GOVERNMENT is a word used in common speech in more than one sense.
1, It denotes the act of governing, as when we speak of " the business of government." 2, The persons who govern are called " the government ;" and we thus speak of " the French government," " the Russian go vernment," &c. 3, The word " govern ment," is used for the phrase form of government, as when we speak of "a monarchical, aristocratical, or republican government ;" or again of " the English or French government," meaning the Eng lish or French form of government, or the English or French constitution.
Of these three meanings of the word " government," the first and the last are the most important Each of them opens out a large and interesting field of in quiry; and correspondent to each of them is a science.
First, there is the science which (to use the briefest mode of expression possible) relates to the business of government ; and secondly, there is that which relates to the formation of government. The first of these two sciences enumerates and classi fies the operations of governing ; the second, the forms of government; and the end of government being the pro duction of the greatest possible amount of happiness for those who are governed, the first seeks to determine how the operations of governing shall best be carried on, and the second how the go vernment shall best be formed, with reference to the attainment of this end. The science of government, in the first of the two senses, is more commonly called the science of legislation. So the art which flows from this science, or the art of governing, is called the art of legis lation. [Litoistwriort] In the present article we concern ourselves exclusively with the second of the two sciences, and with that sense of the word "government" in which it stands for the phrase " form of government." It is hardly necessary to explain the phrase "form of government," though, if it were necessary, many changes of phrase might be resorted to. Thus we might
say that the form of government is but another and a shorter phrase for the mode of distributing the powers of go vernment, or (" powers of government" and "sovereignty" being interchangeable expressions) of distributing the sove reignty in a state. And many other changes of phrase, which it is not worth while to enumerate, might be employed. Or we might explain the phrase by enu merating the various items which it com prehends. Thus, not professing now to make anything like a complete enumera tion, we might say that the number of the governors or governing bodies, their relations to one another (if more than one), and the modes in which they are severally appointed, are so many elements of a form of government. But an enu meration of these elements will obviously se contained in an enumeration of the forms of government.
1. A government consists either of one person, or of more than one.
When it consists of one person only, the appropriate name for the form of government would be monarchy. But this name is generally given to a par ticular class of governments of more than one ; while a government of one only is called by the names of absolute monarchy, despotism, and tyranny. Of these three names, the last two may be objected to as names, because they always imply disap probation, or because they are not only names, but also (to employ Mr. Ben tham's phraseology) words dyslogistic. But the essence of this form of govern ment is the complete dependence of the governed on the will of one person, which is well expressed by the terms despotism and tyranny ; and the sense of disappro bation which hangs about these terms, or their dyslogistic character, is to be traced to the accidental circumstance of the con jugate terms despotic and tyrannical being commonly used to describe other forms of government, in which the arbitrary conduct of the governors resembles that of the generality of despots or tyrants.