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A SEVENTH MODEL OF A COMMONWEALTH PROPOS’D. The Commonwealth of Holland. - 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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A SEVENTH MODEL OF A COMMONWEALTH PROPOS’D.
THAT the people in every city, and in every province or county within these three nations, elect to every city, province, or county of the same, a matter of twenty, thirty, or forty magistrats for life. That these magistrats being so elected, be the senat of that respective city, province or county.
That the senats, thus elected, thenceforth have and injoy the soverain power within their respective jurisdiction, for ever. That every senat annually elect two or four burgomasters or consuls, to be presidents of the same. That they also elect seven magistrats, or present fourteen persons to the governor of the province; and that he elect seven. That the seven so elected be judges, or have the executive power of the laws for their term, and within their respective jurisdiction.
That in case of affairs of more public and general concern, as war or peace, levy of men or mony, and the like, the governor of the province give information of the things to be consider’d, to the nobility, and to the senats of that province; therwith appointing a time and place for the assembly of the states provincial. That each of the senats, having debated the matter propos’d, delegat one consul, with som other senators well inform’d and instructed with their will and pleasure, to the assembly of the states provincial. That the nobility of the same province delegat som of their order likewise to the provincial states. That the delegats both of the nobility and of the senats give the vote of their principals according to instruction; and that neither the nobility, nor any senat or soverainty be otherwise bound, than by their own vote.
That the provincial estates elect one magistrat for life, or during pleasure, to be provincial governor: That they elect one or more other magistrats for life, or during pleasure, to be states general.
That the states general being elected, and well instructed by their provinces, have the direction of the whole league: That each give not his own vote, but the vote of his province; and that no province be otherwise bound, than by her own vote.
IF these models (in which I claim to be the first that has laid the whole, and the highest mysterys of the antient commonwealths, to the lowest capacity of vulgar debate) be not all in the mouths of great men, and in pamphlets, for chimæras or utopias, it is great chance: yet contain they no less than the whole revolution of popular prudence. Nor is it more certain, that no one of them would fit the present state of this nation, than that he or they, whose contemplation and understanding is not well vers’d in the most, or in the best of these, shall never fit a model of popular government to the present state of this nation, or of any other. In which assurance, I com to fulfil my promise in the Second Part, or to propose such a model as is fitted to the present state of this nation.
THE SECOND PART, Proposing a Model of a COMMONWEALTH
BUT so it is ever, that the humors or interests of predominant partys hold themselves to be national; and that which fits them, can never fit a nation; nor that which fits a nation, ever fit them. This, in the introduction of government, is always the main difficulty. But where partys are no better founded, or fitted for usurpation, than now in England, they are rather to be slighted than consider’d, as those, the stoutest wherof have but given this example to the rest, that they who in this state of affairs shall obstruct an equal and well-order’d government, shall but ruin themselves. For which cause it is propos’d,
1. THAT all citizens, that is, freemen, or such as are not servants, be distributed into horse and foot. That such of them as have one hundred pounds a year in lands, goods, or mony, or above this proportion, be of the horse; and all such as have under this proportion, be of the foot.
2. That all elders, or freemen, being thirty years of age or upwards, be capable of civil administration; and that the youth, or such freemen as are between eighteen years of age and thirty, be not capable of civil administration, but of military only, in such manner as shall follow in the military part of this model .
3. That the whole native or proper territory of the commonwealth be cast with as much exactness as can be convenient, into known and fix’d precincts or parishes.
4. That the elders resident in each parish annually assemble in the same, for example upon Monday next insuing the last of December: That they then and there elect out of their own number every fifth man, or one man of every five, to be for the term of the year insuing a deputy of that parish; and that the first and second so elected be overseers, or presidents for the regulating of all parochial congregations, whether of the elders, or of the youth, during the term for which they were elected.
5. That so many parishes lying nearest together, whose deputys shall amount to one hundred or therabouts, be cast into one precinct call’d the hundred; and that in each precinct call’d the hundred, there be a town, village, or place appointed to be the capital of the same.
6. That the parochial deputys elected throout the hundred assemble annually, for example upon Monday next insuing the last of January, at the capital of their hundred. That they then and there elect out of the horse of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one captain, one insign; and out of the foot of their number one other juryman, one high constable, &c.
7. That every twenty hundreds lying nearest, and most conveniently together, be cast into one tribe; that the whole territory being after this manner cast into the tribes, some town or place be appointed to every tribe for the capital of the same; and that these three precincts (that is, the parish, the hundred, and the tribe) whether the deputys thenceforth annually chosen in the parishes or hundreds com to increase or diminish, remain firm and inalterable for ever, save only by act of parlament. The tribes are presum’d throout these propositions to amount to fifty.
8. That the deputys elected in the several parishes, together with their magistrats and other officers both civil and military elected in the several hundreds, assemble or muster annually, for example upon Monday next insuing the last of February, at the capital of their tribe, for the space of two days.
9. That this whole body thus assembl’d, upon the first day of their assembly elect out of the horse of their number, one high sherif, one lieutenant of the tribe, one custos rotulorum, one conductor, and two censors. That the high sherif be commander in chief, the lieutenant commander in the second place, and the conductor in the third place, of this band or squadron: That the custos rotulorum be mustermaster, and keep the rolls; that the censors be governors of the ballot; and that the term of these magistracys be annual.
