I find I don't know much about early 19th century European political theorists. When I ran across this simple, sweet anecdote of Benjamin Constant and his favorite pet, I got him mixed up with the painter Benjamin West (who did live about the same time as Constant). Benjamin Constant was a Swiss-French liberal political thinker who managed to influence a great many nations in their struggles for independence. How did people manage to do that with nothing more than ink, paper and whatever passed for mail service?
* * *Constant had a cat which was so great a pet that she attended him in the morning before he got up, followed him into his study after breakfast, and played and reposed when and where she liked. One day, when he was expected to make an important speech in the Chamber of Deputies, his friends, finding that he was absent after his time from the arena, came to seek him at his house, and going into his study saw him quietly reading some book which had evidently nothing to do with the matter in hand; and when they told him that everybody was waiting, and that they came for him,-—" What can I do?" he asked; "look there! there is my cat sleeping in the sun on the papers I have prepared for my speech, and till she awakens how can I drag her off them?"
-- The Treasury of Wit and Anecdote (London: 1842), p. 283