then it is the Interest of the people, never to trust any Princes, nor ingagements and promises of men in power, but ever to preserve a power within themselves, either to reject them, or to hold them to the performance whether they will or no. And if Princes shall never want occasions to give colour to this breach, then also it concernes the people, ever to make sure of the Instance, and not suffer themselves to be deluded with colours, shadows, and meere pretences.
Lastly, if it be necessarie for great ones to fain and dissemble throughly; because men are so simple and yield so much to the present necessity (as Machiavel saith;)* and in regard he that hath a mind to deceive, shall alwayes finde another that will be deceived: then it concerns any people or Nation, to make a narrow search ever into the men, and their pretences and necessities, whether they be fained or not; and if they discover any deceipt hath been used, then they deserve to be slaves, that will be deceived any longer.537 Thus I have noted the prime Errors of Government, and Rules of Policy. I shall now conclude with a word of Advice, in order to the chusing of the Supreme Assemblies.
[MP 74, 30 Oct.-6 Nov. 1651]
Since538 it appears, that the right, liberty, welfare, and safety of a people, consists in a due succession of their supreme Assemblies: surely then, the right constitution and orderly motion of them, is of the greatest consequence that can be, there being so much imbarqued in this Vessel, that if it should miscarry, all is irreparably lost, unless it can be recovered again out of the Sea of confusion. Therefore, as at all times there ought to be an especiall care had to the Composure and Complexion of those great Assemblies, so much more after the confusion of a Civil Warre, where it is ever to be supposed, there will be many discontented humours a working, and labouring to insinuate themselves into the body of the people, to undermine the settlement and security of the Common-wealth, that by gaining an interest and share with the better sort, in the supreme Authority, they may attain those corrupt ends of Policy, which were lost by Power.
In this case without question, there are severall men that ought to be taken into a strict consideration: There is the old Malignant and the new; against whom, not only the doores are to be shut, but every hole and cranny ought to be stopt, for fear they creep into Authority. There is likewise a tame Beast, more dangerous than the other two, which is that Amphibious animal, the neutrall of Laodicea,* that can live in either Element, sail with any winde on every point of the compasse, and strike in with Malignants of every sort, upon any occasion.
This539 is he that will undoe all, if he be not avoided; for in the form of an Angel of Light, he most slightly carries on the works of darkness. Let not him then, as to our present case, be so much as named upon an Election. Thus much for the Constitution of the supreme Assembly, or the manner of setling Authority upon the close of a Civil Warre, for the recovery of Liberty. What remains then, but that upon due caution for excluding the wilde Geese and the tame, the Malignant and the Neutrall, such a people may reasonably be put into possession of their right and interest in the Legislative power, and of all injoyment of it, in a succession of their supreme Assemblies.540
The onely way541 to preserve liberty in the hands of a people, that have gained it by the Sword, is to put it in the peoples hands, that is, into the hands of such, as by a contribution of their purses, strength, and counsells, have all along asserted it, without the least stain of corruption, staggering, or apostasie; for in this case, these only are to be reckoned the people: the rest having either by a trayterous Engagement, Compliance, Neutrality, or Apostasie, as much as in them lies, destroyed the people, and by consequence made a forfeiture of all their Rights and immunities, as Members of a people. In this case therefore men ought to have a courage; and to have a care of the course of Election, and trust God with the success of a righteous Action; for nothing can be more righteous and necessary, than that a people should be put into possession of their native right and freedom: However, they may abuse it, it is their right to have it, and the want of it is a greater inconvenience, and drawes greater inconveniencies after it, than any can be pretended to arise from the injoyment, though they were presented in a multiplying glasse, to the eyes of discerning men. But now, as this holds true at all times, in all Nations, upon the like occasions of Liberty newly purchased, so much more in any Nation, where freedom, in a successive course of the peoples Assemblies, hath once been solemnly acknowledged and declared to be the interest of the Commonwealth; for, then a depriving the people of their due, is a foundation for broils and divisions; and as Cicero defines faction to be a deviation from the declared interest of State: so in this case, if it happen that any shall desert a Common-wealth in its declared Interest, they immediately lose the name and honour of Patriots, and become Parties in a Faction.
[* ]James Howell, Som Sober Inspections made into the Cariage and Consults of the late-Long Parliament (London, 1655). The passages of the book cited or quoted in Nedham’s preface are on pp. 19-20, 23-24, 179-82.
[* ]John Sadler, Rights of the Kingdom (London, 1649).
[* ]Cicero, De Officiis, I.19.
[* ]Plutarch, Life of Tiberius Gracchus, XV.4-6.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, IV.1-6.
[† ]This word is not italicized in Politicus.
[* ]Nedham’s newsbook had warmly supported the Rump’s divisive decision of 1649-50 to impose on all adult males an “Engagement,” which read: “I do declare and promise, that I will be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as it is now established, without a King or House of Lords.” LP, pp. 84-85, 188-89.
[* ]Machiavelli, Discourses, I.11 (cf. Knachel, p. 118). Nedham uses Edward Dacres’s translation, which was published in 1636 as Machiavel’s Discourses upon the First Decade of T. Livius.
[† ]Plutarch, Life of Marcus Cato the Elder, VIII.7-8.
[‡ ]Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, VII.3; Francesco Guicciardini, Historiarum sui Temporis (Basel, 1566), X. 352; Knachel, pp. 116-17.
[* ]The earl’s “tragedie” is related, and its vividness urged on the reader, in the sixteenth-century compilation, which retained its fame in the seventeenth, The Mirror for Magistrates. Lily B. Campbell, ed., The Mirror for Magistrates (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1938), pp. 204-5.
[* ]Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar, XIX.2. “Another” was Pompey.
[† ]Easily or lightly; without hesitation (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “finger”).
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, II.32. The fable was well known in the Renaissance and was famously told in Sir Philip Sidney’s An Apology for Poetry and in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, III.21.
[* ]Plutarch, Life of Aemelius Paulus, XXVIII.11-13.
[* ]In The Case of the Commonwealth, where this passage also appears, Nedham cites “Mach. lib. 2 cap. 2,” an accurate reference to Machiavelli’s Discourses (Knachel, p. 116).
[* ]Perhaps a further reference to Cicero, De Officiis, I.19.
[* ]Ibid., I.4.
