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their king be but a cipher, being ofttimes a mischief, a | tedly to run their necks again into the yoke which they pest, a scourge of the nation, and which is worse, not have broken, and prostrate all the fruits of their victory to be removed, not to be controlled, much less accused for nought at the feet of the vanquished, besides our or brought to punishment, without the danger of a loss of glory, and such an example as kings or tyrants common ruin, without the shaking and almost sub- never yet had the like to boast of, will be an ignominy version of the whole land: whereas in a free common- if it befall us, that never yet befell any nation poswealth, any governor or chief counsellor offending sessed of their liberty; worthy indeed themselves, may be removed and punished, without the least com- whatsoever they be, to be for ever slaves, but that part motion. Certainly then that people must needs be of the nation which consents not with them, as I permad, or strangely infatuated, that build the chief hope suade me of a great number, far worthier than by their of their common happiness or safety on a single per- means to be brought into the same bondage. Conson; who, if he happen to be good, can do no more sidering these things so plain, so rational, I cannot but than another man; if to be bad, hath in his hands to yet further admire on the other side, how any man, do more evil without check, than millions of other men. who hath the true principles of justice and religion in The happiness of a nation must needs be firmest and him, can presume or take upon him to be a king and certainest in full and free council of their own electing, lord over his brethren, whom he cannot but know, whewhere no single person, but reason only, sways. And ther as men or Christians, to be for the most part every what madness is it for them who might manage nobly way equal or superior to himself: how he can display their own affairs themselves, sluggishly and weakly with such vanity and ostentation his regal splendour, to devolve all on a single person; and more like boys so supereminently above other mortal men; or being rage than men, to commit all to his patronage a Christian, can assume such extraordinary honour and disposal, who neither can perform what be under- and worship to himself, while the kingdom of Christ, takes, and yet for undertaking it, though royally paid, our common king and lord, is hid to this world, and will not be their servant, but their lord! How unmanly such Gentilish imitation forbid in express words by must it needs be, to count such a one the breath of our himself to all his disciples. All protestants hold that nostrils, to hang all our felicity on him, all our safety, Christ in his church hath left no vicegerent of his our well-being, for which if we were aught else but power; but himself, without deputy, is the only head sluggards or babies, we need depend on none but God thereof, governing it from heaven: how then can any and our own counsels, our own active virtue and in- christian man derive his kingship from Christ, but with dustry! "Go to the ant, thou sluggard," saith Solo- worse usurpation than the pope his headship over the mon; “consider her ways, and be wise; which having church, since Christ not only hath not left the least no prince, ruler, or lord, provides her meat in the sumshadow of a command for any such vicegerence from mer, and gathers her food in the harvest:" which evi-him in the state, as the pope pretends for his in the dently shews us, that they who think the nation un-church, but hath expressly declared, that such regal done without a king, though they look grave or dominion is from the Gentiles, not from him, and hath haughty, have not so much true spirit and understand- strictly charged us not to imitate them therein? ing in them as a pismire: neither are these diligent I doubt not but all ingenuous and knowing men creatures hence concluded to live in lawless anarchy, will easily agree with me, that a free commonwealth or that commended, but are set the examples to impru- without single person or house of lords is by far the dent and ungoverned men, of a frugal and self-govern- best government, if it can be had; but we have all this ing democracy or commonwealth; safer and more while, say they, been expecting it, and cannot yet atthriving in the joint providence and counsel of many tain it. It is true indeed, when monarchy was disindustrious equals, than under the single domination solved, the form of a commonwealth should have forthof one imperious lord. It may be well wondered that with been framed, and the practice thereof immediany nation, styling themselves free, can suffer any man ately begun; that the people might have soon been to pretend hereditary right over them as their lord; satisfied and delighted with the decent order, ease, and whenas by acknowledging that right, they conclude benefit thereof: we had been then by this time firmly themselves his servants and his vassals, and so renounce rooted past fear of commotions or mutations, and now their own freedom. Which how a people and their flourishing: this care of timely settling a new governleaders especially can do, who have fought so glori- ment instead of the old, too much neglected, hath been usly for liberty; how they can change their noble our mischief. Yet the cause thereof may be ascribed words and actions, heretofore so becoming the majesty with most reason to the frequent disturbances, interof a free people, into the base necessity of court-flat-ruptions, and dissolutions, which the parliament hath teries and prostrations, is not only strange and ad- had, partly from the impatient or disaffected people, That a nation partly from some ambitious leaders in the army; much should be so valorous and courageous to win their contrary, I believe, to the mind and approbation of the liberty in the field, and when they have won it, should army itself, and their other commanders, once undebe so heartless and unwise in their counsels, as not to ceived, or in their own power. Now is the opportuknow how to use it, value it, what to do with it, or with nity, now the very season, wherein we may obtain a themselves; but after ten or twelve years' prosperous free commonwealth, and establish it for ever in the war and contestation with tyranny, basely and besot- land, without difficulty or much delay. Writs are sent
mirable, but lamentable to think on.
