|James Harrington (1611–1677)|
Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
T.297 [1659.02.19] James Harrington, The Art of Lawgiving (20 Feb. 1659).
This HTML version comes from the 1771 edtiion edited by John Toland: The Oceana and Other Works of James Harrington, with an Account of His Life by John Toland (London: Becket and Cadell, 1771).
20 Feb. 1659.
Not listed in Thomason's Catalog.
This is an an abridgment of Oceana.
The First, shewing the Foundations and Superstructures of all kinds of Government.
The Second, shewing the Frames of the Commonwealths of Israel, and of the Jews.
The Third, shewing a Model fitted to the present State, or Balance of this Nation.
THE Preface, considering the principles, or nature of family governments.
CHAP. I. Considering the principles or balance of national governments: with the different kinds of the same.
CHAP. II. Shewing the variation of the English balance.
CHAP. III. Of the fixation of the balance, or of Agrarian laws.
CHAP. IV. Shewing the superstructures of governments.
The Conclusion. Observing that the principles of human prudence being good without proof out of Scripture, are nevertheless such as are provable out of Scripture.
THE Preface, shewing that there were commonwealths before that of Israel.
CHAP. I. Shewing that Israel was a commonwealth.
CHAP. II. Shewing what commonwealth Israel was.
CHAP. III. Shewing the anarchy, or state of the Israelits under their judges.
CHAP. IV. Shewing the state of the Israelits under their kings to the captivity.
CHAP. V. Shewing the state of the Jews in captivity, and after their return from captivity; or the frame of the Jewish commonwealth: and in that the original of ordination.
CHAP. VI. Shewing how ordination was brought into the Christian church, and the divers ways of the same at divers times in use with the apostles.
The Conclusion. Shewing that neither God, nor Christ, or the apostles ever instituted any government ecclesiastical or civil, upon any other principles than those only of buman prudence.
THE Preface, containing a model of popular government, propos’d notionally.
CHAP. I. Containing the civil part of the model, propos’d practicably.
CHAP. II. Containing the religious part of the model, propos’d practicably.
CHAP. III. Containing the military part of the model, propos’d practicably.
CHAP. IV. Containing the provincial part of the model, propos’d practicably.
The Conclusion. Shewing how the model may be prov’d or examin’d; and giving a brief answer to Mr. Wren’s last book, intitul’d, Monarchy asserted, &c.
If this Age fails me, the next will do me Justice.
DIVINES, and the like studious assertors of monarchy, have not laid their principles so fairly, while they have conceal’d one part from the right of paternity, or from the government of familys, which may be of two kinds; wheras they have taken notice but of one: for family government may be as necessarily popular in som cases, as monarchical in others.
Monarchica family.TO shew now the nature of the monarchical family. Put the case a man has one thousand pounds a year, or therabouts; he marrys a wife, has children and servants depending upon him (at his good will) in the distribution of his estate for their livelihood. Suppose then that this estate coms to be spent or lost, where is the monarchy of this family? but if the master was no otherwise monarchical than by virtue of his estate, then the foundation or balance of his empire consisted in the thousand pounds a year.
THAT from these principles there may also be a popular family, is apparent:Popular family. for suppose six or ten, having each three hundred pounds a year, or so, shall agree to dwell together as one family; can any one of these pretend to be lord and master of the same, or to dispose of the estates of all the rest? or do they not agree together upon such orders, to which they consent equally to submit? but if so, then certainly must the government of this family be a government of laws or orders, and not the government of one, or of som three or four of these men.
Government of laws, and government of men.YET the one man in the monarchical family giving laws, and the many in the popular family doing no more, it may in this sense be indifferently said, that all laws are made by men. But it is plain that where the law is made by one man, there it may be unmade by one man; so that the man is not govern’d by the law, but the law by the man; which amounts to the government of the man, and not of the law: wheras the law being not to be made but by the many, no man is govern’d by another man, but by that only which is the common interest; by which means this amounts to a government of laws, and not of men.
The facility that is in true politics.THAT the politics may not be thought an unnecessary or difficult art, if these principles be less than obvious and undeniable, even to any woman that knows what belongs to housekeeping, I confess I have no more to say. But in case what has bin said be to all sorts and capacitys evident, it is most humbly submitted to princes and parlaments, whether, without violence or removing of property, they can make a popular family of the monarchical, or a monarchical family of the popular? or, whether that be practicable or possible in a nation, upon the like balance or foundation in property, which is not in a family? a family being but a smaller society or nation, and a nation but a greater society or family.
The difference between a soverain lord, and a magistrat, tho supreme.THAT which is usually answer’d to this point, is, that the six or ten, thus agreeing to make one family, must have som steward; and to make such a steward in a nation, is to make a king. But this is to imagin that the steward of a family is not answerable to the masters of it, or to them upon whose estates (and not upon his own) he defrays the whole charge: for otherwise this stewardship cannot amount to dominion, but must com only to the true nature of magistracy, and indeed of annual magistracy in a commonwealth; seeing that such accounts in the year’s end, at farthest, use to be calculated, and that the steward, body and estate, is answerable for the same to the proprietors or masters; who also have the undoubted right of constituting such another steward or stewards as to them shall seem good, or of prolonging the office of the same.
Where the art of lawgiving is necessary.NOW, where a nation is cast, by the unseen ways of providence, into a disorder of government, the duty of such particularly as are elected by the people, is not so much to regard what has bin, as to provide for the supreme law, or for the safety of the people, which consists in the true art of lawgiving.
The art of lawgiving is of two kinds.THE art of lawgiving is of two kinds; the one (as I may say) false, the other true. The first consists in the reduction of the balance to arbitrary superstructures; which requires violence, as being contrary to nature: the other in erecting necessary superstructures, that is, such as are conformable to the balance or foundation; which, being purely natural, requires that all interposition of force be remov’d.
Chap. I.THE heaven, says David, even the heavens are the Lord’s; but the earth has he given to the children of men: yet, says God to the father of these children, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.Psal. 115. 16. Dii laborantibus sua munera vendunt. This donation of the earth to man coms to a kind of selling it for INDUSTRY,The original of property. a treasure which seems to purchase of God himself. From the different kinds and successes of this industry, whether in arms, or in other exercises of the mind or body,Gen. 3. 19. derives the natural equity of dominion or property; and from the legal establishment or distribution of this property (be it more or less approaching towards the natural equity of the same) procedes all government.
The balance of empire consists in property.The distribution of property, so far as it regards the nature or procreation of government, lys in the overbalance of the same: just as a man, who has two thousand pounds a year, may have a retinue, and consequently a strength, that is three times greater than his who enjoys but five hundred pounds a year. Not to speak at this time of mony, which in small territorys may be of a like effect: but to insist upon the main, which is property in land, the overbalance of this, as it was at first constituted, or coms insensibly to be chang’d in a nation, may be especially of three kinds; that is, in one, in the few, or in the many.
The generation of absolute monarchy.The overbalance of land, three to one or therabouts, in one man against the whole people, creates absolute monarchy; as when Joseph had purchas’d all the lands of the Ægyptians for Pharaoh. The constitution of a people in this and such cases, is capable of intire servitude.Gen. 47. 19. Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh.
The generation of regulated monarchy.The overbalance of land to the same proportion, in the few against the whole people, creates aristocracy, or regulated monarchy, as of late in England: and hereupon says Samuel to the people of Israel, when they would have a king, He will take your fields, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.1 Sam. 8. The constitution of a people in this and the like cases, is* neither capable of intire liberty, nor of intire servitude.
The generation of popular government.The overbalance of land to the same proportion in the people, or where neither one nor the few overbalance the whole people, creates popular government; as in the division of the land of Canaan to the whole people of Israel by lot. The constitution of a people in this and the like cases, is capable of intire freedom, nay, not capable of any other settlement; it being certain, that if a monarch, or single person in such a state, thro the corruption or improvidence of their councils, might carry it:Numb. 11. 14 yet by the irresistible force of nature, or the reason alleg’d by Moses (I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me) he could not keep it; but out of the deep waters would cry to them, whose feet he had stuck in the mire.
Wherever the balance of a government lys, there naturally is the militia of the same; and against him or them wherin the militia is naturally lodg’d, there can be no negative vote.Of the militia, and of the negative voice.
If a prince holds the overbalance, as in Turky, in him is the militia, as the Janizarys and Timariots. If a nobility has the overbalance, the militia is in them, as among us was seen in the barons wars, and those of York and Lancaster; and in France is seen, when any considerable part of that nobility rebelling, they are not to be reduc’d, but by the major part of their order adhering to the king.
Judg. 20.If the people has the overbalance, which they had in Israel, the militia is in them; as in the four hundred thousand first decreeing, and then waging war against Benjamin: where it may be inquir’d, what power there was on earth having a negative voice to this assembly? this always holds where there is settlement, or where a government is natural. Where there is no settlement, or where the government is unnatural, it procedes from one of these two causes; either an imperfection in the balance, or else such a corruption in the lawgivers, wherby a government is instituted contrary to the balance.
Imperfect government.Imperfections of the balance, that is, where it is not good or down weight, cause imperfect governments; as those of the Roman and of the Florentin people, and those of the Hebrew kings and Roman emperors, being each exceding bloody, or at least turbulent.
Tyranny, oligarchy, anarchy.Government against the balance in one, is tyranny, as that of the Athenian Pisistratus: in the few it is oligarchy, as that of the Roman Decemvirs; in the many anarchy, as that under the Neapolitan Mazin[Editor: illegible character]llo.
The divine right of government.Wherever, thro causes unforeseen by human providence, the balance coms to be intirely chang’d, it is the more immediately to be attributed to Divine Providence: and since God cannot will the necessary cause, but he must also will the necessary effect or consequence, what government soever is in the necessary direction of the balance, the same is of Divine right.Hof. 8 4. Wherfore, tho of the Israelits God says, They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes: and I knew it not; yet, to the small countries adjoining to the Assyrian empire, he says, Now have I given all these lands into the hand of the king of Babylon my servant—Serve the king of Babylon, and live.Jer. 27. 6, 17.
THE land in possession of the nobility and clergy of England, till Henry 7th, cannot be esteem’d to have overbalanc’d those held by the people less than four to one. Wheras in our days, the clergy being destroy’d, the lands in possession of the people overbalance those held by the nobility, at least, nine in ten. In shewing how this change came about, som would have it that I assume to my self more than my share; tho they do not find me delivering that which must rely upon authority, and not vouching my authors. But Henry the Seventh being conscious of infirmity in his title, yet finding with what strength and vigor he was brought in by the nobility, conceiv’d jealousys of the like power in case of a decay or change of affections.Chap. II. Nondum orbis adoraverat Roman. The lords yet led country lives, their houses were open to retainers, men experienc’d in military affairs, and capable of commanding; their hospitality was the delight of their tenants, who by their tenures or dependence were oblig’d to follow their lords in arms. So that, this being the militia of the nation, a few noblemen discontented could at any time levy a great army; the effect wherof, both in the barons wars, and those of York and Lancaster, had been well known to divers kings. This state of affairs was that which inabl’d Henry the Seventh to make his advantage of troublesom times, and the frequent unruliness of retainers; while, under the pretence of curbing riots, he obtain’d the passing of such laws as did cut off these retainers, wherby the nobility wholly lost their officers. Then, wheras the dependence of the people upon their lords was of a strict ty or nature, he found means to loosen this also by laws, which he obtain’d upon as fair a pretence, even that of population.Verulam, H. 7. Thus farms were so brought to a standard, that the houses being kept up, each of them did of necessity inforce a dweller; and the proportion of land laid to each house, did of necessity inforce that dweller not to be a begger or cottager, but a man able to keep servants, and set the plow on going. By which means a great part of the lands of this nation came in effect to be amortiz’d to the hold of the yeomanry, or middle people, wherof consisted the main body of the militia, hereby incredibly advanc’d; and which henceforth, like cleaner underwood less choak’d by their staddles, began to grow excedingly. But the nobility, who by the former laws had lost their offices, by this lost their soldiery. Yet remain’d to them their estates, till the same prince introducing the statutes for alienations, these also became loose; and the lords less taken (for the reasons shewn) with their country lives, where their trains were clip’d, by degrees became more resident at court, where greater pomp and expence by the statutes of alienations began to plume them of their estates. The court was yet at Bridewel, nor reach’d London any farther than Temple-Bar. The latter growth of this city, and in that, the declining of the balance to popularity, derives from the decay of the nobility and of the clergy. In the reign of the succeding king were abbys (than which nothing more dwarfs a people) demolish’d. I did not, I do not attribute the effects of these things thus far to my own particular observation; but always did, and do attribute a sense thereof to the reign of queen Elizabeth, and the wisdom of her council. There is yet living testimony, that the ruin of the English monarchy, thro the causes mention’d, was frequently attributed to Henry the Seventh by Sir Henry Wotton; which tradition is not unlike to have descended to him from the queen’s council. But there is a difference between having the sense of a thing, and making a right use of that sense. Let a man read Plutarch in the lives of Agis, and of the Gracchi, there can be no plainer demonstration of the Lacedemonian or Roman balance; yet read his discourse of government in his morals, and he has forgot it: he makes no use, no mention at all of any such thing. Who could have bin plainer upon this point than Sir Walter Raleigh, where, to prove that the kings of Egypt were not elective but hereditary, he alleges that if the kings of Egypt had bin elective, the children of Pharaoh must have bin more mighty than the king, as landlords of all Egypt, and the king himself their tenant?Hist of the world, part 1. p. 200. yet when he coms to speak of government, he has no regard to, no remembrance of any such principle. In Mr. Selden’s titles of honor, he has demonstrated the English balance of the peerage, without making any application of it, or indeed perceiving it there, or in times when the defect of the same came to give so full a sense of it. The like might be made apparent in Aristotle, in Machiavel, in my lord Verulam, in all, in any politician: there is not one of them in whom may not be found as right a sense of this principle, as in this present narrative; or in whom may be found a righter use of it than was made by any of the partys thus far concern’d in this story, or by queen Elizabeth and her council.M. D. l. 1. b. 10. If a prince, says a great author, to reform a government were oblig’d to depose himself, he might, in neglecting of it, be capable of som excuse; but reformation of government being that with which a principality may stand, he deserves no excuse at all. It is not indeed observ’d by this author that where by reason of the declination of the balance to popularity, the state requires reformation in the superstructures, there the prince cannot rightly reform, unless from soverain power he descends to a principality in a commonwealth: nevertheless upon the like occasions this fails not to be found so in nature and experience. The growth of the people of England, since the ruins mention’d of the nobility and the clergy came in the reign of queen Elizabeth to more than stood with the interest, or indeed the nature or possibility of a well founded or durable monarchy; as was prudently perceiv’d, but withal temporiz’d by her council, who (if the truth of her government be rightly weigh’d) seem rather to have put her upon the exercise of principality in a commonwealth, than of soverain power in a monarchy. Certain it is that she courted not her nobility, nor gave her mind (as do monarchs seated upon the like foundation) to balance her great men, or reflect upon their power now inconsiderable; but rul’d wholly, with an art she had to high perfection, by humoring and blessing her people. For this mere shadow of a commonwealth is she yet famous, and shall ever be so; tho had she introduc’d the full perfection of the orders requisit to popular government, her fame had bin greater. First, she had establish’d such a principality to her successors, as they might have retain’d.The great council of Venice has the soverain power, and the duke the soverain dignity. Secondly, this principality (the commonwealth, as Rome of Romulus, being born of such a parent) might have retain’d the royal dignity and revenue to the full, both improv’d and discharg’d of all envy. Thirdly, it had sav’d all the blood and confusion, which thro this neglect in her and her successors, has since issu’d. Fourthly, it had bequeath’d to the people a light not so natural by them to be discover’d, which is a great pity. For even as the many, thro the difference of opinions that must needs abound among them, are not apt to introduce a government, as not understanding the good of it: so the many, having by trial or experience once attain’d to this understanding, agree not to quit such a government.M. D. l. 1. c. 9. And lastly, it had plac’d this nation in that perfect felicity, which, so far as concerns mere prudence, is in the power of human nature to enjoy. To this queen succeded king James, who likewise regardless of this point (into which nevertheless he saw so far as not seldom to prophesy sad things to his successors) neither his new peerage, which in abundance he created, nor the old avail’d him any thing against that dread wherin, more freely than prudently, he discover’d himself to stand of parlaments, as now mere popular councils, and running to popularity of government like a bowl down a hill; not so much, I may say, of malice prepens’d, as by natural instinct, wherof the petition of right, well consider’d, is a sufficient testimony. All persuasion of court eloquence, all patience for such, as but look’d that way, was now lost. There remain’d nothing to the destruction of a monarchy, retaining but the name, more than a prince who by contending should make the people to feel those advantages which they could not see. And this happen’d in the next king, who too secure in that undoubted right wherby he was advanc’d to a throne which had no foundation, dar’d to put this to an unseasonable trial; on whom therfore fell the tower in Silo. Nor may we think that they upon whom this tower fell, were sinners above all men; but that we, unless we repent, and look better to the true foundations, must likewise perish. We have had latter princes, latter parlaments. In what have they excel’d, or where are they? the balance not consider’d, no effectual work can be made as to settlement; and consider’d, as it now stands in England, requires to settlement no less than the superstructures natural to popular government: and the superstructures natural to popular government require no less than the highest skill or art that is in political architecture. The sum of which particular amounts to this, That the safety of the people of England is now plainly cast upon skill or sufficiency in political architecture: it is not enough therfore, that there are honest men addicted to all the good ends of a commonwealth, unless there be skill also in the formation of those proper means wherby such ends may be attain’d. Which is a sad, but a true account; this being in all experience, and in the judgment of all politicians, that wherof the many are incapable. And tho the meanest citizen, not informing the commonwealth of what he knows, or conceives to concern its safety, commits a hainous crime against God and his country; yet such is the temper of later times, that a man, having offer’d any light in this particular, has scap’d well enough, if he be despis’d and not ruin’d.
But to procede: if the balance, or state of property in a nation, be the efficient cause of government, and, the balance being not fix’d, the government (as by the present narrative is evinc’d) must remain inconstant or floting; then the process in the formation of a government must be first by a fixation of the balance, and next by erecting such superstructures as to the nature therof are necessary.
FIXATION of the balance of property is not to be provided for but by laws; and the laws, wherby such a provision is made, are commonly call’d Agrarian laws. Now as governments, thro the divers balance of property, are of divers or contrary natures, that is monarchical or popular; so are such laws. Monarchy requires of the standard of property, that it be vast and great; and of Agrarian laws, that they hinder recess or diminution, at least in so much as is therby intail’d upon honor: but popular government requires, that the standard be moderat, and that its agrarian prevent accumulation.It is at present in more hands; but without fixation may come into sewer. In a territory not exceding England in revenue, if the balance be in more hands than three hundred, it is declining from monarchy; and if it be in fewer than five thousand hands, it is swerving from a commonwealth: which as to this point may suffice at present.
THAT the policy or superstructures of all absolute monarchs, more particularly of the eastern empires, are not only contain’d, but meliorated in the Turkish government, requires no farther proof than to compare them:The superstructures of absolute monarchy. but because such a work would not ly in a small compass, it shall suffice for this time to say, that such superstructures of government as are natural to an absolute prince, or the sole landlord of a large territory, require for the first story of the building, that, what demeans he shall think fit to reserve being set apart, the rest be divided into horse quarters or military farms, for life or at will, and not otherwise:Timariots. and that every tenant for every hundred pounds a year so held, be, by condition of his tenure, oblig’d to attend his soverain lord in person, in arms, and at his proper cost and charges, with one horse, so often, and so long as he shall be commanded upon service. These among the Turks are call’d timariots.
Beglerbegs.The second story requires, that these horse quarters, or military farms, be divided by convenient precincts or proportions into distinct provinces; and that each province have one governor or commander in chief of the same, at the will and pleasure of his grand signior, or for three years and no longer. Such among the Turks (unless by additional honors they be call’d bashaws or viziers) are the beglerbegs.
Janizarys and spahys.For the third story, there must of necessity be a mercenary army consisting both of horse and foot, for the guard of the prince’s person, and for the guard of his empire; by keeping the governors of provinces so divided, that they be not suffer’d to lay their arms or heads together, or to hold correspondence or intelligence with one another. Which mercenary army ought not to be constituted of such as have already contracted som other interest: but to consist of men so educated from their very childhood, as not to know that they have any other parent, or native country, than the prince and his empire. Such among the Turks are the foot call’d janizarys, and the horse call’d spahys.
The divan and the grand signior.The prince accommodated with a privy council, consisting of such as have bin governors of provinces, is the topstone: this council among the Turks is call’d the divan, and this prince the grand signior.
The superstructures of regulated monarchy.The superstructures proper to a regulated monarchy, or to the government of a prince (three or four hundred of whose nobility, or of whose nobility and clergy hold three parts in four of the territory) must either be by his personal influence upon the balance, or by virtue of orders.
If a prince, by easing his nobility of taxes, and feeding them with such as are extorted from the people, can so accommodat their ambition and avarice with great offices and commands, that a party rebelling, he can overbalance and reduce them by a greater part of their own order, he may have greater power and less security, as at present in France.
The safer way of this government is by orders; and the orders proper to it specially consist of a hereditary senat of the nobility, admitting also of the clergy, and of a representative of the people made up of the lords menial servants, or such as by tenure and for livelihood have immediat dependence upon them, as formerly in England.Chap IV.
No such thing as pure aristocracy, or pure democracy.An aristocracy, or state of nobility, to exclude the people, must govern by a king; or to exclude a king, must govern by the people: nor is there, without a senat or mixture of aristocracy, any popular government. Whence, tho for discourse sake, politicians speak of pure aristocracy, and pure democracy, there is no such thing as either of these in nature or example.
The superstructures of popular government.Where the people are not overbalanc’d by one man, or by the few, they are not capable of any other superstructures of government, or of any other just and quiet settlement whatsoever, than of such only as consists of a senat as their counsillors, of themselves or their representatives as soverain lords, and of a magistracy answerable to the people, as distributers and executioners of the laws made by the people. And thus much is of absolute necessity to any or every government, that is or can be properly call’d a commonwealth, whether it be well or ill order’d.
Definition of a well-order’d commonwealth.But the necessary definition of a commonwealth, any thing well order’d, is, That it is a government consisting of the senat proposing, the people resolving, and the magistracy executing.
Distinction of magistracy.Magistracy is a stile proper to the executive part: yet because in a discourse of this kind it is hardly avoidable, but that such as are of the proposing or resolving assemblys, will be somtimes compriz’d under this name or stile, it shall be enough for execuse to say, that magistracy may be esteem’d of two kinds; the one proper or executive, the other improper or legislative.
Senats, and their kinds.A senat may consist of a hereditary order, elective for life by it self, or by som magistrat or magistrats of the same; as the senat of Rome consisted of the patrician order therinto eligible, first by the consuls, and then by the censors. A senat may consist of senators elected by the people for life, as that of Lacedemon: it may consist of senators eligible by the people for terms, without any vacation or interval, as the senat of Venice; or with intervals, as the senat of Athens, which also for another difference was elected by lot.
Popular assemblys, and their kinds.A popular assembly may consist of the whole people, as the great council of Venice (for the Venetians, tho call’d, in respect of their subjects, nobility, are all that free people which is compriz’d in that commonwealth) or of a representative, as in Israel. Again, a representative of the people may be for life, as in the particular citys or soveraintys of Holland, improperly call’d senats; or it may be uponrotation, that is to say, by changes or courses, as that of Israel, and the present representative in England; it may also be by lot, as the Roman tribes call’d the prerogative, and the jure vocatæ.
Supreme magistrats, and their kinds.To speak of magistrats in a commonwealth, and all their kinds, were to begin an endless discourse; the present I shall therfore confine to such only as may be call’d supreme magistrats. The supreme magistracy of a commonwealth may be in one or more; and it may be for life, or for terms and vacations. In one elective by the people for life; as in the duke of Venice, whose function is civil and not military. In two hereditarily; as in the two kings of Lacedemon, whose function was rather military than civil. In nine annually elective by the people; as in the nine princes or archons of Athens. In two annually elected by the people; as the Roman consuls, whose power was both military and civil. In a word, it may be in one or more, for life, or for terms and vacations, as shall best sute with the occasion.
Som commonwealths consist of distinct soveraintys, as Switzerland and Holland; others are collected into one and the same soverainty, as most of the rest.Other differences in commonwealths. Again, som commonwealths have bin upon rotation or courses in the representative only, as Israel: others in the magistracy only, as Rome. Som in the senat and in the magistracy, as Athens and Venice: others in som part of the magistracy, and in others not, as Lacedemon in the ephori, and not in the kings; and Venice not in the duke, nor in the procuratori, but in all the rest. Holland, except in the election of states provincial (which is emergent) admits not of any rotation or courses. There may be a commonwealth admitting of rotation throout, as in the senat, in the representative, and in the magistracy; as that propos’d in Oceana.
Rotation, or courses.Rotation, if it be perfect, is equal election by, and succession of the whole people to the magistracy by terms and vacations.
Popular election.Equal election may be by lot, as that of the senat of Athens; by suffrage, as that of Lacedemon; or by ballot, as that of Venice, which of all others is the most equal.
The ballot.The ballot, as it is us’d in Venice, consists of a lot; whence procedes the right of proposing, and of an unseen way of suffrage, or of resolving.
The different genius of commonwealths.From the wonderful variety of parts, and the difference of mixture (hitherto scarce touch’d by any) result those admirable differences that are in the constitution and genius of popular governments; som being for defence, som for increase; som more equal, others inequal; som turbulent and seditious, others, like soft streams, in a perpetual tranquillity.
The cause of sedition in a commonwealth.That which causes innat sedition in a commonwealth, is inequality; as in Rome, where the senat opprest the people. But if a commonwealth be perfectly equal, it is void of sedition, and has attain’d to perfection, as being void of all internal causes of dissolution.
Definition of an equal commonwealth.An equal commonwealth is a government founded upon a balance which is perfectly popular, being well fix’d by a sutable agrarian; and which from the balance, thro the free suffrage of the people-given by the ballot, amounts in the superstructures to a senat debating and proposing, a representative of the people resolving, and a magistracy executing; each of these three orders being upon courses or rotation; that is, elected for certain terms, injoining like intervals.
The difference between laws and orders.Such constitutions in a government as regard the frame or model of it, are call’d orders; and such things as are enacted by the legislative orders, are called laws.
To undertake the binding of a prince from invading liberty, and yet not to introduce the whole orders necessary to popular government, is to undertake a flat contradiction, or a plain impossibility.
