attempting to exhibit an argument to establish the possibility of a Science
of politics it is necessary to define exactly what we mean by such a
Science is nature
seen by the reason, and not merely by the senses. Science exists in
the mind, and in the mind alone. Wherever the substantives of a science
may be derived from or whatever may be their character, they form portions
of a science only as they are made to function logically in the human reason.
Unless they are connected by the law of reason and consequent, so that
one proposition is capable of being correctly evolved from two, or more
other propositions, called the premises, the science as yet has no existence,
and has still to be discovered. Logic, therefore, is the universal form
of all science. It is science with blank categories, and when these blank
categories are filled up, either with numbers, quantities, and spaces, as
in the mathematical sciences, or with qualities and powers of matter, as
in the physical sciences, mathematics and physics take their scientific
origin, and assume an ordination which is not arbitrary. Science, then,
wherever it is developed, is the same for the human intellect wherever that
intellect can comprehend it. It abolishes diversity of credence, and re-establishes
unity of credence.
Politics is the
science of Equity, and treats of the relations of Men in equity.
It professes to
develop the laws by which human actions ought to be regulated, in so
far as men interfere with each other.
In position it
is posterior to political economy and anterior to religion. Its principal
Man, Will, Action,
Duty, Crime, Rights, Wrongs and Property; and the general problem is
to discover the laws which should regulate the voluntary actions of men
towards each other, and thereby to determine what the order of society
in its practical, construction and arrangement ought to be.
It is quite evident
that the earth cannot function in political economy until it is transformed
into a power of production having a value. And, to carry it forward
into the science of politics, all that is requisite is to apply the axiom,
"an object is the property of its creator"; so that when political economy
has determined, by a scientific method which is not arbitrary, what value
is created and who creates this value, politics takes up the question
where political economy had left it, and determines, according to a method
which is not arbitrary, to whom the created value should be allocated.
In man, the subject,
lies the whole question of human liberty; in the earth, the object,
the whole question to human property: and political science, if it be
really and truly a branch of knowledge must assume to determine, not
merely the laws that should regulate an individual but any number of individuals
associated together. Science can acknowledge no arbitrary distinctions.
If there be a rule at all, it must be general, and therefore political
science must assume to determine the principles upon which political societies
ought to be constructed, and also to determine the principles on which
human laws ought to be made. And as there cannot be the slightest doubt
that God has made truth the fountain of good, it may perhaps be fairly
expected, that if ever political science is fairly evolved and really
reduced to practice, it will confer a greater benefit on mankind and prevent
a greater amount of evil, than all the other sciences.
is peculiarly man-science; and though, as yet, the subject is little
or no better than a practical superstition, we propose, in the present
volume, to exhibit an argument, affording, we think, sufficient ground
for believing that it will, at no distant period, be reduced to the
same form and ordination as the other sciences.
Of course, anything
like a unity of credence is at present altogether out of the question.
Such a unity is neither possible, nor desirable. It could only be a
superstition—that is, a credence without evidence. To produce conviction,
therefore, is not so much our hope, as to endeavour to open up the questions
that really require solution.
question in every branch of knowledge is its method. Without method
there can be no standard of appeal—no means of determining whether a
proposition is true or false. Whatever system may be practically adopted,
that system necessarily involves a theory; and the question is, "Is
there any possibility of discovering or evolving a natural theory, which
is not arbitrary?" Is there in the question of man's political relation
to man, a truth and a falsity as independent of man's opinion as are the
truths of geometry or astronomy?
A truth there must be somewhere, and in the
present volume we attempt to exhibit the probability of its evolution.
Our argument is
based on the theory of progress, or the fact of progress; for it is
a fact as well as a theory. And the theory of progress is based on the
principle, that there is an order in which man not only does evolve
the various branches of knowledge, but an order in which man must necessarily
evolve the various branches of knowledge. And this necessity is based
on the principle, that every science when undergoing its process of discovery
is objective, that is, the object of contemplation; but when discovered
and reduced to ordination it becomes subjective, that is, a means of
operation for the discovery and evolution of the science that lies logically
beyond it, and next to it in logical proximity.
If this logical
dependence of one science on another could be clearly made out for
the whole realm of knowledge, it would give the outline, not only of
the classification of the sciences, but of man's intellectual history—or
his intellectual development—where the word development means, not the
alteration of man's nature, but the extension of his knowledge, and the
consequent improvement of his mode of action, entailing with it the improvement
of his condition.
And if the law
of this intellectual development can be made out for the branches of knowledge
which have already been reduced to ordination, it may be carried into
the future, and the future progress of mankind may be seen to evolve
logically out of the past progress.
In attempting to
classify the sciences, and to show that they evolve logically out of
each other, we do not profess, in the slightest degree, to discourse
on the matter of the sciences themselves, further than their primary propositions
are concerned; but on their form, their position, their actual development
(as commonly acknowledged), and on the lesson which, as a whole, they
must ultimately teach.
of whatever character, or wherever found, we assume, to present itself
under the form of
An Agent, An Object,
and this division belongs, in no respect,
to any one particular science, but to all. While a science is undergoing
its process of discovery, this logical ordination of its parts cannot
be made on sufficient grounds.
Under these circumstances,
we have given only a general estimate, sufficient to direct the line
of argument without trespassing on special departments, or intruding
opinions on subjects that lie beyond our province. To construct an argument
that should be in the main correct is all we could. hope to achieve.