[* ]One list Nedham will have had in mind is that of Scottish kings in The Grounds and Reasons of Monarchy (n.p., 1650) by his literary partner John Hall; another, from the same year, that of English kings in Henry Parker, The True Portraiture of the Kings of England (London, 1650; reprinted in Scott, Somers Tracts, 6:77-103).
[* ]Presumably Soderino. Yet the spelling was reproduced from Politicus and was retained in the republication of 1767.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, II.8.
[† ]Perhaps a reference to Plutarch, Life of Dion, XLIV.
[* ]The Law of the Twelve Tables formed the basis of the Roman Republican constitution. According to Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, III.32-33, during the preparation of the laws ca. 450 bc, the Decemvirate sent an embassy to Athens in order to study the Solonian Constitution.
[* ]Aristotle, Politics, V.11.
[* ]Machiavelli, Discourses, I.7.
[* ]Machiavelli, Discourses, I.29, in discussing the ingratitude of princes, quotes Tacitus, History, IV.3 to that effect.
[* ]Nedham’s target is Sir Robert Filmer, the theorist of patriarchal monarchy, whose The Anarchy of a Limited or Mixed Monarchy had been published in 1648 in London.
[* ]I Samuel 8:7.
[† ]I Samuel 8:6-7.
[* ]I Peter 2:13-15.
[* ]John 18:36.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, II.56.8.
[* ]Ibid., III.9.4.
[† ]Ibid., III.33.9.
[‡ ]Ibid., III.36.5.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, II.1.9-10.
[* ]In the year 1581.
[† ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, VI.20.14.
[* ]William II of Orange, brother-in-law and ally of the exiled Charles II of England. Nedham refers to the attempted military seizure of Amsterdam by William’s supporters in July 1650. William died in October of the same year.
[† ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, IV.24.4. Nedham loosely paraphrases. The words ascribed by Livy to Mamercus Aemilius were: Se, quod intra muros agendum esset, libertati populi Romani consulturum; maximam autem eius custodiam esse si magna imperia diuturna non essent et temporis modus imponeretur quibus iuris imponi non posset.
[‡ ]Ibid., IX.34.16.
[§ ]Ibid., III.38.1-2.
[|| ]Cicero, Letters to Atticus, X.1.3, 4.2, 8.6.
[* ]This is perhaps a conflation of two passages of bk. 10 of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities: X.25.2-3; X.27.2-3.
[† ]Plutarch, Life of Caius Marcus Coriolanus, I.1-2.
[* ]Plutarch, Life of Cicero, XLVI.1.
[* ]William II’s son, William III, was born a few days after the father’s death. The accession of an infant gravely weakened the Orange interest in the Netherlands.
[* ]Aristotle, Politics, IV.13.1.
[* ]This inscription, now kept in the archaeological museum at Cesena, is generally regarded as a medieval or Renaissance forgery.
[* ]Aristotle, Politics, V.9. Nedham paraphrases loosely.
[* ]Caesar, Gallic Wars, VI.14. Caesar does not say that the Druids instructed their pupils in matters of government.
[* ]For example, De Officiis, II.7.
[* ]Nedham paraphrases a passage from Tacitus, Annals, I.3-4.
[* ]Nelson, Greek Tradition, pp. 92-93, observes that “Livy said no such thing about the Licinian law” (the subject of the “famous Contention”). Nelson suggests that Nedham may have been misremembering another passage of Livy (Ab Urbe Condita, IV.51) or recalling Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, xxii [xlii?]. Alternatively, or additionally, Nedham’s account may bear some debt to Florus, Epitome of Roman History, I. 47 and II. 1, a work that is itself based upon portions of Livy’s work that are not extant.
[* ]Aristotle, Politics, V.3.
[* ]Diodorus Siculus, XI.86-87.
[† ]The law, passed in ad 61, is described by Tacitus, Annals, 14.41.
[* ]Apparently a reference to Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium Libri Novem, II.1a.
[* ]Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617).
[* ]The text preceding the parenthesis (which is merely a printer’s mark) is taken from Charles Hotham, Corporations Vindicated (London, 1651), p. 25. Hotham’s previous paragraphs (pp. 23-24) themselves reproduce reflections on “reason of state,” which Nedham included in Mercurius Politicus in July 1651 and which in July 1652 reappeared in the editorial on the same subject that is reproduced here (LP, p. 210).
[* ]Cicero, De Officiis, II.12; De Legibus, III.4-5.
[* ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, I.49.7.
[* ]Professor of Rhetoric at Alcalá de Henares, Morales (1513-91) was appointed Cronista Real in 1556. His La Crónica General de España was published in 1574. Morales may have been a source of Nedham’s remarks on the constitution of Aragon in the same paragraph.
[† ]Juan de Mariana (1536-1624), Spanish Jesuit priest and historian. Nedham may have had particularly in mind his De Rege (Toledo, 1599); or his Historiae de rebus Hispaniae (Toledo, 1592-1605), perhaps especially bk. 25. On him see Harald E. Braun, Juan de Mariana and Early Modern Spanish Political Thought (Alder-shot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2007).
[* ]Xenophon, Hellenica, II.iii.
[* ]Herodotus, Histories, II.141-53.
[* ]Philippe de Commynes, Memoires, bk. 12, chap. 6.
[* ]Machiavelli, Nicholas Machiavel’s Prince, trans. Dacres (London, 1640), chap. 18.
[* ]Nedham makes very minor adjustments to the translation of chap. 18 by Edward Dacres in Nicholas Machiavel’s Prince.
[* ]The passage from Machiavelli ends here.
[* ]Machiavelli, Prince, chap. 18.
[* ]Revelation 3:14-17.
[1.]E omits: We hear not of many Nations in this latter Age, wherein the People have been solemnly acknowledged and declared to be the Original and Fountain of Supremacy, or that they have been made thus to understand it; But whereever it hath been so presented to vulgar Apprehensions, it takes such deep Impression, that all the Arts under heaven can never wear it out of memory; nor will they ever rest, till they have sipt and tasted all of the sweets of Soveraignty.
[5.]The Observation then which naturally ariseth hence, is, That
[6.]E substitutes this paragraph for: Liberty declared or possest, is like the Golden fleece, or the Hesperian fruit, watcht by Argus his hundred eyes, or by ever-waking Dragons.
