Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE FIRST BOOK, CONTAINING: A full Answer to all such Objections as have hitherto bin made against Oceana. - The Oceana and Other Works
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THE FIRST BOOK, CONTAINING: A full Answer to all such Objections as have hitherto bin made against Oceana. - James Harrington, The Oceana and Other Works 
The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
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THE FIRST 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.
Whether Prudence be well distinguish’d into Antient and Modern.
THE considerer (where by antient prudence I understand the policy of a commonwealth, and by modern prudence that of king, lords, and commons, which introduc’d by the Goths and Vandals upon the ruin of the Roman empire, has since reign’d in these western countrys, till by the predominating of som one of the three parts, it be now almost universally extinguish’d) thinks it enough for the confutation of this distinction, to shew out of Thucydides that of monarchy to be a more antient policy than that of a commonwealth. Upon which occasion, I must begin here to discover that which, the further I go, will be the more manifest; namely, that there is a difference between quoting authors, and saying some part of them without book: this may be don by their words, but the former no otherwise than by keeping to their sense. Now the sense of Thucydides, as he is translated by Mr. Hobbs in the place alleg’d, is thus:Thu. R. 1. P. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.The manner, says he, of living in the most antient times of Greece was thieving; the stronger going abroad under the conduct of their most puissant men, both to inrich themselves, and fetch home maintenance for the weak: for there was neither traffic, property of lands, nor constant abode, till M nosbuilt a navy, and expelling the malefactors out of the islands, planted colonys of his own, by which means they who inhabited the seacoasts, becoming more addicted to riches, grew more constant to their dwellings: of whom som, grown now rich, compass’d their towns about with walls For out of a desire of gain, the meaner sort underwent servitude with the mighty; and the mighty (thus overbalancing at home) with their wealth, brought the lesser citys (abroad) into subjection. Thus Pelops,tho he was a stranger, obtain’d such power in Peloponnesus, that the country was call’d after his name. Thus Atriusobtain’d the kingdom of Mycenæ: and thus kingdoms with honors limited came to be hereditary; and rising to power, proceeded afterwards to the war against Troy. After the war with Troy, tho with much ado, and in a long time Greece had constant rest (and land without doubt came to property) for shifting their seats no longer, at length they sent colonys abroad; the Athenians into Ionia with the islands, the Peloponnesians into Italy, Sicily, and other parts. The power of Greece thus improv’d, and the desire of mony withal, their revenues (in what? not in mony, if yet there was no usury: therefore except a man can shew that there was usury in land) being inlarg’d, in most of the citys there were erected tyrannys. Let us lay this place to the former, when out of a desire of gain the meaner sort underwent servitude with the mighty, it caus’d hereditary kingdoms with honors limited, as happen’d also with us since the time of the Goths and Vandals. But when the people came to property in land, and their revenues were inlarg’d, such as assum’d power over them, not according to the nature of their property or balance, were tyrants: well, and what remedy?Consid. p. 4. why, then it was, says the considerer, that the Grecians out of an extreme aversion to that which was the cause of their present sufferings slipt into popular government, not that uponcalm and mature debates they found it best, but that they might put themselves at the greatest distance (which spirit usually accompanys all reformations) from that with which they were grown into dislike.Book I. Wherby he agrees exactly with his author in making out the true force and nature of the balance, working even without deliberation, and whether men will or no. For the government that is natural and easy, being in no other direction than that of the respective balance, is not of choice but of necessity. The policy of king, lords and commons, was not so much from the prudence of our ancestors, as from their necessity. If three hundred men held at this day the like overbalance to the whole people, it was not in the power of prudence to institute any other than the same kind of government, thro the same necessity. Thus the meaner sort with Thucydidessubmitting to the mighty, it came to kingdoms with hereditary honors: but the people coming to be wealthy, call’d their kings, tho they knew not why, tyrants; nay, and using them accordingly, found out means, with as little deliberation it may be as a bull takes to toss a dog, or a hern to split a hawk (that is, rather, as at the long-run they will ever do in the like cases, by instinct, than prudence or debate) to throw down that, which by the mere information of sense they could no longer bear; and which being thrown down, they found themselves eas’d. But the question yet remains, and that is, forsooth, whether of these is to be call’d antient prudence. To this end, never man made a more unlucky choice than the considerer has don for himself of this author, who, in the very beginning of his book, speaking of the Peloponnesian war, or that between the commonwealths of Athens and Lacedemon, says, that the actions which preceded this, and those again that were more antient, tho the truth of them thro length of time cannot by any means be clearly discover’d; yet for any argument that (looking into times far past) he had yet lighted on to persuade him, he dos not think they have bin very great either for matter of war, or otherwise; that is, for matter of peace or government.Mr. Hobbs in the Magire. And lest this should not be plain enough, he calls the prudence of the three periods, observ’d by Mr. Hobbs,viz. that from the beginning of the Grecian memory to the Trojan war, that of the Trojan war it self, and that from thence to the present commonwealths and wars, wherof he treats, the imbecillity of antient times.Thu. b. 1. p. 3. Wherfore certainly this prevaricator, to give him his own fees, has less discretion than a common attorny, who will be sure to examin only those witnesses that seem to make for the cause in which he is entertain’d.Consid. p. 34. Seeing that which he affirms to be antient prudence is depos’d by his own witness to have bin the imbecillity of antient times, for which I could have so many more than I have leisure to examin, that, (to take only of the most authentic) as you have heard one Greec, I shall add no more than one Roman, and that is Florus in his prolog, where (computing the ages of the Romans, in the same manner as Thucydides did those of the Greecs) he affirms the time while he liv’d under their kings, to have bin their infancy; that from the consuls till they conquer’d Italy, their youth; that from hence to their emperors, their manly age; and the rest (with a complement or Salvo to Trajan his present lord) their dotage.
These things, tho originally all government amongst the Greecs and the Romans was regal, are no more than they who have not yet past their novitiat in story, might have known.Consid. p. 2, 3. Yet, says the considerer, it seems to be a defect of experience to think that the Greec and the Roman actions are only considerable in antiquity. But is it such a defect of experience to think them only considerable, as not to think them chiefly considerable in antiquity, or that the name of antient prudence dos not belong to that prudence which was chiefest in antiquity? True, says he, it is very frequent with such as have bin conversant with Greec and Roman authors, to be led by them into a belief that the rest of the world was a rude inconsiderable people, and, which is a term they very much delight in, altogether barbarous. This should be som fine gentleman that would have universitys pull’d down; for the office of a university is no more than to preserve so much of antiquity as may keep a nation from stinking, or being barbarous; which salt grew not in monarchys, but in commonwealths: or whence has the Christian world that religion and those laws which are now common, but from the Hebrews and Romans? or from whence have we arts but from these or the Greecs? that we have a doctor of divinity, or a master of arts, we may thank popular government; or with what languages, with what things are scholars conversant that are otherwise descended? will they so plead their own cause as to tell us it is possible there should be a nation at this day in the world without universitys, or universitys without Hebrew, Greec and Latin, and not be barbarous, that is to say, rude, unlearn’d, and inconsiderable? yes, this humour even among the Greecs and Romans themselves was a servil addiction to narrow principles, and a piece of very pedantical pride. What, man! the Greecs and the Romans that of all other would not serve, servil! their principles, their learning, with whose scraps we set up for batchelors, masters, and doctors of fine things, narrow! their inimitable eloquence a piece of very pedantical pride! the world can never make sense of this any otherwise than that since heads and fellows of colleges became the only Greecs and Romans, the Greecs and Romans are become servily addicted, of narrow principles, very pedants, and prouder of those things they do not understand, than the other were of those they did: for, say they, in this question, the examples of the Babylonians, Persians and Egyptians (not to omit the antient and like modern discoverys of the queen of the Amazons, and of the king of China) cannot without gross partiality be neglected. This is pretty; they who say nothing at all to the policy of these governments, accuse me, who have fully open’d it, of negligence. The Babylonian, Persian, and, for ought appears to the contrary, the Chinese policy, is summ’d up, and far excell’d by that at this day of Turky; and in opening this latter, I have open’d them all, so far from neglect, that I every where give the Turc his due, whose policy I assert to be the best of this kind, tho not of the best kind. But they will bear me down, and but with one argument, which I beseech you mark, that it is absolutely of the best kind; for say they, it is of a more absolute form (has more of the man and less of the law in it) than is to be met with in any kingdom of Europe.
I am amaz’d! this is that kind of government which to hold barbarous, was in the Greecs and Romans pedantical pride, but would be in us, who have not the same temtation of interest, downright folly. The interest of a people is not their guide but their temtation! we that hold our land divided among us, have not the same temtation of interest that had the servil Hebrews, Greecs and Romans; but the same that had the free people of Babylon, Persia and Egypt, where not the people but the prince was sole landlord! O the arts in which these men are masters! to follow the pedantical pride of Moses, Lycurgus, Solon, Romulus, were with us downright folly; but to follow humble and learned Mahomet or Ottoman, in whose only model the perfection of the Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian policy is consummated, is antient prudence! exquisit politicians! egregious divines, for the leading of a people into Egypt or Babylon! these things consider’d, whether antient prudence, as I have stated it, be downright folly, or as they have stated it, be not downright knavery, I appeal to any court of claims in the world, where the judges, I mean, have not more in their caps than in their heads, and in their sleeves than the scarlet. And wheras men love compendious works, if I gain my cause, the reader, for an answer to the Oxford book, needs look no further than this chapter. For if riches and freedom be the end of government; and these men propose nothing but slavery, beggery, and Turcism, what need more words?
Whether a Commonwealth be rightly defin’d to be a Government of Laws and not of Men, and a Monarchy to be the Government of som Man, or a few Men, and not of Laws?
THAT part of the preliminarys which the prevaricator, as is usual with him, recites in this place falsly and fraudulently, is thus: relation had to these two times (that of antient and that of modern prudence) the one, as is computed by Janotti, ending with the liberty of Rome, the other beginning with the arms of Cæsar (which extinguishing liberty, became the translation of antient into modern prudence, introduc’d in the ruin of the Roman empire by the Goths and Vandals) GOVERNMENT (to define it de jure, or according to antient prudence) is an art wherby a civil society of men is instituted and preserv’d, upon the foundation of common right or interest; or (to followAristotleandLivy) it is an empire of laws, and not of men.
AND government, to define it de facto, or according to modern prudence, is an art wherby som man, or som few men, subject a city or a nation, and rule it according to his or their privat interest; which, because laws in such cases are made according to the interest of a man, or som few familys, may be said to be an empire of men, and not of laws.
Hereby it is plain, whether in an empire of laws, and not of men, as a commonwealth; or in an empire of men, and not of laws, as monarchy: first, That law must equally procede from will, that is, either from the will of the whole people, as in a commonwealth; from the will of one man, as in an absolute, or from the will of a few men, as in a regulated monarchy.
Secondly, That will, whether of one or more, or all, is not presum’d to be, much less to act without a mover.
Thirdly, That the mover of the will is interest.
Fourthly, That interests also being of one, or more, or of all; those of one man, or of a few men, where laws are made accordingly, being more privat than coms duly up to the law, the nature wherof lys not in partiality but in justice, may be call’d the empire of men, and not of laws: and that of the whole people coming up to the public interest (which is no other than common right and justice, excluding all partiality or privat interest) may be call’d the empire of laws, and not of men. By all which put together, wheras it is demonstrable that in this division of government I do not stay at the will, which must have som motive or mover, but go to the first and remotest notion of government, in the foundation and origination ofit, in which lys the credit of this division, and the definition of the several members,Chap. II. that is to say, of interest, whether privat or public; the prevaricator tells me, that this division of government having (he knows not how) lost its credit,Confid. p. 6.the definitions of the several members of it need not be consider’d further, than that they com not at all up to the first and remotest notion of government in the foundation and origination of it, in which lys all the difficulty; and being here neglected, there is little hope the subsequent discourse can have in it the light of probable satisfaction, much less the force of infallible demonstration.
Very good! interest it should seem then is not the first and remotest notion of government, but that which he will outthrow; and at this cast, by saying, that the declaration of the will of the soverain power is call’d law:Consid. p. 8.which if it outlives the person whose will it was, it is only because the persons who succede in power are presum’d to have the same will, unless they manifest the contrary, and that is the abrogation of the law; so that still the government is not in the law, but in the person whose will gave a being to that law. I might as well say, the declaration to all men by these presents that a man ows mony is call’d a bond; which if it outlives the person that enter’d into that bond, it is only because the persons that succede him in his estate, are presum’d to have the same will, unless they manifest the contrary, and that is, the abrogation or cancelling of the bond; so that still the debt is not in the bond, but in his will who gave a being to that bond. If it be alleg’d against this example, that it is a privat one, the case may be put between several princes, states or governments, or between several states of the same principality or government, whether it be a regulated monarchy or a commonwealth; for in the like obligation of the states (as of the king, the lords, and commons) or partys agreeing, authoritate patrum & jussu populi, till the partys that so agreed to the obligation, shall agree to repeal or cancel it, lys all law that is not merely in the will of one man, or of one state, or party, as the oligarchy. But not to dispute these things further in this place, let the government be what it will, for the prevaricator to fetch the origination of law no further than the will (while he knows very well that I fetch’d it from interest, the antecedent of will) and yet to boast that he has outthrown me, I say he is neither an honest man, nor a good bowler. No matter, he will be a better gunner; for where I said that the magistrat upon the bench is that to the law, which a gunner upon his platform is to his cannon, he gos about to take better aim, and says, If the proportion of things be accurately consider’d, it will appear that the laden cannon answers not to the laws, but to the power of the person whose will created those laws: which if som of them that the power of the person whose will created them, intended should be of as good stuff or carriage as the rest, do nevertheless according to the nature of their matter or of their charge, com short or over, and others break or recoil; sure this report of the prevaricator is not according to the bore of my gun, but according to the bore of such a gunner. Yet again, if he be not so good a gunner, he will be a better anatomist: for wheras I affirm, that to say, Aristotle and Cicero wrote not the rights or rules of their politics from the principles of nature, but transcrib’d them into their books out of the practice of their own commonwealths, is as if a man should say of famous Harvey, that he transcrib’d his circulation of the blood, not out of the principles of nature, but out of the anatomy of this or that body: he answers, that the whole force of this objection amounts but to this, that becauseHarveyin his circulation hasfollow’d the principles of nature, therfore Aristotle and Cicero have don so in their discourses of government.
Pretty! it is said in Scripture, Thy word is sweet as hony: amounts that but to this, because hony is sweet, therfore the word of God is sweet? to say that my lord protector has not conquer’d many nations, were as if one should say, Cæsar had not conquer’d many nations: amounts that but to this, because Cæsar conquer’d many nations, therfore my lord protector has conquer’d many nations? what I produce as a similitude, he calls an objection; where I say, as, he says, because: what ingenious man dos not detest such a cheat! a similitude is brought to shew how a thing is or may be, not to prove that it is so; it is us’d for illustration, not as an argument: the candle I held did not set up the post, but shew where the post was set, and yet this blind buzzard has run his head against it. Nor has he yet enough; if he be not the better naturalist, he will be the better divine, tho he should make the worse sermon. My doctrin and use upon that of Solomon,I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the ground, discovers the true means wherby the principles of power and authority, the goods of the mind and of fortune, may so meet and twine in the wreath or crown of empire, that the government standing upon earth like a holy altar, and breathing perpetual incense to heaven in justice and piety, may be somthing, as it were between heaven and earth; while that only which is propos’d by the best, and resolv’d by the most, becoms law, and so the whole government an empire of laws, and not of men.Consid. p. 7. This he says is a goodby sermon; it is honest, and sense. But let any man make sense or honesty of this doctrin, which is his own; To say that laws do or can govern, is to amuse ourselves with a form of speech, as when we say time, or age, or death, dos such a thing; to which indeed the phansy of poets, and superstition of women, may adapt a person, and give a power of action; but wise men know they are only expressions of such actions or qualifications as belong to things or persons.
Speak out; is it the word of God, or the knavery and nonsense of such preachers that ought to govern? are we to hearken to that of the Talmud, there is more in the word of a scribe, than in the words of the law; or that which Christ therupon says to the Pharisees, You have made the word of God of no effect by your traditions?Mat. 15. 6. say, is the commonwealth to be govern’d in the word of a priest or a Pharisee, or by the vote of the people, and the interest of mankind?
Whether the balance of dominion in land be the natural cause of empire?
THE doctrin of the balance is that, tho he strains at it, which choaks the prevaricator; for this of all others is that principle which makes the politics, not so before the invention of the same, to be undeniable throout, and (not to meddle with the mathematics, an art I understand as little as mathematicians do this) the most demonstrable of any whatsoever.
For this cause I shall rather take pleasure than pains to look back, or tread the same path with other, and perhaps plainer steps: as thus; if a man having one hundred pounds a year may keep one servant, or have one man at his command, then having one hundred times so much, he may keep one hundred servants; and this multiply’d by a thousand, he may have one hundred thousand men at his command.Chap. III. Now that the single person, or nobility of any country in Europe, that had but half so many men at command, would be king or prince, is that which I think no man will doubt. But*no mony, no Switzers, as the French speak: if the mony be flown, so are the men also. Tho riches in general have wings, and be apt to bate; yet those in land are the most hooded, and ty’d to the perch, wheras those in mony have the least hold, and are the swiftest of flight. A bank where the mony takes not wing, but to come home seiz’d, or like a coyduck, may well be great; but the treasure of the Indys going out, and not upon returns, makes no bank. Whence a bank never paid an army; or paying an army, soon became no bank. But where a prince or a nobility has an estate in land, the revenue wherof will defray this charge, there their men are planted, have toes that are roots, and arms that bring forth what fruit you please.
Thus a single person is made, or a nobility makes a king, not with difficulty, or any greater prudence, but with ease, the rest coming home, as the ox that only knows his master’s crib, but must starve or repair to it. Nor for the same reason is government acquir’d with more ease than it is preserv’d; that is, if the foundation of property be in land: but if in mony, lightly com, lightly go. The reason why a single person, or the nobility that has one hundred thousand men, or half so many at command, will have the government, is that the estate in land, wherby they are able to maintain so many, in any European territory, must overbalance the rest that remains to the people, at least three parts in four, by which means they are no more able to dispute the government with him or them, than your servant is with you. Now for the same reason, if the people hold three parts in four of the territory, it is plain there can neither be any single person nor nobility able to dispute the government with them; in this case therfore, except force be interpos’d, they govern themselves. So by this computation of the balance of property or dominion in the land, you have according to the threefold foundation of property, the root or generation of the threefold kind of government or empire.
Oceana, p. 39.If one man be sole landlord of a territory, or overbalance the whole people, three parts in four, or thereabouts, he is Grand Signior; for so the Turc, not from his empire, but his property is call’d; and the empire in this case is absolute monarchy.
If the few, or a nobility, or a nobility with a clergy, be landlords to such a proportion as overbalances the people in the like manner, they may make whom they please king; or if they be not pleas’d with their king, down with him and set up whom they like better; a Henry the Fourth, or the Seventh, a Guise, a Montfort, a Nevil, or a Porter, should they find that best for their own ends and purposes: for as not the balance of the king, but that of the nobility in this case is the cause of the government, so not the estate or riches of the prince or captain, but his virtue or ability, or fitness for the ends of the nobility, acquires that command or office. This for aristocracy, or mix’d monarchy. But if the whole people be landlords, or hold the land so divided among them, that no one man or number of men within the compass of the few, or aristocracy overbalance them, it is a commonwealth. Such is the branch in the root, or the balance of property naturally producing empire; which not confuted, no man shall be able to batter my superstructures, and which confuted, I lay down my arms. Till then, if the cause necessarily precede the effect, property must have a being before empire, or beginning with it, must be still first in order.
Property coms to have a being before empire or government two ways, either by a natural or violent revolution. Natural revolution happens from within, or by commerce, as when a government erected upon one balance, that for example of a nobility or a clergy, thro the decay of their estates coms to alter to another balance; which alteration in the root of property, leaves all to confusion, or produces a new branch or government, according to the kind or nature of the root. Violent revolution happens from without, or by arms, as when upon conquest there follows confiscation. Confiscation again is of three kinds, when the captain taking all to himself, plants his army by way of military colonys, benefices, or timars, which was the policy of Mahomet; or when the captain has som shares, or a nobility that divides with him, which was the policy introduc’d by the Goths and Vandals; or when the captain divides the inheritance by lots, or otherwise, to the whole people; which policy was instituted by God or Moses in the commonwealth of Israel. This triple distribution, whether from natural or violent revolution, returns as to the generation of empire to the same thing, that is, to the nature of the balance already stated and demonstrated. Now let us see what the prevaricator will say, which first is this:
Consid. p. 14.THE assertion, that property producing empire consists only in land, appears too positive. A pig of my own sow; this is no more than I told him, only there is more imply’d in what I told him, than he will see; which therfore I shall now further explain. The balance in mony may be as good or better than that of land in three cases. First, where there is no property of land yet introduc’d, as in Greece during the time of her antient imbecillity; whence, as is noted by Thucydides,the meaner sort thro a desire of gain underwent the servitude of the mighty. Secondly, in citys of small territory and great trade, as Holland and Genoa, the land not being able to feed the people, who must live upon traffic, is overbalanc’d by the means of that traffic, which is mony. Thirdly, in a narrow country, where the lots are at a low scantling, as among the Israelits, if care be not had of mony in the regulation of the same, it will eat out the balance of land.Deut. 15. 6. & 23. 19. For which cause, tho an Israelit might both have mony, and put it to usury (thou shalt lend [upon usury] to many nations) yet might he not lend it upon usury to a citizen or brother: whence two things are manifest: first, that usury in itself is not unlawful: and next, that usury in Israel was no otherwise forbidden, than as it might com to overthrow the balance or foundation of the government; for where a lot as to the general amounted not perhaps to four acres, a man that should have had a thousand pounds in his purse, would not have regarded such a lot in comparison of his mony; and he that should have bin half so much in debt, would have bin quite eaten out. Usury is of such a nature, as, not forbidden in the like cases, must devour the government. The Roman people, while their territory was no bigger, and their lots, which exceeded not two acres a man, were yet scantier, were flead alive with it; and if they had not help’d themselves by their tumults, and the institution of their tribuns, it had totally ruin’d both them and their government. In a commonwealth, whose territory is very small, the balance of the government being laid upon the land, as in Lacedemon, it will not be sufficient to forbid usury, but mony itself must be forbidden. Whence Lycurgus allow’d of none, or of such only as being of old, or otherwise useless iron, was little better, or if you will, little worse than none. The prudence of which law appear’d in the neglect of it, as when Lysander, general for the Lacedemonians in the Peloponnesian war, having taken Athens, and brought home the spoil of it, occasion’d the ruin of that commonwealth in her victory. The land of Canaan compar’d with Spain or England, was at the most but a Yorkshire, and Laconia was less than Canaan. Now if we imagin Yorkshire divided, as was Canaan into six hundred thousand lots, or as was Laconia, into thirty thousand; a Yorkshire man having one thousand pounds in his purse, would, I believe, have a better estate in mony than in land; wherfore in this case, to make the land hold the balance, there is no way but either that of Israel by forbidding usury, or that of Lacedemon by forbidding mony. Where a small sum may com to overbalance a man’s estate in land, there I say usury or mony for the preservation of the balance in land, must of necessity be forbidden, or the government will rather rest upon the balance of mony, than upon that of land, as in Holland and Genoa. But in a territory of such extent as Spain, or England, the land being not to be overbalanc’d by mony, there needs no forbidding of mony or usury. In Lacedemon merchandize was forbidden, in Israel and Rome it was not exercis’d; wherfore to these usury must have bin the more destructive: but in a country where merchandize is exercis’d, it is so far from being destructive, that it is necessary; else that which might be of profit to the commonwealth would rust unprofitably in private purses, there being no man that will venture his mony but thro hope of som gain; which if it be so regulated that the borrower may gain more by it than the lender, as at four in the hundred, or therabouts, usury becoms a mighty profit to the public, and a charity to privat men; in which sense we may not be persuaded by them that do not observe these different causes, that it is against Scripture. Had usury to a brother bin permitted in Israel, that government had bin overthrown: but that such a territory as England or Spain cannot be overbalanc’d by mony, whether it be a scarce or plentiful commodity, whether it be accumulated by parsimony as in the purse of Henry the 7th, or presented by fortune, as in the revenue of the Indys, is sufficiently demonstrated, or shall be.
Consid. p. 12.First, by an argument ad hominem, one good enough for the prevaricator, who argues thus: The wisdom or the riches of another man can never give him a title to my obedience, nor oblige Mr. Harrington to give his clothes or mony to the next man he meets, wiser or richer than himself.
If he had said stronger, he had spoil’d all; for the parting with a man’s clothes or mony in that case, cannot be help’d: now the richer, as to the case in debate, is the stronger, that is, the advantage of strength remains to the balance. But well; he presumes me to have clothes and mony of my own, let him put the same case in the people, or the similitude does not hold. But if the people have clothes and mony of their own, these must either rise (for the bulk) out of property in land, or at least out of the cultivation of the land, or the revenue of industry; which if it be dependent, they must give such a part of their clothes and mony to preserve that dependence out of which the rest arises to him or them on whom they depend, as he or they shall think fit, or parting with nothing to this end, must lose all; that is, if they be tenants, they must pay their rent, or turn out. So if they have clothes or mony dependently, the balance of land is in the landlord or landlords of the people: but if they have clothes and mony independently, then the balance of land must of necessity be in the people themselves, in which case they neither would, if there were any such, nor can, because there be no such, give their mony or clothes to such as are wiser, or richer, or stronger than themselves. So it is not a man’s clothes and mony or riches, that oblige him to acknowledge the title of his obedience to him that is wiser or richer, but a man’s no clothes or mony, or his poverty, with which, if the prevaricator should come to want, he could not so finely prevaricat but he must serve som body, so he were rich, no matter if less wise than himself. Wherfore seeing the people cannot be said to have clothes and mony of their own without the balance in land, and having the balance in land, will never give their clothes, or mony, or obedience to a single person, or a nobility, tho these should be the richer in mony; the prevaricator by his own argument has evinc’d that in such a territory as England or Spain, mony can never com to overbalance land.
For a second demonstration of this truth, Henry the Seventh, tho he miss’d of the Indys, in which for my part I think him happy, was the richest in mony of English princes. Nevertheless this accession of revenue did not at all preponderat on the king’s part, nor change the balance. But while making farms of a standard he increas’d the yeomanry, and cutting off retainers he abas’d the nobility, began that breach in the balance of land, which proceding has ruin’d the nobility, and in them that government.
For a third, the monarchy of Spain since the silver of Potosi sail’d up the Guadalquivir, which in English is, since that king had the Indys, stands upon the same balance in the lands of the nobility on which it always stood.
Consid. p. 16.And so the learned conclusion of the prevaricator (That it is not to be doubted but a revenue sufficient to maintain a force able [to cry ware horns] or beat down all opposition, dos equally conduce to empire, whether it arises from rents, lands, profits of ready mony, dutys, customs, &c.) asks you no more than where you saw her premises. For unless they ascended his monti, and his banks, it is not to be imagin’d which way they went; and with these, because he is a profest zealot for monarchy, I would wish him by no means to be montebanking or meddling: for the purse of a prince never yet made a bank, nor, till spending and trading mony be all one, ever shall. The Genoese, which the king of Spain could never do with the Indys, can make you a bank out of letters of exchange, and the Hollander with herrings. Let him com no more here: where there is a bank, ten to one there is a commonwealth. A king is a soldier, or a lover, neither of which makes a good merchant, and without merchandize you will have a lean bank. It is true, the family of the Medici were both merchants and made a bank into a throne: but it was in commonwealth of merchants, in a small territory, by great purchases in land, and rather in a mere confusion than under any settl’d government; which causes, if he can give them all such another meeting, may do as much for another man. Otherwise let it be agreed and resolv’d, that in a territory of any extent, the balance of empire consists in land and not in mony; always provided that in case a prince has occasion to run away, as Henry the Third of France did out of Poland, his balance in ready mony is absolutely the most proper for the carrying on of so great and sudden an enterprize.
