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Epitome of the whole Commonwealth. - 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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Epitome of the whole Commonwealth.
THE center or fundamental laws are, first, the agrarian, proportion’d at two thousand pounds a year in land, lying and being within the proper territory of Oceana, and stating property in land at such a balance, that the power can never swerve out of the hands of the many.
SECONDLY, the ballot conveying this equal sap from the root, by an equal election or rotation, into the branches of magistracy or soverain power.
THE orbs of this commonwealth being civil, military or provincial, are, as it were, cast upon this mold or center by the divisions of the people; first, into citizens and servants: secondly, into youth and elders: thirdly, into such as have one hundred pounds a year in lands, goods or monys, who are of the horse; and such as have under, who are of the foot: fourthly, they are divided by their usual residence, into parishes, hundreds, and tribes.
THE civil orbs consist of the elders, and are thus created; every Monday next insuing the last of December, the elders in every parish elect the fifth man to be a deputy; which is but half a day’s work: every Monday next insuing the last of January, the deputys meet at their respective hundred, and elect out of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one coroner, and one high constable of the foot; one day’s work.
EVERY Monday next insuing the last of February, the hundreds meet at their respective tribe, and there elect the lords high sherif, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the conductor, the two censors out of the horse, the magistrats of the tribe and of the hundreds, with the jurymen constituting the phylarch, and who assist in their respective offices at the assizes, hold the quarter-sessions, &c. The day following the tribe elects the annual galaxy, consisting of two knights, and three deputys out of the horse, with four deputys out of the foot, therby indu’d with power, as magistrats of the whole nation, for the term of three years. An officer chosen at the hundred may not be elected a magistrat of the tribe; but a magistrat or officer either of the hundred or of the tribe, being elected into the galaxy, may substitute any one of his own order to his magistracy or office in the hundred, or in the tribe. This of the muster is two days work. So the body of the people is annually, at the charge of three days work and a half, in their own tribes, for the perpetuation of their power, receiving over and above the magistracys so divided among them.
EVERY Monday next insuing the last of March, the knights, being a hundred in all the tribes, take their places in the senat; the knights, having taken their places in the senat, make the third region of the same; and the house procedes to the senatorian elections. Senatorian elections are annual, biennial, or emergent.
THE annual are perform’d by the tropic.
THE tropic is a schedule consisting of two parts; the first by which the senatorian magistrats are elected; and the second, by which the senatorian councils are perpetuated.
THE first part is of this tenor:
THE strategus and the orator sitting, are consuls, or presidents of the senat.
THE strategus marching is general of the army, in which case a new strategus is to be elected in his room.
THE strategus sitting with six commissioners, being counsillors of the nation, are the signory of the commonwealth.
THE censors are magistrats of the ballot, presidents of the council for religion, and chancellors of the universitys.
THE second part of the tropic perpetuats the council of state, by the election of five knights out of the first region of the senat, to be the first region of that council consisting of fifteen knights, five in every region.
THE like is don by the election of four into the council of religion, and four into the council of trade, out of the same region in the senat; each of these councils consisting of twelve knights, four in every region.
BUT the council of war consisting of nine knights, three in every region, is elected by and out of the council of state, as the other councils are elected by and out of the senat. And if the senat add a juncta of nine knights more, elected out of their own number, for the term of three months, the council of war by virtue of that addition, is dictator of Oceana for the said term.
THE signory jointly or severally has right of session and suffrage in every senatorial council, and to propose either to the senat, or any of them. And every region in a council electing one weekly provost, any two of those provosts have power also to propose to their respective council, as the proper and peculiar proposers of the same: for which cause they hold an academy, where any man either by word of mouth, or writing, may propose to the proposers.
NEXT to the elections of the tropic is the biennial election of one embassador in ordinary, by the ballot of the house, to the residence of France; at which time the resident of France removes to Spain, he of Spain to Venice, he of Venice to Constantinople, and he of Constantinople returns. So the orb of the residents is wheel’d about in eight years, by the biennial election of one embassador in ordinary.
THE last kind of election is emergent. Emergent elections are made by the scrutiny. Election by scrutiny is when a competitor being made by a council, and brought into the senat, the senat chuses four more competitors to him; and putting all five to the ballot, he who has most above half the suffrages, is the magistrat. The polemarchs or field officers are chosen by the scrutiny of the council of war; an embassador extraordinary by the scrutiny of the council of state; the judges and serjeants at law by the scrutiny of the seal; and the barons and prime officers of the exchequer, by the scrutiny of the treasury.
THE opinion or opinions that are legitimatly propos’d to any council must be debated by the same, and so many as are resolv’d upon the debate are introduc’d into the senat, where they are debated and resolved, or rejected by the whole house: that which is resolv’d by the senat is a decree which is good in matters of state, but no law, except it be propos’d to and resolv’d by the prerogative.
THE deputys of the galaxy being three horse and four foot in a tribe, amount in all the tribes to one hundred and fifty horse, and two hundred foot; which, having enter’d the prerogative, and chosen their captains, cornet and ensign (triennial officers) make the third classis, consisting of one troop, and one company; and so joining with the whole prerogative, elect four annual magistrats, call’d tribuns, wherof two are of the horse, and two of the foot. These have the command of the prerogative sessions, and suffrage in the council of war, and sessions without suffrage in the senat.
THE senat having past a decree which they would propose to the people, cause it to be printed and publish’d, or promulgated for the space of six weeks; which being order’d, they chuse their proposers. The proposers must be magistrats, that is, the commissioners of the seal, those of the treasury, or the censors. These being chosen, desire the muster of the tribuns, and appoint the day. The people being assembl’d at the day appointed, and the decree propos’d, that which is propos’d by authority of the senat, and commanded by the people, is the law of Oceana, or an act of parlament.
SO the parlament of Oceana consists of the senat proposing, and the people resolving.
THE people or prerogative are also the supreme judicatory of this nation, having power of hearing and determining all causes of appeal from all magistrats, or courts provincial, or domestic; as also to question any magistrat, the term of his magistracy being expir’d, if the case be introduc’d by the tribuns, or any one of them.
THE military orbs consist of the youth, that is, such as are from eighteen to thirty years of age; and are created in the following manner:
EVERY Wednesday next ensuing the last of December, the youth of every parish assembling, elect the fifth of their number to be their deputys; the deputys of the youth are call’d stratiots, and this is the first essay.
EVERY Wednesday next insuing the last of January, the stratiots assembling at the hundred, elect their captain and their ensign, and fall to their games and sports.
EVERY Wednesday next insuing the last of February, the stratiots are receiv’d by the lord lieutenant their commander in chief, with the conductors and the censors; and, having bin disciplin’d and entertain’d with other games, are call’d to the urns, where they elect the second essay, consisting of two hundred horse and six hundred foot in a tribe; that is, of ten thousand horse, and thirty thousand foot in all the tribes, which is the standing army of this nation, to march at any warning. They also elect at the same time a part of the third essay, by the mixture of balls mark’d with the letter M. and the letter P. for Marpesia and Panopea; they of either mark being ten horse and fifty foot in a tribe, that is, five hundred horse, and two thousand five hundred foot in all the tribes, which are forthwith to march to their respective provinces.
BUT the third essay of this nation more properly so call’d, is when the strategus with the polemarchs (the senat and the people, or the dictator having decreed a war) receive in return of his warrants the second essay from the hands of the conductors at the rendevous of Oceana; which army marching with all accommodations provided by the council of war, the senat elects a new strategus, and the lords lieutenants a new second essay.
A YOUTH, except he be an only son, refusing any one of his three essays, without sufficient cause shewn to the phylarch or the censors, is incapable of magistracy, and is fin’d a fifth part of his yearly rent, or of his estate, for protection. In case of invasion the elders are oblig’d to like duty with the youth, and upon their own charge.
THE provincial orb consisting in part of the elders, and in part of the youth, is thus created:
FOUR knights out of the first region falling, are elected in the senat to be the first region of the provincial orb of Marpesia; these being triennial magistrats, take their places in the provincial council, consisting of twelve knights, four in every region, each region chusing their weekly provosts of the council thus constituted. One knight more chosen out of the same region in the senat, being an annual magistrat, is president, with power to propose; and the opinions propos’d by the president, or any two of the provosts, are debated by the council, and, if there be occasion of farther power or instruction than they yet have, transmitted to the council of state, with which the provincial is to hold intelligence.
