By L. J. Hume

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60 Natural law was designed to provide, and did provide where it was taken seriously, boundaries to the sovereign's discretion, but it did not offer much help to those seeking positive guidance. Utility did not set initial limits of the same kind, but it entered into contemporary thinking in another and more important way. It focused attention on - or was the product of a focusing of attention on - the rational adjustment of means to ends in society. People were asking regularly of any policy or arrangement 'what purpose does it serve' or 'how well does it serve that purpose', or they were seeking regularly to justify policies and arrangements on the ground that they best served some defined purpose.

18 Government in eighteenth-century thought of political philosophers and publicists, and then expanded beyond the foundations to cover the construction and working of institutions and arrangements. The eighteenth-century fruits of this development were a mass of plans for novel policies and establishments designed to complete the structure of the modern state and both to respect and to exploit the newly-recognized independence of individuals. The nature of the original theoretical response to modern relationships had been summed up most clearly and completely in the Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes.

55 This was explicitly a critique of and a programme for contemporary society. In diagnosing the ills of France and of French government, it employed much the same criteria as Blackstone and De Lolme: unity, clear relationships of authority and subordination between the central institutions and the subjects of the state, and a responsiveness of the whole state to the sovereign's commands. Turgot wanted 'the component parts of [the King's] dominions' to have 'a regular organization and known relationships', 56 and he wanted to have for that purpose a uniform, comprehensive and hierarchical set of authorities (the 'municipalities') linking each part with the centre.

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