It is an excellent way of disputing, when a man has alleg’d no experience, no example, no reason, to conclude with no doubt. Certainly upon such occasions it is not unlawful nor unreasonable to be merry. Reasons, says one comedian, are not so common as blackberrys. For all that, says another comedian, no doubt but arevenue in taxes is as good as a revenue in feesimple; for this, in brief, is the sense of his former particular, or that part of it, which, the monti and the banks being already discharg’d, remains to be answer’d. Yet that the rents and profits of a man’s land in feesimple or property, com in naturally and easily, by common consent or concernment, that is, by virtue of the law founded upon the public interest, and therfore voluntarily establish’d by the whole people, is an apparent thing. So a man that will receive the rents and profits of other mens land, must either take them by mere force, or bring the people to make a law divesting themselves of so much of their property; which upon the matter is all one, because a people possest of the balance, cannot be brought to make such a law, further than they see necessary for their common defence, but by force, nor to keep it any longer than that force continues. It is true, there is not only such a thing in nature as health, but sickness too: nor do I deny that there is such a thing as a government against the balance. But look about, seek, find where it stood, how it was nam’d, how lik’d, or how long it lasted. Otherwise the comical proposition coms to this, it is not to be doubted but that violence may be permanent or durable, and the blackberry, for it is because nature is permanent or durable! what other construction can be made of these words? it is not to be doubted but a revenue sufficient to maintain a force able to beat down all opposition (that is, a force able to raise such a revenue) dos equally (on which word grows the blackberry) conduce to empire; that is, as much as could any natural balance of the same! he may stain mouths, as he has don som, but he shall never make a politician. The earth yields her natural increase without losing her heart; but if you com once to force her, look your force continue, or she yields you nothing: and the balance of empire consisting of earth, is of the nature of her element.
Divines are given to speak much of things which the considerer balks in this place that wou’d check them, to the end he may fly out with them in others, wherto they do not belong, as where he says, that government is founded either upon paternity, and the natural advantage the first father had over all the rest of mankind, who were his sons;Consid. p. 23.or else from the increase of strength or power in som man or men, to whose will the rest submit, that by their submission they may avoid such mischief as otherwise would be brought upon them. Which two vagarys are to be fetch’d home to this place.
For the former; if Adam had liv’d till now, he could have seen no other than his own children; and so that he must have bin king by the right of nature, was his peculiar prerogative. But whether the eldest son of his house, if the prevaricator can find him at this time of day, has the same right, is somwhat disputable; because it was early when Abraham and Lot divided territorys, became several kings: and not long after when the sons of Jacob being all patriarchs, by the appointment of God, whose right sure was not inferior to that of Adam, tho he had liv’d, came under popular government. Wherfore the advantage of a first father is for grave men a pleasant fancy; nevertheless if he had liv’d till now, I hope they understand that the whole earth would have bin his demeans, and so the balance of his property must have answer’d to his empire, as did that also of Abraham and Lot to theirs. Wherfore this way of deduction coms directly home again to the balance.De jure belli, l. 1. c. 3.Paterfamilias Latifundia possidens, & neminem alia lege in suas terras recipiens quam ut ditioni suæ, qui recipiuntur, se subjiciant, est Rex, says Grotius. Fathers of familys are of three sorts, either a sole landlord, as Adam, and then he is an absolute monarch; or a few landlords, as Lot and Abraham, with the patriarchs of those days; who if they join’d not together, were so many princes; or if they join’d made a mix’d monarchy; or, as Grotius believes, a kind of commonwealth administer’d in the land of Canaan by Melchisedec, to whom as king and priest Abraham paid tithes of all that he had. Such a magistracy was also that of Jethro, king and priest in the commonwealth of Midian. Father of familys for the third sort, as when the multitude are landlords (which happen’d in the division of the land of Canaan) make a commonwealth. And thus much, however it was out of the prevaricator’s head in the place now deduc’d, he, excepting no further against the balance than that it might consist as well in mony as in land, had confest before.
His second vagary is in his deduction of empire from increase of strength, for which we must once more round about our coalfire. The strength wherby this effect can be expected, consists not in a pair of fists, but in an army; and an army is a beast with a great belly, which subsists not without very large pastures: so if one man has sufficient pasture, he may feed such a beast; if a few have the pasture, they must feed the beast, and the beast is theirs that feed it. But if the people be the sheep of their own pastures, they are not only a flock of sheep, but an army of lions, tho by som accidents, as I confest before, they be for a season confinable to their dens. So the advantage or increase of strength depends also upon the balance. There is nothing in the world to swear this principle out of countenance, but the fame of Phalaris, Gelon, Dionysius, Agathocles, Nabis,&c. with which much good do them that like it. It is proper to a government upon the balance to take root at home, and spread outwards; and to a government against the balance to seek a root abroad, and to spread inwards. The former is sure, but the latter never successful. Agathocles for having conquer’d Africa, took not the better root in Syracusa. Parvi sunt arma foras, nisi sit consilium domi.
To conclude this chapter; the prevaricator gives me this thanks for finding out the balance of dominion (being as antient in nature as her self, and yet as new in art as my writing) that I have given the world cause to complain of a great disappointment, who, while at my hand that satisfaction in the principles of government was expected, which several great wits had in vain study’d, have in diversifying riches in words only, as property, dominion, agrarian, balance, made up no more than a new lexicon, expressing the same thing that was known before; seeing the opinion that riches are power is (as antient as the first book of Thucydides, or the politics of Aristotle, and) not omitted by Mr.Hobbs, or any other politician. Which is as if he had told Dr. Harvey, that wheras the blood is the life was an opinion as antient as Moses, and no girl ever prick’d her finger, but knew it must have a course; he had given the world cause to complain of great disappointment in not shewing a man to be made of gingerbread, and his veins to run malmsy.
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.
THE balance of empire that is national, as it is stated in the former chapter, stands in a regulated or mix’d monarchy upon the property or native interest of the nobility; in a commonwealth, upon the property or native interest of the people; so these are very natural. But the balance of absolute monarchy, partaking of force as well as nature, is a mix’d thing, and not much different from the balance of provincial empire, or the manner of holding a province or conquer’d country. In a province, if the native that is rich be admitted to power, the power grows up native, and overtops the foren: therfore you must either not plant your citizens in your provinces, where in time they will become native; or, so planting them, neither trust them with power nor with arms. Thus the provincial balance coms to be contrary to the national. And as where empire is native or national, the administration of it can be no otherwise than according to the national balance; so where empire is foren or provincial, the administration of it can be no otherwise than contrary to the national balance.Consid. p. 16, 17. That this may be admitted without opposition the considerer is inclining to allow, always provided he be satisfy’d in this demand, whether distinct balances under the same head or governor, as those of Castile and Arragon, the power of the king (I presume he means by the balance of a nobility) being greater in the one, and that of the people in the other, may not so poise one the other, as to produce a new balance. To which I answer, That no one government whatsoever has any more than one of two balances; that except in the cases excepted, of land which is national, or that of arms which is provincial. Wherfore if the king of Spain by his war against the commons altered the balance of Arragon, it must have bin one of two ways, either by strengthning the balance of the nobility, and governing the Arragonian people by them, in which case their balance, tho altered, remained yet national; or by holding both nobility and people by a provincial governor and an army, in which case his empire in that kingdom is provincial. There is no third way; nor, putting the case that the balance of Castile be national, and that of Arragon provincial, dos this any more create in the monarchy of Spain a third balance of empire, than did the multiplication of associations and provinces, divers for their balances, in the commonwealth of Rome. England and Scotland being united in one prince, made, if it had bin rightly us’d, an increase of strength, but not a third balance; nor do the kingdoms in Spain. Whether a soverainty has many territorys and provinces in subjection, or in league, it is all one as to this point; the stronger union or league will give the stronger balance: and the case of the present soveraintys in Europe being no other, the more nice than wise speculation of the considerer, who has not bin able to discern the balance of a league from that of empire, is a mare’s nest.
Whether there be any common Right or Interest of Mankind distinct from the parts taken severally; and how by the Orders of a Commonwealth it may be best distinguish’d from privat Interest.
IN the next place the prevaricator dos not go about to play the man, but the unlucky boy. Where I say that the soul of man is mistress of two potent rivals, reason and passion; he dos not stand to weigh the truth of the thing, or the fitness of the comparison, either of which had been fair; but tumbles Dick upon Sis, the logic upon the rhetoric, the sense upon the figure, and scuds away in this manner:Consid. p. 19. 20.If I could be persuaded Mr.Harringtonwas so far in earnest, as to expect any man shou’d be convinc’d by the metaphorical use of two or three words, som farther consideration might be propos’d. This is to use his readers as the fox dos the dogs, when having pist upon his tail, and flapt it in their eys, he gets away. Dos not his book deserve to be gilded and carry’d in statesmen’s pokes? alas! mine are nothing? Quis leget hæc? vel duo, vel nemo: they break the stationer. And yet let me comfort myself, whose are better? the prevaricator seems to set every whit as light by those of Hooker and Grotius, at least where they favor me. The opinions ofGrotius, says he, cannot oblige us beyond the reasons wheron they are founded; and what are those? he will dispute against that which he dares not repeat: that his comment may take you by the nose, he has left out the text. The words of Grotius are of this sense:In Proleg. de jure B. ac P.Tho it be truly said that the creatures are naturally carry’d to their proper utility, this ought not to be taken in too general a sense, seeing divers of them abstain from their own profit, either in regard of those of the same kind, or at least of their young. Which words, says the prevaricator, carry a great restriction in them, and the way of producing actions in beasts is so different from the emanation of human reason (mark the impostor! the author is speaking of natural affection, and he wipes out that, and puts in human reason) that the inferences from (the natural affection of) the one, to the (degree of reason which is in the) other, must needs be very weak. Excellent! dos it therfore follow that the eminent degree of reason, wherwithal God has indu’d man, must in him deface that natural affection, and desertion in some cases of privat for common good, which is apparent even in beasts? what do reverend divines mean to cry up this infidel? nay, is not be worse than an infidel that provides not for his own family? a commonwealth is but a great family; and a family is a little commonwealth. Even beasts, in sparing out of their own mouths, and exposing themselves to danger for their young, provide for their familys; and in providing for their familys, provide for their whole commonwealth; that is, forsake in som things their privat good and safety, for the good of the public, or of the kind.Book 1. In this case it is that even stones or heavy things, says Hooker,forsake their ordinary wont or centre, and fly upwards to relieve the distress of nature in common. Wretch that he is, shall a stone upon this occasion fly upwards, and will he have a man to go downwards! yes, Mr.Hooker’sexpression, says he, is altogether figurative; and it is easier to prove from thence that things wanting sense make discourses, and act by election, than that there is such a thing as a common interestof mankind.Chap. V. This is like the rest, Hooker speaks of the necessity that is in nature, and this gentleman translates that sense into the word election. So because a stone is necessitated to comply with the common interest of nature, without discourse or election; therfore it rather follows from hence, that things wanting sense make discourses, and act by election, than that there is such a thing as a common interest of mankind. His old trick. I do not say, that because it is so with the other creatures, therfore it must be so with man: but as we see it is with the creatures in this part, so we find it to be with man. And that so, and more than so, we find it to be with man (who tho he be evil, gives good things to his children, will work hard, lay up, deny himself, venture his life for his little commonwealth) is thus further demonstrated. All civil laws acknowledge that there is a common interest of mankind, and all civil laws procede from the nature of man; therfore it is in the nature of man to acknowledge that there is a common interest of mankind. Upon this acknowledgement of mankind, a man that steals is put to death, which certainly is none of his privat interest: nor is a man put to death for any other man’s privat interest: therfore there is a common interest of mankind distinct from the parts taken severally. But this, tho acknowleg’d in part by all governments, yet thro their natural frailty is nothing so well provided for in som as in others: for if the power be in one or a few men, one or a few men, we know, may be thieves, and the rather, because applying mony that is public, without a consideration that is public, to uses that are privat, is thieving. But such thieves will not be hang’d; in this case therfore the government gos not upon public but privat interest. In the frame of such a government as can go upon no other than the public interest, consists that whole philosophy of the soul which concerns policy: and this whole philosophy of the soul being throout the commonwealth of Oceana demonstrated; for the prevaricator to insinuat that I have omitted it, is to shew what it is that he loves more than truth. The main of this philosophy consists in deposing passion, and advancing reason to the throne of empire. I expected news in this place, that this were to promise more for the magistrat or the people than has bin perform’d by the stoics; but two girls, meaning no body any harm, have provok’d his wrath, forsooth, to such extravagancy by the way, that tho in all modesty it were forbid, as he confesses, by their cheeks, which discovering the green-sickness, shew’d that they were past the rod, he has taken them up! Tantæne animis cælestibus iræ! what he may have in school-divinity for so rude a charge, I do not know; but he shall never be able to shew any maxims for this kind of disciplin or philosophy of the soul, either in chevalry or the politics. The offence of the girls was no more, than that having a cake (by the gift of an uncle or aunt, or by purchase, or such a one perhaps as was of their own making) in common, or between them, the one had most accuratly divided, and the other was about to chuse; when in coms this rude fellow:Consid. p. 22, 23.how now, gentlemen, says he, what dividing and chusing! will no less serve your turn than the whole mystery of a well-order’d commonwealth? who has taught you to cast away passion, an’t please you, like the bran, and work up reason as pure as the flower of your cake? are you acquainted with the author of Oceana, that has seen foren countrys, convers’d with the speculativi, learn’d of the most serene ladyVenetiato work with bobbins, makes you a magistracy like a pippin py, and sells butterprints with S. P. Q. R? have don, as you dread ballads, fusty pamphlets, or the ostracism of Billingsgate. Have don, I say: will you vy that green in your cheeks with the purple of the state? must your mother, who was never there her self, seek you in the oven?com, when I live to seeMachiavelin pufpaste, a commonwealth com out of a bakehouse, where smocks were the boulters, let me be a mill-horse—But now you must know coms the best jest of all, and I need not say that it coms from Oxford; he tells them that their cake is do (let it not be lost I beseech you) and so snatching it away, eats it, for all the world as Jackpudding eats the custard. Did you ever see such a bestia?
But wheras either office, that of dividing or chusing, was communicable to either of the girls, it is not indifferent in the distribution of a commonwealth, because dividing is separating one thing, one reason, one interest, or consideration from another, which they that can so discern in privat affairs are call’d discrete, but they that can do it in public are prudent; and the way of this kind of dividing in the language of a commonwealth is debating. But they that are capable of this kind of dividing or debating are few among many, that when things are thus divided and debated, are able enough to chuse, which in the language of a commonwealth is to resolve. Hence it is that the debate of the few, because there be but few that can debate, is the wisest debate; and the result of the many (because every man has an interest what to chuse, and that choice which sutes with every man’s interest, excludes the distinct or privat interest or passion of any man, and so coms up to the common and public interest or reason) is the wisest result. To this end, God, who dos nothing in vain, has so divided mankind into the few or the natural aristocracy, and the many or the natural democracy, that there can hardly be upon any occasion a meeting of twenty men, wherin it will not be apparent, or in which you may not see all those lines which are requisite to the face of a beautiful commonwealth. For example, among any twenty men occasionally met, there will be some few, perhaps six, excelling the fourteen in greatness of parts. These six falling into discourse of business, or giving their judgment upon persons or things, tho but by way of mere conversation, will discover their abilitys; wherupon they shall be listen’d to and regarded by the fourteen; that is, the six will acquire an authority with, and imprint a reverence upon the fourteen: which action and passion in the Roman commonwealth were call’d authoritas patrum, & verecundia plebis. Nevertheless if the six indeavor to extend the authority which they find thus acquir’d, to power, that is, to bring the fourteen to terms or conditions of obedience, or such as would be advantageous to the few, but prejudicial to the many; the fourteen will soon find, that consenting, they hurt not only themselves by indamaging their own interests, but hurt the six also, who by this means com to lose their virtue, and so spoil their debate, which, while such advantages are procurable to themselves, will go no further upon the common good, but their privat benefit. Wherfore in this case they will not consent, and not consenting, they preserve not only their own liberty, but the integrity of the six also, who perceiving that they cannot impair the common interest, have no other interest left but to improve it. And neither any conversation, nor any people, how dull soever and subject by fits to be deluded, but will soon see thus much, which is enough, because what is thus propos’d by the authority of the six or of the senat, and resolv’d by the fourteen, or by the people, is enacted by the whole, and becoms that law, than which, tho mankind be not infallible, there can be nothing less fallible in mankind. Art is the imitation of nature; by observation of such lines as these in the face of nature, a politician limns his commonwealth.Consid. p. 26. But says the prevaricator, the paralogism lys in this, that the twenty men are first suppos’d to be a commonwealth, and then it is consider’dhow they would dispose of the government. What is this? art is the imitation of nature; therfore art presumes nature to be art. A picture is the representation of a face; therfore the picture-drawer presum’d the face to be a picture; and in this same, there is lying, being, or squatting, a thing call’d a paralogism. Did you ever hear such a paraketism? for to speak a word without understanding the sense of it, is like a parrat. And yet I wrong the parrat in this comparison; for she, tho she do not understand her self, is understood by others, wheras neither can this prevaricator tell what he means, nor any man else. Or riddle me, riddle me what is this?Consid. p. 27.the sense of want among men that are in equality of power may beget a desire of exchange; as let me have your horse, and you shall have my cow, which is the fountain of privat contracts: but it is not to be with reason imagin’d, that this should be enough to make a man part with a natural freedom, and put himself into the hands of a power from which he can afterwards have no shield, tho it should be us’d to his own destruction.
Most victorious nonsense! for he that says nothing, cannot be answer’d. It should seem, if the twenty men were indeed a commonwealth, or in equality of power, for so he puts the case, they might truck horses and cows, but not by any means consider, or once let it enter into their heads, how by art to make good their natural freedom: that (unless they set up a prince, as you shall see anon) were to part with their natural freedom, and put themselves into the hands of a power from which (there being no other power but themselves) they can afterwards have no shield. To read it throughly for the understanding, as is intimated in his epistle, will be more; I doubt, than his book will obtain of any reader. Yet is he, in his own conceit, as surefooted as any mule, and knows the road. But Mr. Harringtonhas not lost his way without company; his brother Grotiuscomplains, that they who treat of jus gentium, do commonly mistake som part of the Roman jus civile for it: and even so he laments (an’t please you) that while men profess to consider the principles of government, they fall upon notions which are the mere effects of government. But as an ape is the more ugly for being like a man, so this prevaricator, for making faces like Grotius. I, who am complain’d of, deriving government from the true principle of the same, in the balance or foundation, set the superstructures accordingly; and he who complains forsooth, never so much as proposes any thing like a principle or superstructure, but runs altogether upon mere notions:Consid p. 23. as where he asks me, what security will you give, that the six in their consultations shall not rather aim at their own advantage, than that of the fourteen, and so make use of the eminence of their parts to circumvent the rest? in another place he can answer himself and say, that the fourteen, or the people in this constitution, have the vote and the sword too. How then should the six circumvent them? what security has a prince, that his people will not pull him out of his throne? why, a nobility or an army: and are not the people in a commonwealth their own army? is this to mind principles? on the other side, how, says he, shall we be satisfied that the fourteen will not soon begin to think themselves wife enough to consult too, and making use of their excess in power, pull the six off their cushions? as if there were any experience public or privat, any sense or reason, that men having the whole power in their own hands, would deprive themselves of counsillors; or that ever a commonwealth depos’d the senat, or can depose the senat, and remain a commonwealth. The people of Capua being inrag’d to the full height, resolv’d and assembl’d together (the senat, if the people will, being always in their power) on purpose to cut the throats of the senators, when Pacuvius Calavius exhorted them that e’er they went upon the design, they would first make election among themselves of a new senat, which, the throats of the old being cut, might for the safety of the commonwealth immediately take their places; for, said he,*you must either have a king, which is to be abhor’d; or whatever becoms of this, you must have som other senat: for the senat is a council of such a nature as without it no free city can subsist. By which speech of Pacuvius, the people, who thought themselves, as the considerer has it, wise enough to consult, being convinc’d, fell to work for the election of a succeding senat out of themselves (the prevaricator should not tell me of notions, but learn that in a commonwealth there must be a senat, is a principle) while the people of Capua were intent upon chusing this new senat, the partys propos’d seem’d to them to be so ridiculously unfit for such an office, that by this means coming to a nearer sight of themselves, they were secretly so fill’d with the shame of their enterprize, that slinking away, they would never after be known so much as to have thought upon such a thing. Nor ever went any other people so far, not the Florentins themselves, tho addicted to innovation or changing of the senat beyond all other examples. Sons of the university, brothers of the college, heads and points; you love fine words. Whether tends to bring all things into servitude, my hypothesis, or his† hypothytes? for, says he, I am willing to gratify Mr.Harringtonwith his partition of the twenty men into six and fourteen; but if I had been in a humor of contradiction, it had been as free for me to have said that som one of the twenty would have excel’d all the rest in judgment, experience, courage and height of genius, and then told him, that this had bin a natural monarchy, established by God himself over mankind: as if the twenty would give their clothes or money to the next man they met wiser or richer than themselves, which before he deny’d; Oportet mendacem esse memorem. God establish’d kings no otherwise than by election of the people; and the twenty will neither give their clothes nor money: how then? why in coms a gallant with a file of musketeers; what, says he, are you dividing and chusing here? go to, I will have no dividing, give me all. Down go the pots, and up go their heels: what is this? why a king! what more? by divine right! as he took the cake from the girls?
Whether the Senatusconsulta, or Decrees of the Roman Senat, had the Power of Laws?
AMONG divers and weighty reasons why I would have that prince look well to his file of musketeers, this is no small one, that he being upon no balance, will be able never to give law without them, For to think that he succedes to the senat, or that the power of the senat may serve his turn, is a presumption that will fail him. The senat, as such, has no power at all, but mere authority of proposing to the people, who are the makers of their own laws; whence the decrees of the senat of Rome are never laws, nor so call’d, but senatusconsulta. It is true that a king coming in, the senat, as there it did, may remain to his aid and advantage; and then they propose not as formerly to the people, but to him, who coms not in upon the right of the senat, but upon that of the people: whence says Justinian:*the prince’s pleasure has the force of law, since the people have by the lex regia, concerning his power, made over to him all their own empire and authority.Chap. VII. Thus the senatusconsultum Macedonicum, with the rest that had place allow’d byJustinianin compilement of the Roman laws, were not laws in that they were senatusconsulta, or propos’d by the senat, but in that they were allow’d by Justinian or the prince, in whom was now the right of the people.Consid. p. 30, 31. Wherfore the zealot for monarchy has made a pas de clerc, or foul step in his procession, where he argues thus out of Cujacius:it was soon agreed that the distinct decrees of the senat and people should be extended to the nature of laws; therfore the distinct decrees of the senat are laws, whether it be so agreed by the people, or by the prince, or no. For thus he has no sooner made his prince, than he kicks him heels overhead; seeing whether the decrees of the senat are laws without the king, that same is as much a king as the prevaricator a politician. A law is that which was past by the power of the people, or of the king.Consid. p. 32. But out of the light; in this place he takes a Welsh bait, and looking back, makes a muster of his victory, like the bussing Gascon, who to shew what he had thrown out of the windows in his debauchery, made a formal repetition of the whole inventory of the house.
Whether the Ten Commandments were propos’d by God or Moses, and voted by the People of Israel.
ONE would think the Gascon had don well; is he satisfy’d? no, he will now throw the house out of the windows.Consid. p. 33. 35.The principal stones being already taken from the foundation, he has a bag of certain winds wherwithal to reverse the superstructures. The first wind he lets go is but a puff, where he tells me, that I bring Switzerland and Holland into the enumeration of the Heathen commonwealths: which if I had don, their libertys in many parts and places being more antient than the Christian religion in those countrys (as is plain by Tacitus, where he speaks of Civilis, and of the customs of the Germans) I had neither wrong’d them nor my self; but I do no such matter, for having enumerated the Heathen commonwealths, I add that the procedings of Holland and Switzerland, tho after a more obscure manner, are of the like nature.Oceana. p. 51. The next is a storm, while reproaching me with rudeness, he brings in Dr. Fern and the clergy by head and shoulders, who till they undertake the quarrel of monarchy, to the confusion of the commonwealth of Israel, at least so far that there be no weight or obligation in such an example, are posted. As if for a Christian commonwealth to make so much use of Israel, as the Roman did of Athens, whose laws she transcrib’d, were against the interest of the clergy, which, it seems, is so hostil to popular power, that to say the laws of nature, tho they be the fountains of all civil law, are not the civil law, till they be the civil law; or thus, that thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, tho they be in natural equity, yet were not the laws of Israel or of England, till voted by the people of Israel, or the parlament of England, is to assert the people into the mighty liberty of being free from the whole moral law; and, inasmuch as to be the adviser or persuader of a thing, is less than to be the author or commander of it, to put an indignity upon God himself.Consid. p. 35. 40. In which fopperys the prevaricator, boasting of principles, but minding none, first confounds authority and command or power; and next forgets that the dignity of the legislator, or, which is all one, of the senat succeding to his office, as the sanhedrim to Moses, is the greatest dignity in a commonwealth: and yet that the laws or orders of a commonwealth derive no otherwise, whether from the legislator, as Moses, Lycurgus, Solon,&c. or the senat, as those of Israel, Lacedemon, or Athens, than from their authority receiv’d and confirm’d by the vote or command of the people. It is true, that with Almighty God it is otherwise than with a mortal legislator, but thro another nature which to him is peculiar, from whom as he is the cause of being, or the Creator of mankind, omnipotent power is inseparable; yet so equal is the goodness of this nature to the greatness therof, that as he is the cause of welbeing by way of election, for example in his chosen people Israel, or of redemption, as in the Christian church, himself has prefer’d his authority or proposition before his empire. What else is the meaning of these words, or of this proceeding of his?Exod. 19. 5.now therfore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a kingdom, or I will be your king; which proposition being voted by the people in the affirmative, God procedes to propose to them the ten commandments in so dreadful a manner, that the people being exceedingly affrighted, say to Moses,speak thou with us, and we will hear thee: that is, be thou henceforth our legislator or proposer, and we will resolve accordingly; but let not God speak with us, lest we dy.Exod. 20. 19. From whenceforth God proposes to the people no otherwise than by Moses, whom he instructs in this manner: these are the judgments which thou shalt propose or set before them.Deut. 29. 1. Wherfore it is said of the book of Deuteronomy, containing the covenant which the Lord commandedMosesto make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb; this is the law whichMosesset before the children of Israel.Deut. 4. 44. Neither did God in this case make use of his omnipotent power, nor Christ in the like, who also is king after the same manner in his church, and would have bin in Israel, where when to this end he might have muster’d up legions of angels, and bin victorious with such armys, or argyraspides, as never prince could shew the like, he says no more than, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gather’d thee and thy children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not?Matt. 23. 37. where it is plain that the Jews rejectingChrist,that he should not reign over them, the law of the gospel came not to be the law of the Jews; and so if the ten commandments came to be the law of Israel, it was not only because God propos’d them, seeing Christ also propos’d his law, which nevertheless came not to be the law of the Jews; but because the people receiv’d the one, and rejected the other. It is not in the nature of religion that it should be thought a profane saying, that if the bible be in England, or in any other government, the law or religion of the land, it is not only because God has propos’d it, but also because the people or magistrat has receiv’d it, or resolv’d upon it; otherwise we must set lighter by a nation or government than by a privat person, who can bave no part nor portion in this law, unless he vote it to himself in his own conscience, without which, he remains in the condition he was before, and as the heathen, who are a law to themselves. Thus wheras in a covenant there must be two partys, the Old and New Testament being in sum the Old and New Covenant; these are that authority and proposition of God and Christ, to which they that refuse their vote or result may be under the empire of a clergy, but are none of his commonwealth. Nor, seeing I am gone so far, dos this at all imply freewill, but, as is admirably observ’d by Mr. Hobbs, the freedom of that which naturally precedes will, namely, deliberation or debate, in which, as the scale by the weight of reason or passion coms to be turn’d one way or other, the will is caus’d, and being caus’d is necessitated. When God coms in thus upon the soul of man, he gives both the will and the deed; from which like office of the senat in a commonwealth, that is, from the excellency of their deliberation and debate, which prudently and faithfully unfolded to the people, dos also frequently cause and necessitat both the will and the deed. God himself has said of the senat, that they are gods: an expression, tho divine, yet not unknown to the heathens; Homo homini Deus, one man, for the excellency of his aid, may be a God to another. But let the prevaricator look to it; for he that leads the blind out of his way, is his devil.
