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fully and finally in their own counties and precincts, long wished and spoken of, but never yet obtained ; they shall have none then to blame but themselves, if it be not well administered; and fewer laws to expect or fear from the supreme authority; or to those that shall be made, of any great concernment to public liberty, they may, without much trouble in these commonalties, or in more general assemblies called to their cities from the whole territory on such occasion, declare and publish their assent or dissent by deputies, within a time limited, sent to the grand council; yet so as this their judgment declared shall submit to the greater number of other counties or commonalties, and not avail them to any exemption of themselves, or refusal of agreement with the rest, as it may in any of the United Provinces, being sovereign within itself, ofttimes to the great disadvantage of that union. In these employments they may, much better than they do now, exercise and fit themselves till their lot fall to be chosen into the grand council, according as their worth and merit shall be taken notice of by the people. As for controversies that shall happen between men of several counties, they may repair, as they do now, to the capital city, or any other more commodious, indifferent place, and equal judges. And this I find to have been practised in the old Athenian commonwealth, reputed the first and ancientest place of civility in all Greece; that they had in their several cities a peculiar, in Athens a common government; and their right, as it befel them, to the adıninistration of both. They should have here also schools and academies at their own choice, wherein their children may be bred up in their own sight to all learning and noble education; not in grammar only, but in all liberal arts and exercises. This would soon spread much more knowledge and ci
vility, yea, religion, through all parts of the land, by communicating the natural heat of government and culture more distributively to all extrenie parts, which now lie numb and neglected, would soon make the whole nation more industrious, more ingenious at home; more potent, more honourable abroad. To this a free cominonwealth will easily assent; (nay, the parliament hath had already some such thing in design) for of all governments a commonwealth aims most to make the people flourishing, virtuous, noble, and high spirited. Monarchs will never permit; whose aim is to make the people wealthy indeed perhaps, and well fleeced, for their own shearing, and the supply of regal prodigality; but otherwise softest, basest, vicivusest, servilest, easiest to be kept under: and not only in fleece, but in mind also sheepishest; and will have all the benches of judicature annexed to the throne, as a gift of royal grace, that we have justice done us: whenas nothing can be more essential to the freedom of a people, than to have the admi. nistration of justice, and all public ornaments, in their own election, and within their own bounds, without long travelling or depending upon remote places to obtain their right, or any civil accomplishment; so it be not supreme, but subordinate to the general power and union of the whole republic. In which happy firmness, as in the particular above-mentioned, we shall also far exceed the United Provinces, by having, not as they (to the retarding and distracting ofttimes of their counsels or urgentest occasions) many sovereignties united in one commonwealth, but many commonwealths under one united and intrusted sovereignty. And when we have our forces by sea and land, either of a faithful army, or a settled militia in our own hands, to the firm establisting of a free commonwealth, public accoupls under our
own inspection, general laws and taxes, with their causes
I have no more to say at present: few words will save
pass for current, to put our necks again under kingship, as was made use of by the Jews to return back to Egypt, and to the worship of their idol queen, because they falsely imagined that they then lived in more plenty and prosperity ; our condition is not sound but rotten, both in religion and all civil prudence ; and will bring as soon, the way we are marching to those calamities, which attend always and unavoidably on luxury, all national judgments under foreign and domestic slavery: so far we shall be from mending our condition by monarchising our government, whatever new conceit now possesses us. However, with all hazard I have ventured what I thought my duty to speak in season, and to forewarn my country in time; wherein I doubt not but there be many wise men in all places and degrees, but am sorry the effects of wisdom are so little seen among us. Many circumstances and particulars I could bave added in those things whereof I have spoken: but a few main matters now put speedily in execution, will suffice to recover us, and set all right; and there will want at no time who are good at circumstances; but men who set their minds on main matters, and sufficiently urge them, in these most difficult times I find not many. What have spoken, is the language of that which is not called amiss “ The good old Cause :" if it seem strange to any, it will not seem more strange, I bope, than convincing to backsliders. Thus much I should perhaps have said, though I were sure I should have spoken only to trees and stones ; and had none to cry to, but with the prophet, " ( earth, earth, earth!” to tell the very soil itself, what her perverse inhabitants are deaf to. Nay, though what I have spoke should happen (which thou suffer not, who didst create mankind free! nor thou next, who didst redeem us from
being servants of men !) to be the last words of our expiring liberty. But I trust I shall bave spoken persuasion to abundance of anissible and ingenuous men ; to some perhaps, whom , 4 way raise to these stones to become children of reviving liberty; and may reclain, though they seem now choosing them a captain back for Egypt, to bethink themselves a little, and consider whis ther they are rushing; to exhort this torrent also of the people, not to be so impetuous, but to keep their due channel; and at length recovering and uniting their better resolutions, now that they see already how open and unbounded the insolence and rage is of our common enemies, to stay these ruinous proceedings, justly and timely fearing to what a precipice of destruction the deluge of this epidemic madness would hurry us, through the general defection of a nisguided and abused multitude.
W. Pople, Printer, 22, Old Boswell Court, Strand.