Front Page Titles (by Subject) 12.: An ESSAY towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by the Establishment of an European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates (1693) - The Political Writings of William Penn
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
12.: An ESSAY towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by the Establishment of an European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates (1693) - William Penn, The Political Writings of William Penn 
The Political Writings of William Penn, introduction and annotations by Andrew R. Murphy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
An ESSAY towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by the Establishment of an EuropeanDyet, Parliament, or Estates (1693)
Beati Pacifici.Cedant Arma Togae1
To the READER.
I HAVE undertaken a Subject that I am very sensible requires one of more sufficiency than I am Master of to treat it, as, in Truth, it deserves, and the groaning State of Europe calls for; but since Bunglers may stumble upon the Game, as well as Masters, though it belongs to the Skilful to hunt and catch it, I hope this Essay will not be charged upon me for a Fault, if it appear to be neither Chimerical nor Injurious, and may provoke abler Pens to improve and perform the Design with better Judgment and Success. I will say no more in Excuse of my self, for this Undertaking, but that it is the Fruit of my solicitous Thoughts, for the Peace of Europe, and they must want Charity as much as the World needs Quiet, to be offended with me for so Pacifick a Proposal. Let them censure my Management so they prosecute the Advantage of the Design; for ’till the Millenary Doctrine be accomplished, there is nothing appears to me so beneficial an Expedient to the Peace and Happiness of this Quarter of the World.
An ESSAY towards the Present and FuturePeace of EUROPE, &c.
Of PEACE, and it’s Advantages.
HE MUST not be a Man, but a Statue of Brass or Stone, whose Bowels do not melt when he beholds the bloody Tragedies of this War, in Hungary, Germany, Flanders, Ireland, and at Sea. The Mortality of sickly and languishing Camps and Navies, and the mighty Prey the Devouring Winds and Waves have made upon Ships and Men since 88.2 And as this with Reason ought to affect human Nature, and deeply Kindred, so there is something very moving that becomes prudent Men to consider, and that is the vast Charge that has accompanied that Blood, and which makes no mean Part of these Tragedies; Especially if they deliberate upon the uncertainty of the War, that they know not how or when it will end, and that the Expence cannot be less, and the Hazard is as great as before. So that in the Contraries of Peace we see the Beauties and Benefits of it; which under it, such is the Unhappiness of Mankind, we are too apt to nauseate, as the full Stomach loaths the Honey-Comb; and like that unfortunate Gentleman, that having a fine and a good Woman to his Wife, and searching his Pleasure in forbidden and less agreeable Company, said, when reproach’d with his Neglect of better Enjoyments, That he could love his Wife of all Women, if she were not his Wife, tho’ that increased his Obligation to prefer her. It is a great Mark of the Corruption of our Natures, and what ought to humble us extremely, and excite the Exercise of our Reason to a nobler and juster Sense, that we cannot see the Use and Pleasure of our Comforts but by the Want of them. As if we could not taste the Benefit of Health, but by the Help of Sickness; nor understand the Satisfaction of Fulness without the Instruction of Want; nor, finally, know the Comfort of Peace but by the Smart and Penance of the Vices of War: And without Dispute that is not the least Reason that God is pleased to Chastise us so frequently with it. What can we desire better than Peace, but the Grace to use it? Peace preserves our Possessions; We are in no Danger of Invasions: Our Trade is free and safe, and we rise and lye down without Anxiety. The Rich bring out their Hoards, and employ the poor Manufacturers: Buildings and divers Projections, for Profit and Pleasure, go on: It excites Industry, which brings Wealth, as that gives the Means of Charity and Hospitality, not the lowest Ornaments of a Kingdom or Commonwealth. But War, like the Frost of 83, seizes all these Comforts at once, and stops the civil Channel of Society. The Rich draw in their Stock, the Poor turn Soldiers, or Thieves, or Starve: No Industry, no Building, no Manufactury, little Hospitality or Charity; but what the Peace gave, the War devours. I need say no more upon this Head, when the Advantages of Peace, and Mischiefs of War are so many and sensible to every Capacity under all Governments, as either of them prevails. I shall proceed to the next Point. What is the best Means of Peace, which will conduce much to open my Way to what I have to propose.
Of the Means of Peace, which is Justice rather than War.