[7.]In MP the paragraph begins: Liberty is the most precious Jewel under the Sun; And therefore when
[10.]lost it: they
[17.]It is observed, that when
[18.]in regard that
[19.]Country that moved him to take Arms
[25.]When Rome was once declared
[33.]so that it seemes the People
[34.]the Senate. The People without the Senatick Councell were like Sulphur and Mercury, ever in motion or combustion, (as appears by the Story:) but the Senate were as Salt to season, fix and fasten the body of the people.
[35.]irregular and unruly
[39.]it having been
[40.]E omits this passage, which MP takes from The Case of the Commonwealth (Knachel, pp. 117-18):
[41.]inlargement of a People
[44.]their kings. Nor
[45.]reason, for as much as it is usuall
[53.]we may very well reinforce the conclusion made in our last two [editorials], and learn,
[54.]with a share of Government, or in place of Trust, except he have, by some notable Series of Action, rendred himself utterly irreconcileable to the former power: for, otherwise, such
[55.]the new titular Tyrant
[56.]every new Commonwealth
[59.]E omits: No doubt but the famous Cobler’s Crow was wont then to prattle in the same strain too, though afterwards, he were taught to crie caĩre Kaĩsar . [ The story of the “cobler’s crow” taught by its owner to say “ave caesar” to Augustus upon his return from Egypt was originally told by Macrobius, Saturnalia , II. 4.29-30. Nedham may have known it from the reference in Erasmus’s Apothegmata, IV.42-43, or the plays of Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe. ]
[62.]E substitutes this paragraph for:
[63.]MP begins: In the last, you had a Touch of some Reasons, justifying the form of a Free-State (or a Government by the People) to be much more excellent than the Grandee, or the Kingly Power: By the People, we mean such as shal be duely chosen to represent the People successively in their Supream Assemblies; And that the People thus qualified or constituted, are the best Keepers of their own Liberties, shal be farther made evident by Reasons[.]
[65.]by their advantage
[68.]E omits: More of this hereafter.
[69.]E omits: To justifie the Excellency of a Free-State above a Kingly government, and to prove that the People, in a due and orderly succession of their Supream Assemblies, are the best Keepers of their own Liberties; we have already given you some Reasons, and shall here presume to set down one more.
[72.]such frequent heats
[73.]means, at length Lord it
[75.]had ever bin
[77.]This is good Common-wealth
[80.]the name of Stuart
[81.]MP begins: It hath in some measure been already proved, that the People, interested in a due and orderly succession of the supreme Authority, are the best Keepers of their own Liberties; And that this qualification of a Free State (without which it cannot be free indeed) renders it so much more excellent then the Kingly, or any other form of Governmen[t] whatsoever[.] The life of Liberty lies in the Succession of Powers and Persons, as we shall farther demonstrate by Reason.
[82.]they (much like our eleven impeached Members in the year 1647.) over-ruled
[83.]E omits: By this you see the first and second insurrection was caused by Necessity, the third and fourth hapned through Emulation: For, the great ones of the Senate taking advantage by their standing Authority, took care likewise to establish a [S]elf-interest, by confining of Marriages and Magistracie; They proceeded so far as to bear the people from marrying into their Families; and by this means (as they do now in Venice, for the most part) keeping a kind of State and Grandeur above the people, they the more easily made a shift to keep them out of all places of high trust and Au[t]hority.
[84.]ground an Observation, which shall be this:
[89.]MP begins: In pursuance of our Position, That a Free State is much more excellent than a Government by Grandees, or Kings; and that the People are the best Keepers of their own Liberties; give leave to proceed yet farther upon the Accompt of Reason.
[95.]E omits: But after-times growing more corrupt, you shall find in story, that when the lengthning of Powers and Trusts in the same hands grew customary, it utterly spoiled all the brave Roman Patriots, insomuch, that most of the great Favourers and Defenders of the peoples interest, by the same means were tempted from the pure principles of Liberty, and in the end degenerated into Tyranny.
[96.]MP begins: That a Free State is much more excellent then any other form of Government, & that the People, qualified with a due and orderly succession of their supreme assemblies are the best Keepers of their own Liberties, appears more evident still by Reason.
[100.]for, (to the admiration of more gay fellows and gawdy daies, be it spoken) he had
[101.]Yet it so
[103.]trembling condition despaired of safety
[104.]deliverance. But in what pickle did they finde him? Even following his plough in a poor rustick habit, a plain simple man and very unwilling, because he feared himself unfit, for so high an employment: But they who neglected all the Grandees and Gallants of Rome, to make choice of this poor man, constrained him to undertake it; and he behaved himself therein so well
[107.]The Observation then, that ariseth from this discourse is this:
[111.]made a shift
[112.]MP begins: Our Design is still to prove, That a Free-State Government is much more excellent then any other form, Or that the People, instated in a due and orderly succession of their Supreme Assemblies, are the best Keepers of their own Liberties.
[114.]kept, free from mixture with
[122.]mindes of the people, with how great a Spirit of Zeal and Revenge they are acted in its behalf, upon any occasion; and how jealous they are to preserve it, it being their onely delight, their Interest, their Life, and all; so that
[123.]MP begins: To proceed in the justification of a Free State, or a Government by the people in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies; and to prove, that a Form thus qualified, is much more excellent than that of Kings, or Grandees, we are still upon the account of Reason.
[127.]those many oppressive
[128.]led, and often forced
[131.]play; after whose (E has: play after; which).
[133.]E omits the passage below. In it, Nedham takes the verse from the translation of Lucan’s Pharsalia (II. 280-91) by the poet and historian Thomas May, who died in 1650 (and whose relations with Nedham are discussed in LP, pp. 73-78). In the third line Nedham changes “sowre Cato” to “wise Cato”; in the last two lines he abbreviates May’s text. The passage about William the Silent is taken, with two slight alterations of wording, from Fulke Greville’s life of Sir Philip Sidney, which was first published in 1652 in London. The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, ed. John Gouws (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1986), pp. 13-14: But that you may know what it was, take here the copy of old Catos countenance, as it was drawn by Lucan.
