Year XXXVII, 1995, Number 2 - Page 120

 

 

WILLIAM PENN
 
 
William Penn was born in London in 1644. He began his studies at Christ Church, Oxford, but was subsequently expelled for anti-clerical ideas. He initially went to France in order to continue his studies, though he later returned to England, where he studied law. His exposure to the Quaker religion, which took place in Ireland in 1667, was a turning-point in his life. Subsequent to his becoming a Quaker, Penn was imprisoned several times for his religions beliefs. He married Jenny Springett, also a Quaker, in 1672. America offered space for religious minorities and Penn, who was owed a service by the monarch on account of his father’s, Admiral William Penn’s exploits, asked the king for and was granted the concession of a province, renamed Pennsylvania. Penn went to the colony only twice, but he had a decisive role in the drawing up of its constitution which was marked by the ideals of peace and tolerance. He died at Ruscombe, England in 1718.
His main works are: “No Cross, No Crown”, written in prison in 1669, “An Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe”, “Fruits of Solitude”, and “Reflexions and Maxims Relating to the Conduct of Human Life”, all written in 1693.
In the work which we are publishing here, whose full title is “An Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by Establishment of an European Diet, Parliament or Estates”, Penn, confronted with the continuous wars which were then afflicting Europe, reflected on the need and possibility of establishing peace among European countries. To this end, he foresaw the creation of a European body, which he called “Parliament” or “States of Europe”, whose task was to settle disputes among the states that comprised it.
Quite clearly Penn is in many respects a child of his times: there is no room in his thought for contesting the principle of monarchical authority, on whose will and understanding Penn entrusts the fate of his proposal. In addition Penn does not really tackle the issues of sovereignty, and this explains the inadequacy of the coercive mechanism which he foresaw for enforcing respect for the decisions taken by the assembly and for punishing transgressors, a mechanism based not so much on an autonomous power set above the states, but on a show of force against the defaulting state by the other member states.
Notwithstanding this point, the work contains more than one aspect of interest regarding the history of federalist thought, notably when Penn establishes a clear parallel between the advantages for people of renouncing to be “his own King” by accepting a government, and the advantages, in terms of peace and justice, which “Soveraigne Princes of Europe” would derive from calling this “Emperial Diet, Parliament or States of Europe” their sovereign. Just as individuals, by submitting to a government, accept that the law will be substituted for force as regards the regulation of their relationships, so the states, by becoming members of what he calls a “European League or Confederacy,” put into effect the same principle, which lies at the heart of overcoming international anarchy, identified by federalist thought as the real cause of war.
An original feature of Penn’s project, which differentiates it from the slightly later one by the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, is that the European authority which he proposes has the characteristics of a real and effective parliament. The Abbé’s project provided for an assembly made up of European sovereigns, while the parliament which Penn proposed was to be composed of sovereigns’ representatives, whose number would depend on the wealth both of the territory of the state and of the sovereign himself.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Penn proposed including Turkey and Muscovy in this assembly, justifying this decision with the only comment that this “seems but fit and just.” If one considers the period in which Penn was writing, on the eve of the crisis linked to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, this is a fine testimony to cosmopolitanism and religious tolerance.
Preoccupied by potential objections as to the “practicability” of his proposal, Penn presented a real-life example, that of the United Provinces of Holland, as a model for the unification of a number of states that could be applied at the European level, and referred to the essay by William Temple, an Englishman living in the Hague, “Observations upon the United Provinces of Netherlands”, written in 1672, which analysed the institutional structure of the United Provinces and the principle of articulating sovereignty across a variety of levels.
In his analysis of the advantages of implementing his proposal, Penn’s “Discourse” contains many naive features which are linked, as mentioned above, to the lack of a real understanding of the nature of sovereignty, yet important intuitions can also be found. For example, Penn claimed that his proposals provided the means for achieving the advantages offered by a universal monarchy regarding peace and continental security without the defects of such a monarchy, identified as the tendency to exploit the countries subjected to it. Moreover, he set against the disadvantages deriving from the “great Taxes ... paid to the numerous Legions of Souldiers” necessary for keeping the peoples in subjection, the advantages of the “Confederal” structure which derive from the fact that the business of government would remain in the power of the princes and the national governments. In this division of competences it is possible to note numerous similarities, within the limits of the constitutional thought of the age, with the advantages of decentralising powers to the level that is as close to the citizen as possible.
Finally, to the second objection, according to which “Soveraign Princes and States will hereby become not Soveraign: a thing they will never be brought to,” Penn answered that “they remain as Soveraign at home as ever they were” [...] “And if this be called a lessening of their Power, it must be only because ... each Soveraignty is equally defended from Injuries, and disabled from Committing them.” This is a very important concept, which re-emerged into the historical limelight in recent years, when, in the nuclear era, the management of security became evermore hazardous and the holders of power themselves came to the realisation that the only way to manage it effectively was a mutual guarantee of security. Penn’s work, then, is testimony to the fact that at the end of the 17th century an important part of European culture and society had not accepted war as an unavoidable occurrence, but on the contrary had investigated its causes and identified potential remedies.
 
