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The Commonwealth of Oceana by James Harrington

Part 4 out of 6

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the people, and far greater in number than the former three, from
all other right, as to those capacities, except the election of
these, who by this means became an hereditary aristocracy or
senatorian order of nobility. This was that course which came
afterward to be the destruction of Rome, and had now ruined
Athens. The nobility, according to the inevitable nature of such
a one, having laid the plot how to divest the people of the
result, and so to draw the whole power of the commonwealth to
themselves; which in all likelihood they had done, if the people,
coming by mere chance to be victorious in the battle of Plataea,
and famous for defending Greece against the Persians, had not
returned with such courage as irresistibly broke the classes, to
which of old they had borne a white tooth, brought the nobility
to equal terms, and the Senate with the magistracies to be common
to both; the magistracies by suffrage, and the Senate (which was
the mischief of it, as I shall show anon in that constitution) by
lot only." The Lacedaemonians were in the manner, and for the
same cause with the Venetians at this day, no other than a
nobility even according to the definition given of nobility by
Machiavel; for they neither exercised any trade, nor labored
their lands or lots, which was done by their helots: wherefore
some nobility may be far from pernicious in a commonwealth by
Machiavel's own testimony, who is an admirer of this, though the
servants thereof were more in number than the citizens. To these
servants I hold the answer of Lycurgus --when he bade him who
asked why he did not admit the people to the government of his
commonwealth, to go home and admit his servants to the government
of his family-to relate: for neither were the Lacedaemonians
servants, nor, further, capable of the government, unless,
whereas the congregation had the result, be should have given
them the debate also; every one of these that attained to sixty
years of age, and the major vote of the congregation, being
equally capable of the Senate.

"The nobility of Rome, and their capacity of the Senate, I
have already described by that of Athens before the battle of
Plataea, saving only that the Athenian was never eligible into
the Senate without the suffrage of the people till the
introduction of the lot, but the Roman nobility ever: for the
patricians were elected into the Senate by the kings; by the
consuls, or the censors, or if a plebeian happened to be
conscribed, he and his posterity became patricians. Nor, though
the people had many disputes with the nobility, did this ever
come in controversy, which, if there had been nothing else, might
in my judgment have been enough to overturn that commonwealth.

"The Venetian nobility, but that they are richer, and not
military, resemble at all other points the Lacedaemonian, as I
have already shown. These Machiavel excepts from his rule, by
saying that their estates are rather personal than real, or of
any great revenue in land, which comes to our account, and shows
that a nobility or party of the nobility, not overbalancing in
dominion, is not dangerous, but of necessary use in every
commonwealth, provided it be rightly ordered; for if it be so
ordered as was that of Rome, though they do not overbalance at
the beginning, as they did not there, it will not be long ere
they do, as is clear both in reason and experience toward the
latter end. That the nobility only be capable of the Senate is
there only not dangerous, where there be no other citizens, as in
this government and that of Lacedaemon.

"The nobility of Holland and Switzerland, though but few,
have privileges not only distinct from the people, but so great
that in some sovereignties they have a negative voice; an example
which I am far from commending, being such as (if those
governments were not cantonized, divided, and subdivided into
many petty sovereignties that balance one another, and in which
the nobility, except they had a prince at the head of them, can
never join to make work) would be the most dangerous that ever
was, but the Gothic, of which it favors. For in ancient
commonwealths you shall never find a nobility to have had a
negative but by the poll, which, the people being far more in
number, came to nothing; whereas these have it, be they never so
few by their stamp or order.

"Ours of Oceana have nothing else but their education and
their leisure for the public, furnished by their ease and
competent riches: and their intrinsic value, which, according as
it comes to hold weight in the judgment or suffrage of the
people, is their only way to honor and preferment. Wherefore I
would have your lordships to look upon your children as such,
who, if they come to shake off some part of their baggage, shall
make the more quick and glorious march; for it was nothing else
but the baggage, sordidly plundered by the nobility of Rome, that
lost the victory of the whole world in the midst of her triumph.

"Having followed the nobility thus close, they bring us,
according to their natural course and divers kinds, to the divers
constitutions of the Senate.

"That of Israel (as was shown by my right noble Lord
Phosphorus de Auge, in the opening of the commonwealth) consisted
of seventy elders, elected at first by the people. But whereas
they were for life, they ever after (though without any divine
precept for it) substituted their successors by ordination, which
ceremony was most usually performed by imposition of hands; and
by this means a commonwealth of as popular institution as can be
found became, as it is accounted by Josephus, aristocratical.
From this ordination derives that which was introduced by the
Apostles into the Christian Church; for which cause I think it is
that the Presbyterians would have the government of the Church to
be aristocratical, though the Apostles, to the end, as I
conceive, that they might give no occasion to such a mistake, but
show that they intended the government of the Church to be
popular, ordained elders, as has been shown, by the holding up of
hands (or free suffrage of the people) in every congregation or
ecclesia: for that is the word in the original, being borrowed
from the civil congregations of the people in Athens and
Lacedaemon, which were so called; and the word for holding up of
hands in the text is also the very same, which signified the
suffrage of the people in Athens, chiroton&&ante&; for the
suffrage of the Athenians was given per chirotonian, says Emmius.

"The Council of the Bean (as was shown by my Lord Navarchus
de Paralo in his full discourse), being the proposing Senate of
Athens (for that of the Areopagites was a judicatory), consisted
of 400, some say 500 senators, elected annually, all at once, and
by a mere lot without suffrage. Wherefore though the Senate, to
correct the temerity of the lot, had power to cast out such as
they should judge unworthy of that honor, this related to manners
only, and was not sufficient to repair the commonwealth, which by
such means became impotent; and forasmuch as her Senate consisted
not of the natural aristocracy, which in a commonwealth is the
only spur and rein of the people, it was cast headlong by the
rashness of her demagogues or grandees into ruin; while her
Senate, like the Roman tribunes (who almost always, instead of
governing, were rather governed by the multitude), proposed not
to the result only, but to the debate also of the people, who
were therefore called to the pulpits, where some vomited, and
others drank, poison.

"The Senate of Lacedaemon, most truly discovered by my Lord
Laco de Scytale, consisted but of thirty for life, whereof the
two kings, having but single votes, were hereditary, the rest
elected by the free suffrage of the people, but out of such as
were sixty years of age. These had the whole debate of the
commonwealth in themselves, and proposed to the result only of
the people. And now the riddle which I have heretofore found
troublesome to unfold, is out; that is to say, why Athens and
Lacedaemon, consisting each of the Senate and the people, the one
should be held a democracy, and the other an aristocracy, or
laudable oligarchy, as it is termed by Isocrates; for that word
is not, wherever you meet it, to be branded, Seeing it is used
also by Aristotle, Plutarch, and others, sometimes in a good
sense. The main difference was that the people in this had the
result only, and in that the debate and result, too. But for my
part, where the people have the election of the Senate, not bound
to a distinct order, and the result, which is the sovereign
power, I hold them to have that share in the government (the
Senate being not for life) whereof, with the safety of the
commonwealth, they are capable in nature, and such a government,
for that cause, to be democracy; though I do not deny but in
Lacedaemon, the paucity of the senators considered, it might be
called oligarchy, in comparison of Athens; or, if we look on
their continuance for life, though they had been more,

"The Senate of Rome (whose fame has been heard to thunder in
the eloquence of my Lord Dolabella d'Enyo) consisting of 300,
was, in regard of the number, less oligarchical than that of
Lacedaemon; but more in regard of the patricians, who, having an
hereditary capacity of the same, were not elected to that honor
by the people; but, being conscribed by the censors, enjoyed it
for life. Wherefore these, if they had their wills, would have
resolved as well as debated; which set the people at such
variance with them as dissolved the commonwealth; whereas if the
people had enjoyed the result, that about the agrarian, as well
as all other strife, must of necessity have ceased.

"The Senates of Switzerland and Holland (as I have learnt of
my Lords Alpester and Glaucus), being bound up (like the sheaf of
arrows which the latter gives) by leagues, lie like those in
their quivers; but arrows, when they come to be drawn, fly from
this way and from that; and I am contented that these concerned
us not.

"That of Venice (by the faithful testimony of my most
excellent Lord Linceus de Stella) has obliged a world,
sufficiently punished by its own blindness and ingratitude, to
repent and be wiser: for whereas a commonwealth in which there is
no senate, or where the senate is corrupt, cannot stand, the
great Council of Venice, like the statue of Nilus, leans upon an
urn or waterpot, which pours forth the Senate in so pure and
perpetual a stream, as being unable to stagnate, is forever
incapable of corruption. The fuller description of this Senate is
contained in that of Oceana; and that of Oceana in the foregoing
orders. To every one of which, because something has been already
said, I shall not speak in particular. But in general, your
Senate, and the other assembly, or the prerogative, as I shall
show in due place, are perpetual, not as lakes or puddles, but as
the rivers of Eden; and are beds made, as you have seen, to
receive the whole people, by a due and faithful vicissitude, into
their current. They are not, as in the late way, alternate.
Alternate life in government is the alternate death of it.

"This was the Gothic work, whereby the former government
(which was not only a ship, but a gust, too) could never open her
sails, but in danger to overset herself, neither could make any
voyage nor lie safe in her own harbor. The wars of later ages,
says Verulamius, seem to be made in the dark, in respect of the
glory and honor which reflected on men from the wars in ancient
times. Their shipping of this sort Was for voyages; ours dare not
launch, nor lies it safe at home. Your Gothic politicians seem to
me rather to have invented some new ammunition or gunpowder, in
their King and Parliament, than government. For what is become of
the princes (a kind of people) in Germany? -- blown up. Where are
the estates, or the power of the people in France? -- blown up.
Where is that of the people in Arragon, and the rest of the
Spanish kingdoms? -- blown up. On the other side, where is the
King of Spain's power in Holland? -- blown up. Where is that of
the Austrian princes in Switzerland? -- blown up. This perpetual
peevishness and jealousy, under the alternate empire of the
prince and of the people, are obnoxious to every spark. Nor shall
any man show a reason that will be holding in prudence, why the
people of Oceana have blown up their King, but that their kings
did not first blow up them. The rest is discourse for ladies.
Wherefore your parliaments are not henceforth to come out of the
bag of AEolus, but by your galaxies, to be the perpetual food of
the fire of Vesta.

"Your galaxies, which divide the house into so many regions,
are three; one of which constituting the third region is annually
chosen, but for the term of three years; which causes the house
(having at once blossoms, fruit half ripe, and others dropping
off in full maturity) to resemble an orange tree, such as is at
the same time an education or spring, and a harvest, too; for the
people have made a very ill-choice in the man, who is not easily
capable of the perfect knowledge in one year of the senatorian
orders; which knowledge, allowing him for the first to have been
a novice, brings him the second year to practise, and time
enough. For at this rate you must always have 200 knowing men in
the government. And thus the vicissitude of your senators is not
perceivable in the steadiness and perpetuity of your Senate;
which, like that of Venice, being always changing, is forever the
same. And though other politicians have not so well imitated
their patter, there is nothing more obvious in nature, seeing a
man who wears the same flesh but a short time, is nevertheless
the same man, and of the same genius; and whence is this but from
the constancy of nature, in holding a man to her orders?
Wherefore keep also to your orders. But this is a mean request;
your orders will be worth little if they do not hold you to them,
wherefore embark. They are like a ship, if you be once aboard,
you do not carry them, but they you; and see how Venice stands to
her tackling: you will no more forsake them than you will leap
into the sea.