10. That the magistrats of the tribe (that is to say, the high sherif, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the censors, and the conductor, together with the magistrats and officers of the hundreds, that is to say, the twenty justices of the peace, the forty jurymen, the twenty high constables) be one troop, or one troop and one company apart, call’d the prerogative troop or company. That this troop bring in and assist the justice of assize, hold the quarter session in their several capacities, and perform their other functions as formerly.
11. That the magistrats of the tribe (that is to say, the high sherif, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the censors, and the conductor, together with the twenty justices elected at the hundreds) be a court for the government of the tribe call’d the phylarch; and that this court procede in all matter of government as shall from time to time be directed by act of parlament.
12. That the squadron of the tribe on the second day of their assembly, elect two knights, and three burgesses out of the horse of their number, and four other burgesses out of the foot of their number. That each knight upon election forthwith make oath of allegiance to the commonwealth, or refusing such oath, the next competitor in election to the same magistracy, making the said oath, be the magistrat. The like for the burgesses. That the knights thus sworn have session in the senat for the term of three years; and that the burgesses thus sworn, be of the prerogative tribe or representative of the people for the like term.
13. That for the full and perfect institution of the assemblys mention’d, the squadron of the tribe in the first year of the commonwealth, elect two knights for the term of one year, two other knights for the term of two years, and lastly two knights more for the term of three years; the like for the burgesses of the horse first, and then for those of the foot. And that this proposition be of no farther use than for the first year’s election only.
14. That a magistrat or officer elected at the hundred be therby bar’d from being elected a magistrat of the tribe, or of the first day’s election; but that no former election whatsoever bar a man of the second day’s election at the tribe, or to be chosen a knight or burgess. That a man being chosen a knight or burgess, who before was chosen a magistrat or officer of the hundred, or tribe, may delegat his former office or magistracy in the hundred, or in the tribe, to any other deputy, being no magistrat nor officer, and being of the same hundred, and of the same order, that is, of the horse or foot respectively.
15. That the knights of the annual election take their places on Monday next insuing the last of March in the senat; that the like number of knights whose session determins at the same time, recede. That every knight or senator be paid out of the public revenue quarterly, one hundred twenty-five pounds during his term of session, and be oblig’d to sit in purple robes.
16. That annually on reception of the new knights, the senat procede to election of new magistrats or counsillors. That for magistrats they elect one general, one speaker, and two censors, each for the term of one year, these promiscuously; and that they elect one commissioner of the great seal, and one commissioner of the treasury, each for the term of three years, and out of the new knights only.
17. That the general and the speaker, as consuls of the commonwealth, and presidents of the senat, be during the term of their magistracy paid quarterly out of the public revenue five hundred pounds; that the insigns of these magistracys be a sword born before the general, and a mace before the speaker; that they be oblig’d to wear ducal robes. And that what is said of the general in this proposition, be only understood of the general sitting, and not of the general marching.
18. That the general sitting, in case he be commanded to march, receive fieldpay; and that a new general be forthwith elected by the senat to succede him in the house, with all the rights, insigns and emoluments of the general sitting; and this so often as one or more generals are marching.
19. That the three commissioners of the great seal, and the three commissioners of the treasury, using their insigns and habit, and performing their other functions as formerly, have paid quarterly to each of them three hundred seventy-five pounds.
20. That the censors govern the ballot; that they be presidents of the council for religion; that each have a silver wand for the insign of his magistracy; that each be paid quarterly three hundred seventy-five pounds, and be oblig’d to wear scarlet robes.
21. That the general sitting, the speaker, and the six commissioners abovesaid, be the signory of this commonwealth.
22. That there be a council of state consisting of fifteen knights, five out of each order, list, or election; and that the same be perpetuated by the annual election of five out of the new knights, or those last elected into the senat.
23. That there be a council for religion consisting of twelve knights, four out of each order, and perpetuated by the annual election of four out of the knights last elected into the senat. That there be a council for trade, consisting of a like number, elected and perpetuated in the same manner.
24. That there be a council of war not elected by the senat, but elected by the council of state out of themselves. That this council of war consist of nine knights, three out of each order, and be perpetuated by the annual election of three out of the last knights elected into the council of state.
25. That in case the senat add nine knights more elected promiscuously, or not promiscuously, out of their own number, to the council or war, the said council of war be understood by such addition to be dictator of the commonwealth for the term of three months and no longer, except by farther order of the senat the said dictatorian power be prolong’d for a like term.
26. That the signory have session and suffrage, with right also jointly or severally to propose both in the senat, and in all senatorian councils.
27. That each of the three orders or divisions of knights, in each senatorian council, elect one provost for the term of one week; and that any two provosts of the same council so elected, may propose to the same council for their term, and not otherwise.
28. That som fair room or rooms well furnish’d and attended, be allow’d at the state’s charge, for a free and open academy to all comers, at som convenient hour or hours towards the evening. That this academy be govern’d according to the rules of good-breeding, or civil conversation, by som one or more of the provosts; and that in this academy it be lawful for any man, by word of mouth, or by writing, in jest or in earnest, to propose to the proposers.