***
 
AN ESSAY TOWARDS THE PRESENT
AND FUTURE PEACE OF EUROPE
by the Establishment of an European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates*
 
Beati pacifici, cedant arma togae
 
To the Reader
 
I Have undertaken a Subject that I am very sensible requires one of more sufficiency then I am Master of, to treat it, as in Truth it deserves, and the groaning state of Europe calls for: But since Bunglers may Stumble upon the Game as well as Masters, tho it belongs to the Skilful to hunt and katch it, I hope this Essay will not be charged upon me for a fault, if it appear to be neither Chimerical nor Injurious, and may Provoke abler Pens to improve and perform the design with better Judgment and success. I will say no more in Excuse of my self for this undertakeing, but that it is the fruit of many solicitous thoughts, for the Peace of Europe and they must want Charity as much as the World needs Quiet, to be offended with me for so Pacifick a Proposal. Let them censure my Management so they Prosecute the advantage of the design; for till the Millenary Doctrine be accomplished, there is nothing appears to me, so beneficial an expedient to the Peace and Happiness, of this quarter of the World.
 
I. Of Peace And its Advantages.
 
He must not be a Man, but a Statue of Brass or Stone, whose Bowels do not melt when he beholds the bloody Tragedyes of this War, in Hungary, Germany, Flanders, Ireland and at Sea: The Mortality of sickly and languishing Camps and Navys and the mighty Prey the Devouring Winds and Waves have made upon Ships and Men since 88. And as this, with reason, ought to affect human Nature, and deeply Kindred, so there is something very moveing that becomes Prudent Men to Consider, and that is the vast Charge that has accompanied that Blood, and which makes no mean part of these Tragedyes: Especially if they deleberate upon the uncertainty of the War that they know not when nor how it will end, and that the expence cannot be less and the hazard is as great as before. So that in the Contraries of Peace we see the beauties and benefits of it; which under it (such is the unhappiness of mankind we are to apt to nautiate as the full Stomach loaths the Honey Combe; and like that unfortunate Gentleman that having a fine and Good Woman to his Wife, and searching his pleasure in forbidden and less agreeable company, said, when reproacht with his neglect of better Injoyments, that he could love his Wife of all Women, if she were not his Wife, tho that Increased his obligation to Prefer her. It is a great mark of the Corruption of our Natures, and what ought to humble us extreamly, and excite the exercise of our Reason to a Nobler and Juster sence, that we cannot see the use and pleasure of our Comforts but by the want of them: As if we could not Taste the Benefit of Health, but by the help of sickness; nor understand the satisfaction of fulness without the Instruction of want; nor finally know the Comfort of Peace but by the Smart and Pennance of the Vices of War: And without dispute that is not the least Reason that God is pleased to Chastise us so freequently with it.
What can we desire better then Peace, but the Grace to use it? Peace, Preserves our Possessions: we are in no danger of Invasions; our Trade is free and safe, and we rise and lie down without anxiety. The Rich bring out their hoards, and employ the Poor Manufactors: Buildings and divers Projections, for Profit and Pleasure go on: It excites Industry, which brings Wealth, as that gives the means of Charity and Hospitality, not the lowest ornaments of a Kingdom or Common-Wealth. But War, like the Frost of 83. Seires all these Comforts at once; and stops the Civil Channels of Society. The Rich draw in their stock, the Poor turn Souldiers, or Theives, or Starve: No Industry, no Building, no Manufactury; little Hospitality or Charity; but what the Peace gave, the War Devours. I need say no more upon this head, when the Advantages of Peace and Mischiefs of War are so many and sensible to every Capacity under all Governments, as either of them prevails. I shall Proceed to the next point, what is the best means of Peace, which will conduce much to open my way to what I have to Propose.
 
II. Of the Means of Peace, which is Justice Rather then War.
 
As Justice is a Preserver, so it is a better Procurer of Peace then War. Tho’ pax queritur bello, be an usual faying, Peace is the end of War, and as such, it was taken up by O. C. [Oliver Cromwell] for his Motto; yet the use Generally made of that expression shows us that Properly and truly speaking, men seek their Wills by War, rather then Peace, and that as they will Violate it to obtain them, so they will hardly be brought to think of Peace, unless their appetites be some way gratified. If we look over the Storys of all times, we shall find the Aggressors generally moved by Ambition; the Pride of Conquest and greatness of Dominion, more then Right. But as those Leviathans appear rarely in the World, so I shall anon endeavour to make it evident they had never been able to devour the Peace of the World, and engross whole Countries as they have done, if the Proposal I have to make, for the benefit of our presant Age, had been then in practice. The Advantage that Justice has upon War is Seen by the success of Embassys, that so often prevent War by hearing the Pleas and Memorials of Justice in the Hands and Mouths of the wronged party. Perhaps it may be in a good degree owing to Reputation, or Poverty, or some perticular Interest or conveniency of Princes and States as much as Justice; but it is certain, that as War cannot in any sence be Justified, but upon Wrongs received, and Right upon Complant, refused; so the Generality of Wars have their rise from some such Pretention. This is better seen and understood at home, for that which prevents Civil War in a Nation is that which may prevent it abroad, viz. Justice; and we see, where that is notably obstructed, War is Kindled, between the Magistrates and People in perticular Kingdoms and States; which, however it may be unlawful on the side of the People, we see never fails to follow, and ought to give the same caution to Princes as if it were the Right of the People to do it: Tho I must needs say the remedy is almost ever worse then the disease; the Aggressors seldom getting what they seek, or performing, if they prevail, what they promised; and the Blood and Poverty that usually attend the enterprise, weigh more on Earth as well as in Heaven then what they lost or suffered, or what they get, by endeavouring to mend their Condition, comes to: Which disapointment seems to be the Voice of Heaven, and Judgment of God against those Violent attempts. But to return, I say Justice is the means of Peace; betwixt the Government and the People, and one Man and Company and another. It prevents strife and at last ends it: For besids shame or fear to contend longer, he or they being under Government, are constrained to bound their desires and resentment with the satisfaction the Law gives. Thus Peace is maintained by Justice, which is a fruit of Government, as Government of Laws from Society and Society from consent.
 