"But they are very many and difficult. O my Lords, what
seaman casts away his card because it has four-and-twenty points
of the compass? and yet those are very near as many and as
difficult as the orders in the whole circumference of your
commonwealth. Consider, how have we been tossed with every wind
of doctrine, lost by the glib tongues of your demagogues and
grandees in our own havens? A company of fiddlers that have
disturbed your rest for your groat; 2,000 to one, 3,000 a year
to another, has been nothing. And for what? Is there one of them
that yet knows what a commonwealth is? And are you yet afraid of
such a government in which these shall not dare to scrape for
fear of the statute? Themistocles could not fiddle, but could
make of a small city a great commonwealth: these have fiddled,
and for your money, till they have brought a great commonwealth
to a small city.

"It grieves me, while I consider how, and from what causes,
imaginary difficulties will be aggravated, that the foregoing
orders are not capable of any greater clearness in discourse or
writing; but if a man should make a book, describing every trick
and passage, it would fare no otherwise with a game at cards; and
this is no more, if a man plays upon the square. 'There is a
great difference,' says Verulamius, 'between a cunning man and a
wise man (between a demagogue and a legislator), not only in
point of honesty, but in point of ability as there be that can
pack the cards, and yet cannot play well; so there be some that
are good in canvasses and fractions, that are otherwise weak
men.' Allow me but these orders, and let them come with their
cards in their sleeves, or pack if they can. 'Again,' says he,
'it is one thing to understand persons, and another to understand
matters; for many are perfect in men's humors that are not
greatly capable of the real part of business, which is the
constitution of one that has studied men more than books. But
there is nothing more hurtful in a State than that cunning men
should pass for wise.' His words are an oracle. As Dionysius,
when he could no longer exercise his tyranny among men, turned
schoolmaster, that he might exercise it among boys. Allow me but
these orders, and your grandees, so well skilled in the baits and
palates of men, shall turn rat-catchers.

"And whereas 'councils (as is discreetly observed by the same
author in his time) are at this day, in most places, but familiar
meetings (somewhat like the Academy of our provosts), where
matters are rather talked on than debated, and run too swift to
order an act of council,' give me my orders, and see if I have
not puzzled your demagogues.

"It is not so much my desire to return upon haunts, as theirs
that will not be satisfied; wherefore if, notwithstanding what
was said of dividing and choosing in our preliminary discourses,
men will yet be returning to the question, Why the Senate must be
a council apart (though even in Athens, where it was of no other
constitution than the popular assembly, the distinction of it
from the other was never held less than necessary) this may be
added to the former reasons, that if the aristocracy be not for
the debate, it is for nothing; but if it be for debate, it must
have convenience for it; and what convenience is there for debate
in a crowd, where there is nothing but jostling, treading upon
one another, and stirring of blood, than which in this case there
is nothing more dangerous? Truly, it was not ill said of my Lord
Epimonus, that Venice plays her game, as it were, at billiards or
nine-holes; and so may your lordships, unless your ribs be so
strong that you think better of football: for such sport is
debate in a popular assembly as, notwithstanding the distinction
of the Senate, was the destruction of Athens."

This speech concluded the debate which happened at the
institution of the Senate. The next assembly is that of the
people or prerogative tribe.

The face, or mien, of the prerogative tribe for the arms, the
horses, and the discipline, but more especially for the select
men, is that of a very noble regiment, or rather of two; the one
of horse, divided into three troops (besides that of the
provinces, which will be shown hereafter), with their captains,
cornets, and two tribunes of the horse at the head of them; the
other of foot in three companies (beside that of the provinces),
with their captains, ensigns, and two tribunes of the foot at the
head of them. The first troop is called the Phoenix, the second
the Pelican, and the third the Swallow. The first company the
Cypress, the second the Myrtle, and the third the Spray. Of these
again (not without a near resemblance of the Roman division of a
tribe) the Phoenix and the Cypress constitute the first class,
the Pelican and the Myrtle the second, and the Swallow with the
Spray the third, renewed every spring by --

The one-and-twentieth order, "Directing, that upon every
Monday next ensuing the last of March, the deputies of the annual
galaxy arriving at the pavilion in the halo, and electing one
captain and one cornet of the Swallow (triennial officers) by and
out of the cavalry at the horse urn, according to the rules
contained in the ballot of the hundred; and one captain with one
ensign of the Spray (triennial officers) by and out of the
infantry at the foot urn, after the same way of balloting,
constitute and become the third classes of the prerogative

Seven deputies are annually returned by every tribe, whereof
three are horse and four are foot; and there be fifty tribes: so
the Swallow must consist of 150 horse, the Spray of 200 foot. And
the rest of the classes being two, each of them in number equal,
the whole prerogative (beside the provinces, that is, the knights
and deputies of Marpesia and Panopea) must consist of 1,050
deputies. And these troops and companies may as well be called
centuries as those of the Romans; for the Romans related not, in
so naming theirs, to the number. And whereas they were
distributed according to the valuation of their estates, so are
these; which, by virtue of the last order, are now accommodated
with their triennial officers. But there be others appertaining
to this tribe whose election, being of far greater importance, is
annual, as follows in

The twenty-second order, "Whereby the first class having
elected their triennial officers, and made oath to the old
tribunes, that they will neither introduce, cause, nor to their
power suffer debate to be introduced into any popular assembly of
this government, but to their utmost be aiding and assisting to
seize and deliver any person or persons in that way offending,
and striking at the root of this commonwealth, to the Council of
War, are to proceed with the other two classes of the prerogative
tribe to election of the new tribunes, being four annual
magistrates, whereof two are to be elected out of the cavalry at
the horse urn, and two out of the infantry at the foot urn,
according to the common ballot of the tribes. And they may be
promiscuously chosen out of any classes, provided that the same
person shall not be capable of bearing the tribunitian honor
twice in the term of one galaxy. The tribunes thus chosen shall
receive the tribe (in reference to the power of mustering and
disciplining the same) as commanders-in-chief, and for the rest
as magistrates, whose proper function is prescribed by the next
order. The tribunes may give leave to any number of the
prerogative, not exceeding 100 at a time, to be absent, so they
be not magistrates nor officers, and return within three months.
If a magistrate or officer has a necessary occasion, he may also
be absent for the space of one month, provided that there be not
above three cornets or ensigns, two captains, or one tribune so
absent at one time."

To this the Archon spoke at the institution after this


"It is affirmed by Cicero, in his oration for Flaccus, that
the commonwealths of Greece were all shaken or ruined by the
intemperance of their Comitia, or assemblies of the people. The
truth is, if good heed in this point be not taken, a commonwealth
will have bad legs. But all the world knows he should have
excepted Lacedaemon, where the people, as has been shown by the
oracle, had no power at all of debate, nor (till after Lysander,
whose avarice opened a gulf that was not long ere it swallowed up
his country) came it ever to be exercised by them. Whence that
commonwealth stood longest and firmest of any other but this, in
our days, of Venice; which, having underlaid herself with the
like institution, owes a great, if not the greater, part of her
steadiness to the same principle; the great Council, which is
with her the people, by the authority of my Lord Epimonus, never
speaking a word. Nor shall any commonwealth, where the people in
their political capacity is talkative, ever see half the days of
one of these, but, being carried away by vainglorious men (that,
as Overbury says, void more than they drink), swim down the
stream, as did Athens, the most prating of these dames, when that
same ranting fellow Alcibiades fell a-demagoguing for the
Silician War.

"But whereas debate, by the authority and experience of
Lacedaemon and Venice, is not to be committed to the people in a
well-ordered government, it may be said that the order specified
is but a slight bar in a matter of like danger; for so much as an
oath, if there be no recourse upon the breach of it, is a weak
tie for such hands as have the sword in them, wherefore what
should hinder the people of Oceana, if they happen not to regard
an oath from assuming debate, and making themselves as much an
anarchy as those of Athens? To which I answer, Take the common
sort in a private capacity, and, except they be injured, you
shall find them to have a bashfulness in the presence of the
better sort, or wiser men, acknowledging their abilities by
attention, and accounting it no mean honor to receive respect
from them; but if they be injured by them, they hate them, and
the more for being wise or great, because that makes it the
greater injury. Nor refrain they in this case from any kind of
intemperance of speech, if of action. It is no otherwise with a
people in their political capacity; you shall never find that
they have assumed debate for itself, but for something else.
Wherefore in Lacedaemon where there was, and in Venice where
there is, nothing else for which they should assume it, they have
never shown so much as an inclination to it.

"Nor was there any appearance of such a desire in the people
of Rome (who from the time of Romulus had been very well
contented with the power of result either in the parochial
assemblies, as it was settled upon them by him, or in the
meetings of the hundreds, as it was altered in their regard for
the worse by Servius Tullius) till news was brought, some fifteen
years after the exile of Tarquin, their late King (during which
time the Senate had governed pretty well), that he was dead at
the Court of Aristodemus the tyrant of Cumae. Whereupon the
patricians, or nobility, began to let out the hitherto dissembled
venom which is inherent in the root of oligarchy and fell
immediately upon injuring the people beyond all moderation. For
whereas the people had served both gallantly and contentedly in
arms upon their own charges, and, though joint purchasers by
their swords of the conquered lands, had not participated in the
same to above two acres a man (the rest being secretly usurped by
the patricians), they, through the meanness of their support and
the greatness of their expense, being generally indebted, no
sooner returned home with victory to lay down their arms, than
they were snatched up by their creditors, the nobility, to cram
jails. Whereupon, but with the greatest modesty that was ever
known in the like case, they first fell upon debate, affirming
'That they were oppressed and captivated at home, while abroad
they fought for liberty and empire, and that the freedom of the
common people was safer in time of war than peace, among their
enemies than their fellow-citizens.' It is true that when they
could not get the Senate, through fear, as was pretended by the
patricians, to assemble and take their grievances into
consideration, they grew so much the warmer, that it was glad to
meet; where Appius Claudius, a fierce spirit, was of opinion that
recourse should be had to consular power, whereby some of the
brands of sedition being taken off, the flame might be
extinguished. Servilius, being of another temper, thought it
better and safer to try if the people might be bowed than broken.