29. That for embassadors in ordinary, there be four residences, as France, Spain, Venice, and Constantinople; and that every resident upon election of a new embassador in ordinary, remove to the next residence in order hereby mention’d, till having serv’d orderly in all the said residences, he returns home. That upon Monday next insuing the last of November, there be every second year elected by the senat som fit person, being above twenty-five and under thirty-five years of age, and not of the senat, nor of the popular assembly. That the party so elected repair on Monday next insuing the last of March following, as an embassador in ordinary to the court of France, and there reside for the term of two years to be computed from the first of April next insuing his election. That every embassador in ordinary be allow’d three thousand pounds a year during the term of his residence. And that if a resident coms to dy, there be an extraordinary election into his residence for his term, and for the remainder of his removes and progress.
30. That all emergent elections be made by scrutiny, that is by a council, or by commissioners proposing, and by the senat resolving in the manner following: that all field officers be propos’d by the council of war: that all embassadors extraordinary be propos’d by the council of state: that all judges and serjeants at law be propos’d by the commissioners of the great seal: that all barons and officers of trust in the exchequer be propos’d by the commissioners of the treasury; and that such of these as are thus propos’d to, and approv’d by the senat, be held lawfully elected.
31. That the cognizance of all foren negotiation, and of all matter of state to be consider’d, or law to be enacted, whether provincial or national, domestic or foren, pertain to the council of state. That all such affairs of like kind as the council of state shall judg fit to be carry’d with more than ordinary secrecy, be committed by them, and pertain to the cognizance and trust of the council of war, to this end consisting of a select part, or committee of the council of state. That the cognizance and protection both of the national religion, and of the liberty of conscience, equally establish’d in this nation, after the manner provided in the religious part of this model, pertain to the council for religion. That all matter of traffic, and regulation of the same pertain to the council for trade. That in the exercise of these several functions, each being naturally senatorian or authoritative only, no council assume any other power than such only as shall be particularly or expresly estated upon the same by act of parlament.
32. That what shall be propos’d to the senat by any one or more of the signory, or of the proposers general; or whatever was propos’d by any two of the provosts, or particular proposers to their respective council, and upon debate at that council shall com to be propos’d by the same to the senat, be necessarily debatable, and debated by the senat.
33. That in all cases wherin power is deriv’d to the senat by law made, or by act of parlament, the result of the senat be ultimat: that in all cases of law to be made, or not already provided for by act of parlament, as som particular peace or war, levy of men or mony, or the like, the result of the senat be not ultimat, but preparatory only, and be propos’d by the senat to the prerogative tribe, or assembly of the people, except only in cases of such speed or secrecy, wherin the senat shall judg the necessary slowness or openness of like proceding to be of detriment or danger to the commonwealth.
34. That if upon the motion or proposition of a council, or proposer general, the senat add nine knights, promiscuously or not promiscuously chosen out of their own number, to the council of war, the said council of war be therby made dictator, and have power of life and death, as also to enact laws in all cases of speed or secrecy, for and during the term of three months and no longer, except upon new order from the senat: and that all laws enacted by the dictator, be good and valid for the term of one year, and no longer, except the same be propos’d by the senat, and resolv’d by the people.
35. That the burgesses of the annual election return’d by the tribes, enter into the prerogative tribe on Monday next insuing the last of March; and that the like number of burgesses whose term is expir’d, recede at the same time. That the burgesses thus enter’d, elect to themselves out of their own number two of the horse, one to be captain, and the other to be cornet of the same; and two of the foot, one to be captain, the other to be insign of the same, each for the term of three years. That these officers being thus elected, the whole tribe or assembly procede to the election of four annual magistrats, two out of the foot to be tribuns of the foot, and two out of the horse to be tribuns of the horse. That the tribuns be commanders in chief of this tribe so far as it is a military body, and presidents of the same as it is a civil assembly. And lastly, that this whole tribe be paid weekly as follows: to each of the tribuns of the horse seven pounds, to each of the tribuns of the foot six pounds; to each of the captains of horse five pounds, to each of the captains of foot four pounds; to each of the cornets three pounds, to each of the insigns two pounds seven shillings; to every horseman one pound ten shillings, and to every one of the foot one pound.
36. That inferior officers, as captains, cornets, insigns, be only for the military disciplin of the tribe. That the tribuns have session in the senat without suffrage: that of course they have session and suffrage in the dictatorian council, so often as it is created by the senat. That in all cases to be adjudg’d by the people they be presidents of the court or judicatory.
37. That peculat or defraudation of the public, and all cases or crimes tending to the subversion of the government, be triable by the prerogative tribe or the assembly of the people; and that to the same there ly an appeal in all causes, and from all courts, magistrats, or councils, national and provincial.
38. That the right of debate, as also of proposing to the people, be wholly and only in the senat, without any power at all of result not deriv’d from the people, and estated upon the senat by act of parlament.
39. That the power of result be wholly and only in the people, without any right at all of debate.
40. That the senat having debated and agreed upon a law to be propos’d, cause promulgation of the said law to be made for the space of six weeks before proposition; that is, cause the law to be written fair, and hung up for the time aforesaid in som of the most eminent places of the city, and of the suburbs.