For the things I have of this kind, as also for what I have said upon the words Chirotonia and Ecclesia, the prevaricator is delighted to make me beholden underhand to Mr.Hobbs,nothwithstanding the open enmity which he says I profess to his politics.1 Sim. 8. 7. As if Josephus upon that of Samuel,They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them, had not said of the people (Θεον ἀπεχειροτόν[Editor: illegible character]ν τὴς ϐασιλείας) that they unchirotoniz’d or unvoted God of the kingdom. Now if they unchirotoniz’d or unvoted God of the kingdom, then they had chirotoniz’d or voted him to the kingdom; and so not only the doctrin that God was king in Israel by compact or covenant, but the use of the word Chirotonia also in the sense I understand it, is more antient than Mr. Hobbs. I might add that of Capellus,*God was a political king and civil legislator of the Jews. And for the use I have made of the word Ecclesia, as no man can read such as have written of the Grecian commonwealths, and miss it, so I do not remember that Mr. Hobbs has spoken of it. To these things fuller satisfaction will be given in the second book; which nevertheless I do not speak, to the end I might wave obligation to so excellent an author in his way. It is true, I have oppos’d the politics of Mr. Hobbs, to shew him what he taught me, with as much disdain as he oppos’d those of the greatest authors, in whose wholsom fame and doctrin the good of mankind being concern’d, my conscience bears me witness that I have don my duty. Nevertheless in most other things I firmly believe that Mr. Hobbs is and will in future ages be accounted the best writer, at this day, in the world. And for his treatises of human nature, and of liberty and necessity, they are the greatest of new lights, and those which I have follow’d, and shall follow.
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.
WHAT a commonwealth coming up to the perfection of the kind is, I have shewn both by the definition of an equal commonwealth, and the exemplification of it in all the parts.
The definition is contain’d in the first of my preliminarys; which, because it is short, I shall repeat.
AN equal commonwealth is a government establish’d upon an equal agrarian, arising into the superstructures or three orders, the senat debating and proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing, by an equal rotation, or interchangeable election, thro the suffrage of the people given by the ballot. The exemplification is the whole commonwealth of Oceana. Each of which by him, who, if his doctrin of pure and absolute monarchy be observ’d, can be no Englishman, is call’d an Irish Bog; as in som sense it is, seeing the prevaricator has set never a foot in it that will stand, nor has more to say, than that Where there is one ambitious poor man, or one vicious rich man, it is impossible there should be any such government as can be secure from sedition.Consid. p. 43.
Which, first, is rather to make all governments ineffectual, or to make all governments alike, than to object against any, seeing That there should not be one ambitious poor man, or one vicious rich man, is equally, if not more, improbable in a monarchy than in a commonwealth.
Secondly, That one man alone, whether he be rich or poor, should without a party be able to disturb a commonwealth with sedition, is an absurdity; nor is such a party, as may be able in som sort to disturb the peace by robbing upon the highway, or som such disorder, always able to disturb a government with sedition. Wherfore this feat goes not so much upon the ability of any one man, rich or poor, as the power of the party he is able to make; and this strength of the party gos upon the nature of the government, and the content or discontents thence deriving to the few, or the many. The discontents, whether of the few or the many, derive from that which is, or by them is thought to be som bar to their interest; and those interests which are the causes of sedition are three, the desire of liberty, the desire of power, and the desire of riches; nor be there any more: for where the people thro want of bread, thro violence offer’d to their women, or oppression, rise up against their governors, it relates to the desire of liberty; those also under the name of religion make not a fourth, but come to one of the three.
Now to speak in the first place of the many, and anon of the few; the people in an equal commonwealth have none of these three interests: not the desire of liberty, because the whole frame of an equal commonwealth is nothing else but such a method wherby the liberty of the people is secur’d to them: not of power, because the power which otherwise they could not exercise, is thus estated in them: nor of riches, because where the rich are so bounded by an agrarian that they cannot overbalance (and therfore neither oppress the people, nor exclude their industry or merit from attaining to the like estate, power, or honor) the whole people have the whole riches of the nation already equally divided among them; for that the riches of a commonwealth should not go according to the difference of mens industry, but be distributed by the poll, were inequal.Chap. VIII. Wherfore the people in an equal commonwealth having none of those interests which are the causes of sedition, can be subject to no such effect.
To affirm then with the Considerer, that the whole of this libration is reduc’d to the want of power to disturb the commonwealth, must needs be a mistake, seeing in the commonwealth propos’d the people have the power, but can have no such interest; and the people having no such interest, no party can have any such power, it being impossible that a party should com to overbalance the people, having their arms in their own hands. The whole matter being thus reduc’d to the want of power to disturb the government: this, according to his own argument, will appear to be the libration in which the power, wherof the governor is possest, so vastly exceeds the power remaining with those who are to obey (which in case of contest must be so small a party) that it would be desperately unreasonable for them to hope to maintain their cause. If the true method then of attaining to perfection in government be to make the governor absolute, and the people in an equal commonwealth be absolute, then there can be none in this government, that upon probable terms can dispute the power with the governor, and so this state by his own argument must be free from sedition. Thus far upon occasion of the ambitious poor man objected. I have spoken of the many; and in speaking of the many, implicitly of the few: for as in an equal commonwealth, for example in England during the peerage or aristocracy, the many depended upon or were included in the few; so in an equal commonwealth the few depend upon or are included in the many, as the senat of Venice depends upon, or is included in the great council, by which it is annually elected in the whole or in som part. So what was said in an equal commonwealth of the many or the poorer sort, is also said of the few or of the richer; who, thro the virtue of the agrarian, as in Oceana, or of other orders supplying the defect of an agrarian, as in Venice, not able to overbalance the people, can never have any power to disturb the commonwealth in case they had such an interest, nor can have any such interest in case they had such power. For example in Oceana, putting the case that the few were as powerful as it is possible they should be; that is, that the whole land was fallen into five thousand hands: the five thousand, excluding the people, could get no more riches by it, because they have the whole land already; no more liberty by it, because they were in perfect liberty before; nor any more power by it, because thro the equality of the balance, or of their estates, they can be no more by themselves than an equal commonwealth, and that they were already with the people: but would be much less, the power or commonwealth, in which there be five thousand equals, being not greater, but much less than the power or commonwealth wherin the whole people are equal; because the power or effect of a greater people is proportionably greater than the power or effect of a lesser people, and the few by this means would get no more than to be the lesser people. So the people being no bar to the riches, liberty, nor power of the five thousand, and the desire of liberty, riches, and power, being the only causes of sedition; there could arise no sedition in this commonwealth by reason of the nobility, who have no such interest if they had the power, nor have any such power if they had the interest, the people being equally possest of the government, of the arms, and far superior in number. In sum, an equal commonwealth consists but of one hereditary order, the people, which is by election divided into two orders, as the senat and the congregation in Lacedemon, or the senat and the great council in Venice; for the gentlemen of Venice, as has bin often said, are the people of Venice, the rest are subjects. And an inequal commonwealth consists of two hereditary orders, as the Patricians and Plebeians in Rome, wherof the former only had a hereditary capacity of the senat: whence it coms to pass that the senat and the people in an equal commonwealth having but one and the same interest, never were nor can be at variance; and that the senat and the people in an inequal commonwealth having two distinct interests, never did nor can agree. So an equal commonwealth cannot be seditious, and an inequal commonwealth can be no other than seditious.
If a man be resolv’d, as the Considerer is, to huddle these things together, there is no making any thing of this kind of policy; of which therfore it will be a folly to talk. For example, Lacedemon is either to be consider’d as not taking in the helots; and then in her self she was an equal commonwealth void of any sedition, or cause of it, how much soever she were troubl’d with the helots: so the objection made by him, of her troubles by the helots, is impertinently urg’d, to shew that she was a seditious commonwealth: or if he will needs have it, that she took in the helots, it is undeniable that she took them in inequally, and so was inequal; whence the troubles by the helots must needs be impertinently urg’d against an equal commonwealth.
Again, when I allege Venice from Piero Gradenigo, that is, for the space of about four hundred years from the present date, at which time the reformation, yet in force, began, as an example of an equal commonwealth; for him to instance in the times before, when tho the commonwealth, according to the intention, was as equal as now, yet being not bound by sufficient orders to give her self security of her native liberty, her dukes on the one side did what they pleas’d, and the inrag’d people on the other side banish’d, condemn’d to death, or murder’d them; who fees not the imposture? Indeed he blushes at it himself. Wherfore my assertion being not yet knock’d on the head, he promises to kill it better, first by the example of Lacedemon leaving out the helots, and next by that of Venice since the time ofPiero Gradenigo.
Consid. p. [Editor: illegible character]For the first you must know that once upon a time there was a quarrel between Cleomenes and Demaratus kings of Lacedemon about succession,Pausan. which was determin’d by the Ephori, that is, by a court of justice, and not by the sword;Lacon. the like happen’d in Leotychides the known bastard of Alcibiades, or so confest to be by his mother to divers of her maids.Plut. Alcib. Now this is a maxim in the politics, Where the differences of kings can go no further than a court of justice, there the government is seditious. Most ridiculous! Is there a stronger argument that such a government is not seditious? No matter, give him room; Much more fatal was the contest betweenCleonymusand his brotherAreusthe son ofAcrotatus,by whose warZaraxwas ruin’d, andPyrrhuscame into the game, who besieg’d the capital city: the reign ofAgisandCleomeneswas so full of turbulency, as would put a man out of breath to relate. Fair and softly: was not all this after Lysander, and the spoils of Athens had broken the agrarian, and so ruin’d Lacedemon? I affirm there can be no sedition in an equal commonwealth; and he to oppose me, shews that there was sedition in an inequal one; whether dos this affirm his assertion or mine?
But for better luck in Venice. This city by Mr.Harrington’s own confession is possest of several advantages. Yes, I say that the commonwealth of Venice, thus seated, is like a man in a citadel, who therby may be the safer from his enemys, but ne’er a whit the safer from diseases. What conclusion would you expect he should infer from hence? Why among these therfore there is good cause to reckon her immunity from seditions: dos not our logician repeat faithfully, and dispute honestly? Again, Sir, she is like a ship ready to be boarded by pirats, has the Turc on this frontier, the Pope on that, the king of Spain on another. As if this were an argument every government must not be void of sedition, seeing there is none except they be ilands, whose frontiers are not bounded by the territorys of other princes. Well, but since the last reglement (in English, reformation) in the time ofGradenigo, you have had three seditions in Venice, that of Marino Bocconi, that of Baiamonte Tiepolo, and that of Marino Falerio.
BODIN has bin long since beaten for this like a stockfish, and yet our author will be serving it up for a courtly dish. Bocconi would have kill’d the duke, but was hang’d before he could do it. Felton kill’d a duke that had greater power here than the other in Venice, and was hang’d afterwards, therefore England was a seditious government; for this must either be undeniable for Felton’s sake, or why must the other be so for Bocconi’s? Again, Falerio and his complices would have destroy’d the great council, but were hang’d before they could do it. Vaux and his accomplices would have blown up the parlament, but were hang’d before they could do it; therfore England was in this relation a seditious government, else why was Venice? There passes not a month but there dy rogues at Tyburn; is the government therfore seditious? or is this one regard in which it is not? Where all that so invade the government are by virtue of the same brought to that end, there the commonwealth, or the orders of it, are not the cause but the cure of sedition; and so these are undeniable arguments that Venice is not seditious, where, since the reformation, there has not been a cut finger upon this score, save only thro the conspiracy of Baiamonte, which indeed came to blows. Nor for this yet can Venice be call’d a seditious commonwealth. You find no man accusing Rome of sedition, in that she had a Manlius or a Melius that dangerously affected monarchy, because to these her orders, by which they suffer’d death, as soon apply’d the remedy. But Rome was a seditious commonwealth, because the perpetual feud that was between the senat and the people sprung out of her orders, and was that to which there was no remedy to apply. England was not a seditious government because it had a Vaux or a Felton, but because the power antiently of the nobility, and late of the people, was such by the orders of the same as might at any time occasion civil war. Put the case a slave or some desperat fellow has kill’d the great Turk, the government for that cannot be said to be seditious, but in this, that thro the very nature of the policy, the janizarys at any time may do as much, it is undeniably seditious. Baiamonte’s conspiracy he will not say was of this nature. It was not a disease in the bones of the commonwealth, but a thing that no sooner appeared, or broke out (tho it be true, there happen’d a little scratching first) than it fell off like a scab; such an accident might befal the best constitution, and Venice never had the like but once: if he could say as much of a monarchy, he gains no advantage; yet let him say it, and prove it, I give him all. I omit many falshoods and absurditys in the proceding of the prevaricator, as where he intimats the power of the dukes to have bin that wherby Venice gain’d I know not what, and yet to have bin that also by which Falerio had like to have spoil’d all: each of which, the duke of Venice having no power at all, is known to be false. Why should I stay to put you in mind that having affirm’d Venice to derive her immunity from intestin discord no otherwise than a ship that is ready to be boarded by pirats, he instances in such examples to the contrary, as took occasion by the hair of a foren scalp, while in those of Bocconi and Tiepolo the commonwealth by her wars with the Genoese and Ferrara, was put to her plunges, and in that of Falerio reduc’d to the last extremity? I shall only note, that if such sudden flashes as these may com under the name of sedition, he has done a fine office for monarchy, seeing no senat is so much expos’d to like blows as any prince.
Consid. p. 48.Well; but for all this it is confest that there may be such a thing as a seditious commonwealth, in that the feud between the senat and the people of Rome cou’d not be cur’d; what security, says he, will you give us, that the like may not happen in Oceana, or that the whole body of the people being intrusted with giving a vote, and keeping a sword, may not by way of council or arms, fall to such work as levelling the five thousand, or bringing the agrarian from two to one thousand pounds a year, or less, as they fancy.
To which I answer by a like question, what security will he give me that the people of any commonwealth shall not cast themselves into the sea? a prince may be mad, and do so, but the people are naturally incapable of such madness. If men will boast of their knowledge in principles, and yet talk of nothing but effects, why may not a man fly as well as a bird? But if causes may be regarded, let him once shew how the will, seeing it is not free, nor mov’d without som object, should move the people in such a manner; or for what, they having all the liberty and all the power that can be had, should it strive? well, that is soon don, for the land may come into the hands of five thousand, and so the booty may be great, and the resistance small. Good: the Romans being the wisest of all people, went no further towards the remedy of their grievances, than to strive for the introduction of an agrarian, in which they fainted too, even to the destruction of that government. Except these, none have bin so wise; and if there be any such thing familiar with the nature of the people, why appear’d it but once, and then vanish’d without effect? why did not the people for example under the late monarchy (when the dominion or freehold of the nation, by greater shares, was in a smaller party, and they had not only riches, but liberty and power too, to whet them on) ever so much as think of levelling three hundred men? for the nobility and clergy, in whom was the balance, were no more. If it be reply’d that the people were not arm’d; by whom did the barons make war with the kings? if they were not trusted with a vote; what was that of the house of commons? let dominion or freehold stand upon what balance you will, inequal or equal, from the beginning of the world you shall never find a people turning levellers. And as reason is experience in the root, so experience is reason in the branch, which might therfore be sufficient in the case. Nevertheless for clearer satisfaction in a point of such concernment, I shall endeavour to dig up and discover the root of this branch, or the reason of this experience. That which in beasts is instinct, wherof they can give no account, is in it self that wisdom of God wherby he provides for them; so it was with the people, they are not levellers, nor know they why, and yet it is, because to be levellers were to destroy themselves. For, seeing I must repeat, to repeat briefly; there is no territory of any extent and populousness where the revenue of industry is not twice as much as the dry rent. This has bin demonstrated in Oceana. The revenue of industry is in those that work, that is, the people: wherfore the revenue of the people, where their industry is not obstructed, is two-fold to that of the nobility, holding the whole territory in freehold. But where their industry is obstructed, their revenue is nothing. Civil war being of all other the greatest obstruction of industry, the people in taking arms must venture all they have, for that, which if they obtain they lose two for one; and if they obtain not, all for nothing. Wherfore a people never will, nor ever can; never did, nor ever shall take arms for levelling. But they are intrusted with a vote; and therfore taking away the lands of the five thousand, or diminishing the agrarian by way of counsil, they need not obstruct their industry: but, preserving the revenue of that, may bring themselves into the possession of the land too. This will they, this can they less do, because being in counsil they must propose somthing for the advantage of the commonwealth, or of themselves, as their end in such an action. But the land coming to be in the possession of five thousand, falls not into a number that is within the compass of the few, or such a one as can be princes, either in regard of their number, or of their estates; but to such a one as cannot consent to abolish the agrarian, because that were to consent to rob one another: nor can they have any party among them, or against their common interest, strong enough to force them, or to break it; which remaining, the five thousand neither are nor can be any more than a popular state, and the balance remains every whit as equal, as if the land were in never so many more hands. Wherfore the commonwealth being not to be better’d by this means, the people by counsil can never go about to level, nor diminish the agrarian for the good of the commonwealth. Nor can they undertake it for the inrichment of themselves, because the land of Oceana, as has bin demonstrated, being level’d or divided equally among the fathers of families only, coms not to above ten pounds a year to each of them, wheras every footman costs his master twenty pounds a year; and there is not a cottager having a cow upon the common, but with his own labour, at one shilling a day, gets twenty pounds a year; which, the land being level’d, were impossible, because there would be nobody able to set a labourer on work, or to keep a servant: wherfore neither would, nor could the people by counsil go about any such business. So there being no possible cause of disagreement between the few and the many, the senat and the people, there can be no such effect; whence this is the government, which being perfectly equal, has such a libration in the frame of it, that no man in or under it can contract such an interest or power, as should be able to disturb the commonwealth with sedition.Consid. p. 67. Yet after all this, the prevaricator will only tell Mr.Harrington (for to deny the conclusion is a fair way of disputing) that this libration is of the same nature with a perpetual motion in the mechanics. But let me tell him, that in the politics there is nothing mechanic, or like it. This is but an idiotism of som mathematician resembling his, who imagin’d the stream of a river to be like that of his spiggot.
The mathematician must not take God to be such a one as he is. Is that of the sun, of the stars, of a river, a perpetual motion? even so one generation gos and another coms.Galen de usu partium, l. 4.Nature, says Galen,has a tendency to make her creature immortal, if it were in the capacity of the matter on which she has to work; but the people never dys. This motion of theirs is from the hand of a perpetual mover, even God himself, in whom we live, and move, and have our being; and to this current the politician adds nothing but the banks, to which end, or none, the same God has also created human prudence. Wherfore there is not any thing that raises it self against God or right reason, if I say that it is in human prudence so to apply these banks, that they may stand as long as the river runs; or let this Considerer consider again, and tell me out of Scripture or reason, why not. Mathematicians, it is true, pretended to be the monopolists of demonstration; but speak ingenuously, have they, as to the politics, hitherto given any other demonstration, than that there is a difference between seeing, and making of spectacles? much more is that comparison of the politics, going upon certain and demonstrable principles, to astrologers and fortunetellers, who have none at all, vain and injurious. For as in relation to what David has said, and experience confirm’d, of the age of man, that it is threescore years and ten; I may say, that if a man lys bed-rid, or dys before threescore years and ten, of any natural infirmity or disease, it was not thro any imperfection of mankind, but of his particular constitution: so in relation to the principles and definition of an equal commonwealth yet unshaken, nay untouch’d by this prevaricator, I may safely affirm, that a commonwealth is a government, which if it has bin seditious, it has not been from any imperfection in the kind, but in the particular constitution, which where the like has happen’d, must have bin inequal. My retreat to these principles is call’d running into a bog; as if such as have no principles were not bogs, Informis limus, stygiæque paludes.
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.
ON monarchy I have said, that wheras it is of two kinds, the one by arms, the other by a nobility; for that by arms, as (to take the most perfect model) in Turky, it is not in art or nature to cure it of this dangerous flaw, that the Janizarys have frequent interest, and perpetual power to raise sedition, or tear the magistrat in pieces. For that by a nobility, as (to take the most perfect model) of late in Oceana, it was not in art or nature to cure it of that dangerous flaw, that the nobility had frequent interest and perpetual power by their retainers and tenants to raise sedition, and levy war:Chap. IX. whence I conclude that monarchy reaching the perfection of the kind, reaches not the perfection of government, but must still have some dangerous flaw in it.
This place (tho I did not intend by it to make work for a tinker) could not be of less concernment, than it proves to the prevaricator, who, as if he were oblig’d to mend all, falls first to patching with a monarchy by arms, then with a monarchy by a nobility: at length despairing, throws away each, and betakes himself with egregious confidence, to make out of both a new monarchy, which is neither. By observation of these three flourishes, the present chapter may be brought into some method.Consid. p. 46. The first blow of his hammer, or that wherby he intends the flaw or hole in monarchy by arms shall henceforth be mended and tite, is this: that the guards of the kings person be not increas’d beyond the necessity of security: that they be not suffer’d to stagnat at court, but be by a perpetual circulation drawn out upon service; and chiefly that they consist not of one entire body united under the same head, but be divided into distinct partys and commands; as we may see in France, where tho (in proportion to the extent of their dominions) the king’s guards be more numerous than those of the Roman or Turkish emperors, yet being divided into distinct bodys of French, Scots and Switzers, under their several colonels and captains, they have never bin the authors of any the least sedition. And in Turky of late years they begin to learn the art of poising the Janizarys by the Spahys, and so have frequently evaded the danger of their mutinys. Which fine work at first view gos upon this false ground, that the foundation of monarchy by arms is laid upon the prince’s guards or the court militia, wheras monarchy by arms consists in no other balance than the prince’s being sole landlord, which, where imperfect, as it was in that of the Roman emperors, the empire is the most troubl’d; and where perfect, as in Turky, the empire is less seditious. For that which he says of France, it relates to monarchy by a nobility; and therfore is not to be confounded, according to this method, with this, but refer’d to the next branch.
As to monarchy by arms, tho it be true that the balance of dominion in any of the three kinds may be said to be natural, in regard of the effect; yet seeing God has given the earth to the sons of men, that of a sole landlord, as Turky, is not so natural in the cause or foundation, as the Timars, and therfore requires the application of som kind of force, as the Janizarys, who are not the root of the government, that being planted in the earth of the Timars, or military farms and colonys (for that the Janizarys are not the foundation of this empire, which was founded long before, is plain, in that this order was not introduc’d till Amurath the Second) but the dragon that lys at that root, and without which the fruit would fall into the mouths of the Timariots by way of property (as when the knights fees granted first for life, became afterwards hereditary in Oceana) which would cause such a fall from monarchy, that it would becom, as we have seen, the rise of popular power (the lots, in case this should happen, of the Timariots, little differing from those divided by Joshua to the children of Israel) wherfore when this happens in the Turkish monarchy, it is at an end. And that this dos not happen, tho there be divers other concurrent policys, I would have any man shew me, how it could be but for the Janizarys. Otherwise it is plain that the Janizarys being a flying army, on wing at all games, and upon all occasions, are not so much the guard of the prince, as of the empire; which ruin’d, the prey falls to the Timariots, as those that are in possession, except these be ruin’d too, who being all horse, and far greater in number than the Janizarys that are foot, would (in case the aw of the prince, and the policy of the government which holds them divided, were broken) be invincible by the Janizarys, who nevertheless by these aids can easily contain them. Whence the sedition of the Janizarys, like that of a nobility, may be dangerous to the prince, but never threatens the throne; wheras the sedition of the Timariots, like that of a people, would be more against the throne than the prince. These things consider’d, and in them the nature, constitution, or disease of monarchy by arms, we may consult the more rationally with the considerer upon the applications or remedys by him offer’d, which are three.
First,That the guards of the king’s person be not increas’d beyond the necessity of security. But of what security, that of his person, or of his empire, or of both? for speaking of a monarchy by arms, in this latter sense only it is true: and if so, then this singular maxim of state (Frustra fit per plura, quod fieri potest per pauciora) might have bin spar’d (Cela s’en va sans le dire, comme les heures de nostre curè.)
Secondly,That they be not suffer’d to stagnat at court, but be by a perpetual circulation drawn out upon service; for if there be not perpetual service, it should seem, men might be apt to think that government was instituted for peace as well as war. I add no more than is imply’d in his words, which as to this of Turky have chanc’d well; where not the stagnation of the Janizarys only, but of the court it self (which by the institution should always be in exercise of arms) is the cause of that present decay, so perceivable in this empire. But the prince sitting still or stagnating, to what the circulation of the Janizarys (whose alienation from the government, or intelligence with the Timariots, must needs be of dangerous consequence) could tend, should have bin thought on: otherwise to expose the empire to danger for the safety of the prince, is no cure of the government.
But his chief remedy remains: This court militia must not consist of one intire body united under the same head, but be divided under several colonels, captains, partys, brigades, and distributed to several quarters. As if this were a cure, there were any army that could be mutinous: but where he says, not united under the same head, he intimats perhaps divers generals, and divers armys; now such are the Turkish Beglerbegs, and the provinces under their governments. That these therfore be kept divided, so that not any two of them can lay their heads together without having them cut off, nor any son succede the father in government, requires that there be always a sufficient force (distinct from the interest of the Timariots and Beglerbegs) united, and still ready upon occasion of this service; and the Janizarys with the spahys or court-horse being united, are no more than sufficient for this service. Wherfore if these also were so divided as therby to be weaken’d, they could not be sufficient for this service; and their division, except such as might weaken them, would be of no security to the prince. That the provinces, under this aw, are less apt to rebel, than the court guards to mutiny, is no wonder; but the court guards being cur’d by the prescription of this physician, of the possibility of mutiny, which without weakening them is impossible, the provinces, if liberty, or riches, or power be desirable, would never indure the yoke of this government. Wherfore it being inavoidable in the Turkish empire, that either the Janizarys, or the Timariots may do what they list (in regard that whether of them be able to give law to the other, must at the same time be able to give law to the prince; and to bring them to an equal balance, were to make a civil war, or at least to sow the seed of it) the native wound of monarchy by arms remains incur’d and incurable. What more may be don for monarchy, founded upon a nobility, coms next to be try’d. In this the considerer gives his word, that there never rises any danger to the crown, but when either a great part of the soverain power is put into the hands of the nobility, as in Germany and Poland (where it should seem by him, that the electors and the gentry do not put power into the hands of the emperor, or king, but the emperor or king puts power into the hands of the electors or gentry) or when som person or family is suffer’d to overtop the rest in riches, commands, and dependence, as the princes of the blood and Lorrain, not long since, in France; and of old theMontfortsandNevilsin England.Consid. p. 47. The first of these he declares to be a vicious government, and a monarchy only in name: the second he undertakes shall easily admit of this remedy; that the great ones be reduc’d (decimo sexto) to a lesser volum, and level’d into an equality with the rest of their order.