Hazard thro the want of principles.A people or assembly not understanding true principles, give least credit to the best orders, and so com to cast themselves upon particular persons: for where orders are not credited, there men must be trusted; and where men are trusted, they find themselves so well in their power, that they are either for bringing in a commonwealth by degrees, or more probably not at all. The desire of bringing in a commonwealth by degrees, arises from want of considering that the whole of a commonwealth, as to charge or trouble, is less than the half. He who has a journey to go, dos not chuse to have but half a bridle, or but one boot or stirrup, tho these be fewer things, and com but to half the charge; because this would but necessitat him to procure more things, and perhaps more chargeable or dangerous.
Optimus ille animi vindex, lædentia pectus Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.
WHO imagins that the Romans govern’d by proof out of Scripture?1 Pet. 2. 13. Yet says Peter, Submit yourselves to (human prudence, or) every ordinance of man; which relates more particularly to the government of the Romans. The most frequent comparison of a commonwealth is to a ship; but who imagins that a ship ought not to be built according to the art of the shipwright, or govern’d according to the compass, unless these be prov’d out of Scripture? Nevertheless, as hitherto I have prov’d the principles of human prudence in the several parts out of Holy Scripture; so I undertake to vindicat them in the whole, as to the intire frame of popular government, in the insuing book, by the same authority and undeniable evidence.
Book II.HUMAN prudence is originally a creature of God, and, with respect to its existence, as antient as human nature; nor is it so much younger in any of those effects or ends for which it was ordain’d by God, that we should think Israel to have bin the first commonwealth, or the first popular government that ever was, or that was planted at least in Canaan: for the like governments, in the countrys thereabout, there were both before and at the same time. It was in Canaan, that Melchizedec, king and priest of Salem,Tithes originally belonging to kings. bad reign’d during the time of Abraham, who paid him tithes of all that he had. Now tithes before Israel and the institution of the Levits, belong’d not to any sort of clergy, but to the prince or state.1 Sam. 8. 15, 17. Whence Samuel, in the description of a king, tells the people that he will take the tenth of their goods. Thus Abraham, in paying tithes to Melchizedec, acknowleg’d him for his prince.Chap. I. Yet had Abraham the right of the sword, and made war with kings, as those of Sodom, at his own discretion;The commonwealth of Salem. whence Canaan may seem to have bin a commonwealth in those days, much after the manner of Germany in ours. The five lords (perhaps five tribuns) of the Philistins must needs have bin som aristocracy at least of princes joining in one body or commonwealth. So Venice in her first age was under lords or tribuns.The commonwealth of the Philistins. It is little to be doubted, but the government of Jethro, king and priest of Midian, was of a like nature with that of Melchizedec, or of the Lacedemonian kings, who were also priests;The commonwealth of Midian. or that the counsil he gave to Moses (being for the institution of such judicatorys as are not proper in a monarchy) was any other than according to the orders of his own commonwealth.The commonwealth of the Gibeonits. And lest these governments should seem less popular, the embassadors of the Gibeonits coming to Joshua, say thus; Our elders (or our senat) and all the inhabitants of our country (or the popular assembly of the same) spoke to us, saying, Go meet them,Joshua 9. 11. and say to them, We are your servants: therfore now make a league with us. To make a league with a foren nation evinces soverain power; and that this league was made by the senat and the people, evinces Gibeon to have bin a popular government. Such a thing then as popular government most undeniably there was before Israel. Now whether Israel were a popular government or no, I shall refer to trial by the ensuing chapter.
Sect. 1.IT is said of the Israelits that went first into Egypt, All the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls.Exod. 1. 5. These becoming so many fathers of familys, and governing their own familys by paternal right, it follows that at first they so govern’d the whole people;The rise of the Israelits government. yet not with any soverain power (as may be easily thought in a country that had a prince of its own) but by way only of direction and advice. The people being thus accustom’d to this way,Of the princes of the tribes, and princes of families. as any of these seventy came to dy, supply’d his place with another of their election; at least for the probability of this opinion, we find mention of Moses, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders, before the institution of the Israelitish senat or sanhedrim.Exod. 24. 9. To these and to the people Moses propos’d his laws. So I am sure in the* Latin it is expresly said, where by our English translation it is thus render’d, This is the law (and by the law here is meant no less than the whole book of Deuteronomy) which Moses set before the children of Israel, whose assemblys were not always without faction.Antiq. I. 4. c. 2. For Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with two hundred princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, bandy’d themselves against Moses, and his intended election of his brother Aaron to the hereditary priesthood, reproaching him (says Josephus) that he went about to dispose of this honor without the suffrage of the congregation, therby affecting tyranny, and a sly usurpation of the liberty of the people: which sense also is imply’d by their upbraiding him in Scripture;Num. 16. 13. Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of the land that flows with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness? except thou makest thyself altogether a prince over us.That Moses was no king. But wheras the Scripture in all this presumes these incendiarys to have bely’d Moses, som will have all they thus laid to his charge, to be no more, but less than truth; in as much as they will needs have Moses not only to have bin a king, but to have bin a king exercising arbitrary power, and such arbitrary power as, being without any bounds, fully amounts to tyranny.
Sect. 2. That Moses propos’d his laws to the people and their suffrage.The word king is not a sufficient definition of the magistrat so stil’d: between a Lacedemonian king and a Persian king, or between either of these and a king of England, there was a vast difference. Both the kings of Lacedemon were but as one duke in Venice. The Venetians therfore, if it had so pleas’d them, might as well have call’d their duke a king. Certain it is, that he is not so much in the commonwealth, as are a few of his counsillors; and yet all acts of the government run in his name, as if there were no commonwealth.
Deut. 34. 4. In what sense Moses may be call’d a king.It is said (according to our translation) Moses commanded us a law, &c. according to the original, Moses (propos’d, or) gave us a law, which is an inheritance to the congregation of Jacob. The duke of Venice has a right to propose or give law in the congregation or great council of Venice; where he, who sees him sitting, would believe he were a king.Ver. 5. And if Moses were king in Jesurun (or Israel) it was when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gather’d together.Acts 13. Paul, epitomizing the story of the people of Israel, in his sermon to the Antiochian Jews, shews how God chose their fathers, exalted the people, destroy’d (for their sake) seven nations in the land of Canaan, and divided their lands to them by lots: but speaks not a word of any king given to them, till expresly after their judges. But if Moses were a king, yet that he did not propose, but command by his power the laws which he gave to Israel, dos not follow. For David was a king, who nevertheless did no otherways make any law than by proposition to the people, and their free suffrage upon it.1 Chron. 13. David consulted with the captains of thousands, and hundreds, and with every leader (of which military disciplin of the congregation of Israel more in due place will be shewn) and David said to all the congregation, If it seems good to you, and that if it be of the Lord our God (tho he was a king, and a man after God’s own heart, he makes the people judges what was of God) let us send abroad to our brethren every where that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levits that are in their citys and suburbs, that they (to the end this thing may be perform’d with the greatest solemnity) may gather themselves to us, and let us bring the ark of God to us: for we inquir’d not at it in the days of Saul.1 Sam. 4. In the days of Eli the ark was taken by the Philistins, who being smitten till there was a deadly destruction throout all the city, and their divines attributing the cause therof to the detention of the ark, after seven months sent it to Bethshemesh; whence it was brought to Kirjath-jearim, and there lodg’d in the house of Aminadab, before Saul was king, where it remain’d till such time as David propos’d (in the manner shewn) to the people the reduction of the same.1 Chron. 13. 4. Upon this proposition, the people giving suffrage are unanimous in their result; All the congregation said, that they would do so (not that they could do no otherwise by a king, for they did not the like by Rehoboam, but that) the thing was right in the eys of all the people.Chap. 25. Moreover, David and the captains of the host separated to the service som of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalterys and with cymbals; that is, propos’d these laws for church disciplin, or offices of the priests and Levits, to the same representative of the people: of which more in other places. Thus much in this, to shew, that if Moses were a king, it dos not follow that he propos’d not his laws to a congregation of the people having the power of result. To say that the laws propos’d by Moses were the dictat of God, is not to evade, but to confirm the necessity of proposing them to the people, seeing the laws or dictats of God or of Christ can no otherwise be effectually receiv’d or imbrac’d by a people, or by a privat man, than by the free suffrage of the soul or conscience; and not by force or rewards, which may as well establish the laws of the devil.
Sect. 3. That there lay no appeal from the seventy elders to Moses. Numb. 11. 16.But for another way, such a one as it is, of crowning Moses, som are positive that there lay an appeal from the seventy elders to him. Now the command of God to Moses for the institution of the seventy, is this: Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel—that they may stand with thee. Upon which words let me ask, whether had Moses thenceforth a distinct or a joint political capacity? If the seventy stood with Moses, or it were a joint capacity, then Moses was no king in their sense; and if it were distinct, then lay there to Moses no appeal, even by his own law: for thus in the case of appeals it is by him directed, If there arises a controversy too hard for thee in judgment—thou shalt com to the priests and Levits (that is, to the seventy elders)—According to the sentence of the law which they—shall tell thee, thou shalt do—And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken—even that man shall dy.Deut. 17. 8. In which words all color of appeal from the seventy elders is excluded.
Sect. 4.But whether Moses were a king or no king, either his power was more than that of king David; or without proposition to, and result of the people, it is plain that he could pass no law. Now the senat, sanhedrim, or seventy elders, came in the place of Moses, or stood with him; therfore their power could be no more than was that of Moses. So that if the power of Moses were never more in the point of lawgiving, than to propose to the people; then the power of the sanhedrim could be no more in the point of lawgiving, than to propose to the people. Nor will it be found in Scripture that the sanhedrim ever made any law without the people; yet it is found in Scripture that the people made a law without the sanhedrim, or levy’d war without them, which is all one: for where there is a power to levy war, there will be the power of making law.Judg. 20. And the occasion upon which this is found, is the war levy’d against Benjamin by the congregation, consisting of four hundred thousand. Again, if the sanhedrim inherited the whole power of Moses, and yet had no larger power in lawmaking than to propose to the people, then had Moses never any larger power in lawmaking than to propose to the people. Now where there is no king, or no king in a distinct capacity from the senat; and where the senat has no farther power in lawmaking than to propose to the free suffrage of the people; the government there is a commonwealth. Thus having shewn that Israel was a commonwealth, I come next to shew what commonwealth Israel was.
Sect. 1. Division of the children of Israel; first genealogical.ALL political methods that are collective of the people, must necessarily begin with a distribution or division of the people.
For the division of the people of Israel, it was first genealogical, and then local.Exod. 1. Now these are the names (of the ancestors of the tribes, or) of the children of Israel which came into Egypt, every man and his houshold came with Jacob:Gen. 41. 50, 51, 52. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. These being eleven in number, were the sons of Jacob, who had also one more, namely Joseph. And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famin came, which Asenah, the daughter of Potipherah priest of On, bore to him. And Joseph call’d the name of the first-born Manasseh—and the name of the second call’d he Ephraim. Which two (tho but grandchildren) were adopted by Jacob for his sons, in these words:Gen. 48. 16. Let my name be nam’d on them; and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. From which addition to the former came the tribes of Israel, genealogically reckon’d, to be in number thirteen. In the genealogical distribution of the tribes there were also observ’d certain ranks, qualitys, or degrees, as appears by the poll made of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, and in the tabernacle of the congregation by Moses.Num. 1. These degrees were of two sorts: first, phylarchs, or princes of tribes; and secondly, patriarchs, or princes of familys: all hereditary honors, and pertaining to the firstborn of the tribe or of the family respectively. That this poll be more perfectly understood, will be useful: for which cause I shall be somwhat more particular. First, for the phylarchs, or princes of the tribes; and then for the patriarchs, or princes of familys. To begin with the princes of the tribes.
Sect. 2. Num. 1. 17, 18.MOSES and Aaron—assembl’d the congregation (or political convention of the people) together on the first day of the second month, after their familys, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upwards, by the poll.Of the princes of tribes; or the musterroll in Sinai. Where every phylarch or prince of a tribe, with the number of men at the age mention’d and upward, throout his tribe, are listed much after this manner:
Sect. 3. The Levits call, order, or tribe.ALL the firstborn, says God, are mine. In which words is imply’d that the priesthood, or right of preaching, instructing, or administring divine things, belong’d, as it were, of natural right, to fathers of familys, or the firstborn; till the Lord took the Levits from among the children of Israel, instead of the firstborn.Num. 3. 12, 13. These being thus taken, were set apart, and so listed by themselves to omit their several familys, functions, and orders in the service of the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple, which would require a volum) much after this manner:
Of the tribe of Levi, Aaron high priest. The number of all the males of this tribe, from a month old and upwards, twenty and two thousand.v. 39. The manner how God took the Levits, is thus express’d: Thou shalt bring the Levits before the tabernacle of the congregation,Num. 8. 9, 10, 11, 12. and thou shalt gather the whole assembly together — and the children of Israel (after the manner that the Levits lay their hands upon the bullocks, or sacrifice) shall put their hands upon the Levits, in token that they are sacrific’d or separated by the free suffrage of the people to the Lord.1 Chr. 25. For lest the suffrage of the people be thought hereby to have bin excluded, so David and the captains of the host or army (which army was the representative of the people) separated to the service som of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun — who shall prophesy with harps. But of the congregations of the people more in due place.
Sect. 4. The military orders.The hereditary right more specially belonging to the phylarchs, or princes of the tribes, consisted (as that of the kings of Lacedemon, of Athens, and of Rome) in the leading of the armys of the commonwealth; which was distributed to them in this manner.Grot. ad Num. 10. The twelve tribes were divided into four brigades, every brigade consisting of three tribes. The leading of the first brigade pertain’d to Judah, who in his standard bore a lion. The leading of the second brigade belong’d to Reuben, who in his standard bore a man. The leading of the third brigade belong’d to Ephraim, who in his standard bore an ox. The leading of the fourth brigade belong’d to Dan, who in his standard bore an eagle. These four by the text are term’d standards of the camp, which were as the Roman eagles.Num. 10. 14, 18, 22, 23. Furthermore, as the subdivisions of the Roman legions had their proper insigns, so had the tribes here, which had not the leading of a brigade of the camp. The insigns of these tribes were call’d staves: as the staff of the children of Issachar, the staff of the tribe of Zebulun, which follow’d the standard of Judah: the staff of the tribe of Simeon, the staff of the tribe of Gad, which follow’d the standard of Reuben: the staff of the tribe of Manasseh, the staff of the tribe of Benjamin, which follow’d the standard of Ephraim: the staff of the tribe of Asher, the staff of the tribe of Naphtali, which follow’d the standard of Dan. All which insigns or staves in our English translation are render’d hosts, or armys.
Num. 3.In the midst of these four squadrons or brigades stood the tabernacle, with the Levits divided, and distributed by their distinct familys to the several uses and carriages of the same, and lodg’d upon the four quarters.
When the ark set forward, or the camp remov’d, these words were with solemnity pronounc’d by the general, or by the high priest; Rise up Lord, and let thy enemys be scatter’d, and let them that hate thee fly before thee.Num. 10. 35
Of the martial disciplin in which the youth in Israel were educated to these ends, there was certainly more than is remaining in story. But that their popular assemblys were all held in military order and disciplin, and that the deserters of the militia were anathematiz’d, confiscated, or put to the sword, will in due time be made sufficiently apparent. For the present, you have the Israelitish musterroll, being of a like nature with that of Athens call’d lexiarcha, and that in Rome call’d census. Nor has any commonwealth bin well order’d in its militia, which has not bin diligent in the institution and preservation of the like military rolls or registers. Hitherto of the phylarchs, or princes of the tribes; the next rank or quality in this government was that of the patriarchs or princes of familys.
Sect. 5. The patriarchs, chief of the fathers, or princes of families; with a catalog of the same.The word family in many places of Scripture, is not to be taken for a single houshold; but as we take the word in heraldry, that is, for a lineage or kindred. The patriarchs in Israel, taken in this sense, were such as, till of late years in Scotland, were they that could lead the whole name or kindred, and be follow’d by them The familys in Israel of this kind, that were greatest about the plantation of the commonwealth, were of Reuben, the Henochits, the Phalluits, the Hesronits, and the Charmits.
Num. 26.Of Simeon, the Namuelits, the Jamnits, the Jachenits, the Zanits, and the Shaulits.
Of Gad, the Zephronits, the Haggits, the Shunits, the Oznits, the Erits, the Arodits, and the Arelits.
Of Judah, the Shelanits, the Pharzits, the Zarhits, the Hesronits, and the Hamulits.
Of Issachar, the Tholaits, the Punits, the Shuhits, and the Shimranits.
Of Zabulun, the Sardits, the Elonits, and the Jahleelits.
Of Manasseh, the Machirits, the Galeadits, the Jeezrits, the Helekits, the Asrielits, the Sechemits, the Shemidaits, and the Hepherits.
Of Ephraim, the Shuthalaits, the Bachtits, the Tahanits, and the Eranits.
Of Benjamin, the Belaits, the Ashbelits, the Ahiramits, the Shuphamits, the Huphamits, the Ardits, the Heredits, and the Naamits.
Of Dan, the Suhamits.
Of Asher, the Jimnits, the Jessuits, the Briits, the Heberits, and the Melchielits.
Of Naphtali, the Jazrielits, the Gunits, the Jeserits, and the Shillemits.
Of Levi, the Gersonits, the Caharits, and the Merarits. The heads of these were such as are call’d patriarchs, princes, heads of familys, or chief of the fathers.
Familys, tho far less subject than in other governments to decay or increase, might at divers times be different in Israel; as after Benjamin was destroy’d, or after David had rais’d his own and many other: but thus were the familys at this time sixty; the tribes being, as was shewn before, thirteen.
In the first institution of the tribes of Rome, that is, Ramnenses, Titienses, and the Luceri, they were also genealogical, but long it held not so; genealogical divisions in a commonwealth being for the most part of greater danger than use; but whether genealogys be observ’d or not, the local way of division is of absolute necessity.
Sect. 6. Of the lot or ballot of Israel.To insert the geography of the Israelitish tribes, would be as burdensom both to the reader and my self, as needless to either. But the manner how the tribes became local, was thro the distribution of the land of Canaan by lot, and intailing the lands so distributed upon the proprietors and their heads for ever, without power of alienation, in any such manner as to deprive their posterity. The lot or ballot in Israel was specially of three uses; one for election of magistrats, another for the discovery of som secret malefactor, and a third for the division of lands. To which three heads I hope to reduce the whole history of their government: and this work once perform’d, it will be easy to represent the commonwealth in its political method.
To begin with the election of magistrats, it was perform’d somtimes by the lot, without suffrage; and somtimes by the ballot, that is, by a mixture of lot and suffrage. For the clearer discovery of the order in elections, I must invert the order of the magistrats elected, and begin with the king; then procede to the judg, and com last of all to the sanhedrim, and the inferior courts.
The instruments us’d upon these occasions, were first lots, som blanks and som prizes; then urns (that is, pots) into which these lots were cast, and out of which they were afterwards drawn, or given forth; by what officers, or with what farther solemnity, dos not appear.
Sect. 7. Manner of electing the king.When the people would needs have a king, Samuel, being their judg, did that, tho against his will, which nevertheless was no more than his duty: that is, first, hearken’d to the voice of the people; or obey’d their vote. Secondly, call’d the people together to the Lord to Mizpeh.1 Sam. 8. 7, 22. The political assembly, or congregation of the people of Israel was call’d ecclesia dei, the congregation of the Lord,1 Sam. 10. 17. as it ought to have bin exprest in the trial of Benjamin, and is in som places by our translation:Judg. 20. as where an eunuch (or one unfit for marriage with a daughter of Israel,Deut. 23. which capacity was necessary to the being inrol’d of a tribe) a bastard (as dishonorable) an Ammonite or Moabite (as descended of perfidious nations) shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord: that is, shall not have right of suffrage with the people of Israel.For the assembly of the congregation at Mizpeh, see Judg. 10. 17. & 11. 11. & 20. 1. & 21. 1. So Samuel, by calling the congregation of the Lord, or the people together to the Lord in Mizpeh (the place, before the taking of Jerusalem, where they always held their parlaments or political assemblys) did the office of the like magistrats in commonwealths. The people being thus assembl’d (for to be brief, I must procede with conjectures,1 Sam. 7. 6, 16. which at first sight will seem bolder than really they are) Samuel causing the urns to be set forth, pronounc’d the solemn form of words in use upon the like occasion, which were these:1 Sam. 10. 19. Present your selves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands. The political assemblys of the children of Israel were held, or gather’d (as we say) with drums beating, and colors flying; and if it were an extraordinary congregation, that is, a congregation consisting of the whole people, as this, and that for the trial of Benjamin, the princes of the tribes with their staves, and the standards of the camp (in the order shewn) led up the people to the urns, or ballots.The military order of political congregations in Israel, see Chap. 3. Wherfore upon these words of Samuel, the princes march’d in their known disciplin to the urns. The urns were two: in the one were twelve lots inscrib’d with the names of the twelve tribes; in the other were also twelve other lots, wherof eleven were blanks, and the twelfth inscrib’d with som word. What the Israelitish word was, dos not appear; the Roman word upon the like occasion was prerogative: wherfore seeing that which is lost must have bin of a like nature, we may, for discourse sake, presume it to have bin the same in Israel as in Rome.Ver. 20. The prerogative tribe. And when Samuel had caus’d all the tribes of Israel to com near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken: that is, the name of this tribe being drawn out of the one urn, to it was drawn the word prerogative out of the other urn; which being don, the urns were chang’d, or at least the lots. And wheras in the enumeration of the patriarchs, I shew’d by a catalog of their names, that the whole tribe of Benjamin consisted of seven familys; seven names by that account should have bin cast into the one urn, and as many lots into the other; one of them being inscrib’d with the word prerogative, and the other six being blanks.Judg. 20. 2. But both the names, and the number of familys at this ballot, are most likely to have bin quite otherwise than in the catalog; because since that time the tribe of Benjamin had in the far greater part bin destroy’d, and piec’d up again out of a remnant: so for the number of the familys, or the names of them, I can say nothing. But the urns being thus prepar’d, came Benjamin, as now the prerogative tribe, to the urns by familys. And when Samuel had caus’d the tribe of Benjamin to com near by their familys, the family of Matri (which is a new one) was taken: that is, lighting, in the manner shewn, upon the prize, became the prerogative family. This don, the lots were again chang’d, and so many others as there were housholds in the family of Matri (for so you will find it in the trial of Achan) were cast into the urns.Josh. 7. 14, 1[Editor: illegible character], 17, 18. Thus the houshold of Kish coming to be the prerogative houshold, and so many lots as there were men of that houshold, being cast into the urns, wherof the prize was inscrib’d king, came the houshold of Kish, man by man, and Saul the son of Kish was taken.
Sect. 8. That miraculous designation of magistrats in a commonwealth, was never understood to exclude the free suffrage of the people in their election.We find it recorded by Livy, of Tarquinius Priscus, and of Servius Tullius, that before either of them was king, the one had his hat taken off, and carry’d up by an eagle; the other had a flame resting upon his forehead, by which it was firmly believ’d, that each of them was design’d of the Gods to be king: yet was this never so understood by themselves, or any other, as to exclude the right of popular suffrage in their election, by which Priscus reign’d; or to create an opinion that any man ought to be king of Rome, whom the people had not first commanded to reign over them, to whose election therfore Servius, tho in possession of the throne, thought it his best way to refer himself. Far be it from me to compare prodigys among Heathens, to miracles in the church: but each people had of each a like opinion. Both Israel and the Heathens began their popular assemblys with sacrifice.1 Chron. 29. 21, 22. In order to the election of Solomon, the representative of Israel sacrific’d sacrifices to the Lord—even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink-offerings, and sacrifices in abundance, for all Israel. And when they had thus don, what magistrats soever the Israelits, or the Heathens elected, they always understood to be elected by God. The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing therof is of the Lord.Prov. 10. 33. And indeed, wheras in this manner they made Solomon king, and Zadoc to be priest, if we will hold otherwise, we must think that neither the king nor the priest was elected by God. A man that is elected to som great office, by a king rightly qualify’d, must have little religion, or hold himself to be rais’d up by God. Why then should it be otherwise, when a magistrat is elected by a people rightly qualify’d? or what consequence is there in saying, that Saul was anointed by Samuel before he was elected by the people, or that God rais’d them up judges; therfore neither Saul nor the judges were elected by the people? that God elected the kings in Israel, is certain; and that the people no less for that did also elect the kings, is as certain.Deut. 17. 15. One from among thy brethren shalt thou (that is, thou the people of Israel) set king over thee. That God rais’d up judges in Israel, is certain; and that the people no less for that, did also elect the judges, is as certain.Judg. 10. 17. When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, Israel assembl d themselves together,Judg. 11. 5. 11. and incamp’d in Mizpeh, whence the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephta out of the land of Tob.—Then Jephta went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephta utter’d all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh. But that Solomon was elected by the lot, I do not affirm; it being most probable, that it was by suffrage only, David proposing, and the people resolving. Nor whether Jephta was elected by suffrage, or by the ballot, is it material; however, that the ordinary magistrats were elected by the ballot, I little doubt.
Sect. 9. Election of senators, and judges of inferior courts.The ordinary magistrats of this commonwealth (as shall hereafter be more fully open’d) were the sanhedrim, or the seventy elders; and the inferior courts or judges, in the gates of the citys. For the institution and election of these, Moses propos’d to the people, or the congregation of the Lord, in this manner:Deut. 1. 13. Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes ( αταήσω) and I will make (or constitute) them rulers over you. Where, by the way, lest Moses in these words be thought to assume power, Solon, says Aristotle (δημορατίαν αταησαι) made, or constituted the popular government of Athens. In which he implys, not that Solon was a king, or had soverain power, but that he was a lawgiver, and had authority to propose to the people. Nor is there more in the words of Moses; upon whose proposition, say Jewish writers, each of the twelve tribes, by free suffrages, elected six competitors, and wrote their names in scrols, which they deliver’d to Moses. Moses having thus presented to him by the twelve tribes seventy and two competitors for seventy magistracys, had by consequence two more competitors, than were capable of the preferment to which they were elected by the people: wherfore Moses took two urns, into the one he cast the seventy-two names presented by the people; into the other, seventy-two lots, wherof two were blanks, the rest inscrib’d with the word elder. This don, he call’d the competitors to the urn, where the seventy, to whose names came forth the prizes, went up to the tabernacle, the session-house being there provided:See Num. 11. 26. and the two that drew the blanks, namely Eldad and Medad, tho of them that were elected and written by the tribes, went not up to the tabernacle, but remain’d in the camp, as not having attain’d to magistracy. Thus, if this place in Scripture can admit of no other interpretation, so much as I have cited out of the Talmud (tho otherwise, for the most part, but a fabulous and indigested heap) must needs be good and valid. In this manner, one or more senators happening to dy, it was easy for each tribe, chusing one or more competitors accordingly out of themselves, to decide at the urn which competitors so chosen, should be the magistrat, without partiality, or cause of feud; which, if a man considers this constitution, was not perhaps so readily to be don otherwise. The like, no doubt, was done for the inferior courts, except that such elections (the commonwealth being once settl’d) were more particular, and perform’d by that tribe only in whose gates that court was sitting.