out for elections, and, which is worth observing, in the | name, not of any king, but of the keepers of our liberty, to summon a free parliament; which then only will indeed be free, and deserve the true honour of that supreme title, if they preserve us a free people. Which never parliament was more free to do; being now called not as heretofore, by the summons of a king, but by the voice of liberty and if the people, laying aside prejudice and impatience, will seriously and calmly now consider their own good, both religious and civil, their own liberty and the only means thereof, as shall be here laid down before them, and will elect their knights and burgesses able men, and according to the just and necessary qualifications, (which, for aught I hear, remain yet in force unrepealed, as they were formerly decreed in parliament, men not addicted to a single person or house of lords, the work is done; at least the foundation firmly laid of a free commonwealth, and good part also erected of the main structure. For the ground and basis of every just and free government, (since men have smarted so oft for committing all to one person,) is a general council of ablest men, chosen by the people to consult of public affairs from time to time for the common good. In this grand council must the sovereignty, not transferred, but delegated only, and as it were deposited, reside; with this caution, they must have the forces by sea and land committed to them for preservation of the common peace and liberty; must raise and manage the public revenue, at least with some inspectors deputed for satisfaction of the people, how it is employed; must make or propose, as more expressly shall be said anon, civil laws, treat of commerce, peace, or war with foreign nations, and, for the carrying on some particular affairs with more secrecy and expedition, must elect, as they have already out of their own number and others, a council of state.
And, although it may seem strange at first hearing, by reason that men's minds are prepossessed with the notion of successive parliaments, I affirm, that the grand or general council, being well chosen, should be perpetual: for so their business is or may be, and ofttimes urgent; the opportunity of affairs gained or lost in a moment. The day of council cannot be set as the day of a festival; but must be ready always to prevent or answer all occasions. By this continuance they will become every way skilfullest, best provided of intelligence from abroad, best acquainted with the people at home, and the people with them. The ship of the commonwealth is always under sail; they sit at the stern, and if they steer well, what need is there to change them, it being rather dangerous ? Add to this, that the grand council is both foundation and main pillar of the whole state; and to move pillars and foundations, not faulty, cannot be safe for the building. I see not therefore, how we can be advantaged by successive and transitory parliaments; but that they are much likelier continually to unsettle rather than to settle a free government, to breed commotions, changes, novelties, and uncertainties, to bring neglect upon present affairs and opportunities, while
all minds are in suspense with expectation of a new assembly, and the assembly for a good space taken up with the new settling of itself. After which, if they find no great work to do, they will make it, by altering or repealing former acts, or making and multiplying new; that they may seem to see what their predecessors saw not, and not to have assembled for nothing: till all law be lost in the multitude of clashing statutes. But if the ambition of such as think themselves injured, that they also partake not of the government, and are impatient till they be chosen, cannot brook the perpetuity of others chosen before them; or if it be feared, that long continuance of power may corrupt sincerest men, the known expedient is, and by some lately propounded, that annually (or if the space be longer, so much perhaps the better) the third part of senators may go out according to the precedence of their election, and the like number be chosen in their places, to prevent their settling of too absolute a power, if it should be perpetual: and this they call "partial rotation." But I could wish, that this wheel or partial wheel in state, if it be possible, might be avoided, as having too much affinity with the wheel of Fortune. For it appears not how this can be done, without danger and mischance of putting out a great number of the best and ablest: in whose stead new elections may bring in as many raw, unexperienced, and otherwise affected, to the weakening and much altering for the worse of public transactions. Neither do I think a perpetual senate, especially chosen or entrusted by the people, much in this land to be feared, where the wellaffected, either in a standing army, or in a settled militia, have their arms in their own hands. Safest therefore to me it seems, and of least hazard or interruption to affairs, that none of the grand council be moved, unless by death, or just conviction of some crime for what can be expected firm or stedfast from a floating