41. That promulgation being made, the signory demand of the tribuns sitting in the senat, an assembly of the people. That the tribuns upon such demand of the signory, or of the senat, be oblig’d to assemble the prerogative tribe in arms by sound of trumpet, with drums beating, and colors flying, in any town, field, or marketplace, being not above six miles distant, upon the day, and at the hour appointed, except the meeting, thro inconvenience of the weather, or the like, be prorogu’d by consent of the signory and of the tribuns. That the prerogative tribe being assembl’d accordingly, the senat propose to them by two or more of the senatorian magistrats therto appointed, at the first promulgation of the law. That the proposers for the senat open to the people the occasion, motives, and reasons of the senat for the law to be propos’d; and that the same being don, they put the law or proposition by distinct clauses to the ballot of the people. That if any material clause or clauses of the proposition, or law so propos’d, be rejected by the people, the clause or clauses so rejected may be review’d, alter’d, and propos’d again to the third time, if the senat think fit, but no oftner.
42. That what is thus propos’d by the senat, and resolv’d by the people, be the law of the land, and no other, except what is already receiv’d as such, or reserv’d to the dictatorian council.
43. That every magistracy, office, or election throout this whole commonwealth, whether annual or triennial, be understood of course or consequence to injoin an interval or vacation equal to the term of the same. That the magistracy or office of a knight, and of a burgess, be in this relation understood as one and the same; and that this order regard only such elections as are national or domestic, and not such as are foren, or contain’d in the provincial part of this model.
44. That for an exception from this rule, where there is but one elder of the horse in one and the same parish, that elder be eligible in the same without interval; and where there be above four elders of the horse in one and the same parish, there be not above half, nor under two of them eligible at the same election.
45. That throout all the assemblys and councils of this commonwealth, the quorum consist of one half in the time of health, and of one third part in a time of sickness, being so declar’d by the senat.
THE use of the ballot, being as full of prolixity and abstruseness in writing, as of dispatch and facility in practice, is presum’d throout all elections and results in this model, and for the rest reserv’d rather to practice than writing. There remain the religious, military and provincial parts of this frame: but the civil part being approv’d, they follow, or being not approv’d, may be spar’d.
CONCLUSION; OR, The Use of these Propositions.
THESE propositions are so laid out to debate or examination, that a man having the mind to weigh, discourse upon, or object against this model, may do it in the parts with the greatest convenience.
ANY examination of, or objection against the whole, or any part in print or in writing, the author holds himself bound to acknowlege or answer: but as to mere discourse upon matters of this compass, it is usually narrow; besides that in writing a man must put himself upon better aim than he can be oblig’d to take in discourse.
ANY one objection lying in writing against any one order in this part of the model, after such manner as to shew that the part or order so invaded ought to be expung’d, alter’d, or amended, unless it may be expung’d, alter’d, or amended accordingly, destroys the whole.
AND any one or more objections so lying against any one or more of these orders or propositions, that therby they may be expung’d, alter’d or amended, must in the whole or in part make a better model.
IN this case therfore, or in case no objection lys, the use of these propositions will be such as therby any man or any assembly of men, considering or debating upon them in order, may find or make a true model of a well order’d commonwealth.
AND that an assembly can never make or frame a model of any government otherwise than in som such manner, is probable first by a demonstration from the effect; and secondly by a demonstration from the cause.
THE demonstration from the effect is, that an assembly no otherwise frames a law or order, than by having it first pen’d by som one man, and then judging upon it; and the model of a commonwealth must consist of many laws or orders.
THE demonstration from the cause is, that wheras reason consists of two parts, the one invention, and the other judgment, a man may be as far beyond any assembly for invention, as any assembly can be beyond a man for judgment; or which is more, that the formation of a model of government requires a strong faculty of invention, and that an assembly is naturally void of all manner of invention.
Nov. 13. 1658.
THE WAYS and MEANS Wherby an Equal and Lasting COMMONWEALTH May be suddenly introduc’d, and perfectly founded, with the free Consent and actual Confirmation of the whole People of England.
Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.
A WORD fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
The desire of the people of England now runs strongly to have a free parlament.
Let there be a free parlament.
To the end that the people may be most equally represented, or that the parlament may be freest.
Let there be a new division of England and Wales, with as much equality as may stand with convenience, into fifty shires.
Let every shire elect annually two knights to be of one house, and seven deputys to be of another house of parlament, for the term of three years. For the first year only, let the deputys in each division be elected triple, that is, seven for the term of one year, seven for the term of two years, and seven for the term of three years. The like for the knights, save only that the present parlament remain; that is, let two knights in each division be elected the first year only for the term of one year, two other knights at the same time for the term of two years; and let the present parlament be the triennial part of the knights house for the first election.
The house of knights and the house of deputys being assembl’d, let the house of knights debate and propose.
Let what is propos’d by the house of knights, be promulgated for the space of six weeks.
Promulgation being thus made, let the house of deputys meet, and give their result upon the proposition.
Let what was thus propos’d by the senat or house of knights, and resolv’d by the people or house of deputys, be the law.
In this constitution these councils must of necessity contain the wisdom, and the interest of the nation.
In this method, debate must of necessity be mature.
If it be according to the wisdom and the interest of the nation upon mature debate that there be a king, let there be a king.
If it be according to the wisdom and the interest of the nation upon mature debate, that there be a commonwealth; two assemblys in this order are actually a commonwealth, and so far a well order’d commonwealth, that they are capacitated and inclin’d to reach to themselves whatever furniture shall be further necessary in more particular orders, which also is at hand.