AS JUSTICE is a Preserver, so it is a better Procurer of Peace than War. Tho’ Pax quaeritur bello, be an usual Saying, Peace is the End of War, and as such it was taken up by O. C. for his Motto:3 Yet the Use generally made of that expression shews us, that properly and truly speaking, Men seek their Wills by War rather than Peace, and that as they will violate it to obtain them, so they will hardly be brought to think of Peace, unless their Appetites be some Way gratified. If we look over the Stories of all Times, we shall find the Aggressors generally moved by Ambition; the Pride of Conquest and Greatness of Dominion more than Right. But as those Leviathans appear rarely in the World, so I shall anon endeavour to make it evident they had never been able to devour the Peace of the World, and ingross whole Countries as they have done, if the Proposal I have to make for the Benefit of our present Age had been then in Practice. The Advantage that Justice has upon War is seen by the Success of Embassies, that so often prevent War by hearing the Pleas and Memorials of Justice in the Hands and Mouths of the Wronged Party. Perhaps it may be in a good Degree owing to Reputation or Poverty, or some particular Interest or Conveniency of Princes and States, as much as Justice; but it is certain, that as War cannot in any Sense be justified, but upon Wrongs received, and Right, upon Complaint, refused; so the Generality of Wars have their Rise from some such Pretension. This is better seen and understood at Home; for that which prevents a Civil War in a Nation, is that which may prevent it Abroad, viz. Justice; and we see where that is notably obstructed, War is Kindled between the Magistrates and People in particular Kingdoms and States; which, however it may be unlawful on the Side of the People, we see never fails to follow, and ought to give the same Caution to Princes as if it were the Right of the People to do it: Tho’ I must needs say, the Remedy is almost ever worse than the Disease: The Aggressors seldom getting what they seek, or performing, if they prevail, what they promised. And the Blood and Poverty that usually attend the Enterprize, weigh more on Earth, as well as in Heaven, than what they lost or suffered, or what they get by endeavouring to mend their Condition, comes to: Which Disappointment seems to be the Voice of Heaven, and Judgment of God against those violent Attempts. But to return, I say, Justice is the Means of Peace, betwixt the Government and the People, and one Man and Company and another. It prevents Strife, and at last ends it: For besides Shame or Fear, to contend longer, he or they being under Government, are constrained to bound their Desires and Resentment with the Satisfaction the Law gives. Thus Peace is maintain’d by Justice, which is a Fruit of Government, as Government, is from Society, and Society from Consent.
GOVERNMENT, it’s Rise and End under all Models.
GOVERNMENT is an Expedient against Confusion; a Restraint upon all Disorder; Just Weights and an even Ballance: That one may not injure another, nor himself, by Intemperance.
This was at first without Controversie, Patrimonial, and upon the Death of the Father or Head of the Family, the eldest Son, or Male of Kin succeeded. But Time breaking in upon this Way of Governing, as the World multiply’d, it fell under other Claims and Forms; and is as hard to trace to it’s Original, as are the Copies we have of the first Writings of Sacred or Civil Matters. It is certain the most Natural and Human is that of Consent, for that binds freely (as I may say) when Men hold their Liberty by true Obedience to Rules of their own making. No Man is Judge in his own Cause, which ends the Confusion and Blood of so many Judges and Executioners. For out of Society every Man is his own King, does what he lists, at his own Peril: But when he comes to incorporate himself, he submits that Royalty to the Conveniency of the Whole, from whom he receives the Returns of Protection. So that he is not now his own Judge nor Avenger, neither is his Antagonist, but the Law, in indifferent Hands between both. And if he be Servant to others that before was free, he is also served of others that formerly owed him no Obligation. Thus while we are not our own, every Body is ours, and we get more than we lose, the Safety of the Society being the Safety of the Particulars that constitute it. So that while we seem to submit to, and hold all we have from Society, it is by Society that we keep what we have.
Government then is the Prevention or Cure of Disorder, and the Means of Justice, as that is of Peace: For this Cause they have Sessions, Terms, Assizes and Parliaments, to over-rule Men’s Passions and Resentments, that they may not be Judges in their own Cause, nor Punishers of their own Wrongs, which as it is very incident to Men in their Corrupt State, so, for that Reason, they would observe no Measure; nor on the other Hand would any be easily reduced to their Duty. Not that Men know not what is right, their Excesses, and wherein they are to blame: by no Means; nothing is plainer to them: But so depraved is Human Nature, that without Compulsion, some Way or other, too many would not readily be brought to do what they know is right and fit, or avoid what they are satisfy’d they should not do: Which brings me near to the Point I have undertaken; and for the better Understanding of which, I have thus briefly treated of Peace, Justice and Government, as a necessary Introduction, because the Ways and Methods by which Peace is preserved in particular Governments, will help those Readers, most concerned in my Proposal, to conceive with what Ease as well as Advantage the Peace of Europe might be procured and kept; which is the End designed by me, with all Submission to those Interested in this little Treatise.
Of a General Peace, or the Peace of Europe, and the Means of it.
