Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Present and Future Peace of Europe - William Penn, 1693

An Essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe
by the establishment of an European Dyet, Parliament, or Estates.
by William Penn – 1693

“Beati Pacifica ---Cedant arma togae”

To the Reader:

I have undertaken a Subject that I am sensible requires one of more sufficiency than 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, though it belongs to the Skillful to hunt and catch 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 & Success.

I will say no more in excuse of myself for this Undertaking, but that it is the Fruit of my Solicitous Thought for the PEACE of Europe, and they must want Charity as much as the World needs Quiet to be offended with me for so PACIDICK a Proposal.

He must not be a man but a Statue of Brass or Stone whose bowls do not melt when he beholds the bloody Tragedies of this War…So that in the Contraries of Peace we see the Beauties & Benefits of it; …What can we desire better than Peace, but Grace to use it? …

I shall proceed to the next point: What is the best Means of Peace? JUSTICE rather than War. As Justice is a Preserver, so it is a better Procurer of Peace than War. Tho’ “PAX QUAERITUR BELLO” be an usual saying ---Peace is the end of War --- yet the use generally made of that expression shows us that properly and truly speaking Men seek their Wills by War rather than Peace… If we look over all the Stories of all Times we shall find the Aggressors generally moved by Ambition, the Pride of Conquest and Greatness of Dominion more than Right.

Government is an expedient against Confusion; a Restraint upon all disorder; just Weights and even Balances; that one may not injure another nor himself by Intemperance…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 conveniencing 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 is servant to others that before was free, he is also served of others that formerly owned him no Obligation. Thus while we are not our own Everybody is ours, and we get more than we lose, the Safety of the Society being the Safety of the Particulars 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 is then the Prevention and Cure of Disorder, and the Means of JUSTICE, as that is of PEACE.

I HAVE thus briefly treated of Peace, Justice, and Government, as a necessary Introduction, because the Ways and Methods by which Peace is preserved in particular Governments will help those Readers most concerned in my Proposal to conceive with what Ease 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.

Now if the SOVERIGN PRINCES of EUROPE, who represent that Society 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 DYET, ESTATES, or PARLIAMENT, and there establish RULES of JUSTICE for Sovereign Princes to observe one to another; and this to meet yearly, or once in two or three years at farthest, or as they Cause, and to be styled the SOVERIGN or IMPERIAL DYET, PARLIAMENT, or STATE of EUROPE; before which Sovereign Assembly should be brought all Differences depending between one Sovereign and another, that cannot be made up by private Embassies before the Sessions begin, …Europe would quietly obtain the so much desired and needed PEACE to her harassed Inhabitants; no Sovereignty in Europe having the Power and therefore cannot show the Will to dispute the Conclusion…

There appears to me but three Things upon which Peace is broken, viz: To Keep, To Recover, or To Add.


To keep what is Ones Right, from the Invasion of an Enemy; in which I am purely defensive.


To Recover, when I think myself strong enough, that which Violence I, or my Ancestors, have lost by Arms of a Stronger Power; in which I am offensive.

Or Lastly,

To Increase my Dominion by the Acquisition of my Neighbor’s Countries, as I find them weak and myself Strong.

This Last will find no room in the Imperial States. They are an impassable Limit to that Ambition. But the other Two may come as soon as they please, and find the Justice of the Sovereign Court.

THE Fuller the Assembly of States is, the more Solemn, Effectual, and Free the Debates will be, and the Resolutions must need come with greater Authority. The Place of their First Session should be Central as much as possible. Afterwards --- as they agree.

TO avoid Quarrel for PRECEDENCY the ROOM may be ROUND (!!!) and have diverse Doors to come in and go out at, to prevent Exceptions. If the whole Number be cast in Tens, each chusing One, they may preside 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, should be by Ballot after the Precedent and Commendable Method of the Venetians…It seems to me that nothing in this Imperial Parliament should pass by Three Quarters of the Whole.

THE First then is this, that the STRONGEST and RIGHTEST SOVEREIGNTY will never agree to it, and if it should, there would be danger of Corruption more than by Force one time or another. I answer …He is not stronger than all the rest, and for that Reason you should promote this, and compel him into it…

The Second is, That it will endanger Effeminacy by such a disuse of the Trade of Soldiery. …There can be no danger of Effeminacy because each Sovereign may introduce as Temperate or Severe a Discipline in the Education of Youth as he please…This would make them Men; neither Women nor Lyons; for Soldiers are t’other Extreme 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 save and help, not injure and destroy. The Knowledge of Government in General, the particular Constitutions of Europe, and above all of his own Country are very recommending Accomplishments. This fits him for the Parliament and Councils at Home, and the Courts of Princes and Services in the Imperial States abroad. At lease he is a good Common-Wealth’s man.

I AM now come to the Last Objection, that SOVEREIGN PRINCES and STATES will hereby become not Sovereign, a thing they will never endure. But this, also, under Correction is a Mistake, for they remain as Sovereign 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 follow, or be better employed to the Advantage of the Publick.

SO that the SOVEREIGNTIES are as they were, for none of them has now any Sovereignty 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 sovereign is equally defended from Injuries, and disabled from committing them. CEDANT ARMA TOGAE is a Glorious Sentence: The Voice of The DOVE: The Olive Branch of PEACE!


Let it not, I pray, be the least that it prevents the spilling of so much human and Christian Blood…

There is another manifest Benefit. …The Reputation of Christianity will in some degree be recovered in the sight of Infidels. …THEIR SAVIOUR has told them that He came to save and not to destroy the Lives of Men. …To give and to plant PEACE among 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 excellent Blessings of His Coming, Who is both the MAKER AND PRESERVER of OUR


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