Till this or the like be don, the line of the late king and the people must be fellow sufferers; in which case the impatience of the people must be for the restitution of that line at all adventures.
But this or the like being once don, immediatly the line of the late king and the people becom rivals, in which case they will never restore monarchy.
Will never, may som say? but if the senat and the popular assembly be both royalists, they both will and can restore monarchy.
Tho both royalists, they neither will nor can: for let them, that look no further than home or self, say what they will, to affirm that a senat, and a popular assembly thus constituted can procreat monarchy, is to affirm that a horse and a mare can generat a cat: that wheat being rightly sown may com up pease; or that a river in its natural channel may run upwards.
In the present case of England, commonwealthsmen may fail thro want of art, but royalists must fail thro want of matter; the former may miss thro impotence, the latter must thro impossibility. Or where the state is purely popular, that is, not overbalanc’d by a lord or lords; let there be one example, or one reason given that there is, was, or ever can be monarchy. There will be this when all fails, for the aftergame, tho the work should fall, as is like enough, into the hands of royalists.
Certain it is, that where any privat citizen or freeman might not (som way or other) propose, there never was a well order’d commonwealth.
Upon this incouragement I offer’d this paper to good hands, but it was (according to custom) thrown after me.
So it went in the protector’s time, in every revolution since, La fortuna accieca gli animi de gli huomini; but that is Atheism, that’s Machiavel.
Well, but now says the protectorian family, O that we had set up the equal commonwealth! so say broken parlaments and statesmen; so say the sadly mistaken sectarys; so say the cashier’d officers; so says he that would have no nay, but oligarchy was a good word; and so will more say after these, except they learn to say after another, aut reges non exigendi fuerunt, aut plebi re, non verbo, danda libertas; either the kings ought not to have bin driven out, or the people to have their liberty not in word, but in deed: but that is Heathenism, that’s Cicero; well this is Christian, if there will be no such saying, I would there might be no swearing.
Feb. 6. 1659.
THE HUMBLE PETITION OF DIVERS WELL AFFECTED PERSONS, Deliver’d the 6th Day of July, 1659, With the PARLAMENT’s Answer therto.
TO THE SUPREME AUTHORITY, The Parlament of the Commonwealth of England;
THAT your petitioners have for many years observ’d the breathings and longings of this nation after rest and settlement, and that upon mistaken grounds they have bin ready even to sacrifice and yield up part of their own undoubted right, to follow after an appearance of it.
And your petitioners do daily see the bad effects of long continu’d distractions, in the ruins and decays of trade foren and domestic: and in the advantages that are taken to make consederacys to involve the nation in blood and confusion, under pretence of procuring a settlement.
That it has bin the practice of all nations, on the subversion of any form of government, to provide inimediatly a new constitution suitable to their condition; with certain successions and descents, that so both their lawgivers and magistrats might use their several trusts, according to the establish’d constitution; and the people’s minds be settl’d secure, and free from attemts of introducing several forms of government, according to the variety of their fancys, or corrupt interests.
That God has preserv’d this nation wonderfully without example many years, since the dissolution of the old form of government by king, lords and commons; there having bin no fundamental constitutions of any kind duly settl’d, nor any certain succession provided for the legislative power; but even at this instant, if by any sudden sickness, design, or force, any considerable numbers of your persons should be render’d incapable of meeting in parlament, the commonwealth were without form of successive legislature or magistracy, and left to the mercy of the strongest faction. Yet we have reason to remember in these years of unsettlement, the inexpressible sufferings of this nation in their strength, wealth, honor, liberty, and all things conducing to their well-being; and we have like reason now sadly to apprehend the impending ruin. And we cannot discern a possibility of your honors unanimous and expeditious proceedings towards our country’s preservation, and relief from its heavy pressures, while your minds are not settl’d in any known constitution of government or fundamental orders; according to which, all laws should be made: but divers or contrary interests may be prosecuted on different apprehensions of the justice and prudence of different forms of government, tho all with good intentions.
YOUR petitioners therfore conceiving no remedy so effectual against the present dangers, as the settlement of the peoples minds, and putting them into actual security of their propertys and libertys, by a due establishment of the constitution under which they may evidently apprehend their certain enjoyment of them; and therupon, a return of their trade and free commerce, without those continual fears that make such frequent stops in trade, to the ruin of thousands.
AND your petitioners also observing, that the interest of the late king’s son is cry’d up, and promoted daily, upon pretence, that there will be nothing but confusion and tyranny, till he com to govern; and that such as declare for a commonwealth, are for anorchy and confusion, and can never agree among themselves, what they would have.
UPON serious thoughts of the premises, your petitioners do presume with all humility, and submission to your wisdom, to offer to your honors their principles and proposals concerning the government of this nation: wherupon, they humbly conceive, a just and prudent government ought to be establish’d, viz.
1. That the constitution of the civil government of England by king, lords, and commons, being dissolv’d, whatever new constitution of government can be made or settl’d according to any rule of righteousness, it can be no other than a wise order or method, into which the free people’s deputys shall be form’d for the making of their laws, and taking care for their common safety and welfare in the execution of them: for, the exercise of all just authority over a free people, ought (under God) to arise from their own consent.