Sect. 10. The story of the sanhedrim, and of the inferior courts, as to their first institution.The 1st institution of these courts came to pass in the manner following: before the people were under orders, the whole judicature lay upon the shoulders of Moses, who being overburden’d, was advised by Jethro. And Moses hearken’d to the voice of his father in-law—and chose (after the manner shewn) able men out of all Israel,Exod. 18. 24, 25. and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fiftys, and rulers of tens. The number of which rulers, compar’d with the number of the people, as in the muster roll at Sinai, must in all have amounted to about six thousand. These thus instituted, while Israel was an army, came to be the same when the army was a commonwealth:Deut. 16. 18. wherof it is said, Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God gives thee, throout thy tribes; and they shall judg the people with just judgment. Each of these courts, by the practice of the Jewish commonwealth, consisted of twenty-three elders. But Jethro, in his advice to Moses, adds concerning these judicatorys, this caution:Exod. 18. 22. Let them judg the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring to thee, but every small matter they shall judg: so shall it be easier for thy self, and they shall bear the burden with thee. Which nevertheless follow’d not according to Jethro’s promise, the appeals being such to Moses that he gos with this complaint to God:Num. 11, 14, 16. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. Wherupon the Lord said to Moses, Gather to me seventy men, of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them to the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand with thee—(but crowns will have no rivals) and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not alone.Ver. 24. But a monarch is one that must be alone. And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord (which a monarch needed not to have don) and gather’d the seventy men of the elders of the people; the manner wherof is already shewn. Jethro, being a Heathen, informs Moses of the orders of his own commonwealth, which also was Heathenish. Yet in Scripture is both Jethro join’d with Moses, and the commonwealth of Midian with the commonwealth of Israel. How then coms it to be irreverned, or atheistical, as som say, in politicians (and while political discourses cannot otherwise be manag’d) to compare, tho but by way of illustration, other legislators, or politicians, as Lycurgus, Solon, with Moses; or other commonwealths, as Rome, and Venice, with that of Israel? but the authors of such objections had better have minded, that the burden wherof Moses here complain’d, could in no manner be that of ordinary judicature, of which he was eas’d before by the advice of Jethro; and therfore must have bin that of appeals only: so either the sanhedrim bore no burden at all with Moses, or they bore that of appeals with him. And if so, how say they that there lay an appeal from the seventy elders to Moses?
Sect. 11. Lot, order, or inquisition by lot.But I said the lot was of use also toward the discovery of conceal’d malefactors. Of this we have an example in the detection of Achan. The words of the law, wherby the fact of Achan was criminal, are these: If thou shalt bear say in one of thy citys,Deut. 13, 12, &c. which the Lord thy God has given thee to dwell therin, saying, Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other Gods, which you have not known: then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you, thou shalt surely smile the inhabitants of that city with the edg of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therin, and the cattel therof with the edg of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street therof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil therof, every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be a heap for ever, it shall not be built again, and there shall cleave nought of the accurs’d thing to thy hand. Among the citys that were given by God to Israel, was Jericho. Now tho against this city, before it was taken, Joshua had solemnly and publicly denounc’d the anathema, or curses contain’d in the foregoing law; and after the taking of it, had, in all appearance, executed upon it the whole of the anathema so pronounc’d:Josh. 6. 17. yet thro subsequent losses before the city of Ai, being sore afflicted, he enter’d into suspicion, that there might have bin some failure in the performance of the law.Josh. 7. 6. Wherupon he rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord, till the eventide, he and the elders (or sanhedrim of Israel) and put dust on their heads. The sanhedrim, in difficult cases of the law, inquir’d of God by Urim; and the sanhedrim, or the people, in cases of high concernment to the state, as in the war against Benjamin, inquir’d of the ark. When God was inquir’d of by Urim, he gave his oracle by the shining of certain stones or jewels in the breastplate of the high priest. When he was inquir’d of by the ark, he gave his oracle vocally from the mercy seat, which was plac’d upon the ark of the covenant. Whence he who sat between the cherubims thus answer’d Joshua:Josh. 7. 10. Get thee up; wherfore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel has finn’d—they have even taken of the accurs’d thing.Josh. 7. 17. Joshua thus inform’d of the crime, but not so particularly of the malefactor as to know where to charge it, calls the whole people to the urns; in one of which it may be thought that there were eleven white stones, or lots, with one black one; and in the other the twelve names of tho tribes. So Israel coming first by tribes to the urns, the tribe of Judah was taken; that is, this tribe lighting upon the black lot, was denoted for the guilty tribe: which consisting (as appear’d by the catalog) of five familys, wherof the Zarhits were one, came next by familys to the urn; wherin there might be four white lots, and one black one, by which the Zarhits were taken. In like manner came the family of the Zarhits by housholds, and the household of Zabdi was taken: last of all came the houshold of Zabdi man by man, and Achan was taken. This kind of inquisition was perform’d with such religion and solemnity, that a man thus taken, if he had any guilt, could have no face to conceal it; or, if there were any witnesses of his crime, they could not any longer dissemble it: and whether he were convicted by testimony, or by his own confession (as now Achan) he was put to death.1 Sam. 14. The like proceding, in part, is imply’d to have bin in the case of Jonathan; tho in this, by agreement therupon between Saul and the people, it should seem as if but two lots were put into the urn, wherof Saul and Jonathan, on the one part, drew the black: or the prince of the tribe of Judah drawing for the whole people, on the other part, drew the white one; and that the same being put into the urn again, to decide it between Saul and Jonathan, Jonathan drew the black: wherupon, he being question’d, confess’d the fact; and, but that the people rescu’d him from Saul, had bin put to death.
Sect. 12. Distribution of lands, and Agrarian laws in Israel.To conclude with the use of the lot, in the division of the land of Canaan. This (as implying the foundation or balance of the government) ought to have bin the first in order, but happens here to com last; because these orders were instituted in the wilderness, and so before the people had any lands to divide. Nevertheless, this also was propos’d by Moses, and resolv’d by the people:Josh. 14. 2. by lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded Moses; and now coms (as it was, or should have bin put in execution by Joshua) to be consider’d.
It may be true, that the Roman people were the wisest that have bin; and it is true, that they only of a people, did labor to introduce Agrarian laws, tho without effect; otherwise, levelling was never introduc’d, but by the wisdom and providence of som great man, as a Moses, a Joshua, or a Lycurgus; or by som accident, or accidents, bringing a nobility to ruin, as the laws of Henry VII. and the ways of Henry VIII. in England.
Num. 1. 46.Between the muster roll in Sinai, wherby the men of military age, as was shewn, amounted to six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty,Num. 26. 51. in the twelve tribes, and the law for the division of the land of Canaan, there happen’d a plague, by which the number of the people, upon a new poll, came but to six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and thirty. Upon this poll was the law made which runs thus:V. 53, 54, 55, 56. To these the land shall be divided for an inheritance, according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to fewer thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given, according to those that were number’d of him. Notwithstanding, the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers, they shall inherit; according to the lot shall the possession therof be divided to many and few. This law, in another place, is repeated thus:Num. 33. 54. You shall divide the land by lot, for an inheritance among your familys; and to many ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falls, according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
In the making of these lots consideration was as well had of the goodness of the land, as of the measure. Now supposing this law to have bin in the whole and methodically executed, the Canaanits must first have bin totally rooted out of the land of Canaan; which land, in that case (as som affirm) would have afforded to this commonwealth a root or balance, consisting of three millions of acres.Hecateus apud Joseph. cont. Ap. These, reckoning the whole people in the twelve tribes, at six hundred and two thousand (which is more than upon the latter poll they came to) would have afforded to every man four acres; to every one of the patriarehs (upon the poll of the foregoing catalog, where they are sixty) four thousand acres; to every one of the princes of the tribes fourteen thousand acres; to the Levitical citys (being forty-eight, each with its suburbs, of four thousand cubits diameter) one hundred thousand acres; and yet for extraordinary donations, as to Joshua and Caleb (of which kind there were but few) som eighty thousand acres might remain. Now it is true, four acres to a man may seem but a small lot; yet the Roman people, under Romulus, and long after, had but two. And it may very well be, that one acre in Canaan was worth two in Italy, especially about Rome; and four in England, tho of the best sort: and if so it were that four acres in Palestin were worth sixteen of our best, such a lot, at our account, might be worth about thirty or forty pounds a year; which, for a popular share, holding that rate thro the whole body of a people, was a large proportion. By this estimat, or what possibly could be allow’d to the princes of the tribes and of the familys, their share came not to a sixth of the whole: so the rest remaining to the people, the balance of this government must have bin purely popular. It is true, that in the whole this law of Moses for the division of the land was never executed: but that in the parts som such course was taken, is plain; for example, in the division to seven tribes, where Joshua proposes to the people in this manner:Josh. 18. 4. Give out from among you three men for each tribe—and they shall go thro the land and describe it. The people having resolv’d accordingly, these went, and pass’d thro the land, and describ’d it by citys into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh. And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh, before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land to the children of Israel according to their divisions. It were absurd to think that this lot determin’d of proportions; for so a mean man might have com to be richer than the prince of his tribe: but the proportions allotted to tribes being stated, tho at first but by guess, and entred into the lot book of the surveyors (who, says Josephus, were most expert in geometry) the princes came first to the urns, wherof the one contain’d the names of the tribes that were to draw, the other the names of those parcels of land that were to be drawn, first to a whole tribe. Thus the name of a tribe, for example Benjamin, being drawn out of one urn, to that name a parcel was drawn out of the other urn; for example, the country lying between Jericho and Bethaven. This being don, and the prince of the tribe having chosen in what one place he would take his stated and agreed proportion, whether of fourteen thousand acres, or the like, the rest of the country was subdivided in the lot book, according to the number of familys in the tribe of this prince; and the parcels subdivided being cast into the one urn, the names of the patriarchs into the other, the same tribe came again by familys. Thus every patriarch making choice in what one part of this lot he would take his agreed proportion, whether of four thousand acres, or the like, the remainder was again subdivided in the lot book, according to the number of names in his family: if they were more than the parcel would furnish at four acres a man, then was that defect amended by addition out of the next parcel; and if they were fewer, then the overplus was cast into the next parcel. By such means the people came, or might have com in the whole, and in every part, to the lot of their inheritance; while every tribe that was thus planted, became local without removal.Numb. 36. 3. Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.
Sect. 13. The portion of Levi.The tribes thus planted, or to have bin planted, were twelve. The thirteenth, or that of Levi, came in the like manner to the lot, for their forty-eight citys with their suburbs, and receiv’d them accordingly; as the lot came forth for the familys of the Kohathits, and the rest.Josh. 21. 4, 5, 6. These Israel gave to the Levits out of their inheritance: that is, these were such as the twelve tribes,Numb. 18. 20. before the division, set apart for the Levits, with the tithes, and the offerings;Deut. 10. 9. which, tho this tribe had no other lands, made their portion by far the best. The tribes being henceforth reckon’d by their locality,Deut. 18. 1. and these forty-eight citys being scatter’d throout the twelve tribes, that of Levi was no more computed as a distinct tribe, but lost as it were the name, yet with advantage:Ezek. 44. 22. for to their promiscuous abode they had the right of promiscuous marriage; no more in this point being injoin’d any of them, than to take maidens of the seed of Israel, or at least the widows of priests. And as in the tribes where they dwelt they had promiscuous marriage, so had they right of promiscuous election; that is, of electing, and being elected, into all the magistracys and offices of the commonwealth: which they so frequently injoy’d, that the sanhedrim is somtimes understood by their names.Deut. 17. 8. If there arises a matter too hard for thee in judgment, thou shalt com to the priests the Levits. Between the law, and the religion of this government, there was no difference; whence all ecclesiastical persons were also political persons, of which the Levits were an intire tribe, set more peculiarly apart to God (the king of this commonwealth) from all other cares, except that only of his government. Thus Moses did that with the safety of liberty in Israel, which Lycurgus could not do in Lacedemon, but by condemning the Helots to perpetual slavery: for wheras without these to be tillers of the ground, the citizens of Lacedemon could not be at leisure for the commonwealth; the children of Israel might imploy themselves in their domestic affairs, as they requir’d, with safety: while the Levits bore the burden of the government; or, in case either their privat affairs permitted, or their ambition promted, were equally capable of magistracy.
Sect. 14. Citys of refuge.Of the Levitical citys, three beyond, and three on this side Jordan, were citys of refuge. If a man was slain, the next of kindred, by the laws of Israel, was the avenger of blood; and to the avenger of blood it was lawful to slay him that slew his kinsman,Numb. 35. wherever he could find him, except only in a city of refuge. For this cause, if a man had slain another, he fled immediately to one of these sanctuarys; whence nevertheless, the judges in the gates, within whose proper verge the crime was committed, caus’d the malefactor to be brought before them by a guard, and judg’d between the slayer and the avenger of blood. If that which we call murder, or manslaughter, was prov’d against him by two witnesses, he was put to death: but if it was found, as we say, chancemedly, he was remanded with a guard to the city of refuge; whence if, before the death of the high priest, he was found wandring, it was lawful, not only for the avenger of blood, but for any man else to slay him. The high priest being dead, he return’d, not home only, but to his inheritance also, with liberty and safety. If a priest had slain a man, his refuge was the sanctuary: whence nevertheless he was taken by the sanhedrim; and, if upon trial he was found guilty of wilful murder, put to death.Exod. 21. 14. If a man coms presumptuously upon his neighbour to slay him with guile, thou shalt take him from my altar, that he may dy.
Sect. 15. The jubile.Inheritances, being thus introduc’d by the lot, were immovably intail’d on the proprietors and their heirs for ever, by the institution of the jubile, or the return of lands, however sold or ingag’d, once in fifty years to the antient proprietor, or his lawful heir. Yet remain’d there two ways wherby lots might be accumulated; the one by casual inheritance, the other by marriage with an heiress; as in the case of Zelophedad, or of his daughters.Numb. 36.
Sect. 16.Now to bring the whole result of these historical parts, thus prov’d, to the true political method or form, the commonwealth instituted by Moses was according to this model.
The model of the commonwealth of Israel.THE whole people of Israel (thro a popular distribution of the land of Canaan among themselves by lot, and the fixation of such a popular balance by their agrarian law, or jubile, intailing the inheritance of each proprietor upon his heirs for ever) was locally divided into twelve tribes.
EVERY tribe had a double capacity, the one military, the other civil.
A TRIBE, in its military capacity, consisted of one staff or standard of the camp, under the leading of its distinct and hereditary prince, as commander in chief; and of its princes of familys or chief fathers, as captains of thousands and captains of hundreds.
A TRIBE, in its political capacity, was next and immediately under the government of certain judicatorys, sitting in the gates of its citys; each of which consisted of twenty-three elders, elected for life, by free suffrage.
THE soverain power, and common ligament of the twelve tribes, was the sanhedrim of Israel, and the ecclesia dei, or congregation of the Lord.
THE sanhedrim was a senat, consisting of seventy elders for life, so instituted by the free election of six competitors, in and by each tribe; every elder or senator of the sanhedrim being taken out of this number of competitors by the lot.
THE congregation of the Lord was a representative of the people of Israel, consisting of twenty-four thousand, for the term of one month; and perpetuated by the monthly election of two thousand deputys of the people in each tribe.
THE sanhedrim, upon a law made, was a standing judicatory of appeal from the courts in the gates, throout the tribes; and upon a law to be made, whatever was propos’d by the sanhedrim, and resolv’d in the affirmative by the congregation of the Lord, was an act of the parlament of Israel.
Deut. 4. 5. 6.Of this frame, says Moses to the people (as well he might) Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither you go to possess it. Keep therfore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the fight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. In another place, upon the people’s observing this form, he pronounces all the choicest blessings; and in case of violation of the same, a long enumeration of most dreadful curses, among which he has this:Deut. 28. 36. The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, to a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other Gods, wood and stone. In which words, first he charges the king upon the people as a creature of their own, and next opposes his form pointblank to monarchy; as is farther apparent in the whole antithesis running throout that chapter. To the neglect of these orders may be apply’d those words of David: I have said that ye are gods—but ye shall dy like men, and fall like one of the princes. But this government can with no countenance of reason, or testimony of story, give any man ground to argue from the frame thus instituted by Moses, that a commonwealth rightly order’d and establish’d may by any internal cause arising from such orders, be broken or dissolv’d; it being most apparent, that this was never establish’d in any such part as could possibly be holding. Moses dy’d in the wilderness: and tho Joshua, bringing the people into the promis’d land, did what he could, during his life, towards the establishment of the form design’d by Moses; yet the hands of the people, especially after the death of Joshua, grew slack, and they rooted not out the Canaanits, which they were so often commanded to do; and without which it was impossible their commonwealth should take any root. Nevertheless, settled as it could be, it was in som parts longer liv’d than any other government has yet bin; as having continu’d in som sort from Moses, to the dispersion of the Jews in the reign of the emperor Adrian; being about one thousand seven hundred years. But that it was never establish’d according to the necessity of the form, or the true intent of Moses, is that which must be made farther apparent throout the sequel of the present book; and first, in the state of the Israelits under their judges.
Sect. 1. A full description of the representative of the people of Israel.THE frame of that which I take to have bin the ordinary congregation or representative of the people of Israel, is not perfectly shewn in Scripture, till the time of David; when, tho it has nothing in it of a monarchical institution, it is found intirely remaining, and perfectly describ’d in these words: Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers, and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that serv’d the king in any matter of the courses, which came in, and went out month by month, throout all the months in the year;1 Chr. 27. of every course were twenty and four thousand men. The polls of the people, as they have bin hitherto shewn, were taken before their plantation in Canaan, where before they had kings, they had grown (according to the account of Paul) four hundred and fifty years;Acts 13. 20. during which time, that they were excedingly increas’d, appears by the poll of military age taken by David, and amounting to one million three hundred thousand:2 Sam. 24. 9. yet could this assembly of the children of Israel after their number, in one year, by monthly rotation, take in the whole body of them. How these, being a representative of the people, and thus changeable, could be otherwise collected than by the monthly election of two thousand in each tribe, is not imaginable. And that both a representative of the people they were, and thus changeable, is by the clear words of Scripture, and the nature of the business upon which occasion they are describ’d, undeniably evinc’d: for David proposing, and the people resolving, they make Solomon king, and Zadoc priest.1 Chr. 29. 22. This assembly (besides the military disciplin thereof, in which it differ’d little from the customs of such other commonwealths as have bin great and martial) had not only a civil, but a military office or function, as the standing guard or army of this country; which, tho small, and lying in the very teeth of its enemys, could thus, by taking in every man but for one month in a whole year, so equally distribute a burden, to have bin otherwise intolerable to all, that it might be born by a few, and scarce felt by any. This epitome of that body (already describ’d under the leading of the several princes of the tribes, with their staves, and standards of the camp) seems to have bin commanded by lieutenants of the princes, or tribuns of the respective tribes:Ver. 2, 3. for, over the first course for the first month, was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel (of the children of Perez, or of the family of the Pharzits, in the catalog of Judah) and of his course were four and twenty thousand.
In this case the princes did not lead in person, but resided in their tribes for the government of the same; whence, upon extraordinary occasions, they sent extraordinary recruits: or in case of solemn war, or som weighty affair, as the trial of a tribe or the like, led up in person, with their staves and standards; an ordinance, whether we regard the military or civil use of it, never enough to be admir’d.
Chap. III.It is true, while, the whole people being an army, Moses could propose to them in body, or under their staves and standards of the camp; as he needed not, so he us’d not any representative.Sect. 2. That this representative was us’d in the time of the judges. But when Joshua had let the people go, and the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance, to possess the land; how was it possible they should possess any thing (while the five lords of the Philistins, and all the Canaanits and the Sidonians, and the Hivits, remain’d yet among them unconquer’d) without the wing of som such guard or army as this,Judg. 2. 6. under which to shelter themselves?Judg. 3. 3. How was it equal, or possible, that a few of the people upon the guard of the whole should be without relief, or sustain all the burden? Or how could every man be said to go to his inheritance to possess it, unless they persorm’d this or the like duty, by turns or courses? These things consider’d, there is little doubt but this congregation was, according to the institution of Moses, put in practice by Joshua.
Sect. 3. The dissolution of the Mosaical commonwealth.Thus stood both the sanhedrim and the congregation, with the inferior courts, and all the superstructures of the Mosaical commonwealth, during the life of Joshua, and the elders of the sanhedrim that outliv’d him; but without any sufficient root for the possible support of it (the Canaanits not being destroy’d) or with such roots only as were full of worms.Judg. 2. 7, 11. Wherfore, tho the people serv’d the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outliv’d Joshua; yet after the death of these, they did evil in the sight of the Lord.Judg. 2. 1, 2. And an angel (a messenger or prophet) of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim,Deut. 7. 2. ch. 12. 2. and said, I made you go up out of the land of Egypt, and have brought you into the land which I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you: and ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land, ye shall throw down their altars:Josh. 23. 3. but ye have not obey’d my voice: Why have you don this? Wherfore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you:Exod. 23. 33. ch. 34. 12. but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. Upon the several contents of which places, says Josephus, The Israelits (after the death of Joshua, and the elders that outliv’d him) neglecting their arms, betook themselves to tillage;Antiq. l. 5. c. 2. and effeminated with peace, gave their minds rather to what was easy and pleasing, than what was secure or honourable: forgetful of the laws of God, and of their disciplin. Wherupon God being mov’d to anger, admonish’d them by a prophet, that in sparing the Canaanits, they had disobey’d him; and that in case they persisted, for his mercys neglected they should tast of his justice. But they, tho terrify’d with the oracle, were altogether averse to the war; both because they were brib’d by the Canaanits, and thro luxury were becom unapt for labor: the form of their commonwealth being now deprav’d, and the aristocratical part therof invalid; while neither the senat was elected, nor the solemn magistrats created as formerly. In which words, the not electing of the senat as formerly, being laid as a crime by Josephus to the people; he is first clear enough, for his part, that the senat was formerly elected by the people, and ought to have bin so still: and secondly, that henceforth the election of the senat, or sanhedrim, was neglected by the people. So this commonwealth, which, thro the not rooting out of the Canaanits, had never any foundation, came now to fail also in her superstructures; for proof wherof, the testimony of Scripture is no less pregnant in divers places.Judg. 1. 3. 27, 29, &c. As where Judah said to Simeon his brother, Com up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanits, and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot: so Simeon went with him. In which words you have a league made by two tribes, and a war manag’d by them, while other tribes, that is, Ephraim, Manasseh, with the rest, sat still: wheras, if there had bin now any common ligament, as while the sanhedrim was in being, such leaguing, and such warring by particular tribes at their own discretion, could not have bin.Judg. 20. Again, wheras to judg a tribe pertain’d to the sanhedrim; in the judgment given against Benjamin, by the congregation of four hundred thousand, there is no mention of the sanhedrim at all.
Sect. 4. No king, som senat; no senat, som king.Now government is of such a nature, that where there is no senat, there must be som king, or somwhat like a king, and such was the judg of Israel; yet is not their reckoning valid, who from hence compute the monarchy of the Hebrews. First, because Paul distinguishes between the kings and the judges.Calav. ap. Secondly, because Gideon, when he was a judg, in refusing to be a king, dos the like.Liv. Acts 13. Thirdly, because the judges in Israel (as dictators in other commonwealths) were not of constant election, but upon emergencys only.Judg. 7. 23. Fourthly, because complaint being made to the men of Judah of their judg Samson, they deliver’d him to the Philistins bound;Judg. 15. 13. no less than did the Romans their consuls to the Samnits. And lastly, because Samuel, distinguishing to perfection between dictatorian and royal power, or between the magistracy of the judg and of the king, shews plainly (in that he hearken’d to the voice of the people) that the one being without any balance at all, was at the discretion of the people; and that the other (not to be founded but upon property in himself, to which end he must take the best of their fields, and give them to his servants) could no otherwise subsist than by having the people at the discretion of the king. This difference (being no small one) excepted, the office of the king and of the judg was much the same; each consisting in judging the people, and going forth with their armys.
Sect. 5. Besognia vezzaro spegnere.But whatever be the difference between these magistracys, the state of the Israelitish commonwealth under the judges was both void of natural superstructures, and of the necessary foundation; so the Israelits, when they were weak, serv’d the Philistins, as is imply’d in the speech of the men of Judah to their judg: Knowest thou not that the Philistins are rulers over us?—And it came to pass when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanits to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.Judg. 15. 11. Which, as it was contrary to the command of God, so was it pointblank against all prudence; for thus neither made they to themselves friends, nor did they ruin their enemys:Livy. which proceding, as it far’d with this commonwealth, and was observ’d by Herennius in that of the Samnits, is the certain perdition of a people.
Sect. 6. The anarchy of Israel.Of the disorder of this people upon the dissolution of the Mosaical commonwealth, it is often said that there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eys. That is, at the times related to by these expressions, there was neither sanhedrim, nor judg, in Israel:Judg. 17. 6. 18. 1. 19. 1. 21. 25. so every man, or at least every tribe, govern’d it self as it pleas’d. Which, nevertheless, is not so generally to be understood, but that the tribes (without either judg or sanhedrim) marching up with their standards and staves of the camp,Judg. 20. not only assembl’d the congregation in the usual place at Mizpeh, but there condemn’d Benjamin for the rape of the Levit’s concubine; and marching thence to put their decree in execution, reduc’d that obstinat tribe, or rather destroy’d it by a civil war.
Sect. 7. The rise of the Hebrew monarchy.When in this, and divers other ways, they had pamper’d their enemys, and exhausted themselves, they grew (as well they might) out of love with their policy; especially when after impious expostulation (Wherfore has the Lord smitten us this day before the Philistins?) they had,1 Sam. 4. 3. as it were, stak’d their God (let us fetch the ark—that it may save us) and the ark being taken by the enemy,1 Sam. 7. 3. they fell to idolatry. To this it happen’d, that tho upon repentance success was better,Chap. IV. God having miraculously discomfited the Philistins before them; yet Samuel their judg was old, and had made his two sons (being takers of bribes, and perverters of justice) judges over Israel. Wherupon, there was no gainsaying, but a king they must and would have.