THE president of this council is also strategus, or general of the provincial army; wherfore the conductors upon notice of his election, and appointment of his rendevous, deliver to him the stratiots of his letter, which he takes with him into his province: and the provincial army having receiv’d the new strategus with the third classis, the council dismisses the old strategus with the first classis. The like is don for Panopea, or any other province.
BUT wheras the term of every other magistracy or election in this commonwealth, whether annual or triennial, requires an equal vacation, the term of a provincial counsiller or magistrat requires no vacation at all. The quorum of a provincial, as also that of every other council and assembly, requires two thirds in a time of health, and one third in a time of sickness.
“I think I have omitted nothing but the props and scaffolds, which are not of use but in building. And how much is here? shew me another commonwealth in this compass? how many things? shew me another intire government consisting but of thirty orders. If you now go to law with any body, there ly to som of our courts two hundred original writs: if you stir your hand, there go more nerves and bones to that motion: if you play, you have more cards in the pack; nay you could not sit with your ease in that chair, if it consisted not of more parts. Will you not then allow to your legislator, what you can afford your upholster; or to the throne, what is necessary to a chair?
“My LORDS, if you will have fewer orders in a commonwealth, you will have more; for where she is not perfect at first, every day, every hour will produce a new order, the end wherof is to have no order at all, but to grind with the clack of som demagog. Is he providing already for his golden thum? lift up your heads; away with ambition, that fulsom complexion of a statesman, temper’d, like Sylla’s, with blood and muck. And the Lord give to his senators wisdom; and make our faces to shine, that we may be a light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide their feet in the way of peace.—In the name of God, what’s the matter!
Philadelphus the secretary of the council having perform’d his task in reading the several orders as you have seen, upon the receipt of a packet from his correspondent Boccalini, secretary of Parnassus, in reading one of the letters, burst forth into such a violent passion of weeping and downright howling, that the legislators being startled with the apprehension of som horrid news; one of them had no sooner snatch’d the letter out of his hand, than the rest crying, read, read, he obey’d in this manner:
THE 3d instant his Phœbean majesty having taken the nature of free states into his royal consideration, and being steadily perswaded that the laws in such governments are incomparably better and more surely directed to the good of mankind than in any other; that the courage of such a people is the aptest tinder to noble fire; that the genius of such a soil is that wherin the roots of good literature are least worm-eaten with pedantism, and where their fruits have ever com to the greatest maturity and highest relish; conceiv’d such a loathing of their ambition and tyranny, who, usurping the liberty of their native countrys, becom slaves to themselves, inasmuch as (be it never so contrary to their own nature or consciences) they have taken the earnest of sin, and are ingag’d to persecute all men that are good with the same or greater rigor than is ordain’d by laws for the wicked:Trajano Boccalini, Centuria 1. Raggual. 21. for*none ever administer’d that power by good, which he purchas’d by ill arts: Phoebus, I say, having consider’d this, assembl’d all the senators residing in the learned court at the theatre of Melpomene, where he caus’d Cæsar the dictator to com upon the stage, and his sister Actia, his nephew Augustus, Julia his daughter, with the children which she had by Marcus Agrippa, Lucius and Caius Cæsars, Agrippa Posthumus, Julia, and Agrippina, with the numerous progeny which she bore to her renown’d husband Germanicus, to enter. A miserable scene in any, but most deplorable in the eys of Cæsar, thus beholding what havock his prodigious ambition, not satisfy’d with his own bloody ghost, had made upon his more innocent remains, even to the total extinction of his family. For it is (seeing where there is any humanity, there must be som compassion) not to be spoken without tears, that of the full branches deriving from Octavia the eldest sister, and Julia the daughter of Augustus, there should not be one fruit or blossom that was not cut off or blasted by the sword, famin, or poison. Now might the great soul of Cæsar have bin full; and yet that which pour’d in as much or more, was to behold that execrable rate of the Claudii, having hunted and suck’d his blood with the thirst of tigers, to be rewarded with the Roman empire, and remain in full possession of that famous patrimony: a spectacle to pollute the light of heaven! nevertheless as if Cæsar had not yet enough, his Phœbean majesty caus’d to be introauc’d on the other side of the theatre, the most illustrious and happy prince Andrea Doria, with his dear posterity, imbrac’d by the soft and constant arms of the city of Genoa, into whose bosom, ever fruitful in her gratitude, he had dropt her fair Liberty like the dew of heaven; which when the Roman tyrant beheld, and how much more fresh that laurel was worn with a firm root in the hearts of the people, than that which he had torn off, he fell into such a horrid distortion of limbs and countenance, that the senators who had thought themselves steel and flint at such an object, having hitherto stood in their reverend snowlike thawing Alps, now cover’d their faces with their large sleeves.
“MY lords, said the Archon rising, witty Philadelphus has given us grave admonition in dreadful tragedy. Discite justitiam moniti, & non temnere divos. Great and glorious Cæsar, the highest character of flesh, yet could not rule but by that part of man which is the beast: but a commonwealth is a monarchy; to her God is king, in as much as reason, his dictat, is her soverain power.”
Which said, he adjourn’d the council. And the model was soon after promulgated. Quod bonum, fœlix, faustumque sit huic reipublicæ. Agite quirites, censuere patres, jubeat populus: The sea roar’d, and the floods clapt their hands.
See the course of the decemvirs in the promulgation of the first ten of their twelve tables in LIVY.WHeras his highness and the council, in the framing of the model promulgated, have not had any private interest, or ambition, but the fear of God, and the good of this people before their eys; and it remains their desire that this great work may be carry’d on accordingly: This present greeting is to inform the good people of this land, that as the council of prytans sat during the framing of the model, to receive from time to time such propositions as should be offer’d by any wisehearted or public spirited man, towards the institution of a well-order’d commonwealth, so the said council is to sit as formerly in the great hall of the pantheon during promulgation (which is to continue for the space of three months) to receive, weigh, and, as there shall be occasion, transmit to the council of legislators, all such objections as shall be made against the said model, whether in the whole, or in any part. Wherfore that nothing be don rashly, or without the consent of the people, such, of what party soever, with whom there may remain any doubts or difficultys, are desir’d with all convenient speed to address themselves to the said prytans; where, if such objections, doubts, or difficultys, receive solution to the satisfaction of the auditory, they shall have public thanks: but if the said objections, doubts, or difficultys, receive no solution to the satisfaction of the auditory then the model promulgated shall be reviewed, and the party that was the occasion of the review, shall receive public thanks, together with the best horse in his highness’s stable, and be one of the council of legislators. And so God have you in his keeping.
I should now write the same council of the prytans, but for two reasons; the one, that having had but a small time for that which is already don, I am overlabour’d; the other, that there may be new objections. Wherfore, if my reader has any such as to the model, I intreat him to address himself by way of oration, as it were, to the prytans, that when this rough draught coms to be a work, his speech being faithfully inserted in this place, may give or receive correction to amendment: for what is written will be weigh’d. But conversation, in these days, is a game, at which they are best provided that have light gold: it is like the sport of women that make flowers of straws, which must be stuck up, but may not be touch’d. Nor, which is worse, is this the fault of conversation only: but to the examiner, I say, If to invent method, and teach an art, be all one, let him shew that this method is not truly invented, or this art is faithfully taught.Arist. Rhet.
I cannot conclude a circle (and such is this commonwealth) without turning the end into the beginning. The time of promulgation being expir’d, the surveyors were sent down, who having in due season made report that their work was perfect, the orators follow’d; under the administration of which officers and magistrats the commonwealth was ratify’d and establish’d by the whole body of the people, in their* parochial, hundred, and county assemblys. And the orators being, by virtue of their scrols or lots, members of their respective tribes, were elected each the first knight of the third list, or galaxy; wherfore having at their return assisted the Archon in putting the senat and the people or prerogative into motion, they abdicated the magistracy both of orators and legislators.
