Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. V.: Of Form in the Civil Parts. - The Oceana and Other Works
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CHAP. V.: Of Form in the Civil Parts. - 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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Of Form in the Civil Parts.
1. THOSE naturalists that have best written of generation, do observe that all things procede from an eg, and that there is in every eg a punctum saliens, or a part first mov’d, as the purple speck observ’d in those of hens; from the working wherof the other organs or fit members are delineated, distinguish’d, and wrought into one organical body.
2. A nation without government, or fallen into privation of form, is like an eg unhatch’d; and the punctum saliens, or first mover from the corruption of the former to the generation of the succeding form, is either a sole legislator or a council.
3. A sole legislator, proceding according to art, or knowlege, produces government in the whole piece at once and in perfection. But a council (proceding not according to art, or what in a new case is necessary or fit for them, but according to that which they call the genius of the people still hankering after the things they have bin us’d to, or their old customs, how plain soever it be made in reason that they can no longer fit them) make patching work, and are ages about that which is very seldom or never brought by them to any perfection; but commonly coms by the way to ruin, leaving the noblest attempts under reproach, and the authors of them expos’d to the greatest miserys while they live, if not their memorys when they are dead and gone to the greatest infamy.
4. If the punctum saliens, or first mover in generation of the form be a sole legislator, his proceding is not only according to nature, but according to art also, and begins with the delineation of distinct orders or members.
5. Delineation of distinct organs or members (as to the form of government) is a division of the territory into fit precincts once stated for all, and a formation of them to their proper offices and functions, according to the nature or truth of the form to be introduc’d.
6. Precincts in absolute monarchy are commonly call’d provinces; and as to the delineation or stating of them, they may be equal or inequal. Precincts in regulated monarchy, where the lords or nobility as to their titles or estates ought not to be equal, but to differ as one star differs from another in glory, are commonly call’d countys, and ought to be inequal. Precincts in democracy, where without equality in the electors there will hardly be any equality in the elected; or where without equality in the precincts, it is almost, if not altogether impossible there should be equality in the commonwealth, are properly call’d tribes, and ought by all means to be equal.
7. Equality or parity has bin represented an odious thing, and made to imply the levelling of mens estates; but if a nobility, how inequal soever in their estates or titles, yet to com to the truth of aristocracy, must as to their votes or participation in the government be pares regni, that is to say peers, or in parity among themselves: as well likewise the people, to attain to the truth of democracy, may be peers, or in parity among themselves, and yet not as to their estates be oblig’d to levelling.
8. Industry of all things is the most accumulative, and accumulation of all things hates levelling: the revenue therfore of the people being the revenue of industry, tho som nobility (as that of Israel, or that of Lacedemon) may be found to have bin levellers, yet not any people in the world.
9. Precincts being stated, are in the next place to be form’d to their proper offices and functions, according to the truth of the form to be introduc’d; which in general is to form them as it were into distinct governments, and to indow them with distinct governors.
10. Governments or governors are either supreme or subordinat. For absolute monarchy to admit in its precincts any government or governors that are not subordinat but supreme, were a plain contradiction. But that regulated monarchy, and that democracy may do it, is seen in the princes of Germany, and in the cantons of Switzerland: nevertheless these being governments that have deriv’d this not from the wisdom of any legislator, but from accident, and an ill disposition of the matter, wherby they are not only incapable of greatness, but even of any perfect state of health, they com not under the consideration of art, from which they derive not; but of chance, to which we leave them. And, to speak according to art, we pronounce that, as well in democracy and in regulated as in absolute monarchy, governors and governments in the several divisions ought not to be soveraintys, but subordinat to one common soverain.
11. Subordinat governors are at will, or for life, or upon rotation or changes.
12. In absolute monarchy the governors of provinces must either be at will, or upon rotation, or else the monarch cannot be absolute. In regulated monarchy the governors of the countys may be for life or hereditary, as in counts or lords; or for som certain term and upon rotation, as in viscounts or sherifs. In democracy the people are servants to their governors for life, and so cannot be free; or the governors of the tribes must be upon rotation and for som certain term, excluding the party that have born the magistracy for that term from being elected into the like again, till an equal interval or vacation be expir’d.
13. The term in which a man may administer government to the good of it, and not attemt upon it to the harm of it, is the fittest term of bearing magistracy; and three years in a magistracy describ’d by the law under which a man has liv’d, and which he has known by the carriage or practice of it in others, is a term in which he cannot attempt upon his government for the hurt of it, but may administer it for the good of it, tho such a magistracy or government should consist of divers functions.
14. Governors in subordinat precincts have commonly three functions; the one civil, the other judicial, and the third military.
15. In absolute monarchy the government of a province consists of one beglerbeg, or governor for three years, with his council or divan for civil matters, and his guard of janizarys and spahys, that is, of horse and foot, with power to levy and command the timariots or military farmers.
16. In regulated monarchy the government of a county consists of one count or lord for life, or of one viscount or sherif for som limited term, with power in certain civil and judicial matters, and to levy and command the posse comitatus.
