Out of the sovereignty of the monarch flows the prerogative of pardoning criminals. Only to the sovereignty belongs the spiritual power to undo what has been done and to cancel the crime by forgiving and forgetting.
Pardon is the remission of punishment, but does not abolish right. Right remains, and the pardoned is a criminal as he was before the pardon. The act of mercy does not mean that no crime has been committed. This remission of punishment may be effected in religion, for by and in spirit what has been done can be made un-done. But in so far as remission occurs in the world, it has its place only in majesty and is due only to its arbitrary decision.
The main point upon which the function of the government depends is the division of labor. This division is concerned with the transition from the universal to the particular and the individual; and the business is to be divided according to the different branches. The difficulty lies in harmonizing the superior and the inferior functions. For some time past the main effort has been spent in organizing from above, the lower and bulky part of the whole being left more or less unorganized; yet it is highly important that it should become organic, for only thus is it a power and a force; otherwise it is but a heap or mass of scattered atoms. Authoritative power resides only in the organic state of the particular spheres.
The State cannot count on service which is capricious and voluntary (the administration of justice by knights-errant, for instance), precisely because it is capricious and voluntary. Such service presupposes acting according to subjective opinion, and also the possibility of neglect and of the realization of private ends. The opposite extreme to the knight-errant in reference to public service would be the State-servant who was attached to his task solely by want, without genuine duty and right.
The efficiency of the State depends upon individuals, who, however, are not entitled to carry on the business of the State through natural fitness, but according to their objective qualification. Ability, skill, character, belong to the particular nature of the individual; for a particular office, however, he must be specially educated and trained. An office in the State can, therefore, be neither sold nor bequeathed.
Public service demands the sacrifice of independent self-satisfaction and the giving up of the pursuit of private ends, but grants the right of finding these in dutiful service, and in it only. Herein lies the unity of the universal and the particular interests which constitutes the concept and the inner stability of the State.