His putpin is pretty: the emperor puts power into the hands of the electors; and the king of Poland puts power into the hands of the gentlemen: which governments therfore (and all such like, as when the king of England did put power into the hands of the barons, at such a time as he was no longer able to keep it out of their fingers, by which means the antient and late government of king, lords and commons, was restor’d) are vicious constitutions, and monarchys only in name: such as he will not meddle with, and therfore let them go. Well; but where is the patient then? if these be not monarchys by nobility, what do we mean by that thing? or what government is it that we are to cure? why such a one, where som person or family is suffer’d to overtop the rest in riches, commands, and dependence, as the princes of the blood and Lorrain, not long since, in France; and of old theMontfortsand theNevilsin England. So then the same again (for these are no other) upon recollection, are those that admit of this easy cure. Let the great ones be reduc’d to a lesser volum, and level’d with the rest of their order. But how? if they be the weaker party, they are not the great ones; and if they be the stronger party, how will he reduce them? put the case a man has the gout, his physician dos not bid him reduce his overtopping toes to the volum of the other foot, nor to level them to equality with the rest of their order, but prescribes his remedys, and institutes the method that should do this feat. What is the method of our Æsculapius;point de novelle; or where are we to find it? e’en where you please. The princes of the blood, and of Lorrain in France; theMontfortsand theNevilsin England, overtop’d not their order by their own riches or power, but by that of the party, which for their fidelity, courage, or conduct, intrusted them with the managing of their arms or affairs. So the prince that would have level’d them, must have level’d their party; which in case the controversy be upon the right, or pretended right of the nobility in the government, which commonly makes them hang together, may com to the whole order: what then?Consid. p. 49. why then, says he, the prince must preserve his nobility weighty enough to keep the people under, and yet not tall enough in any particular person to measure with himself: which, abating the figure, is the same again; and so I have nothing to answer but the figure. Now for this, the prince himself is no otherwise tall, than by being set upon the shoulders of the nobility; and so if they set another upon the same shoulders (as in Henry the 4th or the 7th, who had no titles to the crown, nor could otherwise have measur’d with the prince) be he never so low, he coms to be tall enough in his particular person to measure with the prince, and to be taller too, not only by those old examples, but others that are younger than our selves, tho such (the nobility having not of late bin weighty enough to keep the people under) as derive from another principle, that of popular balance. A prince therfore preserving his nobility weighty enough to keep the people under, must preserve in them the balance of that kind of empire: and the balance containing the riches, which are the power, and so the arms of the nation; this being in the nobility, the nobility, when willing, must be able to dispose of the king, or of the government. Nor under a less weight is a nobility qualify’d to keep down the people, as by an argument from the contrary. Henry the 7th having found the strength of his nobility, that set him in a throne to which he had no right, and fearing that the tide of their favour turning, they might do as much for another, abated the dependence of their tenants, and cut off their train of retainers; which diminution of their weight, releasing the people by degrees, has caus’d that plain or level into which we live to see the mountain of that monarchy now sunk and swallow’d: wherfore the balance of the nobility being such as failing, that kind of monarchy coms to ruin; and not failing, the nobility, if they join, may give law to the king, the inherent disease of a monarchy by a nobility remains also uncur’d and incurable.
The balance of France.These are points to which I had spoken before; but somthing concerning France and foren guards was mumbled by the prevaricator in a wrong place, while he was speaking of Turky, where there is no such thing. This, left I be thought to have courted opposition for nothing, shall open a new scene; while I take occasion in this place to speak first of the balance of the French monarchy, and next of the nature and use of foren guards.
The whole territory of France except the crown lands, which on this account are not considerable, consists of three shares or parts, wherof the church holds one, the nobility another; and the presidents, advocats, other officers of the parlaments, courts of justice, the citizens, merchants, tradesmen, the treasurers, receivers of the customs, aids, taxes, impositions, gabels, all which together make a vast body, hold a third: by how equal portions I am sorry that I do not know, nor where to learn: but this is the balance of the French monarchy, to which the peasant holding nothing, but living (tho in one of the best countrys of the world) in the meanest and most miserable condition of a laborer, or hynd, is of no account at all.
The partys that hold the balance in a territory are those of whom the government does naturally consist, wherfore these are call’d estates; so the clergy, the nobility, and the commons, are the three estates of France. Tho the third, because the peasant partaking not of the balance can (in relation to government) be of no account, is not call’d the commons, but only the third estate: wheras the yeomanry and gentry in England having weigh’d as well in the balance as the church and the nobility, the three estates of England (while the monarchy was in vigor) were the clergy, the nobility, and the commons.Grotius de imp. sum. pot. circa sacra. c. 2. f. 4.The consent of nations evinces that the function of the clergy, or priest, except where otherwise determin’d by law, appertains to the magistrat. By this rightNoah, Abraham, Job,with the rest of the patriarchs, instructed their familys, or sacrific’d. There seems to have bin a kind of commonwealth in Canaan, whileMelchizedecwas both king and priest. Such also wasMoses,till he consecratedAaron,and conser’d the preisthood upon the Levits, who are expresly said to succede to the firstborn, that is to the patriarchs, who till then exercis’d that function. Nor was it otherwise with the Gentils, where they, who had the soverain power, or were in eminent magistracy, did also the priestly office (omnino apud veteres qui rerum potiebantur, iidem auguria tenebant: ut enim sapere, sic divinare, regale ducebant, saysCicero;andVirgil, Rex Anius, rex idem hominum, Phoebique facerdos.) You find the heros, that is princes, in poets, sacrificing. The Ethiopian, Egyptian, Lacedemonian kings did the like. In Athens constantly and in Rome, when they had no kings, occasionally they elected a rex sacrorum, or king priest. So that a free people had thus far power of electing their priests, is not deny’d by any man.Original of a landed clergy. This came, it should seem, to be otherwise establish’d by the law in Egypt, where the priests (whose lands Joseph when he bought those of the people did not buy) being great landlords,Gen. 47. 22. it may be to the third of the whole territory, were one of the three estates of the realm. And it is clear in Scripture that the people, till they sold their lands, became not servants to Pharaoh.Xenoph. in Orat.de Ages. While Agesilaus was in Egypt they depos’d their king, which implys the recovery of their balance; but so, seeing they set up another, as withal shews the balance of the nobility to have bin predominant. These particulars seem to com near to the account of Diodorus Siculus, by whom the balance of Egypt should have stood thus:L. 1.the whole revenue was divided into three parts, wherof the priest had the first, the king had the second, and the nobility had the third. It seems to me that the priests had theirs by their antient right and title, untouch’d by Joseph; that the kings had all the rest by the purchase of Joseph; and that in time, as is usual in like cases, a nobility came thro the bounty of succeding kings to share with them in one half. But however it came about, Egypt by this means is the first example of a monarchy upon a nobility, at least distributed into three estates by means of a landed clergy, which by consequence came to be the greatest counsillors of state, and, fitting religion to their uses, to bring the people to be the most superstitious in the whole world.
Were it not for this example, I should have said, that the indowment of a clergy or religious order with lands, and the erecting of them into an estate of the realm or government, were no antienter than the Goths and Vandals, who introducing a like policy, which to this day takes place throout the Christian world, have bin the cause;
First, Why the clergy have bin generally great counsillors to kings, while the people are led into superstition?
Secondly, By planting a religious order in the earth, why religion has bin brought to serve worldly ends?
And, thirdly, by rendring the miter able to make war; why of latter ages we have had such a thing as war for religion, which till the clergy came to be a third state or landlords, was never known in the world:Thucyd. l. 1. for that some citys of Greece, taking arms upon the usurpation or violation of som temple, have call’d it the holy war; such disputes having bin put upon matter of fact, and not of faith, in which every man was free, came not to this account. Moseswas learn’d in all the learning of the Egyptians; but a landed clergy introduced he not in Israel: nor went the apostles about to lay any such foundation of a church. Abating this one example of Egypt, till the Goths and Vandals, who brought in the third estate, a government, if it were inequal, consisted but of two estates; as that of Rome, whether under the kings or the commonwealth, consisted of the Patricians and Plebeians, or of the nobility and the people. And an equal commonwealth consists but of one, which is the people: for example of this you have Lacedemon and Venice, where the people being few, and having many subjects or servants, might also be call’d a nobility, as in regard of their subjects they are in Venice, and in regard of their helots or servants, they might have bin in Lacedemon. That, I say, which, introducing two estates, causes division, or makes a commonwealth inequal, is not that she has a nobility, without which she is depriv’d of her most special ornament, and weaken’d in her conduct, but when the nobility only is capable of magistracy, or of the senat; and where this is so order’d, she is inequal, as Rome But where the nobility is no otherwise capable of magistracy, nor of the senat, than by election of the people, the commonwealth consists but of one order, and is equal, as Lacedemon or Venice.
But for a politician commend me to the considerer, he will have Rome to have bin an equal commonwealth, and Venice to be an inequal one, which must be evinc’d by wiredrawing. For having elswhere, as has bin shewn, admitted without opposition that the balance of empire is well divided into natural and provincial, the humor now takes him to spin that wedg into such a thred, as by entangling of these two, may make them both easy to be broken.Consid. p 16. 69. 70. Hereto he betakes himself in this manner. As Mr.Harringtonhas well observ’d (p. 37.) where there are two partys in a republic with equal power (as in that of Rome, the people had one half, and the nobility had the other half) confusion and misery are there intail’d. For remedy wherof, or to avoid this, there can be no way but to make the commonwealth very inequal.
In answer to this, there will need no more than to repeat the same things honestly. Mr. Harrington speaks of the national balance of empire (p. 37) to this sense: Where the nobility holds half the property, or about that proportion, and the people the other half (the shares of the land may be equal; but in regard the nobility have much among few, and the people little among many, the few will not be contented to have authority, which is all their proper share in a commonwealth, but will be bringing the people under power, which is not their proper share in a commonwealth; wherfore this commonwealth must needs be inequal. And except by altering the balance, as the Athenians did by the sisacthia, or recision of debts; or as the Romans went about to do by an agrarian, it be brought to such an equality, that the whole power be in the people, and there remain no more than authority to the nobility) there is no remedy but the one (with perpetual feud) will eat out the other, as the people did the nobility in Athens, and the nobility the people in Rome. Where the carcase is, there will be the eagles also; where the riches are, there will be the power. So if a few be as rich as all the rest, a few will have as much power as all the rest; in which case the commonwealth is inequal, and there can be no end of staving and tailing, till it be brought to equality. Thus much for the national balance; for the provincial, there power dos not follow property, but the contrary: this the prevaricator having acknowleg’d, lets slip, to the end he may take a gripe of Venice, which (because the three or four thousand of which originally consisted, and now consists that whole government, having acquir’d provinces, and increase of their city by later comers, do not admit these to participation of power) he says is an inequal commonwealth. He will be a mill-horse, whether the cake be dow or not; for this is to draw in a circle: and Rome, which by his former arguments should have bin equal, by this again must be inequal, seeing Rome as little admitted her provinces into the body of the commonwealth, as dos Venice. This clash is but by way of parenthesis; to return therfore to the business in present agitation.
The estates be they one, or two, or three, are such (as was said by virtue of the balance) upon which the government must naturally depend. Wherfore constitutively the government of France (and all other monarchys of like balance) was administer’d by an assembly of the three estates; and thus continu’d till that nation being vanquish’d by the English,Charles the 7th was put to such shifts as, for the recovery of himself in the greatest distress, he could make. To which recovery, while the estates could not be legally call’d, he happening to attain without them, so order’d his affairs, that his successors, by adding to his inventions, came to rule without this assembly; a way not suting with the nature of their balance, which therfore requir’d som assistance by force, and other concurring policys of the like nature, wherof the foren guards of that monarchy are one; the great baits alluring the nobility another; and the emergent interest of the church a third.
To begin with the last of these; the church (except it be in a war for religion, as when they join’d with the princes of Lorrain, and what party of the French nobility were made, or they could make against the king of Navar) are not of themselves so hot at hand, or promt to arms: but the king being (to use their word) no heretic, thro their great apprehension of the third estate, as that which is most addicted to the Protestant religion, may be confident they will never side with the people. So by this emergent interest or accident he has the church sure enough.
For the nobility, which is exceeding gallant, this change has the greatest baits; for wheras the church being not spar’d, the third estate is laden, and the peasant overladen with taxes, the nobility is not only at better ease in this regard, but for the greater or more considerable part, receives advantage by it: the king having always, whether in peace or war, a great cavalry, than which there is no better in the world for the exercise, entertainment, and profit of the nobility: governments of citys, castles, provinces in abundance, which he rarely distributes to any other. The greater nobility are marechals, generals; the less officers in the armys, specially of the horse, the emoluments wherof they receive also in time of peace; and many of this order being pensioners, taste of the king’s liberality, without taking pains, or having any imployment at all. By which both that France is a monarchy by a nobility, and how she holds her nobility, is apparent.
Now the church and the nobility standing thus ingag’d to the king, by which means he has two parts of the balance to one, it is demonstrable that the government must be quiet. Nor, seeing the church for the reason shewn is sure enough, coms the government (since the Protestant citys and holds were demolish’d) to be otherwise disquieted than by the flying out of the nobility, which, whenever it happens in any party considerable, either for the number, or the interest, causes the crown to shake; for it seldom coms to pass upon this occasion, but the third estate, or som part of it, takes arms immediately. In which place it is worthy to be observ’d, that wealth, according to the distribution of the balance, has contrary motions. The third estate in France having riches, and those laden with taxes, com to have somthing to lose, and somthing to save: which keeps them in continual fear or hope. The nobility holding to the king, the third estate has somthing to lose, which withholds them from arms thro fear; but the nobility flying out, the third estate has somthing to save, which precipitats them into arms thro hope: wheras the peasant having nothing to save or to lose, to hope or to fear, never stirs. The case standing thus, the sufficiency of the French politician (since the masterpiece of cardinal Richlieu, in demolishing those walls of the Protestants, which had otherwise by this time bin a refuge for the third estate, and perhaps overturn’d the monarchy) lys altogether in finding for the nobility work abroad, or balancing them in such sort at home, that if a party flys out, there may be a stronger within to reduce it, or at least to be oppos’d to it. In this case, left the native interest of the nobility, since the assemblys of the three estates were abolish’d, might cool the remaining party, or make them slower in the redress of such disorder or discontents than were requisit, the king is wisely provided of foren guards; which being always in readiness, and not obnoxious to the native interest, may upon like occasions be of more expedition and trust. Being com thus to foren arms, which is the point I more especially propos’d to myself in the present discourse, one objection in relation to what has bin already said, seems to interpose itself. Seeing France, while it is not govern’d by the assembly of states, is yet of the same balance it was when govern’d by the assembly of states; it may be said that a government of the same balance may admit of divers administrations.
To which I need make no other answer, than to put you in mind, that while this government was natural, or administer’d by the assembly of states, it is celebrated by Machiavel to have bin the best order’d of any monarchy in the world; and that what it is, or has bin of later times, you may believe your own eys or ears.
Of arms, and their kind.There be yet, before I can com to foren guards, som previous considerations. All government, as is imply’d by what has bin already shewn, is of these three kinds: a government of servants: a government of subjects; or, a government of citizens. The first is absolute monarchy, as that of Turky: the second aristocratical monarchy, as that of France: the third a commonwealth, as those of Israel, of Rome, of Holland. Now (to follow Machiavel in part) of these, the government of servants is the harder to be conquer’d, and the easier to be held: the government of subjects is the easier to be conquer’d, and the harder to be held. To which I shall presume to add, that the government of citizens is both the hardest to be conquer’d, and the hardest to be held.
My author’s reasons, why a government of servants is the hardest to be conquer’d, com to this, that they are under perpetual disciplin and command, void of such interests and factions, as have hands or power to lay hold upon advantages or innovation; whence he that invades the Turk must trust to his own strength, and not rely upon disorders in the government, or forces which he shall be sure enough to find united.
His reasons why this government being once broken, is easily held, are, that the armys once past hope of rallying, there being no such thing as familys hanging together, or nobility to stir up their dependents to further reluctancy for the present, or to preserve themselves by complacence with the conquerors for future discontents or advantages, he that has won the garland has no more to do but to extinguish the royal line, and wear it ever after in security. For the people having bin always slaves, are such whose condition he may better, in which case they are gainers by their conqueror; but can never make worse, and therfore they lose nothing by him. Hence Alexander having conquer’d the Persian empire, he and his captains after him could hold it without the least dispute, except it arose among themselves. Hence Mahomet the Second having taken Constantinople, and put Palæologus the Greec emperor (whose government was of like nature with the Persian) together with his whole family, to the sword, the Turc has held that empire without reluctancy.
On the other side, the reasons why a government of subjects is easilier conquer’d, are these: That it is supported by a nobility so antient, so powerful, and of such hold and influence upon the people, that the king without danger, if not ruin to himself or the throne (an example wherof was given in Hen. 7th of England) can neither invade their privileges, nor level their estates; which remaining, they have power upon every discontent to call in an enemy, as Robert count of Artois did the English, and the duke of Guise the Spaniard into France.
The reasons why a government of subjects being so easily conquer’d, is nevertheless the harder to be held, are these: That the nobility being soon out of countenance in such a case, and repenting themselves of such a bargain, have the same means in their hands wherby they brought in the enemy, to drive him out, as those of France did both the English and the Spaniard.
For the government of citizens, as it is of two kinds, an equal or an inequal commonwealth, the reasons why it is the hardest to be conquer’d, are also of two kinds; as first, the reasons why a government of citizens, where the commonwealth is equal, is hardest to be conquer’d, are, that the invader of such a society must not only trust to his own strength, inasmuch as the commonwealth being equal, he must needs find them united, but in regard that such citizens, being all soldiers or train’d up to their arms, which they use not for the defence of slavery, but of liberty (a condition not in this world to be better’d) they have more specially upon this occasion the highest soul of courage, and (if their territory be of any extent) the vastest body of a well disciplin’d militia that is possible in nature: wherfore an example of such a one overcom by the arms of a monarch, is not to be found in the world. And if som small city of this frame has happen’d to be vanquish’d by a potent commonwealth, this is her prerogative, her towers are her funeral pile, and she expires in her own flame, leaving nothing to the conqueror but her ashes, as Saguntum overwhelm’d by Carthage, and Numantia by Rome.
The reasons why a government of citizens, where the commonwealth is inequal, is, next the former, the hardest to be conquer’d, are the same, with this difference, that tho her peace be not perfect within, her condition is not to be better’d by any thing without. Wherfore Rome in all her strife never call’d in an enemy; and if an enemy upon occasion of her strife, and hopes of advantage by it, came without calling, he presented her with her most soverain cure, who had no leisure to destroy her self, till having no enemy to find her work, she became her own.
Nor is there any example that a government of this kind was ever subdu’d by the arms of a monarch; tho som indeed may be found that have call’d or suffer’d foren princes or force to com in, as Holland by marriages of their prince, and Genoa thro her factions, as those of the Fiesci and Adorni.Guic. l. 11.
To conclude this part as to the reasons why a government of citizens so acquir’d or possest, as thro marriage, or faction, is the hardest to be held, there needs no more than that men accustom’d to their arms and their liberties will never indure the yoke. Wherfore the Spaniard, tho a mighty king, no sooner began in Holland, a small commonwealth, to innovat or break her orders, than she threw him off with such courage and disdain, as is admirable to the world. And somwhat of the like kind did Genoa by the help of her Doria in the vindication of her liberty from France.
To com by this farthest way about as I think the nearest way home: arms are of of two sorts, proper or improper; that is, native or foren.Proper and improper arms.
Proper and native arms are, according to the triple nature of government, of three kinds; servants in arms, as the helots in Lacedemon, the timariots and janizarys in Turky; subjects in arms, as the horse in France, and the seaguards or forces in Venice; or citizens in arms, as those upon the Lexiarcha in Athens, of the Moræ in Lacedemon, and the legions in Rome.
Improper or foren arms are of two sorts; auxiliarys, and mercenarys.
Auxiliarys are such as are supply’d by virtue of som league, as were those of the Latins and Italians to the Romans; and those of the cantons of Swiss (except Zuric) to the king of France: or they may be such as are occasionally lent freely, or let forth for mony by one state to another, the latter wherof differ not much from mercenarys.
Mercenarys are soldiers of fortune that have no other trade than their arms, and let out themselves for mony; of such consisted the greatest part of the Carthaginian strength, such is the land force of Venice, and, notwithstanding the antient league of France with those nations, such at this day are the Swiss and Scotish guards (and somtimes a good part of the foot) in France.
MACHIAVEL discourses upon these particulars in his art of war, to admiration: by whom I shall therfore steer.
Where the arms in bulk are proper, and consisting of citizens, they have other trades, and therfore are no soldiers of fortune; and yet because the commonwealth has arms for her trade (in regard she is a magistrat given for the good of mankind, and bears not her sword in vain) they are all educated as well in military as civil disciplin, taking their turns in service of either nature according to the occasion, and the orders of the commonwealth, as in Israel, Athens, Lacedemon, and Rome, which had (if their territorys permitted, and somtimes, as I may say, whether their territorys permitted or no, as in Israel) the vastest, the highest temper’d, and the best disciplin’d militia, that is to be found in the whole compass of story. Som armys of Israel have consisted of three or four hundred thousand men:Plin. L. Æmilio Papo, C. Atilio Regulo Coss.Rome upon the rumor of a Gallic tumult, arm’d in Italy only, without foren aid, seventy thousand horse and seven hundred thousand foot; things in our days (when the Turk can hardly arm half so many) not to be credited.
Hence that a commonwealth, which had not first broken her self, or bin broken by som other commonwealth, should not be found to have bin conquer’d by the arms of any monarch, is not miraculous, but a natural effect of an apparent cause. In this place, or upon this text, divines whom I would desire not to be enemys of popular power, but to give Machiavel his due, shall, if they please, hear him make a goodly sermon, in these words:Arte della Guer. Proem. If antient commonwealths and governments us’d diligence in any other order to make their people lovers of peace, faithful to their country, and to have the fear of God before their eys, they doubl’d it in this of their militia: for of whom should your country expect greater faith, than of such as have offer’d themselves to dy for her? Whom should she indeavour to make greater lovers of peace, than them who only can inslave her by force? In whom should there be greater fear of God, than in such as carry their lives in their hands? This, when lawgivers and captains rightly consider’d, was the cause why soldiers were esteem’d, honor’d, follow’d and imitated above all men in the world; wheras since such orders are broken, and custom is altogether deviated from the course of antient prudence, men are com to detest the iniquity of the camp, and fly the conversation of such as are in arms, as the pestilence. Where the arms in bulk are proper, but consist of subjects, they are the best next; and but the best next, as appears by all examples antient and modern. The arms with which Pyrrhus prince of Epirus invaded the Romans, were of subjects; yet that prince, tho he was not vanquish’d by the Romans, confest their advantage, and gave them over. The Spaniard being a far more potent king than was Pyrrhus, has acknowleg’d as much to the Hollanders, tho a far less commonwealth than Rome: so have the princes of Austria, and of Burgundy, to the Switzers. That the arms of subjects are nevertheless as much superior to the arms of servants, as inferior to the arms of citizens, is as plain; seeing as Alexander, with thirty thousand subjects, vanquish’d Darius, having innumerable slaves; so thirty thousand Christians are at this day a match for any army of Turks: and we see Venice, whose force by sea consists of subjects, to have made him quit that element near as fully to her dominion or empire, as did the Persian to Athens.
To arms that are proper, but consist of servants, all the preeminence that can be given is, that they are better than foren arms; a proof wherof we have in those of Selimus, wherby he conquer’d the Mamalucs; who being but a foren force that held Egypt in subjection, the country was irrecoverably lost, and, for the reasons already shewn, as easily kept.
Improper arms, whether auxiliary or mercenary, where the force of a prince or of a commonwealth consists, for the bulk or greater part, of no other, are the least effectual, and the most dangerous of all. For auxiliarys, or what effect has bin found of them by princes or commonwealths, it was seen in France during the league by the Spaniard; and in Holland during the reign of Queen Elizabeth by the English; but especially in the Goths and Vandals, who having been auxiliarys or mercenarys, rely’d upon by the later emperors, came therby to ruin the Roman empire.
Mercenarys who make their arms their trade, must of all others be the most pernicious; for what can we expect less of such whose art is not otherwise so profitable, than that they should (as Machiavel shews) be breakers of their faith, given up to rapin, enemys of peace and government.
To instance in som commonwealths, that of Carthage after her first war with the Romans, fell thro the rebellion of Spendius and Matho, ringleaders of her mercenarys, into another that was far more dangerous. Of such a dilemma were the arms of this state, that if Hannibal had conquer’d Rome, he must have bin king of Carthage; and not conquering Rome, Carthage was ruin’d. The commonwealth of Milan, trusting herself to F. Sforza and his mercenarys, became the subject of her servant, and he her duke. Nor is Venice, whose land-forces are of the same kind, otherwise in safety as to these, than by her situation. To give some instances of the same nature in princes: the father of F. Sforza being captain of a like mercenary army, forc’d Joan queen of Naples, whom he left disarm’d in the midst of her enemys, to lay herself at the feet of the king of Arragon; and Braccio by such another treachery had plainly possest himself of the kingdom of Naples, had he not bin broken at Aquila, where death intercepted his design. From what has bin said (first of government, and then of arms) if a government of servants be harder to be conquer’d, and easier to be held, then in this foren arms must needs be least necessary, and most dangerous.
If a government of subjects be easier to be conquer’d, and harder to be held, then in this foren arms may be more necessary, but must be less dangerous.
But tho a government of citizens be both hardest to be conquer’d, and hardest to be held, yet as it is again in this regard of two kinds, this cannot be said of each kind alike; wherfore I must distinguish.
In a government of citizens, if the commonwealth be not for increase, but preservation only, as Lacedemon, Carthage, Venice, foren arms are both necessary and dangerous; but in a government of citizens, where the commonwealth is both for increase and preservation, as Rome, foren arms are neither necessary nor dangerous.
To repeat the parts of this conclusion, which being brief is obscure, more fully and particularly.
The empire of Turky is of the harder kind to be conquer’d, wherfore the Turk needs not foren guards to defend him, but it is of the easier to be held; wherfore let him take heed of intrusting his person with foren guards, who having a foren interest, may have a foren nation to assist them: and so the person of the prince being in their hands, they have no more to do than to extinguish the royal line; and the empire being easily held, is their own thenceforth with security. Thus the Mamalucs, which were at first foren guards, extinguishing the royal line of the kings of Egypt, came to possess and hold that realm without opposition. Who well considers this point, will never enough admire the policy of the Turc in the creation (as it were) of his Janizarys, free from any national interest that might make them dream of, or desire liberty; and yet so void of all foren interest or knowledge, that they know not what, or who were their country or parents. Hence tho they have interest to murder the Turc, and somtimes do accordingly, they have no further interest in the world but what depends upon the government; and so the empire is safe, tho the prince be in danger: wheras if they were foren guards, or had any native interest, not only the prince, but the empire too, would be in danger, the rest being servants, and such whose condition might be better’d by a change, but could be no worse. Wherfore a government of servants must by no means admit of foren guards or Mamalucs.
But the empire of France, where the nobility are not only subject to fly out, but to call in strangers, may have use of foren guards, which not obnoxious to native interest and factions, as those of the nobility, are the readiest and best help at this lift; yet not dangerous, tho having the prince in their power, because by him they are safe from the nobility, who, were it not for the prince, would be so far from bearing or brooking foren guards, that in case a forener came in upon their call, having the same means to help themselves wherby they brought him in, they would shake the yoke, and the ends why they call’d him in, being satisfy’d or repented of, drive him out again as they did the Spaniards and the English. But if this government being invaded or conquer’d, be so hard to be kept, how much harder being surpriz’d? Wherfore in a government by subjects, foren arms may be more necessary, but must be less dangerous.
In a commonwealth for preservation, as Lacedemon, Carthage, Venice, foren arms are necessary: so Lacedemon, tho able to defend her self by her proper forces against any one city, yet the wars in Greece going much upon leagues and confederats, were forced also to make use of her confederats, and somtimes of her helots.
But as antiently to Carthage, so now to Venice, foren or mercenary forces are essential, because for land-service such a constitution can have no other; yet is this course extremely dangerous, as appear’d by Lacedemon, who (being ever in fear of her helots) when she had acquir’d upon the matter the whole empire of Greece, came, by the rebellion of her confederats, not only to lose all, but likewise to ruin. For Carthage, upon the mutiny of Spendius and Matho, she escap’d, as at other times upon like occasions, very narrowly. That such an accident neither has befaln Venice, nor can befal her, is to be attributed to her situation, by which, in this regard, she is secure: nevertheless, her progress or increase, which by this means either cannot be great, or being great, must render her but the more infirm, is fully barr’d.
To a commonwealth for increase, which always takes in the whole body of the people, foren arms (seeing she abounds above all other kinds of policy, with such as are proper) must needs be the least necessary; and they are the most safe, because never admitting them, but for her mere convenience and frugality in expence of native blood, she receives no such charge of them as can recoil, but must carry point blank, and as vigorously at her proper interest, very near as her proper arms. Thus did the Latin and Italian auxiliarys, of which, join’d with the Roman legions, consisted a consular army.
By thus much it seems that an inference from the success of arms to the perfection of government, and from the perfection of government to the success of arms, should be no fallacious way of disputing.