"But this debate was interrupted by tumultuous news of the
near approach of the Volsci, a case in which the Senate had no
recourse but to the people, who, contrary to their former custom
upon the like occasions, would not stir a foot, but fell
a-laughing, and saying, 'Let them fight that have something to
fight for.' The Senate that had purses, and could not sing so
well before the thief, being in a great perplexity, found no
possible way out of it but to beseech Servilius, one of a genius
well known to be popular, that he would accept of the consulship,
and make some such use of it as might be helpful to the patrician
interest. Servilius, accepting of the offer, and making use of
his interest with the people, persuaded them to hope well of the
good intention of the fathers, whom it would little beseem to be
forced to those things which would lose their grace, and that in
view of the enemy, if they came not freely; and withal published
an edict, that no man should withhold a citizen of Rome by
imprisonment from giving his name (for that was the way, as I
shall have opportunity hereafter to show more at large, whereby
they drew out their armies), nor to seize or sell any man's goods
or children that were in the camp. Whereupon the people with a
mighty concourse immediately took arms, marched forth, and (which
to them was as easy as to be put into the humor, and that, as
appears in this place, was not hard) totally defeated the Volsci
first, then the Sabines (for the neighboring nations, hoping to
have had a good bargain of the discord in Rome, were up in arms
on all sides), and after the Sabines the Aurunci. Whence
returning, victorious in three battles they expected no less than
that the Senate would have made good their words, when Appius
Claudius, the other Consul, of his innate pride, and that he
might frustrate the faith of his colleague, caused the soldiers
(who being set at liberty, had behaved themselves with such
valor) to be restored at their return to their creditors and
their jails.

"Great resort upon this was made by the people to Servilius,
showing him their wounds, calling him to witness how they had
behaved themselves, and minding him of his promise. Poor
Servilius was sorry, but so overawed with the headiness of his
colleague, and the obstinacy of the whole faction of the
nobility, that, not daring to do anything either way, he lost
both parties, the fathers conceiving that he was ambitious, and
the people that he was false; while the Consul Claudius,
continuing to countenance such as daily seized and imprisoned
some of the indebted people, had still new and dangerous
controversies with them, insomuch that the commonwealth was torn
with horrid division, and the people (because they found it not
so safe or so effectual in public) minded nothing but laying
their heads together in private conventicles. For this Aulus
Virginius and Titus Vetusius, the new Consuls, were reproved by
the Senate as slothful, and upbraided with the virtue of Appius
Claudius. Whereupon the Consuls having desired the Senate that
they might know their pleasure, showed afterward their readiness
to obey it, by summoning the people according to command, and
requiring names whereby to draw forth an army for diversion, but
no man would answer. Report hereof being made to the Senate, the
younger sort of the fathers grew so hot with the Consuls that
they desired them to abdicate the magistracy, which they had not
the courage to defend.

"The Consuls, though they conceived themselves to be roughly
handled, made this soft answer. 'Fathers conscript, that you may
please to take notice it was foretold some horrid sedition is at
hand, we shall only desire that they whose valor in this place is
so great, may stand by us to see how we behave ourselves, and
then be as resolute in your commands as you will; your
fatherhoods may know if we be wanting in the performance.'

"At this some of the hot young noblemen returned with the
Consuls to the tribunal, before which the people were yet
standing; and the Consuls having generally required names in
vain, to put it to something, required the name of one that was
in their eye particularly; on whom, when he moved not, they
commanded a lictor to lay hands, but the people, thronging about
the party summoned, forbade the lictor, who durst not touch him;
at which the hotspurs that came with the consuls, enraged by the
affront, descended from the throne to the aid of the lictor; from
whom in so doing they turned the indignation of the people upon
themselves with such heat that the Consuls interposing, thought
fit, by remitting the assembly, to appease the tumult; in which,
nevertheless, there had been nothing but noise. Nor was there
less in the Senate, being suddenly rallied upon this occasion,
where they that received the repulse, with others whose heads
were as addled as their own, fell upon the business as if it had
been to be determined by clamor till the Consuls, upbraiding the
Senate that it differed not from the market-place, reduced the
house to orders.

"And the fathers, having been consulted accordingly, there
were three opinions: Publius Virginius conceived that the
consideration to be had upon the matter in question, or aid of
the indebted and imprisoned people, was not to be further
extended than to such as had engaged upon the promise made by
Servilius; Titus Largius, that it was no time to think it enough,
if men's merits were acknowledged, while the whole people, sunk
under the weight of their debts, could not emerge without some
common aid, which to restrain, by putting some into a better
condition than others, would rather more inflame the discord than
extinguish it; Appius Claudius (still upon the old haunt) would
have it that the people were rather wanton than fierce; it was
not oppression that necessitated, but their power that invited
them to these freaks; the empire of the Consuls since the appeal
to the people (whereby a plebeian might ask his fellows if he
were a thief) being but a mere scarecrow. 'Go to,' says he, 'let
us create the dictator, from whom there is no appeal, and then
let me see more of this work, or him that shall forbid my

"The advice of Appius was abhorred by many; and to introduce
a general recision of debts with Largius, was to violate all
faith; that of Virginius, as the most moderate, would have passed
best, but that there were private interests, that constant bane
of the public, which withstood it. So they concluded with Appius,
who also had been dictator, if the Consuls and some of the graver
sort had not thought it altogether unseasonable, at a time when
the Volsci and the Sabines were up again, to venture so far upon
alienation of the people: for which cause Valerius, being
descended from the Publicolas, the most popular family, as also
in his own person of a mild nature, was rather trusted with so
rigid a magistracy. Whence it happened that the people, though
they knew well enough against whom the Dictator was created,
feared nothing from Valerius; but upon a new promise made to the
same effect with that of Servilius, hoped better another time,
and throwing away all disputes, gave their names roundly, went
out, and, to be brief, came home again as victorious as in the
former action, the Dictator entering the city in triumph.
Nevertheless, when he came to press the Senate to make good his
promise, and do something for the ease of the people, they
regarded him no more as to that point than they had done
Servilius. Whereupon the Dictator, in disdain to be made a stale,
abdicated his magistracy, and went home. Here, then, was a
victorious army without a captain, and a Senate pulling it by the
beard in their gowns. What is it (if you have read the story, for
there is not such another) that must follow? Can any man imagine
that such only should be the opportunity upon which this people
could run away?

"Alas, poor men, the AEqui and the Volsci and the Sabines
were nothing, but the fathers invincible! There they sat, some
300 of them armed all in robes, and thundering with their
tongues, without any hopes in the earth to reduce them to any
tolerable conditions. Wherefore, not thinking it convenient to
abide long so near them, away marches the army, and encamps in
the fields. This retreat of the people is called the secession of
Mount Aventin, where they lodged, very sad at their condition,
but not letting fall so much as a word of murmur against the
fathers. The Senate by this time were great lords, had the whole
city to themselves; but certain neighbors were upon the way that
might come to speak with them, not asking leave of the porter.
Wherefore their minds became troubled, and an orator was posted
to the people to make as good conditions with them as he could;
but, whatever the terms were, to bring them home, and with all
speed. And here it was covenanted between the Senate and the
people, that these should have magistrates of their own election,
called the tribunes, upon which they returned.

"To hold you no longer, the Senate having done this upon
necessity, made frequent attempts to retract it again, while the
tribunes, on the other side, to defend what they had got,
instituted their Tributa Comitia, or council of the people; where
they came in time, and, as disputes increased, to make laws
without the authority of the Senate, called plebiscita. Now to
conclude in the point at which I drive: such were the steps
whereby the people of Rome came to assume debate, nor is it in
art or nature to debar a people of the like effect, where there
is the like cause. For Romulus, having in the election of his
Senate squared out a nobility for the support of a throne, by
making that of the patricians a distinct and hereditary order,
planted the commonwealth upon two contrary interests or roots,
which, shooting forth, in time produced two commonwealths, the
one oligarchical in the nobility, the other a mere anarchy of the
people, and ever after caused a perpetual feud and enmity between
the Senate and the people, even to death.

"There is not a more noble or useful question in the politics
than that which is started by Machiavel, whether means were to be
found whereby the enmity that was between the Senate and the
people of Rome could have been removed? Nor is there any other in
which we, on the present occasion, are so much concerned,
particularly in relation to this author; forasmuch as his
judgment in the determination of the question standing, our
commonwealth falls. And he that will erect a commonwealth against
the judgment of Machiavel, is obliged to give such reasons for
his enterprise as must not go a-begging. Wherefore to repeat the
politician very honestly, but somewhat more briefly, he disputes

"'There be two sorts of commonwealths, the one for
preservation, as Lacedaemon and Venice; the other for increase,
as Rome.

"'Lacedaemon, being governed by a King and a small Senate,
could maintain itself a long time in that condition, because the
inhabitants, being few, having put a bar upon the reception of
strangers, and living in a strict observation of the laws of
Lycurgus, which now had got reputation, and taken away all
occasion of tumults, might well continue long in tranquillity.
For the laws of Lycurgus introduced a greater equality in
estates, and a less equality in honors, whence there was equal
poverty; and the plebeians were less ambitious, because the
honors or magistracies of the city could extend but to a few and
were not communicable to the people, nor did the nobility by
using them ill ever give them a desire to participate of the
same. This proceeded from the kings, whose principality, being
placed in the midst of the nobility, had no greater means whereby
to support itself than to shield the people from all injury;
whence the people, not fearing empire, desired it not; and so all
occasion of enmity between the Senate and the people was taken
away. But this union happened especially from two causes: the one
that the inhabitants of Lacedaemon being few, could be governed
by the few; the other, that, not receiving strangers into their
commonwealth, they did not corrupt it, nor increase it to such a
proportion as was not governable by the few.

"'Venice has not divided with her plebeians, but all are
called gentlemen that be in administration of the government; for
which government she is more beholden to chance than the wisdom
of her law-makers; for many retiring to those islands, where that
city is now built, from the inundations of barbarians that
overwhelmed the Roman Empire, when they were increased to such a
number that to live together it was necessary to have laws, they
ordained a form of government, whereby assembling often in
council upon affairs, and finding their number sufficient for
government, they put a bar upon all such as repairing afterward
to their city should become inhabitants, excluding them from
participation of power. Whence they that were included in the
administration had right, and they that were excluded, coming
afterward, and being received upon no other conditions to be
inhabitants, had no wrong, and therefore had no occasion, nor
(being never trusted with arms) any means to be tumultuous.
Wherefore this commonwealth might very well maintain itself in

"'These things considered, it is plain that the Roman
legislators, to have introduced a quiet state, must have done one
of these two things: either shut out strangers, as the
Lacedemonians; or, as the Venetians, not allowed the people to
bear arms. But they did neither. By which means the people,
having power and increase, were in perpetual tumult. Nor is this
to be helped in a commonwealth for increase, seeing if Rome had
cut off the occasion of her tumults, she must have cut off the
means of her increase, and by consequence of her greatness.

"'Wherefore let a legislator consider with himself whether he
would make his commonwealth for preservation, in which case she
may be free from tumults; or for increase, in which case she must
be infested with them.

"'If he makes her for preservation, she may be quiet at home,
but will be in danger abroad. First, because her foundation must
be narrow, and therefore weak, as that of Lacedaemon, which lay
but upon 30,000 citizens; or that of Venice, which lies but upon
3,000. Secondly, such a commonwealth must either be in peace, or
war; if she be in peace, the few are soonest effeminated and
corrupted and so obnoxious also to faction. If in war, succeeding
ill, she is an easy prey; or succeeding well, ruined by increase:
a weight which her foundation is not able to bear. For
Lacedaemon, when she had made herself mistress upon the matter of
all Greece, through a slight accident, the rebellion of Thebes,
occasioned by the conspiracy of Pelopidas discovering this
infirmity of her nature, the rest of her conquered cities
immediately fell off, and in the turn as it were of a hand
reduced her from the fullest tide to the lowest ebb of her
fortune. And Venice having possessed herself of a great part of
Italy by her purse, was no sooner in defence of it put to the
trial of arms than she lost all in one battle.