2. That the government of a free people ought to be so settl’d, that the governors and govern’d may have the same interest in preserving the government, and each other’s propertys and libertys respectively; that being the only sure foundation of a commonwealth’s unity, peace, strength, and prosperity.
3. That there cannot be a union of the interests of a whole nation in the government, where those who shall somtimes govern, be not also somtimes in the condition of the govern’d; otherwise the governors will not be in a capacity to feel the weight of the government, nor the govern’d to injoy the advantages of it: and then it will be the interest of the major part to destroy the government, as much as it will be the interest of the minor part to preserve it.
4. That there is no security that the supreme authority shall not fall into factions, and be led by their privat interest to keep themselves always in power, and direct the government to their privat advantages, if that supreme authority be settl’d in any single assembly whatsoever, that shall have the intire power of propounding, debating and resolving laws.
5. That the soverain authority in every government, of what kind soever, ought to be certain in its perpetual successions, revolutions, or descents; and without possibility (by the judgment of human prudence) of a death or failure of its being, because the whole form of the government is dissolv’d if that should happen, and the people in the utmost imminent danger of an absolute tyranny, or a war among themselves, or rapin and confusion. And therfore where the government is popular, the assemblys in whom reside the supreme authority, ought never to dy or dissolve, tho the persons be annually changing: neither ought they to trust the soverain care of the strength and safety of the people out of their own hands, by allowing a vacation to themselves, lest those that should be trusted be in love with such great authority, and aspire to be their masters, or else fear an account, and seek the dissolution of the commonwealth to avoid it.
6. That it ought to be declar’d as a fundamental order in the constitution of this commonwealth, that the parlament being the supreme legislative power, is intended only for the exercise of all those acts of authority that are proper and peculiar to the legislative power; and to provide for a magistracy, to whom should appertain the whole executive power of the laws: and no case either civil or criminal to be judg’d in parlament, saving that the last appeals in all cases, where appeals shall be thought fit to be admitted, be only to the popular assembly; and also that to them be refer’d the judgment of all magistrats in cases of maladministrations in their offices.
AND in prosecution of these principles,
YOUR petitioners humbly propose for the settlement of this commonwealth, that it be ordain’d,
1. THAT the parlament or the supreme authority of England, be chosen by the free people, to represent them with as much equality as may be.
2. THAT a parlament of England shall consist of two assemblys, the lesser of about three hundred, in whom shall reside the intire power of consulting, debating, and propounding laws: the other, to consist of a far greater number, in whom shall rest the sole power of resolving all laws so propounded.
3. THAT the free people of England, in their respective divisions at certain days and places appointed, shall for ever annually chuse one third part to each assembly, to enter into their authority, at certain days appointed: the same days, the authority of a third of each of the said assemblys to cease, only in the laying the first foundation in this commonwealth’s constitution: the whole number of both the assemblys to be chosen by the people respectively, viz. one third of each assembly to be chosen for one year, one third for two years, and one third for three years.
4. THAT such as shall be chosen, having serv’d their appointed time in either of the said assemblys of parlament, shall not be capable to serve in the same assembly during som convenient interval or vacation.
5. THAT the legislative power do wholly refer the execution of the laws to the magistracy, according to the sixth principle herein mention’d.
6. THAT in respect to religion and Christian liberty, it be ordain’d that the Christian religion by the appointment of all succeding parlaments, be taught, and promulgated to the nation, and public preachers therof maintain’d: and that all that shall profess the said religion, tho of different persuasions in parts of the doctrin, or disciplin therof, be equally protected in the peaceable profession, and public exercise of the same; and be equally capable of all elections, magistracys, preferments in the commonwealth, according to the order of the same. Provided always, that the public exercise of no religion contrary to Christianity be tolerated; nor the public exercise of any religion, tho professedly Christian, grounded upon, or incorporated into the interest of any foren state or prince.
These your petitioners humbly conceive to be the essentials of the form of a free commonwealth, which if they were made fit for practice by your honors appointing the numbers, times, places, and all other necessary circumstances, and settl’d as the fundamental orders of the commonwealth, would naturally dispose those that should hereafter be chosen into the parlaments, from the love of their own interest to seek the common good, being oblig’d by the constitutions here humbly offer’d to partake with the whole body of the people, of the good or evil that shall happen to the commonwealth, having no probable temtations or means left to compass any privat or factious ends in matters religious or civil. And your petitioners cannot imagin a greater security for the cause and interest contended for with such effusion of blood, than by disposing the free people into this kind of order, wherby the same cause would becom their common interest. Yet if your honors should think it necessary or convenient for securing the minds of such as are doubtful and jealous that the people may betray their own libertys, there may be inserted into the fundamental orders of the commonwealth, these following expedients, viz.
1. That for securing the government of this commonwealth, and of the religious and civil freedom of the good people therof, it may be for ever esteem’d and judg’d treason against the commonwealth, for any member of either assembly of parlament, or any other person whatsoever, to move or propose in either of the said assemblys, the restitution of kingly government, or the introduction of any single person to be chief magistrat of England, or the alteration of that part of the fundamental order herein contain’d that concerns the equal freedom and protection of religious persons of different persuasions.
