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to the education of girls is not remarkable. Women played an extraordinarily small part in the revolutionary movement in England. And the classical enthusiasts could find very few examples of women who had played a great part in ancient history. As Algernon Sidney said, “No man ever heard of a Queen, or a man deriving his title from a female among the ancient civilisations. When God describes who should be the King of his people (if they have one) and how he should govern; no mention is made of daughters.' Consequently the only functions which Harrington assigns to women are those of squabbling over a piece of cake, and making linen pellets inscribed with
Aye” or “No” for the use of their husbands or brothers at the tribal elections.?
The part which universities were intended to play in the religious life of “Oceana” has already been described. In its secular life their position was less emphasised, though Harrington was conscious of the debt which he himself owed to his university education.3 Many proposed their abolition; all proposed to reform them. Harrington himself constantly referred to the “reformed universities” of Oceana, but he never tabulated any scheme. However there is little doubt that the scheme proposed in the “Modest Plea for an Equal Commonwealth against Monarchy,” a pamphlet which in all other respects reflects Harrington's ideas closely, is substantially what the Harringtonians desired. The writer first attacked the system of government at the university—the unlimited power in the hands of the Heads of Houses," those little living idols or Monuments of Monarchy," and the common
1 Sidney, " Discourses on Government,” p. 47.
• In the census which he desired the female population was to be neglected ("Oceana," p. 97).
The Art of Lawgiving." p. 427.
practice of arranging the elections of the fellows, then the scholastic and monkish atmosphere in which studies are pursued, and finally submitted his scheme. He proposed in the first place to scatter the colleges about the country, and in the second place entirely to alter the course of studies, introducing modern languages, law, agriculture, economics, chemistry, art, English, military studies, dancing, fencing and (lastly) travel, in the hopes of making "learning more pleasant and acceptable to gentlemen ” and “stocking the Nation with a more able and learned gentry for the service of the Commonwealth than heretofore it hath been." 1 The value of continental travel was one of Harrington's most constant themes; and in his own remarks on education he added a proposal to encourage students to follow his own example and write books on the constitutions of the countries which they visited, to be published, if meritorious, by the state.
But a university career was not the normal course for the young men of Oceana. After leaving school at eighteen, those who were destined for public life would naturally undergo without delay the military training, which was, except in the case of only children, one of the qualifications for magistracy.
The political education of the people was to continue in an institution called the Academy, which was adapted from an organisation, which Harrington had often seen stimulating literary activity in the cities of Italy. It was to consist of an informal meeting held every evening and open to all who wished to supply the government with information or take part in discussions on political questions. Besides educating the people it was intended to give the govern1 "Modest Plea for an equal Commonwealth against Monarchy," pp. 45-55.
THE MAGISTRACIES OF OCEANA
ment an opportunity of keeping in touch with the country and helping to form public opinion. The enforced silence of the lower house in Oceana would rather suggest that Harrington failed to realise the political value of debating. This institution, however, together with the systematic public speaking, “The Tuesday lectures or orations to the people," which he proposes elsewhere,' show that no less than his counterpart in the French Revolution, the Abbé Sieyès, he felt that without perpetual discussion it is almost impossible to produce that public opinion on which all democratic governments must rest.
The institution of the four Councils of State, Trade, Religion, and War is interesting, but more important is the proposed transplantation of nearly all the Roman magistracies to England. The consular system is reproduced by the Lord Strategus, who is Commander-in-Chief of the army as well as President of the Senate, and the Lord Orator, who, as his name implies, is a glorified Speaker. “Oceana” has its censors, who are entrusted with the supervision of the national religion and the maintenance of the purity of the suffrage, and who are at the same time ex-officio Chancellors of the two great universities, its Tribunes, who are of little importance, and finally its Dictator. In times of emergency the Senate may elect nine new members to the Council of War and declare this enlarged body Dictator of Oceana, with power to levy men, declare war, and make what laws it wishes. Its existence is limited to three months, and the laws that it makes become invalid at the end of a year unless they are ratified in the usual way by the Senate and the people. The Council of War itself is given the very important
1 “Oceana," pp. 157 and 160.
duty of acting like the Spartan ephorate as the guardian of the constitution, and declaring void all measures that are contrary to its fundamental provisions. We shall notice later what emphasis Harrington laid on this idea.
It is impossible to do more than notice a few of the miscellaneous suggestions offered in “ Oceana,” many of them seeming to sound a modern note. Under the inspiration of the Athenian ideal and the Italian Renaissance, the capital city is to be beautified; public parks and buildings are to be preserved; a national theatre is to be built. The elective principle is to be so far extended as to include even the poet laureate, who is to be elected with a two-thirds majority by the Academy. In accord with the Utopian tradition, marriage is not neglected by the state. But Oceana is to have nothing so radical as the ideal states of More or Plato had. Harrington is satisfied by converting the ceremony into a civil rite, by making marriage a qualification for office, by taxing bachelors, and by allowing abatements for every child. At the same time he deplores marrying for money and suggests a limitation of dowries. A census of the population is to be taken, but it is to be confined to adult males. The continuation of the payment of members and the schemes for compulsory free education and land valuation have already been alluded to.
These miscellaneous suggestions in “Oceana” must lead us once more to the classical learning with which Harrington's work is so saturated. Although much of “Oceana” is Jewish, Venetian, or English, much more of it is Greek and Roman. Harrington was essentially a child of the Renaissance, one who desired to introduce the politics of the city states of antiquity into
1 “Oceana,” p. 168.
2 Ibid. p. 223.
INFLUENCE OF PLATO'S LAWS
England. He looked chiefly to the constitutions of Sparta, Athens, and Rome; but there was another constitution, made for an imaginary colony in Crete, to which he also turned. Harrington never mentions Plato's Laws,” but it is difficult not to believe that he was influenced by the second best republic of the Greek philosopher. It is, like Oceana, a practical sort of Utopia, almost an expanded written constitution. In spirit the two works are strikingly similar, and the resemblance extends to detailed proposals. The Cretan colony which Plato is to found is to start with the dictatorship of a single individual, a legislator, who is to produce laws which will be so good that the people will be happy to live under their rule, and the state will last for ever. By regulating property and establishing a system of checks and balances the equilibrium will be maintained, but guardians of the constitution will be appointed as an additional security. Debating will apparently be forbidden in the assembly. The election of the council will be made indirectly, with a mixture of lot and election, and written votes will be used. In the army, officers will be elected by the men.
There are many other small suggestions which appear again in “Oceana"; and in particular the value of foreign travel is recognised in a similar but less liberal fashion.
“Oceana” is no mere reproduction of “ The Laws,” as many of these points appear in a very different setting in Harrington's work, and some (such as the enforced silence of the assembly) which Plato scarcely mentions are treated with the greatest emphasis. But there can be little doubt that Harrington was influenced by the work of Plato's old age, and that “ The Laws” occupied an important position in the classical background to