Sect. 1. The method of this part.FOR method in this part, I shall first observe the balance or foundation, then the superstructures of the Hebrew monarchys; and last of all, the story of the Hebrew kings.
Sect. 2. The balance of this monarchy.The balance necessary to kingly government, even where it is regulated or not absolute, is thus describ’d by Samuel: This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your fields, your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.1 Sam. 8. 11, 14. That is, there being no provision of this kind for a king, and it being of natural necessity that a king must have such an aristocracy or nobility as may be able to support the monarchy (which otherwise, to a people having equal shares in property, is altogether incompatible) it follows that he must take your fields, and give them to his servants or creatures.
This notwithstanding could not Saul do, in whose time the monarchy attain’d not to any balance, but was soon torn from him like the lap of a garment. The prince who gave that balance to this monarchy, which it had, was David:2 Sam. 8. 1[Editor: illegible character]. for besides his other conquests, by which he brought the Moabits, the Syrians of Damascus, the Ammonits, the Amalekits, the Edomits, to his obedience, and extended his border to the river Euphrates;1 Chron. 11 he smote the Philistins, and subdu’d them, and took Gath and her towns, out of the hand of the Philistins. Now this country which David thus took, was part of the land given to the people of God, and which was by the law of Moses to have bin divided by lot to them. Wherfore if this division follow’d not, but David having taken this country, did hold it in his particular dominion or property; then tho he took not from the people any thing wherof they were in actual possession, yet, as to their legal right, took he from them (as Samuel had forewarn’d) their fields, their vineyards, and their oliveyards, even the best of them, and gave them to his servants, or to a nobility, which by this means he introduc’d.
2 Sam. 23.The first order of the nobility thus instituted, were, as they are term’d by our translators, David’s worthys: to these may be added, the great officers of his realm and court, with such as sprang out of both.1 Chron. 11. But however, these things by advantage of foren conquest might be order’d by David, or continu’d for the time of his next successor: certain it is, that the balance of monarchy in so small a country must be altogether insufficient to it self, or destructive to the people.
Sect. 3. A parallel of the monarchical balances in Israel and in Lacedemon.The commonwealth of Lacedemon, being founded by Lycurgus upon the like lots with these design’d by Moses, came, after the spoil of Athens, to be destroy’d by purchasers, and brought into one hundred hands; wherupon, the people being rooted out, there remain’d no more to the two kings, who were wont to go out with great armys, than one hundred lords: nor any way, if they were invaded, to defend themselves, but by mercenarys, or making war upon the penny; which, at the farthest it would go (not computing the difference in disciplin) reach’d not, in one third, those forces which the popular balance could at any time have afforded without mony.Plutarch in Agis and Cleomenes. This som of those kings perceiving, were of all others the most earnest to return to the popular balance. What disorders, in a country no bigger than was theirs, or this of the Israelits, must, in case the like course be not taken, of necessity follow, may be at large persu’d in the story of Lacedemon; and shall be fully shewn, when I com to the story of the present kings.
Sect. 4. The superstructures of the Hebrew monarchy.For the superstructures of David’s government, it has bin shewn at large what the congregation of Israel was; and that without the congregation of Israel, and their result, there was not any law made by David. The like in the whole, or for the most part, was observ’d till Rehoboam, who, refusing to redress the grievances of the people, was depos’d by one part of this congregation or parlament, and set up by another; and to the confusion both of parlament and people. And David (as after him Jehoshaphat) did restore the sanhedrim; I will not affirm, by popular election, after the antient manner.1 Sam. 8. 15. He might do it perhaps, as he made Joab over the host, Jehoshaphat recorder, and Seraiah scribe. Certain it is, the Jewish writers hold unanimously, that the seventy elders were in David’s time, and by a good token; for they say, to him only of all the kings it was lawful, or permitted, to enter into the sanhedrim:Psal. 111. 1. which I the rather credit, for the words of David, where he says, I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the council, and in the congregation of the upright; which words relate to the senat, and the congregation of Israel. The final cause of the popular congregation, in a commonwealth, is to give such a balance by their result, as may, and must keep the senat from that faction and corruption, wherof it is not otherwise curable, or to set it upright. Yet our translation gives the words cited, in this manner: I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. There are other allusions in the English psalms, of the like nature, shaded in like manner:Psal. 82. 1. as, God is present in the congregation of God (that is, in the representative of the people of Israel) he judges among the gods, that is, among the seventy elders, or in the sanhedrim. What the orders of the Israelitish monarchy in the time of David were, tho our translators throout the Bible have don what they could against popular government, is clear enough in many such places.
Sect. 5. The story of the Hebrew kings.To conclude this chapter with the story of the Hebrew kings: Till Rehoboam, and the division (thro the cause mention’d) of the congregation in his time, the monarchy of the Hebrews was one, but came thenceforth to be torn in two: that of Judah, consisting of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin; and that of Israel, consisting of the other ten. From which time this people, thus divided, had little or no rest from the flame of that civil war, which, once kindl’d between the two realms or factions, could never be extinguish’d but in the destruction of both. Nor was civil war of so new a date among them; Saul, whose whole reign was impotent and perverse, being conquer’d by David; and David invaded by his son Absalom so strongly, that he fled before him. Solomon, the next successor, happen’d to have a quiet reign, by settling himself upon his throne in the death of Adonijah his elder brother, and in the deposing of the high priest Abiathar; yet made he the yoke of the people grievous. After him, we have the war between Jeroboam and Rehoboam. Then, the conspiracy of Baasha against Nadab king of Israel, which ends in the destruction of Jeroboam’s house, and the usurpation of his throne by Baasha, which Baasha happens to leave to his son Asa. Against Asa rises Zimri, captain of the chariots; kills him with all his kindred, reigns seven days; at the end wherof he burns himself for fear of Omri, who upon this occasion is made captain by one part of the people, as is also Tibni by another. The next prize is plaid between Omri and Tibni, and their factions; in which Tibni is slain. Upon this success, Omri outdoing all his predecessors in tyranny, leaves his throne and virtues to his son Ahab. Against Ahab drives Jehu furiously, destroys him and his family, gives the flesh of his queen Jezebel to the dogs, and receives a present from those of Samaria, even seventy heads of his master’s sons in baskets. To Asa and Jehoshaphat, kings of Judah, belongs much reverence. But upon this throne sat Athaliah; who, to reign, murder’d all her grandchildren except one, which was Joash. Joash being hid by the high priest, at whose command Athaliah was som time after slain, ends his reign in being murder’d by his servants. To him succedes his son Amaziah, slain also by his servants. About the same time Zachariah king of Israel was smitten by Shallum, who reign’d in his stead: Shallum by Manahim, who reign’d in his stead: Pekaha the son of Manthim by Pekah one of his captains, who reign’d in his stead: Pekah by Hoshea. Hoshea having reign’d nine years, is carry’d by Salmanazzer king of Assyriah with the ten tribes into captivity. Now might it be expected that the kingdom of Judah should injoy peace: a good king they had, which was Hezekiah; but to him succeded his son Manasseh, a shedder of innocent blood. To Manasseh succeded his son Ammon, slain by his servants. Josiah the next, being a good prince, is succeded by Jehoahaz, who being carry’d into Egypt, there dys a prisoner, while Jehoiakim his brother becoms Pharaoh’s tributary. The last of these princes was Zedekiah, in whose reign was Judah led away captive by Nebuchadnezzar.Deut. 28. Thus came the whole enumeration of those dreadful curses denounc’d by Moses in this case, to be fulfill’d in this people;Hos. 13. 11. of whom it is also said, I gave them a king in my anger, and took him away in my wrath.
To conclude this story with the resemblances or differences that are between monarchical and popular government: what parallel can there be beyond the storys wherby each of them are so largely describ’d in Scripture? true it is, that Ahimelec usurp’d the magistracy of judg in Israel, or made himself king by the men of Sichem; that the men of Ephraim fought against Jeptha, and that there was a civil war caus’d by Benjamin: yet, in a popular government, the very womb (as they will have it) of tumult, tho never so well founded that it could be steddy, or take any sufficient root, can I find no more of this kind.
Sect. 6. A parallel of the tribunitian forms with those in the Hebrew monarchys.But the tribuns of the people in Rome, or the Romans under the magistracy of their tribuns, throout the whole administration of that government, were never quiet; but at perpetual strife and enmity with the senat. It is very true; but first, this happen’d not from a cause natural to a popular government, but from a cause unnatural to popular government; yea, so unnatural to popular government, that the like has not bin found in any other commonwealth. Secondly, the cause is undeniably discover’d to have consisted in a faction introduc’d by the kings, and foster’d by the nobility, excluding the suffrage of the main body of the people thro an optimacy, or certain rank or number admitted not by the people or their election, but by the value of their estates, to the legislative power, as the commons of that nation. So the state of this people was as if they had two houses of lords, and no house of commons. Thirdly, this danger must have bin in any other nation, at least in ours, much harder to be incur’d, than authors hitherto have made it to be seen in this. And last of all, this enmity, or these factions, were without blood, which in monarchys they are not, as you saw well in those mention’d; and this nation in the barons wars, and in those of York and Lancaster, besides others, has felt. Or, if at length they came indeed to blood, this was not till the foundations were destroy’d, that is, till the balance of popular government in Rome was totally ruin’d; which is equally in cases of the like nature inavoidable, be the government of what kind soever, as of late years we have bin sufficiently inform’d by our own sad experience.
Sect. 1. The state of the Israelits in captivity.WE left the children of Israel upon a sad march, even into captivity. What orders had bin antiently observ’d by them during the time they were in Egypt (one of which, as has bin already shewn, was their seventy elders) the same, so far as would be permitted by the princes whose servants they were, continu’d in practice with them during the time of their captivity, out of which the ten tribes never more return’d.Jer. 25. 12. The two tribes, when seventy years were accomplish’d from the time that they were carry’d away by Nebuchadnezzar,2 Chr. 36. 22. and in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, return’d the best part of them, not only with the king’s leave and liking,Ezra 1. but with restitution of the plate and vessels belonging to the temple.
Sect. 2. The balance of the commonwealth restor’d by Zorobabel.The first colony (as I may say) of the two tribes, or those that return’d under the conduct of Zorobabel prince of Judah, amounted to forty-two thousand three hundred and threescore, among which there were about one hundred patriarchs or princes of familys. To these, in the reign of Artaxerxes, came sixteen or twenty princes more with their familys; among whom the prophets Haggai, Zacharias, and Malachi were eminent.Ezra 2. Som of them could not shew their fathers house and their seed, whether they were of Israel. But these were few;Ezra 8. for it is said of them in general, That they went every one to his own city, or to the inheritance of his fathers:Ezra 2. 59. in which you may note the restitution of the balance of the Mosaical commonwealth; tho to what this might com without fixation, the jubile being not after the captivity in use, I cannot say. However, for the present, plain it is that the antient superstructures did also insue: as in order to the putting away of the strange wives, which the people in captivity had taken, is apparent.
Sect. 3. The superstructures of this commonwealth in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.Their whole progress hitherto is according to the law of Moses; they return every man to his inheritance by direction of his pedegree, or according to the house of his fathers; they are led by princes of their familys, and are about to put away strange wives: for what reason then should a man believe that what follows should not be according to the orders of the same lawgiver? now that which follows,Ezra 10. 8. in order to the putting away of these foren wives, is, proclamation was made throout Judah and Jerusalem to all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves to Jerusalem; and that whosoever will not com within three days, according to the counsil of the princes and elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had bin carry’d away.Chap. V. This plainly, by the penalty annex’d, is a law for banishment; of which kind there was none made by Moses; and a law made by the princes and the elders. What doubt then can remain, but these elders were the sanhedrim, or seventy elders? but wheras neither the sanhedrim, nor any other senat of it self has bin found to make laws, what others can these princes be that are join’d with the elders, than those spoken of before; that is, the princes of familys, or the chief fathers in the congregation of them that had bin carry’d away? so the princes and the elders in this place may be understood of the sanhedrim and the people:1 Chr. 27. 1. for thus David proposes to the congregation of the people of Israel, or the chief fathers, and must be understood of them; because there is no such thing throout the Scripture to be found, as a law made by the sanhedrim without the people: and if so, then that the sanhedrim with the people had power to make a law, is by this place of Scripture undeniably evinc’d.Ezra 10. 14. But besides the chief fathers, which here are call’d rulers of the congregation, and in the time of David were call’d captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, mention is also made of the elders of every city, and the judges therof; in which words you have the judges in the gates throout the tribes of Israel, as they were instituted by Moses. All which particulars being rightly sum’d up, com to this total; that the commonwealth restor’d by Ezra, was the very same that originally was instituted by Moses.
Sect. 4. A transition to the cabalistical or Jewish commonwealth.Such was the government restor’d by Zorobabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Now whether the Jewish or cabalistical commonwealth, father’d by the Presbyterian Jews of latter ages upon Moses or Ezra, be the same, shall be shewn by reducing the invention of these men to three heads: as first, their cabala; secondly, their ordination; and last of all, their great synagog.
Sect. 5. The cabala.The cabala, call’d also by the Jews the oral law, consists of certain traditions by them pretended at the institution of the sanhedrim to have bin verbally deliver’d to the seventy elders by Moses for the government of the commonwealth. These were never written till after the dispersion of the Jews by the emperor Adrian; when, to save them from being lost, they were digested into those volums call’d the Talmud: which they hold to be, and indeed are, as to matter of fact, the authentic records of their government.Rabbi corbulenus. Of the traditions thus recorded says one of the rabbins or Jewish doctors: Think not that the written law (or the law of Moses) is fundamental,Exod 34. 27. but that the oral or traditional law is fundamental, it being upon this that God enter’d into a league with the Israelits, as it is written : after the tenor of these words,In codice juris chagiga. I have made a covenant with thee, and with Israel. A man (says another) who returns from the study of the Talmud to the study of the Bible, can have no quiet conscience, neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in.Zach. 8. 10. The like wherof is the Talmudical way of applying Scripture throout.Mat. 15. 6. And it was the common blessing the Pharises gave their children: My son, hearken to the words of a scribe or doctor, rather than to the law of Moses. To whom says Christ hereupon, You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Sect. 6. Ordination by imposition of hands.Now as true as the Talmud, or as this word of a scribe, or that Moses deliver’d the oral law to the seventy elders and to Joshua, so true it is that Moses ordain’d both the seventy elders and Joshua by the imposition of hands; and that this ordination by the imposition of hands, together with the oral law, came successively, and hand in hand from the seventy elders, and from Joshua downright to these doctors. This indeed is so generally affirm’d by their Talmudists, that there is no denying of it; but, that as to the seventy elders it is quite contrary to Scripture, has already bin made sufficiently apparent; for Joshua is acknowleg’d to have bin ordain’d by Moses with imposition of hands. But this argument (besides that the act of Moses was accompany’d with a miracle, and that it is absurd to think that a thing plainly miraculous should or can be receiv’d as an order in a commonwealth) will go no farther than that Joshua, upon this authority, might have elected his successor by imposition of hands. Let them shew us then that he did so, or indeed that he left any successor at all: for certainly if Joshua left no successor so ordain’d, or no successor at all (which is the truth of the case) then descended there upon them no such ordination from Joshua; and so by consequence none from Moses. Whence it follows, that the authority and vogue of ordination, by the imposition of hands among the Jews, procedes not from the law of Moses, but from the oral law; which how bad an authority soever it be to us of right, is of fact, or of what the exercise of ordination was among the Jews, a good and sufficient testimony. Now therby the condition of this ordination (tho in som times of the commonwealth it was less restrain’d) was such, that no man not having receiv’d the same from the great sanhedrim, or som one of the inferior courts by laying on of hands, by word of mouth, or by writing, could be a presbyter, or capable of any judicature or magistracy in the commonwealth, or to give council in the law, or any part of the law, or to be of the assembly of the great synagog.
Sect. 7. The great synagog.What the assembly of the princes and fathers was in the time of Ezra, has bin shewn, and is left to the judgment of others. But this is that which the Talmudists and their ancestors the cabalistical Jews (among which the Pharises were of the highest rank) unanimously affirm to have consisted of the seventy elders, and of a juncta of fifty presbyters not elected by the people; but by the laying on of hands by the sanhedrim, or by som other judicatory. This, they say, was the institution of their great synagog, where I leave them: but that, according to the sense wherin they cite their authoritys, the like with them was a constant practice, appears not only by their own testimony and records, but is plain in Scripture; as where Christ speaks of the Jews to his apostles in this manner:Grot. a[Editor: illegible character]. They will scourge you in their synagogs: that is, the Jews having as yet no law made wherby they can invade the liberty of conscience, or bring you for the practice therof to punishment,Mat. 10. 17. will call their great synagog, wherin the priests and the Pharises, or the sanhedrim, have at least seven to five the overbalancing vote over the rest. Which also are their creatures, and by these will easily carry, or make such laws wherby they may inflict upon you corporal punishment:Acts 4. 6. which interpretation of Christ’s words, was fulfil’d even to a tittle, or rather with over measure. For upon this occasion the high priest, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gather’d together at Jerusalem. That this same juncta, to be in this case added to the sanhedrim, was to consist but of fifty, those fifty not elected by the people, but chosen by the elders of the sanhedrim; and not out of the body of the people, but out of such only as had receiv’d ordination by the sanhedrim, or by som other court, or indeed were actually judges in som other court, was not enough, unless they might consist also of as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.Acts 5. 21. Which rights and privileges being all observ’d, The high priest came, and they that were with him, and call’d the sanbedrim, and all the presbytery of the children of Israel: that is, so many of them, as being assembl’d in the great synagog, represented all the presbytery of the children of Israel, or all the children of Israel themselves. In this assembly you have the full description of the great synagog:Acts 5. 40. and when (in this synagog) they had beaten the apostles Peter and John, they commanded them that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Upon these procedings there are considerations of great importance; as first, that the cabalistical doctors themselves did never so much as imagin that Moses had indu’d the sanhedrim alone, or separatly consider’d from the people, with any legislative power; nevertheless, that the sanhedrim came into the place, and succeded to the whole power of Moses, they unanimously held: whence, even upon their principles, it must follow that in Moses, distinctly and separatly taken from the people, there could be no power of making any law. The second ching remarkable in this proceding, is, that the most corrupt commonwealth, and in her most corrupt age, had not yet the face, without som blind, of pretending to legislative power in a single counsil. The last I shall observe, is, that no possible security is to be given to liberty of conscience, but in the security of civil liberty, and in that only not by laws which are otherwise as perishing as flowers or fruits, but in the roots or fundamental orders of the government. What even in these times must have follow’d, as to the liberty of conscience, had there bin an equal representative of the people, is apparent, in that the captain and the officers, imploy’d by this synagog to apprehend the apostles, brought them without violence; for they fear’d the people, lest they should have bin ston’d.Acts 5. 26. It is true, there is nothing with us more customary, even in the solemnest places, and upon the solemnest occasions, than to upbraid the people with giddiness from the Hosanna and the crucifige of the Jews. What may be charg’d upon a multitude not under orders, the fouler crime it be, is the fairer argument for such orders, as where they have bin once establish’d, the people have not bin guilty of such crimes; at least, it should seem, that in this case there is great scarcity of witnesses against them, seeing the death of Socrates is more laid to one people, than that of all the martyrs to kings: yet were the false witnesses by whom Socrates suffer’d (and by the like wherto a man in the best government may chance to suffer) no sooner discover’d, than they were destroy’d by the people, who also erected a statue to Socrates.Mark 15. 11. And the people who, at the arraignment of Christ, cry’d, Crucify him, crucify him, were such as the chief priests mov’d or prompted, and such also as fear’d the multitude.Mat. 21. Now that the people which could be prompted by the chief priests, or the people which could fear the people, could be no other than this pretended representative of the people, but indeed a juncta of cousins and retainers, is that which, for ought I know, may be possible; and the rather, for what happen’d before upon the law call’d among the Jews, The law of the zealot, which was instituted by Moses in these words:Deut. 13. 6. If thy brother, the son of thy mother—intice thee, saying, Let us go and serve other Gods—thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death—and afterwards the hand of all the people. By this law it is plain that, as to the true intent thereof, it relates to no other case than that only of idolatry. The execution of the same, according to the Talmud, might be perform’d by any number of the people, being not under ten, either apprehending the party in the fact, or upon the testimony of such witnesses as had so apprehended him: yet will it not be found to have bin executed by the people, but upon instigation of the priest, as where (they interpreting the law as they list) Stephen is ston’d. Now if the priests could have made the people do as much against Christ, what needed they have gon to Pilat for help? and if they could not, why should we think that the multitude which cry’d out Crucify him, crucify him, should be any other than the great synagog?
However, that it was an oligarchy, consisting of a senat and a presbytery, which not only scourg’d the apostles, but caus’d Christ to be crucify’d, is certain. And so much for the great synagog.
Sect. 8. The model of the Jewish commonwealth.These parts being historically laid down and prov’d, it follows that the cabalistical or Jewish commonwealth was much after this model:
BE the capacity of bearing magistracy, or giving council upon the law, or any part of the law of this commonwealth, in no other than such only as are presbyters.
BE presbyters of two sorts: the one general, the other particular.
BE presbyters general ordain’d by the laying on of hands of the prince of the sanhedrim with the rest of the elders, or presbytery of the same, and by no other court without a licence from the prince of the sanhedrim; and be those ordain’d in this manner eligible by the major vote of the seventy elders into the sanhedrim, or into any other court by the major vote of the elders or presbytery of that court.
BE presbyters particular ordain’d by any court of justice; and be these capable of giving council in the law, or in som particular part of the law, according to the gift that is in them by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
BE all presbyters capable of nomination to the great synagog.
BE the sanhedrim in law made the supreme magistracy or judicatory; and with a juncta of fifty presbyters of their nomination, the great synagog.
BE the great synagog the legislative power in this commonwealth.
Such was the government, where the word of a scribe or doctor was avowedly held to be of more validity than the Scripture; and where the usual appellation of the people, by the doctors and Pharises, was (populus terræ) the rascally rabble.
Regis ad exemplum totus componitur orbis.
Sect. 9. Ordination in the lesser synagog.There were other synagogs for other uses, as those wherin the law was read every Sabbath-day; each of which also had her ruler and her presbytery, with power to ordain others to this capacity.
Sect. 1. The form introduc’d by Christ into his Church.WE do not find that Christ (who gave little countenance to the Jewish traditions) ordain’d his apostles or disciples by the imposition of hands: his apostles were twelve, whom he compares to the twelve princes of the tribes of Israel, and his disciples were seventy, in which number it is receiv’d by divines, that he alluded to the seventy elders or sanhedrim of Israel.Matth. 19. 28. So thus far the government of the church, instituted by Christ, was according to the form instituted by Moses.Chap. VI. But Christ in this form was king and priest, not after the institution of Moses, who separated the Levits to the priesthood: but as before Moses; when the royal and priestly function were not separated, and after the order and manner of Melchisedec, who came not to the priesthood by proving his pedegree, as the high priest in Israel by father, or as the king priest in Athens by mother, but without father and mother.Vid. Grotium, & videat Grotius, in epist. ad Hebræos. Or be what has bin said of Melchisedec approv’d or rejected, such for the rest, as has bin shewn, was the form introduc’d by Christ into his church.
Sect. 2. The first way of ordination.Christ being taken up into heaven, his disciples or followers in Jerusalem increas’d to about one hundred and twenty names; and the apostles decreas’d by one, or by Judas, who was gon to his place. Peter, whether upon the counsil or determination of the eleven apostles (as is most probable) beforehand or otherwise,Acts 1. stood up and spoke both to the apostles and disciples assembl’d upon this occasion, that one out of the present assembly might be ordain’d an apostle: and they (that is, the congregation, or why was this propos’d to them?) appointed two by suffrage; for how otherwise can an assembly appoint? these were Barnabas and Matthias, which names, being written in scrols, were cast into one urn; two lots, wherof one was a blank, and the other inscrib’d with the word apostle, being at the same time cast into another urn. Which don, they pray’d that God would shew which of the competitors by them so made, he had chosen: when they had thus pray’d, they gave forth their lots, that is, a scrol out of the one urn, and then a name to that scrol out of the other urn; and the lot fell upon Matthias, or Matthias was taken; wherupon Matthias was number’d, or rather decreed with the eleven apostles. For* psephisma, being a word which properly derives from such stones or pebbles as popular assemblys of old were wont to ballot with or give suffrage by, not only signifys a decree, but especially such a decree as is made by a popular assembly. Now if this was ordination in the Christian church, and of apostolical right, then may there be a way of ordination in the Christian church, and of apostolical right, exactly conformable to the ballot, or way us’d by Moses in the institution of the seventy elders or sanhedrim of Israel.
Sect. 3. The second way of ordination.After the conversion of som thousands more, most, if not all, of which were Jews, a people tho converted, yet so tenacious of their laws and customs, that even circumcision (hitherto not forbidden by the apostles) was continu’d among them; the twelve apostles call’d the multitude of disciples to them.Acts. 4. 4. So Moses, when he had any thing to propose, assembl’d the people of Israel.Acts 6. And when the twelve had thus call’d the disciples, they said, Look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. So Moses said to the congregation of Israel, Take ye wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And the saying of the apostles pleas’d the whole multitude. So the people of Israel were wont to answer to Moses, The thing which thou sayst is good for us to do. This saying of the apostles being thought good by the whole multitude, the whole multitude elected seven men whom they set before the apostles: and when they had pray’d, they laid their hands on them. To say in this place (as they do) that the act of the people was but a presentation, and that the apostles had power to admit or refuse the persons so presented, is as if one should say, that the act of electing parlament men by the people of England, was but a presentation, and that the king had power to admit or refuse the persons so presented. And seeing the deacons henceforth had charge of the word, to say, that by this choice the deacons receiv’d not the charge of the word, but the care to serve tables, is as if one should say, that parlament men by their election receiv’d only the care to levy mony or provision for the king’s table; but if upon such election they debated also concerning laws, that power they receiv’d from the king only.
But if this was a way of ordination in the Christian church, and of apostolical right, then there may be a way of ordination in the Christian church, and of apostolical right, consisting in part of the orders of the Israelitish commonwealth, and in part of the orders of the Jewish commonwealth.