"'Whence I conclude that in the ordination of a commonwealth
a legislator is to think upon that which is most honorable, and,
laying aside models for preservation, to follow the example of
Rome conniving at, and temporizing with, the enmity between the
Senate and the people, as a necessary step to the Roman
greatness. For that any man should find out a balance that may
take in the conveniences and shut out the inconveniences of both,
I do not think it possible.' These are the words of the author,
though the method be somewhat altered, to the end that I may the
better turn them to my purpose.

"My lords, I do not know how you hearken to this sound; but
to hear the greatest artist in the modern world giving sentence
against our commonwealth is that with which I am nearly
concerned. Wherefore, with all honor due to the prince of
politicians, let us examine his reasoning with the same liberty
which he has asserted to be the right of a free people. But we
shall never come up to him, except by taking the business a
little lower, we descend from effects to their causes. The causes
of commotion in a commonwealth are either external or internal.
External are from enemies, from subjects, or from servants. To
dispute then what was the cause why Rome was infested by the
Italian, or by the servile wars; why the slaves took the capitol;
why the Lacedaemonians were near as frequently troubled with
their helots as Rome with all those; or why Venice, whose
situation is not trusted to the faith of men, has as good or
better quarter with them whom she governs, than Rome had with the
Latins; were to dispute upon external causes. The question put by
Machiavel is of internal causes; whether the enmity that Was
between the Senate and the people of Rome might have been
removed. And to determine otherwise of this question than he
does, I must lay down other principles than he has done. To which
end I affirm that a commonwealth, internally considered, is
either equal or unequal. A commonwealth that is internally equal,
has no internal cause of commotion, and therefore can have no
such effect but from without. A commonwealth internally unequal
has no internal cause of quiet, and therefore can have no such
effect but by diversion.

"To prove my assertions, I shall at this time make use of no
other than his examples. Lacedaemon was externally unquiet,
because she was externally unequal, that is as to her helots; and
she was internally at rest, because she was equal in herself,
both in root and branch; in the root by her agrarian, and in
branch by the Senate, inasmuch as no man was thereto qualified
but by election of the people. Which institution of Lycurgus is
mentioned by Aristotle, where he says that rendering his citizens
emulous (not careless) of that honor, he assigned to the people
the election of the Senate. Wherefore Machiavel in this, as in
other places, having his eye upon the division of patrician and
plebeian families as they were in Rome, has quite mistaken the
orders of this commonwealth, where there was no such thing. Nor
did the quiet of it derive from the power of the kings, who were
so far from shielding the people from the injury of the nobility,
of which there was none in his sense but the Senate, that one
declared end of the Senate at the institution was to shield the
people from the kings, who from that time had but single votes.
Neither did it proceed from the straitness of the Senate, or
their keeping the people excluded from the government, that they
were quiet, but from the equality of their administration, seeing
the Senate (as is plain by the oracle, their fundamental law) had
no more than the debate, and the result of the commonwealth
belonged to the people.

"Wherefore when Theopompus and Polydorus, Kings of
Lacedaemon, would have kept the people excluded from the
government by adding to the ancient law this clause, 'If the
determination of the people be faulty, it shall be lawful for the
Senate to resume the debate,' the people immediately became
unquiet, and resumed that debate, which ended not till they had
set up their ephors, and caused that magistracy to be confirmed
by their kings.' For when Theopompus first ordained that the
ephori or overseers should be created at Lacedaemon, to be such a
restraint upon the kings there as the tribunes were upon the
consuls at Rome, the Queen complained to him, that by this means
he transmitted the royal authority greatly diminished to his
children: "I leave indeed less," answered he, "but more lasting."
And this was excellently said; for that power only is safe which
is limited from doing hurt. Theopompus therefore, by confining
the kingly power within the bounds of the laws, did recommend it
by so much to the people's affection as he removed it from being
arbitrary.' By which it may appear that a commonwealth for
preservation, if she comes to be unequal, is as obnoxious to
enmity between the Senate and the people as a commonwealth for
increase; and that the tranquillity of Lacedaemon was derived
from no other cause than her equality.

"For Venice, to say that she is quiet because she disarms
her subjects, is to forget that Lacedaemon disarmed her helots,
and yet could not in their regard be quiet; wherefore if Venice
be defended from external causes of commotion, it is first
through her situation, in which respect her subjects have no hope
(and this indeed may be attributed to her fortune); and,
secondly, through her exquisite justice, whence they have no will
to invade her. But this can be attributed to no other cause than
her prudence, which will appear to be greater, as we look nearer;
for the effects that proceed from fortune, if there be any such
thing, are like their cause, inconstant. But there never happened
to any other commonwealth so undisturbed and constant a
tranquillity and peace in herself as are in that of Venice;
wherefore this must proceed from some other cause than chance.
And we see that as she is of all others the most quiet, so the
most equal commonwealth. Her body consists of one order, and her
Senate is like a rolling stone, as was said, which never did,
nor, while it continues upon that rotation, never shall gather
the moss of a divided or ambitious interest, much less such a one
as that which grasped the people of Rome in the talons of their
own eagles. And if Machiavel, averse from doing this commonwealth
right, had considered her orders, as his reader shall easily
perceive he never did, he must have been so far from attributing
the prudence of them to chance, that he would have touched up his
admirable work to that perfection which, as to the civil part,
has no pattern in the universal world but this of Venice.

"Rome, secure by her potent and victorious arms from all
external causes of commotion, was either beholden for her peace
at home to her enemies abroad, or could never rest her head. My
lords, you that are parents of a commonwealth, and so freer
agents than such as are merely natural, have a care. For, as no
man shall show me a commonwealth born straight that ever became
crooked, so no man shall show me a commonwealth born crooked that
ever became straight. Rome was crooked in her birth, or rather
prodigious. Her twins, the patrician and plebeian orders, came,
as was shown by the foregoing story, into the world, one body but
two heads, or rather two bellies; for, notwithstanding the fable
out of AEsop, whereby Menenius Agrippa, the orator that was sent
from the Senate to the people at Mount Aventin, showed the
fathers to be the belly, and the people to be the arms and the
legs (which except that, how slothful soever it might seem, they
were nourished, not these only, but the whole body must languish
and be dissolved), it is plain that the fathers were a distinct
belly, such a one as took the meat indeed out of the people's
mouths, but abhorring the agrarian, returned it not in the due
and necessary nutrition of a commonwealth. Nevertheless, as the
people that live about the cataracts of Nilus are said not to
hear the noise, so neither the. Roman writers, nor Machiavel the
most conversant with them, seem among so many of the tribunitian
storms to hear their natural voice; for though they could not
miss of it so far as to attribute them to the strife of the
people for participation in magistracy, or, in which Machiavel
more particularly joins, to that about the agrarian, this was to
take the business short, and the remedy for the disease.

"A people, when they are reduced to misery and despair,
become their own politicians, as certain beasts, when they are
sick, become their own physicians, and are carried by a natural
instinct to the desire of such herbs as are their proper cure;
but the people, for the greater part, are beneath the beasts in
the use of them. Thus the people of Rome, though in their misery
they had recourse by instinct, as it were, to the two main
fundamentals of a commonwealth, participation of magistracy and
the agrarian, did but taste and spit at them, not (which is
necessary in physic) drink down the potion, and in that their
healths. For when they had obtained participation of magistracy
it was but lamely, not to a full and equal rotation in all
elections; nor did they greatly regard it in what they had got.
And when they had attained to the agrarian, they neglected it so
far as to suffer the law to grow obsolete; but if you do not take
the due dose of your medicines (as there be slight tastes which a
man may have of philosophy that incline to atheism) it may chance
to be poison, there being a like taste of the politics that
inclines to confusion, as appears in the institution of the Roman
tribunes, by which magistracy and no more the people were so far
from attaining to peace, that they in getting but so much, got
but heads for an eternal feud; whereas if they had attained in
perfection either to the agrarian, they had introduced the
equality and calm of Lacedaemon, or to rotation, and they had
introduced that of Venice: and so there could have been no more
enmity between the Senate and the people of Rome than there was
between those orders in Lacedaemon, or is now in Venice.
Wherefore Machiavel seems to me, in attributing the peace of
Venice more to her luck than her prudence, of the whole stable to
have saddled the wrong horse; for though Rome in her military
part could beat it better, beyond all comparison, upon the
sounding hoof, Venice for the civil part has plainly had the
wings of Pegasus.

"The whole question then will come upon this point, whether
the people of Rome could have obtained these orders? And first,
to say that they could not have obtained them without altering
the commonwealth, is no argument; seeing neither could they,
without altering the commonwealth, have obtained their tribunes,
which nevertheless were obtained. And if a man considers the
posture that the people were in when they obtained their
tribunes, they might as well, and with as great ease (forasmuch
as the reason why the nobility yielded to the tribunes was no
other than that there was no remedy) have obtained anything else.
And for experience, it was in the like case that the
Lacedaemonians did set up their ephors,and the Athenians,after
the battle of Plataea, bowed the Senate (so hard a thing it is
for a commonwealth that was born crooked to become straight) as
much the other way. Nor, if it be objected that this must have
ruined the nobility (and in that deprived the commonwealth of the
greatness which she acquired by them), is this opinion holding,
but confuted by the sequel of the story, showing plainly that the
nobility, through the defect of such orders (that is to say, of
rotation and the agrarian), came to eat up the people; and
battening themselves in luxury, to be, as Sallust speaks of them,
'a most sluggish and lazy nobility, in whom, besides the name,
there was no more than in a statue;' and to bring so mighty a
commonwealth, and of so huge a glory, to so deplorable an end.
Wherefore means might have been found to remove the enmity that
was between the Senate and the people of Rome.

"My lords, if I have argued well, I have given you the
comfort and assurance that, notwithstanding the judgment of
Machiavel, your commonwealth is both safe and sound; but if I
have not argued well, then take the comfort and assurance which
he gives you while he is firm, that a legislator is to lay aside
all other examples, and follow that of Rome only, conniving and
temporizing with the enmity between the Senate and the people as
a necessary step to the Roman greatness. Whence it follows that
your commonwealth, at the worst, is that which he has given you
his word is the best.

"I have held your lordships long, but upon an account of no
small importance, which I can now sum up in these few words:
where there is a liquorishness in a popular assembly to debate,
it proceeds not from the constitution of the people, but of the
commonwealth. Now that your commonwealth is of such a
constitution as is naturally free from this kind of intemperance,
is that which, to make good, I must divide the remainder of my
discourse into two parts:

"The first, showing the several constitutions of the
assemblies of the people in other commonwealths;

"The second, comparing our assembly of the people with
theirs; and showing how it excludes the inconveniences and
embraces the conveniences of them all.

"In the beginning of the first part I must take notice, that
among the popular errors of our days it is no small one that men
imagine the ancient governments of this kind to have consisted
for the most part of one city that is, of one town; whereas by
what we have learned of my 'lords that owned them, it appears
that there was not any considerable one of such a Constitution
but Carthage, till this in our days of Venice.

