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veloped forms, as aristocracies. Nor, indeed, would even this phraseology render M. de Tocqueville's generalisations correct; for assuming these governments to be aristocratic, it will be found that his general affirmations respecting aristocracies are often as inapplicable to those ancient republics as other of his general affirmations respecting democracies.

The utmost caution is requisite in laying down general propositions respecting the tendencies of aristocratic and democratic governments, or the characteristics of aristocratic and democratic communities. Even the induction of Aristotle, which was necessarily confined to the Greek and other republics on the shores of the Western Mediterranean, is, in many cases, inapplicable to modern Christian communities, having no class of slaves, and acquainted with the use of gunpowder, printing, the compass, and the steam-engine. M. de Tocqueville remarks, that 'two neighbouring nations cannot have the same democratic social state without adopting similar opinions and manners.' Admitting the truth of this remark, (which, however, I must be permitted to think very questionable,) it does not follow that this similarity will exist in cases where communities are separated, not only by wide intervals of space, but also by wide intervals of time, and whose religion, race, language, and civilisation, are widely different.

§ 4. It is by a neglect to observe the cautions above indicated-by hasty attempts to generalise without a sufficient basis of facts, and to found universal theorems upon a complex but undissected phenomenon -by the consequent establishment of imaginary laws of connection. between facts related to each other only by juxtaposition in place or time and by subjecting intricate problems of plurality of causes to the direct inductive method, without verification or correction, that the Science of Politics has been rendered uncertain and uninstructive, and that practical politicians and statesmen have been deterred from regarding it as resting on a sure foundation, or as tending to useful applications.2 If political science be properly understood-if it be confined within the limits of its legitimate province-and if its vocabulary be well fixed by sound definitions and a consistent usage, there is no reason why it should not possess the same degree of certainty which belongs to other sciences founded on observation.

§ 5. Political science may be conveniently distributed into the following three great departments :

1. The nature of a sovereign government, and its relations with the individual persons immediately subject to it.

2. The relation of a sovereign government to a political community dependent upon it.

1 Tom. IV. p. 243.

2 As to the defectiveness of the ordinary methods of proof in the moral sciences, see the xposition of Mr. Mill, System of Logic, b. III. c. 10, § 8; b. V. c. 5, § 4; b. VI. c. 7.


3. The mutual relations of the sovereign governments of indepen

dent communities.

Each of these departments admits of being considered in a double point of view. Each may be either treated merely as something existing, as something which is, without reference to its tendencies, or to any standard of rectitude; or, again, it may be assumed that the existing state of each is known, and it may be treated with reference to its probable future tendencies and effects, as well as with reference to its most improved and perfect state, or what it ought to be. The former may be called Positive or Descriptive, the latter, Ideal or Speculative Politics.

The science of Positive or Descriptive Politics would, with regard to the first of the three departments above mentioned, comprehend an exposition of the structure of a sovereign government, and its powersthe nature of laws and of their execution-the nature of legal rights and obligations, and their classes, and other cognate subjects. This exposition would be generally applicable to all governments, laws, rights, obligations, &c., without reference to their comparative goodness or badness, or to their conformity with some ideal standard; it would treat political society merely as a subject of observation, and political institutions as something to be noted and described.' Portions of Aristotle's Politics, of Cicero's Republic, of Hobbes' Leviathan, of the works of Grotius and Puffendorf on the Law of Nations, and of their followers, fall under this head. Most of the writers on general jurisprudence likewise contain an exposition of the nature and action of a sovereign government. On the other hand, the Republic and Laws of Plato, a large part of Aristotle's Politics, the works of Bodinus, Machiavel, Montesquieu, Sir T. More, and others, are occupied almost exclusively with considering the tendencies and effects of certain political forms and institutions, or the best form of government.

The second department above mentioned, viz,—that which concerns the relation between a paramount or imperial community, and its dependency, has been considered more or less at length by many writers, but has been generally treated in connection with the question of colonies, both as respects the actual form of the relation, and the rules of expediency by which it ought to be governed.

The third department, viz.—that of the Law of Nations, or International Law, may be regarded under the same double aspect. It may be either considered as an actually existing system of moral rules, to which the governments of civilised nations usually conform in their mutual relations, and to which they habitually appeal as something recognised in common. Or it may be considered as an ideal or theo

1 'General jurisprudence, or the philosophy of positive law, is concerned with law as it necessarily is, rather than with law as it ought to be: with law as it must be, be it good or bad, rather than with law as it must be, if it be good.'-AUSTIN, Outline of Lectures on Generul Jurisprudence, p. 3.

retical type, to which the practice of independent nations ought to conform. Such, for example, would be a system of conventional rules for the prevention of war between civilised nations, and for the settlement of international differences without an appeal to arms. The former of these has been called the Positive Law of Nations; the latter might be called Speculative International Law. In the earlier writers, as Grotius and his imitators, the Law of Nations as it is, and the Law of Nations as it ought to be, are frequently confounded; and, indeed, scarcely any attempt is made to separate them. By the more recent writers on this important branch of political science-as Martens and Wheaton-this distinction has been generally observed.1

The Positive or Descriptive Branch of Political Science, (whether it treats of the relations of a sovereign government to its immediate subjects, or of its relations to its dependencies, or of international law,) is concerned merely with the past and present. It considers exclusively what a sovereign government is, and must be; what is necessarily its mode of action; what are its relations, in every conceivable state of things, with those who are subject to its power. In like manner, it describes the rules which have been actually observed and recognised. by sovereign governments in their relations with each other. It is partly founded on facts observable, and within the reach of our senses, and partly on facts recorded in history.

