By L. J. Hume

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19 This meant that any body of men constituted a genuine society, with defined rights and obligations, only in so far as they possessed a superior to whose commands they were all obedient and responsive. 20 Autonomous jurisdictions and enclaves of privilege appeared on this view to be not merely inconveniences to sovereignty but incompatible with it or at least subtractions from it. As Catherine put the point in her compendium, 'in the very nature of the thing, the sovereign is the source of all imperial and civil power'.

But it too had to be filled out, and the notion of utility had to be given some definite content, before it could be of much help in fixing the scope and content of the sovereign's laws. With hindsight we can see that in the long run the centre of the discussion was being occupied by political economy. The classical economists brought to view the existence of market forces, and they purported to demonstrate that those forces could achieve certain social objectives and could form obstacles or set limits to the achievement of the state's objectives through law.

He had thus discarded the presuppositions of the narrow, closed market, and was able to proceed smoothly to a formal inquiry into the nature of wealth - 'wherein opulence consists. . 70 It was then a short step from here to the discussion in The Wealth of Nations, which proceeded independently of the concept of police. At that point, or perhaps a little earlier on the publication of Steuart's Principles of Political Oeconomy, political economy had emancipated itself from police, and had succeeded or absorbed oeconomy.

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