Sect. 4. The third way of ordination.Lastly, Paul writing to Timothy concerning his ordination, has in one place this expression, Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophesy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. So the presbytery of a Jewish synagog laid their hands on the party ordain’d.1 Tim. 4. 14. And in another place he has this expression: Stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the laying on of my hands.2 Tim. 1. 6. So the ruler of a Jewish synagog did lay his hands also on the party ordain’d. Moreover, the apostle in these words, The gift that is in thee by laying on of hands, tho in relation to gifts beyond comparison more excellent, uses the phrase known upon the like occasion to have bin common with the Jews. Wherfore if this were a way of ordination in the Christian church, and of apostolical right, then may there be a way of ordination in the Christian church exactly conformable to the Jewish commonwealth, and be of apostolical right. Nor is it so strange that the apostles in matters of this nature should comply with the Jews, of which so many were converted, seeing it is certain that not only the apostles, but all such as in these times were converted, did observe the Jewish Sabbath; nay, and that Paul himself took Timothy and circumcis’d him, because of the Jews; that is, to comply with them, or to give them no offence. Nor do our divines any where pretend imposition of hands to be deriv’d from Christ, but unanimously confess, that it was taken up by the apostles from the Jewish sanhedrim.
Sect. 5. The providence of God in the different ways of apostolical ordination.Now in these several ways of ordination, there is a most remarkable providence of God. For wheras states and princes in receiving of religion are not at any point so jealous as of an incroachment upon their power; the first way of apostolical ordination destroys monarchical power: the last wholly excludes the power of the people; and the second has a mixture which may be receiv’d by a commonwealth, or by a monarchy. But where it is receiv’d by a commonwealth, the imposition of hands coms to little; and where it is receiv’d by a monarchy, the election of the people coms to nothing, as may be farther consider’d in the original and progress of the Conge d’ Elire
The ways of ordination or of church government lying thus in Scripture, the not receiving of the Christian religion is not that wherof any state or prince thro the whole world can be any ways excusable.
Sect. 1. Uses of this Book.TO sum up this second book in the uses that may be made of it: certain it is of the Greec and Roman storys, that he who has not som good idea or notion of the government to which they relate, cannot rightly understand them. If the like holds as to the Scripture story, som light may be contributed to it by this book. Again, if som gifted men happening to read it, should chance to be of the same judgment, it is an argument for acquir’d learning, in that for the means of acquir’d learning, and in the means of acquir’d learning for universitys. For how little soever this performance be, had it not bin the fashion with the English gentry, in the breeding of their sons, to give them a smack of the university, I should not have don so much.
Sect. 2. The present use of this book.But letting these pass. If there were commonwealths, or governments exercising soverain power by the senat and the people, before that of Israel, as namely, Gibeon: if the inferior orders and courts in Israel, as those instituted by Moses after the advice of Jethro a Heathen, were transcrib’d out of another government tho Heathen, as namely, that of Midian: if the order of the church introduc’d by Christ in his twelve apostles and his seventy disciples, were after the pattern of Israel, namely, in the twelve princes of the tribes, and the seventy elders: if there were three distinct ways of ordination introduc’d by the apostles; one exactly according to the ballot of Israel, as namely, in the ordination of Matthias; another exactly according to the way of the Jewish sanhedrim or synagog, as namely, that of Timothy; and a third, compos’d of these two, as namely, that of the deacons: then it is a clear and undeniable result of the whole, that neither God, nor Christ, or the Apostles, ever instituted any government ecclesiastical or civil upon any other principles than those only of human prudence.
Sect. 3. The consequence of this use.An observation of such consequence, as, where it has bin rightly consider’d, there the truth of religion and of government once planted, have taken root and flourish’d; and where it has not bin rightly heeded, there has religion or the pretence of it bin the hook and the line, and the state the prey of impostors and false prophets, as was shewn in the hypocritical Pharisees, for ever stigmatiz’d by the word of truth.
And for might, let her be never so much exalted in her self, let her sword be never so dreadfully brandish’d; the government not founded upon reason, a creature of God, and the creature of God whose undoubted right in this part is by himself undeniably avow’d and asserted, is a weapon fram’d against God; and no weapon fram’d against God shall prosper.
Sect. 4. A transition to be next book.The principles of human prudence, and in them the art of lawgiving, being shewn in the first book, and vindicated throout the whole course of Scripture by this second, I com in the third to shew a model of government, fram’d according to the art thus shewn, and the principles thus vindicated.
THERE is between the discourses of such as are commonly call’d natural philosophers, and those of anatomists, a large difference; the former are facil, the latter difficult. Philosophers, discoursing of elements for example, that the body of man consists of fire, air, earth and water, are easily both understood and credited, seeing by common experience we find the body of man returns to the earth from whence it was taken. A like entertainment may befal elements of government, as in the first of these books they are stated. But the fearful and wonderful making, the admirable structure and great variety of the parts of man’s body, in which the discourses of anatomists are altogether conversant, are understood by so few, that I may say they are not understood by any. Certain it is, that the delivery of a model of government (which either must be of no effect, or imbrace all those muscles, nerves, arterys and bones, which are necessary to any function of a well-order’d commonwealth) is no less than political anatomy. If you com short of this, your discourse is altogether ineffectual; if you com home, you are not understood: you may, perhaps, be call’d a learned author; but you are obscure, and your doctrin is impracticable. Had I only suffer’d in this, and not the people, I should long since have left them to their humor; but seeing it is they that suffer by it, and not my self, I will be yet more a fool, or they shall be yet wiser. Now coms into my head what I saw long since upon an Italian stage, while the spectators wanted hoops for their sides. A country fellow came with an apple in his hand; to which, in a strange variety of faces, his teeth were undoubtedly threaten’d, when enter’d a young anatomist brimful of his last lesson, who, stopping in good time the hand of this same country fellow, would by no means suffer him to go on with so great an enterprize, till he had first nam’d and describ’d to him all the bones, nerves, and muscles which are naturally necessary to that motion: at which, the good man being with admiration plainly chopfallen, coms me in a third, who, snatching away the apple, devour’d it in the presence of them both. If the people, in this case wherof I am speaking, were naturally so well furnish’d, I had here learn’d enough to have kept silence: but their eating, in the political way, of absolute necessity requires the aid of som political anatomist: without which, they may have appetits, but will be chopfallen. Examples wherof they have had but too many; one I think may be insisted upon without envy.
THIS is that which was call’d the agreement of the people, consisting in som of these propositions:
The anarchy of the levellers.That there be a representative of the nation consisting of four hundred persons, or not above.
WHICH proposition puts the bar on the quite contrary side; this being the first example of a commonwealth, wherin it was conceiv’d, that five hundred thousand men, or more, might be represented by four hundred. The representation of the people in one man, causes monarchy; and in a few, causes oligarchy: the many cannot be otherwise represented in a state of liberty, than by so many, and so qualify’d, as may within the compass of that number and nature imbrace the interest of the whole people. Government should be establish’d upon a rock, not set upon a precipice: a representative consisting but of four hundred, tho in the nature therof it be popular, is not in it self a weapon that is fix’d, but has somthing of the broken bow, as still apt to start aside to monarchy. But the paucity of the number is temper’d with the shortness of the term, it being farther provided,
That this representative be biennial, and sit not above eight months. But seeing a supreme council in a commonwealth is neither assembl’d nor dissolv’d, but by stated orders directing upwards an irresistible strength from the root, and as one tooth or one nail is driven out by another; how is it provided that this biennial council shall not be a perpetual council? Wheras nothing is more dangerous in a commonwealth than intire removes of council, how is it provided that these shall be men sufficiently experienc’d for the management of affairs? and last of all, wheras dissolution to soverain power is death, to whom are these after their eight months to bequeath the commonwealth? in this case it is provided,
That there be a council of state elected by each new representative, within twenty days after their first meeting, to continue till ten days after the meeting of the next representative. In which the faults observ’d in the former order, are so much worse, as this council consists of fewer.Book III. Thus far this commonwealth is oligarchy: but it is provided,
That these representatives have soverain power, save that in som things the people may resist them by arms. Which first is a flat contradiction, and next is downright anarchy. Where the soverain power is not as entire and absolute as in monarchy it self, there can be no government at all. It is not the limitation of soverain power that is the cause of a commonwealth, but such a libration or poize of orders, that there can be in the same no number of men having the interest, that can have the power; nor any number of men having the power, that can have the interest, to invade or disturb the government. As the orders of commonwealths are more approaching to, or remote from this maxim (of which this of the levellers has nothing) so are they more quiet or turbulent. In the religious part only, proposing a national religion and liberty of conscience, tho without troubling themselves much with the means, they are right in the end.
AND for the military part, they provide,
That no man (even in case of invasion) be compellable to go out of the country where he lives, if he procures another to serve in his room. Which plainly intails upon this commonwealth a fit guard for such a liberty, even a mercenary army; for what one dos of this kind, may and will (where there is no bar) be don by all: so every citizen by mony procuring his man, procures his master. Now if this be work of that kind which the people in like cases (as those also of Rome, when they instituted their tribuns) do usually make, then have I good reason not only to think, but to speak it audibly, That to sooth up the people with an opinion of their own sufficiency in these things, is not to befriend them, but to feed up all hopes of liberty to the slaughter. Yet the Leveller, a late* pamphlet, having gather’d out of Oceana the principles by him otherwise well insinuated, attributes it to the agitators, or that assembly which fram’d this wooden agreement of the people: That then som of that council asserted these principles, and the reason of them.
BUT railery apart, we are not to think it has bin for nothing that the wisest nations have in the formation of government as much rely’d upon the invention of som one man, as upon themselves: for wheras it cannot be too often inculcated, that reason consists of two parts, the one invention, the other judgment; a people or an assembly are not more eminent in point of judgment, than they are void of invention. Nor is there in this any thing at all against the sufficiency of a people in the management of a proper form, being once introduc’d, tho they should never com to a perfect understanding of it. For were the natural bodys of the people such as they might commonly understand, they would be (as I may say) wooden bodys, or such as they could not use; wheras their bodys being now such as they understand not, are yet such as in the use and preservation whereof they are perfect.
THERE are in models of government things of so easy practice, and yet of such difficult understanding, that we must not think them even in Venice, who use their commonwealth with the greatest prudence and facility, to be all, or any considerable number of them, such as perfectly understand the true reason or anatomy of that government: nor is this a presumtuous assertion, since none of those Venetians, who have hitherto written of their own form, have brought the truth of it to any perfect light. The like perhaps (and yet with due acknowledgment to Livy) might be said of the Romans. The Lacedemonians had not the right understanding of their model, till about the time of Aristotle it was first written by Dicearchus, one of his scholars. How egregiously our ancestors (till those foundations were broken which at length have brought us round) did administer the English government, is sufficiently known. Yet by one of the wisest of our writers (even my lord Verulam) is Henry the Seventh parallel’d with the legislators of antient and heroic times, for the institution of those very laws which have now brought the monarchy to utter ruin. The commonwealths upon which Machiavel in his discourses is incomparable, are not by him, any one of them, sufficiently explain’d or understood. Much less is it to be expected from a people, that they should overcom the like difficultys, by reason wherof the wisest nations (finding themselves under the necessity of a change or of a new government) induc’d by such offers as promis’d fair, or against which they could find no exceptions, have usually acted as men do by new clothes; that is, put them on, that, if they be not exactly fit at first, they may either fit themselves to the body in wearing, or therby more plainly shew wherin they can be mended even by such as would otherwise prove but bad workmen. Nor has any such offer bin thought to have more presumption, much less treason in it, than if one conscious of his skill in architecture should offer himself to the prince or state to build a more convenient parlament house. England is now in such a condition, that he who may be truly said to give her law, shall never govern her; and he who will govern her, shall never give her law. Yet som will have it, that to assert popular power, is to sow the seed of civil war, and object against a commonwealth, as not to be introduc’d but by arms; which by the undeniable testimony of latter experience, is of all other objections the most extravagant: for if the good old cause, against the desire even of the army, and of all men well affected to their country, could be trod under foot without blood, what more certain demonstration can there be, that (let the deliberations upon, or changes of government, be of what kind soever which shall please a parlament) there is no appearance that they can occasion any civil war? Streams that are stop’d may urge their banks; but the course of England, into a commonwealth, is both certain and natural. The ways of nature require peace: the ways of peace require obedience to the laws: laws in England cannot be made but by parlaments: parlaments in England are com to be mere popular assemblys: the laws made by popular assemblys (tho for a time they may be aw’d, or deceiv’d, in the end) must be popular laws; and the sum of popular laws must amount to a commonwealth. The whole doubt or hazard of this consequence remains upon one question, Whether a single council consisting but of four hundred, indu’d both with debate and result; the keys of whose doors are in the hands of ambitious men; in the croud and confusion of whose election the people are as careless as tumultuous, and easy, thro the want of good orders, to be deluded; while the clergy (declar’d and inveterat enemys of popular power) are laying about, and sweating in the throng, as if it were in the vineyard; upon whose benches lawyers (being feather’d and arm’d, like sharp and sudden arrows, with a privat interest pointblank against the public) may and frequently do swarm, can indeed be call’d a popular council? This, I confess, may set the whole state of liberty upon the cast of a dy; yet questionless it is more than odds on the behalf of a commonwealth, when a government labors in frequent or long struggles, not thro any certain biass of genius or nature that can be in such a council, but thro the impotence of such conclusions as may go awry, and the external force or state of property now fully introduc’d: whence such a council may wander, but never find any rest or settlement, except only in that natural and proper form of government which is to be erected upon a mere popular foundation. All other ways of proceding must be void, as inevitably guilty of contradiction in the superstructures to the foundation; which have amounted, and may amount to the discouragement of honest men, but with no other success than to imbroil or retard business: England being not capable of any other permanent form than that only of a commonwealth; tho her supreme council be so constituted, that it may be monarchically inclin’d. This contradiction in the frame is the frequent occasion of contradictory expostulations and questions. How, say they, should we have a commonwealth? Which way is it possible that it should com in? And how, say I, can we fail of a commonwealth? What possibility is there we should miss of it?
IF a man replys, he answers thus: No army ever set up a commonwealth. To the contrary, I instance the army of Israel under Moses; that of Athens about the time of Alcibiades; that of Rome upon the expulsion of the Tarquins; those of Switzerland and Holland. But, say they, other armies have not set up commonwealths. True indeed, divers other armys have not set up commonwealths; yet is not that any argument why our armys should not. For in all armys that have not set up commonwealths, either the officers have had no fortunes or estates at all, but immediatly dependent upon the mere will of the prince, as the Turkish armys, and all those of the eastern countrys; or the officers have bin a nobility commanding their own tenants. Certain it is, that either of these armys can set up nothing but monarchy. But our officers hold not estates of noblemen able upon their own lands to levy regiments, in which case they would take home their people to plow, or make hay; nor are they yet so put to it for their livelihood, as to depend wholly upon a prince, in which case they would fall on robbing the people; but have good honest popular estates to them and their heirs for ever. Now an army, where the estates of the officers were of this kind, in no reason can, in no experience ever did set up monarchy. Ay but, say they, for all that, their pay to them is more considerable than their estates. But so much more must they be for a commonwealth, because the parlament must pay: and they have found by experience, that the pay of a parlament is far better than that of a prince. But the four hundred being monarchically inclin’d, or running upon the interest of those irreconcilable enemys of popular power, divines and lawyers, will rather pay an army for commanding, or for supporting of a prince, than for obeying. Which may be true, as was acknowledg’d before, in the way: but in the end, or at the long run, for the reasons mention’d, must be of no effect.
THESE arguments are from the cause; now for an argument to sense, and from the effect: If cur armys would raise mony of themselves, or, which is all one, would make a king, why have they not made a king in so many years? Why did they not make one yesterday? Why do they not to-day? Nay, why have they ever bin, why do they still continue to be of all others in this point the most averse and refractory?
BUT if the case be so with us, that nature runs wholly to a commonwealth, and we have no such force as can withstand nature, why may we not as well have golden dreams of what this commonwealth may be, as of the Indys, of Flanders, or of the Sound? The frame of a commonwealth may be dreamt on, or propos’d two ways; the one in theory, or notionally, in which it is of easy understanding, but of difficult practice: the other practically, in which it is of difficult understanding, but of facil use. One of these ways is a shooinghorn and the other the shoo; for which cause I shall propose both, as first notionally, thus:
The Model propos’d notionally.1. That the native territory of the commonwealth be divided, so equally as with any convenience it may, into fifty tribes or precincts.
2. That the people in each tribe be distinguish’d, first by their age, and next by the valuation of their estates: all such as are above eighteen, and under thirty, being accounted youth; and all such as are thirty or upwards, being accounted elders. All such as have under one hundred pounds a year in lands, goods, or mony, being accounted of the foot; and all such as have so much or upwards, being accounted of the horse.
3. That each tribe elect annually out of the horse of their number two elders to be knights; three elders out of the same, and four elders more out of the foot of their number, to be deputys or burgesses. That the term of each knight and burgess, or deputy so elected, be triennial; and that whoever has serv’d his triennial term in any one of these capacitys, may not be reelected into any one of the same, till a triennial vacation be expir’d.
4. That in the first year of the commonwealth there be a senat so constituted, of three hundred knights, that the term of one hundred may expire actually; and that the hundred knights, annually elected by two in each tribe, take in the senat the places of them whose term coms to be thus annually expir’d.
5. That in the first year of the commonwealth there be a representative of the people, consisting of one thousand and fifty deputys; four hundred and fifty of them being horse, and the rest foot. That this representative be so constituted, that the term of two hundred of the foot, and of one hundred and fifty of the horse, expire annually; and that the two hundred foot, and one hundred and fifty horse elected annually, by four of the foot, and three of the horse in each tribe, take the places in this representative of them whose terms com thus annually to be expir’d.
6. That the senat have the whole authority of debate; that the representative have the whole power of result, in such a manner, that whatever (having bin debated by the senat) shall by their authority be promulgated, that is, printed and publish’d, for the space of six weeks; and afterwards (being propos’d by them to the representative) shall be resolv’d by the people of the same in the affirmative, by the law of the land.
THUS much may suffice to give implicitly a notional account of the whole frame. But a model of government is nothing as to use, unless it be also deliver’d practicably; and the giving of a model practicably, is so much the more difficult, that men, not vers’d in this way, say of it (as they would of the anatomy of their own bodys) that it is impracticable. Here lys the whole difficulty: such things as, trying them never so often, they cannot make hang together, they will yet have to be practicable; and if you would bring them from this kind of shifts, or of tying and untying all sorts of knots, to the natural nerves and ligaments of government, then with them it is impracticable. But to render that which is practicable, facil; or to do my last indeavor of this kind, of which if I miss this once more, I must hereafter despair: I shall do two things; first, omit the ballot, and then make som alteration in my former method.
THEY who have interwoven the ballot with the description of a commonwealth, have therby render’d the same by far the more complete in it self; but in the understanding of their readers, as much defective: wherfore presuming the use of the ballot throout the orders of this model, I shall refer it to practice; in which it will be a matter of as much facility, as it would have bin of difficulty in writing. And for the method I have chosen, it is the most natural and intelligible, being no more than to propose the whole practicably: first, in the civil; secondly, in the religious; then in the military; and last of all in the provincial part of the model.
SEEING it has bin sufficiently prov’d, that empire follows the nature of property; that the particular kind of empire or government depends upon the special distribution (except in small countrys) of land; and that where the balance in property has not bin fix’d, the nature of the government (be it what you will) has bin floting: it is very reasonable that, in the proposition of a commonwealth, we begin with a fixation of the balance in property; and this being not otherwise to be don than by som such laws as have bin commonly call’d agrarian, it is propos’d,
1. Agrarian laws.THAT every one holding above two thousand pounds a year in land, lying within the proper territory of the commonwealth, leave the said land equally divided among his sons; or else so near equally, that there remain to the eldest of them not above two thousand pounds a year in land so lying. That this proposition be so understood, as not to concern any parent having no more than one son, but the next heir only that shall have more sons; in such sort, as nothing be hereby taken from any man, or from his posterity, but that fatherly affection be at all points extended as formerly, except only that it be with more piety, and less partiality. And that the same proposition, in such familys where there are no sons, concern the daughter or daughters in the like manner.
THAT no daughter, being neither heir nor coheir, have above fifteen hundred pounds in portion, or for her preserment in marriage. That any daughter, being an orphan, and having seven hundred pounds or upwards in portion, may charge the state with it. That the state being so charg’d, be bound to manage the portion of such an orphan for the best, either by due payment of the interest of the same; or, if it be desir’d, by way of annuity for life, at the rate of one hundred pounds a year, for every seven hundred pounds so receiv’d. The manner wherof being elsewhere shewn, is not needful to be repeated.
That these propositions prevent the growing of a monarchical nobility, is their peculiar end: wherfore that this should hold the weight of an objection in a popular balance, already introduc’d thro the failure of a monarchical nobility, or thro a level made not by the people, but by the kings or themselves, were preposterous. Yet upon this score (for I see no other) is there such animosity against the like laws, that wise men have judg’d it an indiscretion, in such as are affected to popular government, not to temporize in this point; at least, till a commonwealth were first introduc’d. To which judgment I am by no means inclining: first, Because the whole stream of this kind of government is so clear and pellucid, as to abhor having any thing in the bottom which may not appear at the very top. Secondly, Because an agrarian, not brought in with the introduction of a commonwealth, was never yet known to be brought in after the introduction of a commonwealth. And thirdly, Because the change of balances in states, thro the want of fixation, has bin so sudden, that between the reign of Henry the Seventh, and that of Queen Elizabeth, being under fifty years, the English balance of monarchical became popular; and that of Rome, between the lives of Scipio and of Tiberius Gracchus, being also under fifty years, of popular became monarchical. Nevertheless, if there remains any cure of animosity that may be safe, it must be prudent:Chap. I. and such a cure (if we be not so abandon’d to mere fancy, as to sacrifice all prudence to it) there may be in the addition of this clause;
Additional clause to the agrarian.THAT no agrarian law hereby given to this commonwealth, or to be hereafter given to the same, or to any province of the same, be understood to be otherwise binding, than to the generation to com, or to the children to be born seven years after the enacting of the law.
Upon the addition of this clause, it may be safely said of these agrarian laws, that they concern not any man living: and for posterity, it is well known, that to enact a law, is no more in their regard, than to commend a thing to their choice; seeing they, if so pleas’d, can no more be devested of the power to repeal any law enacted by their ancestors, than we are of repealing such laws as have bin enacted by ours.
To this it may be objected, that agrarian laws, being once enacted, must have brought estates to the standard of the same, before posterity can com into a capacity to judg of them. But this is the only means wherby posterity can com to a true capacity to judg of them: first, because they will have had experience of the laws wherof they are to judg: and secondly, because they will be void of all such imaginary interests as might corrupt their judgment, and do now certainly corrupt ours.
The first parallel.The balance of the commonwealth of Israel, thro the distribution of lands at the introduction of the same, became popular; and becoming popular, was fix’d by the law for the jubile.Deut. 25. 28. That which was sold, shall remain in the hands of them that bought it till the year of jubile; and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return to his possession. The ways in Israel, and in the commonwealth propos’d, where the popular balance is not made but found, are divers; but the agrarian laws in each, as to the end, which is the preservation of the balance, are of a like effect.
To rise thus from true foundations to proper superstructures, the first step from the balance thus fix’d into the orders of a commonwealth, is not otherwise to be taken than by certain distributions or divisions of the people, wherof som are to be personal, and som local.
Freemen and servants.The first personal division of a people, is into freemen and servants. Freemen are such as have wherwithal to live of themselves; and servants, such as have not. This division therfore is not constitutive, but naturally inherent in the balance; nor, seeing all government is in the direction of the balance, is it possible for the superstructures of any to make more freemen than are such by the nature of the balance, or by their being able to live of themselves.
The second parallel.All that could in this matter be don, even by Moses himself, is contain’d in this proviso: if thy brother that dwells by thee be grown poor, and be sold to thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant:Levit. 25. 29. but as a hir’d servant, and a sojourner he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee to the year of jubile. And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family, and to the possession of his fathers shall he return.
The nature of riches consider’d, this division into freemen and servants is not properly constitutive, but as it were natural. To com to such divisions as are both personal and constitutive, it is propos’d,
3. Horse and foot.THAT all citizens, that is, freemen, or such as are not servants, be distributed into horse and foot. That such of them as have one hundred pounds a year in lands, goods or mony, or above that proportion, be of the horse; and all such as have under that proportion, be of the foot.
4. Elders and youth.THAT all elders or freemen, being thirty years of age or upwards, be capable of civil administration: and that the youth, or such freemen, as are between eighteen years of age and thirty, be not capable of civil administration, but of military only; in such a manner as shall follow in the military part of this model.
Now, besides personal divisions, it is necessary in order to the framing of a commonwealth, that there be som such as are local. For these therfore it is propos’d,
5. Precinct of the parish.THAT the whole native, or proper territory of the commonwealth, be cast, with as must exactness as can be convenient, into known and fix’d precincts or parishes.
6. Parochial congregations and deputys.THAT the elders, resident in each parish, annually assemble in the same; as for example, upon Monday next insuing the last of December. That they then and there elect out of their own number every fifth man, or one man out of every five, to be for the term of the year insuing, a deputy of that parish; and that the first and second so elected be overseers, or presidents, for regulating of all parochial congregations, whether of the elders or of the youth, during the term for which they were elected.
7. Precinct of the hundred.THAT so many parishes lying nearest together, whose deputys shall amount to one hundred or thereabout, be cast into one precinct call’d the hundred. And that in each precinct call’d the hundred, there be a town, village, or place appointed to be the capital of the same.
8. Assembly or muster of the hundred.THAT the parochial deputys elected throout the hundred, assemble annually; for example, upon Monday next insuing the last of January, at the capital of their hundred. That they then and there elect out of the horse of their number one justice of the peace, one juryman, one captain, one insign: and out of the foot of their number, one other juryman, one high constable, &c.
Tho our justices of the peace have not bin annual, yet that they may so be is apparent, because the high sherifs, whose office is of greater difficulty, have always bin annual: seeing therfore they may be annual, that so they ought in this administration to be, will appear, where they com to be constitutive of such courts as, should they consist of a standing magistracy, would be against the nature of a commonwealth. But the precincts hitherto being thus stated, it is propos’d,
9. Precinct of the tribe.THAT every twenty hundreds, lying nearest and most conveniently together, be cast into one tribe. That the whole territory being after this manner cast into tribes, som town, village, or place be appointed to every tribe for the capital of the same. And that these three precincts, that is, the parish, the hundred, and the tribe (whether the deputys, thenceforth annually chosen in the parishes or hundreds, com to increase or diminish) remain firm and inalterable for ever, save only by act of parlament.