If we come down to later times, we find that the Free-States of Milan, Florence, Siena, and Luca, during their Liberty, were a severe and sober people, free from all those vanities and tyrannies wherewith they a[r]e now intangled, since they have been trampled on by ambitious, luxurious Grandees and Princes; for, even in those States the lengthning of Powers in particular hands, brought on ambition and luxury to the losse of their Liberty; witness the actions of the two Families of Medices and Sforza.
If we look neerer home to such Free-States as are now in being, we find the United Provinces, while under a Tyranny, to abound in luxurious Governors and people, but much alter’d upon the very first appearance of Liberty, insomuch that Luxury and Tyranny flying both away together, they have lived ever since in a sober parcimonious condition (yet wealthy) under a grave and serious Government by the people. And the Family of Orange it selfe (before it grew corrupt) was in every respect suited unto this popular Form, as appears by that description of Prince William the Founder of their liberty, as it is set forth by Sir Fulk Grevil in the life of Sir Philip Sidney. For, when Sir Fulk came to visit him in the Town of Delph, he saith he found him thus accuoltred.
[“]His uppermost garment was a Gown, yet such as (I dare confidently affirm) a mean student in our Inns of court, would not have been well-pleased to walk the streets in. Unbutton’d his Doublet was, and of like precious Matter and form to the other. His Wast-coat (which shewed it self under it) not unlike the best sort of those woollen knit ones, which our ordinary water-men row us in. His company about him were the Burgo-masters of that bear-brewing Town; and he so fellow-like encompassed with them, as I had not known his Face, no outw[ar]d signe of degree or merit, could have discovered the inequality of his worth or estate from that multitude. Notwithstanding, I no sooner came into his presence, but it pleased him to take knowledg of me; And even upon that (as if it had been a signall to make a change) his Respect to a stranger instantly begat Respect to himself in all about him: An outward passage of inward Greatnesse, which in a popular state is worth the observing.[”] Thus farr Sr Fulk Grevil; which may serve to upbraid the Cours and conversation of the later Branches of that stock, who having by degrees forsaken their first Principles, and wedded themselves to the Bloud and Interrest of Rogalty, no sooner became infected with pride and Luxury, but they began to hatch Projects and designs, for the ruin of the Low-Country Liberty.
We might also cite another Instance from the free Cantons of Switzerland, by comparing their present State of Freedom, Industry, and Sobriety, with the Luxury and Tyranny of former times in that Country, but we have been too large already. And as for Venice, though it bear the name of a Freestate, yet it have little of the Substance; for, the chief Power being deposited in the hands of a standing Senate of Grandees, the People must needs be to seek of their Freedom. And this is observable, that by how much the lesse they have of that Freedom which the united Provinces & the Cantons now enjoy, so much the more both they and their Governers are now inclined to Luxury, being (to speak mildly) of a more soft and delicate demeanour than is usuall in a state that is really free.
And thus much let us have further to say, it is no good signe of that Grandee Venetian Government’s being pleasing to the People, since we finde by all our Intelligence that way, that the Islands in the Archipelago, and other of their Territories, are ready still, upon any opportunity (as they have been ever) to revolt unto the Turkish Government.
[134.]Our Conclusion therefore upon
[135.]E omits: More I might inlarge, but less I could not.
[136.]MP begins: To go on upon our old Subject of a free-State or Government by the People, as it is constituted in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies; and to prove its excellency above all other Forms, wee shall make matters yet more evident by Reason.
[140.]This is it
[141.]while under Kings, remained
[142.]a little more, and for a little time; yet all that they
[145.]wherewith that people was endued upon the
[148.]the yoak of the Romans
[157.]Hollanders, and also our own Nation; whose high atchievments may match any of the Ancients, since the extirpation of Tyranny, and a re-establishment of our Freedom in the hands of the People: The consideration
[159.]MP begins: That a Free State, or Government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is much more excellent than any other Form, we shall farther illustrate by Reason.
[164.]E omits: Nor is it thus only in the government of Kings, but the same Inconvenience hath been seen also in that of the great ones, where they held a standing power in their own hands over the people: For, as in Rome, where Kings were expel’d, and the supremacy usurpt by the Senate, they made Laws at the pleasure of great men, without the suffrage or consent of the people in their successive Assemblies; so the execution of those Laws was committed onely to such as were of the Senatorian Order or Alliance, who never construed them in favour of the people, but onely so far still as would suit with the Lordly interest of the Senate, as is manifest by the several Decisions made in the Matrimoniall, Tribunitian, and Agrarian controversies in old Rome, betwixt the great ones, of the Senate and the people: yea, they proceeded so far, as to swear against the people, binding each other by oath and confederacy (saith Livy) to bridle, suppresse, and keep them under, not permitting them the enjoyment of any office or Dignity in the Commonwealth; which practices are by him taxed of high imprudence; for, by this means the People grew desperate, & never gave over mutiny, till they gain’d a Right, not onely to the execution of Law, in being admitted to Offices, but also to the making of Laws, that nothing should passe for Law, but what was first ratified by consent in their solemne Assemblies.
[165.]The wary providing
[167.]of a standing Senate
[168.]Senate was strictly tyed up by Lawes, that they walked in
[170.]rather a Juncta then a Common-weal
[171.]opportunities (as I once mentioned before) to revolt
[172.]Therefore (to bee brief) our Conclusion
[174.]E omits: Hitherto, We have pretty well cleared our way, to prove that a Free State, or a Government by a free election and consent of the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their Supream Assemblies, is much more excellent than any other Form; But let us go on.
[175.]saith in the first of his Offices
[179.]three Deductions of mine
[184.]at all adventure, from the hand of Chance, or Fortune
[188.]it lasts usually
[189.]being often litigious
[191.]MP reads: Line of Succession. Therefore, if any Kingly Form be tollerable, it must be that which is by Election; and herein as Kings are tolerable only upon this Account of being Elective, so these Elective Kings
[193.]effect, farther than
[197.]MP reads: Casimire and Austria.
[199.]Delinquency, or Neutrality, &c. in relation
[200.]the People, as shall be proved hereafter.
[201.]MP begins: To proceed still in the maintenance of our Position, that a Free State, or Government by the People, constituted in a due and orderly Succession of their Supream Assemblies, is the most excellent Form, we shall add a few Reasons more.
[203.]Camp or Councel
[208.]In Rome the case was
[209.]permitting many of
[210.]MP reads: loss of their Liberty.
