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therefore made to commence in futuro, and be notified before
But farther : municipal law is “ a rule of civil conduct "prescribed by the supreme power in a state.” For legislature, as was before observed, is the greatest act of superiority that can be exercised by one being over another. Wherefore it is requisite to the very essence of a law, that it be made by the supreme power. Sovereignty and legislature are indeed convertible terms; one cannot subsist without the other.
This will naturally lead us into a short inquiry concerning [ 49 1 the nature of society and civil government; and the natural, inherent right that belongs to the fovereignty of a state, wherever that sovereignty be lodged, of making and enforcing laws.
The only true and natural foundations of society are the wants and the fears of individuals. Not that we can bulieve, with some theoretical writers, that there ever was a time when there was no such thing as fociety either natural or civil ; and that, from the impulse of reason_and through a sense of their wants and weaknesses, individuals met together in a large plain, entered into an original contract, and chose the tallest man present to be their governor. This notion, of an actually existing unconnected state of nature, is too wild to be seriously admitted : and besides it is plainly contradictory to the revealed accounts of the primitive origin of mankind, and their preservation two thousand years afterwards; both which
The Roman privilegia seem to correspond to our bills of attainder, and bills of pains and penalties, which, though in their nature they are ex poft facto laws, yet are never called so.
were effected by the means of single families. These formed the first natural society, among themselves; which, every day extending it's limits, laid the first though imperfect rudiments of civilor political focicty: and when it grew too large to subfit with convenience in that paftoral state, wherein the patriarchs appear to have lived, it necesarily subdivided itself by various migrations into more, Afterwards, as agriculture in. creased, which employs and can maintain a much greater number of hands, migrations became less frequent: and various tribes, which had formerly separated, reunited again ; sometimes by compulsion and conquest, sometimes by accident, and sometimes perhaps by compact. But though society had notit's form.albeginning from any convention of individuals, actuated by their wants and their fears; yet it is the ferife of their weakness and imperfection that keeps mankind together; that demonstrates the necessity of this union; and that therefore is the solid and natural foundation, as well as the cement of civil society. And this is what we mean by the original contract of fociety; which, though perhaps in no instance it has ever been formally expressed at the first institution of a state, yet
in nature and reason must always be understood and implied, [ 43 ] in thë very act of associating togethur: namely, that the
whole should protect all it's parts, and that every part should pay obedience to the will of the whole, or, in other words, that the community should guard the rights of each individual member, and that (in return for this protection) each individual should submit to the laws of the community; without which submission of all it was impossible that protection could be certainly extended to any.
For when civil society is once formed, government at the same time results of course, as necessary to preserve and to keep that fociety in order. Unless fome superior be constituted, whose commands and decisions all the members are bound to obey, they would still remain as in a state of nature, without any judge upon earth to define their several rights, and redress their several wrongs. But, as all the members which compose this society were naturally equal, it may be asked, in whose hands are the reins of government to be entrusted ? To this the general answer is easy; but the application of it to particular cases has occasioned one half of those mischiefs, which are apt to proceed from misguided political zeal. In general, all mankind will agree that government should be reposed in such persons, in whom those qualities are most likely to be found, the perfection of which is among the attributes of him who is emphatically stiled the supreme being; the three grand requisites, I mean of wisdom, of goodness, and of power : wisdom, to discern the real interest of the community; goodness, to endeavour always to pursue that real interest; and strength, or power, to carry this knowledge and intention into action. These are the natural foundations of sovereignty, and these are the requisites that ought to be found in every well constituted frame of government.
How the several forms of government we now see in the world at firstactually began, is matter of great uncertainty, and has occasioned infinite disputes. It is not my business or intention to enter into any of them. However they began, or by what right foever they subfift, there is and must be in all of [ 49 ] them a supreme, irresistible, absolute, uncontrolled authority, in which the jura summi imperii, or the rights of fovereignty, reside. And this authority is placed in those hands, wherein (according to the opinion of the founders of such respective states, either expressly given, or collected from their tacit approbation) the qualities requisite for supremacy, wisdom, goodness, and power, are the most likely to be found.
The political writers of antiquity will not allow more than three regular forms of government; the first, when the sovereign power is lodged in an aggregate assembly consisting of all the free members of a community, which is called a democracy ; the second, when it is lodged in a council, composed of select members, and then it is stiled an aristocracy; the last, when it is entrusted in the hands of a single person, and then it takes the name of a monarchy. All other species
of government, they say, are either corruptions of, or reducible to, these three.
. By the sovereign power, as was before observed, is meant the making of laws; for wherever that power resides, all others inust conform to, and be directed by it, whatever appearance the outward form and administration of the government may put on. For it is at any time in the option of the legislature to alter that form and administration by a new edict or rule, and to put the execution of the laws into what. ever hands it pleases; by constituting one, or a few, or many executive magisirates : and all the other powers of the state must obey the legislative power in the discharge of their se. veral functions, or else the constitution is at an end. ..
In a democracy, where the right of making laws resides in the people at large, public virtue, or goodness of intention, is more likely to be found, than either of the other qualities of government. Popular ailcmblics are frequently foolith in their contrivance, and weak in their execution ; but generally mean to do the thing that is right and just,
and have always a degree of patriotism or public spirit. In í 501
aristocracies there is more wisdom to be found, than in the other frames of government; being composed, or intended to be composel, of the most experienced citizens : but there is less honesty than in a republic, and less ítrength than in a monarchy. A monarchy is indeed the most powerful of any; for by the entire conjunction of the legislative and executive powers all the finews of government are knit together, and united in the hand of the prince : but then there is imminent danger of his employing that strength to improvident or oppressive purposes.
Tilus those three species of government have, all of them, their several perfcctions and imperfections. Democracies are usually the best calculated to direct the end of a law; aristocrisits to invent the means by which that end shall be obtainuad; úbli monarchies to carry those means into execu