"For to begin with Israel, it consisted of the twelve tribes,
locally spread or quartered throughout the whole territory, and
these being called together by trumpets, constituted the Church
or assembly of the people. The vastness of this weight, as also
the slowness thence unavoidable, became a great cause (as has
been shown at large by my Lord Phosphorus) of the breaking that
commonwealth; notwithstanding that the Temple, and those
religious ceremonies for which the people were at least annually
obliged to repair thither, were no small ligament of the tribes,
otherwise but slightly tacked together.

"Athens consisted of four tribes, taking in the whole people,
both of the city and of the territory; not so gathered by Theseus
into one town, as to exclude the country, but to the end that
there might be some capital of the commonwealth: though true it
be, that the congregation, consisting of the inhabitants within
the walls, was sufficient to all intents and purposes, without
those of the country. These also being exceeding numerous, became
burdensome to themselves and dangerous to the commonwealth; the
more for their ill-education, as is observed by Xenophon and
Polybius, who compare them to mariners that in a calm are
perpetually disputing and swaggering one with another, and never
lay their hands to the common tackling or safety till they be all
endangered by some storm. Which caused Thucydides, when he saw
this people through the purchase of their misery become so much
wiser as to reduce their Comitia or assemblies to 5,000, to say
in his eighth book: 'And now, at least in my time, the Athenians
seem to have ordered their State aright, consisting of a moderate
tempor both of the few (by which he means the Senate of the Bean)
and of the many,' or the 5,000. And he does not only give you his
judgment, but the best proof of it; for 'this,' says he, 'was the
first thing that, after so many misfortunes past, made the city
again to raise her head.' The place I would desire your lordships
to note, as the first example that I find, or think is to be
found, of a popular assembly by way of representative.

"Lacedaemon consisted of 30,000 citizens dispersed throughout
Laconia, one of the greatest provinces in all Greece, and
divided, as by some authors is probable, into six tribes. Of the
whole body of these, being gathered, consisted the great Church
or assembly, which had the legislative power; the little church,
gathered sometimes for matters of concern within the city,
consisted of the Spartans only. These happened, like that of
Venice, to be good constitutions of a congregation, but from an
ill-cause the infirmity of a commonwealth, which through her
paucity was oligarchical.

'Wherefore, go which way you will, it should seem that
without a representative of the people, your commonwealth,
consisting of a whole nation, can never avoid falling either into
oligarchy or confusion.

"This was seen by the Romans, whose rustic tribes, extending
themselves from the river Arno to the Vulturnus, that is, from
Fesulae or Florence to Capua, invented a way of representative by
lots: the tribe upon which the first fell being the prerogative,
and some two or three more that had the rest, the jure vocatoe.
These gave the suffrage of the commonwealth in two meetings; the
prerogative at the first assembly, and the jure vocatoe at a

"Now to make the parallel: all the inconveniences that you
have observed in these assemblies are shut out, and all the
conveniences taken into your prerogative. For first, it is that
for which Athens, shaking off the blame of Xenophon and Polybius,
came to deserve the praise of Thucydides, a representative. And,
secondly, not, as I suspect in that of Athens, and is past
suspicion in this of Rome, by lot, but by suffrage, as was also
the late House of Commons, by which means in your prerogatives
all the tribes of Oceana are jure vocatoe; and if a man shall
except against the paucity of the standing number, it is a wheel,
which in the revolution of a few years turns every hand that is
fit, or fits every hand that it turns to the public work.
Moreover, I am deceived if, upon due consideration, it does not
fetch your tribes, with greater equality and ease to themselves
and to the government, from the frontiers of Marpesia, than Rome
ever brought any one of hers out of her pomoeria, or the nearest
parts of her adjoining territories. To this you may add, that
whereas a commonwealth, which in regard of the people is not of
facility in execution, were sure enough in this nation to be cast
off through impatience; your musters and galaxies are given to
the people, as milk to babes, whereby when they are brought up
through four days' election in a whole year (one at the parish,
one at the hundred, and two at the tribe) to their strongest
meat, it is of no harder digestion than to give their negative or
affirmative as they see cause. There be gallant men among us that
laugh at such an appeal or umpire; but I refer it whether you be
more inclining to pardon them or me, who I confess have been this
day laughing at a sober man, but without meaning him any harm,
and that is Petrus Cunaeus, where speaking of the nature of the
people, he says, 'that taking them apart, they are very simple,
but yet in their assemblies they see and know something:, and so
runs away without troubling himself with what that something is.
Whereas the people, taken apart, are but so many private
interests; but if you take them together, they are the public

"The public interest of a commonwealth, as has been shown, is
nearest that of mankind, and that of mankind is right reason; but
with aristocracy (whose reason or interest, when they are all
together, as appeared by the patricians, is but that of a party)
it is quite contrary: for as, taken apart, they are far wiser
than the people considered in that manner, so, being put
together, they are such fools, who by deposing the people, as did
those of Rome, will saw off the branch whereupon they sit, or
rather destroy the root of their own greatness. Wherefore
Machiavel, following Aristotle, and yet going before him, may
well assert, 'that the people are wiser and more constant in
their resolutions than a prince:' which is the prerogative of
popular government for wisdom. And hence it is that the
prerogative of your commonwealth, as for wisdom so for power, is
in the people, which (though I am not ignorant that the Roman
prerogative was so called a proerogando, because their suffrage
was first asked) gives the denomination to your prerogative

The elections, whether annual or triennial, being shown by
the twenty-second, that which comes in the next place to be
considered is --

The twenty-third order, "Showing the power, function, and
manner of proceeding of the prerogative tribe.

"The power or function of the prerogative is of two parts:
the one of result, in which it is the legislative, power, the
other of judicature, in which regard it is the highest court, and
the last appeal in this commonwealth.

"For the former part (the people by this constitution being
not obliged by any law that is not of their own making or
confirmation, by the result of the prerogative, their equal
representative) it shall not be lawful for the Senate to require
obedience from the people, nor for the people to give obedience
to the Senate in or by any law that has not been promulgated, or
printed and published for the space of six weeks, and afterward
proposed by the authority of the Senate to the prerogative tribe,
and resolved by the major vote of the same in the affirmative.
Nor shall the Senate have any power to levy war, men, or money,
otherwise than by the consent of the people so given, or by a law
so enacted, except in cases of exigence, in which it is agreed
that the power, both of the Senate and the people, shall be in
the dictator so qualified, and for such a term of time, as is
according to that constitution already prescribed. While a law is
in promulgation, the censors shall animadvert upon the Senate,
and the tribunes upon the people, that there be no laying of
heads together, no conventicles or canvassing to carry on or
oppose anything; but that all may be done in a free and open way.

"For the latter part of the power of the prerogative, or that
whereby they are the supreme judicatory of this nation, and of
the provinces of the same, the cognizances of crimes against the
majesty of the people, such as high treason, as also of
peculation, that is, robbery of the treasury, or defraudation of
the commonwealth, appertains to this tribe. And if any person or
persons, provincials or citizens, shall appeal to the people, it
belongs to the prerogative to judge and determine the case;
provided that if the appeal be from any court of justice in this
nation or the provinces, the appellant shall first deposit 100
in the court from which he appeals, to be forfeited to the same
if he be cast in his suit by the people. But the power of the
Council of War being the expedition of this commonwealth, and the
martial law of the strategus in the field, are those only from
which there shall lie no appeal to the people.

"The proceeding of the prerogative in case of a proposition
is to be thus ordered: The magistrates, proposing by authority of
the Senate, shall rehearse the whole matter, and expound it to
the people; which done, they shall put the whole together to the
suffrage, with three boxes, the negative, the affirmative, and
the non-sincere; and the suffrage being returned to the tribunes,
and numbered in the presence of the proposers. If the major vote
be in the non-sincere, the proposer shall desist, and the Senate
shall resume the debate. If the major vote be in the negative,
the proposers shall desist, and the Senate, too. But if the major
vote be in the affirmative, then the tribe is clear and the
proposers shall begin and put the whole matter, with the negative
and the affirmative (leaving out the non-sincere) by clauses; and
the suffrages being taken and numbered by the tribunes in the
presence of the proposers, shall be written and reported by the
tribunes of the Senate. And that which is proposed by the
authority of the Senate, and confirmed by the command of the
people, is the law of Oceana.

"The proceeding of the prerogative in a case of judicature is
to be thus ordered: The tribunes being auditors of all causes
appertaining to the cognizance of the people, shall have notice
of the suit or trial, whether of appeal or otherwise, that is to
be commenced; and if any one of them shall accept of the same, it
appertains to him to introduce it. A cause being introduced, and
the people mustered or assembled for the decision of the same,
the tribunes are presidents of the court, having power to keep it
to orders, and shall be seated upon a scaffold erected in the
middle of the tribe. Upon the right hand shall stand a seat or
large pulpit assigned to the plaintiff or the accuser; and, upon
the left, another for the defendant, each if they please with his
counsel. And the tribunes (being attended upon such occasions
with so many ballotins, secretaries, doorkeepers, and messengers
of the Senate as shall be requisite) one of them shall turn up a
glass of the nature of an hour-glass, but such a one as is to be
of an hour and a half's running; which being turned up, the party
or counsel on the right hand may begin to speak to the people. If
there be papers to be read, or witnesses to be examined, the
officer shall lay the glass sideways till the papers be read and
the witnesses examined, and then turn it up again; and so long as
the glass is running, the party on the right hand has liberty to
speak, and no longer. The party on the right hand having had his
time, the like shall be done in every respect for the party on
the left. And the cause being thus heard, the tribunes shall put
the question to the tribe with a white, a black, and a red box
(or non-sincere), whether guilty or not guilty. And if the
suffrage being taken, the major vote be in the non-sincere, the
cause shall be reheard upon the next juridicial day following,
and put to the question in the same manner. If the major vote
comes the second time in the non-sincere, the cause shall be
heard again upon the third day; but at the third hearing the
question shall be put without the non-sincere. Upon the first of
the three days in which the major vote comes in the white box,
the party accused is absolved; and upon the first of them in
which it comes in the black box, the party accused is condemned.
The party accused being condemned, the tribunes (if the case be
criminal) shall put with the white and the black box these
questions, or such of them as, regard had to the case, they shall
conceive most proper:

1. Whether he shall have a writ of ease;
2. Whether he shall be fined so much or so much;
3. Whether he shall be confiscated;
4. Whether he shall be rendered incapable of magistracy;
5. Whether he shall be banished;
6. Whether he shall be put to death.

"These, or any three of these questions, whether simple or
such as shall be thought fitly mixed, being put by the tribunes,
that which has most above half the votes in the black box is the
sentence of the people, which the troop of the third class is to
see executed accordingly.

"But whereas by the constitution of this commonwealth it may
appear that neither the propositions of the Senate nor the
judicature of the people will be so frequent as to hold the
prerogative in continual employment, the Senate, a main part of
whose office it is to teach and instruct the people, shall duly
(if they have no greater affairs to divert them) cause an oration
to be made to the prerogative by some knight or magistrate of the
Senate, to be chosen out of the ablest men, and from time to time
appointed by the orator of the house, in the great hall of the
Pantheon, while the Parliament resides in the town, or in some
grove or sweet place in the field, while the Parliament for the
heat of the year shall reside in the country, upon every Tuesday,
morning or afternoon.