IN MY first Section, I shewed the Desirableness of Peace; in my next, the Truest Means of it; to wit, Justice, Not War. And in my last, that this Justice was the Fruit of Government, as Government it self was the Result of Society; which first came from a Reasonable Design in Men of Peace. Now if the Soveraign Princes of Europe, who represent that Society, or Independent State of Men that was previous to the Obligations of Society, would, for the same Reason that engaged Men first into Society, viz. Love of Peace and Order, agree to meet by their Stated Deputies in a General Dyet, Estates, or Parliament, and there Establish Rules of Justice for Soveraign Princes to observe one to another; and thus to meet Yearly, or once in Two or Three Years at farthest, or as they shall see Cause, and to be Stiled, The Soveraign or Imperial Dyet, Parliament, or State of Europe; before which Soveraign Assembly, should be brought all Differences depending between one Soveraign and another, that cannot be made up by private Embassies, before the Sessions begins; and that if any of the Soveraignties that Constitute these Imperial States, shall refuse to submit their Claim or Pretensions to them, or to abide and perform the Judgment thereof, and seek their Remedy by Arms, or delay their Compliance beyond the Time prefixt in their Resolutions, all the other Soveraignties, United as One Strength, shall compel the Submission and Performance of the Sentence, with Damages to the Suffering Party, and Charges to the Soveraignties that obliged their Submission: To be sure Europe would quietly obtain the so much desired and needed Peace, to Her harrassed Inhabitants; no Soveraignty in Europe, having the Power, and therefore cannot show the Will to dispute the Conclusion; and, consequently, Peace would be procured, and continued in Europe.
Of the Causes of Difference, and Motives to Violate Peace.
THERE appears to me but Three Things upon which Peace is broken, viz. To Keep, to Recover, or to Add. First, To Keep what is One’s Right, from the Invasion of an Enemy; in which I am purely Defensive. Secondly, To Recover, when I think my self Strong enough, that which by Violence, I, or my Ancestors have lost, by the Arms of a Stronger Power; in which I am Offensive: Or, Lastly, To increase my Dominion by the Acquisition of my Neighbour’s Countries, as I find them Weak, and my self Strong. To gratify which Passion, there will never want some Accident or other for a Pretence: And knowing my own Strength, I will be my own Judge and Carver. This Last will find no Room in the Imperial States: They are an unpassable Limit to that Ambition. But the other Two may come as soon as they please, and find the Justice of that Soveraign Court. And considering how few there are of those Sons of Prey, and how early they show themselves, it may be not once in an Age or Two, this Expedition being Established, the Ballance cannot well be broken.
Of Titles, upon which those Differences may arise.
BUT I easily foresee a Question that may be answered in our Way, and that is this; What is Right? Or else we can never know what is Wrong: It is very fit that this should be Established. But that is fitter for the Soveraign States to resolve than me. And yet that I may lead a Way to the Matter, I say that Title is either by a long and undoubted Succession, as the Crowns of Spain, France and England; or by Election, as the Crown of Poland, and the Empire; or by Marriage, as the Family of the Stewarts came by England; the Elector of Brandenburgh, to the Dutchy of Cleve; and we, in Ancient Time, to divers Places abroad; or by Purchase, as hath been frequently done in Italy and Germany; or by Conquest, as the Turk in Christendom, the Spaniards in Flanders, formerly mostly in the French Hands; and the French in Burgundy, Normandy, Lorrain, French-County, &c. This last, Title is, Morally Speaking, only Questionable. It has indeed obtained a Place among the Rolls of Titles, but it was engross’d and recorded by the Point of the Sword, and in Bloody Characters. What cannot be controuled or resisted, must be submitted to; but all the World knows the Date of the length of such Empires, and that they expire with the Power of the Possessor to defend them. And yet there is a little allowed to Conquest to, when it has the Sanction of Articles of Peace to confirm it: Tho’ that hath not always extinguished the Fire, but it lies, like Embers under Ashes, ready to kindle so soon as there is a fit Matter prepared for it. Nevertheless, when Conquest has been confirmed by a Treaty, and Conclusion of Peace, I must confess it is an Adopted Title; and if not so Genuine and Natural, yet being engrafted, it is fed by that which is the Security of Better Titles, Consent. There is but one Thing more to be mentioned in this Section, and that is from what Time Titles shall take their Beginning, or how far back we may look to confirm or dispute them. It would be very bold and inexcusable in me, to determine so tender a Point, but be it more or less Time, as to the last General Peace at Nimeguen,4 or to the commencing of this War, or to the Time of the Beginning of the Treaty of Peace, I must submit it to the Great Pretenders and Masters in that Affair. But something every Body must be willing to give or quit, that he may keep the rest, and by this Establishment, be for ever freed of the Necessity of losing more.
Of the Composition of these Imperial States.