foundation? however, I forejudge not any probable expedient, any temperament that can be found in things of this nature, so disputable on either side. Yet lest this which I affirm be thought my single opinion, I shall add sufficient testimony. Kingship itself is therefore counted the more safe and durable because the king, and for the most part his council, is not changed during life: but a commonwealth is held immortal, and therein firmest, safest, and most above fortune: for the death of a king causeth ofttimes many dangerous alterations; but the death now and then of a senator is not felt, the main body of them still continuing permanent in greatest and noblest commonwealths, and as it were eternal. Therefore among the Jews, the supreme council of seventy, called the Sanhedrim, founded by Moses, in Athens that of Areopagus, in Sparta that of the ancients, in Rome the senate, consisted of members chosen for term of life; and by that means remained as it were still the same to generations. In Venice they change indeed oftener than every year some particular council of state, as that of six, or such other: but the true senate, which upholds and sustains the government, is the whole aristocracy immovable. So in the United Provinces, the
states general, which are indeed but a council of state deputed by the whole union, are not usually the same persons for above three or six years; but the states of every city, in whom the sovereignty hath been placed time out of mind, are a standing senate, without succession, and accounted chiefly in that regard the main prop of their liberty. And why they should be so in every well-ordered commonwealth, they who write of policy give these reasons; "That to make the senate successive, not only impairs the dignity and lustre of the senate, but weakens the whole commonwealth, and brings it into manifest danger; while by this means the secrets of state are frequently divulged, and matters of greatest consequence committed to inexpert and novice counsellors, utterly to seek in the full and intimate knowledge of affairs past." I know not therefore what should be peculiar in England, to make successive parliaments thought safest, or convenient here more than in other nations, unless it be the fickleness, which is attributed to us as we are islanders: but good education and acquisite wisdom ought to correct the fluxible fault, if any such be, of our watery situation. It will be objected, that in those places where they had perpetual senates, they had also popular remedies against their growing too imperious: as in Athens, besides Areopagus, another senate of four or five hundred; in Sparta, the Ephori; in Rome, the tribunes of the people. But the event tells us, that these remedies either little avail the people, or brought them to such a licentious and unbridled democracy, as in fine ruined themselves with their own excessive power. So that the main reason urged why popular assemblies are to be trusted with the people's liberty, rather than a senate of principal men, because great men will be still endeavouring to enlarge their power, but the common sort will be contented to maintain their own liberty, is by experience found false; none being more immoderate and ambitious to amplify their power, than such popularities, which were seen in the people of Rome; who at first contented to have their tribunes, at length contented with the senate that one consul, then both, soon after, that the censors and prætors also should be created plebeian, and the whole empire put into their bands; adoring lastly those, who most were adverse to the senate, till Marius, by fulfilling their inordinate desires, quite lost them all the power, for which they had so long been striving, and left them under the tyranny of Sylla: the balance therefore must be exactly so set, as to preserve and keep up due authority on either side, as well in the senate as in the people. And this annual rotation of a senate to consist of three hundred, as is lately propounded, requires also another popular assembly upward of a thousand, with an answerable rotation. Which, besides that it will be liable to all those inconveniences found in the aforesaid remedies, cannot but he troublesome and chargeable, both in their motion and their session, to the whole land, unwieldy with their own bulk, unable in so great a number to mature their consultations as they ought, if any be allotted them, and that they meet not from so many parts remote to sit a whole year lieger in one