FOR the rest (says Plutarch, closing up the story of Lycurgus) when he saw that his government had taken root, and was in the very plantation strong enough to stand by it self, he conceiv’d such a delight within him, as GOD is describ’d by Plato to have don when he had finish’d the creation of the world, and saw his own orbs move below him: for in the art of man (being the imitation of nature, which is the∥ art of GOD) there is nothing so like the first call of beautiful order out of chaos and confusion, as the architecture of a well-order’d commonwealth. Wherfore Lycurgus seeing in effect, that his orders were good, fell into deep contemplation how he might render them, so far as could be effected by human providence, inalterable and immortal. To which end he assembl’d the people, and remonstrated to them, That for ought he could perceive, their policy was already such, and so well establish’d, as was sufficient to intail upon them and theirs all that virtue and felicity wherof human life is capable: nevertheless that there being another thing of greater concern than all the rest, wherof he was not yet provided to give them a perfect account, nor could till he had consulted the oracle of Apollo, he desired that they would observe his laws without any change or alteration whatsoever, till his return from Delphos; to which all the people chearfully and unanimously ingag’d themselves by promise, desiring him that he would make as much haste as he could. But Lycurgus, before he went, began with the kings and the senators, and thence taking the whole people in order, made them all swear to that which they had promis’d, and then took his journy. Being arriv’d at Delphos, he sacrific’d to Apollo, and afterwards inquir’d if the policy which he had establish’d, was good and sufficient for a virtuous and happy life? By the way it has bin a maxim with legislators not to give checks to the present superstition, but to make the best use of it, as that which is always the most powerful with the people; otherwise tho Plutarch being a priest, was interested in the cause, there is nothing plainer than Cicero in his book De Divinatione has made it, that there was never any such thing as an oracle, except in the cunning of the priests. But to be civil to the author, The God answer’d to Lycurgus, that his policy was exquisit, and that his city, holding to the strict observation of his form of government, should attain to the height of fame and glory. Which oracle Lycurgus causing to be written, fail’d not of transmitting to his Lacedemon. This don, that his citizens might be for ever inviolably bound by their oath, that they would alter nothing till his return, he took so firm a resolution to dy in the place, that from thenceforward receiving no manner of food, he soon after perform’d it accordingly. Nor was he deceiv’d in the consequence; for his city became the first in glory and excellency of government in the whole world. And so much for Lycurgus, according to Plutarch.
My lord Archon, when he beheld not only the rapture of motion, but of joy and harmony, into which his spheres (without any manner of obstruction or interfering, but as if it had been naturally) were cast, conceiv’d not less of exultation in his spirit; but saw no more necessity or reason why he should administer an oath to the senat and the people that they would observe his institutions, than to a man in perfect health and felicity of constitution, that he would not kill himself. Nevertheless wheras Christianity, tho it forbids violent hands, consists no less in selfdenial than any other religion, he resolv’d that all unreasonable desires should dy upon the spot; to which end that no manner of food might be left to ambition, he enter d into the senat with a unanimous applause, and having spoken of his government as Lycurgus did when he assembl’d the people, he abdicated the magistracy of Archon. The senat, as struck with astonishment, continu’d silent; men upon so sudden an accident being altogether unprovided of what to say; till the Archon withdrawing, and being almost at the door, divers of the knights flew from their places, offering as it were to lay violent hands on him, while he escaping left the senat with the tears in their eyes, of children that had lost their father; and to rid himself of all farther importunity, retir’d to a country house of his, being remote, and very privat, in so much that no man could tell for some time what was becom of him.Never ingratitude, but too much love, the constant fault of the people. Thus the lawmaker happen’d to be the first object and reflection of the law made: for as liberty of all things is the most welcom to a people, so is there nothing more abhorrent from their nature than ingratitude. We accusing the Roman people of this crime against som of their greatest benefactors, as Camillus, heap mistake upon mistake; for being not so competent judges of what belongs to liberty as they were, we take upon us to be more competent judges of virtue. And wheras virtue, for being a vulgar thing among them, was of no less rate than jewels are with such as wear the most; we are selling this precious stone, which we have ignorantly rak’d out of the Roman ruins at such a rate as the Switzers did that which they took in the baggage of Charles of Burgundy. For that Camillus had stood more firm against the ruin of Rome than her capitol, was acknowleg’d; but on the other side that he stood as firm for the Patricians against the liberty of the people, was as plain: wherfore he never wanted those of the people that would dy at his foot in the field, nor that would withstand him to his beard in the city. An example in which they that think Camillus had wrong, neither do themselves right, nor the people of Rome; who in this signify no less than that they had a scorn of slavery beyond the fear of ruin, which is the height of magnanimity. The like might be shewn by other examples objected against this, and other popular governments, as in the banishment of Aristides the Just from Athens, by the ostracism, which, first, was no punishment, nor ever understood for so much as a disparagement; but tended only to the security of the commonwealth, thro the removal of a citizen (whose riches or power with a party was suspected) out of harm’s way for the space of ten years, neither to the diminution of his estate or honor. And next, tho the virtue of Aristides might in it self be unquestion’d, yet for him under the name of the Just to becom universal umpire of the people in all cases, even to the neglect of the legal ways and orders of the commonwealth, approach’d so much to the prince, that the Athenians, doing Aristides no wrong, did their government no more than right in removing him; which therfore is not so probable to have com to pass, as Plutarch presumes, thro the envy of Themistocles, seeing Aristides was far more popular than Themistocles, who soon after took the same walk upon a worse occasion. Wherfore as Machiavel, for any thing since alledg’d, has irrefragably prov’d that popular governments are of all others the least ingrateful; so the obscurity, I say, int which my lord Archon had now withdrawn himself, caus’d a universal sadness and clouds in the minds of men upon the glory of his rising commonwealth.
Much had bin ventilated in privat discourse, and the people (for the nation was yet divided into partys that had not lost their animositys) being troubl’d, bent their eys upon the senat, when, after some time spent in devotion, and the solemn action of thanksgiving, his excellency Navarchus de Paralo in the tribe of Dorean, lord Strategus of Oceana (tho in a new commonwealth a very prudent magistrat) propos’d his part or opinion in such a manner to the council or state, that passing the ballot of the same with great unanimity and applause, it was introduc’d into the senat, where it past with greater. Wherfore the decree being forthwith printed and publish’d, copys were return’d by the secretarys to the phylarchs (which is the manner of promulgation) and the commissioners of the seal, that is to say, the right honourable Phosphorus de Auge in the tribe of Eudia,Dolabella d’Enyo in the tribe of Turmæ, and Linceus de Stella in the tribe of Nubia, being elected proposers pro tempore, bespoke of the tribuns a muster of the people to be held that day six weeks, which was the time allow’d for promulgation at the Halo
The satisfaction which the people throout the tribes receiv’d upon promulgation of the decree, loaded the carriers with weekly letters between friend and friend, whether magistrats or privat persons. But the day for proposition being com, and the prerogative upon the place appointed in discipline, Sanguine de Ringwood in the tribe of Saltum, captain of the phœnix, march’d by order of the tribuns with his troop to the piazza of the pantheon, where his trumpets entering into the great hall by their blazon gave notice of his arrival; at which the serjeant of the house came down, and returning inform’d the proposers, who descending were receiv’d at the foot of the stairs by the captain, and attended to the coaches of state with which Calcar de Gilvo in the tribe of Phalera master of the horse, and the ballotins upon their great horses, stood waiting at the gate.
The proposers being in their coaches, the train for the pomp, the same that is us’d at the reception of ambassadors, proceded in this order: In the front march’d the troop with the cornet in the van, and the captain in the rear: next the troop came the twenty messengers or trumpets; the ballotins upon the curvet with their usher in the van, and the master of the horse in the rear: next the ballotins, Bronchus de Rauco in the tribe of Bestia king of the heralds, with his fraternity in their coats of arms; and next to Sir Bronchus, Boristhenes de Holiwater in the tribe of Ave, master of the ceremonys: the mace and the seal of the chancery went immediately before the coaches; and on either side, the doorkeepers or guard of the senat, with their poleaxes, accompany’d with som three or four hundred footmen belonging to the knights or senators; the trumpeters, ballotins, guards, postilions, coachmen and footmen, being very gallant in the liverys of the commonwealth; but all, except the ballotins, without hats, in lieu wherof they wore black velvet calots, being pointed with a little peak at the forehead. After the proposers came a long file of coaches full of such gentlemen as use to grace the commonwealth upon the like occasions. In this posture they mov’d slowly thro the streets (affording in the gravity of the pomp, and the welcomness of the end, a most reverend and acceptable prospect to the people all the way from the pantheon, being about half a mile) and arriv’d at the Halo, where they found the prerogative in a close body inviron’d with scaffolds that were cover’d with spectators. The tribuns receiv’d the proposers, and conducted them into a seat plac’d in the front of the tribe, like a pulpit, but that it was of som length, and well adorn’d by the heralds with all manner of birds and beasts, except that they were ill painted, and never a one of his natural color. The tribuns were plac’d at a table that stood below the long seat, those of the horse in the middle, and those of the foot at either end, with each of them a boul or bason before him, that on the right hand being white, and the other green: in the middle of the table stood a third which was red. And the housekeepers of the pavilion, who had already deliver’d a proportion of linen balls or pellets to every one of the tribe, now presented boxes to the ballotins. But the proposers as they enter’d the gallery, or long seat, having put off their hats by way of salutation, were answer’d by the people with a shout; wherupon the younger commissioners seated themselves at either end; and the first standing in the middle, spoke after this manner:
My lords, the people of Oceana,
“WHILE I find in myself what a felicity it is to salute you by this name, and in every face, anointed as it were with the oil of gladness, a full and sufficient testimony of the like sense, to go about to feast you with words, who are already fill’d with that food of the mind, which being of pleasing and wholsom digestion, takes in the definition of true joy, were a needless enterprize. I shall rather put you in mind of that thankfulness which is due, than puff you up with any thing that might seem vain. Is it from the arms of flesh that we derive these blessings? Behold the commonwealth of Rome falling upon her own victorious sword. Or is it from our own wisdom, whose counsils had brought it even to that pass, that we began to repent our selves of victory? Far be it from us, my lords, to sacrifice to our own nets, which we our selves have so narrowly escap’d! Let us rather lay our mouths in the dust, and look up (as was taught the other day when we were better instructed in this lesson) to the hills with our gratitude. Nevertheless seeing we read how God upon the neglect of his prophets has bin provok’d to wrath, it must needs follow that he expects honor should be given to them by whom he has chosen to work as his instruments. For which cause, nothing doubting of my warrant, I shall proceed to that which more particularly concerns the present occasion, the discovery of my lord Archon’s virtues and merit, to be ever plac’d by this nation in their true meridian.