"And the orator appointed for the time to this office shall
first repeat the orders of the commonwealth with all possible
brevity; and then, making choice of one or some part of it,
discourse thereof to the people. An oration or discourse of this
nature, being afterward perused by the Council of State, may as
they see cause be printed and published."

The Archon's comment upon the order I find to have been of
this sense:


"To crave pardon for a word or two in further explanation of
what was read, I shall briefly show how the constitution of this
tribe or assembly answers to their function; and how their
function, which is of two parts, the former in the result or
legislative power, the latter in the supreme judicature of the
commonwealth, answers to their constitution. Machiavel has a
discourse, where he puts the question, 'Whether the guard of
liberty may with more security be committed to the nobility or to
the people?' Which doubt of his arises through the want of
explaining his terms; for the guard of liberty can signify
nothing else but the result of the commonwealth; so that to say
that the guard of liberty may be committed to the nobility, is to
say that the result may be committed to the Senate, in which case
the people signify nothing.

"Now to show it was a mistake to affirm it to have been thus
in Lacedaemon, sufficient has been spoken; and whereas he will
have it to be so in Venice also: 'They,' says Contarini, 'in whom
resides the supreme power of the whole commonwealth, and of the
laws, and upon whose orders depends the authority as well of the
Senate as of all the other magistrates, is the Great Council.' It
is institutively in the Great Council, by the judgment of all
that know that commonwealth; though, for the reasons shown, it be
sometimes exercised by the Senate. Nor need I run over the
commonwealths in this place for the proof of a thing so
doubtless, and such as has been already made so apparent, as that
the result of each was in the popular part of it. The popular
part of yours, or the prerogative tribe, consists of seven
deputies (whereof three are of the horse) annually elected out of
every tribe of Oceana; which being fifty, amounts to 150 horse
and 200 foot. And the prerogative consisting of three of these
lists, consists of 450 horse and 600 foot, besides those of the
provinces to be hereafter mentioned; by which means the
overbalance in the suffrage remaining to the foot by 150 votes,
you have to the support of a true and natural aristocracy the
deepest root of a democracy that has been ever planted.

"Wherefore there is nothing in art or nature better qualified
for the result than this assembly. it is noted out of Cicero by
Machiavel, 'That the people, though they are not so prone to find
out truth of themselves as to follow custom or run into error yet
if they be shown truth, they not only acknowledge and embrace it
very suddenly, but are the most constant and faithful guardians
and conservators of it.' it is your duty and office, whereto you
are also qualified by the orders of this commonwealth, to have
the people as you have your hawks and greyhounds, in leashes and
slips, to range the fields and beat the bushes for them, for they
are of a nature that is never good at this sport, but when you
spring or start their proper quarry. Think not that they will
stand to ask you what it is, or less know it than your hawks and
greyhounds do theirs; but presently make such a flight or course,
that a huntsman may as well undertake to run with his dogs, or a
falconer to fly with his hawk, as an aristocracy at this game to
compare with the people. The people of Rome were possessed of no
less a prey than the empire of the world, when the nobility
turned tails, and perched among daws upon the tower of monarchy.
For though they did not all of them intend the thing, they would
none of them endure the remedy, which was the agrarian.

"But the prerogative tribe has not only the result, but is
the supreme judicature, and the ultimate appeal in this
commonwealth. For the popular government that makes account to be
of any standing, must make sure in the first place of the appeal
to the people. As an estate in trust becomes a man's own if he be
not answerable for it, so the power of a magistracy not
accountable to the people, from whom it was received, becoming of
private use, the commonwealth loses her liberty Wherefore the
right of supreme judicature in the people (Without which there
can be no such thing as popular government) is confirmed by the
constant practice of all commonwealths; as that of Israel in the
cases of Achan, and of the tribe of Benjamin, adjudged by the

"The dicasterian, or court called the heliaia in Athens,
which (the comitia of that commonwealth consisting of the whole
people, and so being too numerous to be a judicatory) was
constituted sometimes of 500, at others of 1,000, or, according
to the greatness of the cause, of 1,500, elected by the lot out
of the whole body of the people, had, with the nine Archons that
were presidents, the cognizance of such causes as were of highest
importance in that State. The five ephors in Lacedaemon, which
were popular magistrates, might question their kings, as appears
by the cases of Pausanias, and of Agis, who being upon his trial
in this court, was cried to by his mother to appeal to the
people, as Plutarch has it in his life. The tribunes of the
people of Rome (like, in the nature of their magistracy, and for
some time in number, to the ephors, as being, according to
Halicarnassus and Plutarch, instituted in imitation of them) had
power to summon any man, his magistracy at least being expired
(for from the Dictator there lay no appeal) to answer for himself
to the people. As in the case of Coriolanus, who was going about
to force the people, by withholding corn from them in a famine,
to relinquish the magistracy of the tribunes, in that of Spurius
Cassius for affecting tyranny, of Marcus Sergius for running away
at Veii, of Caius Lucretius for spoiling his province, of Junius
Silanus for making war without a command from the people against
the Cimbri, with divers others. And the crimes of this nature
were called loesoe majestatis, or high treason. Examples of such
as were arraigned or tried for peculation, or defraudation of the
commonwealth, were Marcus Curius for intercepting the money of
the Samnites, Salinator for the unequal division of spoils to his
soldiers, Marcus Posthumius for cheating the commonwealth by a
feigned shipwreck. Causes of these two kinds were of a more
public nature; but the like power upon appeals was also exercised
by the people in private matters, even during the time of the
kings, as in the case of Horatius. Nor is it otherwise with
Venice, where the Doge Loredano was sentenced by the great
Council, and Antonio Grimani, afterward doge, questioned, for
that he, being admiral, had suffered the Turk to take Lepanto in
view of his fleet.

"Nevertheless, there lay no appeal from the Roman dictator to
the people; which, if there had, might have cost the commonwealth
dear, when Spurius Melius, affecting empire, circumvented and
debauched the tribunes: whereupon Titus Quintus Cincinnatus was
created Dictator, who having chosen Servilius Ahala to be his
lieutenant, or magister equitum, sent him to apprehend Melius,
whom, while he disputed the commands of the Dictator and implored
the aid of the people, Ahala cut off upon the place. By which
example you may see in what cases the dictator may prevent the
blow which is ready sometimes to fall ere the people be aware of
the danger. Wherefore there lies no appeal from the Dieci, or the
Council of Ten, in Venice, to the Great Council, nor from our
Council of War to the people. For the way of proceeding of this
tribe, or the ballot, it is, as was once said for all, Venetian.

"This discourse of judicatories whereupon we are fallen,
brings us rather naturally than of design from the two general
orders of every commonwealth, that is to say, from the debating
part, or the Senate, and the resolving part, or the people, to
the third, which is the executive part or the magistracy,
whereupon I shall have no need to dwell, for the executive
magistrates of this commonwealth are the strategus in arms; the
signory in their several courts, as the chancery, the exchequer;
as also the councils in divers cases within their instructions;
the censors as well in their proper magistracy, as in the Council
of Religion; the tribunes in the government of the prerogative,
and that judicatory; and the judges with their courts; of all
which so much is already said or known as may suffice.

"The Tuesday lectures or orations to the people will be of
great benefit to the Senate, the prerogative, and the whole
nation. To the Senate, because they will not only teach your
Senators elocution, but keep the system of the government in
their memories. Elocution is of great use to your Senators, for
if they do not understand rhetoric (giving it at this time for
granted that the art were not otherwise good) and come to treat
with, or vindicate the cause of the commonwealth against some
other nation that is good at it, the advantage will be subject to
remain upon the merit of the art, and not upon the merit of the
cause. Furthermore, the genius or soul of this government being
in the whole and in every part, they will never be of ability in
determination upon any particular, unless at the same time they
have an idea of the whole. That this therefore must be, in that
regard, of equal benefit to the prerogative, is plain; though
these have a greater concernment in it. For this commonwealth is
the estate of the people; and a man, you know, though he be
virtuous, yet if he does not understand his estate, may run out
or be cheated of it. Last of all, the treasures of the politics
will by this means be so opened, rifled, and dispersed, that this
nation will as soon dote, like the Indians, upon glass beads, as
disturb your government with whimsies and freaks of mother-wit,
or suffer themselves to be stuttered out of their liberties.
There is not any reason why your grandees, your wise men of this
age, that laugh out and openly at a commonwealth as the most
ridiculous thing, do not appear to be, as in this regard they
are, mere idiots, but that the people have not eyes."

There remains no more relating to the Senate and the people
than --

The twenty-fourth order, "Whereby it is lawful for the
province of Marpesia to have thirty knights of their own election
continually present in the Senate of Oceana, together with sixty
deputies of horse, and 120 of foot in the prerogative tribe,
endued with equal power (respect had to their quality and number)
in the debate and result of this commonwealth, provided that they
observe the course or rotation of the same by the annual return
of ten knights, twenty deputies of the horse, and forty of the
foot. The like in all respects is lawful for Panopea; and the
horse of both the provinces amounting to one troop, and the foot
to one company, one captain and one cornet of the horse shall be
annually chosen by Marpesia, and one captain and one ensign of
the foot shall be annually chosen by Panopea."

The orb of the prerogative being thus complete, is not
unnaturally compared to that of the moon, either in consideration
of the light borrowed from the Senate, as from the sun; or of the
ebbs and floods of the people, which are marked by the negative
or affirmative of this tribe. And the constitution of the Senate
and the people being shown, you have that of the Parliament of
Oceana, consisting of the Senate proposing, and of the people
resolving, which amounts to an act of Parliament. So the
Parliament is the heart, which, consisting of two ventricles, the
one greater and replenished with a grosser matter, the other less
and full of a purer, sucks in and spouts forth the vital blood of
Oceana by a perpetual circulation. Wherefore the life of this
government is no more unnatural or obnoxious upon this score to
dissolution than that of a man; nor to giddiness than the world;
seeing the earth, whether it be itself or the heavens that are in
rotation, is so far from being giddy, that it could not subsist
without motion. But why should not this government be much rather
capable of duration and steadiness by motion? Than which God has
ordained no other to the universal commonwealth of mankind:
seeing one generation comes and another goes, but the earth
remains firm forever, that is, in her proper situation or place,
whether she be moved or not moved upon her proper centre. The
Senate, the people, and the magistracy, or the Parliament so
constituted, as you have seen, is the guardian of this
commonwealth, and the husband of such a wife as is elegantly
described by Solomon: "She is like the merchant's ships; she
brings her food from far. She considers a field, and buys it:
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She perceives
that her merchandise is good. She stretches forth her hands to
the poor. She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for
all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes herself
coverings of tapestry. her clothing is silk and purple. Her
husband is known (by his robes) in the gates, when he sits among
the senators of the land." The gates, or inferior courts, were
branches, as it were, of the Sanhedrim, or Senate, of Israel. Nor
is our commonwealth a worse housewife, nor has she less regard to
her magistrates; as may pear by --

The twenty-fifth order, "That, whereas the public revenue is
through the late civil wars dilapidated, the excise, being
improved or improvable to the revenue of 1,000,000, be applied,
for the space of eleven years to come, to the reparation of the
same, and for the present maintenance of the magistrates,
knights, deputies, and other officers, who, according to their
several dignities and functions, shall annually receive toward
the support of the same, as follows:

"The lord strategus marching, is, upon another account, to
have field-pay as general.