place, only now and then to hold up a forest of fingers, or to convey each man his bean or ballot into the box, without reason shewn or common deliberation; incontinent of secrets, if any be imparted to them; emulous and always jarring with the other senate. The much better way doubtless will be, in this wavering condition of our affairs, to defer the changing or circumscribing of our senate, more than may be done with ease, till the commonwealth be throughly settled in peace and safety, and they themselves give us the occasion. Military men hold it dangerous to change the form of battle in view of an enemy: neither did the people of Rome bandy with their senate, while any of the Tarquins lived, the enemies of their liberty; nor sought by creating tribunes, to defend themselves against the fear of their patricians, till sixteen years after the expulsion of their kings, and in full security of their state, they had or thought they had just cause given them by the senate. Another way will be, to well qualify and refine elections: not committing all to the noise and shouting of a rude multitude, but permitting only those of them who are rightly qualified, to nominate as many as they will; and out of that number others of a better breeding, to choose a less number more judiciously, till after a third or fourth sifting and refining of exactest choice, they only be left chosen who are the due number, and seem by most voices the worthiest. To make the people fittest to choose, and the chosen fittest to govern, will be to mend our corrupt and faulty education, to teach the people faith, not without virtue, temperance, modesty, sobriety, parsimony, justice; not to admire wealth or honour; to hate turbulence and ambition; to place every one his private welfare and happiness in the public peace, liberty, and safety. They shall not then need to be much mistrustful of their chosen patriots in the grand council; who will be then rightly called the true keepers of our liberty, though the most of their business will be in foreign affairs. But to prevent all mistrust, the people then will have their several ordinary assemblies (which will henceforth quite annihilate the odious power and name of committees) in the chief towns of every country, without the trouble, charge, or time lost of summoning and assembling from far in so great a number, and so long residing from their own houses, or removing of their families, to do as much at home in their several shires, entire or subdivided, toward the securing of their liberty, as a numerous assembly of them all formed and convened on purpose with the wariest rotation. Whereof I shall speak more ere the end of this discourse: for it may be referred to time, so we be still going on by degrees to perfect on. The people well weighing and performing these things, I suppose would have no cause to fear, though the parliament abolishing that name, as originally signifying but the parley of our lords and commons with the Norman king when he pleased to call them, should, with certain limitations of their power, sit perpetual, if their ends be faithful and for a free commonwealth, under the name of a grand or general council. Till this be done, I am in doubt whether
will be ever
certainly and throughly settled; never likely till then to see an end of our troubles and continual changes, or at least never the true settlement and assurance of our liberty. The grand council being thus firmly constituted to perpetuity, and still, upon the death or default of any member, supplied and kept in full number, there can be no cause alleged, why peace, justice, plentiful trade, and all prosperity should not thereupon ensue throughout the whole land; with as much assurance as can be of human things, that they shall so continue (if God favour us, and our wilful sins provoke him not) even to the coming of our true and rightful, and only to be expected King, only worthy as he is our only Saviour, the Messiah, the Christ, the only heir of his eternal Father, the only by him anointed and ordained since the work of our redemption finished, universal Lord of all mankind. The way propounded is plain, easy, and open before us; without intricacies, without the introducement of new or absolute forms or terms, or exotic models; ideas that would effect nothing; but with a number of new injunctions to manacle the native liberty of mankind; turning all virtue into prescription, servitude, and necessity, to the great impairing and frustrating of christian liberty. I say again, this way lies free and smooth before us; is not tangled with inconveniencies; invents no new incumbrances; requires no perilous, no injurious alteration or circumscription of men's lands and properties; secure, that in this commonwealth, temporal and spiritual lords removed, no man or number of men can attain to such wealth or vast possession, as will need the hedge of an agrarian law (never successful, but the cause rather of sedition, save only where it began seasonably with first possession) to confine them from endangering our public liberty. To conclude, it can have no considerable objection made against it, that it is not practicable; lest it be said hereafter, that we gave up our liberty for want of a ready way or distinct form proposed of a free commonwealth. And this facility we shall have above our next neighbouring commonwealth, (if we can keep us from the fond conceit of something like a duke of Venice, put lately into many men's heads by some one or other subtly driving on under that notion his own ambitious ends to lurch a crown,) that our liberty shall not be hampered or hovered over by any engagement to such a potent family as the house of Nassau, of whom to stand in perpetual doubt and suspicion, but we shall live the clearest and absolutest free nation in the world. On the contrary, if there be a king, which the inconsiderate multitude are now so mad upon, mark how far short we are like to come of all those happinesses, which in a free state we shall immediately be possessed of. First, the grand council, which, as I shewed before, should sit perpetually, (unless their leisure give them now and then some intermissions or vacations, easily manageable by the council of state left sitting,) shall be called, by the king's good will and utmost endeavour, as seldom as may be. For it is only the king's right, he will say, to call a parliament; and this he will do most commonly about his own affairs rather than the kingdom's, as will appear plainly so soon as