But this being sweaty work with the considerer, who loves his ease, it is enough to argue thus: The Switz, Scotish, and French guards, have never bin the authors of any sedition, therfore the seditiousness of a nobility may be mended by foren guards: which is, as if one should say, such a physician has never bin the cause of the gout; therfore the gout may be cur’d by such a physician. That foren arms may be well enough apply’d in the case of a seditious nobility, and have som good effects, is not deny’d: but is France therfore cur’d of her sedition, or remains she, notwithstanding her foren guards, the most seditious example in the world? If thus she has not bin, nor be, what has he read of the princes of the blood in former times, or heard of late from them? But if thus she has bin, and be, is it not a fine way of cure, to give us an example of the disease for the remedy? Nor are her guards so void of sedition neither: but the Switzer, if he wants his pay, dares threaten Paris: the Scot, at least of late years, has not bin so bold; but if a prince flys out, the ensigns of the French guards will one way or other be captains, while soldier and officer too follows his affections or interests, which way soever they frame. I should be glad to know when a dragon fell from that court, that it did not bear down stars with his train. But the prevaricator is set upon it: wheras of late years, the Janizarys are known to have bin far more imbru’d in the blood of their princes than ever; he gives us his honest word, that of late years in Turky they begin to learn the art of poising the Janizarys (who are the foot of the prince’s guard) by the Spahys (who are the horse of the same) and so have frequently evaded the danger of their mutinys. At which rate, seeing every army consists of horse and foot, no army could be mutinous. If these had not bin mere flights, and so intended, he might have don well to have shewn us one mutiny of the Janizarys appeas’d by the Spahys. But all the parts of his politics, as was said of those in rhetoric, consist of pronunciation.
Thus the wounds of monarchy, notwithstanding the former, or this last remedy of foren guards, are still bleeding or festering.
But his courage is undaunted (aut viam inveniet aut faciet) he will either mend a government, or make one, by asserting without any example, but with egregious confidence, That the perfection of monarchy is free from those flaws which are charg’d upon it, and that it consists in governing by a nobility, weighty enough to keep the people under, and yet not tall enough in any particular person to measure with the prince; and by a moderat army kept under the notion of guards and garisons, which may be sufficient to strangle all sedition in the cradle:Consid. p. 48, 49. from which mixture or counterpoise of a nobility and an army, arises the most excellent form of monarchical government.
There’s for your learning now, A model which is a short horse, and a legislator that has soon curry’d him. To the parts of it, consisting of a nobility, and in force, I have already spoken severally. I shall now speak to the whole together; that is, to the imagin’d mixture or counterpoise of a nobility and an army; and because there is nothing in nature that has not had a natural effect by som example.
The scale of arms, or of iron, continu’d in the line of William the Conqueror; and the scale of property, or gold, continu’d in the barons of England, and their successors. But in this before the barons wars consisted not the perfection of the monarchy, because it preponderated too much on the side of arms; nor after the barons wars, because the king, putting power (which he could not keep out of their fingers) into the hands of the nobility, it became a vicious constitution, and a monarchy only in name (so says the considerer) therfore the balance being then only even, when neither the king could overbalance or get the better of the barons, nor the barons overbalance or get the better of the king; the perfection of monarchy consisted in the barons wars? Lycurgus the second!
Mark; the king by all means must have a nobility weighty enough to keep down the people; and then he must have an army to hold gold weight with his nobility: as if the nobility in that case would keep down the people, and not fetch them up (as did the barons) into their scale, that so together they might weigh down the army; which sooner or later is the infallible consequence of this phansy, or let it be shewn where it was ever otherwise. To instance in France is quite contrary, where all the considerable officers and commands being in the nobility, or the richer sort of that nation, the balance of arms and of property are not two, but one and the same. There is no way for monarchy, but to have no army, or no other than the nobility, which makes the regulated monarchy, as in France, Spain, &c. or to have an army that may weigh down nobility and people too; that is, destroy them both, which makes the absolute way of monarchy, as in Turky: the wit of man never found nor shall find a third, there being no such thing in nature.
This chapter is already with the longest, and yet I must give you a corollary, pouce de roy, or a piece above measure; relating to a question on which the greenest politician that ever brought his verjuice to the press has spur’d me.
Consid. p. 49, 50.Where he desires to know my opinion of the way of governing by councils, which he confesses he has always thought admirable; he dos not mean such as are coordinat with the prince (which have been seen in the world) but such as those of Spain, purely of advice and dispatch, with power only to inform and persuade, but not limit the prince’s will. For almost all the weaknesses which have bin thought incident to monarchy are by this course prevented; and if there be any steadiness and maturity in the senat of a commonwealth, this takes it all in.
To give my counsil without a fee, and deal sincerely with a prevaricator: let the prince (that is, such a one as his) hold himself contented with his divan, or cabinet. If this be that he means, we are agreed; but if he would have more, I can make no less of his words than a hankering after such councils as I have propos’d, and that these are such as he always thought admirable, such as prevent almost all the weaknesses incident to monarchy, and take in the steadiness and maturity of a commonwealth.
How may we make this agree with that other place, where he says, that there is no frame of laws, or constitution of government, which will not decay and com to ruin, unless repair’d by the prudence and dexterity of them that govern?Consid. p. 68.now that this may not be expected from a monarch, as well as from a senat or assembly of men, he has not yet met with any conviction, but rather finds it reasonable to think that where debates are clearest, the result of them most secret, and the execution sudden (which are the advantages of monarchy) there the disorders of a state will soonest be discover’d, and the necessary remedys best apply’d. In that former place he bethought himself that the debates of Rome were as clear as those of Antiochus, that her results were as secret as those of Philip or Perseus, and of more sudden execution than either of theirs. He doubted it might be true, which is affirm’d by good authors, and commonly enough known, that for the clearness of debate, and secresy of result, the world never saw any thing like the senat of Venice; and that in all appearance they are for execution as quick with the Divan, as the Divan can be with them. Now when all this is don, to banish such generous thoughts without shewing us for what cause, and knock under the table, is sad news. But he shall find me, in any thing that is reasonable, most ready to serve him. To the question then, how such councils as I have propos’d would do with a prince; I answer, truly the best of them, I doubt, but untowardly. One, that is the popular assembly, has no mean, but is either the wisest in nature, or has no brains at all. When affairs go upon no other than the public interest, this having no other interest to follow, nor eys to see withal, is the wisest council: but such ways are destructive to a prince, and they will have no nay. The congregation of Israel, when Rehoboam would not hearken to their advice, depos’d him: and we know what popular councils, so soon as they came to sufficient power, did in England. If a prince put a popular council from this ward, he dos a great matter, and to little purpose; for they understand nothing else but themselves. Wherfore the kings of France and of Spain have dissolv’d all such assemblys. It is true, where a prince is not strong enough to get mony out of them but by their consent, they are necessary: yet then they are not purely of advice and dispatch, but share in the government, and he cannot be meddling with their purses, but they will be meddling with his laws. The senat is of fitter use for a prince, and yet, except he has the way of Tiberius, but a ticklish piece, as appears by Maximinus, who was destroy’d by Pupienus and Balbinus, captains set up against him by this order. To go to the root: these things are not otherwise in prudence or choice than by direction of the balance; where this is popular, no remedy but the prince must be advis’d by the people, which if the late king would have indur’d, the monarchy might have subsisted somwhat longer: but while the balance was aristocratical, as during the great estates of the nobility and the clergy, we find not the people to have bin great or wise counsillors. In sum, if a king governs by a popular council, or house of commons, the throne will not stand long: if he governs by a senat, or a house of lords, let him never fear the throne, but have a care of himself: there is no third, as I have said often enough, but the Divan.
Whether a Commonwealth that was not first broken by her self, was ever conquer’d by the Arms of any Monarch?
I COM in this chapter to resume the discourse, where I broke off in the former, making good my assertion, that a commonwealth is the government, which from the beginning of the world to this day was never conquer’d by any monarch; for if the commonwealths of Greece came under the yoke of the kings of Macedon, they were first broken by themselves.
When I speak of a commonwealth, in relation to this point, I am no more to be argu’d against out of the little citys in Asia, or those of Ragusa, and San Marino, which cannot be shewn to have had the command of any considerable army, than I argue against the prevaricator, where he asserts monarchy to consist of a mixture of arms and of a nobility, from the king of Yuetot, who had neither.
This assertion in the judgment of any rational man ought not to be incounter’d, but where there was a natural possibility of defence, in regard that a city which has no army at all, as Geneva (which yet being invaded by the duke of Savoy, found means to defend her self) or such a one as is not considerable, should be subdu’d by some potent monarch (if we could find the example) concerns the government no more, than if it had been overwhelm’d by som inundation, or swallow’d up by som earthquake. And yet all that is oppos’d by the considerer, amounts not to thus much.Consid. p. 53. Paus. Messen. The testimony he brings out of Pausanias coms far short; for it is recorded (says the author speaking of the Lacedemonians) that being corrupted by the bounty ofCræsus,they were the first that contracted amity with the Barbarians at the time when that king added the territorys inhabited by the Dorians upon the border of Caria, with other commonwealths in Asia, to his empire. So that Cræsus corrupted the Lacedemonians with gifts, Pausanias is express; but whether he obtain’d the Asiatic citys (likely in this case to have bin easilier corrupted than the Lacedemonians) by arms or by purchase, he is not express: and the presumtion of the latter, as in other regards, so in this, is the stronger, that Cræsus by the testimony of Solon, was more potent in gold than in iron. Now if it were so (and if otherwise, let the considerer shew) that these commonwealths inveigl’d by the treasure of Cræsus, came first under the Lydian, and fell with that under the Persian empire, when Cræsus was subdu’d by Cyrus; all I can learn by this example is no more than that Cræsus, for ought that is perceivable, might have brought those commonwealths as Cosimo of Medicis did Florence; from whom it is affirm’d by Machiavel, that there was not a considerable man in the whole city that had not receiv’d som considerable sum. So this example presumes; but in the next, which is of Sicily, there is not so much as a presumtion in favor of the assertor: the state of Sicily, before that which the Romans call the first Carthaginian war, being clear in story against his design.Chap. X.Fazello Hist de Sicil. Polyb. l. 1. For that Africa for the generation of monsters is not more famous than Sicily for that of tyrants, they who have pass’d their novitiat in story are not ignorant; nor how when Timoleon had freed her of this vermin, and with liberty she had recover’d some strength and virtue, she relaps’d under Agathocles and his horrid violation of faith, while he was trusted with the arms of her citizens; how after him Pyrrhus was call’d in from Epirus; after Pyrrhus, Hiero usurp’d; all by the same arts, getting first into trust or charge, and then recoiling upon them that would take no warning: by which it is apparent that the commonwealths of Sicily, like those of Greece, were ruin’d by themselves, and their own disorders; and no more subdu’d upon these changes by foren arms, than was Israel by the Canaanites, or Rome by the Gauls or Decemvirs.
ISRAEL having broken her orders, was indeed somtimes opprest by the Canaanites; Rome was sack’d by the Gauls, and usurp’d by the Decemvirs. But as the man that having got a fall in a duel, throws off his adversary, recovers himself and his sword, is not conquer’d, so neither the commonwealth:Decree of the States of Holland apud Grot. Hist. 4. wherfore neither Holland nor Genoa, tho they have bin under, being yet standing, can be said to be conquer’d by the arms of Spain or France, but rather the contrary; seeing the liberty of Holland (in many citys more ancient than any records or other monuments there can witness, and in it self than that of Tacitus, wherby Civilis, born of princely blood, is affirm’d to have vindicated the Betavian freedom) is still the same; and Genoa, tho happy in her Doria, remains as she was before he was born. Nor did the family of the Medicis banish’d out of Florence (where, by virtue of their prodigious wealth, and the inevitable consequence of the balance, their ancestors had bin princes many years before Charles the Fifth was a soldier) any more by the help of his arms, those of the Pope (at that time of the same family) and their party at home, than get into their known saddle. To insist a little more at large upon the storys of Genoa and Florence (because upon these the prevaricator sets up his rest that Mr. Harrington must needs be afflicted) Genoa was and is an oligarchy consisting of twenty-eight familys, making the great council, or aggregation, as they call it, none of these being capable of the senat or of magistracy; and if it could ever be said of a commonwealth, that she had broken her self, it might be said, at the time related to, of Genoa, where not only the faction of the Guelphs and Gibelins, which had destroy’d many citys in Italy, then reign’d; but the feud between the people included, and the subject excluded, was as great as ever had bin between the nobility and the people in Rome. Besides the quarrel of the Fieschi and the Adorni, two familys, like Cæsar and Pompey, which having many years together as it were ingroft the magistracy of duke, were nevertheless perpetually striving each with other, which should have it; and if one of these (as it did) brought in the king of France, there is nothing plainer than that this commonwealth was subdu’d by her own sedition, nor is there a man knowing any thing of her affairs, that makes any doubt of it. That of Florence indeed, if the prevaricator could shew it had bin ever up, I should grant were down; but to relate the story of this city, I must relate that of the house of Medicis. From Cosimo, a citizen famous throout Europe, both for his wisdom and his riches, this family for the space of sixty years exercis’d, under the pretext of some magistracy,Comines. very great power in Florence.P. Jovius. To Cosimo succeded Peter, to Peter Laurence, a man in prudence and liberality resembling his grandfather,Machiavel. save that he us’d more absolute power in managing the commonwealth; yet with gentleness, and not altogether to the suppression of liberty. Nevertheless he obtain’d of the signory (which did for the most part as he would have them) som small guard for his person: he was a man renown’d thro Italy, and look’d upon by foren princes with much respect. To him succeded his son, another Peter, who thro youth and rashness conceiving the power exercis’d by his predecessors to be no more than his due, took upon him the government as absolute lord of all; and standing most formidably upon his guard, grew sottishly profuse of the public mony, and committed many absurditys and violences: by which means having incurr’d the hatred of the citizens, he was banish’d by the signory, with cardinal John and Julian his brothers. This John coming after to be Pope Leo the Tenth, requir’d the revocation of his brother’s banishment, and the restitution of the house of Medicis; to which finding the prevailing party of the Florentins to be refractory, he stir’d up the arms of the emperor Charles the Fifth against them, by whose joint aid the city, after a long siege, was reduc’d to her old ward, and Alexander of Medicis, nephew to the Pope and son in law to the emperor, set in the known saddle of his ancestors. This is the action for which the prevaricator will have a commonwealth to have bin conquer’d by the arms of a monarch, tho whoever reads the story may very safely affirm, first, That Florence never attain’d to any such orders as could deserve the name of a commonwealth; and next, that the purse of Cosimo had don that long before, which is here attributed to the arms of the Pope and the emperor. Reason and experience, as I said, are like the roots and the branches of plants and trees: as of branches, fruits, and flowers, being open and obvious to the eye, the smell, the touch, and taste, every girl can judg; so examples to vulgar capacitys are the best arguments. Let him that says a commonwealth has bin at any time conquer’d by a monarch, to it again, and shew us the example. But tho fruits and flowers be easily known each from other, their roots are latent, and not only so, but of such resemblance, that to distinguish of these a man must be a gardener or a herbalist. In this manner, the reason why a commonwealth has not bin overcom by a monarch, has bin shewn in the distribution of arms, those of a prince consisting of subjects, or servants, and those of a commonwealth rightly order’d of citizens, which difference plainly relates to the perfection or imperfection of the government.
Consid. p. 51.BUT, says the prevaricator, this seems intended for a trial of our noses, whether they will serve us to discover the fallacy of an inference from the prosperous success of arms to the perfection of government. If the university, who should have som care of the vineyard of truth, shall ly pigging of wild boars, to grunt in this manner and tear with their tusks, and I happen to ring som of them (as I have don this Marcassin for rooting) there is nothing in my faith why such trial of their noses should be sin; but for fallacious inferences, such I leave to them whose caps are squarer than their play.
For all that, great and well policy’d empires, says he, have bin subverted by people so eloign’d from the perfection of government, that we scarce know of any thing to ty them together, but the desire of booty. Where, or how came he to know this? what reason or experience dos he allege for the proof of it? may we not say of this, it is for the trial of our noses, whether they will serve us to discover that a conclusion should have some premises? he gives us leave to go look, and all the premises that I can find are quite contrary.
The arms of Israel were always victorious till the death of Joshua, wherupon the orders of that commonwealth being neglected, they came afterwards to be seldom prosperous.Judg. ch. 1. & 2.Isocrates in his oration to the Areopagits, speaks thus of Athens: The Lacedemonians, who when we were under oligarchy, every day commanded us somthing; now while we are under popular administration, are our petitioners that we would not see them utterly ruin’d by the Thebans. Nor did Lacedemon fall to ruin till her agrarian, the foundation of her government was first broken. The arms of Rome (ever noted by historians, and clearly evinc’d by Machiavel to have bin the result of her policy) during the popular government were at such a pitch, as if victory had known no other wings than those of her eagles:Arte della Guerra. nor seeing the Goths and Vandals are the legislators, from whom we derive the government of king, lords, and commons, were these when they overcame the Roman empire, a people so eloign’d from the perfection of government, but their policy was then far better than that of the emperors, which having bin at first founded upon a broken senat, and a few military colonys, was now com to a cabinet and a mercenary army. The judgment of all ages and writers upon the policy of the Roman emperors, is in this place worthy, and thro the pains already taken by Erasmus and Sleidan, easy to be inserted. O miserable and deplorable state, says Erasmus,the authority of the senat, the power of the law, the liberty of the people being trod under foot!In his preface to Suetonius.to a prince that got up in this manner, the whole world was a servant, while he himself was a servant to such, as no honest man would have indur’d the like servants in his house: the senat dreaded the emperor, the emperor dreaded his execrable militia: the emperor gave laws to kings, and receiv’d them from his mercenarys.De quat. Imp. To this is added by Sleidan,that the condition of these princes was so desperat, it was a wonderful thing ambition it self could have the courage to run such a hazard; seeing fromCaius Cæsarslain in the senat toCharlesthe Great, there had bin above thirty of them murder’d, and four that had laid violent hands upon themselves: for there was always somthing in them that offended the soldiery, which whether they were good or bad, was equally subject to pick quarrels, upon the least occasion rais’d tumults, and dispatch’d even such of them as they had forc’d to accept of that dignity, for example,Ælius Pertinax. But if this be true, that of the Goths and Vandals, when they subdu’d this empire, must have bin the better government; for so ill as this never was there any, except that only of the kings of Israel, which certainly was much worse. Those of the Britains and the Gauls were but the dregs of this of Rome, when they were overcome by the Saxons and Franks, who brought in the policy of the Goths and Vandals.
When Tamerlan overcame Bajazet, the Turkish policy had not attain’d to that ancient territory, which is plainly necessary to the nature of it, nor was the order of the Janizarys yet instituted. The Hollander, who under a potent prince was but a fisherman, with the restitution of a popular government, is becom the better soldier; nor has he bin match’d but by a rising commonwealth, whose policy you will say was yet worse, but then her balance (being that especially which produces men) was far better. For vastness, for fruitfulness of territory, for bodys of men, for number, for courage, nature never made a country more potent than Germany: yet this nation, antiently the seminary of nations, has of late years, merely thro the defect of her policy (which intending one commonwealth, has made a hundred monarchys in her bowels, whose cross interests twist her guts) bin the theater of the saddest tragedys under the sun; nor is she curable, unless som prince falling to work with the hammer of war, be able totally to destroy the old, and forge her a government intirely new. But if this coms to pass, neither shall it be said, that a well-policy’d empire was subverted, nor by a people so eloign’d from perfection of government, but theirs must be much better than the other. Let me be as ridiculous as you will, the world is (in fæce romuli) ripe for great changes which must com. And look to it, whether it be Germany, Spain, France, Italy, or England, that coms first to fix her self upon a firm foundation of policy, she shall give law to, and be obey’d by the rest. There was never so much fighting as of late days to so little purpose; arms, except they have a root in policy, are altogether fruitless. In the war between the king and the parlament, not the nation only, but the policy of it was divided; and which part of it was upon the better foundation?
Consid. p. 51BUT, says he, Ragusa and San Marino are commended for their upright and equal frame of government, and yet have hardly extended their dominion beyond the size of a handsom mannor.
HaveRagusa or San Marino bin conquer’d by the arms of any monarch? for this (I take it) is the question; tho, if they had, these being commonwealths unarm’d, it were nothing to the purpose. The question of increase is another point. Lacedemon could not increase (because her frame was of another nature) without ruin; yet was she not conquer’d by any monarch.
Consid. p. 52.Com, com, says he, for all this; it is not the perfection of government, but the populousness of a nation, the natural valor of the inhabitants, the abundance of horses, arms, and other things necessary for equipping of an army, assisted with a good military disciplin, that qualify a people for conquest; and where these concur, victory is intail’d upon them. Very fine!
As if these could concur any otherwise than by virtue of the policy. For example, there is no nation under heaven more populous than France:Essay 29. yet, says Sir Francis Bacon,if the gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base, and not the hundredth poll fit for a helmet, as may be seen by comparison of England with France, wherof the former, tho far less in territory and populousness, has bin nevertheless the overmatch; in regard the middle people in England make good soldiers, which the peasants in France do not. This therfore was from the policy, by which the one has bin the freest, and the other the most inslav’d subject in the world; and not from populousness, in which case France must have bin the overmatch.
The like is observable in the natural valor of the people, there being no greater courage of an infantry, than that of the middle people in England, wheras the peasant having none at all, is never us’d in arms. Again, France has one of the best cavalrys in the world, which the English never had, yet it avail’d her not. Victory is more especially intail’d upon courage, and courage upon liberty, which grows not without a root planted in the policy or foundation of the government.
ALEXANDER with a handful of freemen overcame the greatest abundance of horses, arms, and other things necessary for the equipping of an army, the hugest armys, the most vast and populous empire in the world: and when he had don, could not by all these subdue that handful of freer men (tho he kill’d Clytus with his own hand in the quarrel) to the servil customs of that empire. And that the best military disciplin deriv’d from the policy of the Romans, I intimated before, and have shewn at large in other places.
But the prevaricator neither minds what is said, nor cares what he says; to affirm that a commonwealth was never conquer’d by any monarch, and that a commonwealth has conquer’d many monarchs, or frequently led mighty kings in triumph, is to run upon the foil, the second proposition being with him no more than only the conversion of the first.Chap. XI.Consid. p. 55. As if that Rome was not conquer’d by the world, and that the world was conquer’d by Rome, were but a simple conversion. So the world having not conquer’d Venice, it must follow, that Venice has conquer’d the world. Do we take, or are we taken? nor is he thus satisfy’d to burn his fingers, but he will blister his tongue.
Where I said that the commonwealth of Venice, consisting of all them that first fled from the main land to those ilands where the city is now planted, at the institution took in the whole people, he would make you believe I had said that the senat of Venice, at the first institution, took in the whole people:Consid. p. 70. it is matter of fact, and that in which his integrity will be apparent to every man’s judgment.Oceana, p. 41. I pray see the places. And yet when he has put this trick upon me, he tells me, perhaps it is not true; and this only I grant him past peradventure is false, whether that I said it, or that the thing is possible. For how is it possible, that the senat, which is no otherwise such than as it consists of the aristocracy, or select part of the people, should take in the whole people? it is true, that good authors, both antient and modern, when they speak of the senat of Rome, or of Venice historically, imply the people. Machiavel speaks of the magistracy of Publilius Philo, as prolong’d by the senat of Rome, without making any mention of the people, by whom nevertheless it was granted: the like is usual with other authors. Thuanus seldom mentions the commonwealth of Venice, but by the name of the senat; which not understood by the learned Considerer, where Contarini speaks in the same manner of the courses taken by the commonwealth of Venice, for withholding the subject in the city from sedition, he takes him to be speaking of the means wherby the senat (an’t please you) keeps the people under: and so having put one trick upon me, and another upon Contarini, these two are his premises, whence he draws this conclusion; that Venice is as much as any in the world an inequal commonwealth. Now the conclusion you know nobody can deny.
Whether there be not an Agrarian, or som Law of 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.
IN this chapter the prevaricator’s devices are the most welfavor’d: for wheras the agrarian of Oceana dos no more than pin the basket, which is already fill’d, he gets up into the tree where the birds have long since eaten all the cherrys, and with what clouts he can rake up, makes a most ridiculous scarcrow. This pains he needed not to have taken, if he had not slighted overmuch the Lexicon, of which he allows me to be the author; yet will have it, that he understood the words before, som of which nevertheless his ill understanding requires should be further interpreted in this place, as property, balance, agrarian, and levelling.
Property is that which is every man’s own by the law of the land; and of this there is nothing stirr’d, but all intirely left as it was found by the agrarian of Oceana.
Property in mony (except, as has bin shewn, in citys that have little or no territory) coms not to the present account. But property in land, according to the distribution that happens to be of the same, causes the political balance producing empire of the like nature: that is, if the property in lands be so diffus’d thro the whole people that neither one landlord, nor a few landlords overbalance them, the empire is popular. If the property in lands be so ingrost by the few, that they overbalance the whole people, the empire is aristocratical, or mix’d monarchy; but if property in lands be in one landlord, to such a proportion as overbalances the whole people, the empire is absolute monarchy. So the political balance is threefold, democratical, aristocratical, and monarchical.
Each of these balances may be introduc’d either by the legislator at the institution of the government, or by civil vicissitude, alienation, or alteration of property under government.
Examples of the balance introduc’d at the institution, and by the legislator, are first those in Israel, and Lacedemon, introduc’d by God or Moses, and Lycurgus, which were democratical or popular. Secondly, those in England, France, and Spain, introduc’d by the Goths, Vandals, Saxons, and Franks, which were aristocratical, or such as produc’d the government of king, lords, and commons. Thirdly, those in the East and Turky, introduc’d by Nimrod and Mahomet or Ottoman, which were purely monarchical.
Examples of the balance introduc’d by civil vicissitude, alienation, or alteration of property under government, are in Florence, where the Medici attaining to excessive wealth, the balance alter’d from popular to monarchical:Pausan.in Greece, where the Argives being lovers of equality and liberty,Corinth.reduc’d the power of their kings to so small a matter, that there remain’d to the children and successors ofCisuslittle more than the title, where the balance alter’d from monarchical to popular. In Rome, about the time of Crassus, the nobility having eaten the people out of their lands, the balance alter’d from popular, first to aristocratical, as in the triumvirs,Cæsar, Pompey and Crassus; and then to monarchical, as when Crassus being dead, and Pompey conquer’d, the whole came to Cæsar.Arist. Pol. l. 5. c. 3.In Tarentum, and not long after the war with the Medes, the nobility being wasted and overcom by Iapyges, the balance, and with that the commonwealth, chang’d from aristocratical to popular: the like of late has discover’d itself in Oceana. When a balance coms so thro civil vicissitude to be chang’d, that the change cannot be attributed to human providence, it is more peculiarly to be ascrib’d to the hand of God; and so when there happens to be an irresistible change of the balance, not the old government which God has repeal’d, but the new government which he dictats as present legislator, is of divine right.
This volubility of the balance being apparent, it belongs to legislators to have eys, and to occur with som prudential or legal remedy or prevention: and the laws that are made in this case are call’d agrarian. So an agrarian is a law fixing the balance of a government in such a manner that it cannot alter.
This may be don divers ways, as by intailing the lands upon certain familys, without power of alienation in any case, as in Israel and Lacedemon; or, except with leave of the magistrat, as in Spain but this, by making som familys too secure, as those in possession, and others too despairing, as those not in possession, may make the whole people less industrious.
Wherfore the other way, which by the regulation of purchases ordains only that a man’s land shall not excede som certain proportion; for example, two thousand pounds a year; or, exceding such a proportion, shall divide in descending to the children, so soon as being more than one they shall be capable of such a division, or subdivision, till the greater share excedes not two thousand pounds a year in land, lying and being within the native territory, is that which is receiv’d and establish’d by the commonwealth of Oceana.
By levelling, they who use the word seem to understand, when a people rising invades the lands and estates of the richer sort, and divides them equally among themselves; as for example,—no where in the world; this being that, both in the way and in the end, which I have already demonstrated to be impossible. Now the words of this Lexicon being thus interpreted, let us hearken what the prevaricator will say, and out it coms in this manner:
Consid. p. 73.TO him that makes property, and that in lands, the foundation of empire, the establishing of an agrarian is of absolute necessity, that by it the power may be fix’d in those hands to whom it was at first committed.