III. Of Government, its rise and end under all Modells.
 
Government, is an Expedient against Confusion; a Restraint upon all Disorder; Just weights and an even Ballance: That one man may not Injure another, nor himself by Intemperance.
This was at first, without controversy, Patrimonial, and upon the death of the Father or head of the Family, the Eldest Son or Male of kin succeeded. But time breaking in upon this way of Governing, as the World Multiplied, it fell under other Claims and Forms: And is as hard to trace to its Original, as it is the Copies we have of the First writings of sacred or Civil Matters. It is certain, the most natural and human is that of Consent, for that finds freely (as I may say) when men hold their Liberty by true Obedience to rules of their own makeing. No Man is Judge in his own cause, which ends the Confusion and Blood of so many Judges and Executioners; for out of society every Man is his own King, does what he lists at his own Peril: But when he comes to Incorporate himself, he submits that Royalty to the Conveniency of the whole, from whom he receives the returns of Protection. So that he is not now his own Judge nor Avenger, neither is his Antagonist, but the Law in indifferent Hands between both. And if he be a Servant to others that before was free; he is also served of others that formerly owed him no obligation. Thus, while we are not our own, every Body is ours, and we get more then we loose; the safety of the Society being the safety of the Perticulars that constitute it. So that while we seem to submit to, and hold all we have from Society, it is by Society that we keep what we have.
Government then is the Prevention or Cure of disorder, and the Means of Justice, as that is of Peace; for this cause we have our Sessions, Terms, Assizes and Parliaments, to over-rule Mens Passions and resentments that they may not be Judges in there own Cause nor Punishers of their own wrongs, which as it is very Incident to men in their Corrupt State, so, for that reason, they would observe no measure; nor on the other hand would any be easily reduced to their Duty: Not that Men know not what is right, their excesses, and wherein they are to blame; by no means; nothing is plainer to them: But so depraved is human nature, that without compulsion, some way or other, too many would not readily be brought to do what they know is right and fit, or avoid what they are satisfied they should not do: Which brings me neer to the Point I have under taken; and for the better understanding of which I have thus briefly Treated of Peace, Justice and Government as a necessary Introduction, because the wayes and methods by which Peace is preserved in particular Governments, will help those Readers, most concerned in my Proposal, to conceive with what ease as well as advantage the Peace of Europe might be procured and kept; which is the end designed by me, with all submission to those Interested in this little Treatise.
 
IV. Of a General Peace or the Peace of Europe, and the means of it.
 
In my first Section, I showed the desireableness of Peace: In my next the truest means of it, to wit, Justice, not War: And in my last, that this Justice was the fruit of Government as Government it self was the Result of Society; which first came from a reasonable design in Men of Peace.
Now if the Soveraigne Princes of Europe, that represent that Soveraign or Independent state of Men that was Previous to the Obligations of Society, would for the same reason that engaged Men first into Society, viz. Love of Peace and order, agree to meet by their stated Deputies in a General Diet Estates or Parliament, and their Establish Rules of Justice for Soveraign Princes to observe one to another; and this to meet yearly, or once in two or three Years at farthest, or as they shall see cause; and to be stiled the Soveraign or Emperial Diet, Parliament or States of Europe; before which Soveraign Assembly should be brought all difference depending between one Soveraign and another, that cannot be made up by Private Embassys before the Sessions begins: And that if any of the Soveraignities that Constitute these Imperial States shall refuse to submit their Claim or Pretentions to them, or to abide and perform the Judgment thereof, and seek their remedy by Arms, or delay their Compliance beyond the time prefixt in their Resolutions, all the other Soveraignties united as one strength, shall Compel the submission and Performance of the sentance, with damages to the suffering Party and Charges to the Soveraignities that obliged there submission; To be sure Europe would quietly obtain the so much desired and needed Peace to her harzassed Inhabitants; no Soveraignity in Europe having the Power, and therefore cannot show the will to dispute the conclusion; and consequently, Peace would be procured and Continued in Europe.
 