they are called. For what will their business then be, and the chief expense of their time, but an endless tugging between petition of right and royal prerogative, especially about the negative voice, militia, or subsidies, demanded and ofttimes extorted without reasonable cause appearing to the commons, who are the only true representatives of the people and their liberty, but will be then mingled with a court-faction; besides which, within their own walls, the sincere part of them who stand faithful to the people will again have to deal with two troublesome counter-working adversaries from without, mere creatures of the king, spiritual, and the greater part, as is likeliest, of temporal lords, nothing concerned with the people's liberty. If these prevail not in what they please, though never so much against the people's interest, the parliament shall be soon dissolved, or sit and do nothing; not suffered to remedy the least grievance, or enact aught advantageous to the people. Next, the council of state shall not be chosen by the parliament, but by the king, still his own creatures, courtiers, and favourers; who will be sure in all their counsels to set their master's grandeur and absolute power, in what they are able, far above the people's liberty. I deny not but that there may be such a king, who may regard the common good before his own, may have no vicious favourite, may hearken only to the wisest and incorruptest of his parliament: but this rarely happens in a monarchy not elective; and it be hoves not a wise nation to commit the sum of their well-being, the whole state of their safety to fortune. What need they; and how absurd would it be, whenas they themselves, to whom his chief virtue will be bat to hearken, may with much better management and dispatch, with much more commendation of their own worth and magnanimity, govern without a master? Can the folly be parralleled, to adore and be the slaves of a single person, for doing that which it is ten thou sand to one whether he can or will do, and we without him might do more easily, more effectually, more laudably ourselves? Shall we never grow old enough to be wise, to make seasonable use of gravest authorities. experiences, examples? Is it such an unspeakable jov to serve, such felicity to wear a yoke? to clink our shackles, locked on by pretended law of subjection, more intolerable and hopeless to be ever shaken off. than those which are knocked on by illegal injury and violence? Aristotle our chief instructor in the universities, lest this doctrine be thought sectarian, as the royalist would have it thought, tells us in the third of his Politics, that certain men at first, for the matchless excellence of their virtue above others, or some great public benefit, were created kings by the people, in small cities and territories, and in the scarcity of others to be found like them; but when they abused their power, and governments grew larger, and the number of prudent men increased, that then the people, sonni deposing their tyrants, betook them, in all civilest places, to the form of a free commonwealth. And why should we thus disparage and prejudicate our own nation, as to fear a scarcity of able and worthy men united in counsel to govern us, if we will but use diligenc
and impartiality, to find them out and choose them, ra- | perhaps neuters, if not to utmost infliction, yet to imther yoking ourselves to a single person, the natural prisonment, fines, banishment, or molestation? if not adversary and oppressor of liberty; though good, yet these, yet disfavour, discountenance, disregard, aud far easier corruptible by the excess of his single power contempt on all but the known royalist, or whom and exaltation, or at best, not comparably sufficient to he favours, will be plenteous. Nor let the new royalbear the weight of government, nor equally disposed to ized presbyterians persuade themselves, that their make us happy in the enjoyment of our liberty under old doings, though now recanted, will be forgotten; him? whatever conditions be contrived or trusted on. they not believe this; nor remember the pacification, how it was kept to the Scots; how other solemn promises many a time to us? Let them but now read the diabolical forerunning libels, the faces, the gestures, that now appear foremost and briskest in all public places, as the harbingers of those, that are in expectation to reign over us; let them but hear the insolencies, the menaces, the insultings, of our newly animated common enemies crept lately out of their