These divisions, or the like, both personal and local, are that in a well-order’d commonwealth, which stairs are in a good house; not that stairs in themselves are desirable, but that without them there is no getting into the chambers. The whole matter of cost and pains, necessary to the introduction of a like model, lys only in the first architecture, or building of these stairs; that is, in stating of these three precincts: which don, they lead you naturally and necessarily into all the rooms of this fabric. For the just number of tribes into which a territory thus cast may fall, it is not very easy to be guest: yet, because for the carrying on of discourse it is requisit to pitch upon som certainty, I shall presume that the number of the tribes, thus stated, amounts to fifty; and that the number of the parochial deputys annually elected in each tribe, amounts to two thousand. Be the deputys more or fewer by the alterations which may happen in progress of time, it disorders nothing. Now to ascend by these stairs into the upper rooms of this building, it is propos’d,
10. Assembly or muster of the tribe.THAT the deputys elected in the several parishes, together with their magistrats and other officers both civil and military, elected in their several hundreds, assemble or muster annually; for example, upon Monday next insuing the last of February at the capital of their tribe.
How the troops and companys of the deputys, with their military officers or commanders thus assembl’d, may, without expence of time, be straight distributed into one uniform and orderly body, has bin elsewhere* shewn, and is not needful to be repeated. For their work, which at this meeting will require two days, it is propos’d,
11. Magistrats of the tribe.THAT the whole body thus assembl’d, upon the first day of the assembly, elect out of the horse of their number one high sherif, one lieutenant of the tribe, one custos rotulorum, one conductor, and two censors. That the high sherif be commander in chief, the lieutenant commander in the second place, and the conductor in the third, of this band or squadron. That the custos rotulorum be mustermaster, and keep the rolls. That the censors be governors of the ballot. And that the term of these magistracys be annual.
These being thus elected, it is propos’d,
12. The prerogative troop.THAT the magistrats of the tribe, that is to say, the high sherif, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the censors, and the conductor, together with the magistrats and officers of the hundreds, that is to say, the twenty justices of the peace, the forty jurymen, the twenty high constables, be one troop, or one troop and one company apart, call’d the prerogative troop or company. That this troop bring in and assist the justices of assize, hold the quarter sessions in their several capacitys, and perform their other functions as formerly.
By this means the commonwealth at its introduction may imbrace the law as it stands, that is, unreform’d; which is the greatest advantage of such reformations: for to reform laws before the introduction of the government, which is to shew to what the laws in reformation are to be brought or fitted, is impossible. But these magistrats of the hundreds and tribes being such wherby the parlament is to govern the nation, this is a regard in which they ought to be further capable of such orders and instructions as shall therto be requisit: for which cause it is propos’d,
13. The phylarch.THAT the magistrats of the tribe, that is to say, the high sherif, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, the censors, and the conductor, together with the twenty justices elected at the hundreds, be a court for the government of the tribe call’d the phylarch; and that this court procede in all matters of government, as shall from time to time be directed by act of parlament.
By these courts the commonwealth will be furnish’d with true channels, wherby at leisure to turn the law into that which is sufficiently known to have bin its primitive course, and to a perfect reformation by degrees, without violence. For as the corruption of our law procedes from an art inabled to improve its privat interest; or from the law upon the bench, and the jury at the bar: so the reformation of our law must com from disabling it as an art to improve its privat interest; or to a jury upon the bench, and the law at the bar, as in Venice.
The third parallel.JUDGES and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates which the Lord thy God gives thee throout thy tribes, and they shall judg the people with just judgment.Deut. 16. 18. These courts, whose sessionhouse was in the gates of every city,Book 2. were shewn each of them to have consisted of twenty-three elders, which were as a jury upon the bench, giving sentence by plurality of votes, and under a kind of appeal to the seventy elders or senat of Israel, as was also shewn in the second book.
This, or the like, by all example, and beyond any controversy, has bin, and is the natural way of judicature in commonwealths. The phylarchs, with a court or two of appeals eligible out of the senat and the people, are at any time with ease and very small alteration to be cast upon a triennial rotation: which, in all things besides proceding after the manner of the Venetian quarrancys, will be in this case perfect orders.
To return: the first day’s election at the tribe being as has bin shewn, it is propos’d,
14. Knights and burgesses.THAT the squadron of the tribe, on the second day of their assembly, elect two knights and three burgesses out of the horse of their number, and four other burgesses out of the foot of their number. That each knight upon election forthwith make oath of allegiance to the commonwealth; or refusing this oath, that the next competitor in election to the same magistracy, making the said oath, be the magistrat; the like for the burgesses. That the knights, thus sworn, have session in the senat for the term of three years; and that the burgesses thus sworn be of the prerogative tribe, or representative of the people for the like term.
Now wheras this proposition is sufficient for the perpetuation of the senat and the assembly of the people, being once instituted, but not sufficient for the full and perfect institution of them, it necessitats the addition in this place, not of a permanent order, but of an expedient for the first year’s election only; which may be this:
Expedient for the first year’s election.“THAT for the full and perfect institution of the assemblys mention’d, the squadron of the tribe in the first year of the commonwealth elect two knights for the term of one year, two other knights for the term of two years, and lastly, two knights more for the term of three years: the like for the burgesses of the horse first, and then for those of the foot.”
By this expedient the senat in fifty tribes is constituted of three hundred knights or senators, wherof one hundred, by the expiration of their terms, com annually to fall; and another hundred at the same time to enter. The like for the prerogative tribe or assembly of the people, which, consisting of the whole of one thousand and fifty, suffers the like alteration in one third part, or in the yearly exchange of one hundred and fifty burgesses: by which means the motion or rotation of these assemblys is annual, triennial, and perpetual. For the full dispatch of the foregoing elections there remains but one proposition more, which is this:
15. Proviso.THAT a magistrat or officer elected at the hundred be therby excluded from being elected a magistrat of the tribe, or of the first day’s election: that no former election whatsoever exclude a man from the second day’s election at the tribe, or to be chosen a knight or burgess. That a man being chosen a knight or burgess, who before was chosen a magistrat or officer of the hundred or tribe, delegat his former office, or magistracy in the hundred or the tribe, to any other deputy being no magistrat nor officer, and being of the same hundred and of the same order, that is, of the horse or foot respectively. That the whole and every part of the foregoing orders for election in the parishes, the hundreds, and the tribes, be holding and inviolable upon such penaltys in case of failure, as shall hereafter be provided by act of parlament against any parish, hundred, tribe, deputy or person so offending.
Without som such provision as is contain’d in the former part of this provision, men would be inconveniently excluded from preferment, or the tribe obliged to return to the ballot; and so to spend more time for trifles than is requir’d by their real business.
The fourth parallel.The representative of Israel collected monthly by the two thousand out of each tribe (if we consider what method must have bin us’d in such elections) intimats, first,2 Chron. 27. that there were subdivisions to that end in each tribe, perhaps of the nature of our hundreds and parishes: secondly, that there were qualifications in those elections as to the patriarchs or chief fathers, and as to the people with their captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; which is enough thus far to approve and recommend the foregoing propositions.
The senat, and the congregation or representative of the people, are in every commonwealth the main orders. The stairs or degrees of ascent to these being now mounted, it remains that I lead you into the rooms of state, or the assemblys themselves: which shall be perform’d, first, by shewing their frame, and next by by shewing their uses or functions. To bring you first into the senat, it is propos’d,
16. Frame of the senat.THAT the knights of the annual election in the tribes take their places on Monday next insuing the last of March in the senat. That the like number of knights, whose session determins at the same time, recede. That every knight or senator be paid out of the public revenue quarterly, one hundred twenty-five pounds during his term of session, and be oblig’d to sit in purple robes.
17. Senatorian magistrats.THAT annually, upon the reception of the new knights, the senat procede to the election of new magistrats and counsillors. That for magistrats they elect one general, one speaker, and two censors, each for the term of one year; these promiscuously: and that they elect one commissioner of the great seal, and one commissioner of the treasury, each for the term of three years, and out of the new knights only.
This proposition supposes the commissioners of the seal and those of the treasury to consist each of three, wheel’d by the annual election of one into each order, upon a triennial rotation. For farther explanation of the senatorian magistracys, it is propos’d,
18. The general sitting, and the speaker.THAT the general and speaker, as CONSULS of the commonwealth, and presidents of the senat, be, during the term of their magistracy, paid quarterly five hundred pounds: that the insigns of these magistracys be a sword born before the general, and a mace before the speaker: that they be oblig’d to wear ducal robes; and that what is said of the general in this proposition, be understood only of the general sitting, and not of the general marching.
19. The general marching.THAT the general sitting, in case he be commanded to march, receive field pay; and that a new general be forthwith elected by the senat to succede him in the house, with all the rights, insigns, and emoluments of the general sitting: and this so often as one or more generals are marching.
20. Commissioners of the seal and of the treasury.THAT the three commissioners of the great seal, and the three commissioners of the treasury, using their insigns and habit, and performing their other functions as formerly, be paid quarterly to each of them three hundred seventy-five pounds.
21. The censorsTHAT the censors be each of them chancellor of one university by virtue of their election: that they govern the ballot; that they be presidents of the council for religion; that each have a silver wand for the insign of his magistracy; that each be paid quarterly three hundred seventy-five pounds, and be oblig’d to wear scarlet robes.
THAT the general sitting, the speaker, and the six commissioners abovesaid, be the signory of this commonwealth.
22. The signory.This for the senatorian magistrats. For senatorian councils it is propos’d,
23. Council of state.THAT there be a council of state consisting of fifteen knights, five out of each order or election; and that the same be perpetuated by the annual election of five out of the new knights, or last elected into the senat.
24. Councils of religion, of trade.THAT there be a council for religion consisting of twelve knights, four out of each order, and perpetuated by the annual election of four out of the knights, last elected into the senat. That there be a council for trade, consisting of a like number, elected and perpetuated in the same manner.
25. Council of war.THAT there be a council of war, not elected by the senat, but elected by the council of state out of themselves. That this council of war consist of nine knights, three out of each order, and be perpetuated by the annual election of three out of the last knights, elected into the council of state.
26. The dictator.THAT in case the senat adds nine knights more out of their own number to the council of war, the said council be understood by this addition to be DICTATOR of the commonwealth for the term of three months, and no longer, except by farther order of the senat the said dictatorian power be prolong’d for a like term.
27. The proposers general.THAT the signory have session and suffrage, with right also jointly or severally to propose, both in the senat and in all senatorian councils.
28. Provosts, or particular proposers.THAT each of the three orders, or divisions of knights in each senatorian council, elect one provost for the term of one week; and that any two provosts of the same council so elected may propose to their respective council, and not otherwise.
29. Academy.THAT som fair room or rooms well furnish’d and attended, be allow’d at the states charge for a free and open academy to all comers at som convenient hour or hours towards the evening. That this academy be govern’d according to the rules of good breeding, or civil conversation, by som or all of the proposers; and that in the same it be lawful for any man by word of mouth or by writing, in jest or in earnest, to propose to the proposers.
From the frame or structure of these councils, I should pass to their functions; but that besides annual elections, there will be som biennial, and others emergent: in which regard it is propos’d, first, for biennial elections,
30. Embassadors in ordinary.THAT for embassadors in ordinary, there be four residences; as France, Spain, Venice, and Constantinople: that every resident, upon the election of a new embassador in ordinary, remove to the next residence in the order nominated, till having serv’d in them all, he returns home. That upon Monday next insuing the last of November, there be every second year elected by the senat som fit person, being under thirty-five years of age, and not of the senat or popular assembly: that the party so elected, repair upon Monday next insuing the last of March following, as embassador in ordinary to the court of France, and there reside for the term of two years, to be computed from the first of April next insuing his election. That every embassador in ordinary be allow’d three thousand pounds a year during the term of his residences; and that if a resident coms to dy, there be an extraordinary election into his residence for his term, and for the remainder of his removes and progress.
31. Emergent elections.THAT all emergent elections be made by scrutiny, that is, by a council, or by commissioners proposing, and by the senat resolving in the manner following: that all field-officers be propos’d by the council of war; that all embassadors extraordinary be propos’d by the council of state; that all judges and serjeants at law be propos’d by the commissioners of the great seal; that all barons and officers of trust in the exchequer, be propos’d by the commissioners of the treasury: and that such as are thus propos’d, and approv’d by the senat, be held lawfully elected.
These elections being thus dispatch’d, I com to the functions of the senat, and first, to those of the senatorian councils: for which it is propos’d,
32. Function of the senatorian councils.THAT the cognizance of all matters of state to be consider’d, or law to be enacted, whether it be provincial or national, domestic or foren, pertain to the council of state. That such affairs of either kind, as they shall judg to require more secrecy, be remitted by this council, and belong to the council of war, being for that end a select part of the same. That the cognizance and protection both of the national religion, and of the liberty of conscience equally establish’d in this nation, after the manner to be shewn in the religious part of this model, pertain to the council for religion. That all matters of traffic, and the regulation of the same, belong to the council of trade. That in the exercise of these feveral functions, which naturally are senatorian or authoritative only, no council assume any other power than such only as shall be settl’d upon the same by act of parlament.
33. Function of the senat.THAT what shall be propos’d to the senat by any one or more of the signory or proposers general; or whatever was propos’d by any two of the provosts or particular proposers to their respective council, and upon debate at that council shall com to be propos’d by the same to the senat, be necessarily debatable and debated by the senat. That in all cases wherin power is committed to the senat by a law made, or by act of parlament, the result of the senat be ultimat: that in all cases of law to be made, or not already provided for by an act of parlament, as war and peace, levy of men or mony, or the like, the result of the senat be not ultimat. That whatsoever is resolv’d by the senat, upon a case wherin their result is not ultimat, be propos’d by the senat to the prerogative tribe or representative of the people; except only in cases of such speed or secresy, wherin the senat shall judg the necessary slowness or openness in this way of proceding to be of detriment or danger to the commonwealth.
34. Function of the dictator.THAT if upon the motion or proposition of a council or proposer general, the senat adds nine knights promiscuously chosen out of their own number, to the council of war; the same council, as therby made dictator, have power of life and death, as also to enact laws in all such cases of speed or secresy, for and during the term of three months and no longer, except upon a new order from the senat. And that all laws enacted by the dictator be good and valid for the term of one year, and no longer; except the same be propos’d by the senat, and resolv’d by the people.
This dictatorian council (as may already appear) consists fundamentally of the signory, with nine knights elected by the council of state, additionally of nine knights more emergently chosen by the senat, and of the four tribuns of course; as will appear when I com to speak of that magistracy. Now if dictatorian power be indeed formidable, yet this in the first place is remarkable, that the council here offer’d for a dictator is of a much safer constitution, than what among us hitherto has bin offer’d for a commonwealth; namely, a parlament and a council in the interim. For here is no interim, but all the councils of the commonwealth not only remaining, but remaining in the exercise of all their functions, without the abatement of any; speed and secrecy belonging not to any of them, but to that only of the dictator. And if this dictatorian council has more in it of a commonwealth than has hitherto among us bin either practis’d or offer’d, by what argument can it be pretended that a commonwealth is so imperfect thro the necessity of such an order, that it must needs borrow of monarchy; seeing every monarchy that has any senat, assembly, or council in it, therby most apparently borrows more of a commonwealth, than there is to be found of monarchy in this council?
The fifth parallel.To dismiss this whole senat with one parallel: The institution of the seventy elders in Israel (as was shewn in the second book) for their number related to an accident, and a custom therupon antiently introduc’d. The accident was, that the sons of Jacob who went into Egypt were so many; these, first governing their familys by natural right, came, as those familys increas’d, to be for their number retain’d and continu’d in the nature of a senatorian council, while the people were yet in Egyptian bondage. So we, having had no like custom, have as to the number no like inducement. Again, the territory of Canaan amounted not to a fourth of our country; and in government we are to fit our selves to our own proportions. Nor can a senat, consisting of few senators, be capable of so many distributions as a senat consisting of more.2 Chr. 19. 11. Yet we find in the restitution of the sanhedrim by Jehoshaphat, that there was Amariah chief in all matters of the Lord, that is, in judgment upon the laws, which, having bin propos’d by God, were more peculiarly his matters; and Zebadiah chief in all the king’s matters, that is, in political debates concerning government, or war and peace.Judg. 11. 5, 11. Lastly, When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the people of Israel made Jephtha not only captain, but head over them. So the judg of Israel, being no standing magistrat, but elected upon emergencys, supplys the parallel as to dictatorian power in a commonwealth.
Debate is the natural parent of result; whence the senat throout the Latin authors is call’d fathers, and in Greec authors the compellation of a popular assembly is men; as men of Athens, men of Corinth, men of Lacedemon:Acts 7. 2. & 22. 1. nor is this custom heathen only, seeing these compellations are us’d to the senat and the people of the Jews, not only by Stephen,Luke throout is perfectly well skill’d in the customs of commonwealths. but also by Paul, where they begin their speeches in this manner: Men, brethren, and fathers. To com then from the fathers to the people, the popular assembly, or prerogative tribe; it is propos’d,
THAT the burgesses of the annual election return’d by the tribes, enter into the prerogative tribe upon Monday next insuing the last of March; and that the like number of burgesses, whose term is expir’d, recede at the same time.35. Fabric of the prerogative tribe. That the burgesses thus enter’d elect to themselves out of their own number, two of the horse; one to be captain, and the other to be cornet of the same: and two of the foot; one to be captain, the other to be insign of the same, each for the term of three years. That these officers being thus elected, the whole tribe or assembly procede to the election of four annual magistrats; two out of the foot, to be tribuns of the foot; and two out of the horse, to be tribuns of the horse. That the tribuns be commanders of this tribe in chief, so far as it is a military body; and presidents of the same, as it is a civil assembly. And lastly, that this whole tribe be paid weekly as follows. To each of the tribuns of horse, seven pounds. To each of the tribuns of foot, six pounds. To each of the captains of horse, five pounds. To each of the captains of foot, four pounds. To each of the cornets, three pounds. To each of the insigns, two pounds seven shillings. To every horseman two pounds, and to every one of the foot one pound ten shillings.
For the salarys of the senat and the people together; they amount not to three hundred thousand pounds a year; which is cheaper by near two parts in three, than the chief magistracy ever did or can otherwise cost: for if you give nothing (omnia dat qui justa negat) men will be their own carvers. But to procede, it is propos’d,
THAT inferior officers, as captains, cornets, insigns, be only for the military disciplin of the tribe. That the tribuns have session in the senat without suffrage; that they have session of course in the dictatorian council, so often as it is created by the senat, and with suffrage.36. Offices of the officers. That they be presidents of the court in all cases to be judg’d by the people.
37. Appeal to the people.THAT peculat or defraudation of the public, and all cases tending to the subversion of the government, be triable by this representative; and that there be an appeal to the same in all causes, and from all magistrats, courts and councils, whether national or provincial.
The sixth parallel.This judicatory may seem large: but thus the congregation of Israel, consisting of four hundred thousand, judg’d the tribe of Benjamin. Thus all the Roman tribes judg’d Coriolanus.Judg. 20. Halicar. Janotti. And thus duke Loredano was try’d by the great council of Venice, consisting yet of about two thousand.
This is as much as I have to say severally of the senat and the people; but their main functions being joint, as they make one parlament, it is farther propos’d,
38. The main function of the senat.THAT the right of debate, as also of proposing to the people, be wholly and only in the senat; without any power at all of result, not deriv’d from the people.
39. The main function of the prerogative tribe.THAT the power of result be wholly and only in the people, without any right at all of debate.
THAT the senat having debated and agreed upon a law to be propos’d, cause promulgation of the same to be made for the space of six weeks before proposition; that is, cause the law to be printed and publish’d so long before it is to be propos’d.
40. Promulgation.THAT promulgation being made, the signory demand of the tribuns, being present in the senat, an assembly of the people.41. Manner of proposition. That the tribuns, upon such a demand of the signory or of the senat, be oblig’d to assemble the prerogative tribe in arms by sound of trumpet, with drums beating and colors flying, in any town, field, or market-place being not above six miles distant, upon the day and at the hour appointed; except the meeting, thro any inconvenience of the weather or the like, be prorogu’d by the joint consent of the signory and the tribuns. That the prerogative tribe being assembl’d accordingly, the senat propose to them by two or more of the senatorian magistrats, thereto appointed at the first promulgation of the law. That the proposers for the senat open to the people the occasion, motives, and reasons of the law to be propos’d; and the same being don, put it by distinct clauses to the ballot of the people. That if any material clause or clauses be rejected by the people, they be review’d by the senat, alter’d, and propos’d (if they think fit) to the third time, but no oftner.
42. Act of parlament.THAT what is thus propos’d by the senat, and resolv’d by the people, be the law of the land, and no other, except as in the case reserv’d to the dictatorian council.
The seventh parallel.The congregation of Israel being monthly, and the representative propos’d being annual and triennial, they are each upon courses or rotation: the congregation of Israel consisting of twenty four thousand, in which the whole number of the princes of the tribes and of the princes of the familys amounted not, I might say, to one hundred, but will say to one thousand; it follows, that the lower sort in the congregation of Israel held proportion to the better sort, above twenty to one. Wheras in the representative propos’d, the lower sort hold proportion to the better sort but six to four; and that popular congregation where the lower sort hold but six to four, is by far the most aristocratical that is or ever was in any well-order’d commonwealth, except Venice: but if you will have that gentry to be all of one sort, or if you allow them to be of a better and of a meaner sort, Venice is not excepted. The sanhedrim made no law without the people; nor may the senat in this model: but the sanhedrim with the congregation might make laws; so may the senat, in our model, with the representative of the people.Ezra 10. 8. Lastly, as the congregation in Israel was held either by the princes in person, with their staves and standards of the camp, or by the four and twenty thousand in military disciplin; so the representative propos’d is in the nature of a regiment.
Excepting Venice, where there is a shadow, and but a shadow of law made by the senat (for the soverain power is undeniably in the great council) and Athens, where a law made by the senat was current as a probationer for one year before it was propos’d to the people; there neither is nor has bin any such thing in a commonwealth as a law made by the senat. That the senat should have power to make laws, reduces the government to a single council; and government by a single council, if the council be of the many, is anarchy, as in the assembly of the Roman people by tribes, which always shook, and at length ruin’d that commonwealth: or, if the council be of the few, it is oligarchy, as that of Athens consisting of the four hundred, who nevertheless pretended to propose to five thousand, tho they did not.Thucyd. lib. 8. Of which says Thucydides, This was indeed the form pretended in words by the four hundred; but the most of them, thro privat ambition, fell upon that by which an oligarchy made out of a democracy is chiefly overthrown: for at once they claim’d every one not to be equal, but to be far the chief. Anarchy, or a single council consisting of the many, is ever tumultuous, and dos ill even while it means well. But oligarchy, seldom meaning well, is a faction wherin every one striving to make himself, or som other from whom he hopes for advantages, spoils all. There is in a commonwealth no other cure of these, than that the anarchy may have a council of som few, well chosen, and elected by themselves, to advise them; which council so instituted, is the senat: or that the oligarchy have a popular representative to balance it; which both curing tumult in the rash and heady people, and all those corruptions which cause factiousness in the sly and subtil few, amount to the proper superstructures of a well-order’d commonwealth. As, to return to the example of the oligarchy in Athens, where the four hundred (whose reign, being very short, had bin as seditious) were depos’d; and the soverainty was decreed to a popular council of five thousand, with a senat of four hundred annually elective upon courses, or by rotation.Lib. 8. Of this says Thucydides, Now first (at least in my time) the Athenians seem to have order’d their state aright, it consisting of a moderat temper both of the few and the many. And this was the first thing that, after so many misfortunes, made the city again to raise her head. But we in England are not apt to believe, that to decree the soverainty to thousands, were the way to make a city or a nation recover of its wounds, or to raise its head. We have an aversion to such thoughts, and are sick of them. An assembly of the people soverain! Nay, and an assembly of the people consisting in the major vote of the lower sort! Why, sure it must be a dull and unskilful thing. But so is the touchstone in a goldsmith’s shop, a dull thing, and altogether unskill’d in the trade; yet without this, would even the master be deceiv’d. And certain it is, that a well-order’d assembly of the people is as true an index of what in government is good or great, as any touchstone is of gold.
A council (especially if of a loose election) having not only the debate, but the result also, is capable of being influenc’d from without, and of being sway’d by interest within. There may be a form’d, a prejudic’d party, that will hasten or outbaul you from the debate to the question, and then precipitat you upon the result: wheras if it had no power of result, there could remain to the same no more than debate only, without any biass, or cause of diverting such debate from maturity; in which maturity of unbiass’d debate lys the final cause of the senat, and the whole light that can be given to a people. But when this is don, if your resolving assembly be not such as can imbibe or contract no other interest than that only of the whole people, all again is lost: for the result of all assemblys gos principally upon that which they conceive to be their own interest. But how an assembly upon rotation, consisting of one thousand, where the vote is six to four in the lower sort, should be capable of any other interest than that only of the whole people by which they are orderly elected, has never yet bin, nor, I believe, ever will be shewn. In a like distribution therfore of debate and result, consists the highest mystery of popular government; and indeed the supreme law, wherin is contain’d not only the liberty, but the safety of the people.
For the remainder of the civil part of this model, which is now but small, it is farther propos’d,
43. Rule for vacations.THAT every magistracy, office, or election throout this whole commonwealth, whether annual or triennial, be understood of consequence to injoin an interval or vacation equal to the term of the same. That the magistracy of a knight and of a burgess, be, in this relation, understood as one and the same; and that this order regard only such elections as are national or domestic, and not such as are provincial or foren.
44. Exception from the rule.THAT, for an exception from this rule, where there is but one elder of the horse in one and the same parish, that elder be eligible in the same without interval; and where there be above four elders of the horse in one and the same parish, there be not above half, nor under two of them eligible at the same election.