[211.]great or popular, esteeming it a notable means (as indeed it hath been) in securing herself from
[213.]E omits the editorials of MP 89 and 90 (12-19 Feb., 19-26 Feb. 1652), which are reproduced in Appendix B. The first of them gives further reasons to support the thirteenth “reason”; the second advances a fourteenth; the editorial that follows consequently gives the fifteenth. It begins: We have onely one Reason more to insist upon, for the proof of our Position, that a Free-state, or government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is much more excellent than any other Form.
[217.]any but God
[219.]every form, by reason of its outward splendor, and present power; by which
[223.]MP reads: consent of the People.
[224.]Powers could ever be called to accompt
[225.]Reasons formerly published
[226.]E omits: Our next Cours shall be to refute all Objections to the contrary.
[228.]who being now invested
[229.]may (in order to the preservation of this Common-wealth) understand what Common-weal Principles are, and
[230.]interest of monarchy. But
[231.]so on the
[234.]like may be said also of France
[235.]their Successive Assemblies, so long they
[236.]same pass too
[237.]how much of Levelling, and how little of Property
[243.]those miscariages, as (if ever there be occasion) shall be made appear at large by the current of the Story:
[244.]that very account
[247.]by the aforementioned
[248.]property as ever; for, as Livy tels us, They soon lost their Propriety under that erroneous constitution of a standing Senate; The great Ones not only deprived them of all interest in the Government, but even in ordinary enjoyments, eating them out with debt, usury, extortion, and circumvention; so that they were fain to beg, and many times make Mutinies and Uproars for Bread; and at last to leave the City, with a Resolution never to return, till they were perswaded back once by the eloquence of Menenius Agrippa; at another time wonn by the fair promises of Q. Hortensius. The same miseries rather increased than diminished under the other form of standing Power, called the Decemviri; during whose government the People were (besides the many other extremities) reduced to so much want, having no Propriety nor possession, that upon an uproar for Bread in the comon Forum, they set upon Appius Claudius, the chief of the Decemviri, with Curses and imprecations; so that he not with much adoe escaped at a Back-doore, he had bin torn in pieces. Thus you see how the Romans also shifted out of one standing Form to another, to no purpose till necessity taught them a remedy against those merciless Levellers, by setling the Government in the Peoples hands, by an orderly
[249.]recover a propriety
[250.]which new strain
[251.]in as a Favorite
[252.]MP reads: liberty and Property, as appears more at large in the Story.
[253.]We might enlarge, but being too large already, we may (I suppose) safely conclude
[255.]destroying of Proprieties
[256.]Usurpations of all Standing powers. Add to the former Instances, the consideration of the former sad condition of Switzerland, and Holland, under standing Powers; with the flourishing state they have bin in ever since the expulsion of those powers, and a setling of those Governments in the Peoples Successive Assemblies. It is clear then, that Kings
[257.]E omits: In our last was proved; That the way of a free-State, or government by the People, setled in a due succession of their supreme Assemblies, is so farr from introducing of Community, and Levelling of Estates, that it is, and ever hath bin the only preservative of Property in all particulars.
[258.]Assemblies; which equality of Right in all to chuse and to bee chosen, is by Aristotle called Levelling.
[261.]and be chosen
[262.]MP reads: is not here to be determined; nor shall we presume to define what it ought to be in our own Nation hereafter, when it shall please God to extinguish the present Animosities, and unite us all in heart, under the form of a Free-State, as one People: In this Case a due Latitude (as aforesaid) cannot be accounted Levelling.
[264.]Common-wealths of Greece were
[265.]dead, devou[r]ing them to the deeps with Imprecations, and branding
[267.]Treason. This also hath been the practice of Florence, Luca, Siena, Millain
[268.]E omits: Our Position is, That a Free-State, or Government by the People, setled in a due and orderly succession of their supreme Assemblies, is the most excellent Form.
[272.]for ease and remedy
[274.]as we have heretofore sufficiently made manifest more at large, both by reason and example: Therefore all we shall do at present, is to add a little to the former part of our Discourse
[276.]continue as their standing Councell
[277.]E omits: And in Venice, though the People have no interest above that standing Senate, all Power and Authority being comprised in a great Councel, made up onely of that which they call the Patrician Order, in which great Council or Assembly they pass all Laws, and prescribe rules for Government, yet ever in the intervals of that meeting, they observ the same Method as hath bin us’d in States really free, committing the Arts & secrets of Government to a Councel, cald the councel of Ten, chosen by the great Councel, but with this difference, in regard they chuse them out of the Senatorian order, excluding the People.
[280.]size or Standard
[282.]E omits: But yet it will be said, that there were as many great and grievous Tumults after those Assemblies were in being. ’Tis true; but the fault was not in the People, nor in the Freedom that they had gotten, but in this, that they never were so free as they ought, or might have been, had not the body of their Commonweal been infected with that rank mixture of an Hereditary standing Power, which was reserved still in the Senate. For, though all ultimate Appeals (the great Ensignes of Supremacy) were directed to the People, for that the Senate could not controll their Assemblie; yet the Senators being men of greater wealth, Power, and wit then ordinary, and having an Interest still in Affairs, as an hereditary distinct Order of men from the People (which is the Bane of all in a Commonweal) they by this means had such an influence, that they could perplex, puzzle, and over-reach the people (ever and anon) to serve their own ends, in the great Assemblies: which the people afterwards observing with regret, to see themselves baffled and cosen’d, was the true cause of most of those discontents, and Tumults that happened after the erection of their successive Assemblies; and this, with the like, might be made evident from time to time, not only by the Roman, but Athenian Stories, were not the multitude of Particulars more fit for a Treatise then a Pamphlet.
[283.]such as become their, Leaders. Thus
[286.]the occasions were
[288.]before, and after, but
[293.]the form of Free-State
[296.]called to account
[298.]First, Because it is
[302.]accusare; which being Englished saith, It most
[303.]reach them, nor have any ordinary course allowed for the keeping of them (as it becomes all earthly powers)
[304.]of the horrid tumults
[309.]E omits: We might be much larger, and shew you what miseries our own Nation hath endured for want of this liberty against our Kings and their grand creatures, such as Strafford, &c. [W]e might hint also, what adoe there was in and about London, in the year 1647 when the corrupt party then shelter’d themselves in both Houses under a pretended priviledge of Parliament, so that they could not be brought into question, till it pleased God that the Army, with extream hazard, brought in a Charge against them; which hazard of a new War (by God alone happily prevented) had never been, if there had been any ordinary way left for the management of their accusation.