V. Of the Causes of difference and Motives to Violate Peace.
 
There appears to me but three things upon which Peace is broken, viz. To keep, to Recover, to Add. First to keep what is ones Right from the Invasion of an Enemy; in which I am purely Defensive. Secondly, to Recover, when I think my self strong enough, that which, by Violence, I or my Ancestors have lost to the Arms of a stronger Power; in which I am Offensive: Or lastly to encrease my Dominion by the acquisition of my Neighbours Countries, as I find them weak and my self strong. To gratifie which Passion, there will never want some accident or other for a Pretence: And knowing my own strength I will be my own Judge and Carver. This last will find no Room in the Imperial States: They are an unpassable Limit to that Ambition. But the other two may come as soon as they please, and find the Justice of that Soveraign Court. And Considering how few there are of those Sons of Prey, and how early they show themselves, may be not once in an Age or two, this Expedient being Established, the Ballance cannot well be broken.
 
VI. Of Titles, upon which those Differences may arise.
 
But I easily fore-see a Question, that must be answered in our way, and that is this; What is Right? Or else we can never know what is wrong. It is very fit that this should be Established. But that is fitter for the Soveraign States to resolve then me. And yet that I may lead away to the matter, I say that Title is either by a long and undoubted Succession, as the Crowns of Spain, France and England; or by Election as the Crown of Poland and the Empire; or by Marriage, as the Family of the Stewarts came by England, the Elector of Brandenburgh to the Dutchy of Cleve, and we in Antient time to divers places abroad; or by Purchase, as hath been frequently done in Italy and Germany; or by Conquest; as the Turk in Christendom, the Spaniards in Flanders, formerly mostly in French Hands; and the French in Burgundy, Normandy, Lorrain, French County, and c. This last Title is, Morally speaking, only questionable. It has indeed obtained a place among the Rolls of Titles, but it was engrost and recorded by the point of the Sword, and in bloody Characters. What cannot be controuled or resisted, must be submitted to; but all the World knows the date of the least of such Empires, and that they expire with the Power of the Possesser to defend them. And yet there is a little allowed to Conquest too, when it has had the Sanction of Articles of Peace to confirm it: Tho that doth not alwayes extinguish the Fire, but it lies, like Embers under Ashes, ready to kindle so soon as there is a fit matter prepared for it. Nevertheless when Conquest has been confirmed by a Treaty and conclusion of Peace, I must confess it is an adopted Title; and if not so genuine and natural, yet being engrafted, it is fed by that which is the security of better Titles, Consent.
There is but one thing more to be mentioned in this Section, and that is from what time Titles shall take their begining, or how far back we may look to confirm or dispute them. It would be very bould and inexcusable in me to determine so tender a point, but be it more or less time, as to the last General Peace at Nimegen, or to the commencing of this War, or to the time of the beginning of the Treaty of Peace; I must submit it to the great Pretenders and Masters in that affaire. But something every body must be willing to give or quit, that he may keep the rest, and by this Establishment, be for ever freed of the Necessity of loosing more.
 
VII. Of the Composition of these Imperial States.
 
The Composition and Proportion of this Soveraign Part or Imperial State, does, at the first look, seem to carry with it no small Difficulty what Votes to allow for the inequality of the Princes and States. But with submission to better Judgments I cannot think it Invincible; for if it be possible to have an Estimate of the Yearly Value of the several Soveraign Countries whose Delegates are to make up this August Assembly, the Determination of the Number of Persons or Votes in the States for every Soveraignity will not be Impracticable. Now that England, France, Spain, the Empire, and c. May be pretty exactly estimated, is so plain a case, by considering the Revenue of Lands, the Exports and Entries at the Custome-Houses, the Books of Rates and Surveyes, that are in all Governments, to Proportion Taxes for the support of them, that the least Inclination to the Peace of Europe, will not stand or halt at this Objection. I will, with Pardon on all sides, give an Instance, far from exact; nor do I pretend to it, or offer it for an Estimate; for I do it at Random; only this, as wide as it is from the Just Proportion, will give some Aime to my Judicious Reader, what I would be at: Remembring, I design not by any computation, an Estimate from the Revenue of the Prince, but the Vallue of the Territory; the whole being concerned as well as the Prince. And a Juster Measure it is to go by, since one Prince may have more Revenue then another that has much a Richer Country, Tho’ in the Instance I am now about to make, the caution is not so necessary, because as I said before, I pretend to no manner of Exactness, but go wholly by Guess, being but for example sake. I suppose the Empire of Germany to send 12. France 10. Spain 10. Italy, which comes to France 8. England 6. Portugal 3. Sweedland 4. Denmark 3. Poland 4. Venice 3. the seven Provinces 4. 13 Cantons and little neighbouring Soveraignties, Duke of Holsteen and Carland 1. And if the Turks and Muscovites are taken in, as seems but fit and Just, they will make 10 a piece more. The whole makes Ninety: A great Presence when they represent the 4th, and now the Best and wealthyest part of the known World; where Religion and Learing, Civility and Arts have their Seat and Empire. But it is not absolutely necessary there should be alwayes so many Persons, to represent the larger Soveraignties; for the Votes may be given by one Man of any Soveraignty as well as by ten or twelve: Tho the fuller the Assembly of States is, the more solemn, Effectual and free the debates will be; and the resolution must needs come with greater Authority. The Place of their Session should be Central as much as is possible, afterwards as they agree.
 