“I am not upon a subject which persuades me to balk, but necessitats me to seek out the greatest examples. To begin with Alexander erecting trophys common to his sword and the pestilence; To what good of mankind did he infect the air with his heap of carcasses? The sword of war, if it be any otherwise us’d than as the sword of magistracy, for the fear and punishment of those that do evil, is as guilty in the sight of God, as the sword of a murderer; nay more, for if the blood of Abel, of one innocent man, cry’d in the ears of the Lord for vengeance, what shall the blood of an innocent nation? Of this kind of empire, the throne of ambition, and the quarry of a mighty hunter, it has bin truly said, that it is but a great robbery. But if Alexander had restor’d the liberty of Greece, and propagated it to mankind, he had don like my lord Archon, and might have bin truly call’d the Great. Alexander car’d not to steal a victory that would be given: but my lord Archon has torn away a victory which had bin stolen, while we went tamely yielding up obedience to a* nation reaping in our fields, whose fields he has subjected to our empire, and nail’d them with his victorious sword to their native Caucasus.
“MACHIAVEL gives a handsom caution, Let no man, says he, be circum vented with the glory of Cæsar, from the false reflection of their pens, who thro the longer continuance of his empire in the name than in the family, chang’d their freedom for flattery. But if a man would know truly what the Romans thought of Cæsar, let them observe what they said of Catilin.
“And yet by how much he who has perpetrated som heinous crime, is more execrable than he who did but attemt it; by so much is Cæsar more execrable than Catilin. On the contrary, let him that would know what antient and heroic times, what the Greecs and Romans would both have thought and said of my lord Archon, observe what they thought and said of Solon, Lycurgus, Brutus, and Publicola. And yet by how much his virtue, that is crown’d with the perfection of his work, is beyond theirs, who were either inferior in their aim, or in their performance; by so much is my lord Archon to be prefer’d before Solon, Lycurgus, Brutus, and Publicola.
“Nor will we shun the most illustrious example of Scipio: this hero, tho never so little less, yet was he not the founder of a commonwealth; and for the rest, allowing his virtue to have bin of the most untainted ray, in what did it outshine this of my lord Archon? But if dazling the eys of the magistrats it overaw’d liberty, Rome might be allow’d som excuse that she did not like it, and I, if I admit not of this comparison: for where is my lord Archon? Is there a genius, how free soever, which in his presence would not find it self to be under power? He is shrunk into clouds, he seeks obscurity in a nation that sees by his light. He is impatient of his own glory, lest it should stand between you and your liberty.
“Liberty! What is even that, if we may not be grateful? And if we may, we have none: for who has any thing that he dos not ow? My lords, there be som hard conditions of virtue: if this debt were exacted, it were not due; wheras being cancell’d, we are all enter’d into bonds. On the other side, if we make such a payment as will not stand with a free people, we do not inrich my lord Archon, but rob him of his whole estate, and his immense glory.
“These particulars had in due deliberation and mature debate, according to the order of this commonwealth, It is propos’d by authority of the senat, to you my lords the people of Oceana:
“I. That the dignity and office of Archon, or protector of the commonwealth of Oceana, be, and is hereby conferr’d by the senat and the people of Oceana, upon the most illustrious prince, and sole legislator of this commonwealth, Olphaus Megaletorpater patriæ, whom God preserve, for the term of his natural life.
“II. That three hundred and fifty thousand pounds per annum yet remaining of the antient revenue, be estated upon the said illustrious prince, or lord Archon, for the said term, and to the proper and peculiar use of his highness.
“III. That the lord Archon have the reception of all foren embassadors, by and with the council of state, according to the orders of this commonwealth.
“IV. That the lord Archon have a standing army of twelve thousand men, defray’d upon a monthly tax, during the term of three years, for the protection of this commonwealth against dissenting partys; to be governed, directed, and commanded by and with the advice of the council of war, according to the orders of this commonwealth.
“V. That this commonwealth make no distinction of persons or partys, but every man being elected and sworn, according to the orders of the same, be equally capable of magistracy; or not elected, be equally capable of liberty, and the injoyment of his estate free from all other than common taxes.
“VI. That a man putting a distinction upon himself, refusing the oath upon election, or declaring himself of a party not conformable to the civil government, may within any time of the three years standing of the army, transport himself and his estate, without molestation or impediment, into any other nation.
“VII. That in case there remains any distinction of partys not conforming to the civil government of this commonwealth, after the three years of the standing army being expir’d, and the commonwealth be therby forc’d to prolong the term of the said army, the pay from thenceforth of the said army be levy’d upon the estates of such partys so remaining unconformable to the civil government.”