What need we then procede any further, while he having no where disprov’d the balance in these words, gives up the whole cause? for as to that which he says of mony, seeing neither the vast treasure of Henry the 7th alter’d the balance of England, nor the revenue of the Indys alters that of Spain, this retrait (except in the cases excepted) is long since baricado’d. But he is on and off, and, any thing to the contrary notwithstanding, gives you this for certain.
THE examples of an agrarian are so infrequent, that Mr. Harrington is constrain’d to wave all but two commonwealths; and can find in the whole extent of history only Israel and Lacedemon to fasten upon.
A man that has read my writings, or is skill’d in history, cannot chuse but see how he slurs his dice; nevertheless to make this a little more apparent.Pol. l. 2. c. 5.It has seem’d to som (says Aristotle) the main point of institution in government, to order riches right; whence otherwise derives all civil discord. Upon this groundPhaleasthe Chalcedonian legislator made it his first work to introduce equality of goods; andPlatoin his laws allows not increase to a possession beyond certain bounds. The Argives and the Messenians had each their agrarian after the manner of Lacedemon.Plut. Lycurg. If a man shall translate the words (ἀρετή, δύναμις πολιτιϰὴ, virtus & facultas civilis) political virtue or faculty, where he finds them in Aristotle’s politics (as I make bold, and appeal to the reader whether too bold to do) by the words political balance, understood as I have stated the thing, it will give such a light to the author, as will go nearer than any thing alleg’d (as before by this prevaricator) to deprive me of the honor of that invention.Pol. l. 3. c. 9. For example, where Aristotle says, If one man, or such a number of men, as to the capacity of government com within the compass of the few, excel all the rest (ϰατ’ ἀρετὴν) in balance, or in such a manner, that the (δύναμις πολιτιϰὴ) political faculties or estates of all the rest be not able to hold weight with him or them, they will never condescend to share equally with the rest in power, whom they excel in balance; nor is it to any purpose to give them laws, who will be as the gods, their own laws, and will answer the people as the lions are said byAntisthenesto have answered the hares, when they had concluded, that every one ought to have an equal portion. For this cause (he adds) citys that live under popular power,have instituted the ostracism for the preservation of equality; by which, if a man increase in riches, retinue, or popularity, above what is safe, they can remove him (without loss of honor or estate) for a time.
If the Considerer thinks that I have strain’d courtesy with Aristotle (who indeed is not always of one mind) further than is warrantable, in relation to the balance, be it as he pleases; I who must either have the more of authority, or the less of competition in the point, shall lose neither way. However, it is in this place enough that the ostracism being of like nature, was that which supply’d the defect, in the Grecian citys, of an agrarian. To procede then to Rome, that the people there, by striving for an agrarian, strove to save their liberty, is apparent, in that thro the want of such a law, or the nonobservance of it, the commonwealth came plainly to ruin. If a Venetian should keep a table, or have his house furnish’d with retainers, he would be obnoxious to the council of ten; and if the best of them appear with other state or equipage than is allow’d to the meanest, he is obnoxious to the officers of the pomp: which two orders in a commonwealth, where the gentry have but small estates in land, are as much as needs be in lieu of an agrarian. But the German republics have no more to supply the place of this law, than that estates descending are divided among the children; which sure no man but will say must needs be both just and pious: and we ask you no more in Oceana, where grant this, and you grant the whole agrarian. Thus had I set him all the commonwealths in the world before; and so it is no fault of mine, that he will throw but at three of them: these are Israel, Lacedemon, and Oceana.
Consid. p. 77.First at Israel: Mr. Harrington (says he) thinks not upon the promise of God to Abraham (whence the Israelites derived their right to the land of Canaan) but considers the division of the lands as a politic constitution upon which the government was founded, tho in the whole history of the bible there be not the least footstep of such a design.
What means the man! the right of an Israelite to his land deriv’d from the promise ofGodtoAbraham, therfore the right of an Oceaner to his land must derive from the promise of God to Abraham? or, why else should I in speaking of Oceana (where property is taken as it was found, and not stirr’d a hair) think on the promise to Abraham? nor matters it for the manner of division, seeing that was made, and this was found made, each according to the law of the government. But in the whole bible (says he) there is not the least footstep that the end of the Israelitish agrarian was political, or that it was intended to be the foundation of the government.
THE footsteps of God, by the testimony of David, may be seen in the deep waters, much more, by the consent of the whole bible, in land, or in the foundation of empire; unless we make the footsteps of God to be one thing, and his ways another, which as to government are these.
[Editor: illegible character] ad 1. 26. 53.God by the ballot of Israel (more fully describ’d in the next book) divided the land (som respect had to the princes and patriarchs for the rest) to every one his inheritance, according to the number of names, which were drawn out of one urn first, and the lots of land (the measure with the goodness of the same consider’d) drawn afterwards out of the other urn to those names. Wherfore God ordaining the cause, and the cause of necessity producing the effect, God in ordaining thi balance intended popular government. But when the people admitting of no nay, would have a king, God therupon commanding Samuel to shew them the manner of theking,Samuel declar’d to the people concerning the manner or policy of the king, saying, He will take your fields and your vinyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give to his servants (which kind of proceding must needs create the balance of a nobility;) over and above this, he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vinyards, and of your sheep (by way of tax, for the maintenance of his armys) and thus your daughters shall com to be his cooks and confectioners, and your sons to run before his chariot.1 Sam. 8. There is not from the balance to the superstructures a more perfect description of a monarchy by a nobility. For the third branch, the people of Egypt in time of the famin, which was very sore, com to Joseph, saying, buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants toPharaoh.Gen. 47. 19, 20.AndJosephbought all the land of Egypt (except those of the priests) forPharaoh.So the land becamePharaoh’s, who lest the remembrance of their former property by lively marks and continual remembrancers should stir them up (as the Vandals in Africa,Grot. ad stript in like manner of their property, and yet remaining in their antient dwellings,Gen. 47. were stirr’d up by their women) to sedition, remov’d the people thus sold, or drave them like cattel even from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end therof. In which you have the balance of a sole landlord or absolute prince, with the miserable, and yet necessary consequence of an inslav’d people. Now the balance of governments throout the Scriptures being of these kinds, and no other, the balance of Oceana is exactly calculated to the most approv’d way, and the clearest footsteps of God in the whole history of the bible: and wheras the jubile was a law instituted for preservation of the popular balance from alteration, so is the agrarian in Oceana.
But says the prevaricator hocus pocus, or in the name of wonder, how can this agrarian be the foundation of that government which had subsisted more than forty five years without it? for they were so long after the giving of this law for the division of the land, before they had the land to divide.
Which is as if one should say upon that other law of the like date, judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates; hocus pocus, or in the name of wonder, how should the children of Israel make them judges and officers in their gates, before they had any gates to make them in? fine sport to be play’d by an attorny for the clergy with Scripture, where it is plain enough that the laws of a commonwealth were given by Moses to an army, to be put in execution when that army should becom a commonwealth, as happen’d under Joshua.
But no saying will serve his turn. If this agrarian were meant as fundamental to the government, the provision (he will have it) was weak, and not proper for attaining the end propos’d, there being nothing in the nature of the agrarian to hinder, but that the whole country might for the space of near fifty years, that is, the time between the two jubiles, have com into the hands of one man, and so have destroy’d balance, agrarian, government and all.
This they that boast of their mathematics might have taken the pains (before they had bin so confident) to have demonstrated possible; as how or by what means one lot could com in fifty years to be multiply’d six hundred thousand times, and that without usury, which bar (the Israelits being no merchants) was thought sufficient to be given: or thus to call the prudence of God by their impracticable phansys in question, is abominable.
I would have divines (as this prevaricator persuades, and it should seem has persuaded som of them) to overthrow the commonwealth of Israel; for otherwise I will give them my word they shall never be able to touch that of Oceana, which, except in the hereditary succession and dignity of the princes of the tribes, and the patriarchs, and that the senat was for life, differs not from the former: for as to the divers working up of the superstructures in divers commonwealths, according to the diversity of occasions, it coms to no accountable difference; and much, I conceive, of this carving or finishing in Israel; (which had it bin extant, would perhaps have shewn a greater resemblance) is lost. For the senats, as to their numbers, that of the 300 in Oceana, considering the bulk of the people, excedes not that of the seventy in Israel; the succession and dignity of the princes of the tribes and of the patriarchs was ordain’d for the preservation of the pedigrees, which (Christ being born) are not any more to be of like consequence; and that the senators were for life, deriv’d from a former custom of such a number of elders exercising som authority in Egypt (tho not that of the senat till it was instituted by God) from the descent of the patriarchs into that land, who being at thei descent seventy persons, and governing their familys by the right of paternity, as the people increas’d, and they came to dy, had their successors appointed in such a manner, that the number of seventy, in remembrance of those patriarchs, was diligently preserv’d. And for as much as the patriarchs governing their own familys (which at first were all) in their own right, were consequently for life, this also pleas’d in the substitution of others. These things rightly consider’d, I have not vary’d from the authority of Israel in a tittle, there being neither any such necessary use of pedigrees, nor uninterrupted succession of elders for life in Oceana; and unless a man will say, that we ought to have the like effect where there is not the like cause (which were absurd) the authority of a commonwealth holds no otherwise than from the cause to the effect.
OCEANA, I say, cannot be wounded but by piercing the authority of Israel, with which she is arm’d cap a pe.Consid. p. 36. It is true, as the prevaricator says in another place, that law can oblige only those to whom it was given; and that the laws of Israel were given, as to the power or obligation of them, only to the children of Israel. But the power, as has bin shewn, of a commonwealth, and her authority, are different things; her power extends no further than her own people, but her authority may govern others, as that of Athens did Rome, when the latter wrote her twelve tables by the copy of the former. In this manner, tho a man, or a commonwealth, writing out of antient governments, have liberty to chuse that which sutes best with the occasion, out of any; yet (whether we consider the wisdom and justice of the legislator supremely good, or the excellency of the laws) the prerogative of authority, where the nature of the thing admits it, must needs belong to Israel. That this opinion should go sore with divines, is strange; and yet if there be any feeling of their pulse by this their advocate or attorny, it is as true.
In his epist.For while he finds me writing out of Venice, he tells me, I have wisely put myself under protection or authority, against whom he dares not make war, lest he should take part with the Turk.
Consid. p. 39.But when he finds me writing out of Israel, he tells me, that he is not aware of any prerogative of authority belonging to the Israelitish more than any other republic: which is to take part with the devil.
So much for Israel. Now for Lacedemon; but you will permit me to shake a friend or two by the hand, as I go.
The first is Aristotle, in these words:
Pol. L. 5. c. 3.INEQUALITY is the source of all sedition, as when the riches of one or the few com to cause such an overbalance as draws the commonwealth into monarchy or oligarchy; for prevention wherof the ostracism has bin of use in divers places, as at Argos and Athens. But it were better to provide in the beginning, that there be no such disease in the commonwealth, than to com afterwards to her cure.
The second is Plutarch, in these words:
Plut. Lycur.Lycurgus judging that there ought to be no other inequality among citizens of the same commonwealth than what derives from their virtues, divided the land so equally among the Lacedemonians, that on a day beholding the harvest of their lots lying by cocks or ricks in the field, he laughing said, that it seem’d to him they were all brothers.
The third should have bin the considerer, but he is at feud with us all.
Consid. p. 78.THE design of Lycurgus, he professes, was not so much to attain an equality in the frame of his government, as to drive into exile riches, and the effects of them, luxury and debauchery.
Gentlemen, What do you say? you have the judgment of three great philosophers, and may make your own choice; only except he that has but one hundred pounds a year, can have wine and women at as full command, and retainers in as great plenty, as he that has ten thousand, I should think these advantages accru’d from inequality, and that Lycurgus had skill enough in a commonwealth to see as much. No, says the prevaricator, it appears far otherwise, in that he admitted of no mony but old iron, a cartload of which was worth little. Well, but in Israel, where silver and gold was worth enough, my gentleman would have it, that one man in the compass of fifty years might purchase the whole land, tho that country was much larger than this: and yet where, if the people had us’d mony, they would have us’d trade, and using both, such a thing, thro the straitness of the territory, might have happen’d, he will not conceive the like to have bin possible. No, tho he has an example of it in Lysander, who by the spoil of Athens ruin’d the agrarian, first by the overbalance that a man’s mony came to hold to his lot; then by eating out the lots themselves, and in those the equality of the commonwealth. But these things he interprets pleasantly, as if the vow of voluntary poverty (so he calls it) being broken, the commonwealth, like a forsworn wretch, had gon and hang’d her self: a phansy too rank, I doubt, of the cloyster, to be good at this work.
Plut. Lycur.But wheras Plutarch, upon the narrowness of these lots (which had they bin larger, must have made the citizens fewer than thirty thousand, and so unable to defend the commonwealth) and use of this same old and rusty iron instead of mony, observes it came by this means to pass that there was neither a fine orator, fortune-teller, baud, nor goldsmith, to be found in Lacedemon; our considerer professes,
THAT it is to him as strange as any thing in history, that Lycurgus should find credit enough to settle a government, which carry’d along with it so much want and hardship to particular men, that the total absence of government could scarce have put them into a worse condition; the laws that he made prohibiting the use of those things, which to injoy with security, is that only to other men that makes the yoke of laws supportable.
Here he is no monk again; I would ask him no more, than that he would hold to somthing, be it to any thing. It is true, we, who have bin us’d to our plumpottage, are like enough to make faces (as did the king of Pontus) at the Lacedemonian black broth: but who has open’d his mouth against plumpottage, gilded coaches, pages, lacquys, fair mannorhouses, good tables, rich furniture, full purses, universities, good benefices, scarlet robes, square caps, rich jewels, or said any thing that would not multiply all this? Why, says he, you are so far right, that the voice ofLycurgus’s agrarian was, Every man shall be thus poor; and that of yours is, that no man shall be more than thus rich. This is an argument (an’t please you) by which he thinks he has prov’d, that there is no difference between the agrarian that was in Lacedemon, and that which is in Oceana: for, Sir, whatsoever is thus and thus, is like: but the agrarian of Lacedemon was thus, A man could have no mony, or none that deserv’d that name; and the agrarian of Oceana is thus, A man’s mony is not confin’d: therfore the agrarian of the one, and of the other, are like. Was it not a great grievance in Lacedemon, think you, that they had no such logic or logician? Be this as it will, It had bin impossible, says he, forLycurgusto have settl’d his government, had he not wisely obtain’d a response from the oracle at Delphos, magnifying and recommending it: after which all resistance would have bin downright impiety and disobedience, which concerns Mr.Harringtonvery little. The Bible then is not so good an oracle as was that at Delphos. But this reflection has a tang with it, that makes me think it relates to that where he says, I know not how, but Mr.Harringtonhas taken up a very great unkindness for the clergy.Consid. p. 18. He will know nothing; neither that the oracle of the Scripture is of all other the clearest for a commonwealth, nor that the clergy being generally against a commonwealth, are in this below the priests of Delphos, who were more for Lycurgus than these are for Moses. But hav’at the agrarian of Oceana with the whole bail of dice, and at five throws.
The first throw is, That it is unjust: for,
Consid. p. 81.IF it be truly asserted (in Oceana, page the 37th) that government is founded on property, then property consists in nature before government, and government is to be fitted to property, not property to government. How great a sin then would it be against the first and purest notion of justice, to bring in a government not only different from but directly destructive to the settl’d property of Oceana, where (in the 99th page) there are confest to be three hundred persons, whose estates in land excede the standard of two thousand pounds a year. Let me not be chok’d with the example of Lacedemon, till Mr. Harrington has shewn us the power of his persuasion with the nobility of Oceana, as Lycurgus with them of Lacedemon, to throw up their lands to be parcel’d by his agrarian (as page 103.) and when that is don, I shall cease to complain of the injustice of it. Nor need any one of these three hundred be put to own a shame, for preferring his own interest before that of a whole nation; for tho when government is once fix’d, it may be fit to submit privat to public utility, yet when the question is of chusing a government, every particular man is left to his own native right, which cannot be prescrib’d against by the interest of all the rest of mankind.
How many false dice there are in this throw (because you see I have little to do) will be worth counting.
Wheras I no where deny property to derive her being from law; he insinuats that I presume property to be in nature. There’s One.
Wheras in natural and domestic vicissitude, I assert, That empire is to follow the legal state of property; he imposes, as if I had asserted, that empire must follow the natural state of property. Two.
Wheras in violent or foren vicissitude (as when the Israelits possest themselves of the land of Canaan, the Goths and Vandals of Italy, the Franks of France, the Saxons of England) property, in order to the government to be introduc’d, is alterable; he insinuats as if I had said, that empire must always follow the state of property, not as it may be alter’d in that relation, but as it is found. Three.
Wheras the government of Oceana is exactly fitted to property, as it was settl’d before; he insinuats it to be destructive to the settl’d property. Four.
Wheras I say, that to put it with the most, they that are proprietors of land in Oceana, exceding two thousand pounds a year, do not excede three hundred persons; he says, that I have confest they be three hundred. Five.
Wheras I shew that the nobility of Lacedemon, upon the persuasion of Lycurgus, threw up their estates to be parcel’d by his agrarian; but that in Oceana, it is not needful or requir’d that any man should part with a farthing, or throw up one shovelful of his earth; he imposes, as if I went about to persuade the nobility to throw up their lands. Six.
Wheras I have shewn that no one of those within the three hundred can have any interest against the agrarian; he, without shewing what such an interest can be, insinuats that they have an interest against it. Seven.
Wheras the government of Oceana gos altogether upon consent, and happens not only to fit privat to public, but even public to privat utility, by which means it is void of all objection; he insinuats, that it is against privat utility. Eight.
Where he says, that in chusing a government every man is left to his own native right; he insinuats that the agrarian (which dos no more than fix property, as she found it) is against native right. Nine.
Wheras God has given the earth to the sons of men, which native right (as in case a man for hunger takes so much as will feed him, and no more, of any other man’s meat or herd) prescribes against legal property, and is the cause why the law esteems not such an action to be theft; he insinuats that there is a native right in legal property, which cannot be prescrib’d against by the interest of all the rest of mankind. Ten.
While he pleaded the case of monarchy, levelling was concluded lawful; in the case of a commonwealth, which asks no such favour, levelling is concluded unlawful. Eleven.
In the reformation or level as to monarchy, tho property subsisted before that level, yet property was to be fitted to the government, and not the government to property; but in the case of a commonwealth the government is to be fitted to property, and not property to the government. Twelve.
In that, any man was bound to relinquish his native right, else how could a prince level his nobility? In this, no man is bound to relinquish his native right. Thirteen.
In that, the same native right might be prescrib’d against by the prince; in this, it cannot be prescrib’d against by the interest of mankind. Fourteen.
In that, no nobleman but ought to own a shame if he preferr’d his interest before that of the prince; in this, no nobleman ought to own a shame for preferring his own interest before that of a whole nation. Fifteen.
Would you have any more? these fifteen majors and minors, or false dice, are soop’d up again, and put all into this conclusion or box, like themselves.
THUS the interest of the three hundred is not balanc’d with that of a whole nation, but that of som few extravagant spirits; who, by making dams in the current of other mens estates, hope to derive som water to their own parch’d fortunes.
CALUMNIARE fortiter, nihil adhærebit. If a river has but one natural bed or channel, what dam is made in it by this agrarian? but if a river has had many natural beds or channels, to which she has forgot to reach her breast, and whose mouths are dry’d up or obstructed; these are dams which the agrarian dos not make, but remove; and what parch’d fortunes can hereby hope to be water’d, but theirs only, whose veins having drunk of the same blood, have a right in nature to drink of the same milk? The law of Moses allow’d the firstborn but a double portion: was his an extravagant spirit?
His second throw is, That the nature of the agrarian is such as cannot be fix’d, in regard that the people being intrusted with a vote and a sword, may alter it for the less, or com to downright levelling. But as to this, in the 8th chapter I have bar’d his dice, that being the place in which I thought most proper to give a full answer to this objection.
At the third throw, he is extreme aukward. For wheras the Israelites (notwithstanding the voyages ofSolomon, and what is said of the ships of Tharsis) during their agrarian, or while they had land, were a commonwealth of husbandmen, and not of merchants, nor came to the exercise of this trade, till they had no land, or after their dispersion by the emperor Adrian; he scrues it in, after this manner—Consid. p. 85.As the Jews who have no lands, are every where great traders; so the possession of lands being limited by this agrarian, men who are either covetous or ambitious (as if estates were not got by industry, but by covetousness and ambition) will employ themselves and their estates in foren traffic, which being in a manner wholly ingrost by the capital city of Oceana, that city, already too great, will immediately grow into an excess of power and riches, very dangerous to the commonwealth; Amsterdam being com by such means to exercise of late a tyranny in the disposal of som public affairs, much to the prejudice both of the liberty and interest of the rest of the union. An equal, if not greater incommodity to Oceana, would be created by the agrarian, which making Emporium a city of princes, would render the country a commonwealth of cottagers, able to dispute precedence with the beggers bush.
News, not from Tripoli, nor any other corner of the whole world but one. Bate me this, and shew me in what other city increase of houses or new foundations was ever held a nusance. This sure is a phansy that regards not the old folks, or antient-prudence.
One of the blessings that God promis’d to Abraham, was, that his seed should be multiply’d as the stars of heaven: and the commonwealth of Rome, by multiplying her seed, came to bound her territory with the ocean, and her fame with the stars of heaven. That such a populousness is that without which there can be no great commonwealth, both reason and good authors are clear; but whether it ought to begin in the country, or in the city, is a scruple I have not known them make. That of Israel began in the country, that of Rome in the city. Except there be obstruction or impediment by the law, as in Turky where the country, and in England where the city is forbid to increase; wherever there is a populous country, for example France, it makes a populous city, as Paris; and wherever there is a populous city, as Rome after the ruin of Alba, and Amsterdam after the ruin (as to trade) of Antwerp, it makes a populous territory, as was that of the rustic tribes, and is that of Holland.
But the ways how a populous city coms to make a populous country, and how a populous country coms to make a populous city, are contrary; the one happening thro sucking, as that of the city, and the other thro weaning, as that of the country.
For proof of the former: the more mouths there be in a city, the more meat of necessity must be vented by the country, and so there will be more corn, more cattel, and better markets; which breeding more laborers, more husbandmen, and richer farmers, bring the country so far from a commonwealth of cottagers, that where the blessings of God, thro the fruitfulness of late years with us, render’d the husbandman unable to dispute precedence with the beggers bush, his trade thus uninterrupted, in that his markets are certain, gos on with increase of children, of servants, of corn, and of cattel: for there is no reason why the fields adjoining to Emporium, being but of a hard soil, should annually produce two crops, but the populousness of the city.
The country then growing more populous, and better stock’d with cattel, which also increases manure for the land, must proportionably increase in fruitfulness. Hence it is that (as the Romans also were good at such work) in Holland there is scarce a puddle undrain’d, nor a bank of sand cast up by the sea, that is not cover’d with earth, and made fruitful by the people; these being so strangely, with the growth of Amsterdam, increas’d, as coms perhaps to two parts in three: nor, the agrarian taking place in Oceana, would it be longer disputed, whether she might not destroy fishes to plant men. Thus a populous city makes a country milch, or populous by sucking; and wheras som may say, that such a city may suck from foren parts, it is true enough, and no where more apparent than in Amsterdam. But a city that has recourse to a foren dug, e’er she had first suck’d that of her proper nurse or territory dry, you shall hardly find; or finding (as in som plantation not yet wean’d) will hardly be able to make that objection hold, seeing it will not ly so much against the populousness of the place, as the contrary.
But a populous country makes a populous city by weaning; for when the people increase so much, that the dug of earth can do no more, the overplus must seek som other way of livelihood: which is either arms, such were those of the Goths and Vandals; or merchandize and manufacture, for which ends it being necessary that they lay their heads and their stock together, this makes populous citys. Thus Holland being a small territory, and suck’d dry, has upon the matter wean’d the whole people, and is therby become as it were one city that sucks all the world.
But by this means, says the considerer, Emporium being already too great (while indeed Amsterdam, considering the narrowness of the territory, or the smallness of Holland, is much more populous) would immediately grow into an excess of power and riches, very dangerous to liberty, an example wherof was seen in the late tyranny of that city: as if it were not sufficiently known that Amsterdam contributes and has contributed more to the defence of the commonwealth, or united provinces, than all the rest of the league, and had in those late actions which have bin scandaliz’d, resisted not the interest of liberty, but of a lord. That the increase of Rome, which was always study’d by her best citizens, should make her head too great for her body, or her power dangerous to the tribes, was never so much as imagin’d; and tho she were a city of princes, her rustic tribes were ever had in greatest esteem and honor; insomuch, that a patrician would be of no other.
But the authority of antient commonwealths is needless; the prevaricator by his own argumentation or might, lays himself neck and heels.
Consid. p 93.For, says he, Were this agrarian once settl’d, Emporium would be a city of princes, and the nobility so throly plum’d, that they would be just as strong of wing, as wild fowl in moulting time. There would be a city of princes, and yet no nobility. He is so fast that I have pity on him, if I knew but which way to let him loose. He means perhaps, that the merchants growing rich, would be the nobility; and the nobility growing poor, would be grasiers.
But so for ought I know it was always, or worse, that is, men attain’d to riches and honors by such or worse arts, and in poverty made not always so honest retreats. To all which infirmitys of the state, I am deceiv’d if this agrarian dos not apply the proper remedys. For such an agrarian makes a commonwealth for increase: the trade of a commonwealth for increase, is arms; arms are not born by merchants, but by noblemen and gentlemen. The nobility therfore having these arms in their hands, by which provinces are to be acquir’d, new provinces yield new estates; so wheras the merchant has his returns in silk or canvas, the soldier will have his return in land. He that represents me as an enemy to the nobility, is the man he speaks of; for if ever the commonwealth attains to five new provinces (and such a commonwealth will have provinces enow) it is certain, that (besides honors, magistracys, and the revenues annex’d) there will be more estates in the nobility of Oceana, of fourteen thousand pounds land a year, than ever were, or can otherwise be of four; and that without any the least danger to the commonwealth: for if Rome had but look’d so far to it, as to have made good her agrarian in Italy, tho she had neglected the rest, the wealth of her nobility might have suck’d her provinces, but must have inrich’d the people; and so rather have water’d her roots, than starv’d and destroy’d them, as it did. In this case therfore the nobility of Oceana would not moulter like wild fowl, but be strong of wing as the eagle.
One argument more I have heard urg’d against the populousness of the capital city, which is, that the rich in time of sickness forsaking the place, by which means the markets com to fail, the poor, lest they should starve, will run abroad, and infect the whole country. But should a man tell them at Paris, or Grand Cairo (in the latter wherof the plague is more frequent and furious than happens with us) that they are not to build houses, nor increase so much, lest they should have the plague; or that children are not to be born so fast, lest they dy, they would think it strange news. A commonwealth is furnish’d with laws, and power to add such as she shall find needful. In case a city be in that manner visited, it is the duty of the country, and of the government, to provide for them by contribution.
Consid. p. 87.THE difficulty in making the agrarian equal and steddy thro the rise or fall that may happen in mony, which is the fourth throw of the prevaricator, is that which might have bin for his ease to have taken notice was long since sufficiently bar’d, where it is said, that if a new survey at the present rent was taken, an agrarian ordaining that no man should thenceforth hold above so much land as is there valu’d at the rate, however mony might alter, would be equal and steddy enough.
Consid. p. 80.His last cast is, that the agrarian would make war against universal and immemorial custom; which being without doubt more prevalent than that of reason, there is nothing of such difficulty as to persuade men at once, and crudely, that they and their forefathers have bin in an error.
Essay 24.Wise men, I see, may differ in judgment or counsil; for, says Sir Francis Bacon, Surely every medicin is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedys must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator; and if time of course alters things to the worse, and wisdom and counsil may not alter them to the better, what must be the end?
