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THE OTHER HOUSE
first serious pamphlet directed against Oceana —the “Considerations on Mr Harrington's Commonwealth of Oceana," by Matthew Wren, the son of the former Bishop of Ely. On November 28th he issued his “ Prerogative of Popular Government” by way of answer, seizing the opportunity of repeating his own propositions at the same time as replying to his critic. After this he took no rest. He adopted the method of compelling support by the sheer force of repetition, and utilised every possible occasion to restate his position.
The year that followed did not present many opportunities. The one that did occur was missed. It came in connection with the discussions on Cromwell's “other house," which occupied the country during the early part of 1658. All the supporters of the Protectorate recognised that some such check was necessary to prevent the nation from giving up the battle for Puritanism and calling back the King, but they criticised the military character of its composition, and objected that its members were “not a balance, as the old Lords were, as to matter of estates.” 1 Here was an opportunity which would have been no doubt taken by Nevile. But, though he had been a member of the Long Parliament, he was not now in possession of a seat. And the reply, which must have exasperated Harrington as much as it satisfied the Puritans, remained unanswered. These are the qualifications, religion, piety, and faithfulness to the Commonwealth. They are the best balance. Those persons have it. It is not estates will be the balance.' These debates, which did nothing for Harrington beyond affording him the satisfaction of seeing one of his theories hinted at in Parliament, helped to revive other sections of the republican party. Those who desired to return
1 Burton, “ Diary," ü. 408
DEATH OF CROMWELL
to the government of the Long Parliament were given new opportunities for advocating Single Chamber government; and in the confusion which ensued the Fifth Monarchy men were enabled to continue their plotting. But before the country had reached the point of instability at which political theory may run riot, Cromwell asserted his will and dissolved Parliament. With the army responsive to the magnetism of his personality and the discontent in the country lulled by the complete success of his foreign policy it seemed for a few weeks that the age of political experiment was over. But suddenly a light appeared in “Oceana.” On September 3rd the man of action, who had done his utmost to keep the theorists in their proper place, died.
Harrington at once seized the occasion to repeat his views on republicanism in his pamphlet “Divers Models of Government." There was a renewed outbreak of faction. Although Richard Cromwell was accepted as Protector, a great part of the army was plainly disappointed that Fleetwood, Cromwell's son-in-law, had been passed over in favour of a civilian squire.
Many of the officers gathered round the LieutenantGeneral at Wallingford House and proposed at least to separate the command of the army and the Protectorship. The republicans also began to meet at Sir Harry Vane's house in Charing Cross, to proclaim the illegitimacy of all forms of government but that of the Long Parliament, which had never been dissolved. In circumstances like these and with the memory of the behaviour of his father's last Parliament fresh in his mind Richard was compelled from want of money to summon a Parliament for January 27th, 1659. The reversion to the old distribution of seats, the inclusion of the Scotch and Irish Members who were
HARRINGTON'S FOLLOWERS IN PARLIAMENT 81
Cromwellian to a man, and the tricks of Richard's sheriffs could not prevent some critics and opponents from being elected.
Fifty republicans got in; and Harrington's influence had been growing so steadily that ten of these were acknowledged followers of his. Harry Nevile was the best known of them, and he came into peculiar prominence during the course of the Parliament over his disputed election and his accusation for atheism and blasphemy. The next most active of the Harringtonians was a certain Captain Baynes, the member for Appleby. Having trafficked largely in delinquents' lands, purchasing an estate at Wimbledon, the Queen's property at Holdenby, and some royal forests in Lancashire, he was interested in a concrete sense in the doctrine of the balance of property; and he appears himself to have been an official in charge of the sale of lands forfeited from the Crown or delinquents. It is difficult to say to what extent the party was composed of men of this type ; but it is probable from the nature of the case that those who had bought land from the Commonwealth would be not only republicans but believers in the connection of power and property. When the debate turned, as it had turned a year before, on the important question of the “other house,” the Harringtonians did not again miss their opportunity but asserted repeatedly and emphatically their theories.
They were not going to prejudice the new Protector or the House against them by attacking the government of a single person.
“This man,” said Nevile referring to Richard, "is, at least, actually, if not legally, settled the Chief Magistrate.” “We that are for a Commonwealth, are for a single person, senate
1 Cf. “ Letters from Roundhead Officers," Bannatyne Club Publications, Introd. p. xiii and Letter 254.
DEBATE ON THE OTHER HOUSE
and popular assembly.”i So they acquiesced in the position of the Protector and confined their criticisms to the power and constitution of the other house.' Its existence they approved, because, unlike the other republicans, they desired double-chamber government as a part of their general system of checks and balances, but they refused to accept anything but the system which had been described in “ Oceana."
Opinions in the house were various. Enthusiasts were there, who could say, “ If all the world were paper and sea ink they could not express liberty what it is.” 2 Cynics were there who could say, “I more dislike the word Commonwealth than I did in the morning.” 3 Some were contented with a nominated Second Chamber; some added that it must include those of the peers that had been loyal ; some proposed that the peers should compose the nucleus of the Second Chamber and that its numbers should be made up by a mixture of nomination by the Protector and election by the popular house, and nomination by the popular house and election by the Protector ; some simply asserted “ that none shall sit in the Other House, but such shall be approved by both Houses.” 4 All realised the importance of the Second Chamber; as one member picturesquely put it, “ the other house is the balance; it tells minutes between the two estates." 5
Nevile made speech after speech in language reminiscent of Harrington. One day he argued thus: “ The Commons till Henry VII never exercised a negative voice. All depended on the Lords. In that time it would have been hard to have found in this house so many gentlemen of estates. The gentry do not now depend upon the peerage.
The balance is
1 Burton, “ Diary," iii. 132 and 133. 3 Ibid. iii. 344.
4 Ibid. iii. 541.
Ibid. iii. 219. • Ibid. iii. 339.
SPEECHES OF NEVILE AND BAYNES
in the gentry. They have all the lands. Now Lords old or new must be supported by the people. There is the same reason why the Lords should not have a negative voice as that the King should not have a negative; to keep up a sovereignty against nature. The people of England will not suffer a negative voice to be in those who have not a natural power over them.” 1 Another day he urged : “We are upon an equal balance, which puts out Turkish government and
Another day he pointed out, in view of Harrington's proposals, that “the Other House may be such a House as is only preparatory to this, as, among popular assemblies in other commonwealths, there was an assembly to propound laws, and another to enact them, and a single person to put all in execution.”3 Baynes followed Nevile's lead with equal vigour. In one place he ridiculed the idea of setting up
a house that has not so much interest as two Knights." 4 In another place he argued as follows :
All government is built on propriety, else the poor must rule it. ... The people were too hard for the King in property; and then in arms too hard for him. We must either lay the foundation in property or else it will not stand. Property generally is now with the people; the government therefore must be there. If you make a single person he must be a servant and not a lord ; maior singulis, minor omnibus. If you can find a House of Lords to balance property, do it. Else let a senate be chosen by the election of the people on the same account.
There must be a balance." 5 Elsewhere he continued thus : Lords represented at least in old time two-thirds of the rest, who having so great a propriety in the nation,
1 Burton, “ Diary,” iii. 132 and 133.
4 Ibid. iii. 31. 3 Ibid. iii. 321.
3 Ibid. iii. 331.