[313.]confederates; and now again at this instant, between the Court and the Princes, wherein
[315.]same also in
[318.]all Tyranny, and
[320.]This was remarkable in the late Tyrant Charles
[322.]E omits: How closely his son also hath troden the Father’s steps, appears by the last Game with the Presbyters in Scotland, where he plaid fast and loose with the Covenant and the stool of Repentance. It is memorable too, how Hollis, Stapleton, and the rest of those impeached grand stagers, diserted the Peoples interest, and all the pure pretences of their first engaging, so that had not the People been more constant, firm, and resolute, we might then have bid farwell to the Liberties of England.
[323.]Scipios, (of whom you had a hint in our last:) the cause
[324.]themselves within the rules of a Free-State, in an equability or moderate condition, by permitting
[330.]and access of power and greatnessions
[332.]suiting with the Interest of Liberty
[334.]unworthy dealing is the naturall effect
[335.]E substitutes this paragraph for: But the more large disquisition of all these things is referr’d to a better leisure and Oportunity, than this of a Paper-kite or Phamphlet; only thus far I have presumed (week after week) in sincerity of heart, and in honor to the Founders of our Commonwealth, to make it appear how highly they deserve of our Nation and the whole world, who have laid the Foundations of Freedom, upon that noble and declared interest of a Free-State, which consists onely in a due and orderly succession of the Peoples Assemblies, and without which I dare say I have fully proved, there can be no superstructure of true Liberty in a Nation. Therefore here we make an end of our Reasons, and Answers to the most material Objections; which are not to be taken apart, but compared one with one another, and consider’d alltogether, if you mean to judge aright of particulars.
[336.]E omits: Before we proceed to any new Discours, Let us have Leave to bring in that last, which should have bin handled first, and is indeed the very Foundation of all the rest; to wit, That the originall of all just Power and Government is in the People.
[338.]describes (as Salmasius and all the Royal Interpreters would have use beleeve) but
[342.]Having already proved
[344.]by the Church-Nationall Pretenders
[346.]sanctified, &c. Not
[347.]My Kingdom is not from hence; My Kingdom is not of this world, &c.
[349.]whose kingdom being not of this world, depends
[350.]MP reads: Orthodox (they said) as themselves. This tyranny of Bishops being reformed, then our late Clergy-Reformers cam in play, who did wel in banishing Prelacy, but yet retaind the old Principle of a distinct powerful body, and of being Quartermasters & Sharers with the Civil power, which having obtained for a little time, they began to persecute those they called Independent, because they embraced Principles of a purer nature than theirs, which they branded too with Errour and heresie.
[351.]Civil, or any thing like it, must
[352.]Errors received in
[356.]E omits: I should now shew you also, how that Venice it self is no more but (as a man may call it) a multiplyed Monarchy, a particular Senate of men (who call themselves Nobility) being seated there in an hereditary, arbitrary, uncontrolable, unaccountable state of domination over that poor people.
[357.]is evident also
[358.]crept into the United Provinces, the relicks whereof are not yet extinct, as appears by some humors of the people that you may observe there, even in this weeks Intelligence.
[359.]the Interest of Monarchy may reside in the hands
[361.]to be taken notice of
[362.]shared all Authority
[364.]maxim; that ignorance
[365.]among a people setled in a State of freedom
[369.]State, all their
[370.]E omits: So much also of a Free-State we finde practised in Venice, though the benefit extend only to the Nobility themselves, and not to the people; for (as we told you once before out of one of our Countrimens [ James Howell’s ] Collections) she puts limitations to the wealth of the Senators, that none of them grow over-rich, but to such a proportion; because accesse of wealth inclines men to high thoughts, and ambitious attempts, and drawes peoples affections after them: therefore one of her prime principles of State is, to keep any man, though never so meritori[o]us, from being too pow[e]rfull and popular.
[371.]cost the Low countreymen their Liberty
[372.]been strangely prevented by a miracle of Providence, might
[373.]of command, power, and authority
[374.]large in heretofore, but it must not be omitted in this brief abstract now intended, so far as concerns a few more Instances for its confirmation. The
[376.]est, &c. This
[377.]Emylian (E has: Emiliam)
[381.]E omits: For the other Rules, you are referr’d to the next, having been to large here already.
[382.]MP begins: Wee have noted the third error or default in Policy, to be a keeping the people ignorant of those ways and means that are essentially necessary for the preservation of their Liberty; and the remedy thereof we judged to be a publication of those Rules, which have been practised in time past by divers Nations, for the keeping of their Freedom when they once had gotten it. Three of those rules you had in our last.
[383.]one (E has: own)
[384.]is very evident
[386.]State in the Republick of the
[388.]whereas (E has: whertas)
[389.]to the publick
[393.]certainly that people could never have had so far an opportunity as they now enjoy, (the Cockatrice being but in the Egg) to reduce
[395.]E omits: Thus they were served too by his Nephew Octavius (better known by the name of Augustus) who was a ripe youth, and began betimes; for being scarce 20. years of age, he drew his Army also to Rome, and sent messengers to the Senate to demand the Consulship; but when the messengers saw a kinde of slackness and unwillingness to make him consul, then Cornelius a Centurion (one of the messengers) told them plainly to their faces, setting his hand upon the hilt of his sword; Hic faciet, si vos non feceritis, If you wil not do it, this shall. When they saw that then (the messengers being withdrawn) they soon agreed to give them a satisfactory answer.
[397.]E omits: More of these Rules are yet behind.
[398.]E omits: In order to the discovery of those waies and means, that are essentially necessary to the preservation of a Commonweal in a state of Freedom, we proceed in the setting down of such Rules as have been observed in past Ages, and Nations, upon the like Occasion. Five have been published already.
[399.]their own Consent
[400.]speciall care περὶ ὅπλησιν καὶ γυμνασίαν,
[401.]because (saith he) the Commonweal is theirs who hold
[404.]the Senate and people
[406.]trajicito (E also has: trajicito)
[407.]all, and march
[408.]Commonweal [In E, the corresponding word may or may not be hyphenated.]
