On 3 September 1751, the French statesman René-Louis Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d'Argenson wrote in his journal that there blows from England a philosophical wind of free and anti-monarchical government. D'Argenson's assessment of the political situation in France in the mid-eighteenth century is significant not only on account of his prescient warnings about where events were heading, but also for his suggestion that the French were importing ideas of liberty and republicanism from across the Channel. Despite the wealth of research that has been undertaken on the emergence and development of republican ideas during the early modern period, relatively little attention has been paid to the traffic in ideas reported by d'Argenson. The English influences on French republicanism have not been fully investigated, or sufficiently acknowledged. In part, this may be due to the particular perspectives of those who have studied early modern republicanism—especially in its anglophone and francophone manifestations.
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