2. That about the number of twelve persons of the most undoubted fidelity and integrity may be authoriz’d and impower’d, for som certain number of years next ensuing, to seize, apprehend, and in safe custody to detain any person or persons whatsoever, till he or they be in due form of law deliver’d, as is hereafter specify’d, that shall move or propose in either of the said assemblies of parlament the restitution of kingly governmeut, or the introduction of any single person to be chief magistrate of this commonwealth, or the alteration of that part of the fundamental order herein contain’d, that concerns the equal freedom and protection of religious persons of different persuasions; but for no other matter or cause whatsoever. And when it shall happen, that any person or persons shall be arrested or seiz’d for any of the causes aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, then a commission of oyer and terminer may issue forth in due form of law to the said twelve, or any six of them, to proceed in due form of law, within one month after the apprehension of any such person or persons, to the arraignment and publick trial of every such person or persons; and upon the legal conviction of him or them by the testimony of two sufficient witnesses of any of the treasons herein declar’d, to condemn to the pains of death, and to cause the same judgment to be duly executed: and the keeper or keepers of the great seal of England that shall be for the time being, may be authoriz’d and requir’d from time to time during the term of NA years, to issue out commissions to the said twelve, or any six of them, authorizing them to proceed as aforesaid.
And if your honours shall further judge it convenient, the fundamental orders of the government may be consented to or subscrib’d by the people themselves, if their express pact shall be esteem’d any additional security; other nations, upon the like occasions of expulsion of their kings, having taken the people’s oaths against their returning: and the same may be proclaim’d as often as our ancestors provided for the proclaiming of magna charta; and any further security also added, if any can be found among men, that has a foundation in justice.
Now your petitioners having, with humble submission to your grave wisdoms, thus declar’d their apprehensions of the present condition of this distracted nation, and the only effectual means under God to prevent the impending mischiefs; they do most humbly pray,
That such speedy considerations may be had of the premises as the condition of this nation requires; and that such a method may be settled for the debating and consulting about the government, that your wise results may be seasonable for the healing all the breaches of the commonwealth, and establishing the sure foundations of freedom, justice, peace, and unity.
And your petitioners shall always pray, &c.
Wednesday July the 6th, 1659.
THE house being inform’d, that divers gentlemen were at the door with a petition, they were call’d in, and one of the petitioners in behalf of himself and the rest said, We humbly present you a petition, to which we might have had many thousand hands, but the matter rather deserves your serious consideration than any public attestation; and therfore we do humbly present it to this honourable house. Which, after the petitioners were withdrawn, was read, and was intitl’d, The humble petition of divers well affected persons.
THAT the petitioners have the thanks of the house.
THE petitioners were again call’d in, and Mr. Speaker gave them this answer:
THE house has read over your petition, and find it without any private end, and only for the public interest, and I am commanded to let you know, that it lies much upon them to make such a settlement as may be most for the good of posterity: and they are about that work, and intend to go forward with it with as much expedition as may be. And for your parts, they have commanded me to give you thanks; and in their names I do give you the thanks of this house accordingly.
Tho. St. Nicholas, Clerc of the Parliament.
APPENDIX, Containing all the POLITICAL TRACTS OF JAMES HARRINGTON, Esq; Omitted in Mr. TOLAND’s EDITION OF HIS WORKS.
PIAN PIANO: OR, INTERCOURSE BETWEEN H. Ferne, D. D. and J. Harrington, Esq; UPON OCCASION OF The Doctor’s Censure of the Commonwealth of OCEANA.
EPISTLE to the READER.
I Seldom talk with him that does not confute me, nor ever read that which did not confirm me: wherefore if I be glad to take a man in black and white, you will not blame me, or do not know that I have had an university about my ears, without any possibility left unto me whereby to defend my self, but this, in which you may imagine me speaking unto the chair.
Intercourse between H. Ferne, D. D. and James Harrington, Esq; upon Occasion of the Doctor’s Censure of the Commonwealth of Oceana.
WHEN I had published my Oceana, one of my sisters making good provision of copies, presented of them unto her friends, as well to shew her respect to them, as to know their judgments of it. Among the rest being acquainted with Doctor Ferne, she sent him one, and soon after receiv’d this answer:
I Received a book directed to me from your ladyship, with intimation I should express my sense of it. I acknowledge, Madam, the favour you have done me in sending it; but the return you expect hath its difficulties, the book being now past the press, and ofsuch an argument, had I seen it before it was publick, I should have said it was not likely to please, &c. But that is nothing to me; your desire, I suppose, is to know how I like it. I conceive your ladyship is not so far a stranger either to the book which you sent, or to me, whom you are pleased thus to own, but that you take me to be of a different judgment from the author in this his form, whether concerning state or church. And it may be your ladyship did therefore call me to speak, as one that would be less partial. Give me leave then, Madam, in plain English to say, that albeit the author hath shewn good sufficiency of parts, and taken much pains in order to his design; yet I conceive, first, that he is not a little mistaken in thinking the Israel commonwealth or government under Moses so appliable unto his purpose, as he would make it. Next, that when the question ’twixt his form and the monarchical is disputed over and over again, reason and experience will still plead for the latter. Nor can the balance be pretends stand so steady in his form, as in a well tempered monarchy, by reason the temptation of advancing are more like to sway with many in a commonwealth, than with one, &c. in the height of dignity. Next, when I consider such a change by this model from what was ever in, &c. and that the agrarian, with some other levelling orders, are the laws of it, I should think the nature of men was first to be new model’d, before they would be capable of this. Lastly, what is said in relation to the church or religion in the point of government, ordination, excommunication, had better beseemed Leviathan, and is below the parts of this gentleman, to retain and sit down with those little things, and poor mistakes, which the ignorance or wilfulness of many in these days hath broached in way of quarrel against the church of England. And lamentable it is to see so many (especially gentlemen of good parts) so opinionate, so boldly meddling in matters of religion, as if they had forgot, or did not understand their article of the catholick church.