holes, their hell I might say, by the language of their infernal pamphlets, the spew of every drunkard, every ribald; nameless, yet not for want of licence, but for very shame of their own vile persons, not daring to name themselves, while they traduce others by name; and give us to foresee, that they intend to second their wicked words, if ever they have power, with more wicked deeds. Let our zealous backsliders forethink now with themselves how their necks yoked with these tigers of Bacchus, these new fanatics of not the preaching, but the sweating tub, inspired with nothing holier than the venereal pox, can draw one way under monarchy to the establishing of church discipline with these new disgorged atheisms: yet shall they not have the honour to yoke with these, but shall be yoked under them; these shall plough on their backs. And do they among them, who are so forward to bring in the single person, think to be by him trusted or long regarded? So trusted they shall be, and so regarded, as by kings are wont reconciled enemies; neglected, and soon after discarded, if not persecuted for old traitors; the first inciters, beginners, and more than to the third part actors, of all that followed. It will be found also, that there must be then, as necessary as now, (for the contrary part will be still feared,) a standing army; which for certain shall not be this, but of the fiercest cavaliers, of no less expense, and perhaps again under Rupert. But let this army be sure they shall be soon disbanded, and likeliest without arrear or pay; and being disbanded, not be sure but they may as soon be questioned for being in arms against their king: the same let them fear who have contributed money; which will amount to no small number, that must then take their turn to be made delinquents and compounders. They who past reason and recovery are devoted to kingship perhaps will answer, that a greater part by far of the nation will have it so, the rest therefore must yield. Not so much to convince these, which I little hope, as to confirm them who yield not, I reply, that this greatest part have both in reason, and the trial of just battle, lost the right of their election what the government shall be: of them who have not lost that right, whether they for kingship be the greater num ber, who can certainly determine? Suppose they be,
But admit, that monarchy of itself may be convenient to some nations; yet to us who have thrown it out, received back again, it cannot but prove pernicious. For kings to come, never forgetting their former ejection, will be sure to fortify and arm themselves sufficiently for the future against all such attempts hereafter from the people who shall be then so narrowly watched and kept so low, that though they would never so fain, and at the same rate of their blood and treasure, they never shall be able to regain what they now have purchased and may enjoy, or to free themselves from any yoke imposed upon them: nor will they dare to go about it; utterly disheartened for the future, if these their highest attempts prove unsuccessful; which will be the triumph of all tyrants hereafter over any people that shall resist oppression; and their song will then be, to others, How sped the rebellious English? to our posterity, How sped the rebels your fathers? This is not my conjecture, but drawn from God's known denouncement against the gentilizing Israelites, who, though they were governed in a commonwealth of God's own ordaining, he only their king, they his peculiar people, yet affecting rather to resemble heathen, but pretending the misgovernment of Samuel's sons, no more a reason to dislike their commonwealth, than the violence of Eli's sons was imputable to that priesthood or religion, clamoured for a king. They had their longing, but with this testimony of God's wrath; "Ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king whom ye shall have chosen, and the Lord will not hear you in that day." Us if he shall hear now, how much less will he hear when we cry hereafter, who once delivered by him from a king, and not without wonderous acts of his providence, insensible and unworthy of those high mercies, are returning precipitantly, if he withhold us not, back to the captivity from whence he freed us! Yet neither shall we obtain or buy at an easy rate this new gilded yoke, which thus transports us: a new royal revenue must be found, a new episcopal; for those are individaal: both which being wholly dissipated, or bought by private persons, or assigned for service done, and especially to the army, cannot be recovered without general detriment and confusion to men's estates, or a beavy imposition on all men's purses; benefit to none but to the worst and ignoblest sort of men, whose hope is to be either the ministers of court riot and excess, or the gainers by it: but not to speak more of losses and extraordinary levies on our estates, what will then be the revenges and offences remembered and returned, hot only by the chief person, but by all his adherents; accounts and reparations that will be required, suits, Indictments, inquiries, discoveries, complaints, informations, who knows against whom or how many, though