[409.]Praetorian, in stead of a publick popular Militia
[411.]E omits: Were Venice a State, so free as it is called, we might then have seen them in another posture of Militia then now they are: For, the Nobility, as the grand secret of State to uphold their own power, do not intrust thee Arms in the hands of the people but hold an Army ever in pay, mixt partly with Natives, partly Foreiners, who depend onely upon themselves, being enabled thereby to do what they please with the people.
[412.]MP begins: A Seventh Rule, essentially necessary for the preservation of a Commonweal in a State of Freedom, is this; that Children
[414.]E omits: I remember a discourse of a very subtile Politician [Machiavelli. In The Case of the Commonwealth, where this passage of MP also appears, Nedham gives his source as “the Florentine’s subtile Discourses upon Livy” and refers to bk. I, chaps. 16-18, of that work: Knachel, pp. 111-12], very pertinent to our purpose, who shewing of what force education is in respect of Government, compares such as have been educated under a Monarchy, to these beasts which have been caged, or coop’t up all their lives in a Den, where they seem to live in as much pleasure as other beasts that are abroad: And if they happen to be let loose, yet they will return again, because they know not how to use their Liberty: So strong an impression is made likewise by education and custome from the Cradle, even upon men that are indued with reasonable souls, that they chuse to live in places and forms of Government under which they have been bred, rather then to submit to better which might make more for their happinesse and advantage. Hence it is (as we have once observed before, but cannot now omit it) that those poor slaves under the Turk, Persian, Tartar, Muscovit, Russian, French and Spaniard with other Eastern, Northern, and Western Lords, are so inamor’d of their chains, that they admire their own condition, being bred up in it, above all others, and like the Indians, adore the Devil that torments them, because their education hath made them ignorant of a better Deity to protect them.
[416.]called the Druides
[418.]E omits: How comes it to passe, that the Jesuits have so readily furnished themselves with Instruments and Agents for the carrying on of their designs to the embroylment of Christendom, but that they have been permitted to erect Colledges and Seminaries in every Corner, where their Novices are suckled onely with such doctrine as may inable and dispose them for the ruining of States and Kingdoms? so that whether it be to a good purpose or a bad, you see all the efficacie lies in the education.
[419.]and under such
[421.]a free Commonweal
[422.]in every Institution
[423.]E omits: Of those Rules that are essentially necessary for the preservation of a Commonweal in a state of Freedom, you have had seven already.
[424.]into a Monarchall
[425.]confute it is; that they doe
[426.]be a just
[428.]out of our past discourses, which are not to be repeated here: But the sense
[429.]that notable one
[430.]and that is
[431.]Actings among his souldiery
[432.]upon the senate and People
[434.]MP reads: point of behaviour. For, if we reflect upon these 30. years past, we shall find how cautious the Parliaments and People of England have been before they proceeded to Arms, the utmost and most desperate Remedy.
[436.]E substitutes that sentence for: Though all these Tyrannies of his were sufficiently felt and known, yet such was the wisdom and caution of our nation, from time to time & Particularly of this Parliament, that they used all the waies under heaven by Petitioning, Declaring, Remonstrating to God and man, in hope to reduce him: and though all would not doe, yet notwithstanding, that desperate Remedy of the Sword was forborn till after he had first taken it up, and that invincible necessity did put it into their hands, for the preservation of Themselves, with the Rights and Liberties of the People.
[439.]E omits: As concerning those Rules that have been put in practice heretofore by divers Nations, and which have by them been reputed essentially necessary for a preservation of their Freedom, we have published eight already. The Eighth Rule mentioned in our last, was; That a People being once possessed of Liberty, ought to use it with moderation, least it turn to licentiousness; which as it is a Tyranny in it self, so in the end it usually occasions the corruption and conversion of a Free-State into a Monarchy. For prevention whereof we gave one Caution in our last. More Cautions there are, which (that I may drive on the main discourse to a period) shall be summ’d up this week in brief; whereby a People in a Free-State may understand how to demean themselves for the avoiding those pernitious enormities of Tumult, Dissention, Sedition, &c. charged upon them by Kings, Grandees, and their Creatures:
[449.]in the whole Series of affairs in the Roman State
[451.]accusations, and calumniations
[454.]called S C. Turpilianum
[456.]course (E has: course course)
[458.]concerns a people established in a state of Freedom so to regulate
[460.]E omits: so that in this case, that maxime of our English Law is very pertinent, Abundans Cautela non nocet . There can be no hurt in extraordinary caution.
[461.]MP begins: Touching those Rules that have been reputed essentially necessary, and accordingly put in practice by divers Nations, for a preservation of the Publick Freedom, you have had Eight already.
[462.]E omits: This was Treason of the grossest kind.
[466.]Cases, as they are collected and set forth by a Countriman [James Howell] of our own in English
[467.]2. The second point of Treason is
[468.]this Crime, aut vivi exurebantur, &c, were either
[469.]E omits: And for the avoiding of those Inconveniences that follow a discovery, they have a speciall care in Venice to keep all those especially from the Priests, as they did in Rome from Women. The former are Persons alwaies, and in all Places, of a distinct Interest from the Civill; The latter, by the nature of their Sex, not fit for such kinde of Communications[.]
[470.]3. It is Treason, and death without
[472.]Compliances. Hence it is, that the Pope’s Conclave have ever been more hot and tedious in their debates and determinations, than any other Assembly of men in the world; For, most Princes have ever held them in Pension, some one way, and some another. But in
[473.]E omits: And that it may appear how extreme strict they are in this Particular, it cannot be amiss to let down here a very sad story concerning Antonio Foscarini one of the senators, as it was written by Sir Henry Wotton [whose words, in Reliquiae Woottonianae (1651; repr. 1672, p. 309), MP loosely reproduces] ; who being Ambassador at Venice, chanced to be there at that very time when the Tragedy was acted. There in (saith he) in the Partitions of this Government a very awfull Magistracy entituled Inquisitory distato, who recieve all secret accusations in matter of practise against the Republick, and then referr the same, as they see caus, to the Councel of Ten, who are the suprem Tribunall in Criminal Cases. To these Inquisitors came two men, and capitulated for a reward to discover some Gentlemen, who at unseasonable times, and in disguised Forms did haunt the Houses of forein Ministers; in particular they named the spanish Agent, being likeliest to gain a favourable hearing upon that subject. In the head of their secret list they named one of the senators called Antonio Foscarini, who being of the senate was thereby restrained upon pain of death from all conference with publick ministers, unless by special permission. And to give some Colour to their discovery, they did, besides their own Testimonies, alledg one Giovan Battista, who served the aforesaid Spanish Agent, and had, as they said, acquainted them with the accesses of such and such Gentlemen unto him. But first they advised, or so the Inquisitors thought fit to proceed against Foscarini, without examining the aforesaid Giovan Battista, lest it might caus a noise, and then perhaps those other that they meant to accuse might escape.
