Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE SECOND PART, Proposing a Model of a COMMONWEALTH Fitted to the present State of this Nation. - The Oceana and Other Works
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
THE SECOND PART, Proposing a Model of a COMMONWEALTH Fitted to the present State of this Nation. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
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.