Per Annum
The lord strategus sitting...... 2,000
The lord orator...... 2,000
The three commissioners of the seal... 4,500
The three commissioners of the treasury... 4,500
The two censors.... 3,000
The 290 knights, at 500 a man..... 145,000
The four ambassadors-in-ordinary.... 12,000
The Council of War for intelligence.... 3,000
The master of the ceremonies..... 500
The master of the horse...... 500
His substitute..... 150
The twelve ballotins for their winter liveries 240

For summer liveries... 120

For their board-wages...... 480
For the keeping of three coaches of state,

twenty-four coach-horses, with coachmen

and postilions.......... 1,500
For the grooms, and keeping of sixteen

great horses for the master of the

horse, and for the ballotins whom he

is to govern and instruct in the art

of riding.......... 480
The twenty secretaries of the Parliament... 2,000
The twenty doorkeepers, who are to attend

with pole-axes,

For their coats....... 200

For their board-wages.... 1,000
The twenty messengers, which are trumpeters,

For their coats.... 200

For their board-wages..... 1,000
For ornament of the masters of the youth... 5,000

Sum 189,370

"Out of the personal estates of every man, who at his death
bequeaths not above forty shillings to the muster of that hundred
wherein it lies, shall be levied one per cent. till the solid
revenue of the muster of the hundred amounts to 50 per annum for
the prizes of the youth.

"The twelve ballotins are to be divided into three regions,
according to the course of the Senate; the four of the first
region to be elected at the tropic out of such children as the
knights of the same shall offer, not being under eleven years of
age, nor above thirteen. And their election shall be made by the
lot at an urn set by the sergeant of the house for that purpose
in the hall of the Pantheon. The livery of the commonwealth for
the fashion or the color may be changed at the election of the
strategus according to his fancy. But every knight during his
session shall be bound to give to his footman, or some one of his
footmen, the livery of the commonwealth.

"The prerogative tribe shall receive as follows:

By the week
The two tribunes of the horse..... 14 0
The two tribunes of the foot..... 12 0
The three captains of the horse..... 15 0
The three cornets..... 9 0
The three captains of the foot.... 12 0
The three ensigns........ 7 0
The 442 horse, at 2 a man..... 884 0
The 592 foot, at 1 10s a man.... 888 0
The six trumpeters..... 7 10
The three drummers........... 2 5

Sum by the week................ 1,850 15

Sum by the year............. 96,239 0

The total of the Senate, the people,

and the magistracy.................... 287,459 15

"The dignity of the commonwealth, and aids of the several
magistracies and offices thereto belonging, bring provided for as
aforesaid, the overplus of the excise, with the product of the
sum rising, shall be carefully managed by the Senate and the
people through the diligence of the officers of the Exchequer,
till it amount to 8,000,000, or to the purchase of about
400,000 solid revenue. At which time, the term of eleven years
being expired, the excise, except it be otherwise ordered by the
Senate and the people, shall be totally remitted and abolished

At this institution the taxes, as will better appear in the
Corollary, were abated about one-half, which made the order, when
it came to be tasted, to be of good relish with the people in the
very beginning; though the advantages then were no ways
comparable to the consequences to be hereafter shown.
Nevertheless, my Lord Epimonus, who with much ado had been held
till now, found it midsummer moon, and broke out of bedlam in
this manner.


"I have a singing in my head like that of a cart-wheel, my
brains are upon a rotation; and some are so merry, that a man
cannot speak his griefs, but if your high-shod prerogative, and
those same slouching fellows your tribunes, do not take my lord
strategus's and my lord orator's heads, and jolt them together
under the canopy, then let me be ridiculous to all posterity. For
here is a commonwealth, to which if a man should take that of the
'prentices in their ancient administration of justice at
Shrovetide, it were an aristocracy. You have set the very rabble
with truncheons in their hands, and the gentry of this nation,
like cocks with scarlet gills, and the golden combs of their
salaries to boot, lest they should not be thrown at.

"Not a night can I sleep for some horrid apparition or other;
one while these myrmidons are measuring silks by their
quarterstaves, another stuffing their greasy pouches with my lord
high treasurer's jacobuses. For they are above 1,000 in arms to
300, which, their gowns being pulled over their ears, are but in
their doublets and hose. But what do I speak of 1,000? There be
2,000 in every tribe, that is, 100,000 in the whole nation, not
only in the posture of an army, but in a civil capacity
sufficient to give us what laws they please. Now everybody knows
that the lower sort of people regard nothing but money; and you
say it is the duty of a legislator to presume all men to be
wicked: wherefore they must fall upon the richer, as they are an
army; or, lest their minds should misgive them in such a villany,
you have given them encouragement that they have a nearer way,
seeing it may be done every whit as well as by the overbalancing
power which they have in elections. There is a fair which is
annually kept in the centre of these territories at Kiberton, a
town famous for ale, and frequented by good fellows; where there
is a solemnity of the pipers and fiddlers of this nation (I know
not whether Lacedaemon, where the Senate kept account of the
stops of the flutes and of the fiddle-strings of that
commonwealth, bad any such custom) called the bull-running, and
he that catches and holds the bull, is the annual and supreme
magistrate of that comitia or congregation, called king piper,
without whose license it is not lawful for any of those citizens
to enjoy the liberty of his calling; nor is he otherwise
legitimately qualified (or civitate donatus) to lead apes or
bears in any perambulation of the same. Mine host of the Bear, in
Kiberton, the father of ale, and patron of good football and
cudgel players, has any time since I can remember been
grand-chancellor of this order.

"Now, say I, seeing great things arise from small beginnings,
what should hinder the people, prone to their own advantage and
loving money, from having intelligence conveyed to them by this
same king piper and his chancellor, with their loyal subjects the
minstrels and bear-wards, masters of ceremonies, to which there
is great recourse in their respective perambulations, and which
they will commission and instruct, with directions to all the
tribes, willing and commanding them, that as they wish their own
good, they choose no other into the next primum mobile but of the
ablest cudgel and football players? Which done as soon as said,
your primum mobile, consisting of no other stuff, must of
necessity be drawn forth into your nebulones and your
galimofries; and so the silken purses of your Senate and
prerogative being made of sows' ears, most of them blacksmiths,
they will strike while the iron is hot, and beat your estates
into hob-nails, mine host of the Bear being strategus, and king
piper lord orator. Well, my lords, it might have been otherwise
expressed, but this is well enough a-conscience. In your way, the
wit of man shall not prevent this or the like inconvenience; but
if this (for I have conferred with artists) be a mathematical
demonstration, I could kneel to you, that ere it be too late we
might return to some kind of sobriety. "If we empty our purses
with these pomps, salaries, coaches, lackeys, and pages, what can
the people say less than that we have dressed a Senate and a
prerogative for nothing but to go to the park with the ladies?"

My Lord Archon, whose meekness resembled that of Moses,
vouchsafed this answer:


"For all this, I can see my Lord Epimonus every night in the
park, and with ladies; nor do I blame this in a young man, or the
respect which is and ought to be given to a sex that is one-half
of the commonwealth of mankind, and without which the other would
be none: but our magistrates, I doubt, may be somewhat of the
oldest to perform this part with much acceptation; and, as the
Italian proverb says, 'Servire e non gradire e cosa da far
morire.' Wherefore we will lay no certain obligation upon them in
this point, but leave them, if it please you, to their own fate
or discretion. But this (for I know my Lord Epimonus loves me,
though I can never get his esteem) I will say, if he had a
mistress should use him so, he would find it a sad life; or I
appeal to your lordships, how I can resent it from such a friend,
that he puts king piper's politics in the balance with mine. King
piper, I deny not, may teach his bears to dance, but they have
the worst ear of all creatures. Now how he should make them keep
time in fifty several tribes, and that two years together, for
else it will be to no purpose, may be a small matter with my lord
to promise; but it seems to me of impossible performance. First,
through the nature of the bean; and, secondly, through that of
the ballot; or how what he has hitherto thought so hard, is now
come to be easy; but he may think that for expedition they will
eat up these balls like apples.

"However, there is so much more in their way by the
constitution of this, than is to be found in that of any other
commonwealth, that I am reconciled, it now appearing plainly that
the points of my lord's arrows are directed at no other white
than to show the excellency of our government above others;
which, as he proceeds further, is yet plainer; while he makes it
appear that there can be no other elected by the people but

"'Brontesque Steropesque et nudus membra Pyracmon:'

Othoniel, Aod, Gideon, Jephtha, Samson, as in Israel; Miltiades,
Aristides, Themistocles, Cimon, Pericles, as in Athens; Papyrius,
Cincinnatus, Camillus, Fabius Scipio, as in Rome: smiths of the
fortune of the commonwealth; not such as forged hob-nails, but
thunderbolts. Popular elections are of that kind, that all of the
rest of the world is not able, either in number or glory, to
equal those of these three commonwealths. These indeed were the
ablest cudgel and football players; bright arms were their
cudgels, and the world was the ball that lay at their feet.
Wherefore we are not so to understand the maxim of legislators,
which holds all men to be wicked, as if it related to mankind or
a commonwealth, the interests whereof are the only straight lines
they have whereby to reform the crooked; but as it relates to
every man or party, under what color soever he or they pretend to
be trusted apart, with or by the whole. Hence then it is derived,
which is made good in all experience, that the aristocracy is
ravenous, and not the people. Your highwaymen are not such as
have trades, or have been brought up to industry; but such
commonly whose education has pretended to that of gentlemen. My
lord is so honest, he does not know the maxims that are of
absolute necessity to the arts of wickedness; for it is most
certain, if there be not more purses than thieves, that the
thieves themselves must be forced to turn honest, because they
cannot thrive by their trade; but now if the people should turn
thieves, who sees not that there would be more thieves than
purses? wherefore that a whole people should turn robbers or
levellers, is as impossible in the end as in the means.

"But that I do not think your artist which you mentioned,
whether astronomer or arithmetician, can tell me how many
barley-corns would reach to the sun, I could be content he were
called to the account, with which I shall conclude this point:
when by the way I have chid my lords the legislators, who, as if
they doubted my tackling could not hold, would leave me to flag
in a perpetual calm, but for my Lord Epimonus, who breathes now
and then into my sails and stirs the waters. A ship makes not her
way so briskly as when she is handsomely brushed by the waves,
and tumbles over those that seem to tumble against her; in which
case I have perceived in the dark that light has been struck even
out of the sea, as in this place, where my Lord Epimonus feigning
to give us a demonstration of one thing, has given it of another,
and of a better. For the people of this nation, if they amount in
each tribe to 2,000 elders and 2,000 youths upon the annual roll,
holding a fifth to the whole tribe, then the whole of a tribe,
not accounting women and children, must amount to 20,000; and so
the whole of all the tribes, being fifty, to 1,000,000.