But the case of the agrarian receives equal strength from each of these counsillors or opinions: from the latter, in that it gos upon grounds which time has not innovated for the worse, but for the better; and so according to the former coms not to have bin at once, and crudely persuaded, but introduc’d by custom, now grown universal and immemorial. For who remembers the gentry of this nation to have worn the blue coats of the nobility, or the lower sort of people to have liv’d upon the smoak of their kitchins? on the contrary, is it not now an universal custom for men to rely upon their own fortunes or industry, and not to put their trust in princes, seeking in their liberality or dependence the means of living? the prevaricator might as well jump into his great grandfather’s old breeches, and persuade us that he is a la mode, or in the new cut, as that the ways of our forefathers would agree with our customs. Dos not every man now see, that if the kings in those days had settl’d the estates of the nobility by a law, restraining them from selling their land, such a law had bin an agrarian, and yet not warring against their antient customs, but preserving them? wherfore neither dos the agrarian propos’d, taking the balance of estates as she now finds them, make war against, but confirm the present customs. The only objection that can seem in this place to ly, is, that wheras it has bin the custom of Oceana that the bulk of the estate should descend to the eldest son, by the agrarian he cannot, in case he has more brothers, inherit above two thousand pounds a year in land, or an equal share. But neither dos this, whether you regard the parents or the children, make war with custom. For putting the case the father has twenty thousand pounds a year in land, he gos not the less in his custom or way of life for the agrarian, because for this he has no less: and if he has more or fewer sons to whom his estate descends by equal or inequal portions, neither do they go less in their ways or customs of life for the agrarian, because they never had more.Pol. l. 3. c. 9.But, says Aristotle (speaking of the ostracism as it supplys the defect of an agrarian) this course is as necessary to kings as to commonwealths. By this means the monarchys of Turky and of Spain preserve their balance; thro the neglect of this has that of the nobility of Oceana bin broken: and this is it which the prevaricator, in advising that the nobility be no further level’d than will serve to keep the people under, requires of his prince. So, that an agrarian is necessary to government, be it what it will, is on all hands concluded.
Whether Courses or a Rotation be necessary to a well-order’d Commonwealth. In which is contain’d the Courses or Parembole of Israel before the Captivity, together with the Epitome of Athens and Venice.
ONE bout more and we have don: this (as reason good) will be upon wheels or rotation: for,
Oceana, p. 51.As the agrarian answers to the equality of the foundation or root, so dos rotation to the equality of the superstructures or branches of a commonwealth.
Equal rotation is equal vicissitude in, or succession to magistracy confer’d for equal terms, injoining such equal vacations, as cause the government to take in the body of the people, by parts succeding others, thro the free election or suffrage of the whole.
The contrary wherto is prolongation of magistracy, which, trashing the wheel of rotation, destroys the life or natural motion of a commonwealth.
The prevaricator, whatever he has don for himself, has don this for me, that it will be out of doubt whether my principles be capable of greater obligation or confirmation, than by having objections made against them. Nor have I bin altogether ingrateful, or nice of my labor, but gon far (much farther than I needed) about, that I might return with the more valuable present to him that sent me on the errand: I shall not be short of like proceeding upon the present subject, but rather over.
Rotation in a commonwealth is of the magistracy, of the senat, of the people; of the magistracy and the people; of the magistracy and the senat; or of the magistracy, of the senat, and of the people: which in all com to six kinds.
For example of rotation in the magistracy, you have the judg of Israel, call’d in Hebrew Shophet.Grot. The like magistracy after the kings Ithobal and Baal came in use with the Tyrians; from these, with their posterity the Carthaginians, who also call’d their supreme magistrats, being in number two, and for their term annual, shophetim, which the Latins by a softer pronunciation render suffetes.
Theshophet or judg of Israel was a magistrat, not, that I can find, oblig’d to any certain term, throout the book of Judges; nevertheless, it is plain, that his election was occasional, and but for a time, after the manner of a dictator.
True it is, that Eli and Samuel rul’d all their lives; but upon this such impatience in the people follow’d, thro the corruption of their sons, as was the main cause of the succeding monarchy.
The magistrats in Athens (except the Areopagits, being a judicatory) were all upon rotation. The like for Lacedemon and Rome, except the kings in the former, who were indeed hereditary, but had no more power than the duke in Venice, where all the rest of the magistrats (except the procuratori, whose magistracy is but mere ornament) are also upon rotation.
Pol. l. 2. c. 7.For the rotation of the senat you have Athens, the Achæans, Ætolians, Lycians, the Amphictionium; and the senat of Lacedemon reprov’d, in that it was for life, by Aristotle:Chap. XII. modern examples of like kind are the diet of Switzerland, but especially the senat of Venice.
For the rotation of the people, you have first Israel, where the congregation (which the Greecs call ecclesia; the Latins, comitia, or concio) having a twofold capacity; first, that of an army, in which they were the constant guard of the country; and secondly, that of a representative, in which they gave the vote of the people, at the creation of their laws, or election of their magistrats, was monthly.1 Chron. 27. 1.Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that serv’d the king in any matter of the courses, which came in, and went out month by month, throout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.
Grot. ad loc.Such a multitude there was of military age, that without inconvenience, four and twenty thousand were every month in arms, whose term expiring, others succeded, and so others; by which means the rotation of the whole people came about in the space of one year. The tribuns, or commanders of the tribes in arms, or of the prerogative for the month, are nam’d in the following part of the chapter, to the sixteenth verse; where begins the enumeration of the princes (tho Gad and Ashur, for what reason I know not, be omitted) of the tribes, remaining in their provinces, where they judg’d the people, and as they receiv’d orders, were to bring or send such farther inforcement or recruits as occasion requir’d to the army: after these, some other officers are mention’d. There is no question to be made but this rotation of the people, together with their prerogative or congregation, was preserv’d by the monthly election of two thousand deputys in each of the twelve tribes, which in all came to four and twenty thousand; or let any man shew how otherwise it was likely to be don, the nature of their office being to give the vote of the people, who therfore sure must have chosen them. By these the vote of the people was given to their laws, and at elections of their magistrats.
1 Chron. 13.To their laws, as where David proposes the reduction of the ark: andDavidconsulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. AndDavidsaid to all the congregation of Israel, If it seems good to you, and it be of the Lord God, let us send abroad to our brethren every where (the princes of tribes in their provinces) that are left in the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites, which are in the citys and suburbs, that they may gather themselves to us; and let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we inquir’d not at it in the days ofSaul.And all the eongregation (gave their suffrage in the affirmative) said that they would do so; for the thing was right in the eys of the people.Grot. e Tertul.Nulla lex sibi soli conscientiam justitiæ suæ debet, sed eis a quibus obsequium expectat. Now that the same congregation or representative gave the vote of the people also in the election of priests, officers and magistrats;1 Chron. 25.moreoverDavidand the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons ofAsaph,and ofHeman,and ofJethudun,who should prophesy with harps, with psalterys, and with cymbals.1 Chron. 28. 2. But upon the occasion to which we are more especially beholden for the preservation and discovery of this admirable order (David having propos’d the business in a long and pious speech) the congregation madeSolomonthe son ofDavidking the second time,1 Chron. 29. 22.and anointed him to the Lord to be chief governor, andZadokto be priest.1 Kings 1. For as to the first time that Solomon was made king, it happen’d, thro the sedition of Adonijah, to have been don in hast and tumultuously by those only of Jerusalem; and the reason why Zadok is here made priest, is, that Abiathar was put out for being of the conspiracy with Adonijah.
I may expect (by such objections as they afford me) it should be alleg’d, that to prove an order in a commonwealth, I instance in a monarchy; as if there were any thing in this order monarchical, or that it could, if it had not bin so receiv’d from the commonwealth, have bin introduc’d by the kings, to whom in the judgment of any sober man (the prevaricator only excepted, who has bin huckling about som such council for his prince) no less could have follow’d upon the first frown of the people, than did in Rehoboam, who having us’d them roughly, was depos’d by the congregation, or the major part.1 Kings 12. It is true, that while Israel was an army, the congregation, as it needed not to assemble by way of election or representative, so I believe it did not; but that by all Israel assembl’d to this end, should be meant the whole people after they were planted upon their lots, and not their representative, which in a political sense is as properly so call’d, were absurd and impossible. Nor need I go upon presumtion only, be the same never so strong, seeing it is said in Scripture of the Korathites, that they were keepers of the gates of the tabernacle, and their fathers being over the host of the Lord, were keepers of the entry:1 Chron. 9. 29. that is, (according to the interpretation of Grotius) the Korathites were now keepers of the gates, as it appears in the book of Numbers, their ancestors the Kohathites had bin in the camp, or while Israel was yet an army.Numb. 4. But our translation is lame in the right foot, as to the true discovery of the antient manner of this service, which according to the Septuagint and the vulgar Latin was thus, they were keepers of the gates of the tabernacle (ϗ πατέρες ἀυτων ἐπὶ τῆς παρεμβολῆς, & familiæ eorum per vices) and their fathers by turns, or rotation. So that offices and services by courses, turns, or rotation, are plainly more antient than kings in the commonwealth of Israel, tho it be true that when the courses or rotation of the congregation or representative of the people were first introduc’d, is as hard to shew, as it would be how, after the people were once planted upon their lots, they could be otherwise assembl’d. If writers argue well and lawfully from what the sanhedrim was in the institution by Jehosaphat, to what it had more antiently bin; to argue from what the congregation was in the institution by David, to what it had more antiently bin, is sufficiently warranted.
These things rightly consider’d, there remains little doubt but we have the courses of Israel for the first example of rotation in a popular assembly. Now to com from the Hebrew to the Grecian prudence, the same is approv’d by Aristotle, which he exemplifys in the commonwealth of Thales Milesius, where the people, he says, assembl’d (το ϰατα μέρ[Editor: illegible character], ἀλλὰ μὴ πάντας ἀθρόους) by turns or rotation.Pol. l. 4. c. 14. Nor is the Roman prudence without som shadow of the like proceding, where the prerogative (pro tempore) with the jure vocatæ being made by lot, gave frequently the suffrage of the whole people. But the Gothic prudence in the policy of the third state, runs altogether upon the collection of a representative by the suffrage of the people (tho not so diligently regulated, by terms and vacations, as to a standing assembly were necessary, by turns, rotation, parembole or courses) as in the election of the late house of commons, and the constitutive vicissitude of the knights and burgesses, is known by sufficient experience.
When the rotation of a commonwealth is both in the magistracy and the people, I reckon it to be of a fourth kind, as in Israel, where both the judg and the congregation were so elected.
The fifth kind is when the rotation of a commonwealth is in the magistracy and the senat, as in those of Athens, of the Achæans, of the Ætolians, of the Lycians, and of Venice; upon which examples, rather for the influence each of them, at least Athens, may have upon the following book, than any great necessity from the present occasion, I shall inlarge in this place.
The commonwealth of Athens, was thus administer’d:
Epitome of the Athenia commonwealth.Thesenat of the bean being the proposing assembly (for that of the Areopagits, call’d also a senat, was a judicatory) consisted of four hundred citizens chosen by lot, which was perform’d with beans. These were annually remov’d all at once: by which means Athens became frustrated of the natural and necessary use of an aristocracy, while neither her senators were chosen for their parts, nor remain’d long enough in this function to acquire the right understanding of their proper office. These thus elected, were subdivided by lot into four equal parts, call’d Prytanys, each of which for one quarter of the year was in office. The Prytany, or Prytans in office, elected ten presidents, call’d proedri, out of which proedri or presidents they weekly chose one provost of the council, who was call’d the epistata. The epistata and the proedri were the more peculiar proposers to the Prytans, and to the Prytans it belong’d especially to prepare business (ϖρὸ της βȣλῆς ϗ ϖρὸ τῆς ἐϰϰλησίας) for the senat.Petit. de Leg. Att. They gave also audience to any that would propose any thing concerning the commonwealth, which if, when reported by the Prytans, it were approv’d by the senat, the party that propos’d might promulgat the business; and promulgation being made, the congregation assembl’d, and determin’d of it.Cic. pro Flac.Sic data concio Lælio est, processit ille, & Græcus apud Græcos non de culpa sua dixit, sed de pœna questus est; porrexerunt manus, Psephisma natum est.
ThePrytans and their magistrats had right to assemble the senat, and propose to them; and what the senat determin’d upon such a proposition, if forthwith to be offer’d to the people, as in privat cases, was call’d proboulema; but if not to be propos’d till the people had a year’s trial of it, as was the ordinary way in order to laws to be enacted, it was call’d psephisma; each of which words, with that difference, signifys a decree. A decree of the senat in the latter sense had for one year the power of a law, after which trial it belong’d to the thesmothetæ (προγράϕειν) to hang it in writing upon the statues of the heros, and assemble the congregation.Ulpian ad These magistrats were of the number of the Archons, which in all were nine;Phil. 1. the chief, more peculiarly so call’d, was Archon Eponymus,Poll. l. 8. c. 8. he by whose name the year was reckon’d or denominated (his magistracy being of a civil concernment) the next was the king (a magistrat of a spiritual concernment) the third the polemarch (whose magistracy was of a military concernment) the other six were the thesmothetæ, who had several functions common with the nine; others peculiar or proper to themselves, as (προγϱάφειν) to give the people (by placarts) notice when the judicatorys were to assemble, that is, when the people were to assemble in that capacity, and to judg according to the law made; or, when the senat or the people were to assemble upon an ἀισα｢γελία, a crime that was not provided against by the law, as that of Alcibiades (the wits about that time in Athens being most of them Atheists) for laughing at Ceres, discovering her secrets, and shaving of the Mercurys. If an Archon or Demagog was guilty of such a crime, it belong’d to the cognizance of the senat, otherwise to that of the people whom the thesmothetæ were also in like manner to warn, when they were to com to the suffrage.L. 8. c. 16.
These six, like the electors in Venice, presided at all elections of magistrats whether made by the lot as the judges, or by suffrage as the new archons, the strategus or general, and most of the rest. They also had the hearing and introducing of all causes into the judicatorys.
But the right of assembling the ecclesia or congregation belong’d to the Prytans, by whom the senat propos’d to the people.
The congregation consisted of all them that were upon the roll of the lexiarcha, that is to say, of the whole people having right to the city The Prytans seated upon a tribunal, were presidents of this assembly; the assembly having sacrific’d and made oath of fidelity to the commonwealth, the proedri or presidents of the Prytans propos’d by authority of the senat to the people in this manner: July the 16th Policlesbeing archon, and the tribe of Pandion in the prytaneat,Demosthenes Pæaneusthought thus, or was of this opinion. The same custom wherby the first proposer subscribes his opinion or part with his name, is at this day in Venice. Proposition being made, such of the people as would speak were call’d to the pulpit; they that were fifty years of age, or upwards, were to com first, and the younger afterwards; which custom of prating in this manner made excellent orators or demagogs, but a bad commonwealth.
From this, that the people had not only the result of the commonwealth, but the debate also, Athens is call’d a democracy; and this kind of government is oppos’d to that of Lacedemon, which, because the people there had not the power of debate, but of result only, was call’d an aristocracy, somtimes an oligarchy: thus the Greecs commonly are to be understood, to distinguish these two; while according to my principles, if you like them, debate in the people makes anarchy; and where they have the result and no more, the rest being manag’d by a good aristocracy it makes that which is properly and truly to be call’d democracy, or popular government. Neither is this opinion of mine new, but according to the judgment of som of the Athenians themselves; for says Isocrates in his oration to the areopagits for reformation of the Athenian government, I know the main reason why the Lacedemonians flourish to be, that their commonwealth is popular. But to return. As many of the people as would, having shew’d their eloquence, and with these the demagogs, who were frequently brib’d, conceal’d their knavery; the epistata, or provost of the proedri, put the decree or question to the vote, and the people gave the result of the commonwealth by their chirotonia, that is, by holding up their hands: the result thus given, was the law or psephisma of the people.
Dem. Phil. 1.Now for the functions of the congregation, they were divers; as first, election of magistrats (ὀυϰ ἐχειϱοτονεῖτε δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν ἀυτῶν δέϰα Ταξιάρχους ϗ Στρατηγοὺς ϗ Φυλάϱχους, ϗ Ἱππάρχους δύο;) namely, the archons, the strategus or general, the field officers, the admirals, with divers others, all, or the chief of them annual, and commonly upon terms and vacations; tho it be true, as Plutarch has it, that Phocion was strategus four years together, having that honor still put upon him by the congregation, without his seeking. The next office of this assembly was to elect judges into five courts or judicatorys; for the people being in the bulk too unwieldy a body for the performance of this duty, they exercis’d the supreme judicature by way of representative, into which election was made by lottery, in such a manner that five hundred, one thousand, or 1500 of them (according to the importance of the occasion) being above thirty years of age, and within the rest of the qualifications in that case provided by the law, became the soverain judicatory, call’d the heliæa. In all elections, whether by lot or suffrage, the thesmothetæ were presidents, and order’d the congregation. Furthermore, if they would amend, alter, repeal, or make a law, this also was don by a representative, of which no man was capable that had not bin of the heliæa, for the rest elected out of the whole people: this amounting to one thousand, was call’d the nomothetæ or legislators. No law receiv’d by the people could be abrogated but by the nomothetæ; by these any Athenian, having obtain’d leave of the senat, might abrogat a law, provided withal he put another in the place of it. These laws the proedri of the Prytans were to put to the suffrage.
First, the old, whether it agreed with the Athenian people, or not? then the new; and whether of these happen’d to be chirotoniz’d or voted by the nomothetæ, was ratify’d, according to that piece of the Athenian law cited by Demosthenes against Timocrates, ὁϖότεϱον δ’ ἀν τῶν νόμων χειϱοτονήσωσιν ὁι νομοϑέται, τ[Editor: illegible character]τον ϰύϱιον εἶναι. What has bin said of the commonwealth of Athens, in relation to the present purpose, amounts to thus much, that not only the senat and the magistracy in this policy was upon rotation, but even the people also, at least as to the nomothetæ, or their legislative power, and the supreme judicatory of the heliæa, each of these being a representative, constituted of one thousand, or fifteen hundred citizens.
But for what follows in the second book, it is necessary that I observe in this place the proceding of certain divines, who indeavour to make use of this commonwealth for ends of their own, as particularly Dr. Seaman; who in his book call’d Four Propositions, argues after this manner:
CHIROTONIA (as Suidas has it) signifys both plebiscitum, a law made by the people, and psephisma. Now, say he, psephisma is the ordinary word us’d in the Attic laws, and in Demosthenes for senatusconsultum, a law made by the senat: whence he draws this conclusion; as, when the people make a law, they are said to chirotonize; so may the rulers, in like manner, in those laws that are made by themselves alone.
These ways with divines are too bad. The words of Suidas are these (χειροτονία, ἐϰλογη, ϖάντων ϰύρωσις) chirotonia is election or ratification by the many: which expresly excludes the few or the senat from being otherwise contain’d by the word chirotonia, than a part is by the whole. Nor has the author the word psephisma, or plebiscitum in the place. I would fain know what other word there is in Greec for plebiscitum but psephisma; and yet the doctor puts it upon Suidas, that he distinguishes between these two, and taking that for granted where he finds psephisma in Demosthenes and the Attic laws, will have it to signify no more than a decree of the senat. It is true that som decrees of the senat were so call’d, but those of the people had no other name; and whenever you find psephisma in Demosthenes or the Attic laws, for a law, there is nothing more certain than that it is to be understood of the people: for to say that a law in a popular commonwealth can be made without the people, is a contradiction.
Poll. lib. 8. c. 9.The second passage is a What think you of these words of Pollux, ἰδία δὲ ὅι μὲν ϑετμοϑέται προγράφȣσι, ϖότε δεῖ διϰάζειν τὰ διϰαστήρια, ϗ τὰς εισαґγελίας εἰσαґγέλλȣσιν εἰς τον δῆμον ϗ τας χειροτονίς. Which the doctor having english’d in this manner, the thesmothetæ do privatly prescribe when judgment is to be given, and promulge public accusations and suffrages to the people, asks you whose suffrages were these, if not the rulers? by which strange construction, where Pollux having first related in what part the function of the thesmothetæ was common with that of the nine archons, coms (ἰδία δὲ) to shew you what was peculiar to themselves, namely, to give notice when the heliæa or other judicatorys were to assemble; the doctor renders it, they do privatly prescribe: as if the session of a court of justice, and such a one as contain’d a thousand judges, being the representative of the whole people, were to be privatly prescrib’d. Then to this privat prescribing of justice, he adds, that they do publicly promulge (εἰσαґγελίας) citations upon crimes not within the written law: as if privat prescription and public promulgation could stand together. Next, wheras promulgation in the very nature of the word signifys an act before a law made, he presumes the law to be first made by the rulers, and then promulgated by the thesmothetæ to the people, kim kam to the experience of all commonwealths, the nature of promulgation, and the sense of his author, whose words, as I shew’d before, declare it to have bin the proper or peculiar office of the thesmothetæ to give the people notice when they were to assemble for judicature, or when for giving their chirotonia or suffrage, by promulgation of the cause (εἰς τὸν δῆμον) upon which they were to determin.
For the fourth passage, the doctor quoting a wrong place for these words, χειϱοτονήσωσιν ὁι νομοϑεται, that the nomothetæ (being a representative, as I shew’d, of the whole people, chosen by lot, and in number one thousand) chirotoniz’d, or gave the legistative suffrage; thence infers, that the rulers chirotoniz’d, voted or made laws by themselves without the people: which is as if one should say, that the prerogative tribe in Rome, or the house of commons in England, gave their vote to such or such a law, therfore it was made by the rulers alone, and not by the people of Rome or of England.
For the fourth passage, Stephanus quotes Demosthenes at large in these words, ὄυτε βȣλῆς, ὄυτε δήμȣ χειροτονήσαντος ἀυτόν. This the doctor interprets of an officer; to which I shall say more, when he shews me where the sentence is, or what went before: for as yet I do not know of an officer in any commonwealth, whose election was indifferently made, either by the senat or by the people; nor do I think the doctor has look’d further for this than Stephens, who has not interpreted it.
The fifth passage is, that a decree of the senat in Athens had the force of a law for one year, without the people. So had the edicts of the prætors in Rome: but I would fain know, whence the senat in Athens, or the prætors in Rome, originally deriv’d this right (which was no more than that such laws might be probationers, and so better understood when they came to the vote) but from the chirotonia, or suffrage of the people.
The sixth passage stops the mouths of such as having nothing to say to the matter of my writing, pick quarrels with the manner or freedom of it, the liberty I take in the defence of truth; seeing the doctor takes a greater liberty upon other terms, while he bids his antagonist (one that defended the cause now in my hand) go and consult his authors, namely Stephens and Budæus again: for, says he, you wrong those learned men, while you would have us believe that they were as ignorant of the Greec story as yourself, or that things are to be found in them which are not. To which confidence I have better leave to say, that the doctor should do well to take no worse counsil than he gives.
But what is becom of my prevaricator? I have quite lost him, else I should have intreated him to compare his notes out of my sermon, with these out of the doctors; or retract that same affectation, in saying, I know not how, but Mr.Harringtonhas conceiv’d a great unkindness for the clergy. As if these their stratagems, with which they make perpetual war against the unwary people, did not concern a man that has undertaken the cause of popular government.
The policy of the Achæans consisted of divers commonwealths under one, which was thus administer’d. The citys sent their deputys twice every year of course, and oftner if they were summon’d by their strategus, or their demiurges, to the place appointed. The strategus was the supreme magistrat both military and civil, and the demiurges being ten, were his council, all annual magistrats elected by the people. This council thus constituted, was call’d the synarchy, and perform’d like dutys, in relation to the senat, consisting of the deputys sent by their peculiar soveraintys or citys, as the Prytans to that in Athens. The policys of the Ætolians and Lycians are so near the same again, that in one you have all. So both the senats and the magistracy of these commonwealths were upon rotation. To conclude with Venice.
Epitome of the commonwealth of Venice.The commonwealth of Venice consists of four parts; the great council, the senat, the college, and the signory.
The great council is the aggregat body of the whole people, or citizens of Venice, which, for the paucity of their number,The great council. and the antiquity of their extraction, are call’d gentlemen, or noble Venetians. Every one of them at five and twenty years of age has right of session and suffrage in this council; which right of suffrage, because throout this commonwealth, in all debates and elections, it is given by the ballot, is call’d the right of balloting, wherby this council being the soverain power, creates all the rest of the orders, councils, or magistracys; and has constitutively the ultimat result, both in cases of judicature, and the constitution of laws.
The senat.The senat, call’d also the pregati, consists of sixty senators properly so stil’d, wherof the great council elects six on a day, beginning so long before the month of October, that these being all chosen by that time, then receive their magistracy: it consists also of sixty more, call’d the junta, which are elected by the scrutiny of the old senat, that is, by the senat proposing, and the great council resolving; the rest of their creation is after the same manner with the former. In the sixty of the senat, there cannot be above three of any one kindred or family, nor in the junta so many, unless there be fewer in the former. These magistracys are all annual, but without interval, so that it is at the pleasure of the great council, whether a senator having finish’d his year, they will elect him again.
The college.The college is a council consisting more especially of three orders of magistrats call’d in their language savi; as the savi grandi, to whose cognizance or care belong the whole affairs of sea and land; the savi di terra ferma, to whose care and cognizance belong the affairs of the land; and the savi di mare, to whose cognizance appertain the affairs of the sea, and of the ilands. These are elected by the senat, not all at once, but for the savi grandi, who are six, by three at a time, with the interposition of three months; and for the savi di terra ferma, and the savi di mare, who are each five, after the same manner, save only that the first election consists of three, and the second of two. Each order of the savi elects weekly one provost, each of which provosts has right in any affair belonging to the cognizance of his order, to propose to the college. Audience of embassadors, and matters of foren negotiation, belong properly to this council.
The signory.The signory consists of the duke and of his counsillors. The duke is a magistrat created by the great council for life, to whom the commonwealth acknowleges the reverence due to a prince, and all her acts run in his name; tho without the counsillors he has no power at all, while they can perform any function of the signory without him. The counsillors, whose magistracy is annual, are elected by the scrutiny of the senat, naming one out of each tribe (for the city is locally divided into six tribes) and the great council approving; so the counsillors are six, whose function in part is of the nature of masters of requests, having withal power to grant certain privileges: but their greatest preeminence is, that all, or any one of them may propose to any council in the commonwealth.
Certain rights of the councils.The signory has session and suffrage in the college, the college has session and suffrage in the senat, and the senat has session and suffrage in the great council. The signory, or the provosts of the savi, have power to assemble the college, the college has power to assemble the senat, and the senat has power to assemble the great council; the signiori, but more peculiarly the provosts of the savi, in their own offices and functions, have power to propose to the college, the college has power to propose to the senat, and the senat has power to propose to the great council. Whatever is thus propos’d and resolv’d, either by the senat (for somtimes thro the security of this order, a proposition gos no further) or by the great council, is ratify’d, or becoms the law of the commonwealth. Over and above these orders, they have three judicatorys, two civil and one criminal, in each of which forty gentlemen elected by the great council are judges for the term of eight months; to these judicatorys belong the avogadori and the auditori, who are magistrats, having power to hear causes apart, and, as they judge fitting, to introduce them into the courts.
If a man tells me, that I omit many things, he may perceive I write an epitome, in which no more should be comprehended, than that which understood may make a man understand the rest. But of these principal parts consists the whole body of admirable Venice.
Theconsiglio de’ dieci, or council of ten, being that which partakes of dictatorian power, is not a limb of her, but as it were a sword in her hand. This council (in which the signory has also session and suffrage) consists more peculiarly of ten annual magistrats, created by the great council, who afterwards elect three of their own number by lot, which so elected are call’d capi de’ dieci, their magistracy being monthly: again, out of the three capi, one is taken by lot, whose magistracy is weekly: this is he, who over against the tribunal in the great council sits like another duke, and is call’d the provost of the dieci. It belongs to these three magistrats to assemble the council of ten, which they are oblig’d to do weekly of course, and oftner as they see occasion. The council being assembled, any one of the signory, or two of the capi may propose to it: the power which they now exercise (and wherin for their assistance they create three magistrats call’d the grand inquisitors) consists in the punishment of certain heinous crimes, especially that of treason; in relation wherto they are as it were sentinels, standing upon the guard of the commonwealth: but constitutively (with the addition of a junta, consisting of other fifteen, together with some of the chief magistrats having right in cases of important speed or secrecy to this council) they have the full and absolute power of the whole commonwealth as dictator.