THE Composition and Proportion of this Soveraign Part, or Imperial State, does, at the first Look, seem to carry with it no small Difficulty what Votes to allow for the Inequality of the Princes and States. But with Submission to better Judgments, I cannot think it invincible: For if it be possible to have an Estimate of the Yearly Value of the several Soveraign Countries, whose Delegates are to make up this August Assembly, the Determination of the Number of Persons or Votes in the States for every Soveraignty, will not be impracticable. Now that England, France, Spain, the Empire, &c. may be pretty exactly estimated, is so plain a Case, by considering the Revenue of Lands, the Exports and Entries at the Custom-Houses, the Books of Rates, and Surveys that are in all Governments, to proportion Taxes for the Support of them, that the least Inclination to the Peace of Europe, will not stand or halt at this Objection. I will, with Pardon on all Sides, give an Instance far from Exact; nor do I pretend to it, or offer it for an Estimate; for I do it at Random: Only this, as wide as it is from the Just Proportion, will give some Aim to my Judicious Reader, what I would be at: Remembring, I design not by any Computation, an Estimate from the Revenue of the Prince, but the Value of the Territory, the Whole being concerned as well as the Prince. And a Juster Measure it is to go by, since one Prince may have more Revenue than another, who has much a Richer Country: Tho’ in the Instance I am now about to make, the Caution is not so Necessary, because, as I said before, I pretend to no Manner of Exactness, but go wholly by Guess, being but for Example’s Sake. I suppose the Empire of Germany to send Twelve; France, Ten; Spain, Ten; Italy, which comes to France, Eight; England, Six; Portugal, Three; Sweedland, Four; Denmark, Three; Poland, Four; Venice, Three; the Seven Provinces, Four; The Thirteen Cantons, and little Neighbouring Soveraignties, Two; Dukedoms of Holstein and Courland, One: And if the Turks and Muscovites are taken in, as seems but fit and just, they will make Ten a Piece more. The Whole makes Ninety. A great Presence when they represent the Fourth; and now the Best and Wealthiest Part of the Known World; where Religion and Learning, Civility and Arts have their Seat and Empire. But it is not absolutely necessary there should be always so many Persons, to represent the larger Soveraignties; for the Votes may be given by one Man of any Soveraignty, as well as by Ten or Twelve: Tho’ the fuller the Assembly of States is, the more Solemn, Effectual, and Free the Debates will be, and the Resolutions must needs come with greater Authority. The Place of their First Session should be Central, as much as is possible, afterwards as they agree.
Of the Regulation of the Imperial States in Session.
TO AVOID Quarrel for Precedency, the Room may be Round, and have divers Doors to come in and go out at, to prevent Exceptions. If the whole Number be cast into Tens, each chusing One, they may preside by Turns, to whom all Speeches should be addressed, and who should collect the Sense of the Debates, and state the Question for a Vote, which, in my Opinion, should be by the Ballot, after the Prudent and Commendable Method of the Venetians:5 Which in a great Degree, prevents the ill Effects of Corruption; because if any of the Delegates of that High and Mighty Estates could be so Vile, False, and Dishonourable, as to be influenced by Money, they have the Advantage of taking their Money that will give it them, and of Voting undiscovered to the Interest of their Principals, and their own Inclinations; as they that do understand the Balloting Box do very well know. A Shrewd Stratagem, and an Experimental Remedy against Corruption, at least Corrupting: For who will give their Money where they may so easily be Cozened, and where it is Two to One they will be so; for they that will take Money in such Cases, will not stick to Lye heartily to them that give it, rather than wrong their Country, when they know their Lye cannot be detected.
It seems to me, that nothing in this Imperial Parliament should pass, but by Three Quarters of the Whole, at least Seven above the Ballance. I am sure it helps to prevent Treachery, because if Money could ever be a Temptation in such a Court, it would cost a great Deal of Money to weigh down the wrong Scale. All Complaints should be delivered in Writing, in the Nature of Memorials; and Journals kept by a proper Person, in a Trunk or Chest, which should have as many differing Locks, as there are Tens in the States. And if there were a Clerk for each Ten, and a Pew or Table for those Clerks in the Assembly; and at the End of every Session, One out of each Ten, were appointed to Examine and Compare the Journal of those Clerks, and then lock them up as I have before expressed, it would be clear and Satisfactory. And each Soveraignty if they please, as is but very fit, may have an Exemplification, or Copy of the said Memorials, and the Journals of Proceedings upon them. The Liberty and Rules of Speech, to be sure, they cannot fail in, who will be the Wisest and Noblest of each Soveraignty, for it’s own Honour and Safety. If any Difference can arise between those that come from the same Soveraignty, that then One of the Major Number do give the Balls of that Soveraignty. I should think it extreamly necessary, that every Soveraignty should be present under great Penalties, and that none leave the Session without Leave, till All be finished; and that Neutralities in Debates should by no Means be endured: For any such Latitude will quickly open a Way to unfair Proceedings, and be followed by a Train, both of seen, and unseen Inconveniencies. I will say little of the Language in which the Session of the Soveraign Estates should be held, but to be sure it must be in Latin or French; The first would be very well for Civilians, but the last most easie for Men of Quality.
Of the Objections that may be advanced against the Design.
I WILL first give an Answer to the Objections that may be offered against my Proposal: And in my next and last Section, I shall endeavour to shew some of the manifold Conveniences that would follow this European League, or Confederacy.
