Front Page Titles (by Subject) LIBERTAS. The Proclamation of his Highness the Lord Archon of Oceana upon Promulgation of the Model. - The Oceana and Other Works
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LIBERTAS. The Proclamation of his Highness the Lord Archon of Oceana upon Promulgation of the Model. - 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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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.
[* ]Curiatis, centuriatis, & tributis comitiis.
[* ]The Scotish royal line.