[475.]have before you
[476.]a Free Republick
[477.]MP begins: For Order’s sake, let us run back a little, and see how our Discourse hangs together. The first thing we dispatched was to prove the Excellency of a Free-state above all other Forms; for which you had di vers Reasons. After this, Answers were given to divers Objections comonly made against the Government of a free-State[.] Next, wee noted divers Errors that have been received in the course of Christian Policy; whereof wee have as yet set down onely Three; and the third Error is noted to have been a keeping the People ignorant of those wayes and means that are essentially necessary for the preservation of their Liberty; the remedy wee judged to be a publication of those Rules which have been practised in times past by divers Nations, for the keeping of their Freedom. The Eighth Rule was that which more especially related to the People themselves in point of Behaviour; for the due Regulation whereof, wee did in the next place set down a few Cautions; and after them the Ninth and last Rule which you had last week; so that having run through all these Particulars in order, wee naturally revert now to the former
[479.]not the strict
[481.]fear I be
[482.]called Reason of state, you had about this time Twelvemonth, Numb. 60 [MP 24-31 July 1651, p. 959; LP, p. 210], which wee transplant hither, as into it’s more proper Place:
[483.]That which wages
[484.]E substitutes the opening of this paragraph for: This passage being taken notice of, and quoted by an ingenious Gentleman in a Book of his in Print, he was pleased in opposition to this sandy Foundation of policy, called Reason of State, to point out a more sure and Noble way:
[486.]By-Actings or Engagements
[487.]E adds this paragraph.
[488.]in the behalf
[490.]Harry the seventh
[492.]MP reads: sad destruction. Yet reason of State is still the grand Idol of the present Youngster. It made him first resolve to joyn with the Irish; but things not falling out to his minde there, it made him wheel about into Scotland, and turn Covenanter. Afterwards, it made him cast off the Covenant and Covenanters both together; and therefore, no doubt but the next wheeling wil be towards Rome, or any way, if reason of State require it, that he may finish the transgressions of the Family.
[493.]occasion, there lies a grand Secret of Liberty and good Government
[494.]wills were law
[496.]MP reads: the Senate. This was the main Caus, for, the Rape of Lucrece did but quicken them to lay hold of an opportunity. Kings
[503.]late Tyrant in England
[505.]MP reads: himself and his family.
[514.]E omits: It is remarkable also in the State of France, how peaceably, happily, and orderly their nation was governed, so long as their affairs were managed in a publick way by the three Estates, in their successive suprem Assemblies, as their stories will inform you. And no sooner were those Assemblies laid aside by the craft and power of Lewis 11 and the succeeding Kings, and the publick affairs and interests of the Nation in-grossed by them, and the Princes of the Bloud, and some few of their Creatures and Dependants, but their peace, liberty, and welfare became lost for ever. For, that Countrey hath ever since been the stage of bloud, and a perpetuall Civill war, the poor people being tost and banded to and fro to serve their ends and designes; who, as all Junto men and Grandees in the world, however they may seem to comply, collogue, and cog with one another for a time, in the carrying on their common design of usurpation, yet no sooner is the prey before them, but they ever fall to cutting one anothers throats (as we see in France at this day) for their shares in the tyranny.
[515.]MP ends: pernicious Error in the practices of other times and Nations.
[516.]A Seaventh Error in Policy, observable from the practises of other times and Nations, hath been the Driving
[518.](or rather) malice
[521.]befell Carthage in After-time
[522.]with such unanimity
[524.]E omits: It hath often invited the Spaniard into France; but he had never so sure a Footing as in the Guisian League. At this day we see, he is gotten in again, upon occasion of the two Factions, banded betwixt the Court and the Princes; which hath inabled him to give a fair Check already to the growing greatnes of the French Monarchy.
[526.]An Eighth Error observable in the practise
[528.]I find it fully express’d in Machiavel; who as he hath left many noble Principles and observations upon record, in defence of the liberty of the people, so we find in some of his Books many pernitious sprinklings, unworthy of the light, and of him who in other things was master of a very solid judgement, and most active phant’sie. But the vile reason, which he gives why Statesmen may be excused for this prodigious crime, is this;
[531.]Carthage & suffer.
[532.]E omits: For the rest, touching this particular, I refer you to another time; this being but an introduction to what I intend you in my next, when I shall descend to the practices of later times and Nations.
[533.]E omits: The Eight Error in Policy observable from the practice of other times and Nations, we noted in our last to be, A violation of Faith, Principles, Promises and Ingagements, upon every Turn of Time and Advantage. An Impiety (we told you) that ought to be exploded out of all Societies which bear the name of Christian: and yet we find it often pass among the less discerning sort of men for admirable Policy, and those Imposters that use it, have had the luck to be esteem’d the only Politicians.
[534.]and avoid them, give me leave a little to
[535.]verbatim out of the English Translation
[539.]Upon any occasion: This indifferent Divell usually bears the character of the honest peaceable man, among the ordinary sort of people: But this
[540.]E omits: Many Pretences may be against it, many suppositions of danger; the sonnes of Anak may be said to be in the way, and therefore no entring into the promised Land: But had such Bugbears been regarded; had Phlegmatick reasonings taken place in time past, there is a Nation under the Sun (which shall be nameless) that had been undone before now in being kept from new moduling of an Army, which proved afterwards the most victorious Army that ever was in Christendom.
[† ]St. Paul’s Cathedral, which had been restored under Charles I, had fallen into serious disrepair under Puritan rule.