of laws made by common consent, won for its
author the freedom of the city of London
, and was widely circulated through the kingdom, and the continent of Europe
, especially Germany
His masterly plea for America
was unavailing; but his tract gained peculiar importance from his applying to the actual condition of the representation of his own country, the principle on which America
justified her resistance.
‘The time may come,’ said he, ‘when a general election in Britain will be nothing but a general auction of boroughs.’
Carrying the war into the heart of English politics and society, he raised the cry for the reform in parliament, which was never to be hushed, and transferred English opinion to the side of America
for the sake of that liberty which was of all things dearest to the English
But what hope was there of reform in England
It was the vices of its ruling classes which prepared reform by forcing independence on America
Or how could France
at that time offer liberty a home?
‘For my part,’ said Chastellux
, ‘I think there can be neither durable liberty nor happiness but for nations who have representative governments.’
‘I think so too,’ said the octogenarian Voltaire
‘The right of self-administration,’ said Malesherbes
to Louis the Sixteenth, as he threw up his ministry in despair, ‘belongs to every community; it is a natural right, the right of reason.
The surest, the most natural method is for a king to consult the nation itself.’
, like Malesherbes
, believed in the imprescriptible rights of man to the free use of his powers; and wished also that the executive chief should profit