MADAM, You see I have been plain in speaking my sense, and hope you will think me therefore more fit to do you real service, when you shall have occasion to command,
MADAM, Your humble servant.
Nov. 4th, 1656.
THE Doctor’s letter, though it be scandalous (for to charge a writer of little things, poor mistakes, sitting down by ignorance, or wilfulness, without proof, is no better) was yet but private; and therefore I may be asked why I would make it publick? Whereunto I answer, That what a divine will have to be true, is no less publick than if it were printed; but more, for he will preach it; and preaching communicates unto more than can read. Also his present doctrines are exceeding dangerous. For in government, that is cast upon parliaments or popular elections, as ours hath ever been and is, to take wise men, and understanding, and known among their tribes, to be rulers over them, hath ever (except where the people were not free in their elections) been, and must ever be, the certain and infallible consequence. Now wise men, and understanding, and known among their tribes, must needs be (at least for the greater part) of that rank, which we now call the aristocracy or gentlemen. Whence the senate in every well ordered commonwealth hath consisted of the aristocracy or gentry. And that the senate ever had the supreme authority, as well in matters of religion as state, is not only clear in all other popular governments, but in the Old Testament; which also is confirmed by our Saviour in the New, Matt. xxiii. 2, 3. The Scribes and Pharisees sitin Moses’s seat; and therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, (both he and his apostles observed the national religion) observe and do; for the liberty of conscience or prophetick right in the commonwealth of Israel, as in others, was such, as by which Christianity, notwithstanding the national religion, might grow. But do not (faith he) after their works, for they say and do not. In their enquiry after John, Joh. 1. they seem to imply or say, that if he were that prophet, there was nothing in the law why he might not introduce his baptism; and therefore why he might not gather churches, or instruct the people in his way. Nevertheless when they come to doing, they kill the prophets, and stone them. This indeed Christ blameth, being the abuse of their power. But whereas the supreme authority of the senate, whether in matters of religion or state, is confirmed by all divine and human prudence; and the senate is the more peculiar province of the gentry; the doctor faith, that lamentable it is to see so many, (not only men of such parts or quality as the people in their elections are not likely to look upon) but especially men of good parts (than which the people upon like occasions have no other refuge) so opinionate, so boldly meddling in matters of religion, as if they had forgot or did not understand their article of the catholick church. Now where-ever the clergy have gained this point, namely, that they are the catholick church, or that it is unlawful for gentlemen, either in their private capacity to discourse, or in their publick to propose, as well in the matter of church as state government, neither government nor religion have failed to degenerate into mere priest craft. This especially was the reason why I wrote unto the Doctor as followeth:
WHEREAS in a letter of yours to one of my sisters, I find your judgment given vehemently against me, but merely positive, I conceive that both in the matter and manner of delivery you have given me right to desire, and laid obligation upon your self to afford me your reasons, which may be done (if you please) either by confuting my book, or answering the queries hereunto annexed; in either of which ways, or any other, I am more than desirous to undertake you; and that for many considerations, as your abilities, the safety (at least on your part) in the performance, the importance of the argument, the seasonableness, and (however it came in your mind to distrust it) the welcomeness of such discourse unto all men of ingenuity, both in power and out of it, or whose interest is not the mere study of parties, from which the freest since the late troubles, that hath written in this nature, is,
SIR, Your humble servant.
Nov. 17. 1656.
The Queries I shall interweave with the Doctor’s Answer unto each of them, returned unto me with this Preamble.
I Received your paper wherein you are pleased to propound queries, and say an obligation now lies upon me to render my reasons of dissenting, or to answer the interrogatories. But you must give me leave to say, the obligation still ariseth from my respect to my lady and your self, not from the matter or manner (as you seem to imply) of the deliveringmy former judgment. For I could not conceive that by the favour and honour my lady did me in sending the book, I had lost my freedom, and stood bound either to comply, or be challenged as an adversary to try out the difference. Therefore upon the score of friendship and civility, I have forced my self, in the midst of many pressing occasions, to give you this account of my thoughts in order to your queries.
The Doctor hath written heretofore upon politicks. Than this among the occasions or subjects of writing, there is none of greater moment. I am a beginner in this art, and have no desire to impose upon any man; but if I cannot teach him, to learn of him. But my senior in it contradicts me, and gives me no reason. Now to contradict a man, and give him no reason, is to give him an affront; and to demand reason in such a case, that is, for such an affront to send such a challenge, as provoketh unto no other contention than that for truth, being according unto Scripture, and not against laws, concerns a man’s honour and right. Therefore it is in such a case not of courtesy, but the devoir of him that gave the affront to answer; which the Doctor having now done, I come into the lists or to the queries, with his answers and my replies.