The proposer having ended his oration, the trumpets sounded; and the tribuns of the horse being mounted to view the ballot, caus’d the tribe (which thronging up to the speech, came almost round the gallery) to retreat about twenty paces, when Linceus de Stella receiving the propositions, repair’d with Bronchus de Rauco the herald, to a little scaffold erected in the middle of the tribe, where he seated himself, the herald standing bare upon his right hand. The ballotins having their boxes ready, stood before the gallery, and at the command of the tribuns march’d, one to every troop on horseback, and one to every company on foot; each of them being follow’d by other children that bore red boxes: now this is putting the question whether the question should be put. And the suffrage being very suddenly return’d to the tribuns at the table, and number’d in the view of the proposers, the votes were all in the affirmative: wherupon the red or doubtful boxes were laid aside, it appearing that the tribe, whether for the negative or affirmative, was clear in the matter. Wherfore the herald began from the scaffold in the middle of the tribe, to pronounce the first proposition, and the ballotins marching with the negative or affirmative only, Bronchus, with his voice like thunder, continu’d to repeat the proposition over and over again, so long as it was in balloting. The like was don for every clause, till the ballot was finish’d, and the tribuns assembling, had sign’d the points, that is to say, the number of every suffrage, as it was taken by the secretary upon the tale of the tribuns, and in the sight of the proposers; for this may not be omitted, it is the pulse of the people. Now wheras it appertains to the tribuns to report the suffrage of the people to the senat, they cast the lot for this office with three silver balls, and one gold one; and it fell upon the right worshipful Argus de Crookhorn in the tribe of Pascua, first tribun of the foot. Argus being a good sufficient man in his own country, was yet of the mind that he should make but a bad spokesman; and therfore became somthing blank at his luck, till his collegues perswaded him that it was no such great matter, if he could but read, having his paper before him. The proposers taking coach, receiv’d a volly upon the field, and return’d in the same order, save that being accompany’d with the tribuns, they were also attended by the whole prerogative to the piazza of the Pantheon, where with another volly they took their leaves. Argus, who had not thought upon his wife and children all the way, went very gravely up: and every one being seated, the senat by their silence seem’d to call for the report; which Argus standing up, deliver’d in this wife:
Right honorable lords and fathers assembl’d in parlament;
SO it is, that it has fal’n to my lot to report to your excellencys the votes of the people, taken upon the third instant, in the first year of this commonwealth, at the Halo; the right honorable Phosphorus de Auoe in the tribe of Eudia,Dolabella de Enyo in the tribe of Turmæ, and Linceus de Stella in the tribe of Nubia, lords commissioners of the great seal of Oceana, and proposers pro temporibus—together with my brethren the tribuns, and my self being present. Wherfore these are to certify to your fatherhoods, that the said votes of the people were as follows; that is to say:
“My LORDS, It is a language that is out of my prayers, and if I be out at it, no harm—
“But as concerning my lord Archon (as I was saying) these are to signify to you the true-heartedness and good-will which is in the people, seeing by joining with you, as one man, they confess that all they have to give, is too little for his highness. For truly, fathers, if he who is able to do harm, and dos none, may well be call’d honest; what shall we say to my lord Archon’s highness, who having had it in his power to have don us the greatest mischief that ever befel a poor nation, so willing to trust such as they thought well of, has don us so much good, as we should never have known how to do ourselves? which was so sweetly deliver’d by my lord chancellor Phosphorus to the people, that I dare say there was never a one of them could forbear to do as I do—An’t please your fatherhoods, they be tears of joy. Ay, my lord Archon shall walk the streets (if it be for his ease I mean) with a switch, while the people run after him and pray for him: he shall not wet his foot; they will strew flowers in his way: he shall sit higher in their hearts, and in the judgment of all good men, than the kings that go up stairs to their seats; and one of these had as good pull two or three of his fellows out of their great chairs, as wrong him, or meddle with him; he has two or three hundred thousand men, that when you say the word, shall sell themselves to their shirts for him, and dy at his foot. His pillow is of down, and his grave shall be as soft, over which they that are alive shall wring their hands. And to com to your fatherhoods, most truly so call’d, as being the loving parents of the people, truly you do not know what a feeling they have of your kindness, seeing you are so bound up, that if there coms any harm, they may thank themselves. And, alas! poor souls, they see that they are given to be of so many minds, that tho they always mean well, yet if there coms any good, they may thank them that teach them better. Wherfore there was never such a thing as this invented, they do verily believe that it is no other than the same which they always had in their very heads, if they could have but told how to bring it out. As now for a sample; my lords the proposers had no sooner said your minds, than they found it to be that which heart could wish. And your fatherhoods may comfort yourselves, that there is not a people in the world more willing to learn what is for their own good, nor more apt to see it, when you have shew’d it them. Wherfore they do love you as they do their own selves; honour you as fathers; resolve to give you as it were obedience for ever: and so thanking you for your most good and excellent laws, they do pray for you as the very worthys of the land, right honorable lords and fathers assembl’d in parlament.”
ARGUS came off beyond his own expectation; for thinking right, and speaking as he thought, it was apparent by the house, and the thanks they gave him, that they esteem’d him to be absolutely of the best sort of orators; upon which having a mind that till then misgave him, he became very crounse, and much delighted with that which might go down the next week in print to his wife and neighbors. Livy makes the Roman tribuns to speak in the same stile with the consuls, which could not be, and therfore for ought in him to the contrary, Volero and Canuleius might have spoken in no better stile than Argus. However, they were not created the first year of the commonwealth; and the tribuns of Oceana are since becom better orators than were needful. But the laws being enacted, had the preamble annex’d, and were deliver’d to Bronchus, who lov’d nothing in the earth so much as to go staring and bellowing up and down the town, like a stag in a forest, as he now did, with his fraternity in their coats of arms, and I know not how many trumpets, proclaiming the act of parlament; when meeting my lord Archon, who from a retreat that was without affectation, as being for devotion only, and to implore a blessing by prayer and fasting upon his labors, now newly arriv’d in town, the herald of the tribe of Bestia set up his throat, and having chanted out his lesson, past as haughtily by him, as if his own had bin the better office; which in this place was very well taken, tho Bronchus for his high mind happen’d afterward upon som disasters, too long to tell, that spoil’d much of his imbroidery.
My lord Archon’s arrival being known, the signory, accompany’d by the tribuns, repair’d to him, with the news he had already heard by the herald; to which my lord strategus added, that his highness could not doubt upon the demonstrations given, but the minds of men were firm in the opinion, that he could be no seeker of himself in the way of earthly pomp and glory; and that the gratitude of the senat, and the people, could not therfore be understood to have any such reflection upon him. But so it was, that in regard of dangers abroad, and partys at home, they durst not trust themselves without a standing army, nor a standing army in any man’s hands but those of his highness.
The Archon made answer, that he ever expected this would be the sense of the senat and the people; and this being their sense, he should have bin sorry they had made choice of any other than himself for a standing general: first, because it could not have bin more to their own safety: and, secondly, because so long as they should have need of a standing army, his work was not done: that he would not dispute against the judgment of the senat and the people, nor ought that to be. Nevertheless, he made little doubt but experience would shew every party their own interest in this government, and that better improv’d than they could expect from any other; that mens animositys should overbalance their interest for any time, was impossible; that humour could never be lasting, nor thro the constitution of the government, of any effect at the first charge. For supposing the worst, and that the people had chosen no other into the senat and the prerogative than royalists, a matter of fourteen hundred men must have taken their oaths at their election, with an intention to go quite contrary, not only to their oaths so taken, but to their own interest; for being estated in the soverain power, they must have decreed it from themselves (such an example for which there was never any experience, nor can there be any reason) or holding it, it must have don in their hands as well every whit as in any other. Furthermore, they must have remov’d the government from a foundation that apparently would hold, to set it upon another which apparently would not hold; which things if they could not com to pass, the senat and the people consisting wholly of royalists, much less by a parcel of them elected. But if the fear of the senat and of the people deriv’d from a party without, such a one as would not be elected, nor ingage themselves to the commonwealth by an oath; this again must be so large, as would go quite contrary to their own interest, they being as free and as fully estated in their liberty as any other, or so narrow that they could do no hurt, while the people being in arms, and at the beck of the strategus, every tribe would at any time make a better army than such a party: and there being no partys at home, fears from abroad would vanish. But seeing it was otherwise determin’d by the senat and the people, the best course was to take that which they held the safest, in which with his humble thanks for their great bounty, he was resolv’d to serve them with all duty and obedience.
A very short time after the royalists, now equal citizens, made good the Archon’s judgment, there being no other that found any thing near so great a sweet in the government. For he who has not bin acquainted with affliction, says Seneca, knows but half the things of this world.
Moreover they saw plainly, that to restore the ancient government they must cast up their estates into the hands of three hundred men; wherfore in case the senat and the prerogative, consisting of thirteen hundred men, had bin all royalists, there must of necessity have bin, and be for ever, one thousand against this or any such vote. But the senat being inform’d by the signory, that the Archon had accepted of his dignity and office, caus’d a third chair to be set for his highness, between those of the strategus and the orator in the house, the like at every council; to which he repair’d, not of necessity, but at his pleasure, being the best, and, as Argus not vainly said, the greatest prince in the world: for in the pomp of his court he was not inferior to any, and in the field he was follow’d with a force that was formidable to all. Nor was there a cause in the nature of this constitution to put him to the charge of guards, to spoil his stomach or his sleep: insomuch, as being handsomly disputed by the wits of the academy, whether my lord Archon, if he had bin ambitious, could have made himself so great, it was carry’d clear in the negative; not only for the reasons drawn from the present balance, which was popular; but putting the case the balance had bin monarchical. For there be som nations, wherof this is one, that will bear a prince in a commonwealth far higher than it is possible for them to bear a monarch. Spain look’d upon the prince of Orange as her most formidable enemy; but if ever there be a monarch in Holland, he will be the Spaniards best friend. For wheras a prince in a commonwealth derives his greatness from the root of the people, a monarch derives his from one of those balances which nip them in the root; by which means the low countrys under a monarch were poor and inconsiderable, but in bearing a prince could grow to a miraculous height, and give the glory of his actions by far the upper hand of the greatest king in Christendom. There are kings in Europe, to whom a king of Oceana would be put a petit companion. But the prince of this commonwealth is the terror and judg of them all.
That which my lord Archon now minded most, was the agrarian, upon which debate he incessantly thrust the senat and the council of state; to the end it might be planted upon som firm root, as the main point and basis of perpetuity to the commonwealth.