VIII. Of the Regulation of the Imperial States in Session.
 
To avoid Quarrel for Presedency, the Room may be Round and have divers Doors to come in and out at, to prevent exceptions. If the whole number be cast into tens, each Chusing one, they may precede by turns; to whom all speeches should be addressed, and who should collect the sense of the Debates, and state the Question for a Vote, which in my Opinion, shouls be by the Ballat, after the Prudent and Commendable Method of the Venetians; which in a great degree prevents the ill Effects of Corruption, because if any of the Delegates of that high and Mighty Estates could be so Vile, false and dishonourable as to be influenced by Money, they have the advantage of taking their Money that will give it them, and of Voteing undiscovered to the Interest of their Principals, and their own Inclination; as they that understand the Ballating Box do very well know. A shrode stratagem and an experimented Remedy against Corruption, at least against Corrupting: For who will give their Money where they may so easily be cousened, and where it is two to one they will be so, for they that will take Money in such cases, will not stick to lye heartily to them that give it, rather then wrong their Country, when they know their lye cannot be detected.
It seems to me that nothing in this Imperial Parliament should pass, but by three quarters of the whole, at least seven above the Ballance. I am sure it helps to prevent Treachery, because, if Money could ever be a temptation in such a Court, it would cost a great deal of Money to weigh down the wrong Scale. All Complaints should be delivered in writing, in the Nature of Memorials; and Journals kept by a proper person in a Trunck or Chest, which hath as many differing Locks, as there are Tens in the States. And if there were a Clark for each Ten, and a Pew or Table for these Clarks in the Assembly; and at the end off every Session, one out of each Ten were appointed to examine and Compare the Journals of those Clarks, and then lock them up as I have before expressed; it would be clear and Satisfactory; and each Soveraignty, if they please, as is but very fit, may have an Exemplification, or Coppy of the said Memorials, and the Journals of Proceedings upon them. The Liberty and Rules of Speech, to be sure they cannot fail in, who will be the Wisest and Noblest of each Soveraignty, for its own honour and safety. If any Difference can arise between those that come from the same Soveraignty, that of one the Major Number do give the Rolls of that Soveraignty. I should think it extreamly Necessary that every Soveraignty should be present under Great Penalties, and that none leave the Session without leave, till all be finished; and that Nutralities in Debates should by no means be endured; for any such Latitude will quickly open a way to unfair Proceeding, and be followed by a train both of seen and unseen Inconveniencies. I will say little of the Language in which the Session of the Soveraign Estates should be held, but to be sure it must be in Latin or French: The first would be very well for Civilians, but the last most easy for Men of Quality.
 
IX. Of the Objections that may be advanced against the design.
 
I will first give and answer the Objection that may be offered against my Proposal; and in my next and last Section, I shall endeavour to show some of the manifold Convenencies that would follow this European League or Confederacy.
The first of them is this, that the strongest and richest Soveraignty will never agree to it, and if it should, there would be danger of Corruption more then of force at one time or other. I answer to the first part, he is not stronger then all the rest, and for that reason you should promote this and compel him into it, especially before he be so; for then it will be too late to deal with such an One. To the last part of the Objection, I say the way is as open now as then; and it may be the number fewer, and as easily come at. However, if men of Sence and Honour and Substance are Chosen, they will either scorn the baseness, or have where-with to pay for the Knavery: At least they may be watch so, that one may be a Check upon on the other, and all prudently limited by the Soveraignty they Represent. In all great points, especially before a final resolve, they may be Obliged to transmit to their Principals, the merrits of such important cases depending, and receive their last Instruction: Which may be done in four and twenty dayes at the most, as the place of their Session may be appointed.
The Second is, That it will endanger an Effeminacy by such a disuse of the Trade of Soldiery: That if there should be any need for it, upon any occasion, we should be at a Loss as they were in Holland in 72.
There can be no danger of Effeminacy, because each Soveraignty may introduce as Temperate or Severe a discipline in the Education of Youth, as they please, by low living, and due Labour. Instruct them in Mechanical knowledge, and in Natural Philosophy by operation, which is the Honour of the German Nobility: This would make them Men: Neither Women nor Lyons: For Souldiers are t’other extream to Effeminacy. But the Knowledge of Nature, and the useful as well as agreeable operations of Art, give Men an understanding of themselves; of the World they are born into; how to be useful and serviceable, both to themselves and others; and how to save and help, not injure or destroy. The Knowledge of Government in general; the Perticular constitutions of Europe; and above all, of his own Country are very recommending accomplishments. This fits him for the Parliament and Council at home, and the Courts of Princes and Services in the Imperial States abroad. At least, he is a good Common-Wealths Man, and can be useful to the Publick, or retire, as there may be occasion.
To the other part of the Objection, Of being at a loss for Soldiery as they were in Holland in 72. The Proposal answers for it self. One has War no more then the other; and will be as much to seek upon occasion. Nor is it to be thought that anyone will keep up such an Army after such an Empire is on foot, which may hazad the safety of the rest. However, if it be seen requisit, the Question may be askt by order of the Soveraign States, why such an one either raises or keeps up a formidable Body of Troops, and to obliege him forth with to Reform or Reduce them; least any One, by keeping up a great Body of Troops, should surprize a Neighbour. But a small force in every other Soveraignty, to What it is either capable or customed to maintain, will certainly prevent that danger, and Vanquish any such fear.
The Third Objection is, That there will be great want of Employment, for Younger Brothers of Families; and that the Poor must either turn Souldiers or Thieves. I have answered that in my return to the Second Objection. We shall have the more Merchants and Husbandmen, or Ingenuous Naturalists, if the Government be but any thing Solicitous of the Education of their Youth: Which, next to the present and Immediate Happiness of any Country, ought, of all things, to be the care and skill of the Government. For such as the Youth of a Country is bred, such is the next Generation, and the Government in good or bad hands.
I am now come to the last Objection, That Soveraign Princes and States will hereby become not Soveraign; a thing they will never be brought to. But this also, under Correction, is a mistake; for they remain as Soveraign at home as ever they were. Neither their Power over their People, nor the usual Revenue they pay them, is diminished: It may be the War-Establishment may be reduced, which will indeed of course follow, or be better employed to the advantage of the Publick. So that the Soveraignties are as they were; for none of them have now any Soverignty over one another: And if this be called a lessening of their Power, it must be only because the great Fish can no longer eat up the little ones, and that each Soveraignty is equally defended from Injuries, and disabled from Committing them. Cedant Arma Togae is a Glorious sentance, the Voice of the Dove, the Olive Branch of Peace. A blessing so great, that when it pleases God to Chastise us severely for our Sins, it is with the Rod of War, that, for the most part, he whips us: And experience tells us none leaves deeper marks behind it.
 
