The Oceana by James Harrington
Toland Edition, with portrait frontispiece. “The Oceana of James Harrington, Esq; And His Other Works: With an Account of His Life Prefix’d by John Toland. To which is Added, Plato Redivivus: or, A Dialogue Concerning Government” contains the works of English political theorist James Harrington.
It was published in Dublin in 1737 and is known as the Toland edition. This volume contains: “The Life of James Harrington,” an account of Harrington’s life by John Toland; “The Grounds and Reasons of Monarchy Consider’d,” “The Common-Wealth of Oceana,” “The Prerogative of Popular Government,” “The Art of Law-Giving,” “A Word Concerning a House of Peers,” “Six Political Tracts Written on Several Occasions,” and “Plato Redivivus: or, A Dialogue Concerning Government,” written by Henry Neville.
“Oceana” is the most famous and well-known of these works. It was first published in 1656 in London. The first printing was seized while at the printer and censored by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector. Harrington appealed to Cromwell’s daughter, Elizabeth Claypole, who intervened and led to the book being printed with a new dedication to Cromwell.
In “Oceana,” Olphaus Megaletor (Cromwell) rules the dominion of Oceana (England) and Harrington attempts to create a new society: a republic in a moderate aristocracy with equilibrium of property and an ideal constitution. It is believed that Harrington’s ideal vision of state went on to influence the United States government and politics regarding the Constitution, dual legislatures, and the election of the president.
TITLE: The Oceana of James Harrington, Esq; And His Other Works: With an Account of His Life Prefix’d by John Toland. To which is Added, Plato Redivivus: or, A Dialogue Concerning Government.