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Anno Dom. - James Harrington, The Oceana and Other Works 
The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
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THE first and second in the list are overseers by consequence: the third is the constable, and the fourth and fifth are churchwardens; the persons so chosen are deputys of the parish for the space of one year from their election, and no longer; nor may they be elected two years together. This list being the primum mobile, or first mover of the commonwealth, is to be register’d in a book diligently kept and preserv’d by the overseers, who are responsible in their places for these and other dutys to be hereafter mentioned, to the censors of the tribe: and the congregation is to observe the present order, as they will answer the contrary to the phylarch, or prerogative troop of the tribe; which, in case of failure in the whole or any part of it, have power to fine them or any of them at discretion, but under an appeal to the parliament.
For proof of this order; first, in reason: it is with all politicians past dispute, that paternal power is in the right of nature; and this is no other than the derivation of power from fathers of familys, as the natural root of a commonwealth. And for experience, if it be otherwise in that of Holland, I know no other example of the like kind.Jos. 24. 1. In Israel, the soverain power came clearly from the natural root, the elders of the whole people; and Rome was born (comitiis curiatis) in her parochial congregations, out of which Romulus first rais’d her senat, then all the rest of the orders of that commonwealth, which rose so high: for the depth of a commonwealth is the just height of it.
And if the commonwealth of Rome was born of thirty parishes, this of Oceana was born of ten thousand. But wheras mention in the birth of this is made of an equestrian order, it may startle such as know that the division of the people of Rome, at the institution of that commonwealth into orders, was the occasion of its ruin. The distinction of the patrician as a hereditary order from the very institution, ingrossing all the magistracys, was indeed the destruction of Rome; but to a knight or one of the equestrian order, says Horace,
By which it should seem that this order was not otherwise hereditary than a man’s estate, nor did it give any claim to magistracy; wherfore you shall never find that it disquieted the commonwealth; nor dos the name denote any more in Oceana, than the duty of such a man’s estate to the public.
But the surveyors both in this place and in others, forasmuch as they could not observe all the circumstances of this order, especially that of the time of election, did for the first as well as they could; and, the elections being made and register’d, took each of them copys of those lists which were within their allotments; which don they produc’d
6 Order. Of ordination, a national religion, and liberty of conscience.The sixth ORDER, directing, in case a parson or vicar of a parish coms to be remov’d by death or by the censors, that the congregation of the parish assemble and depute one or two elders by the ballot, who upon the charge of the parish shall repair to one of the universitys of this nation with a certificat sign’d by the overseers, and addrest to the Vice-Chancellor: which certificat giving notice of the death or removal of the parson or vicar, of the value of the parsonage or vicarage, and of the desire of the congregation to receive a probationer from that university, the Vice-Chancellor upon the receit therof shall call a convocation, and having made choice of a fit person, shall return him in due time to the parish, where the person so return’d shall return the full fruits of the benefice or vicarage, and do the duty of the parson or vicar, for the space of one year, as probationer: and that being expir’d, the congregation of the elders shall put their probationer to the ballot: and if he attains not to two parts in three of the suffrage affirmative, he shall take his leave of the parish, and they shall send in like manner as before for another probationer; but if their probationer obtains two parts in three of the suffrage affirmative, he is then pastor of that parish. And the pastor of the parish shall pray with the congregation, preach the word, and administer the sacraments to the same, according to the directory to be hereafter appointed by the parliament. Nevertheless such as are of gather’d congregations, or from time to time shall join with any of them, are in no wise oblig’d to this way of electing their teachers, or to give their votes in this case, but wholly left to the liberty of their own consciences, and to that way of worship which they shall chuse, being not Popish, Jewish, or idolatrous.And to the end they may be the better protected by the state in the exercise of the same, they are desir’d to make choice, in such manner as they best like, of certain magistrats in every one of their congregations, which we could wish might be four in each of them, to be auditors in cases of differences of distast, if any thro variety of opinions, that may be grievous or injurious to them, shall fall out. And such auditors or magistrats shall have power to examin the matter, and inform themselves, to the end that if they think it of sufficient weight, they may acquaint the phylarch with it, or introduce it into the council of religion; where all such causes as those magistrats introduce, shall from time to time be heard and determin’d according to such laws as are or shall hereafter be provided by the parlament for the just defeuce of the liberty of conscience.
This order consists of three parts, the first restoring the power of ordination to the people, which, that it originally belongs to them, is clear, tho not in English yet in Scripture, where the apostles ordain’d elders by the holding up of hands in every congregation, that is, by the suffrage of the people, which was also giver.Acts 14. 23. in som of those citys by the ballot. And tho it may be shewn that the apostles ordain’d som by the laying on of hands, it will not be shewn that they did so in every congregation.