X. Of the real Benefits that flow from this Proposal about Peace.
 
I am come to my last Section, in which I shall enumerate some of those many real benefits that flow from this Proposal for the Present and future Peace of Europe.
Let it not, I pray, be the least, that it prevents the spilling of so much Human and Christian Blood: For a thing so Offensive to God, and terrible and Afflicting to men, as that has ever been, must recommend our Expedient beyond all Objections: For what can a man give in exchange for his Life, as well as his Soul? and tho the Cheifest in Government are seldom Personally exposed, yet it is a duty incumbent upon them to be tender of the Lives of their People; since, without all doubt, they are accountable to God for the Blood that is spilt in their service. So that besides the loss of so many lives, of Importance to any Government, both for labour and Propogation, the Cryes of so many Widows, Parents, and Fatherless, are prevented, that cannot be very pleasent in the Ears of any Government, and is the Natural Consequence of War in all Governments.
There is another manifest benefit which redounds to Christendom by this Peaceable Expedient, The Reputation of Christianity will, in some degree, be recovered in the fight of Infidels, which, by the many bloody and unjust Wars of Christians, not onely with them, but one with another, hath been greatly impared. For, to the scandel of that holy Profession, Christians, that Glory in their Saviours Name, have long devoted the Credit and dignity of it to their wordly Passions, as often as they have been excited by the Impulses of Ambition or Revenge. They have not always been in the right, nor had right been for a reason of War; and not only Christians against Christians, but the same sort of Christians have embrewed their Hands in one anothers Blood: Invoking and Interesting, all they could, the good and Merciful God to Prosper their Arms to their Brethrens destruction: Yet their Saviour has told them, that he came to save and not to destroy the lives of Men: To give and Plant Peace among Men. And if in any sence he may be said to send War, it is the Holy War indeed; for it is against the Devil and not the Persons of Men. Of all his Titles, this seems the most Glorious as well as comfortable for us, that he is the Prince of Peace. It is his Nature, his Office, his Work, and the end and excelling Blessing of his coming, who is both the Maker and Preserver of our Peace with God.
And it is very remarkable, that in all the new Testament he is but once called Lyon, but frequently the Lamb of God; to denote to us his Gentle, Meck and Harmless Nature; and that those that desire to be the Desciples of his Cross and Kingdom, for they are inseperable, must be like him, as St Paul, St Peter and St John tell us. Nor is it said the Lamb shall lie down with the Lyon, but the Lyon shall lie down with the Lamb. That is, War shall yield to Peace, and the Souldier turn Hermite. To be sure Christians should not be apt to strive, nor swift to anger against any Body, and less with one another, and least of all for the uncertain and fading enjoyments of this lower World: And no quality is exempted from this Doctrine. Here is a wide Field for the Reverend Clergy of Europe to act their Part in, who have so much the Possession of Princes and Peoples too. May they recommend and Labour this Pacifick means I offer, which will end Blood, if not Strife; and then Reason, upon free debate, will be Judge and not the Sword. So that both Right and Peace which are the desires and fruit of wife Governments, and the Choice blessings of any Country, seem to succeed the Establishment of this Proposal.
The Third benefit is that it saves Money, both to the Princes and People; and thereby prevents those Grutchings and Misunderstandings between them that are wont to follow the devouring expences of War; and enables both to preform Publick Acts for Learning, Charity, Manufactories, and c. The Virtues of Government and Ornaments of Countries. Nor is this all the Advantage that follows to Soveraignties upon this head of Money and Good-husbandry, to whose service and happiness this short Discourse is dedicated, for it saves the great expence that frequent and splended Embassies require, and all their appendages, of Spies and Intellegence, which in the most Prudent Governments have devoured mighty Sums of Money, and that not without some Immoral Practices also; such as Corrupting of Servants, to betray their Masters by revealing their Secrets; not to be defended by Christian, or old Roman Virtue. But here, where there is nothing to fear, there is little to know, and therefore the Purchase is either Cheep, or may be wholly spared. I might mention Pensions to the Widows and Orphans of such as Dye in Wars, and of those that have been disabled in them; which rise high in the Revenue of some Countries.
Our Fourth Advantage is that the Town, Cities and Countries that might be laid waste by the rage of War are thereby preserved: A blessing, that would be very well understood in Flanders and Hungary, and indeed upon all the Borders of Soveraignties which are almost ever the Stages of Spoiles and Misery; of which the stories of England and Scotland do sufficiently inform us without looking over the Water.
The Fifth Benefit of this Peace, is the Ease and Security of Travel and Traffick: An happiness never understood since the Roman Empire has been Broken into so many Soveraignties. But we may easily conceive the Comfort and advantage of Travelling through the Governments of Europe by a Pass from any of the Soveraignties of it, which this League and state of Peace will Naturally make Authentick. They that have Travelled Germany, where is so great a number of Soveraignties, know the want and vallue of this Priviledge, by the many Stops and Examinations they meet with by the way: But especially such as have made the great Tower of Europe. This leads to the benefit of an Universal Monarchy, without the Inconveniences that attend it: For when the whole was one Empire, (tho these advantages were enjoyed yet) the several Provinces, that now make the Kingdoms and States of Europe, were under some hardships from the great sums of Money remitted to the Imperial seat, and the Ambition and Avarice of their several Proconsuls and Governours, and the Great Taxes they paid to the numerous Legions of Souldiers that they maintained for their own subjection; who were not wont to entertain that concern for them (being uncertainly there, and having their fortunes to make) which their Respective and proper Soveraignties have allways shown for them. So that to be Ruled by Native Princes or States, with the advantage of that Peace and Security that can only render an Universal Monarchy desireable, is peculiar to our Proposal, and for that Reason it is to be prefered.
