« НазадПродовжити »
monarchies of this kind; wherefore monarchy by a nobility is no perfect government.
For the proof of the third assertion; Leviathan yields it to me, that there is no comrnonwealth but monarchical or popular : wherefore if no monarchy be a perfect government, then either there is no perfect government, or it must be popular: for which kind of constitution I have something more to say, than Leviathan has said, or ever will be able to say for monarchy. As,
First, that it is the government that was never conquered by any monarch, from the beginning of this world to this day: for if the commonwealths of Greece came under the yoke of the kings of Macedon, they were first broken by themselves.
Secondly, that it is the government that has frequently led mighty monarchs in triumph.
Thirdly, that it is the government, which, if it has been seditious, it has not been so from any imperfection in the kind, but in the particular constitution ; which, wherever the like has happened, must have been inequal.
Fourthly, that it is the governinent, which, if it has been any thing near equal, was never seditious ; or let him shew me what sedition has happened in Lacedeinon or Venice.
Fifthly, that it is the government, which, attaining to perfect equality, has such a libration in the frame of it, that no man living can shew which was any man or men, in or under it, can contract any such interest or power as should be able to disturb the commonwealth with sedition; wherefore an equal commonwealth is that only which is without flaw, and contains in it the full perfection of government.
It appears, however, that Harrington's is not a commonwealth to the exclusion of nobility: for a little farther on, he says:
It will be convenient in this place to speak a word to such as go about to insinuatë to the nobility or gentry a fear of the people, or to the people a fear of the nobility or gentry, as if their interests were destructive to each other; when indeed an army may as well consist of soldiers without officers, or of officers without soldiers, as a commonwealth (especially such a one as is capable of greatness) of a people without a gentry, or of a gentry without a people. Wherefore this (though not always so intended, as may appear by Machiavel, who else would be guilty) is a pernicious error. There is something first in the making of a commonwealth; then in the governing of it; and last of all, in the leading of its armies which (though there be great divines, great lawyers, great men in all professions) seems to be peculiar only to the genius of a gentleman.
I shall give one short extract more from this intelligent writer. When the lord Archon had completely organized the commonwealth of Oceana, he abdicated the magistracy. The following remarks appear to be founded in deep political wisdom.
The senate, as struck with astonishment, continuing silent; men upon so sudden an accident being altogether unprovided of what to say, till the Archon withdrawing, and being almost at the door, divers of the knights flew from their places, offering as it were to lay violent hands on him, while he escaping left the senate with the tears in their eyes, as children that had lost their father; and to rid himself of all farther importunity, retired to a country house of his, being remote and very private, insomuch that no man could tell for some time what was become of him. Thus the law-maker happened to be the first object and reflection of the law made: for as liberty of all things is the most welcome to a people, so is there nothing more abhorrent from their nature than ingratitude. We, accusing the Roman people of this crime against some of their greatest benefactors, as Camillus, heap mistake upon mistake; for being not 80 competent judges of what belongs to liberty as they were, we take upon us to be more competent judges of virtue. And whereas virtue, for being a vulgar thing among them, was of no less rate than jewels are with such as wear the most; we are selling this precious stone, which we have ignorantly raked out of the Roman ruins, at such a rate as the Switzers did that which they took in the baggage of Charles of Burgundy. For that Camillus had stood more firm against the ruin of Rome, than her capitol, was acknowledged; but on the other side, that he stood as firm for the patricians against the liberty of the people, was as plain: wherefore he never wanted those of the people that would die at his foot in the field, nor that would withstand him to his beard in the city. An example in which they that think Camillus had wrong, neither do themselves right nor the people of Rome; who in this signify no less than that they had a scorn of slavery beyond the fear of ruin, which is the height of magnanimity. The like might be shewn by other examples objected against this and other popular governments, as in the banishment of Aristides the Just from Athens, by the 06tracism, which first was no punishment, nor ever understood for so much as a disparagement; but tended only to the security of the commonwealth, through the removal of a citizen (whose riches or power with a party was suspected) out of harm's way for the space of ten years, neither to the diminution of his estate, or honour. And next, though the virtue of Aristides might in itself be unquestioned, yet for him
under the name of the Just, to become universal um. pire of the people in all cases, even to the neglect of the legal ways and orders of the commonwealth, approached so much to the prince, that the Athenians, doing Aristides no wrong, did their government no more than right in removing him; which therefore is not so probable to have come to pass, as Plutarch presumes, through the envy of Themistocles, seeing Aristides was far more popular than Themistocles, who soon after took the same walk upon a worse occasion.
The Oceana was dedicated to Oliver Cromwell, who after perusing it, said, “The gentleman would like to trepan me out of my power ; but what I have got by the sword, I will not quit for a little
shot." Harrington was the author of several other compositions, all of a political nature; but as the whole of his works have been collected in one volume 4to. by Mr. Toland, and are consequently accessible to most readers, it were needless to specify them,