This portion of political science admits of as much certainty as the physical sciences; and it might, by due attention, and the absence of political prejudice, be brought immediately to scientific perfection. Within its proper province, there is no fact or phenomenon requiring notice which eludes observation; nor is there any combination of facts for which an adequate general expression cannot be found.

Let us, for example, take such propositions as the following :-
A sovereign government is free from all legal restraint.

A positive law is a general command, proceeding directly or indirectly from a sovereign government.

A legal right is conferred, a legal obligation is created, by a sovereign government.

A dependency is a political community under a subordinate govern


International law is not enforced by any tribunal common to two or more independent nations.

Such propositions as these are as certain, and rest on as good evidence, as general propositions in mechanics, optics, or chemistry. If

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1 The distinction between the Positive and the Natural Law of Nations is clearly laid down by Vattel (I.aw of Nations, §§ 24-7), and he says: We shall be careful to distinguish them, without, however, treating of them separately.' Martens points out the same distinction, and dwells on its importance.-Law of Nations, Introd. §§ 3 4.

they are not true, the fault must be imputed, not to the subject-matter, but to imperfect or inaccurate induction, or defective language. The facts upon which these propositions are founded lie as open to observation, and are determined with the same amount of certainty, as those which support propositions in physical science. It is true that political science cannot be made the subject of experiment; we cannot arrange the phenomena at will so as to test a certain principle; but the relations of government and society, in a state of equilibrium, are all within the range of our senses, and can be determined with scientific certainty.

Politics, considered as a descriptive and positive science, deals merely with the relations of men to one another. All these are manifested in outward acts, and are, therefore, exempt from the obscurity which envelops the internal processes of thought, the subject of metaphysics-and the operation of our vital organs, the subject of physiology.1

The prevalent belief in the inferior certainty of political, as compared with physical science, arises in part from a confusion between the certainty and the precision of sciences. It has been truly remarked by M. Comte, that a proposition may be certain without being precise, and precise without being certain. There is such a thing as precise falsehood; and in cases where we can only approximate to the truth, a statement which is true may be couched in vague and general terms. Thus, in politics, many of the definitions-such as those of aristocracy and democracy, illustrated in this Appendix-are founded on distinctions of degree, and are, therefore, necessarily unprecise. Many, if not most, political forms are separated from one another rather by gradation than by a logical limit. Yet the distinctions which they indicate, though wanting in the sharpness and rigour of geometrical determinations, are just as real and certain as lines, angles, surfaces, and solids.

The speculative or ideal branch of political science, on the other hand, (with whatever department of politics it may be occupied,) considers the tendencies, actual or possible, of governments, political institutions, and laws; it also considers what are the best and most perfect political forms and institutions, or what a government and its acts ought to be. It is concerned primarily and directly with the future, and only incidentally and by reference with the past. It professes to furnish the statesman with a manual of legislation; to teach how States ought to be constituted, organised, and governed; what rules ought to be observed in the intercourse of independent nations; and, generally, to lay down the maxims which should guide

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mankind in all the relations and forms which political government

can assume.

Positive and speculative politics stand to one another in the same relation as that in which the descriptive and preceptive departments of ethics stand to each other; in which an account of the passions and moral sentiments stands to a set of moral rules for the guidance of life, and the formation of a virtuous character; or in which anatomy and pathology stand to therapeutics.

The speculative branch of politics, from its nature, does not admit the same amount of certainty as the positive branch. While the latter treads on the sure and firm ground of the past, the former partakes of the uncertainty and obscurity which generally cover the future. It professes to describe the tendencies of political institutions, collecting them from the past by a process of observation and inference. But when the theory so established is applied to any practical case, it becomes necessary to consider whether the tendency will operate unchecked, or whether its operation will be counteracted, either wholly or partially, by opposing and disturbing forces. In politics, as in other sciences, the probable consequences of any efficient cause can only be expressed in general terms, by supposing that cause to act freely, and without impediment or resistance. But, in applying such a general theorem to practice, allowance must be made for the action of the opposing or retarding influences; and it is in the detection of these influences, in their due appreciation, and in the calculation of their number, duration, direction, and intensity, that the practical skill of the politician, to a great extent, resides. The same is the case with the science of mechanics, in which the tendencies of bodies in movement, or of mechanical powers, are calculated without reference to friction; and with the science of medicine, which teaches the probable effect of a drug or other remedy when the human body is in an ordinary state, but leaves to the skill of the physician to judge how far these effects will be heightened or diminished by an abnormal state of the system.

Thus, for example, it may be affirmed that the natural tendency of aristocracy is to produce political inequality, and of democracy to produce political equality; that certain forms of criminal law and systems of punishment tend to repress crime, and that others fail in this respect; that high duties counteract, and low duties facilitate, the importation of goods. But it cannot be predicted with confidence, in any individual case, that each of these tendencies will produce its natural effect. Thus, an aristocratic government may abolish slavery, while a democratic government may maintain it. A high duty may be so far neutralised by smuggling, as to be inoperative; while the natural tendency of low duties to encourage importation may be frustrated by a deficient supply; by high freights, or by maritime insecurity. In like manner, the

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