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blessings which are connected with the prevailing authority of the latter.

The progress made in Political Economy during the course of the last century, affords the most luminous illustration of the truth of some of the foregoing remarks. Every step which has hitherto been gained in that science, has discovered to the world some delusive project or erroneous opinion, counteracting human happiness, and even counteracting the partial interests of those by whom the project or opinion was fostered and encouraged. And in proportion as its general principles assume somewhat of a systematical form, the connexion between the interests of individuals and the national prosperity, and the still more unexpected connexion between the prosperity of nations and that of neighbouring communities, becomes more and more apparent. The whole of Mr. Smith's political writings, in particular, may be considered as a commentary on this great maxim, that in the case of nations, as well as of individuals, Honesty is the best and surest Policy; or what amounts nearly to the same thing, that while our inquiries are guided alone by a sense of justice, and by a dispassionate love of truth, our conclusions must be favourable to the best interests of mankind. Such speculations tend at once to enlarge the understanding, and to amend the heart, exhibiting a union and harmony among the principles of political speculation, while they add powerfully to the authority of virtue, and animate every worthy motive to exertion. They stimulate, more especially, our efforts to instruct and to enlighten the world, and by teaching us to regard the cause of truth and the welfare of our species as inseparably connected, they unite in checking the influence of those partial and mistaken conceptions of expediency which oppose so many obstacles to the progress of society. To those whose minds are familiarized to this view of human affairs, the following sentiments of an English divine, equally distinguished by his learning and by the classical elegance of his style, will appear to be as just and profound * [Dr. Conyers Middleton. See Preface to his Works.]

as they are forcibly and beautifully expressed; and with this passage, which accords so completely with my own opinions, I shall now close this course of Lectures:*" I persuade myself, that the life and faculties of man, at the best but short and limited, cannot be employed more rationally or laudably, than in the search of knowledge, and especially of that sort which relates to our duty, and conduces to our happiness. I look upon the discovery of anything which is true, as a valuable acquisition to society, which cannot possibly hurt or obstruct the good effect of any other truth whatsoever, for they all partake of one common essence, and necessarily coincide with each other; and, like the drops of rain which fall separately into the river, mix themselves at once with the stream, and strengthen the general current."—(End of interpolation from Notes.)

*[See footnotes on pp. 326, 351 of this volume, et alibi. In general, the reader will observe, that use has, more than once, been made of this Book of

the Political Economy, especially towards its close, in the Third Part of the Dissertation. (Works, Vol. I.)]






[SUBSECT. I.-Of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive


BEFORE I proceed to make any remarks on the different forms of Government, it is proper to observe in general, that in every political establishment the laws must be enacted, interpreted, and executed. Hence, the functions of Government are three, Legislation, Jurisdiction, and Execution. Some writers comprehend the two last under the head of Execution, but the former division is the more distinct, and is now almost universally followed. It will afterwards appear, that the great object of the Theory of Government is to separate and distribute these powers properly, so as to guard against the abuses to which they might otherwise be liable; more particularly to

* [It will be observed, that in relegating the discussion on the Theory of Government, or Politics Proper, to this Second Part, I am deviating from the order which may seem to have been preferred by Mr. Stewart in the last corrected copy of these Lectures; (see p. xii. of Editorial Advertisement prefixed to their Vol. I.) The reason, in

fact the necessity, of this change is explained in notes and relative texts at pp. 21, 24, and 29 of that volume. It is also to be remembered that this second section of the Lectures on Political Economy, to wit, Politics Proper, was delivered by Mr. Stewart as pertaining to his course of Moral Philosophy.]

organize the Legislative power, which, wherever it is freely and independently exercised, possesses, from its nature, a supremacy both over the Judicial and the Executive. It will also appear, that these ends can only be accomplished by a mixed government; that is, by a system of policy which combines the simple forms in such a manner as to correct the inconveniences which, in their separate states, they seem all to threaten. Instead, therefore, of beginning with the abstract consideration of the functions of government, it appears to me to be a more natural and intelligible arrangement, to introduce the general principles which I have to state concerning the division and distribution of powers, under those heads of the subject which are best calculated to illustrate their practical application. In the meantime, I shall only observe, that this doctrine of the division and distribution of Powers is very ingeniously illustrated by Montesquieu,* and that some of his fundamental principles are ably and eloquently commented on by Mr. Ferguson in his Essay on the History of Civil Society.†

[SUBSECT. II. Of the Simple Forms of Government in Theory and in general.]

The ancient Politicians enumerated three simple forms of government, Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy. In the first of these the sovereign power is supposed to be lodged in the whole body of the people; in the second, in one particular order, (such as a body of nobility in some of the governments of modern Europe ;) in the third, in a single person.

Montesquieu‡ likewise reduces the forms of government to three, the Republican, the Aristocratical, and the Monarchical. The Republican he defines in such a manner, as to comprehend both Democracy and Aristocracy. "It is a form of government," says he, "in which the whole body of the people, or a part of the body of the people, has the supreme power."§ I

*[In his Esprit des Loix, Liv. II., &c.]

+[Part I. sect. x. p. 108, seq., sixth edition.]

[Esprit des Loix, Liv. II, chap. i.]

§ [Ibid.]

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