Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


they are not called to the management of the state, and turn from one side to another upon every neglect they fancy from the King or his enemies.

 

 

DIALOGUE IV.

A. You have seen the Rump in possession (as they believed) of the supreme power over the two nations England and Ireland, and the army their servant; though Cromwell thought otherwise, serving them diligently for the advancement of his own purposes. I am now therefore to show you their proceedings.

B. Tell me first, how this kind of government under the Rump or relic of a House of Commons is to be called?

A. It is doubtless an oligarchy. For the supreme authority must needs be in one man or in more. If in one, it is monarchy; the Rump therefore was no Monarch.[1] If the authority were in more than one, it was in all, or in fewer than all. When in all, it is democracy; for every man may enter into the assembly which makes the Sovereign Court; which they could not do here. It is therefore manifest, that the authority was in a few, and consequently the state was an oligarchy.

B. Is it not impossible for a people to be well governed, that are to obey more masters than one?

A. Both the Rump and all other sovereign assemblies, if they have but one voice, though they be many men, yet are they but one person. For contrary commands cannot consist in one and the same voice, which is the voice of the greatest part; and therefore they might govern well enough, if they had honesty and wit enough.

The first act of the Rump, was the exclusion of those members of the House of Commons, which had been formerly kept out by violence for the procuring of an ordi-

  1. was no monarchy.