Another advantage is the Great Security it will be to Christians against the Inroads of the Turk in their most Prosperous fortune. For it had been Impossible for the Port to have prevailed so often, and so far upon Christendom, but by the carelessness, or wilful connivance, if not aide, of some Christian Princes. And for the same reason why no Christian Monarch will adventure to Oppose or break such an Union, the Grandseignior will find himself Obliged to concur for the Security of what he holds in Europe: where, with all his strength, he would feel it an over-match for him. The Prayers, Tears, Treason, Blood and Devastation, that War has cost in Christendom, for these two last Ages Especially, must add to the Credit of our Proposal, and the blessing of the Peace thereby humbly recommended.
The Seventh advantage of an European, Imperial Dyet, Parliament, or Estates, is that it will beget and encrease Personal Friendships between Princes and States; which tends to the rooting up of Wars and planting Peace in a deep and fruitful Soyle. For Princes have the Curiosity of seeing the Courts and Citties of other Countries as well as Private Men, if they could as securely and familiarly gratify their Inclinations. It were a great Motive to the tranquility of the World, that they could freely converse Face to Face, and personally and reciprocally give and receive marks of Civility and Kindness: An Hospitality that leaves these Impressions behind it, will hardly let ordinary Matters prevail to mistake or Quarral one another. Their Emulation would be in the Instances of Goodness, Laws, Customs, Learning, Arts, Buildings; and in Perticular those that relate to Charity, the true Glory of some Governments, where Beggers are as much a rarety, as in other places it would be to see none.
Nor is this all the benefit that would come by this Freedom and Intervew of Princes: For Natural Affection would hereby be Preserved, which we see little better then lost from the time their Children or Sisters are Married into other Courts. For the present State and Insecurity of Princes forbid them the Enjoyment of that natural Comfort which is Possest by Private Families: In somuch, that from the time a Daughter or Sister is Married to another Crown, Nature is submitted to Interest, and that, for the most part, grounded not upon solid or commendable Foundations, but Ambition or an Unjust Avarice. I say this Freedom that is the Effect of our Pacifick Proposal, restores Nature to her Just right and dignity in the Families of Princes, and then to the Comfort she brings wherever she is preserved in her Proper station. Here Daughters may Personal entreat their Parents, and Sisters their Brothers, for a good understand between them and their Husbands, where Nature, not Crusht by absence and Sinister Interests, but active by the sight and lively Entreaties of such near Relations, is almost sure to prevail. They cannot easily resist, the most affectional addresses of such powerful Soliciters, as their Children and Grand-Children, and their Sisters, Nephews, and Neices. And so backwards from Children to Parents, and Sisters to Brothers, to keep up and Preserve their own Families, by a good understanding between their Husbands and them. To conclude this Section, there is yet another Manifest Priviledge that follows this intercourse and good understanding, which me thinks should be very moving with Princes, viz. That hereby they may Choose Wives for themselves, such as they love; and not by Proxy, meerly to gratefie Interest, an Ignoble motive; and rarely begets or continues that Kindness which ought to be between Men and their Wives: A Satisfaction very few Princes ever knew, and to which all other pleasures ought to resign: which has often Obliged me to think that, The Advantage of Private Men upon Princes, by Family Comforts, is a sufficient Ballance against their greater Power and Glory: The one being more in Imagination, then real, and often Unlawful; but the other Natural, Solid and Commendable: Besides, it is certain, Parents loveing well before they are Married, which very rarely happens to Princes, has kind and Generous Influences upon their Offspring; which, with their example, makes them the better Husbands and Wives in their turn. This, in Great Measure, Prevents Unlawful Love, and the Mischief of those Intreagues that are wont to follow them? What hatred, Fewds, Wars and Desolations have in divers Ages, flown from Unkindness between Princes and their Wives? What unnatural divisions among their Children, and Ruin to their Families if not loss of their Countries by it? Behold an expedient to prevent it, a Natural, an Efficacious one: Happy to Princes, and Happy to their People also: For Nature being renewed and strengthened by these mutual pledges and Endearments, have Mentioned, will leave those soft and kind Impressions behind, in the minds of Princes, that Court and Country will very Easily discern and feel the Good Effects of it: Especially if they have the Wisdom to show that they Interest themselves in the Prosperity of the Children and Relations of their Princes. For it does not only Incline them to be good, but engage those Relations to become Powerful Sutors to their Princes for them, if any Misunderstanding should unhappily arise between them and their Soveraigns. Thus ends this Section. It now rests to Conclude the discourse, in which, if I have not pleased my Reader or answered his expectation, it is some Comfort to me, I meant well, and have cost him but little Money and time; and brevity is an Excuse, if not a Virtue, where the subject is not agreable, or is but ill prosecuted.
 