"Now you have 10,000 parishes, and reckoning these one with
another, each at 1,000 a year dry-rent, the rent or revenue of
the nation, as it is or might be let to farm, amounts to
10,000,000; and 10,000,000 in revenue divided equally to
1,000,000 of men, comes but to 10 a year to each wherewith to
maintain himself, his wife and children. But he that has a cow
upon the common, and earns his shilling by the day at his labor,
has twice as much already as this would come to for his share;
because if the land were thus divided, there would be nobody to
set him on work. So my Lord Epimonus's footman, who costs him
thrice as much as one of these could thus get, would certainly
lose by his bargain. What should we speak of those innumerable
trades whereupon men live, not only better than others upon good
shares of lands, but become also purchasers of greater estates?
Is not this the demonstration which my lord meant, that the
revenue of industry in a nation, at least in this, is three or
four-fold greater than that of the mere rent? If the people then
obstruct industry, they obstruct their own livelihood; but if
they make a war, they obstruct industry. Take the bread out of
the people's mouths, as did the Roman patricians, and you are
sure enough of a war, in which case they may be levellers; but
our agrarian causes their industry to flow with milk and honey.
it will be owned that this is true, if the people were given to
understand their own happiness; but where is it they do that? Let
me reply with the like question, where do they not? They do not
know their happiness it should seem in France, Spain, and Italy;
but teach them what it is, and try whose sense is the truer.

"As to the late wars in Germany, it has been affirmed to me
there, that the princes could never make the people to take arms
while they had bread, and have therefore suffered countries now
and then to be wasted that they might get soldiers. This you will
find to be the certain pulse and temper of the people; and if
they have been already proved to be the most wise and constant
order of a government, why should we think (when no man can
produce one example of the common soldiery in an army mutinying
because they had not captains' pay) that the prerogative should
jolt the heads of the Senate together because these have the
better salaries, when it must be as evident to the people in a
nation, as to the soldiery in an army, that it is no more
possible their emoluments of this kind should be afforded by any
commonwealth in the world to be made equal with those of the
Senate, than that the common soldiers should be equal with the
captains? It is enough for the common soldier that his virtue may
bring him to be a captain, and more to the prerogative, that each
of them is nearer to be a senator.

"If my lord thinks our salaries too great, and that the
commonwealth is not housewife enough, whether is it better
housewifery that she should keep her family from the snow, or
suffer them to burn her house that they may warm themselves? for
one of these must be. Do you think that she came off at a cheaper
rate when men had their rewards by 1,000 or 2,000 a year in
land if inheritance? if you say that they will be more godly than
they have been, it may be ill taken; and if you cannot promise
that, it is time we find out some way of stinting at least, if
not curing them of that same sacra fames. On the other side, if a
poor man (as such a one may save a city) gives his sweat to the
public, with what conscience can you suffer his family in the
meantime to starve? but he that lays his hand to this plough
shall not lose by taking it off from his own, and a commonwealth
that will mend this shall be penny-wise. The Sanhedrim of Israel,
being the supreme, and a constant court of judicature, could not
choose but be exceeding gainful. The Senate of the Bean in
Athens, because it was but annual, was moderately salaried; but
that of the Areopagites, being for life, bountifully; and what
advantages the senators of Lacedaemon had, where there was little
money or use of it, were in honors for life. The patricians
having no profit, took all. Venice being a situation where a man
goes but to the door for his employment, the honor is great and
the reward very little; but in Holland a councillor of state has
1,500 Flemish a year, besides other accommodations. The
States-General have more. And that commonwealth looks nearer her
penny than ours needs to do.

"For the revenue of this nation, besides that of her
industry, it -- amounts, as has been shown, to 10,000,000; and
the salaries in the whole come not to 300,000 a year. The beauty
they will add to the commonwealth will be exceeding great, and
the people will delight in this beauty of their commonwealth; the
encouragement they will give to the study of the public being
very progitable, the accommodation they will afford to your
magistrates very honorable and easy. And the sum, when it or
twice as much was spent in bunting and housekeeping, was never
any grievance to the people. I am ashamed to stand huckling upon
this point; it is sordid. Your magistrates are rather to be
provided with further accommodations. For what if there should be
sickness? whither will you have them to remove? And this city in
the soundest times, for the heat of the year, is no wholesome
abode: have a care of their healths to whom you commit your own.
I would have the Senate and the people, except they see cause to
the contrary, every first of June to remove into the country air
for the space of three months. You are better fitted with
summer-houses for them than if you had built them to that

"There is some twelve miles distant the convallium upon the
river Halcionia, for the tribunes and the prerogative, a palace
capable of 1,000 men; and twenty miles distant you have Mount
Celia, reverend as well for the antiquity as state of a castle
completely capable of the Senate, the proposers having lodgings
in the convallium, and the tribunes in Celia, it holds the
correspondency between the Senate and the people exactly And it
is a small matter for the proposers, being attended with the
coaches and officers of state, besides other conveniences of
their own, to go a matter of five or ten miles (those seats are
not much farther distant) to meet the people upon any heath or
field that shall be appointed: where, having despatched their
business, they may hunt their own venison (for I would have the
great walled park upon the Halcionia to belong to the signory,
and those about the convallium to the tribunes) and so go to
supper. Pray, my lords, see that they do not pull down these
houses to sell the lead of them; for when -- you have considered
on it, they cannot be spared. The founders of the school in Hiera
provided that the boys should have a summer seat. You should have
as much care of these magistrates. But there is such a selling,
such a Jewish humor in our republicans, that I cannot tell what
to say to it; only this, any man that knows what belongs to a
commonwealth, or how diligent every nation in that case has been
to preserve her ornaments, and shall see the waste lately made
(the woods adjoining to this city, which served for the delight
and health of it, being cut down to be sold for threepence), will
you tell that they who did such things would never have made a
commonwealth. The like may be said of the ruin or damage done
upon our cathedrals, ornaments in which this nation excels all
others. Nor shall this ever be excused upon the score of
religion; for though it be true that God dwells not in houses
made with hands, yet you cannot hold your assemblies but in such
houses, and these are of the best that have been made with hands.
Nor is it well argued that they are pompous, and therefore
profane, or less proper for divine service, seeing the Christians
in the primitive Church chose to meet with one accord in the
Temple, so far were they from any inclination to pull it down."

The orders of this commonwealth, so far, or near so far as
they concern the elders, together with the several speeches at
the institution, which may serve for the better understanding of
them as so many commentaries, being shown, I should now come from
the elders to the youth, or from the civil constitution of this
government to the military, but that I judge this the fittest
place whereinto, by the way, to insert the government of the city
though for the present but perfunctorily.

"'The metropolis or capital city of Oceana is commonly called
Emporium, though it consists of two cities distinct, as well in
name as in government, whereof the other is called Hiera, for
which cause I shall treat of each apart, beginning with Emporium.

"Emporium, with the liberties, is under a twofold division,
the one regarding the national, and the other the urban or city
government. It is divided, in regard of the national government,
into three tribes, and in respect of the urban into twenty six,
which for distinction's sake are called wards, being contained
under three tribes but unequally; wherefore the first tribe
containing ten wards is called scazon, the second containing
eight metoche, and the third containing as many telicouta, the
bearing of which names in mind concerns the better understanding
of the government.

"Every ward has her wardmote, court, or inquest, consisting
of all that are of the clothing or liveries of companies residing
within the same.

"Such are of the livery or clothing as have attained to the
dignity to wear gowns and parti-colored hoods or tippets,
according to the rules and ancient customs of their respective

"A company is a brotherhood of tradesmen professing the same
art, governed according to their charter by a master and wardens.
Of these there be about sixty, whereof twelve are of greater
dignity than the rest, that is to say, the mercers, grocers,
drapers, fishmongers, goldsmiths, skinners, merchant-tailors,
haberdashers, salters, ironmongers, vintners, clothworkers,
which, with most of the rest, have common halls, divers of them
being of ancient and magnificent structure, wherein they have
frequent meetings, at the summons of their master or wardens, for
the managing and regulation of their respective trades and
mysteries. These companies, as I shall show, are the roots of the
whole government of the city. For the liveries that reside in the
same ward, meeting at the wardmote inquest (to which it belongs
to take cognizance of all sorts of nuisances and violations of
the customs and orders of the city, and to present them to the
court of aldermen), have also power to make election of two sorts
of magistrates or officers; the first of elders or aldermen of
the ward, the second of deputies of the same, otherwise called
common councilmen.

"The wards in these elections, because they do not elect all
at once, but some one year and some another, observe the
distinction of the three tribes; for example, the scazon,
consisting of ten wards, makes election the first year of ten
aldermen, one in each ward, and of 150 deputies, fifteen in each
ward, all which are triennial magistrates or officers, that is to
say, are to bear their dignity for the space of three years.

"The second year the metoche, consisting of eight wards,
elects eight aldermen, one in each ward, and 120 deputies,
fifteen in each ward, being also triennial magistrates.

"The third year telicouta, consisting of a like number of
wards, elects an equal number of like magistrates for a like
term. So that the whole number of the aldermen, according to that
of the wards, amounts to twenty-six; and the whole number of the
deputies, to 390.

"The aldermen thus elected have divers capacities; for,
first, they are justices of the peace for the term, and in
consequence of their election. Secondly, they are presidents of
the wardmote and governors each of that ward whereby he was
elected. And last of all, these magistrates being assembled
together, constitute the Senate of the city, otherwise called the
court of aldermen; but no man is capable of this election that is
not worth 10,000. This court upon every new election makes
choice of nine censors out of their own number.

"The deputies in like manner being assembled together,
constitute the prerogative tribe of the city, otherwise called
the common council, by which means the Senate and the people of
the city were comprehended, as it were, by the motion of the
national government, into the same wheel of annual, triennial,
and perpetual revolution.

"But the liveries, over and above the right of these
elections by their divisions mentioned, being assembled all
together at the guild of the city, constitute another assembly
called the common hall.

"The common hall has the right of two other elections; the
one of the lord mayor, and the other of the two sheriffs, being
annual magistrates. The lord mayor can be elected out of no other
than one of the twelve companies of the first ranks; and the
common hall agrees by the plurality of suffrages upon two names,
which, being presented to the lord mayor for the time being, and
the court of the aldermen, they elect one by their scrutiny. For
so they call it, though it differs from that of the commonwealth.
The orator or assistant to the lord mayor in holding of his
courts, is some able lawyer elected by the court of aldermen, and
called the recorder of Emporium.

"The lord mayor being thus elected, has two capacities: one
regarding the nation, and the other the city. In that which
regards the city, he is president of the court of aldermen,
having power to assemble the same, or any other council of the
city, as the common council or common hall, at his will and
pleasure; and in that which regards the nation, he is
commander-in-chief of the three tribes whereinto the city is
divided; one of which he is to bring up in person at the national
muster to the ballot, as his vice-comites, or high sheriffs, are
to do by the other two, each at their distinct pavilion, where
the nine aldermen, elected censors, are to officiate by three in
each tribe, according to the rules and orders already given to
the censors of the rustic tribes. And the tribes of the city have
no other than one common phylarch, which is the court of aldermen
and the common council, for which cause they elect not at their
muster the first list called the prime magnitude.

"The conveniences of this alteration of the city government,
besides the bent of it to a conformity with that of the nation,
were many, whereof I shall mention but a few: as first, whereas

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