The first of them is this, That the strongest and Richest Soveraignty will never agree to it, and if it should, there would be Danger of Corruption more than of Force one Time or other. I answer to the first Part, he is not stronger than all the rest, and for that Reason you should promote this, and compel him into it; especially before he be so, for then, it will be too late to deal with such an one. To the last Part of the Objection, I say the Way is as open now as then; and it may be the Number fewer, and as easily come at. However, if Men of Sense and Honour, and Substance, are chosen, they will either scorn the Baseness, or have wherewith to pay for the Knavery: At least they may be watch’t so, that one may be a check upon the other, and all prudently limited by the Soveraignty they Represent. In all great Points, especially before a final Resolve, they may be obliged to transmit to their Principals, the Merits of such important Cases depending, and receive their last Instructions: which may be done in four and Twenty Days at the most, as the Place of their Session may be appointed.
The Second is, That it will endanger an Effeminacy by such a Disuse of the Trade of Soldiery: That if there should be any Need for it, upon any Occasion, we should be at a Loss as they were in Holland in 72.
There can be no Danger of Effeminacy, because each Soveraignty may introduce as temperate or Severe a Discipline in the Education of Youth, as they please, by low Living, and due Labour. Instruct them in Mechanical Knowledge, and in natural Philosophy, by Operation, which is the Honour of the German Nobility: This would make them Men: Niether Women nor Lyons: For Soldiers are t’other Extream to Effeminacy. But the Knowledge of Nature, and the useful as well as agreeable Operations of Art, give Men an Understanding of themselves, of the World they are born into, how to be useful and serviceable, both to themselves and others; and how to save and help, not injure or destroy. The Knowledge of Government in General; the particular Constitutions of Europe; and above all, of his own Country, are very recommending Accomplishments. This fits him for the Parliament, and Council at Home, and the Courts of Princes and Services in the Imperial States abroad. At least, he is a good Common-Wealths-Man, and can be useful to the Publick, or retire, as there may be Occasion.
To the other Part of the Objection, Of being at a loss for Soldiery as they were in Holland in 72. The Proposal answers for it self. One has War no more than the other; and will be as much to seek upon Occasion. Nor is it to be thought that any one will keep up such an Army after such an Empire is on Foot, which may hazard the Safety of the rest. However, if it be seen requisit, the Question may be askt, by Order of the Soveraign States, why such an one either raises or keeps up a formidable Body of Troops, and he obliged forthwith to reform or Reduce them; lest any one, by keeping up a great Body of Troops, should surprize a Neighbour. But a small Force in every other Soveraignty, as it is capable or accustomed to maintain, will certainly prevent that Danger and Vanquish any such Fear.
The Third Objection is, That there will be great Want of Employment for younger Brothers of Families; and that the Poor must either turn Soldiers or Thieves. I have answer’d that in my Return to the Second Objection. We shall have the more Merchants and Husbandmen, or Ingenious Naturalists, if the Government be but any Thing Solicitous of the Education of their Youth: Which, next to the present and immediate Happiness of any Country, ought of all Things, to be the Care and Skill of the Government. For such as the Youth of any Country is bred, such is the next Generation, and the Government in good or bad Hands.
I am come now to the last Objection, That Soveraign Princes and States will hereby become not Soveraign; a Thing they will never endure. But this also, under Correction, is a Mistake, for they remain as Soveraign at Home as ever they were. Neither their Power over their People, nor the usual Revenue they pay them, is diminished: It may be the War Establishment may be reduced, which will indeed of Course follow, or be better employed to the Advantage of the Publick. So that the Soveraignties are as they were, for none of them have now any Soveraignty over one another: And if this be called a lessening of their Power, it must be only because the great Fish can no longer eat up the little ones, and that each Soveraignty is equally defended from Injuries, and disabled from committing them: Cedant Arma Togae is a Glorious Sentence; the Voice of the Dove; the Olive Branch of Peace. A Blessing so great, that when it pleases God to chastise us severely for our Sins, it is with the Rod ofWar, that, for the most Part, he whips us: And Experience tells us none leaves deeper Marks behind it.
Of the real Benefits that flow from this Proposal about Peace.
I AM come to my last Section, in which I shall enumerate some of those many real Benefits that flow from this Proposal, for the Present and Future Peace of Europe.
Let it not, I pray, be the least, that it prevents the Spilling of so much Humane and Christian Blood: For a Thing so offensive to God, and terrible and afflicting to Men, as that has ever been, must recommend our Expedient beyond all Objections. For what can a Man give in Exchange for his Life, as well as Soul? And tho’ the chiefest in Government are seldom personally exposed, yet it is a Duty incumbent upon them to be tender of the Lives of their People; since without all Doubt, they are accountable to God for the Blood that is spilt in their Service. So that besides the Loss of so many Lives, of importance to any Government, both for Labour and Propagation, the Cries of so many Widows, Parents and Fatherless are prevented, that cannot be very pleasant in the Ears of any Government, and is the Natural Consequence of War in all Government.
There is another manifest Benefit which redounds to Christendom, by this Peaceable Expedient, The Reputation of Christianity will in some Degree be recovered in the Sight of Infidels; which, by the many Bloody and unjust Wars of Christians, not only with them, but one with another, hath been greatly impaired. For, to the Scandal of that Holy Profession, Christians, that glory in their Saviour’s Name, have long devoted the Credit and Dignity of it, to their worldly Passions, as often as they have been excited by the Impulses of Ambition or Revenge. They have not always been in the Right: Nor has Right been the Reason of War: And not only Christians against Christians, but the same Sort of Christians have embrewed their Hands in one another’s Blood: Invoking and Interesting, all they could, the Good and Merciful God to prosper their Arms to their Brethren’s Destruction: Yet their Saviour has told them, that he came to save, and not to destroy the Lives of Men: To give and plant Peace among Men: And if in any Sense he may be said to send War, it is the Holy War indeed; for it is against the Devil, and not the Persons of Men. Of all his Titles this seems the most Glorious as well as comfortable for us, that he is the Prince of Peace. It is his Nature, his Office, his Work and the End and excellent Blessing of his Coming, who is both the Maker and Preserver of our Peace with God. And it is very remarkable, that in all the New Testament he is but once called Lyon, but frequently the Lamb of God; to denote to us his Gentle, Meek and Harmless Nature; and that those, who desire to be the Disciples of his Cross and Kingdom, for they are inseparable, must be like him, as St. Paul, St. Peter and St. John tell us.6 Nor is it said the Lamb shall lye down with the Lyon, but the Lyon shall lye down with the Lamb. That is, War shall yield to Peace, and the Soldier turn Hermite. To be sure, Christians should not be apt to strive, nor swift to Anger against any Body, and less with one another, and least of all for the uncertain and fading Enjoyments of this lower World: And no Quality is exempted from this Doctrine. Here is a wide Field for the Reverend Clergy of Europe to act their Part in, who have so much the Possession of Princes and People too. May they recommend and labour this pacifick Means I offer, which will end Blood, if not Strife; and then Reason, upon free Debate, will be Judge, and not the Sword. So that both Right and Peace, which are the Desire and Fruit of wise Governments, and the choice Blessings of any Country, seem to succeed the Establishment of this Proposal.
The third Benefit is, that it saves Money, both to the Prince and People; and thereby prevents those Grudgings and Misunderstandings between them that are wont to follow the devouring Expences of War; and enables both to perform Publick Acts for Learning, Charity, Manufacturies, &c. The Virtues of Government and Ornaments of Countries. Nor is this all the Advantage that follows to Soveraignties, upon this Head of Money and good Husbandry, to whose Service and Happiness this short Discourse is dedicated; for it saves the great Expence that frequent and splendid Embassies require, and all their Appendages of Spies and Intelligence, which in the most prudent Governments, have devoured mighty Sums of Money; and that not without some immoral Practices also: Such as Corrupting of Servants to betray their Masters, by revealing their Secrets; not to be defended by Christian or Old Roman Virtue. But here, where there is nothing to fear, there is little to know, and therefore the Purchase is either cheap, or may be wholly spared. I might mention Pensions to the Widows and Orphans of such as dye in Wars, and of those that have been disabled in them; which rise high in the Revenue of some Countries.
Our fourth Advantage is, that the Towns, Cities and Countries, that might be laid waste by the Rage of War, are thereby preserved: A Blessing that would be very well understood in Flanders and Hungary, and indeed upon all the Borders of Soveraignties, which are almost ever the Stages of Spoil and Misery; of which the Stories of England and Scotland do sufficiently inform us without looking over the Water.
The fifth Benefit of this Peace, is the Ease and Security of Travel and Traffick: An Happiness never understood since the Roman Empire has been broken into so many Soveraignties. But we may easily conceive the Comfort and Advantage of travelling through the Governments of Europe, by a Pass from any of the Soveraignties of it, which this League and State of Peace will naturally make Authentick: They that have travel’d Germany, where is so great a Number of Soveraignties, know the Want and Value of this Priviledge, by the many Stops and Examinations they meet with by the Way: But especially such as have made the great Tour of Europe. This leads to the Benefit of an Universal Monarchy, without the Inconveniencies that attend it: For when the whole was one Empire, tho’ these Advantages were enjoyed, yet the several Provinces, that now make the Kingdoms and States of Europe, were under some Hardship from the great Sums of Money remitted to the Imperial Seat, and the Ambition and Avarice of their several Proconsuls and Governours, and the great Taxes they paid to the Numerous Legions of Soldiers, that they maintained for their own Subjection, who were not wont to entertain that Concern for them (being uncertainly there, and having their Fortunes to make) which their respective and proper Soveraigns have always shown for them. So that to be Ruled by Native Princes or States, with the Advantage of that Peace and Security that can only render an Universal Monarchy desirable, is peculiar to our Proposal, and for that Reason it is to be preferred.