Otherwise the people, beyond all manner of doubt, would elect so many of the better sort at the very first, that there would not be of the foot or of the meaner sort enough to supply the due number of the popular assembly or prerogative tribe: and the better sort being excluded subsequent elections by their intervals, there would not be wherwithal to furnish the senat, the horse of the prerogative tribe, and the rest of the magistracys; each of which obstructions is prevented by this exception. Where, by the way, if in all experience such has bin the constant temper of the people, and can indeed be reasonably no other, it is apparent what cause there can be of doubt who in a commonwealth of this nature must have the leading. Yet is no man excluded from any preferment; only industry, which ought naturally to be the first step, is first injoin’d by this policy, but rewarded amply: seeing he who has made himself worth one hundred pounds a year, has made himself capable of all preferments and honors in this government. Where a man from the lowest state may not rise to the due pitch of his unquestionable merit, the commonwealth is not equal; yet neither can the people, under the limitations propos’d, make choice (as som object) of any other than the better sort; nor have they at any time bin so inclining to do, where they have not bin under such limitations. Be it spoken, not to the disparagement of any man, but on the contrary to their praise whose merit has made them great, the people of England have not gon so low in the election of a house of commons, as som prince has don in the election of a house of lords. To weigh election by a prince with election by a people, set the nobility of Athens and Rome by the nobility of the old monarchy, and a house of commons freely chosen by the nobility of the new. There remains but the quorum, for which it is propos’d,
45. The quorum.THAT, throout all the assemblys and councils of this commonwealth, the quorum consist of one half in the time of health, and of one third part in a time of sickness, being so declar’d by the senat.
How the city government, without any diminution of their privileges, and with an improvement of their policy, may be made to fall in with these orders, has* elswhere bin shewn in part, and may be consider’d farther at leisure. Otherwise the whole commonwealth, so far as it is merely civil, is in this part accomplish’d. Now as of necessity there must be a natural man, or a man indu’d with a natural body, before there can be a spiritual man, or a man capable of divine contemplation; so a government must have a civil, before it can have a religious part: and if a man furnisht only with natural parts can never be so stupid as not to make som reflections upon religion, much less a commonwealth; which necessitats the religious part of this model.
THERE is nothing more certain or demonstrable to common sense, than that the far greater part of mankind, in matters of religion, give themselves up to the public leading. Now a national religion rightly establish’d, or not coercive, is not any public driving, but only the public leading. If the public in this case may not lead such as desire to be led by the public, and yet a party may lead such as desire to be led by a party, where would be the liberty of conscience as to the state? Which certainly in a well-order’d commonwealth, being the public reason, must be the public conscience. Nay, where would be the liberty of conscience in respect of any party which should so procede as to shew, that without taking their liberty of conscience from others, they cannot have it themselves? If the public, refusing liberty of conscience to a party, would be the cause of tumult, how much more a party refusing it to the public? And how, in case of such a tumult, should a party defend their liberty of conscience, or indeed their throats, from the whole or a far greater party, without keeping down or tyrannizing over the whole or a far greater party by force of arms? These things being rightly consider’d, it is no wonder that men, living like men, have not bin yet found without a government, or that any government has not bin yet found without a national religion; that is, som orderly and known way of public leading in divine things, or in the worship of God.
A national religion being thus prov’d necessary, it remains that I prove what is necessary to the same: that is, as it concerns the state, or in relation to the duty of the magistrat.
Certain it is, that religion has not seen corruption but by one of these three causes: som interest therwith incorporated, som ignorance of the truth of it, or by som complication of both. Nor was ever religion left wholly to the management of a clergy that escap’d these causes, or their most pernicious effects; as may be perceiv’d in Rome, which has brought ignorance to be the mother of devotion, and indeed interest to be the father of religion.Chap. II. Now the clergy not failing in this case to be dangerous, what recourse but to the magistrat for safety? specially seeing these causes, that is, interest and ignorance (the one proceeding from evil laws, the other from the want of good education) are not in the right or power of a clergy, but only of the civil magistracy Or if so it be that magistrats are oblig’d in duty to be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to the church; how shall a state in the sight of God be excusable, that takes no heed or care lest religion suffer by causes, the prevention or remedy wherof is in them only?Isa. 49. 23. To these therfore it is propos’d,
46. Universitys.THAT the universitys being prudently reform’d, be preserv’d in their rights and indowments, for and towards the education and provision of an able ministry.
Joh. 5. 39.We are commanded by Christ to search the Scriptures: the Scriptures are not now to be search’d but by skill in tongues: the immediat gift of tongues is ceas’d: how then should skill in tongues be acquir’d but mediatly, or by the means of education? How should a state expect such an education (particularly, for a matter of ten thousand men) that provides not for it? And what provision can a state make for this education, but by such schools so indow’d and regulated, as with us are the universitys? These therfore are a necessary step towards the prevention of such ignorance or interest, as thro the infirmitys or bias of translators, interpreters, and preachers, both have and may frequently com to be incorporated with religion; as also to the improvement or acquisition of such light as is by the command of Christ to be attain’d or exercis’d in searching the Scriptures.
The eighth parallel.The excellent learning of the Levits in all kinds, not ordinarily infus’d, but acquir’d (there having bin among them as well the teacher as the scholar) leaves little doubt but their forty-eight citys were as so many universitys.1 Chron. 25 8. These, with their suburbs or indowments,Mal. 2. 12. contain’d in the whole (each of their circuits in land reckon’d at four thousand cubits deep) about a hundred thousand acres; that is, if their measure was according to the common cubit: if according to the holy cubit (as with Levits was most likely) twice so much; which, at the lowest account, I conceive to be far above the revenues of both our universitys.
These being order’d as has bin said, it is propos’d,
47. Augmentation of livings.THAT the legal and antient provision for the national ministry be so augmented, that the meanest sort of livings or benefices, without defalcation from the greater, be each improv’d to the revenue of one hundred pounds at least.
The ninth parallel.This, in regard the way is by tithes, coms up so close to the orders of Israel, as, in our day, may shew that a commonwealth may com too near that pattern to be lik’d. We find not indeed that the apostles either took or demanded tithes; in which case the priests, who were legally possest of them, might have had suspicion that they, under color of religion, had aim’d at the violation of property. But putting the case, that generally the priests had bin converted to the Christian faith, whether the apostles would for that reason have injoin’d them to relinquish their tithes? Or what is there in the Christian religion to favor any such surmise? To me there seems abundantly enough to the contrary. For if the apostles stuck not to comply with the Jews in a ceremony which was of mere human invention, and to introduce this, as they did ordination by imposition of hands, into the Christian church; that they would, upon a like inducement, have refus’d a standing law undoubtedly Mosaical, is in my opinion most improbable. So that, I conceive, the law for tithes now in being may or may not be continu’d, at the pleasure of the lawgivers, for any thing in this case to the contrary. Confident I am, that the introducing of this model in the whole, which is thought impracticable, were not to willing minds so difficult a work as the abolition of tithes.
But benefices, whether by way of tithes or otherwise, being thus order’d, it is propos’d,
48. Ordination.THAT a benefice becoming void in any parish, the elders of the same may assemble and give notice to the vice-chancellor of either university by a certificat, specifying the true value of that benefice: that the vice-chancellor, upon the receit of this certificat, be oblig’d to call a congregation of his university: that the congregation of the university to this end assembl’d, having regard to the value of the benefice, make choice of a person sit for the ministerial function, and return him to the parish so requiring: that the probationer thus return’d to a parish by either of the universitys, exercise the office, and receive the benefits as minister of the parish for the term of one year: that the term of one year being expir’d, the elders of the parish assemble and put the election of the probationer to the ballot: that if the probationer has three parts in four of the balls or votes in the affirmative, he be therby ordain’d and elected minister of that parish; not afterwards to be degraded or remov’d, but by the censor of the tribe, the phylarch of the same, or the council of religion in such cases as shall be to them reserv’d by act of parlament: that in case the probationer coms to fail of three parts in four at the ballot, he depart from that parish; and if he returns to the university, it be without diminution of the former offices or preferments which he there injoy’d, or any prejudice to his future preferment: and that it be lawful in this case for any parish to send so often to either university, and it be the duty of either vice-chancellor upon such certificats to make return of different probationers, till such time as the elders of that parish have fitted themselves with a minister of their own choice and liking.
In case it was thought fit that a probationer thus elected should, before he departs, receive imposition of hands from the doctors of the university, I cannot see what the most scrupulous in the matter of ordination could find wanting. But let this be so, or otherwise, it is indifferent. The universitys, by proposing to the congregation in every parish, do the senatorian office; and the people, thus fitting themselves by their suffrage or ballot, reserve that office which is truly popular, that is the result, to themselves.
The tenth parallel.MOSES (for so far back the divines reach at ordination) in the institution of the senat of Israel, wherein he can never be prov’d to have us’d imposition of hands, performing the senatorian office,Deut. 1. caus’d the people to take wise men, and understanding,Numb. 11. and known among their tribes, wherof the lot fell upon all but Eldad and Medad. And the apostles doing the senatorian office,Acts 1. 26. in like manner without imposition of hands, caus’d the whole congregation to take two, wherof the lot of apostleship fell upon Matthias. So that this way of ordination being that which was instituted by Moses, and the chief or first of those which were us’d by the apostles, is both mosaical and apostolical.See Book 2. chap. 8. Nor has a well-order’d commonwealth any choice left of those other ways of ordination, us’d by the apostles in complaisance to worse sort of government; but is naturally necessitated to this, that is, to the very best.
Ordination being thus provided for, it is propos’d,
49. National religion, and provision against scandalous ministers.THAT the national religion be exercis’d according to a directory in that case to be made, and publish’d by act of parlament. That the national ministry be permitted to have no other public preferment or office in this commonwealth. That a national minister being convict of ignorance or scandal, be movable out of his benefice by the censors of the tribe, under an appeal to the phylareh, or to the council of religion.Chap. III.
THAT no religion, being contrary to or destructive of Christianity, nor the public exercise of any religion, being grounded upon or incorporated into a foren interest, be protected by or tolerated in this state.50. Liberty of conscience. That all other religions, with the public exercise of the same, be both tolerated and protected by the council of religion; and that all professors of any such religion be equally capable of all elections, magistracys, preferments, and offices in this commonwealth, according to the orders of the same.
Upon the whole of these propositions, touching church disciplin, we may make these observations. Thus neither would the party that is for gifted men, and enemys to learning, thro ignorance (which else in all probability they must) lose religion; nor the clergy be able to corrupt it by interest. But decency and order, with liberty of conscience, would still flourish together; while the minister has a preferment he sought, the parish a minister they chose, the nation a religion according to the public conscience, and every man his Christian liberty. He therfore that indeavours to confute this chapter, must either shew how these things may be omitted, or more effectually provided for; or tithe mint and cumin, and neglect the weightier things of lawgiving.
A commonwealth having, in the establishment of religion, made resignation of herself to God, ought in the next place to have regard to the natural means of her defence; which introduces the military part of this model.
THE military part, on which at present I shall discourse little, consists in the disciplin of the youth, that is, of such as are between eighteen and thirty years of age: and for the disciplin of the youth it is propos’d,
51. Disciplin of the youth.THAT annually upon Wednesday next insuing the last of December, the youth of each parish (under the inspection of the two overseers of the same) assemble and elect the fifth man of their number, or one in five of them, to be for the term of that year deputys of the youth of that parish.
52. Their troops, and sports.THAT annually on Wednesday next insuing the last of January, the said deputys of the respective parishes meet at the capital of the hundred (where there are games and prizes allotted for them, as has bin shew’d* elswhere) and there elect to themselves out of their own number, one captain, and one insign. And that of these games, and of this election, the magistrats and officers of the hundreds be presidents, and judges for the impartial distribution of the prizes.
53. Their squadrons, and exercises.THAT annually upon Wednesday next insuing the last of February, the youth thro the whole tribe thus elected, be receiv’d at the capital of the same, by the lieutenant or commander in chief, by the conductor, and by the censors; that under the inspection of these magistrats, the said youth be entertain’d with more splendid games, disciplin’d in a more military manner, and be divided by lot into sundry parts, or essays, according to the rules* elswhere given.
THAT the whole youth of the tribe, thus assembl’d, be the first essay. That out of the first essay, there be cast by lot two hundred horse, and six hundred foot: that they whom their friends will, or themselves can mount, be accounted horse, the rest foot.54. The second essay, or the standing army. That these forces (amounting in the fifty tribes to ten thousand horse, and thirty thousand foot) be always ready to march at a week’s warning: and that this be the second essay, or the standing army of the commonwealth.
55. Provincial guards.THAT for the holding of each province, the commonwealth in the first year assign an army of the youth, consisting of seven thousand five hundred foot, and one thousand five hundred horse. That for the perpetuation of these provincial armys or guards, there be annually, at the time and places mention’d, cast out of the first essay of the youth in each tribe ten horse, and fifty foot: that is, in all the tribes five hundred horse, and two thousand five hundred foot for Scotland; the like for Ireland; and the like of both orders for the sea guards: being each oblig’d to serve for the term of three years upon the states pay.
The standing army of the commonwealth consisting thus of forty thousand, not soldiers of fortune neither in body nor in pay, but citizens at their vocations or trades, and yet upon command in continual readiness; and the provincial armys each consisting of nine thousand in pay in body, and possess’d of the avenues and places of strength in the province, it is not imaginable how a province should be so soon able to stir, as the commonwealth must be to pour forty thousand men upon it, besides the sea guards. Nor coms this militia thus constituted, except upon marches, to any charge at all; the standing army having no pay, and the provinces,The eleventh parallel. wherof the sea thus guarded will be none of the poorest, maintaining their own guards. Such is the military way of a commonwealth, and the constitution of its armys, whether levy’d by suffrage, as in Rome; or by lot, as in Israel.Judg. 20. 9.
WE will go up by lot against Gibeah.
Standing forces being thus establish’d; for such as are upon emergent occasions to go forth, or march, it is propos’d,
56. The third essay, or army marching.THAT the senat and the people, or the dictator having decreed or declar’d war, and the field officers being appointed by the council of war; the general, by warrant issu’d to the lieutenants of the tribes, demand the second essay, or such part of it as is decreed; whether by way of levy or recruit. That by the same warrant he appoint his time and rendevouz: that the several conductors of the tribes deliver him the forces demanded at the time and place appointed. That a general thus marching out with the standing army, a new army be elected out of the first essay as formerly, and a new general be elected by the senat; that so always there be a general sitting, and a standing army, what generals or armys soever be marching. And that in case of invasion the bands of the elders be oblig’d to like duty with those of the youth.
57. Pœna [Editor: illegible character]ατε[Editor: illegible character]ας, or the guardian of education and liberty.THAT an only son be discharg’d of these dutys without prejudice. That of two brothers there be but one admitted to foren service at one time. That of more brothers, not above a half. That whoever otherwise refuses his lot, except upon cause shown he be dispens’d with by the phylarch, or upon penitence be by them pardon’d and restor’d, by such refusal be uncapable of electing, or being elected in this commonwealth; as also that he pay to the state a fifth of his revenue for protection, besides taxes. That divines, physicians, and lawyers, as also trades not at leisure for the essays, be so far exemted from this rule, that they be still capable of all preferments in their respective professions, with indemnity, and without military education or service.
A commonwealth whose militia consists of mercenarys, to be safe, must be situated as Venice, but can in no wise be great. The industry of Holland is the main revenue of that state; whence not being able to spare hands to her arms, she is cast upon strangers and mercenary forces, thro which we in our time have seen Amsterdam necessitated to let in the sea upon her, and to becom (as it were) Venice. To a popular government that could not do the like, mercenary arms have never fail’d to be fatal; whence the last proposition is that which in every well-order’d commonwealth has bin look’d to as the main guard of liberty.
The twelfth parallelIn this Israel was formidable beyond all other commonwealths, with a kind of fulmination. Saul when he heard the cruelty of Nahash the Ammonit, at the leaguer of Jabesh-Gilead, took a yoke of oxen and hew’d them in pieces, and sent them throout the coasts of Israel,1 Sam. 11. 7. by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever coms not out after Saul, and after Samuel, so shall it be don to his oxen.Judg. 5. 23. Which amounted not only to a confiscation of goods (the riches of the Israelits lying most in their cattle) but to a kind of anathema, as more plainly appears, where it is said, Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants therof, because they came not forth to help the Lord against the mighty.Judg. 21. Nay this (ατεία) desertion of the military orders and services in Israel, was somtimes punish’d with total extermination, as after the victory against Benjamin, where the congregation or political assembly of that people, making inquisition what one of the tribes of Israel came not up to the Lord in Mizpeh (the place where before the taking of Jerusalem they held, as I may say, their parlaments) and finding that there came none to the camp from Jabesh-Gilead, sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead with the edg of the sword, and the women and the children: which was don accordingly.
But by this time men will shrink at this as a dreadful order, and begin to compute that a commonwealth, let her prerogatives for the rest be what they will, must at this rate be but a dear purchase: wheras indeed, if this way costs somthing, there is no other that dos not hazard all; forasmuch as discarding this order, play your game as you can, you are some time or other a prey to your enemys, or to your mercenarys. This certainly is that root in (the penetralia) the bowels of a commonwealth, whence never any court arts, or politeness, could attain to the gallantry or splendor of the education in popular governments. For let any man (remembring what it was to be a Gideon, a Miltiades, a Timoleon, a Scipio, or a magistrat in a commonwealth) consider if there should be no way with us to magistracy, but by having serv’d three years at sea, and three years at land, how the whole face and genius of education, both in the better and in the lower sort, would of necessity be chang’d in this nation, and what kind of magistrats such experience in those services must create to the commonwealth. Consider, whether the threaten’d punishments of this order, tho thro unacquaintance they may at first sight have som brow, would not, as they have don in other commonwealths of like structure, even with low spirits, expire in scorn and contempt, or thro the mere contemplation of the reward of honor, nay of the honor it self, in which point where right has not bin don, men, under governments of this nature, have bin much more apt to heats; as where the men of Ephraim fought against Jeptha, for an affront in this kind which they conceiv’d him to have put upon them.Judg. 12. Wherfore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? We will burn thy house upon thee with fire. Nor is this way so expensive of the purse or of blood. Not of the public purse, because it detests mercenarys; nor of the privat purse, because the ways of education thus directed, are all assisted with the states pay: so that a man in this road might educat three children cheaper, and to the most solid ends, than he could any one to trifles in those which among us hitherto have bin usual. And as to blood, there is nothing more certain, than that idleness, and its inseparable companion luxury, are excedingly more wastful as of the purse, so of health, nay and of life it self, than is war; which nevertheless this order is such as dos rather prevent than necessitat, in regard that to be potent in arms is the way of peace. But wheras in a martial commonwealth there may be men having exceded the thirtieth year of their age, who like those of Ephraim would yet take it ill to be excluded the lists of honor, and it must also be to the detriment of the commonwealth that they should; for these, whom we may call volunteers, it is propos’d,
58. Volunteers.THAT upon warrants issu’d forth by the general for recruits or levys, there be an assembly of the phylarch in each tribe; that such volunteers, or men being above thirty years of age, as are desirous of farther imployment in arms, appear before the phylarch so assembl’d. That any number of these, not exceeding one moiety of the recruits or levys of that tribe, may be taken on by the phylarch, so many of the youth being at the discretion of this council disbanded, as are taken on of the volunteers. That the levys thus made, be conducted by the conductor of the respective tribe to the rendevouz appointed. And that the service of these be without other term or vacation, than at the discretion of the senat and the people, or such instructions to the general, as shall by them in that case be provided.
Thus much for the military or defensive part of this model.Mat. 18. 7. For offences in general it is written, Wo unto the world because of offences; for it must needs be that offences com, but wo to that man by whom the offence coms. Among offences are offensive wars: now it being out of question, that for the righteous execution of this wo upon him or them by whom the offence coms, a war may be just and necessary, as also that victory in a just and necessary war may intitle one prince or one people to the dominion or empire of another prince or people; it is also out of question, that a commonwealth, unless in this case she be provided both to acquire, and to hold what she acquires, is not perfect: which consideration brings me to the provincial part of this model.
THE word province is with Roman authors of divers significations. By these it is taken sometimes for magistracy; as that of the consul, which is call’d his province: somtimes for any religion or country, in which a Roman captain or general was commanded to make war; but specially for such a country as was acquir’d and held by arms, or by provincial right.Esth. 1. 1. The word is of the like different use in Scripture; as where it is said, That Ahasuerus reign’d over a hundred and seven provinces; by which are understood as well the divisions of the native, as those of the acquir’d territorys.Ezra 5. 8. But where Tanais the governor writes to the king of Assyria concerning the province of Judea, it is understood a country acquir’d and held by arms; which coms to the usual signification of the word with the Romans, it being in this sense that the governor Felix ask’d Paul of what province he was, and came to understand that he was of Cilicia, then a province of the Roman empire:Acts 23. 34. and this signification is that in which I take the word throout this chapter.
The mighty load of empire which happen’d to the commonwealth of Rome thro the acquisition of many and vast provinces, is that wherto the songs of poets, and the opinions of more serious writers attribute the weight which they say oversway’d her. But this judgment, tho in itself right, is not in the manner they take it to be swallow’d without chewing. For how probable it is that the succeding monarchy was able to support a weight in this kind, which the commonwealth could not bear, may at this distance be discern’d, in that the provinces were infinitely more turbulent in the reign of the emperors, than in that of the commonwealth, as having a far stronger interest, thro ambition of attaining to the whole, to tear the empire in pieces: which they did, while divers provinces made divers emperors, which before could not hope to make divers commonwealths, nor to acquire safety by retreat to a petty government.Plutarch in Gracch. But in this, the acquisition of provinces devour’d the commonwealth of Rome, that, she not being sufficiently fortify’d by agrarian laws, the nobility, thro’ the spoil of provinces, came to eat the people out of their popular balance or lands in Italy by purchases; and the lands that had been in the hands of the many, coming thus into the hands of the few, of natural and necessary consequence there follows monarchy.
Now that England, a monarchy, has bin seiz’d of provinces (one of them, while France was such, being as great as any one of the Roman) is a known thing; and that the militia propos’d by the present model, contains all the causes of greatness that were in that of Rome, is to such as are not altogether strangers to the former no less than obvious. Now of like causes not to presume like effects, were unreasonable. The safety therfore of the foregoing agrarian, as hitherto propos’d, or that lands be divided in their descent, must in this case be none at all, unless there be som stop also given in their accumulation by way of purchase; lest otherwise the spoil of som mighty province be still sufficient to eat out the people by purchase.
To submit therfore in this place (for ought I perceive) to inevitable necessity, it is propos’d,
5 Additional propositions to the agrarian.THAT (great commonwealths having bin overthrown by the spoil of provinces) an estate of two thousand pounds a year in land, be incapable of any accumulation by way of purchase.
Donations and inheritances will be fewer than to be dangerous; and as some fall, others will be dividing in their descent. But to resume the discourse upon the agrarian laws, which, because they were not till in this proposition complete, remains imperfect. That to agrarian laws som standard is necessary, appears plainly enough. This standard in a well-founded monarchy, must bar recess; and in a well-founded commonwealth must bar increase. For certain it is, that otherwise each of the policys dos naturally breed that viper which eats out the bowels of the mother: as monarchy, by pomp and luxury, reduces her nobility thro debt to poverty, and at length to a level with the people, upon which no throne ever stood or can stand: such was the case of this nation under her latter princes. And a commonwealth by her natural ways of frugality, of fattening and cockering up of the people, is apt to bring estates to such excess in som hands, as eating out the rest, bows the neck of a free state or city to the yoke, and exposes her to the goa of a lord and master, which was the case of Rome under her perpetual dictators. But why yet must this standard of land in the present case, be neither more nor less than just two thousand pounds a year? truly, where som standard was necessary to be nam’d, I might as well ask why not this as well as any other? yet am I not without such reasons why I have pitch’d upon this rather than any other, as I may submit to the judgment of the reader in the following computation or comparison of the divers effects or consequences of so many different standards, as by the rules of proportion may give sufficient account of the rest.
Let the dry rent of England (that is, at the rate a man may have for his land without sweating) be computed at ten millions: this presum’d, if you set the standard at ten thousand pounds a year, the whole territory can com into no fewer than one thousand hands. If you set it at five thousand pounds a year, it can com into no fewer than two thousand hands; and if you set it at two thousand pounds a year, it can com into no fewer than five thousand hands. It will be said, in which way you please, it will never com into so few hands as are capable of having it; which is certain: yet because the effects in their approaches would be such as may be measur’d by their extremes, I shall pitch upon these as the readiest way to guide my computation. The balance in a thousand hands might affect the government with a hankering after monarchy; in two thousand hands it might usurp it, as did the Roman nobility, and therby occasion a feud between the senat and the people. These not only in the extremes, but with much of a like nature in the approaches.
But letting these pass, as also the numbers or compass necessary to the rotation of such a commonwealth (none of which inconveniences are incident to the standard of two thousand pounds a year, as that wherby land can com into no fewer than five thousand proprietors) we will suppose these standards to be each of them, as to the safety of the government, indifferently practicable.
Yet it is recorded by experience, and wise authors, that the true cause whence England has bin an overmatch in arms for France, lay in the communication or distribution of property to the lower sort; and for the same cause let it be consider’d, if the commonwealth upon the standard of two thousand pounds a year (cæteris paribus) must not necessarily be an overmatch in the potency of its militia for the other two. Such are the advantages, such is the glory of the like moderation to the public. Mony (says the lord Verulam) is like muck, not good except it be spread. Much rather in popular government is this holding as to land, the latter having upon the state a far stronger influence, at least in larger territorys, than mony: for in such, mony, while scarce, cannot overbalance land; and were silver and gold as plentiful as brass or iron, they would be no more, nor would land be less worth. And for privat men, were it not that it is easier to fill the belly of a glutton than his eys, not only virtue, but the beatitude of riches, would be apparently consistent in a mean. But what need I play the divine or the philosopher upon a doctrin, which is not to diminish any man’s estate, not to bring any man from the customs to which he has bin inur’d, nor from any emergent expectation he may have; but regards only the generation to com, or the children to be born seven years after the passing such a law? whence it must needs follow, that putting the case this agrarian be introduc’d, it is to our age as if there were none; and if there be no agrarian, it is to our age as if there was one. The difference is no more, than that in the one way the commonwealth is at all points secur’d, and in the other it is left to its fortune even in the main. Of such soverain effect are the like laws, that I would go yet farther, and propose,
60. Agrarian for Scotland and Ireland.THAT in Scotland the standard be set at five hundred pounds a year; in Ireland at two thousand pounds a year in land; the rest for each as for England.