17. In democracy the government of a tribe consists of one council or court, in one third part elected annually by the people of that tribe for the civil; for the judicial, and for the military government of the same; as also to preside at the election of deputys in that tribe towards the annual supply in one third part of the common and soverain assemblys of the whole commonwealth, that is to say, of the senat and of the popular assembly; in which two these tribes, thus delineated and distinguish’d into proper organs or fit members to be actuated by those soverain assemblys, are wrought up again by connexion into one intire and organical body.
18. A parlament of physicians would never have found out the circulation of the blood, nor could a parlament of poets have written Virgil’sÆneis; of this kind therfore in the formation of government is the proceding of a sole legislator. But if the people without a legislator set upon such work by a certain instinct that is in them, they never go further than to chuse a council; not considering that the formation of government is as well a work of invention as of judgment; and that a council, tho in matters laid before them they may excel in judgment, yet invention is as contrary to the nature of a council as it is to musicians in consort, who can play and judg of any ayr that is laid before them, tho to invent a part of music they can never well agree.
19. In councils there are three ways of result, and every way of result makes a different form. A council with the result in the prince makes absolute monarchy. A council with the result in the nobility, or where without the nobility there can be no result, makes aristocracy, or regulated monarchy. A council with the result in the people makes democracy. There is a fourth kind of result or council which amounts not to any form, but to privation of government; that is, a council not consisting of a nobility, and yet with the result in itself, which is rank oligarchy: so the people, seldom or never going any further than to elect a council without any result but itself, instead of democracy introduce oligarchy.
20. The ultimat result in every form is the soverain power. If the ultimat result be wholly and only in the monarch, that monarchy is absolute. If the ultimat result be not wholly and only in the monarch, that monarchy is regulated. If the result be wholly and only in the people, the people are in liberty, or the form of the government is democracy.
21. It may happen that a monarchy founded upon aristocracy, and so as to the foundation regulated, may yet com by certain expedients or intrusions (as at this day in France and in Spain) as to the administration of it to appear or be call’d absolute; of which I shall treat more at large when I com to speak of reason of state, or of administration.
22. The ultimat result in the whole body of the people, if the commonwealth be of any considerable extent, is altogether impracticable; and if the ultimat result be but in a part of the people, the rest are not in liberty, nor is the government democracy.
23. As a whole army cannot charge at one and the same time, yet is so order’d that every one in his turn coms up to give the charge of the whole army; so tho the whole people cannot give the result at one and the same, yet may they be so order’d that every one in his turn may com up to give the result of the whole people.
24. A popular assembly, rightly order’d, brings up every one in his turn to give the result of the whole people.
25. If the popular assembly consists of one thousand or more, annually changeable in one third part by new elections made in the tribes by the people, it is rightly order’d; that is to say, so constituted that such an assembly can have no other interest wherupon to give the result, than that only which is the interest of the whole people.
26. But in vain is result where there is no matter to resolve upon; and where maturity of debate has not preceded, there is not yet matter to resolve upon.
27. Debate to be mature cannot be manag’d by a multitude; and result to be popular cannot be given by a few.
28. If a council capable of debate has also the result, it is oligarchy. If an assembly capable of the result has debate also, it is anarchy. Debate in a council not capable of result, and result in an assembly not capable of debate, is democracy.
29. It is not more natural to a people in their own affairs to be their own chusers, than upon that occasion to be provided of their learned counsil; in so much that the saying of Pacuvius, That either a people is govern’d by a king or counsil’d by a senat, is universally approv’d.
30. Where the senat has no distinct interest, there the people are counsillable, and venture not upon debate: where the senat has any distinct interest, there the people are not counsillable, but fall into debate among themselves, and so into confusion.
31. Of senats there are three kinds: first, A senat eligible out of the nobility only, as that of Rome, which will not be contented to be merely the council of the people, but will be contending that they are lords of the people, never quitting their pretensions till they have ruin’d the commonwealth. Secondly, A senat elected for life, as that of Sparta, which will be a species of nobility, and will have a kind of Spartan king, and a senat upon rotation; which being rightly constituted, is quiet, and never pretends more than to be the learned council of the people.
32. Thirdly, Three hundred senators, for example, changeable in one third part of them annually by new elections in the tribes, and constituted a senat to debate upon all civil matters, to promulgat to the whole nation what they have debated, this promulgation to be made som such convenient time before the matters by them debated are to be propos’d, that they may be commonly known and well understood, and then to propose the same to the result of the popular assembly, which only is to be the test of every public act, is a senat rightly order’d.
FORM of government (as to the civil part) being thus completed, is sum’d up in the three following aphorisms.
33. Absolute monarchy (for the civil part of the form) consists of distinct provinces under distinct governors, equally subordinat to a grand signor or sole lord, with his council or divan debating and proposing, and the result wholly and only in himself.
Chap. VI.34. Regulated monarchy (for the civil part of the form) consists of distinct principalitys or countys under distinct lords or governors, which if rightly constituted are equally subordinat to the king and his peerage, or to the king and his estates assembl’d in parliament, without whose consent the king can do nothing.
35. Democracy (for the civil part of the form) if rightly constituted, consists of distinct tribes under the government of distinct magistrats, courts, or councils, regularly changeable in one third part upon annual elections, and subordinat to a senat consisting of not above three hundred senators, and to a popular assembly consisting of not under a thousand deputys; each of these also regularly changeable in one third part upon annual elections in the tribes, the senat having the debate, and the popular assembly the result of the whole commonwealth.