And these are som of the most remarkable passages that happen’d in the first year of this government. About the latter end of the second, the army was disbanded, but the taxes continu’d at thirty thousand pounds a month, for three years and a half. By which means a piece of artillery was planted, and a portion of land to the value of 50 l. a year purchas’d for the maintenance of the games, and of the prize arms for ever, in each hundred.
With the eleventh year of the commonwealth, the term of the excise, allotted for the maintenance of the senat and the people and for the raising of a public revenue expir’d. By which time the exchequer, over and above the annual salarys, amounting to three hundred thousand pounds, accumulating every year out of one million incom seven hundred thousand pounds in banco, brought it with a product of the sum, rising to about eight millions in the whole: wherby at several times they had purchas’d to the senat and the people four hundred thousand pounds per annum solid revenue; which, besides the lands held in Panopea, together with the perquisits of either province, was held sufficient for a public revenue. Nevertheless, taxes being now wholly taken off, the excise of no great burden (and many specious advantages not vainly propos’d in the heightning of the public revenue) was very chearfully establish’d by the senat and the people, for the term of ten years longer; and the same course being taken, the public revenue was found in the one and twentieth of the commonwealth, to be worth one million in good land. Wherupon the excise was so abolish’d for the present, as withal resolv’d to be the best, the most fruitful and easy way of raising taxes, according to future exigences. But the revenue being now such as was able to be a yearly purchaser, gave a jealousy that by this means the balance of the commonwealth, consisting in privat fortunes, might be eaten out; whence this year is famous for that law wherby the senat and the people forbidding any further purchase of lands to the public within the dominions of Oceana and the adjacent provinces, put the agrarian upon the commonwealth herself. These increases are things which men, addicted to monarchy, deride as impossible, wherby they unwarily urge a strong argument against that which they would defend. For having their eys fix’d upon the pomp and expence, by which not only every child of a king being a prince, exhausts his father’s coffers; but favorits and servil spirits, devoted to the flattery of those princes, grow insolent and profuse, returning a fit gratitude to their masters, whom while they hold it honorable to deceive, they suck and keep eternally poor: it follows that they do not see how it should be possible for a commonwealth to clothe her self in purple, and thrive so strangely upon that which would make a prince’s hair grow thro his hood, and not afford him bread. As if it were a miracle that a careless and prodigal man should bring ten thousand pounds a year to nothing, or that an industrious and frugal man brings a little to ten thousand pounds a year. But the fruit of one man’s industry and frugality can never be like that of a commonwealth; first, because the greatness of the increase follows the greatness of the stock or principal: and, secondly, because a frugal father is for the most part succeded by a lavish son; wheras a commonwealth is her own heir.
This year a part was propos’d by the right honourable Aureus de Woolsack in the tribe of Pecus, first commissioner of the treasury, to the council of state, which soon after past the ballot of the senat and the people: by which the lands of the public revenue, amounting to one million, were equally divided into five thousand lots, enter’d by their names and parcels into a lotbook preserv’d in the exchequer. And if any orphan, being a maid, should cast her estate into the exchequer for fourteen hundred pounds, the treasury was bound by the law to pay her quarterly two hundred pounds a year, free from taxes, for her life, and to assign her a lot for her security: if she marry’d, her husband was neither to take out the principal without her consent (acknowleg’d by her self to one of the commissioners of the treasury, who according as he found it to be free, or forc’d, was to allow or disallow of it) nor any other way ingage it, than to her proper use. But if the principal were taken out, the treasury was not bound to repay any more of it than one thousand pounds; nor might that be repaid at any time, save within the first year of her marriage: the like was to be don by a half or quarter lot respectively.
This was found to be a great charity to the weaker sex, and as som say, who are more skilful in the like affairs than my self, of good profit to the commonwealth.
Now began the native spleen of Oceana to be much purg’d, and men not to affect sullenness and pedantism. The elders could remember that they had bin youth. Wit and gallantry were so far from being thought crimes in themselves, that care was taken to preserve their innocence. For which cause it was propos’d to the council for religion by the right honorable Cadiscus de Clero, in the tribe of Stamnum, first censor, that such women as living in gallantry and view about the town, were of evil fame, and could not shew that they were maintain’d by their own estates or industry; or such as having estates of their own, were yet wastful in their way of life, and of ill example to others, should be obnoxious to the animadversion of the council of religion, or of the censors: in which the proceding should be after this manner. Notice should be first given of the scandal to the party offending, in privat: if there were no amendment within the space of six months, she should be summon’d and rebuk’d before the said council or censors; and, if after other six months it were found that neither this avail’d, she should be censured not to appear at any public meetings, games, or recreations, upon penalty of being taken up by the doorkeepers, or guards of the senat, and by them to be detain’d, till for every such offence, five pounds were duly paid for her inlargement.
Furthermore, if any common strumpet should be found or any scurrility or profaneness represented at either of the theaters, the prelats for every such offence should be fin’d twenty pounds by the said council, and the poet, for every such offence on his part, should be whipt. This law relates to another, which was also enacted the same year upon this occasion.
The youth and wits of the academy having put the business so home in the defence of comedys, that the provosts had nothing but the consequences provided against by the foregoing law to object, prevail’d so far, that two of the provosts of the council of state join’d in a proposition, which after much ado came to a law, wherby one hundred thousand pounds was allotted for the building of two theaters on each side of the piazza of the Halo: and two annual magistrats called prelats, chosen out of the knights, were added to the tropic, the one call’d the prelat of the buskin, for inspection of the tragic scene call’d Melpomene; and the other the prelat of the sock, for the comic called Thalia, which magistrats had each five hundred pounds a year allow’d out of the profits of the theaters; the rest, except eight hundred a year to four poets, payable into the exchequer. A poet laureat created in one of these theaters, by the strategus receives a wreath of five hundred pounds in gold, paid out of the said profits. But no man is capable of this creation, that had not two parts in three of the suffrages at the academy, assembl’d after six weeks warning, and upon that occasion.
These things among us are sure enough to be censur’d, but by such only as do not know the nature of a commonwealth: for to tell men that they are free, and yet to curb the genius of a people in a lawful recreation, to which they are naturally inclin’d, is to tell a tale of a tub. I have heard the Protestant ministers in France, by men that were wise, and of their own profession, much blam’d in that they forbad dancing, a recreation to which the genius of that air is so inclining, that they lost many who would not lose that: nor do they less than blame the former determination of rashness, who now gently connive at that which they had so roughly forbidden. These sports in Oceana are so govern’d, that they are pleasing for privat diversion, and profitable to the public: for the theaters soon defray’d their own charge, and now bring in a good revenue. All this is so far from the detriment of virtue, that it is to the improvement of it, seeing women that heretofore made havock of their honors that they might have their pleasures, are now incapable of their pleasures, if they lose their honors.
About the one and fortieth year of the commonwealth, the censors, according to their annual custom, reported the pillar of Nilus, by which it was found that the people were increas’d very near one third. Wherupon the council of war was appointed by the senat to bring in a state of war, and the treasurers the state of the treasury. The state of war, or the pay and charge of an army, was soon after exhibited by the council in this account.
Arms and ammunition are not reckon’d, as those which are furnisht out of the store or arsenal of Emporium: nor waftage, as that which gos upon the account of the fleet, maintain’d by the customs; which customs, thro the care of the council for trade, and growth of traffic, were long since improv’d to about a million revenue. The house being thus inform’d of a state of war, the commissioners brough in
THE State of the Treasury this present Year, being the one and fortieth of the Commonwealth.
RECEIVED from the one and twentieth of this commonwealth, by 700000 l. a year in bank, with the product of the sum rising } 16000000
EXPENDED from the one and twentieth of this Commonwealth.
Remaining in the treasury, the salarys of the exchequer being defalk’d, 12000000
By comparison of which accounts if a war with an army of 80000 men were to be made by the penny, yet was the commonwealth able to maintain such a one above three years without levying a tax. But it is against all experience, sense and reason, that such an army should not be soon broken, or make a great progress; in either of which cases, the charge ceases; or rather if a right course be taken in the latter, profit coms in: for the Romans had no other considerable way but victory wherby to fill their treasury, which nevertheless was seldom emty. Alexander did not consult his purse upon his design for Persia: it is observ’d by Machiavel, that Livy arguing what the event in reason must have bin had that king invaded Rome, and diligently measuring what on each side was necessary to such a war, never speaks a word of mony. No man imagins that the Gauls, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Lombards, Saxons, Normans, made their inroads or conquests, by the strength of the purse; and if it be thought enough, according to the dialect of our age, to say in answer to these things, that those times are past and gon: what mony did the late Gustavus, the most victorious of modern princes, bring out of Sweden with him into Germany? an army that gos upon a golden leg, will be as lame as if it were a wooden one; but proper forces have nerves and muscles in them, such for which, having four or five millions, a sum easy enough, with a revenue like this of Oceana, to be had at any time in readiness, you need never, or very rarely charge the people with taxes. What influence the commonwealth by such arms has had upon the world, I leave to historians, whose custom it has bin of old, to be as diligent observers of foren actions, as careless of those domestic revolutions which (less pleasant it may be, as not partaking so much of the romance) are to statesmen of far greater profit; and this fault, if it be not mine, is so much more frequent with modern writers, as has caus’d me to undertake this work; on which to give my own judgment, it is perform’d as much above the time I have bin about it, as below the dignity of the matter.