ThatVenice either transcrib’d the whole and every part of her constitution out of Athens and Lacedemon, or happens to be fram’d as if she had so don, is most apparent. The result of this commonwealth is in the great council, and the debate in the senat; so was it in Lacedemon. A decree made by the senat of Athens had the power of a law for one year without the people, at the end wherof the people might revoke it: a decree of the senat of Venice stands good without the great council, unless these see reason to revoke it. The Prytans were a council preparing business for the senat; so is the Collegio in Venice: the presidents of the Prytans were the ten Proedri; those of the Collegio are the three provosts of the Savi. The archons or princes of Athens being nine, had a kind of soverain inspection upon all the orders of the commonwealth; so has the signory of Venice, consisting of nine besides the duke. The quarancys in Venice are judicatorys of the nature of the Heliæa in Athens; and as the Thesmothetæ heard and introduc’d the causes into that judicatory, so do the Avogadori and the Auditori into these. The Consiglio de’ Dieci in Venice is not of the body, but an appendix of the commonwealth; so was the court of the Ephori in Lacedemon: and as these had power to put a king, a magistrat, or any delinquent of what degree soever to death, so has the Consiglio de’ Dieci. This again is wrought up with the Capi de’ Dieci, and the weekly provost, as were the Prytans with the Proedri, and the weekly Epistata; and the ballot is lineally descended from the bean: yet is Venice in the whole, and in every part, a far more exquisit policy than either Athens or Lacedemon.
A political is like a natural body. Commonwealths resemble and differ, as men resemble and differ; among whom you shall not see two faces, or two dispositions, that are alike. Peter and Thomas in all their parts are equally men, and yet Peter and Thomas of all men may be the most unlike; one may have his greater strength in his arms, the other in his legs; one his greater beauty in his soul, the other in his body; one may be a fool, the other wise; one valiant, the other cowardly. These two, which at a distance you will not know one from the other, when you look nearer, or com to be better acquainted with, you will never mistake. Our considerer (who in his epistle would make you believe that Oceana is but a mere transcription out of Venice) has companions like himself; and how near they look into matters of this nature is plain, while one knows not Jethro from Moses, and the other takes a state of civil war to be the best model of a civil government.
Let a man look near, and he shall not find any one order in Oceana (the ballot only excepted) that has not as much difference from, or resemblance to any one order in Rome or Venice, as any one order in Rome or Venice has from, or to any one order in Athens or Lacedemon: which different temper of the parts must of necessity in the whole yield a result, a soul or genius, altogether new in the world, as imbracing both the arms of Rome, and the counsils of Venice; and yet neither obnoxious to the turbulency of the one, nor the narrowness of the other.
But the sum of what has bin said of Venice, as to the business in hand, coms to no more than that the senat and the magistracy of this commonwealth are upon rotation. No more: nay I am well if it coms to so much. For the prevaricator catching me up, where I say, that for all this the greater magistracys in Venice are continually wheel’d thro a few hands, tells me, that I have confest it to be otherwise.Consid. p. 93. I have indeed confest, that tho the magistracys are all confer’d for certain terms, yet those terms do not necessitat vacations; that is, the term of a magistracy being expir’d, the party that bore it is capable upon a new election of bearing it again without interval or vacation: which does not altogether frustrat the rotation of the commonwealth, tho it renders the same very imperfect. This infirmity of Venice derives from a complication of causes, none of which is incident to a commonwealth consisting of the many: wherfore there lys no obligation upon me to discover the reason in this place. But on the contrary, seeing, let me shew things never so new, they are slighted as old, I have an obligation in this place, to try whether I may get esteem by concealing something. What is said, every body knew before; this is not said, who knows it?
A riddle.Riddle me, riddle me, what is this? The magistracys in Venice (except such as are rather of ornament than of power) are all annual, or at most biennial. No man whose term is expir’d, can hold his magistracy longer, but by a new election. The elections are most of them made in the great council, and all by the ballot, which is the most equal and impartial way of suffrage. And yet the greater magistracys are perpetually wheel’d thro a few hands.
If I be worthy to give advice to a man that would study the politics, let him understand Venice; he that understands Venice right, shall go nearest to judg (notwithstanding the difference that is in every policy) right of any government in the world. Now the assault of the considerer deriving but from som pique or emulation which of us should be the abler politician, if the council of state had the curiosity to know either that, or who understands Venice, this riddle would make the discovery; for he that cannot easily unfold this riddle, dos not understand her.
The sixth kind of rotation is when a commonwealth gos upon it in all her orders, senat, people, and magistracy. Such a one taking in the many, and being fix’d upon the foot of a steady agrarian, has attain’d to perfect equality. But of this an example there is none, or you must accept of Oceana.
Rotation of Oceana.The rotation of Oceana is of two parts, the one of the electors which is annual, and the other of the elected which is triennial.
Speaking of electors in this sense, I mean as the great council in Venice are electors of all other orders, councils or magistrats. But the commonwealth of Oceana taking in the whole people, cannot, as dos the great council of Venice (wherin they that have right are but a few) attain to this capacity at one step: for which cause she takes three steps; one at the parishes, where every fifth elder is annually elected by the whole people. There is no doubt but there was som such order in Israel wherby the monthly rotation of her congregation or prerogative, by election of two thousand in each tribe, was preserv’d. The next step she takes is at the hundred, where by election of officers and magistrats, the troops chosen at the parishes, are very near form’d. Her third step is at the tribe, where the whole body of her deputys are in an exact form, disciplin and function, headed by proper officers and magistrats, these all together consisting of one fifth part of the whole people. This rotation being in itself annual, coms in regard of the body of the people to be quinquennial, or such as in the space of five years give every man his turn in the power of election.
But tho every man be so capable of being an elector, that he must have his turn; yet every man is not so capable of being elected into those magistracys that are soverain, or have the leading of the whole commonwealth, that it can be safe to lay a necessity that every man must take his turn in these also; but it is enough that every man, who in the judgment and conscience of his country is fit, may take his turn. Wherfore upon the conscience of the electors, so constituted as has bin shewn, it gos to determin who shall partake of soverain magistracy, or be at the assembly of a tribe elected into the senat or prerogative; which assemblys are so triennial, that one third part of each falling every year, and another being elected, the parlament is therby perpetuated.
Consid. p. 90.Such was the constitution of those councils which the prevaricator has confest he always thought admirable, but now the toy takes him to be quite of another mind; for, says he, That antient republics have thro a malicious jealousy (let them take it among them) made it unlawful even for persons of the clearest merit to continue long in command, but have by perpetual vicissitude substituted new men in the government, is manifest enough; but with what success they did this, will best appear byVeturius, Varro,andMancinus. He is still admirable: one would wonder what he means; if it be that there were but three weak or unfortunat generals in the whole course of Rome, how strange is it to urge this as an argument against rotation, which is as strong a one as can be urg’d for rotation? If the Romans by this way of election having experience of an able general, knew ever after where to have him; or lighting upon one they found not so fit for their purpose, could in the compass of one year be rid of him of course, without dishonor or reproach to him, taking therby a warning to come no more there; was this a proceeding to favor malice? or such a one as, removing the cause of malice, left no root for such a branch or possibility of like effect? Certainly by this assertion the prevaricator has jolted his presumptuous head not only against the prudence of antient commonwealths, but of God himself in that of Israel.Veturius, Varro, and Mancinus (tho som of them cannot be at all points excus’d) by this mark upon them, may be thought hardlier of than is needful; for which cause there being that also in their storys, which is neither unpleasant nor unprofitable, I shall indeavor to make the reader somwhat better acquainted with them.Liv. l. 9. One of the greatest blows Rome ever receiv’d was by Pontius, captain general of the Samnits, who having drawn her consuls, Posthumius and Veturius, by stratagem into the straits of Caudium, a vally of narrow entrance, and shut up the mouth of it by possessing himself of the only passage, the rest being inviron’d with insuperable rocks, the Samnit came to have both the armys, and so upon the matter the whole strength (in those days) of Rome inevitably at his discretion. Hereupon, having leisure, and being desirous (in a matter of such moment) of good advice, he dispatch’d a messenger to his father Herennius, the ablest counsillor in Samnium, to know what might be his best course with the Romans now inavoidably at his mercy, who answer’d, that he should open the pass and let them return untouch’d. The young general, amaz’d at this counsil, desir’d farther direction: wherupon Herennius for the second time made answer, that he should cut them off to a man. But the general, upon the strange disagreement of such opinions, having his father’s age (for he was very old) in suspicion, took a third course, which neither (according to the first advice of wise Herennius) making friends, nor, according to the second, destroying enemys, became, as he prophesy’d, the utter ruin of the commonwealth of Samnium. For the Romans being dismist safe, but ignominiously, the senat upon their return fell into the greatest strait and consternation that had bin known among them. On the one side, to live and not revenge such an affront was intolerable; on the other, to revenge it was against the faith of the consuls, whose necessity (the loss of two armys depending upon it) had in truth forc’d them to accept of a dishonorable league with the Samnits. Now not the armys, but the senat it self was in Caudium, not a man of them could find the way out of this vale inviron’d with rocks, but he only that could not find it out of the other; Posthumius, who having first shew’d, that neither war nor peace could be so made, as to ingage the commonwealth (injuffu populi) without the command of the people, declar’d that the senat returning the consuls, with such others as had consented to so wicked and dishonorable a peace, naked, and bound to the Samnits; were free: nor ceas’d he till the senat (therto prest by the necessity of the commonwealth) resolving accordingly, he, Veturius, and som of the tribuns were deliver’d to the Samnits; who, nevertheless, to hold the Romans to their league, dismist them with safety. The disputes on either side that arose hereupon, and, coming to arms, ended with the destruction of Samnium, I omit. That which as to the present occasion is material, is the reputation of the consuls; and Veturius, tho he were not the leading man, being for the rest as deep in the action as Posthumius, the people were so far from thinking themselves deceiv’d in this choice, that the consuls were more honour’d in Rome for having lost, than Pontius in Samnium for having won the day at Caudium.
I do not rob graves, nor steal windingsheets; my controversys are not but with the living, with none of these that have not shew’d themselves best able for their own defence; nor yet with such, but in the prosecution of truths oppos’d by them to the damage of mankind: yet the prevaricator accuses me of rude charges. What are his then in defence of falshood, and against such as cannot bite? or whether of these is the more noble?
For Varro, who being consul of Rome, lost the battel of Cannæ to Hannibal, captain general for the Carthaginians, tho without cowardice, yet by rashness, he is not so excusable.
Florus, l 2. c. 18.But for Mancinus, brought (as was Posthumius by the Samnits) to dishonorable conditions by Megera, captain general of the Numantins, there be excuses: as first, the Numantins, for their number not exceeding four thousand fighting men, were the gallantest of so many, on which the sun ever shone.
Fourteen years had their commonwealth held tack with the Romans, in courage, conduct, and virtue, having worsted Pompey the Great, and made a league with him, when she might have made an end of him, e’er ever Mancinus (of whom Cicero gives a fair character) came in play: so his misfortunes, having great examples, cannot want som excuse. But suppose none of them deserv’d any excuse, what is it at which these examples drive? against a commonwealth? sure the Samnits, the Carthaginians, the Numantins were as well commonwealths as the Romans; and so wherever the advantage gos, it must stay upon a commonwealth: or if it be rotation that he would be at (for we must guess) granting Pontius the Samnit, and Megera the Numantin, to have bin no more upon rotation, than Hannibal the Carthaginian; yet it is plain that Rome upon her rotation overcame not only Pontius, Hannibal and Megera, but Samnium, Carthage, and Numantia.Consid. p. 91. So much for Rome; but, says he, no less appears by the rabble of generalsoften made use of by the Athenians, while men of valor and conduct have lain by the walls.
A rabble of generals did I never hear of before; but not to meddle with his rhetoric, wheras each of his objections has at least som one contradiction in it, this has two (one à priori, another à posteriori) one in the snout, another in the tail of it. For had there bin formerly no rotation in Athens, how should there have bin men of valor and conduct to ly by the walls? and if rotation thenceforth should have ceas’d, how could those men of valor and conduct have don otherwise than ly by the walls? so this inavoidably confesses, that rotation was the means wherby Athens came to be stor’d with persons of valor and conduct, they to be capable of imployment, and the commonwealth to imploy the whole virtue of her citizens: and it being, in his own words, an argument of much imperfection in a government not to dare to employ the whole virtue of the citizens, this wholly routs a standing general; for the government that dares imploy but the virtue of one, dares not imploy the virtue of all. Yet he jogs one.
Consid. p. 91.THOSE orders must needs be against nature, which, excluding persons of the best qualifications, give admission to others, who have nothing to commend them but their art in canvassing for the suffrage of the people. He never takes notice that the ballot bars canvassing beyond all possibility of any such thing; but we will let that go. Canvassing, it is confest, was more frequent in Rome and Athens than is laudable, where nevertheless it is the stronger argument for the integrity of popular suffrage, which, being free from any aid of art, produc’d in those commonwealths more illustrious examples (if a man gos no further than Plutarch’s lives) than are to be found in all the rest of story.
Consid. p. 91.YET, says he, this law has bin as often broken as a commonwealth has bin brought into any exigence; for the hazard of trusting affairs in weak hands then appearing, no scruple has been made to trample upon this order, for giving the power to some able man at that time render’d incapable by the vacation this law requires. The continuation of the consulship ofMariusis sufficient to be alleg’d for the proof of this, tho if occasion were, it might be back’d by plenty of examples. His choice confutes his pretended variety, who jests with edg’d tools: this example above all will cut his fingers; for by this prolongation of magistracy, or, to speak more properly, of empire (for the magistracy of the consul was civil, and confer’d by the people centuriatis comitiis, but his empire was military, and confer’d curiatis) Rome began to drive those wheels of her rotation heavily in Marius, which were quite taken off in Cæsar.
I have heretofore in vain persuaded them upon this occasion, to take notice of a chapter in Machiavel, so worthy of regard, that I have now inserted it at length, as follows:
Mach. Dis. cor. b. 3 c. 24.THE proceedings of the Roman commonwealth being well consider’d, two things will be found to have bin the causes of her dissolution. The contention that happen’d thro the indeavor of the people (always oppos’d or eluded by the nobility) to introduce an agrarian, and the damage that accru’d from the prolongation of empire, which mischiefs, had they bin foreseen in due time, the government by application of fit remedys might have bin of longer life and better health. The diseases which this commonwealth, from contention about the agrarian, contracted, were acute and tumultuous; but those being flower and without tumult which she got by promulgation of empire, were chronical, and went home with her, giving a warning by her example, how dangerous it is to states that would injoy their liberty, to suffer magistracy (how deservedly soever confer’d) to remain long in the possession of the same man. Certainly if the rest of the Romans, whose empire happen’d to be prolong’d, had bin as virtuous and provident as Lucius Quintius, they had never run into this inconvenience. Of such wholsom example was the goodness of this man, that the senat and the people, after one of their ordinary disputes being com to som accord, wheras the people had prolong’d the magistracy of their present tribuns, in regard they were persons more fitly oppos’d to the ambition of the nobility, than by a new election they could readily have found; when hereupon the senat (to shew they needed not be worse at this game) would have prolong’d the consulat to Quintius, he refus’d his consent, saying, that ill examples were to be corrected by good ones, and not incourag’d by others like themselves; nor could they stir his resolution, by which means they were necessitated to make new consuls. Had this wisdom and virtue, I say, bin duly regarded, or rightly understood, it might have sav’d Rome, which thro this neglect came to ruin. The first whose empire happen’d to be prolong’d was Publilius Philo, his consulat expiring at the camp before Palæpolis, while it seem’d to the senat that he had the victory in his hand (actum cum tribunis plebis est, ad populum ferrent ut cum Philo consulatu abiisset, proconsul rem gereret) they sent him no successor, but prolong’d his empire, by which means he came to the first proconsul.Liv. l. 8. An expedient (tho introduc’d for the public good) that came in time to be the public bane: for by how much the Roman armys march’d further off, by so much the like course seeming to be the more necessary, became the more customary; whence insu’d two pernicious consequences: the one, that there being fewer generals, and men of known ability for conduct, the art with the reputation of the same came to be more ingrost, and obnoxious to ambition: the other, that a general standing long, got such hold upon his army, as could take them off from the senat, and hang them on himself. Thus Marius and Sylla could be follow’d by the soldiery to the detriment of the commonwealth, and Cæsar to her perdition. Wheras had Rome never prolong’d empire, she might perhaps not so soon have arriv’d at greatness or acquisition, but would have made less haste to destruction.
All the dilemma that Machiavel observes in these words, is, that if a commonwealth will not be so slow in her acquisition as is requir’d by rotation, she will be less sure than is requisit to her preservation.Consid. p. 92. But the prevaricator (not vouchsafing to shew us upon what reasons or experience he grounds this maxim) is positive, that the dilemma into which a commonwealth is in this case brought, is very dangerous; for either she must give her self a mortal blow by gaining the habit of insringing such orders as are necessary for her preservation, or receive one from without.
Mamercus apud Liv. l. 4.This same is another parakeetism: these words are spoken by me, after Machiavel, in relation to dictatorian power, in which they are so far from concluding against rotation, that this in case of a dictator is more especially necessary (maxima libertatis custodia est, ut magna imperia diuturna non sint, & temporis modus imponatur, quibus juris imponi non potest) which could not be more confirm’d than by him, who in the example of Marius shews that the contrary course spoil’d all.
TheRomans, if they had sent a successor to Publius Philo at Palæpolis, it may be might have let the victory slip out of his hands, it may be not; however this had bin no greater wound to the commonwealth, than that her acquisition would have bin slower, which ought not to com in competition with the safety of a government, and therfore amounts not to a dilemma, this being a kind of argument that should not be stub’d of one horn, but have each of equal length and danger. Nor is it so certain that increase is slower for rotation, seeing neither was this interrupted by that, nor that by this, as the greatest actions of Rome, the conquest of Carthage by Scipio Africanus, of Macedon by Flaminius, and of Antiochus by Asiaticus, are irrefragable testimonys.
I would be loth to spoil the considerer’s preferment; but he is not a safe counsillor for a prince, whose providence not supplying the defect of rotation, whether in civil or military affairs, with somthing of like nature, exposes himself if not his empire as much to danger as a commonwealth.2 Sam. 3. 39. Thus the sons of Zerviah, Joab captain of the host, and Abishai his brother, were too strong for David; thus the kings of Israel and of Juda fell most of them by their captains or favorits, as I have elsewhere observ’d more particularly. Thus Brutus being standing captain of the guards, could cast out Tarquin; thus Sejanus had means to attempt against Tiberius; Otho to be the rival of Galba, Casperius Ælianus of Nerva, Cassius of Antoninus, Perennis of Commodus, Maximinus of Alexander, Philippus of Gordian, Æmilianus of Gallus; Ingebus Lollianus, Aureolus, of Gallienus; Magnesius of Constantius, Maximus of Gratian, Arbogastes of Valentinian, Ruffinus of Arcadius, Stilico of Honorius. Go from the west into the east: upon the death of Marcianus, Asparis alone, having the command of the arms, could prefer Leo to the empire; Phocas deprive Mauritius of the same; Heraclius depose Phocas; Leo Isaurias do as much to Theodosius Adramyttenus; Nicephorus to Irene, Leo Armenius to Michael Curopalates, Romanus Lagapenus to Constantin, Nicephorus Phocas to Romanus Puer, Johannes Zismisces to Nicephorus Phocas, Isaac Comnenus to Michael Stratioticus, Botoniates to Michael the son of Ducas, Alexius Comnenus to Botoniates: which work continu’d in such manner till the destruction of that empire. Go from the east to the north: Gustavus attain’d to the kingdom of Sweden, by his power and command of an army: and thus Secechus came near to supplant Boleslaus the third of Poland. If Wallestein had liv’d, what had becom of his master? in France the race of Pharamond was extinguish’d by Pipin; and that of Pipin in like manner, each by the major of the palace, a standing magistracy of exorbitant trust. Go to the Indys: you shall find a king of Pegu to have bin thrust out of the realm of Tangu by his captain general. Nay, go where you will, tho this be pretty well, you shall add more than one example. But as to the prevaricator, if he was not given to make such mouths, as eat up nothing else but his own words, I needed not have brought any other testimony to absolve a commonwealth of malice in this order than his own, where he says, that when som person overtops the rest in commands, it is a disease of monarchy which easily admits of this cure, that he be reduc’d to a less volum, and level’d to an equality with the rest of his order.Consid. p. 47. 48. Now a prince can no otherwise level a nobleman, that excels the rest thro command, to equality with his order, than by causing those of the same order to take their turns in like command. Good wits have ill memorys.Consid. p. 93.But, says he, I know not what advantage Mr.Harringtonmay foresee from the orders of this rotation, for my part, I can discover no other effect of it than this, that in a commonwealth like that of Oceana, taking in the many (for in Venice he confesses it to be otherwise) where every man will press forward towards magistracy, this law, by taking off at the end of one year som officers, and all at the end of three, will keep the republic in a perpetual minority: no man having time allow’d him to gain that experience, which may serve to lead the commonwealth to the understanding of her true interest either at home or abroad.
What I have confest to be otherwise in Venice, I have shewn already at least so far as concerns the present occasion, the causes of that defect being incompatible with a commonwealth consisting of the many; otherwise why was not the like found in Athens or Rome? where tho every man prest forward towards magistracy, yet the magistrats were, for illustrious examples, more in weight and number than are to be found in all the rest of the world.
If where elections were the most expos’d to the ambition of the competitor, and the humors of the people, they yet fail’d not to excel all others that were not popular, what greater vindication can there be of the natural integrity of popular suffrage even at the worst? but this, where it is given by the baliot, is at the best, and free from all that pressing for magistracy in the competitor, or faction of the people that can any ways be laid to the former: or let the considerer consider again, and tell me by what means either of these in such a state can be dangerous or troublesom; or if at worst the orders for election in Oceana must not perform that part, better than a croud and a sherif. Well; but putting the case the elections which were not quarrel’d much withal be rightly stated, yet this law for terms and vacations, by taking off at the end of one year som officers, and all at the end of three, will keep the republic in perpetual minority, no man having time allow’d him to gain that experience, which may serve to lead the commonwealth to the understanding of her true interest at home or abroad. Because every man will press forward for magistracy, therfore there ought not to be terms and vacations, lest these should keep the commonwealth in perpetual minority. I would once see an argument that might be reduc’d to mode and figure. The next objection is, that these orders take off at the end of one year som officers, which is true, and that at the end of three years they take off all, which is false; for wheras the leaders of the commonwealth are all triennial, the orders every year take off no more than such only as have finish’d their three years term, which is not all, but a third part. Wherfore let him speak out; three years is too short a term for acquiring that knowlege which is necessary to the leading of a commonwealth. To let the courses of Israel which were monthly, and the annual magistracys of Athens and Rome go; if three years be too short a term for this purpose, what was three months? a parlament in the late government was rarely longer liv’d than three months, nor more frequent than once in a year; so that a man having bin twelve years a parlament-man in England, could not have born his magistracy above three years, tho he were not necessarily subject to any vacation. Wheras a parlament in Oceana may in twelve years have born his magistracy six, notwithstanding the necessity of his vacations. Now which of these two are most straiten’d in the time necessary to the gaining of due experience or knowledge for the leading of a commonwealth? nevertheless the parlament of England was seldom or never without men of sufficient skill and ability; tho the orders there were more in number, less in method, not written, and of greater difficulty than they be in Oceana. There, if not the parlament man, the parlament itself was upon terms and vacations, which to a council of such a nature is the most dangerous thing in the world, seeing dissolution, whether to a body natural or political, is death. For if parlaments happen’d to rise again and again, this was not so much coming to themselves (seeing a council of so different genius has not bin known) as a new birth; and a council that is every year new born indeed must keep a commonwealth in perpetual minority, or rather infancy, always in danger of being overlaid by her nurse, or strangl’d by her guardian: wheras an assembly continu’d by succession, or due rotation regulated by terms, giving sufficient time for digestion, grows up, and is like a man, who tho he changes his flesh, neither changes his body nor his soul. Thus the senat of Venice changing flesh, tho not so often as in a commonwealth consisting of the many were requisit, yet oftenest of any other in the world, is, both in body and soul, or genius, the most unchangeable council under heaven. Flesh must be chang’d, or it will stink of it self; there is a term necessary to make a man able to lead the commonwealth to her interest, and there is a term that may inable a man to lead the commonwealth to his interest. In this regard it is, that, according to Mamercus, the vacations are (maxima libertatis custodia) the keepers of the libertys of Oceana.
The three regions into which each of the leading councils is divided, are three forms, as I may say, in the school of state: for them of the third, tho there be care in the choice, it is no such great matter what be their skill; the ballot which they practis’d in the tribe being that in the performance wherof no man can be out: and this is all that is necessary to their novitiat or first year, during which time they may be auditors. By the second, they will have seen all the scenes, or the whole rotation of the orders, so facil, and so intelligible, that at one reading a man understands them as a book, but at once acting as a play; and so methodical, that he will remember them better. Tell me then what it is that can hinder him for the second year from being a speaker; or why for the third, should he not be a very able leader.
The senat and the prerogative, or representative of the people, being each of like constitution, drop annually four hundred, which in a matter of ten years amount to four thousand experienc’d leaders, ready upon new elections to resume their leading.
Another thing which I would have consider’d is, whether our most eminent men found their parts in parlament, or brought them thither. For if they brought them, think you not the military orders of the youth, the disciplin of the tribes, the eight years orbs of the embassadors, the provincial armys of Oceana, likely to breed men of as good parts, as to such matters? nor have astronomers that familiarity with the stars, which men without these orbs will have with such as are in them. He is very dull, who cannot perceive that in a government of this frame the education must be universal, or diffus’d throout the whole body. Another thing which is as certain as comfortable, is, that the pretended depth and difficulty in matters of state is a mere cheat. From the beginning of the world to this day, you never found a commonwealth where the leaders having honesty enough, wanted skill enough to lead her to her true interest at home or abroad: that which is necessary to this end, is not so much skill as honesty; and let the leaders of Oceana be dishonest if they can. In the leading of a commonwealth aright, this is certain, wisdom and honesty are all one: and tho you shall find defects in their virtue, those that have had the fewest, have ever bin and for ever shall be, the wisest.
ROME was never ruin’d, till her balance being broken, the nobility forsaking their antient virtue, abandon’d themselves to their lusts; and the senators, who, as in the case of Jugurtha, were all brib’d, turn’d knaves; at which turn all their skill in government (and in this never men had bin better skill’d) could not keep the commonwealth from overturning. Cicero, an honest man, labor’d might and main; Pomponius Atticus another, despair’d; Cato tore out his own bowels; the poignards of Brutus and Cassius neither consider’d prince nor father: but the commonwealth had sprung her planks, and split her ballast; the world could not save her.
Consid. p. 36. p. 94.For the close, the prevaricator, who had judg’d before, that there was much reason to expect som of the clergy (against all of whom Mr. Harrington has declar’d war) would undertake the quarrel, tells me in the last line, that there be to whom he has recommended the disquisition of the Jewish commonwealth.
It is a miserable thing to be condemn’d to the perpetual budget; once turn an honest man to me. In the mean time, that it may be further seen, how much I am delighted in fair play, since some divines, it may be, are already at work with me, and I have not so fully explain’d my self upon that point, which with them is of the greatest concernment, that they can yet say, they have peep’d into my hand, or seen my game; as I have won this trick, gentlemen, or speak, so I play them out the last card in the next book for up.
An Advertisment to the Reader, or a Direction contain’d in certain Querys, how the Commonwealth of Oceana may be examin’d or answer’d by divers Sorts of Men, without spoiling their high Dance, or cutting off any Part of their Elegance, or Freeness of Expression.
[* ]Point de Argent, point de Suisse.
[* ]Senatum omninò non habere non vultis: Quippe aut rex quod abominandum; aut, quod unum liberæ civitatis concilium est, senatus habendus est. Liv.
[* ]Quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem, quam lege regia quæ de ejus imperio lata est, populus ei, & in eum omne imperium suum & potestatem concedat.
[* ]Deus populi Judaici rex erat veluti politicus, & civilis legislator. In diatriba de voto Jephthæ.