|James Harrington (1611–1677)|
Note: This is part of the Leveller Collection of Tracts and Pamphlets.
T.316 [1659??] James Harrington, A sufficient Answer to Mr. Stubs (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).
Not listed in Thomason's Catalog.
(Placeholder: Text will be added later.)
THERE is a book newly put forth by Mr. Stubb, intituled, A Letter to an Officer, &c. which in brief comes to this, that he would have a select senate for life, consisting of Independents, Anabaptists, Fifth-Monarchy-men, and Quakers; for which he is pleased to quote Deut. xxiii. that he would have all such as adhered unto the parliament against Sir G. Booth, to be inrolled as the people of England: that he would have all the rest of the people of England to be Helots, Gibeonites, or Paysants. This book I have read; and I have heard a tale of one, who, to get something, pretended the shewing of a strange beast, and horse and no horse, with the tail standing where the head should stand; which when all came to all, was a mare, with her tail ty’d to the manger; the lively emblem of an oligarchy. Mr Stubb pretending to shew his learning, takes those things, as it were changing the sex of them, which I have written, and in his writings turns their tails unto the manger. Now this, as to the unlearned reader, is that upon which it is to no purpose to move any controversy; and as to the learned, I need no more than appeal, whether in their proper stables, or in the best authors, the heads of them stand, as I have set them, or the tails as Mr. Stubb hath set them. Only let me say, that as to a select senate, understanding thereby a senate not elected by the people, there is no more of this in all story, than the senate of Rome only. Whence it is undeniable by any man of common understanding, that a select senate bringeth in a select interest, that a select interest causeth feud between that select interest, and the common interest, and so between the senate and the popular assembly; which coal in England it is fitter for such as Mr. Stubb and his patrons to blow, than for such as understand story, government, and common honesty. But their reasons who decry the possibility or plausibility of such acts or orders as these, it pleaseth him to call high rodomontado’s. Now which are the higher rodomontado’s, these, or those which he useth in siourishing the justitia of Aragon, a patch in a monarchy, which his design is to translate by a select senate, into a commonwealth, I leave any man to judge, even by the testimony of his own author Blanca, and in a place cited by himself, though not so well rendered. Our ancestors, saith Blanca, have three ways secured our liberties; by the justitia, by the great POWER of the ricos hombres (now he speaks,) and by the privilege of the union. The first was a civil and forensick curb, a gown, the second was a domestick and more restraining one, (I think so, the purse and the power,) the third popular and warlike, an excellent militia. Now let any man say, even after Blanca, if without the nobility, in whom was the balance of this monarchy, and their retainers and dependents, of which consisted the militia, this court of the poor gownman called Justitia, must not have been a very likely thing to restrain a prince; or consider whether without this same mummery of the Arragonians, house of peers and of commons in other monarchies, have not every whit as much restrained their kings, and more, seeing this toy, at every election of the magistrate called Justitia, it received not breath but from a king, was blown away by a king. His other instances, as the thirty-six curators of the publick appointed unto Lewis the Eleventh of France, by the three estates, and the twenty-five select peers, given unto king John of England, were like shifts, and had less effect. Security in government must be from entireness of form; and entireness of form must be from soundness or rightness of foundation. But Mr. Stubb founding himself upon the authority of Aristotle, that the Western parts are not capable of a right commonwealth, is declaredly for a wrong commonwealth in England. He minds not that Venice, for the capacity, is a righter commonwealth than was ever any in Greece; nor that the present state of England is of a far different, if not a quite contrary nature to that of the western parts, in the time of Aristotle.