Narrowness of an agrarian for Scotland, being a martial country, would make the larger provision of a good auxiliary militia; and largeness of an agrarian for Ireland, being less martial, would cast a sop into the jaws of the avarice of those who should think it too much confin’d in England. And lest the provincials in this case should think themselves worse dealt with than the citizens themselves, the sum of the agrarian laws being cast up together, any man in the three nations may hold four thousand five hundred pounds a year in land; and any small parcel of land, or mere residence in England, makes a provincial a citizen. Should the commonwealth increase in provinces, the estates at this rate both of the citizens and provincials would be more and greater than ever were those of the antient nobility of these nations; and without any the least hazard to liberty. For he, who considering the whole Roman story, or that only of the Gracchi in Plutarch, shall rightly judg, must confess, that had Rome preserv’d a good agrarian but in Italy, the riches of its provinces could not have torn up the roots of its liberty, but on the contrary must have water’d them. It may be said, What need then of putting an agrarian upon the provinces? I answer: for two reasons: first is indulgence to the provincials and the second, advantage to the commonwealth. For the first, it is with small foresight apparent enough, that the avarice of the citizen being bounded at home, and having no limits in the provinces, would in a few years eat up the provincials, and bring their whole countrys (as the Roman patricians did Italy) to sound in their fetters, or to be till’d by their slaves or underlings. And so, for the second, the commonwealth would by such means lose an auxiliary militia, to be otherwise in Scotland only more worth than the Indys. The things therfore thus order’d, it is propos’d,
61. Provincial councils.THAT upon the expiration of magistracy in the senat, or at the annual recess of one third part of the same, there be elected by the senat out of the part receding, into each provincial council, four knights for the term of three years; therby to render each provincial council (presuming it in the beginning to have bin constituted of twelve knights, divided after the manner of the senat by three several lists or elections) of annual, triennial, and perpetual revolution or rotation.
62. Provincial governors or generals.THAT out of the same third part of the senat annually receding, there be to each province one knight elected for the term of one year. That the knight so elected be the provincial general or governor. That a provincial governor or general receive annually in April at his rendevouz appointed, the youth or recruits elected in the precedent month to that end by the tribes, and by their conductors deliver’d accordingly. That he repair with the said youth or recruits to his province, and there dismiss that part of the provincial guard or army whose triennial term is expir’d. That each provincial governor have the conduct of affairs of war and of state in his respective province, with advice of the provincial council; and that he be president of the same.
63. Provincial provosts.THAT each provincial council elect three weekly proposers, or provosts, after the manner, and to the ends already shewn in the constitution of senatorian councils; and that the provost of the senior list, during his term, be president of the council in absence of the general.
THAT each provincial council procede according to instructions receiv’d from the council of state, and keep intelligence with the same by any two of their provosts, for the government of the province, as to matters of war or state.64. Subordination and function of provincial councils. That upon levys of native or proper arms by the senat, and the people, a provincial council (having to that end receiv’d orders) make levys of provincial auxiliarys accordingly. That auxiliary arms upon no occasion whatsoever excede the proper or native arms in number. That for the rest, the provincial council maintain the provincials, defraying their peculiar guards and council, by such a known proportion of tributs, as on them shall be set by the senat and the people, in their proper rights, laws, libertys and immunitys, so far as upon the merits of the cause wherupon they were subdu’d, it seem’d good to the senat and the people to confirm them. And that it be lawful for the provincials to appeal from their provincial magistrats, councils, or generals, to the people of England.
In modelling a commonwealth, the concernment of provincial government coms in the last place; for which cause I conceive any long discourse upon these orders to be at present unnecessary: but certain things there are in the way which I am unwilling to let slip without pointing at them.
Whether men or mony be the nerve of war.Som will have men, som will have mony to be the nerve of war; each of which positions, in proper cases, may be a maxim: for if France, where the main body of the people is imbas’d; or Venice, which stands upon a mercenary militia, want mony, they can make no war. But it has heretofore bin otherwise with commonwealths. Roman historians (as is observ’d by Machiavel) in their military preparations or expeditions, make no mention of mony, unless what was gain’d by the war, and brought home into the treasury; as the spoil of Macedon by Emilius Paulus, being such, as the people for som years after were discharg’d of their tribute. Not that their wars were made altogether without mony: for if so, why should the people at any time before have paid tribute? or why upon this occasion were they excus’d? but that the mony in which their wars stood them, was not considerable in comparison of that which is requisit where mony may be counted the nerve of war; that is, where men are not to be had without it. But Rome, by virtue of its orders, could have rais’d vaster numbers of citizens and associats than perhaps it ever did, tho during the consulat of Pappus and Regulus, she levy’d in Italy only seventy thousand horse, and seven hundred thousand foot. Should we conceive the nerve of this motion to have bin mony, we must reckon the Indys to have bin exhausted before they were found; or so much brass to have bin in Italy, as would have made stones to be as good as mony. A well-order’d commonwealth dos these things not by mony, but by such orders as make of its citizens the nerve of its wars. The youth of the commonwealth propos’d are esteem’d in all at five hundred thousand. Of these there is an annual band, consisting of one hundred thousand. Of this one hundred thousand there is a standing army consisting of thirty thousand foot and ten thousand horse, besides such as being above thirty years of age, shall offer themselves as voluntiers: of which the number is in no wise likely to be few. To the standing army the provinces, or that only of Scotland, being both populous and martial, can afford at any time an equal number of auxiliarys.
These orders, thus sum’d up together, render this commonwealth ordinarily able to wage war with fourscore thousand men; a force which, it is known, not any prince in Christendom is able to match in virtue, number, or disciplin. For these the commonwealth in her sea guard has always at hand sufficient waftage, or at least such a sufficient convoy as may make any vessels at hand a sufficient transportation: all this, I say, by virtue of orders. Not but that the march, the equipage, the waftage of so great an army must cost mony; but that it will com to no account in comparison of a lingring war made by a matter of thirty thousand mercenarys, the very consumtion of a state: wheras fourscore thousand men so disciplin’d and so furnish’d, as has bin shewn, being once transported, must suddenly com to be no charge, or make the war defray it self.
But ’tis objected, that to reckon upon such a militia were to suppose a large country capable of being a commonwealth; wheras we hold them learn’d, who say that no commonwealth has consisted of more than som one city or town.Whether a commonwealth has confisted of more than one city or town. But in what language or in what geography, are the twelve tribes of Israel; the (δήμοι) peopledoms or prytanys of Athens, which Theseus gather’d into one body; the tribes and linages in Lacedemon instituted by Lycurgus; the five and thirty Roman tribes planted between the rivers Vulturnus and Arno, or between the citys now call’d Capua and Florence; the 13 cantons of the Switzers; the seven united provinces of the low countrys, understood to have bin or to be but one city or town? whether were not the people of Israel under their commonwealth six hundred thousand? what reason can be given why the government that could take in six hundred thousand, might not as well take in twice that number? how much short came the country, planted by the Roman tribes, of 150 miles square? or how much over is England? and what reason can be given why a government, taking in 150 miles square, might not as well take in twice that compass? whether was our house of commons under monarchy not collected from the utmost bounds of the English territory? and whether had the laws by them enacted not their free course to the utmost limits of the same? and why should that be impossible or impracticable to a representative of the people in a commonwealth, which was so facil and practicable to a representative of the people under monarchy?
It is a wonder how the commonwealth of Rome, which held as it were the whole world by provinces, should be imagin’d by any man to have consisted but of one town or city.
But to return: it is alleg’d by others, and as to provincial government very truly, that a commonwealth may be a tyranny: nor do I think that Athens, in this point, came short of any prince: Rome, on the other side, was (according to the merits of the cause) as frequent in giving liberty as in taking it away. The provinces of Venice and of Switzerland would not change their condition with the subjects of the best prince. However, the possibility in a commonwealth of tyrannizing over provinces, is not to be cur’d; for be the commonwealth or the prince a state or a man after God’s own heart, there is no way of holding a province but by arms.
The thirteenth parallel.WHEN the Syrians of Damascus came to succor Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men: then David put garisons in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts; and the Lord preserv’d David whithersoever he went.2 Sam. 8. 5, 6.
With this parallel I draw the curtain, and close (be it comedy to such as are for tragedy) the model; appealing to the present, or the next age, whether throout I have not had God himself for my vouchee.See the corollary of Oceana. In the mean time, there is nothing hereby propos’d which may not stand with a supreme magistrat.
Sect. 1. That a commonwealth not rightly order’d, is less seditious than the best of monarchys.FOR a nation to be still upon the cast of a dy, to be ever in trepidation as to the main chance of government, is a dreadful state of things. Such indeed with us has bin the constitution of our late governments, of which therfore not any can be call’d a commonwealth. Yet has the like state of things (in favor of monarchs, and thro the industry of the clergy) bin for many ages, that wherof commonwealths unheard are still accus’d and condemn’d. For proof in this case, the tribunitian storms of the Roman people are thought abundantly sufficient. But these having bin without blood, if with our affairs they hold any parallel, are not to be compar’d with the barons wars, those of York and Lancaster, or the like; but with the contests or strivings of our parlaments with their kings, while such disputes came not to arms. Or if the Roman fields from the time of the Gracchi grew bloody, we have known a matter of a dozen years in which ours might have compar’d with them.See Book 2. chap. 4. The seditions under the commonwealth of Rome to those under the empire, hold such a proportion, as the seditions under the commonwealth of Israel to those under their kings. I am contented at this time, for discourse sake, that the seditions of Venice should pass as they are computed by Mr. Wren: let those also which have happen’d in the commonwealths of the Switzers, and of the united provinces, by the skill of som man who may be thought more impartial than my self, be rightly enumerated and added. This being don, let the seditions that have happen’d in the monarchys of England, France, and Spain, be as impartially sum’d up; and I may venture to promise you, that you shall not find the sum of the seditions which have happen’d in those three commonwealths, to balance the foot of the account with those seditions which have happen’d in any one of those monarchys: nor are we without sufficient inducement to believe, that the whole account in this particular of those commonwealths which have bin in the world, can com any whit nearer to that of the monarchys. But this being so, be it also suppos’d, tho not granted, that a commonwealth is a seditious government, yet must it be the least seditious government.[Editor: illegible character]λληνιν. Lib. 4. The republic of Corinth never suffer’d but that one sedition which is describ’d by Xenophon; and this too from an external cause.
Sect. 2. That Mr. Wren’s opposition of popular prudence amounts to a confirmation of it.But I am the more confirm’d by the assaults of Mr. Wren, to have no less than demonstrated in the propos’d model, that a commonwealth rightly order’d is altogether incapable of sedition, and so consequently of dissolution, that is, from any internal cause. To render his consutation intire, and the truth of this assertion the more conspicuous, I shall first insert those rules or maxims wherby a model of a commonwealth may be exactly prov’d or examin’d, and then shew how they totally enervat and overturn those arguments elaborated by Mr. Wren towards the examination and confutation of the model propos’d.
How a model of popular government may be try’d or examin’d.The maxims or rules wherby a well-order’d model of popular government may be most exactly prov’d or examin’d, are specially two:
It is not in the power of nature that there should be an effect, where there is not the cause of that effect; and in a frame of government that is exactly according to the foregoing maxims, there can be no cause of sedition or dissolution. A model of government therfore that will hold examination by these maxims, must (without ostentation, or with Mr. Wren’s patience) be perfect.
Now let us observe how he bestirs himself to examin and confute this model. As to contradiction, he dos not so much as pretend that there is any guile in it; yet will not allow it to have any truth:W. p. 78. For, says he, as in a fiction the soveral members may be so contriv’d, as not to give one another the ly, but be all contain’d within the limits of verisimilitude, and yet the whole remain without the least syllable of truth; so in a model of government. To which I answer, that there being a truth of nature, and a truth of fact, this way of Mr. Wren’s disputing is mere equivocation. For the model is not propos’d to shew the truth of fact, or that there has bin any such exactly in practice; but to shew the truth of nature, or that such a model is practicable: wherfore he needed not to have alleg’d that it has not the truth of fact, which we all know; but was to shew where it fails of such a truth in nature as can any way render it impracticable.Ibid. But instead of this, he is gon to the moon; and will read us a lecture in politics by the planets, or the various hypotheses of celestial motions, which may be excogitated including no absurdity in themselves, and yet perhaps not any one of them prove to be the true method of nature. But may a man therfore argue in this manner? It is very hard to know certainly which are the highways of the planets, therfore there can be no certain knowledge which are the highways to London. Let us e’en say, Because the rotation of the world may as well go upon the heavens as upon the earth, therfore a man may as well go upon his head as upon his heels, and a commonwealth as well stand upon a milkwoman’s pattins, as upon the strongest interest, or the interest of the strongest.
W. p. 179.So much for contradiction. Now for inequality, says Mr. Wren, Tho it should be allow’d Mr. Harrington, that his commonwealth has none in it, yet would it fail of attaining the perfection of government, seeing there is an equality in the nature of man, which is not rectify’d by the model of his commonwealth. As if the equality of a government was pretended to be such, as should make a crooked man straight, a wicked man good, or a passionat man a philosopher; and it were not perfect, in being sufficient to prevent any influence that wickedness or passion in a man or men may have upon the government. But for farther discovery of these inequalitys in the nature of man, that are not rectify’d by the model, Mr. Wren sends us to his eighth and ninth chapters, where he produces them in such order, as I shall observe in repeating him.Pag. 84. Whensoever, says he, under popular government the number of those whose offences have render’d them liable to the severity of laws, is considerable enough to quality them for attemt, popular government has no more security than any other, of being free from sedition. It is very true: but Mr. Wren was oblig’d to shew how in an equal commonwealth, or under the model propos’d, it was possible that the number of such men should com to be considerable enough to qualify them for such an attemt. But in this kind he is no otherwise provided than to tell us, That of this original and extraction, as to the main, was Catilin’s attemt upon the Roman commonwealth. So undertaking against Oceana, or the most equal commonwealth, he is com to arguing against Rome, or the most inequal commonwealth; and at such a time too, when being no longer capable of liberty, but ready for bonds, there were other partys besides Catilin’s, and others besides such as were obnoxious to the laws, that lay in wait for her: as Pompey and his party, or at least Cesar and his, who at length carry’d it; so that this feat was not so much perform’d by men otherwise liable to severity of laws, as by men puff’d up by ambition But let these have bin of which sort he will, it remains with him to shew, how there should be of either kind enough in Oceana for a like attemt. It is known, that long before this happen’d in Rome, the whole of that commonwealth was in the hands of three men, Cesar, Pompey, and Crassus: wherfore he should have first shewn, which way the whole of the commonwealth of Oceana might com into the hands of three, or of a few men. But leaving this untouch’d, he runs making a dust, and a doubt where the soverain power of Oceana can be; which even in Rome, as inequal as it was, is acknowleg’d to have bin in the assemblys of the people; and in Athens, Thucydides expresly says, That the soverainty was in the five thousand.Lib. 5. Who ever doubted but where the ultimat result is, there also must be the soverainty? and the ultimat result of Oceana is in the prerogative tribe, or representative of the people.Pag. 84. Then says he, This representative thinking it their interest, may dissolve the government, and perpetuat themselves, and may com to think it their interest. For the desire of power being natural to man, a far greater share of power remains with every particular man, when the soverain power is divided among so many, than when the same power is divided among two hundred thousand. But I shew’d that this representative has the whole soverain power in themselves, not divided with any other, or with the five hundred thousand; which I suppose he means by the two hundred thousand he mentions. Now this representative cannot be understood to have the soverain power by overbalance of strength, because they are but one thousand to five hundred thousand; so it is plain that they have it by consent, or by orders only: wherfore these orders they have not the power, or strength, nor the interest to break; because breaking their orders (by which only, and not by strength, the power is in themselves) they com to divide the power that was in themselves, with the five hundred thousand, as they, who, in defect of the orders, have the far greater strength, and no legal bar.W. p. 85. Yet says he, That a representative is not incapable of making such an attemt as this, will (it is not improbable) easily find belief with those who are acquainted with the actions of these last eighteen years. Which is as much as to say, That because a representative, by and with the people, may have both the interest, and the power or strength to free themselves of a broken monarchy; therfore a representative may, without and against the people, have both the interest, and the power or strength to break the orders of the most equal commonwealth. But if the representative of Oceana has not the power or strength to break their orders, and perpetuat themselves, much less the senat. True it is, if we look upon som other commonwealths, a senat might have the interest to do it; but not where the senat has bin upon rotation. To add then to Mr. Wren’s faculty of opposition greater strength than is in it; if the senat of Oceana would do any thing of this kind, their readiest way were by creating of the dictator. The dictator being created, has soverain power in carrying on the orders of the commonwealth: but those do not perpetuat their power; this therfore cannot be don but by force or arms. The arms of the commonwealth are both numerous, and in a posture or readiness; but they consist of its citizens: and for the dictator to bring the citizen to break the commonwealth, were for a general to command his army to cut their own throats. It is true, the Roman decemvirs put in for prolongation; but, tho in the most inequal commonwealth, they could not make it stand one year, because of the citizens in arms: and for mercenarys there are none in Oceana; is this news? there were none in Israel, there were none in Athens, there were none in Lacedemon, there were none in Rome, while those commonwealths flourish’d. But were there mercenarys, as he might perhaps reckon servants, they are unarm’d, undisciplin’d; they cannot rise thro the vast bodys of citizens in arms both elders and youth; or if they would rise, they could be nothing in their hands. The Roman slaves, and the Lacedemonian helots, being far of another and more dangerous nature, never rose against their lords but to their own destruction. All this while I say nothing of the security which is in the frame of this dictator, beyond any example or interest of prolongation to be found either in the Roman dictator or the Venetian council of ten, each wherof having had the like power, did never discover any such inclination. It is true, that in the time of Sylla, the Roman dictator began to be perpetual; but this is not to be attributed so much to the imperfection of the order, as to the change of the balance. But if the dictator of Oceana cannot have the interest, or, having the interest, cannot have the power or strength to perpetuat that magistracy, much less can the senat.
The sum of what has bin said may be thus cast up, as to the whole constitution. If things or persons that have neither the right nor the might, may prevail against things and persons who have both the right and the might; then may one order of this commonwealth break the whole system: but the might, thro the foundation or popular balance of property, being in the whole people, and the whole superstructures of this commonwealth being nothing else but an equal distribution of common right to the whole people, who are possest of the might; they who have the might, have not the interest to break, but to preserve the orders; which therfore no other can have the power or strength to break, or som other breaking, must but lose that which they pretend to gain, to wit, the right, which in this case must still fall to the might devolving upon the people.W. p. 87. That Mr. Wren will needs fancy the tribes or citys in Oceana, as those in the united provinces, or the cantons of Switzerland, to be distinct soveraintys, concerns not me, seeing the form of Oceana is far otherwise; nor indeed him, seeing neither do the citys in Holland, nor the cantons in Switzerland, go about to dissolve their commonwealths or leagues. The champion having thus fail’d at the head, is contented to play low.W. p. 181. Tho there be care taken, says he, that at the assembly of the hundred and the tribe, such and such magistrats should be elected out of the horse, there is no necessary provision there should be any horse there, out of which to elect. And where can they be then, if not in som parish? He might better have said, that at the parish there was no care taken, that the people should not elect too many of the horse, which being indeed the defect of the former, is in this edition rectify’d.See proposition 44. His last exception is against the place where I say, that They who take upon them the profession of theology, physic or law, are not at leisure for the essays,W. p. 183. wherby the youth commence for all magistracy and honors, in the commonwealth. To which reason he offers not so much as any answer: nor pretends any other argument against it, than that this excludes divines, lawyers, and physicians, from those honors to which their parish clerks, their scriveners, and their apothecarys, nay farriers and coblers may attain. And what can I help that, if it ought nevertheless so to be, for a reason which he cannot answer? Nay, if so it be in common practice where the reason is nothing near so strong, seeing a parish clerk, a scrivener, an apothecary, nay a cobler or a farrier, is not uncapable of being of the common council, nor yet of being an alderman or lord mayor of London; which nevertheless that a divine, a lawyer, or a physician should be, were absurd to think. Divines have a plow from which they ought not to look back: they have above a tenth of the territory, with which they ought to be contented; and more than all, civil interest contracted by a clergy, corrupts religion. For lawyers, their practice and magistracys are not only the most gainful, but for life; and in a commonwealth, neither is accumulation of magistracy just or equal, nor the confounding of executive and legislative magistracy safe. Will Mr. Wren believe one of our own lawyers, and one of the learnedst of them upon this point?Verulam de Aug. Scien. lib. 8. cap. 3. It is the lord Verulam: They, says he, who have written (de legibus) of lawmaking, have handl’d this argument as philosophers, or as lawyers. Philosophers speak higher than will fall into the capacity of practice (to which may be refer’d Plato’s commonwealth, Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, with his own Atlantis) and lawyers being obnoxious, and addicted each to the laws of their particular country, have no freedom nor sincerity of judgment, but plead as it were in bonds. Certainly the cognizance of these things is most properly pertaining to political persons, who best know what stands with human society, what with the safety of the people, what with natural equity, with antient prudence, and with the different constitution of commonwealths. These therfore, by the principles and precepts of natural equity and good policy, may and ought to determin of laws. For physicians, who (as such) have in the management of state-affairs no prejudice, if you open them the door, they will not at all, or very rarely, com in: wherby it appears, first, that such a bar may in som cases be no violation of liberty; and, secondly, that the divines, who for better causes might be as well satisfy’d, and for more unanswerable reasons ought to forbear, yet are impatient, and give a full testimony that their meaning is not good.
Thus is the commonwealth by Mr. Wren oppos’d, by him asserted. There remains no more to the full confutation of his book, than to shew how the monarchy by him asserted is by him destroy’d. This is to be don by the examination of his ninth chapter, which is the next of those to which he refer’d us.
Sect. 3. That Mr. Wren’s assertion of monarchy amounts to the subversion of it.The opposition made by Mr. Wren to a commonwealth, and his pretended asserting of monarchy, run altogether upon Mr. Hobbs’s principles, and in his very words; but for want of understanding, much enervated: so that Mr. Wren’s whole feat of arms coms but to have given me a weaker adversary for a stronger. In soverainty, says he, the diffus’d strength of the multitude is united in one person; which in a monarchy is a natural person; in a state, an artificial one procreated by the majority of votes.W. p. 97. This then is the grand security of all soverains, whether single persons or assemblys,W. p. 99. that the united forces of their subjects, with which they are invested, is sufficient to suppress the beginnings of seditions. Who reads Mr. Hobbs, if this be news? But what provision is made by either of these authors, that the forces of these subjects must needs be united? Is union in forces, or in government, an effect wherof there is no cause? Or to what cause are we to attribute this certain union and grand security?W. p. 103. Why let there be such a nobility as may be a monarch’s guard against the people. And lest a monarch stand in need of another guard against this nobility, let none of these excel the rest of his order in power or dignity. Which effects or ends, thus commanded, vouchsafe not to acquaint us with their ways:Ibid. Yes, let the nobility have no right to assemble themselves for electing a successor to the monarchy, or for making a war or peace, or for nominating the great ministers of state, or for performing any other act which by the nature of it is inseparable from the soverain power. But why then must such a nobility be a guard against the people, and not rather a guard for the people, seeing both their interests and sufferings at this rate are the same, and include those very causes for which, in the barons war, the nobility became incendiarys and leaders of the people of England against their kings, and so those wherby their captain came to excel the rest of his order in power or dignity?W. p. 105. But for this the prince is to be provided, by having always in pay a sufficient militia; and som places of strength where a few may be secure against a number. For places of strength, citadels, or castles, there were in the time of the barons wars more than som; yet were they, as to this purpose, none. But a militia is one thing, and a sufficient militia is another; where the government consists of a nobility and of a people, what sufficient part of the property or revenue of the territory can there remain to the prince, wherby to have always in pay such a militia, as may be sufficient to keep the nobility and the people from joining, or to suppress them being join’d? If these be small armys, the like may befal them which befel those of the kings in the wars of the barons.W. p. 106. And if they be great armys, the prince has not wherwithal to support or content them; nay if he had, Mr. Wren tells us plainly, That princes who keep great armys, as guards to their persons or empires, teach us that this is to walk upon precipices; there being no possibility of preventing such an army (specially if they ly still without imployment) from acquiring an interest distinct from that of the prince. Wherfore (to follow Mr. Wren, and no other leader, in his own words against himself) this militia being great, cannot be so instituted, as to have no interest besides the pay it receives from the monarch; nor so as to have no hopes of being safe in their own strength, if they should withdraw themselves from the service and obedience due to him: and being not great, against the whole order or orders of the nobility and the people they cannot be sufficient.W. p. 107. What then remains but to say, that Mr. Wren having declar’d the perfection of monarchical government to consist in a mixture of monarchy by a nobility, and a monarchy by arms, has as to his model intirely subverted monarchy? In this way of disputing, I have rather follow’d my leader than reason; the true answer being that which was given in the preface, namely, that an army to be effectual in England, must be such where the officers have popular estates, or where they have such estates as had the antient nobility: in the latter case, they make a king; in the former, a commonwealth. But Mr. Wren will have his own way; and therfore, to conclude, let me but desire him to lay his hand upon his heart, and then tell me, whether the condition of the nobility (to whose favor in my exclusion he pretends a meritorious title) sharing eminently and according to their rank with the people in the commonwealth by me propos’d; or the condition of the nobility under the insolence and burden of a mercenary army, sharing equally with the people in oppression and slavery, or reviving the old barons wars for new liberty, in the monarchy by him propos’d, be the more desirable. And to speak a word for my adversary, we will submit it wholly to the present nobility, whether Mr. Wren or I be so extravagant in these things, that they have or can have any other than the like choice.W. p. 107. Yet enters not Mr. Wren into despair of living to injoy his share (which ought to be a good one) of the felicitys which will belong to the subjects of such a government. He looks upon persons, but things are invincible.
The rest of his book (to which The Prerogative of Popular Government is still a complete answer) consists altogether of gross evasion or invective, or of drawing out of story against popular prudence such imaginary swords as do but stand bent. To rectify or streighten these, I may hereafter present him (if any man shall think it worth the while) with a fuller answer.
[* ] Nec totam libertatem nec totam servitatem pati possunt. Tacit.
[* ] Hac est lex quam Moses proposuit, Deut. 4. 44. And whereas betwixt a precept and a command there is a large difference; in places more than I can stand to number, where the Latin has it, præcepit Moses, the English has it, Moses commanded.
[* ] Συγατ[Editor: illegible character]ψηφίση.
[* ] A later pamphlet call’d XXV Querys, using the balance of property, which is fair enough, refers it to Sir Thomas Smith’s 15th chap. (de repub. populi ingenio accommodanda) where the author speaks not one word of property; which is very foul.
[* ] In Oceana.
[* ] In Oceana.
[* ] In Oceana.
[* ] In Oceana.