London: Printed for Daniel Pakeman, 1659. 4to. 23 pp. FIRST EDITION. Drop title. Woodcut headpiece and capital. Later boards, title and author printed on top cover, red fore-edge. Of particular interest, the printed date (Novemb. 13, 1658) on the final printed leaf is crossed out as in other extant copies of this edition. Item #17452
First edition of Harrington’s description of a popular government. Harrington (1611–77) was a political theorist and prolific writer. He was educated at Oxford and traveled extensively throughout Europe. A confidant of Charles I, he was a republican who opposed any form of tyranny though promoted a moderate aristocracy. He published his best-known work, The Commonwealth of Oceana in 1656, an alternate history of England that demonstrates the workings of a moderate aristocracy and develops an ideal constitution, designed to facilitate the creation of a utopian republic. Most of his writings thereafter expanded on his republican ideals or combated opposing opinions. Brief directions, also known as Seven models of a commonwealth, succintly outlines Harrington’s ideas concerning how land could be divided between the nobitlity, the gentry, and the people to secure political equilibrium. The first part, like Oceana, details seven models for an imaginary commonwealth and the second part delves into how to remodel the present government of England.