But I cannot depart out of this country, till I have taken leave of my lord Archon, a prince of immense felicity, who having built as high with his counsils, as he dig’d deep with his sword, had now seen fifty years measur’d with his own inerring orbs.
Plutarch in the life of Timoleon.TIMOLEON (such a hater of tyrants that not able to persuade his brother Timophanes to relinquish the tyranny of Corinth, he slew him) was afterwards elected by the people (the Sicilians groaning to them from under the like burden) to be sent to their relief: wherupon Teleclides the man at that time of most authority in the commonwealth of Corinth, stood up, and giving an exhortation to Timoleon, how he should behave himself in this expedition, told him, that if he restor’d the Sicilians to liberty, it would be acknowledg’d that he destroy’d a tyrant; if otherwise, he must expect to hear he had murder’d a king. Timoleon taking his leave, with a very small provision for so great a design, pursu’d it with a courage not inferior to, and a felicity beyond any that had bin known to that day in mortal flesh, having in the space of eight years utterly rooted out of all Sicily those weeds of tyranny, thro the detestation wherof men fled in such abundance from their native country, that whole citys were left desolat; and brought it to such a pass, that others thro the fame of his virtues, and the excellency of the soil, flock’d as fast from all quarters to it, as to the garden of the world: while he, being presented by the people of Syracusa with his town-house, and his country retreat, the sweetest places in either, liv’d with his wife and children a most quiet, happy, and holy life; for he attributed no part of his success to himself, but all to the blessing and providence of the Gods. As he past his time in this manner, admir’d and honour’d by mankind, Laphistius an envious demagog, going to summon him upon som pretence or other to answer for himself before the assembly, the people fell into such a mutiny, as could not be appeas’d but by Timoleon, who understanding the matter, reprov’d them, by repeating the pains and travel which he had gone thro, to no other end than that every man might have the free use of the laws. Wherfore when Dæmenetus another demagog, had brought the same design about again, and blam’d him impertinently to the people for things which he did when he was general. Timoleon answer’d nothing, but raising up his hands, gave the Gods thanks for their return to his frequent prayers, that he might but live to see the Syracusians so free, that they could question whom they pleas’d.
Not long after, being old, thro som natural imperfection, he fell blind; but the Syracusians by their perpetual visits held him, tho he could not see, their greatest object: if there arriv’d strangers, they brought him to see this sight. Whatever came in debate at the assembly, if it were of small consequence, they determin’d it themselves; but if of importance, they always sent for Timoleon; who being brought by his servants in a chair, and set in the middle of the theater, there ever followed a great shout, after which som time was allow’d for the benedictions of the people; and then the matter propos’d, when Timoleon had spoken to it, was put to the suffrage; which given, his servants bore him back in his chair, accompany’d by the people clapping their hands, and making all expressions of joy and applause, till leaving him at his house, they return’d to the dispatch of their business. And this was the life of Timoleon, till he dy’d of age, and drop’d like a mature fruit while the eye of the people were as the showers of autumn.
The life and death of my lord Archon (but that he had his senses to the last, and that his character, as not the restorer, but the founder of a commonwealth, was greater) is so exactly the same, that (seeing by men wholly ignorant of antiquity, I am accus’d of writing romance) I shall repeat nothing: but tell you that this year the whole nation of Oceana, even to the women and children, were in mourning, where so great or sad a funeral pomp had never bin seen or known. Somtime after the performance of the exequys, a Colossus, mounted on a brazen horse of excellent fabric, was erected in the piazza of the pantheon, ingrav’d with this inscription on the eastern side of the pedestal:
HIS NAME IS AS PRECIOUS OINTMENT.
And on the Western with the following:
Piæ & Perpetuæ Memoriæ
OLPHAUS MEGALETOR LordArchon,and soleLegislatorof OCEANA.
THE PREROGATIVE of POPULAR GOVERNMENT.
BEING A POLITICAL DISCOURSE IN TWO BOOKS.
Concerning the first Preliminary of Oceana, inlarg’d, interpreted, and vindicated from all such Mistakes or Slanders as have bin alleg’d against it under the Notion of Objections.
Concerning Ordination, against Dr. H. Hammond, Dr. L. Seaman, and the Authors they follow.
In which two Books is contain’d the whole Commonwealth of the Hebrews, or of Israel, Senat, People, and Magistracy, both as it stood in the Institution by Moses, and as it came to be form’d after the Captivity.
As also the different Policys introduc’d into the Church of Christ, during the Time of the Apostles.
Without Council Purposes are disappointed; but in the Multitude of Counsillors they are established.
La multitudine è piu Savia è piu costante ch’un Principe.
EPISTLE to the READER.
WHOSOEVER sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man. If this rule holds as well in shedding the blood of a Turk as of a Christian, then that wherin man is the image of God is REASON. Of all controversys those of the pen are the most honorable: for in those of force, there is more of the image of the beast, but in those of the pen there is more of the image of God. In the controversys of the sword, there is but too often no other reason than force; but the controversy of the pen has never any force but reason. Of all controversys of the pen next those of religion, those of government are the most honorable, and the most useful; the true end of each, tho in a different way, being that the will of God may be don in earth as it is in heaven. Of all controversys of government, those in the vindication of popular government are the most noble, as being that constitution alone, from whence all we have that is good is descended to us; and which, if it had not existed, mankind at this day had bin but a herd of beasts. The prerogative of popular government must either be in an ill hand, or else it is a game against which there is not a card in the whole pack; for we have the books of Moses, those of the Greecs and of the Romans, not to omit Machiavel, all for it. What have the asserters of monarchy; what can they have against us? a sword; but that rusts, or must have a scabbard; and the scabbard of this kind of sword is a good frame of government.
A MAN may be possest of a piece of ground by force, but to make use or profit of it, he must build upon it, and till it by reason; for whatever is not founded upon reason, cannot be permanent. In reason there are two parts, invention and judgment: as to the latter, in a multitude of counsillors (say both Solomon and Machiavel) there is strength. Nay as for judgment, there is not that order in art or nature that can compare with a popular assembly. THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD. Hence it is that in all well-order’d policys the people have the ultimat result: but unless there be som other to invent, a popular assembly can be of no effect at all but confusion. Invention is a solitary thing. All the physicians in the world put together, invented not the circulation of the blood, nor can invent any such thing, tho in their own art; yet this was invented by one alone, and being invented is unanimously voted and embrac’d by the generality of physicians. The plow and wheels were at first, you must think, the invention of some rare artists; but who or what shall ever be able to tear the use of them from the people? hence, where government is at a loss, a sole legislator is of absolute necessity; nay where it is not at a loss, if well model’d as in Venice, the proposers, tho frequently changeable, as in that case is necessary, are very few, as the counsillors, the savi, the provosts. Wherever a commonwealth is thus propos’d to, the balance or popular assembly will do her duty to admiration, but till then never. Yet so it has bin with us of late years, that altho in royal authority there was no more than the right of proposing, and the king himself was to stand (legibus & consuetudinibus quas vulgus elegerit) to the result of the people, yet the popular council has bin put upon invention, and they that have bin the prevailing party have us’d means to keep the result to themselves, quite contrary to the nature of popular administration. Let one speak, and the rest judg. Of whatever any one man can say or do, mankind is the natural and competent judg, in which is contain’d the very reason of parlaments; thro the want of understanding this came in confusion. Man that is in honor, and has no understanding, is like the beasts that perish. Nor can we possibly return to order, but by mending the hedg where it was broken. A prudent, intire and fit proposition made to a free parlament, recovers all. To them who are of the greatest eminency or authority in a commonwealth, belongs naturally that part of reason which is invention; and using this, they are to propose: but what did our grandees ever invent or propose, that might shew so much as that themselves knew what they would be at? and yet how confidently do they lay the fault upon the people, and their unfitness, forsooth, for government: in which they are wondrous wise! for, this I will boldly say, Where there was an aristocracy that perform’d their duty, there never was, nor ever can be a people unfit for government; but on the contrary, where the aristocracy have fail’d, the people being once under orders, have held very often. But while they are not under orders, if they fail it is not their fault, but the fault of the aristocracy; for who else should model a government but men of experience? there is not in England, I speak it to their shame, one Grandee that has any perfect knowledge of the orders of any one commonwealth that ever was in the world. Away with this same grave complexion, this huff of wisdom maintain’d by making faces. The people cannot do their duty consisting in judgment, but by virtue of such orders as may bring them together, and direct them; but the duty of the aristocracy consisting in invention, may be don by any one man, and in his study; and where is that one man among all the grandees that studys? they are so far from knowing their own duty, that a man for proposing that in which none can find a flaw, has don enough to be ridiculous to them, who are themselves ridiculous to the whole world, in that they could never yet propose any thing that would hold.