The Conclusion.
 
I will Conclude this my Proposal of an European, Soveraign, or Imperial Dyet, Parliament or Estates, with that which I have toucht upon before, and which falls under the notice of everyone concerned, by comeing home to their Perticular and Respective experience within their own Soveraignties. That the same Rules of Justice and Prudence, by which Parents and Masters Govern their Families, and Magistrates their Cities, and Estates their Republicks, and Princes and Kings their Principalities and Kingdoms, Europe may Obtain and Preserve peace among the Soveraignties. For Wars are the Duells of Princes; and as Government in Kingdoms and States prevents men being Judges and Executioners for themselves, over-rules private Passions as to Injures or Revenge, and Subjects the great as well as the small to the Rule of Justice, that Power might not Wanquish or Oppress Right, nor one Neighbour act an Independency and Soveraignty upon another, while they have resigned that Original Claim to the benefit and Comfort of Society; so this being soberly weighed in the whole, and parts of it, It will not be hard to conceive or frame, nor yet to execute the design I have here proposed.
And for the better understanding and Perfecting of the Idea I here Present to the Soveraign Princes and Estates of Europe, for the safety and Tranquility of it, I must recommend to their Perusal Sr William Temple’s Account of the United Provinces; which is an Instance and answer, upon Practice, to all the Objections that can be advanced against the Practicability of my Proposal; Nay, it is an Experiment that not only comes up to our case, but exceeds the difficulties that can render its accomplishment disputable. For there we shall find Three degrees of Soveraignties, to make up every Soveraignty in the General States. I will reckon them backwards. First the States General themselves: Then the Immediate Soveraignties that constitute them, which are those of the Provinces; answerable to the Soveraignties of Europe, that by their Deputies are to Compose the European Dyet, Parliament or Estates in our Proposal. And then there are the several Cities of each Province that are so many Independant or distinct Soveraignties, which Compose those of the Provinces as Those of the Provinces do compose the States General at the Hague.
But I confess I have the Passion to wish heartily that the honour of Proposeing and Effecting so great and good a design might be owing to England of all the Countries in Europe, as something of the nature of our expedient was, in design and preparation, to the Wisdom, Justice and Valler of Henry the fourth of France; whose superior Qualities raising his Character above those of his Ancestors or Contemporaries, deservedly gave him the stile of Henry the Great. For he was upon Obligeing the Princes and Estates of Europe to a Politick Ballance, when the Spanish Faction, for that reason, contrived, and accomplished his Murder by the hands of Ravillack. I will not then fear to be censured for Proposeing an Expedient for the Present and future Peace of Europe, when it was not only the Design but Glory of one of the Greatest Princes that ever reigned in it; and is found practicable in the constitution of one of the wisest and Powerfullest States of it. So that to conclude I have very little to answer for in all this affaire, because, if it succeed, I have so little to deserve: For this great King’s Example tells us it is fit to be done; and Sr W. Temple’s History shews us, by a Surpassing Instance, that it may be done; and Europe, by her incomparable Miseries, makes it necessary to be done; that my share is only thinking of it at this Juncture, and putting it into the common Light for the Peace and prosperity of Europe.
 
(Prefaced and edited by Carlo Guglielmetti)


*Hildesheim - Zürich - New York, Georg Olms Verlag, 1983.

Share with