Another Advantage is, The Great Security it will be to Christians against the Inroads of the Turk, in their most Prosperous Fortune. For it had been impossible for the Port, to have prevailed so often, and so far upon Christendom, but by the Carelessness, or Wilful Connivence, if not Aid, of some Christian Princes. And for the same Reason, why no Christian Monarch will adventure to oppose, or break such an Union, the Grand Seignior will find himself obliged to concur, for the Security of what he holds in Europe: Where, with all his Strength, he would feel it an Over-Match for him. The Prayers, Tears, Treason,Blood and Devastation, that War has cost in Christendom, for these Two last Ages especially, must add to the Credit of our Proposal, and the Blessing of the Peace thereby humbly recommended.
The Seventh Advantage, of an European, Imperial Dyet, Parliament, or Estates, is, That it will beget and increase Personal Friendship between Princes and States, which tends to the Rooting up of Wars, and Planting Peace in a Deep and Fruitful Soil. For Princes have the Curiosity of seeing the Courts and Cities of other Countries, as well as Private Men, if they could as securely and familiarly gratify their Inclinations. It were a great Motive to the Tranquility of the World, That they could freely Converse Face to Face, and Personally and Reciprocally Give and Receive Marks of Civility and Kindness. An Hospitality that leaves these Impressions behind it, will hardly let Ordinary Matters prevail, to Mistake or Quarrel one another. Their Emulation would be in the Instances of Goodness, Laws, Customs, Learning, Arts, Buildings; and in particular those that relate to Charity, the True Glory of some Governments, where Beggars are as much a Rarity, as in other Places it would be to see none.
Nor is this all the Benefit that would come by this Freedom and Interview of Princes: For Natural Affection would hereby be preserved, which we see little better than lost, from the Time their Children, or Sisters, are Married into other Courts. For the present State and Insincerity of Princes forbid them the Enjoyment of that Natural Comfort which is possest by Private Families: Insomuch, that from the Time a Daughter, or Sister, is Married to another Crown, Nature is submitted to Interest, and that, for the most Part, grounded not upon Solid or Commendable Foundations, but Ambition, or Unjust Avarice. I say, this Freedom, that is the Effect of our Pacifick Proposal, restores Nature to Her Just Right and Dignity in the Families of Princes, and them to the Comfort She brings, wherever She is preserved in Her proper Station. Here Daughters may Personally intreat their Parents, and Sisters their Brothers, for a Good Understanding between them and their Husbands, where Nature, not crush’d by Absence, and Sinister Interests, but acting by the Sight and Lively Entreaties of such near Relations, is almost sure to prevail. They cannot easily resist the most affectionate Addresses of such powerful Solicitors, as their Children, and Grand-Children, and their Sisters, Nephews, and Neices: And so backward from Children to Parents, and Sisters to Brothers, to keep up and preserve their own Families, by a good Understanding between their Husbands and them.
To conclude this Section, there is yet another Manifest Privilege that follows this Intercourse and Good Understanding, which methinks should be very moving with Princes, viz. That hereby they may chuse Wives for themselves, such as they Love, and not by Proxy, meerly to gratify Interest; an ignoble Motive; and that rarely begets, or continues that Kindness which ought to be between Men and their Wives. A Satisfaction very few Princes ever knew, and to which all other Pleasures ought to resign. Which has often obliged me to think, That the Advantage of Private Men upon Princes, by Family Comforts, is a sufficient Ballance against their Greater Power and Glory: The One being more in Imagination, than Real; and often Unlawful; but the other, Natural, Solid, and Commendable. Besides, it is certain, Parents Loving Well before they are Married, which very rarely happens to Princes, has Kind and Generous Influences upon their Offspring: Which, with their Example, makes them better Husbands, and Wives, in their Turn. This, in great Measure, prevents Unlawful Love, and the Mischiefs of those Intriegues that are wont to follow them: What Hatred, Feuds, Wars, and Desolations have, in divers Ages, flown from Unkindness between Princes and their Wives? What Unnatural Divisions among their Children, and Ruin to their Families, if not Loss of their Countries by it? Behold an Expedient to prevent it, a Natural and Efficacious One: Happy to Princes, and Happy to their People also. For Nature being renewed and strengthened by these Mutual Pledges and Endearments, I have mentioned, will leave those soft and kind Impressions behind in the Minds of Princes, that Court and Country will very easily discern and feel the Good Effects of: Especially if they have the Wisdom to show that they Interest themselves in the Prosperity of the Children and Relations of their Princes. For it does not only incline them to be Good, but engage those Relations to become Powerful Suitors to their Princes for them, if any Misunderstanding should unhappily arise between them and their Soveraigns: Thus ends this Section. It now rests to conclude the Discourse, in which, if I have not pleased my Reader, or answered his Expectation, it is some Comfort to me I meant well, and have cost him but little Money and Time; and Brevity is an Excuse, if not a Virtue, where the Subject is not agreeable, or is but ill prosecuted.