BUT if this amounts to a demonstration, it amounts to a clear detection of your profound grandees, and a full proof that they are phanatical persons, state jesuits, such as have reduc’d the politics to mental reservation, and implicit faith in their nods or nightcaps.
GOD, to propose his commandments to the people of Israel, wrote them on two tables; the Decemviri to propose their commandments to the people of Rome, wrote them on twelve tables; the Athenians propos’d in writing, sign’d with the name of the particular inventor; after this pattern do the Venetians, as was said, the same at this day. But no goosquill, no scribling: your grandees are above this.
MOSES, who was the first writer in this kind, shall be pardon’d; but Machiavel, the first in later times that has reviv’d his principles, or trod in his steps, is deservedly pelted for it by sermons. They are not for the Scripture, but the cabala.
I WILL tell you a story out of Boccalini: Apollo having spy’d the philosopher and great master of silence Harpocrates in the court of Parnassus, us’d such importunity with him, that for once he was persuaded to speak; upon which such apparent discovery was made of the hypocrite, and the gross ignorance he had so long harbor’d under a deceitful silence, that he was immediately banish’d the court. Were there cause, I could be modest; but this virtue, to the diminution of sound and wholsom principles, would be none: wherfore let a grandee write, and I will shew you Harpocrates.
THUS having sufficiently defy’d Sir Guy, I may with the less impeachment of reputation descend to Tom Thum. Not that I hold my self a fit person to be exercis’d with boys play, but that som, who should have more wit, have so little as to think this somthing. A good ratcatcher is not so great a blessing to any city, as a good jugglercatcher would be to this nation. Now because I want an office, I shall shew my parts to my country, and how fit I am for the white staff, or long pole of so worshipful a preferment.
Ridiculus ne sis, esto.
THE FIRST BOOK, CONTAINING
The first Preliminary of Oceana, inlarg’d, interpreted, and vindicated from all such Mistakes or Slanders as have bin alleg’d against it under the Notion of Objections.
A full Answer to all such Objections as have hitherto bin made against Oceana.
NEITHER the author or authors of the considerations upon Oceana, nor any other, have yet so much as once pretended one contradiction or one inequality to be in the whole commonwealth. Now this is certain, That frame of government which is void of any contradiction, or any inequality, is void of all internal causes of dissolution, and must, for so much as it imbraces, have attain’d to full perfection. This by wholesale is a full answer to the considerations, with all other objections hitherto; and will be (with any man that comprehends the nature of government) to thousands of such books, or myriads of such tittle tattle. Nevertheless, because every man is not provided with a sum, in the following discourse I shall comply with them that must have things by retail, or somwhat for their farthing.
IT is commonly said, and not without incouragement by som who think they have Parnassus by the horns, that the university has lash’d me: so it seems I have to do with the university, and lashing is lawful; with both which I am contented. In Moorfields, while the people are busy at their sports, they often and ridiculously lose their buttons, their ribbands, and their purses, where if they light, as somtimes they do, upon the masters of that art, they fall a kicking them a while (which one may call a rude charge) and then to their work again. I know not whether I invite you to Moorfields, but (difficile est satiram non scribere) all the favor I desire at your hands is but this, that you would not so condemn one man for kicking, as in the same act to pardon another for cutting of purses. A gentleman that commits a fallacious argument to writing, or gos about to satisfy others with such reasons as he is not satisfy’d with himself, is no more a gentleman but a pickpocket; with this in my mind, I betake my self to my work, or rather to draw open the curtain, and begin the play.
ONE that has written considerations upon Oceana, speaks the prolog in this manner:Epist.I beseech you gentlemen, are not we the writers of politics somwhat a ridiculous sort of people? is it not a fine piece of folly for private men sitting in their cabinets to rack their brains about models of government? certainly our labors make a very pleasant recreation for those great personages, who, sitting at the helm of affairs, have by their large experience not only acquir’d the perfect art of ruling, but have attain’d also to the comprehension of the nature and foundation of government. In which egregious complement the considerer has lost his considering cap.
IT was in the time of Alexander, the greatest prince and commander of his age, that Aristotle, with scarce inferior applause and equal fame, being a private man, wrote that excellent piece of prudence in his cabinet, which is call’d his politics, going upon far other principles than those of Alexander’s government, which it has long outliv’d. The like did Titus Livius in the time of Augustus, Sir Thomas Moor in the time of Henry the Eighth, and Machiavel when Italy was under princes that afforded him not the ear. These works nevertheless are all of the most esteemed and applauded in this kind; nor have I found any man, whose like indeavours have bin persecuted since Plato by Dionysius. I study not without great examples, nor out of my calling; either arms or this art being the proper trade of a gentleman. A man may be intrusted with a ship, and a good pilot too, yet not understand how to make sea-charts. To say that a man may not write of government except he be a magistrat, is as absurd as to say, that a man may not make a sea-chart, unless he be a pilot. It is known that Christopher Columbus made a chart in his cabinet, that found out the Indys. The magistrat that was good at his steerage never took it ill of him that brought him a chart, seeing whether he would use it or no, was at his own choice; and if flatterers, being the worst sort of crows, did not pick out the eys of the living, the ship of government at this day throout Christendom had not struck so often as she has don.Arte della Guer. Proem.To treat of affairs, says Machiavel, which as to the conduct of ’em appertain to others, maybe thought a great boldness; but if I commit errors in writing, these may be known without danger, wheras i they commit errors in acting, such com not otherwise to be known, than in the ruin of the commonwealth. For which cause I presume to open the scene of my discourse, which is to change according to the variety of these following questions:
1. Whether prudence will be well distinguish’d into antient and modern?
2. Whether a commonwealth be rightly defin’d to be a government of laws, and not of men: and monarchy to be a government of som man, or a few men, and not of laws?
3. Whether the balance of dominion in land be the natural cause of empire?
4. Whether the balance of empire be well divided into national and provincial? and whether these two, or any nations that are of distinct balance, coming to depend upon one and the same head, such a mixture creates a new balance?
5. Whether there be any common right or interest of mankind distinct from the parts taken severally? and how by the orders of a commonwealth this may best be distinguish’d from privat interest?
6. Whether the senatusconsulta, or decrees of the Roman senat, had the power of laws?
7. Whether the ten commandments propos’d by GOD or Moses were voted by the people of Israel?
8. Whether a commonwealth coming up to the perfection of the kind, coms not up to the perfection of government, and has no flaw in it?
9. Whether monarchy, coming up to the perfection of the kind, coms not short of the perfection of government, and has not som flaw in it? in which is also treated of the balance of France, of the original of a landed clergy, of arms, and their kinds.
10. Whether a commonwealth that was not first broken by it self was ever conquer’d by any monarch?
11. Whether there be not an agrarian, or som law or laws of that nature to supply the defect of it, in every commonwealth? and whether the agrarian, as it is stated in Oceana, be not equal and satisfactory to all interests or partys?
12. Whether courses or a rotation be necessary to a well-order’d commonwealth? in which is contain’d the parembole or courses of Israel before the captivity; together with an epitome of the whole commonwealth of Athens, as also another of the commonwealth of Venice.
Chap. I.Antient and Modern Prudence.
[* ]Nemo unquam imperium flagi io quæsitum bonis artibus exercuit.
[* ]Curiatis, centuriatis, & tributis comitiis.
[* ]The Scotish royal line.