Excommunication, as not clearly provable out of the scripture, being omitted, the second part of the order implys and establishes a national religion: for there be degrees of knowlege in divine things; true religion is not to be learnt without searching the Scripture: the Scriptures cannot be search’d by us unless we have them to search: and if we have nothing else, or (which is all one) understand nothing else but a translation, we may be (as in the place alleg’d we have bin) beguil’d or misled by the translation, while we should be searching the true sense of the Scripture, which cannot be attain’d in a natural way (and a commonwealth is not to presume upon that which is supernatural) but by the knowlege of the original and of antiquity, acquir’d by our own studys, or those of som others, for even faith coms by hearing. Wherfore a commonwealth not making provision of men from time to time, knowing in the original languages wherin the Scriptures were written, and vers’d in those antiquitys to which they so frequently relate, that the true sense of them depends in great part upon that knowlege, can never be secure that she shall not lose the Scripture, and by consequence her religion; which to preserve she must institut som method of this knowlege, and som use of such as have acquir’d it, which amounts to a national religion.
The commonwealth having thus perform’d her duty towards God, as a rational creature, by the best application of her reason to Scripture, and for the preservation of religion in the purity of the same, yet pretends not to infallibility, but coms in the third part of the order, establishing liberty of conscience according to the instructions given to her council of religion, to raise up her hands to heaven for further light; in which proceding she follows that (as was shewn in the preliminarys) of Israel, who tho her national religion was always a part of her civil law, gave to her prophets the upper hand of all her orders.
Definition of a parish.But the surveyors having now done with the parishes, took their leaves; so a parish is the first division of land occasion’d by the first collection of the people of Oceana, whose function proper to that place is compriz’d in the six preceding orders.
Institution of the hundred.The next step in the progress of the surveyors was to a meeting of the nearest of them, as their work lay, by twentys; where conferring their lists, and computing the deputys contain’d therin, as the number of them in parishes, being nearest neighbors, amounted to one hundred, or as even as might conveniently be brought with that account, they cast them and those parishes into the precinct which (be the deputys ever since more or fewer) is still call’d the hundred: and to every one of these precincts they appointed a certain place, being the most convenient town within the same, for the annual rendevouz; which don, each surveyor returning to his hundred, and summoning the deputys contain’d in his lists to the rendevouz, they appear’d and receiv’d
7 Order.The seventh ORDER, requiring, That upon the first Monday next insuing the last of January, the deputys of every parish annually assemble in arms at the rendevouz of the hundred, and there elect out of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one captain, one ensign of their troop or century, each of these out of the horse; and one juryman, one crowner, one high constable, out of the foot; the election to be made by the ballot in this manner. The jurymen for the time being are to be overseers of the ballot (instead of these, the surveyors are to officiat at the first assembly) and to look to the performance of the same according to what was directed in the ballot of the parishes, saving that the high constable setting forth the urn, shall have five several sutes of gold balls, and one dozen of every sute; wherof the first shall be mark’d with the letter A, the second with the letter B, the third with C, the fourth with D, and the fifth with E: and of each of these sutes he shall cast one ball into his hat, or into a little urn, and shaking the balls together, present them to the first overseer, who shall draw one, and the sute which is so drawn by the overseer, shall be of use for that day, and no other: for example, if the overseer drew an A, the high constable shall put seven gold balls mark’d with the letter A into the urn, with so many silver ones as shall bring them even with the number of the deputys, who being sworn, as before, at the ballot of the parish to make a fair election, shall be call’d to the urn; and every man coming in manner as was there shew’d, shall draw one ball, which if it be silver, he shall cast it into a bowl standing at the foot of the urn, aad return to his place; but the first that draws a gold ball (shewing it to the overseers, who, if it has not the letter of the present ballot, have power to apprehend and punish him) is the first elector, the second the second elector, and so to the seventh; which order they are to observe in their function. The electors as they are drawn shall be plac’d upon the bench by the overseers, till the whole number be complete, and then be conducted, with the list of the officers to be chosen, into a place apart, where being privat, the first elector shall name a person to the first office in the list; and if the person so nam’d, being balloted by the rest of the electors, attains not to the better half of the suffrages in the affirmative, the first elector shall continue nominating others, till one of them so nominated by him attains to the plurality of the suffrages in the affirmative, and be written first competitor to the first office. This don, the second elector shall observe in his turn the like order; and so the rest of the electors, naming competitors each to his respective office in the list, till one competitor be chosen to every office: and when one competitor is chosen to every office, the first elector shall begin again to name a second competitor to the first office, and the rest successively shall name to the rest of the offices till two competitors be chosen to every office; the like shall be repeated till three competitors be chosen to every office. And when three competitors are chosen to every office, the list shall bereturn’d to the overseers, or such as the overseers, in case they or either of them happen’d to be electors, have substituted in his or their place or places: and the overseers or substitutes having caus’d the list to be read to the congregation, shall put the competitors, in order as they are written, to the ballot of the congregation: and the rest of the proceedings being carry’d on in the manner directed in the fifth order, that competitor, of the three written to each office, who has most of the suffrages above half in the affirmative, is the officer. The list being after this manner completed, shall be entred into a register, to be kept at the rendevouz of the hundred, under inspection of the magistrats of the same, after the manner following: