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“ A voice whose sound was like the sca ;
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free," the Restoration and the Revolution came, and John Locke, in his " Treatises on Government," supplied a philosophy of the constitution of England in accordance with the principles of that party which settled the conditions and safeguards of the throne and the people at the incoming of William III. Montesquieu, in his *Spirit of Laws" (1748), made the study of the philosophy of politics popular by the fascination he threw around his enlightened and systematic treatise on the relations between the laws and the cir. cumstances of different countries and the conditions on which civil liberty depends. Rousseau's "Social Contract” (1754) furnished the groundwork of the sham philosophism and crazy metaphysics out of which, acting on the exasperated minds of an outraged people, the French Revolution flared. *To Filangieri's “Science of Legislation (1780), " whose object was to facilitate to the sovereigns of his age the task of a new legislation,” we owe an attempt to prove the compatibility of the freedom of the citizen with the authority of the crown, which, though based on Rousseau's flimsy hypothesis of a social contract, possesses great value as a practical exposition of the rules of law which necessarily result from the acceptance of Montesquieu's system. Political philosophy is considerably indebted likewise to Beccaria in regard to the theory of administration, and the proper legal relations of " Crimes and Punishments.” Bentham's works on “ Legislation" are distinguished for boldness, originality, intellectual power, invention, and thoroughness, and are a complete magazine of excellent thought on systems, principles, and methods of carrying on positive practical government adapted to the peculiar requirements and states of mankind in various stages of progress and different degrees of civilization.
In Kant's “ Metaphysical Elements of the Doctrine of Right," we have an endeavour to find in Reason itself the fountain and origin of that freedom subjected to law in which the highest conditions of buman life are attainable. In Fichte's " Principles of Natural Law," and in his “ Contributions to the Correction of Public Opinion upon the French Revolution," we have a series of arguments against the possibility of closing for ever the question of What is the best form of Government and an excellent advocacy of the principles that every truc corporate polity should hold within itself the power of well-considered change and carefully devised improvement, in order that there may be a genuine interace tivity of freedom and right. The same topicis pursued even into the farther recesses of consciousness in Hegel's "Philosophy of Right" -a search for the elementary principles of that civilizing process which is observable in all history, and which seems everywhere to result in nearer though very gradual approaches to rational liberty, while it forms the very initial in which social life originates, and out of which society grows as a coherent unity. These German thinkers pursued their quarry far into the subtleties of metaphy.
sics, and the farthest reaches of their investigations were found so remote from the ken of ordinary minds, that few could acquire a clear insight into the primal ideas and firstlings of their speculations. A similar objection has been taken to the metaphysical politic of that great English speculatist, whose aim it was “to reduce all knowledge into harmony” and to encyclopædize for mankind all thought, experience, phenomena and history-Coleridge - whose politico-theosophic expositions of the natural and essential organizations of society, wound so mellifluously from the lips of the Highgate seer. Far more influential upon the minds of men have been the treatises on Government, jurisprudence, the law of nations, &c., contributed by James Mill in the first instance to the" Encyclopædia Britannica," but subsequently reissued separately. The papers exhibit great powers of reasoning, analysis, and exposition, contain much condensed and excellent thinking, and many of the principles of government are in them evolved into wise practical suggestions. Sir James Mackintosh, who had much of the scheming comprehensiveness of Coleridge, but little of the accurate, vigorous, and extensive research of Mill, won an early and brilliant reputation-scarcely sustained in his after career-by a splendid series of lectures on The Law of Nature and Nations” -lectures in which, however, the qualities of the theorist were less displayed than those of the expositor and advocate.
The popularity given to inquiries relating to speculative politics in the early part of the present century, led many of the thinkers of England and France to seek an acquaintance with the theorists of Italy and Germany; and thus there was brought into its proper place in European literature the able politico-historical work of Vico—the “ Scienza Nuova,” in which he strove to distinguish the accidental from the essential in social phenomena, to discover the laws which regulate the formation, growth and decay of social institutions, and to prove that the progress of society is the result of the free development of the human faculties under the special overruling designs of a providence divine. Among those who in France were touched into thought upon the great problems of political science, the names of Cousin, Guizot, Michelet, Jouffroy, occupy a high and honourable place. Cousin maintained that government draws its whole force from society, and ought to aim at making justice-as the guardian of the common freedom-reign ; Guizot analyses the phenomena of European civilization so as to extricate from amongst their complexities the order of the causation by which each successive condition of modern Europe grew out of that which immediately preceded it, and to find out what natural laws linked event to event and condition to state. Michelet, besides translating and expounding Vico, has written history as a compound web, of which Philosophy forms the warp, and Poetry the woof-issuing in brilliant pictorial evolutions of philosophic narration, and realizing to the soul a philosophy of politics. Jouffroy, unfortunately too early called away from his earth-career, did not live to complete his Social Ethics or the science of the rights and duties arising from the various relations in which man stands to man in actual every-day life.
It would lead us altogether apart from the main line of our subject were we to notice the theories of St. Simon and Fourier, but we can scarcely with justice omit from our brief catalogue raisonnel the name of Auguste Comte, whose indebtedness to Vico, though unacknowledged, is very marked, but whose power of intellect and extraordinary fertility of generalization enabled him to suggest and in some measure expound, as the very head and copestone of philosophy, the science of sociology, or the investigation of the phenomena of corporate life, of man in a state of society. In the three volumes of his “ Course of Positive Philosophy," which he devotes to social science, M. Comte, following Hegel's “German Footprints” with the graceful urbanity of a Frenchman-gives an epitome and review of the history of the world, points out the unsystematic anarchy of political doctrines, and suggests a new positive politics by which, if states are duly regulated according to his laws, the universal happiness of humanity may be, nay must be, secured. Comte's ob in this department of his course is to discover the laws of continuous progress, and to determine the line of march taken by man in his gradual and sure development through all the successive changes which constitute orderly social progress. Social science considers each historical phenomena past, actual, or proposed from a double point of view,-1, Its harmony with coexisting phenomena ; 2, Its connection with anterior and posterior con. ditions of human development. Among the sociological views of Comte there are to be found many striking ideas and many generalizations of great sweep and prevailing strength. “His work is hitherto” (1851), says ). S. Mill,“ the only known example of the study of social phenomena according to this (i.e. the scientific) conception of the Historical Method.” This distinguished logician and remarkable thinker has so far given in his adhesion to the Comtist school of speculative politics that he affirms that when“ a philosophy of history is deemed to be at once the verification and the initial form of the philosophy of the progress of society,”—“no important branch of human affairs will be any longer abandoned to empiricism and unscientific surmise; the circle of human knowledge will be complete, and it can only thereafter receive further enlargement by perpetual expansion from within.” Besides J. S. Mill many other notable thinkers coincide in accepting the results of Comtean positivism–G. H. Lewes, T. H. Buckle, Harriet Mar, tineau, Charles Bray, Alexander Bain, as well as the “ new Oxford school," of which Congreve, Bridges, Saunders, Bryce, Nichol, &c., are illuminati : these writers, together with many of the contributors to the various sections of the serial press, expound, pursue, and apply the tenets of the Comtean philosophy both in the speculative and the practical departments of politics; and positivism is becoming in a great measure the fashionable doctrine of sociology in our day. The Social Science Association has likewise given a definite place and power to controversial thought on the principles of philosophic politics.
Not only as an expositor of Comtism, however, does J. S. Mill require mention among those who have honourably devoted them. selves to the evolution and advocacy of speculative politics. In his “Considerations on Representative Government” he has added to the philosophy of politics one of it most valuable treasures, and in his almost Miltonic treatise “ On Liberty," he seems to us to have marked off the circle of the human spirit beyond which law and social power ought not to enter, and within which morality, religion, and the conscience of the individual ought alone to reign.
Among other thinkers to whom the progress of the philosophy of politics is due, Samuel Bailey of Sheffield deserves, not only for his intrinsic merits, but for the influence he exerted (apparently) upon the minds of both the Mills. In his “ Rationale of Political Representation " the theoretical grounds of representative government are clearly laid down and his opinions are boldly drawn out to their practical results. Nor ought the name of the great critic of *Democracy in America”- Alexis de Tocqueville-to be forgotten. “He has applied,” J. S. Mill being our witness, “ to the greatest question in the art and science of government those principles and methods of philosophizing to which mankind are indebted for all the advances made by modern times in the other branches of the study of nature. It is not too much to affirm of these volumes that they contain the first analytical inquiry into the influence of Democracy." We should notice too as a strong-minded guide “On the Methods of Observation and Reasoning in Politics," and as the author of a remarkable, somewhat Platonic, dialogue, on “The best Form of Government,” the scholarly statesman and sage political speculator, Sir G. C. Lewis-a thinker of rare genius, devotion, and accuracy, a politician of genuine honesty and true worth.
Our enumeration—though we have noted scarcely a tithe, only a mere scantling, of those thinkers who have given diligent labour to the solution of the problems of social life and civic welfare-bas been enough, we presume, to prove that the topic on which we propose to offer a few observations is one of no slight significance in the speculations of the past, of no small interest in the history of thought, and of considerable importance in its relation to the present. To each one whose influence is used, or is likely to be used, in practical politics, it must be of importance to have correct ideas regarding the primary principles and first elements of the conditions of social and civic life, happiness, and freedom. Eighteen years ago we asserted that the progress of humanity would result in an increase of political power to the mass, and expressed our conviction that the true preparation for the proper performance of the functions thus likely to be devolved upon a wider class by the enfranchisement, foreshadowed as probable and attainable, was a thorough study of the art of reasoning, and the acquisition of a mastery of the power of expressing thought in terse and telling words. With the view of placing such provisional preparation within reach of our readers, we projected our popular expositions of the principles of Logic, our plain though pbilosophical epitome of the elements of Rhetoric, and our several contributions on Self-culture. The necessity and advantage of the possession of intellectual training and moral education as a preliminary, if possible, but at least as an accompaniment to extended political influence, was foreseen and advocated. We bave now to follow up the preparatory teaching of past years by the presentation of thoughts more closely appropriate to present circumstances, and we cannot but believe that we may usefully lay before our readers a few of our gatherings and garnerings concerning the philosophy of politics.
It is to be remarked that we do not intend to enter into the debateable regions of details or to interfere at all with the discussion of the current topics of practical legislation, jurisprudence, or social economy. Our purpose does not extend to the elaboration of a new, fresh, just-born scheme for determining the laws and indicating the processes by, which all the happiness possible upon earth com: pressible within the life of man may be necessarily produced, and so distributed among all men as to make prosperity inevitable among all the members of the body politic. So to mend the world is å design too herculean for us to attempt. An endeavour of a far humbler sort prompts our efforts. We desire as far as possible, with our powers and opportunities, to circulate in society sound and sensible views concerning the nature and possibilities of legislative influence upon the happiness and prosperity of individuals, to point out the limits of the desirable and the acquirable through political change, and to give some general notions of the true aims and ends of societarian incorporation in the form of a State. We have an ambition to be found suggestors of methods of thonght and forms of reasoning, of ways of looking at the facts of social life so as to discover what they teach, and of considering the problems arising in the course of political speculation in such a manner as to derive thence some aid towards their true solution. We have no factious dogmatics on politics to enforce or any set of pet precepts to advocate in a didactic form; we wish rather to inform regarding the system of thinking from which hopeful results may be expected, than to work out into their results a series of ideas postulated in our own mind beforehand as irrefragable, undoubted and correct. We want to get at the inner spirit and core of civic incorporation, to learn what the essence of politics is, and to trace from the centre the radiations of the interjacent vitalities out of which customs, laws, and social conditions manifest themselves. Political society as a growth, politics as a tree bearing all manner of fruits according to the culture bestowed upon it, government as the brain of the body politic, will come under our consideration, but we shall sedulously abstain from injecting into our articles any of the spirit of faction, any of the gall and wormwood of partizanship. As a philo