I WILL conclude this My Proposal of an European, Soveraign, or Imperial Dyet, Parliament, or Estates, with that which I have touch’d upon before, and which falls under the Notice of every One concerned, by coming Home to their Particular and Respective Experience within their own Soveraignties. That by the same Rules of Justice and Prudence, by which Parents and Masters Govern their Families, and Magistrates their Cities, and Estates their Republicks, and Princes and Kings their Principalities and Kingdoms, Europe may Obtain and Preserve Peace among Her Soveraignties. For Wars are the Duels of Princes; and as Government in Kingdoms and States, Prevents Men being Judges and Executioners for themselves, over-rules Private Passions as to Injuries or Revenge, and subjects the Great as well as the Small to the Rule of Justice, that Power might not vanquish or oppress Right, nor one Neighbour act an Independency and Soveraignty upon another, while they have resigned that Original Claim to the Benefit and Comfort of Society; so this being soberly weighed in the Whole, and Parts of it, it will not be hard to conceive or frame, nor yet to execute the Design I have here proposed.
And for the better understanding and perfecting of the Idea, I here present to the Soveraign Princes and Estates of Europe, for the Safety and Tranquility of it, I must recommend to their Perusals, Sir William Temple’s Account of the United Provinces;7 which is an Instance and Answer, upon Practice, to all the Objections that can be advanced against the Practicability of my Proposal: Nay, it is an Experiment that not only comes to our Case, but exceeds the Difficulties that can render it’s Accomplishment disputable. For there we shall find Three Degrees of Soveraignties to make up every Soveraignty in the General States. I will reckon them backwards: First, The States General themselves; Then the Immediate Soveraignties that Constitute them, which are those of the Provinces, answerable to the Soveraignties of Europe, that by their Deputies are to compose the European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates, in our Proposal: And then there are the several Cities of each Province, that are so many Independent or Distinct Soveraignties, which compose those of the Provinces, as those of the Provinces do compose the States General at the Hague.
But I confess I have the Passion to wish heartily, that the Honour of Proposing and Effecting so Great and Good a Design, might be owing to England, of all the Countries in Europe, as something of the Nature of our Expedient was, in Design and Preparation, to the Wisdom, Justice, and Valour, Of Henry the Fourth of France, whose Superior Qualities raising His Character above those of His Ancestors, or Contemporaries, deservedly gave Him the Stile of Henry the Great. For He was upon obliging the Princes and Estates of Europe to a Politick Ballance, when the Spanish Faction, for that Reason, contrived, and accomplished His Murder, by the Hands of Ravilliac. I will not then fear to be censured, for proposing an Expedient for the Present and Future Peace of Europe, when it was not only the Design, but Glory of One of the Greatest Princes that ever Reigned in it; and is found Practicable in the Constitution of One of the Wisest and Powerfullest States of it. So that to conclude, I have very Little to answer for in all this Affair; because, if it succeed, I have so Little to deserve: For this Great King’s Example tells us it is fit to be done; and Sir William Temple’s History shews us, by a Surpassing Instance, That it may be done; and Europe, by Her incomparable Miseries, makes it now Necessary to be done: That my Share is only thinking of it at this Juncture, and putting it into the Common Light for the Peace and Prosperity of Europe.
This book is set in Minion, a typeface designed by Robert Slimbach specifically for digital typesetting. Released by Adobe in 1989, Minion is a versatile neohumanist face that shows the influence of Slimbach’s own calligraphy.
Printed on paper that is acid-free and meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, z39.48-1992. (archival)
Book design by Richard Hendel, Chapel Hill, North Carolina Typography by Tseng Information Systems, Inc., Durham, North Carolina Printed and bound by Edwards Brothers, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan
[1. ]Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9); Let arms yield to the toga (refers to the Roman custom of generals laying down their swords and taking up the toga upon entering Rome, as a symbol of setting aside their military command and entering into their civic role).
[2. ]England under William III was at war almost constantly in opposing James II’s attempts to retake the throne and in heading a Grand Alliance against France.
[3. ]Oliver Cromwell.
[4. ]The Treaty of Nimeguen terminated the continental war in 1679.
[5. ]The Venetian balloting system, designed to make corruption impossible, consisted of a series of votes involving drawn lots and colored balls. See George B. McClellan, The Oligarchy of Venice (Boston, 1904), pp. 159–60.
[6. ]For Jesus as the lion of Judah, see Revelation 5:5; as lamb, see John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; and 1 Peter 1:19.
[7. ]Sir William Temple, Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands (London, 1676).