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by Leon Say

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1888. A study of Turgot. From the Introduction: A great deal has been written on Turgot; we have the history of his childhood, of his youth, and of his mature years; he has been described to us hiding, whilst yet a child, under the armchairs, in order to avoid, out of sheer timidity, the visits which his mother received; we have been told how, later on in his youth, he was wont to play at games of battledore and shuttlecock, dressed in his clerical cassock, with the handsome young girl known then as Minette, and who was afterwards to become Madame Helvetius. We still possess the speeches he delivered as Prior of the House of Sorbonne at the opening and at the closing of the Sorboniques of 1750. We know what reasons determined him to give up the Church, and how he filled offices in the magistracy, first as deputy-councillor to the solicitor-(procurer) general, then as councilor to the parliament, then as maitre des requetes. We have been asked to witness his first quarrel with the parliament, in 1754, on the day when he consented to become a member of a Royal Chamber, ordered to deliver justice in the place of the exiled parliament...The nineteenth century is Turgot's own, because it is the one during which his ideas have been applied, and where he has manifestly reigned over ideas and things.



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