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to' Ay to the defence of their country, they demand arms for themselves, and profesedly for the same purpose.
The memoir concerning the Druses' will be read, we think, with pleasure. We have perused with admiration those pages of their history, in which we are told of the noble stand that they have very frequently made against the power and despotism of the Turk, who has never been able to deprive them of the liberty they have long enjoyed, and which they seem determined to maintain and defend.
A mort account is also given by our Author of the Mutualis, a people who inhabit a mountainous but fertile country, extending from the river of Sidon to the territory of Acra. But for this, and any farther information respecting the Druses themselves, we must refer our Readers to the work at large.
Art. XXII. The Life of M. Turgot, Comptroller General of the Finances of
France in the years 1774, 1775, and 1776. By the Marquis de Condorcet, of the Academy of Sciences. Translated from the French; with an Appendix. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Johnson. 1787. THE life of M. Turgot constitutes but a small part of this
work. M. de Condorcet's universal knowledge and great abilities would not suffer him to be the mere relater of actions ; he must necessarily enquire into the original sources and first causes of the events which he records ; we are consequently here presented with many curious political speculations and opinions on government, and the art of finance.
We shall make a short abstract of the life of this illustrious man; recommending, at the same time, as worthy the attention of our Readers, the Marquis's thoughts on different subjects relative to state affairs. · Anne Robert James Turgot was born at Paris, May 10, 1727, of a very ancient Norman family. His father was, for a long time, provost of the corporation of merchants. During this period, he was the object of general admiration; and the regularity and economy of his administration procured him the particular respect of the citizens. M. Turgot was the youngest of three brothers. The eldest was intended for the rank of magistracy,' which had been the station of his family for several generations; the second was destined for the army; and Robert for the church. He had scarcely attained the age at which reflexion commences, when he was resolved to sacrifice all temporal advantages to liberty and conscience, and to pursue his ecclesiastical Itudies, without declaring his repugnance to their proposed object. At the age of twenty-three years, he took his degree, and was elected prior of the Sorbonne. In consequence of this situation, he was obliged to pronounce two Latin Uu 3
The first opacilorophy and combicularly the extre's opinion
orations. These compositions are, in the biographer's opinion, monuments which mark not so particularly the extent of his knowledge, as a philosophy and comprehension peculiar to himself. The first oration has for its subject, the benefits which the human species have derived from the Christian religion; the second gives the history, and traces the progress, of the human understanding
The time when it was necessary for him to declare that he would not be an ecclesiastic, was now arrived. He announced this resolution to his father by letter, Thewing the motives which induced him to decline the clerical order. His father consented, and he was appointed Master of Requests *. M. Turgot prepared himself for this office, by particular application to those parts of science which are most connected with its functions and duties, viz. the study of natural philosophy, as far as it relates to agriculture and manufactures, to the subjects of merchandise, and the execution of public works, together with such parts of mathematical knowledge as lead to a practical application of natural philosophy, and facilitate the calculations that are frequently necessary in politics, commerce, and law,
About this period he wrote some articles for the Encyclopédie, of which the most capital were, Etymology, Existence, Expanfibility, Fair, and Foundation. He had prepared leveral orbers, but thele five only were inserted; the persecution set on foot against the Encyclopédie hindered bio from continuing to write in it, being unwilling that his opinions fhould be published in a work which was received with disapprobation by some of the most distinguished people of that time.
In 1761, M. Turgot was appointed Intendant + of Limoges, In this office he did much good. He gave activity to the so
*'A Mafier of Requests in France,' says the Author, “is the ser. vant of the executive power, where the activity of that power embraces every thing: he is the instrument of government in operations of commerce and finance, in which, of all others, the public prosperity is moft intereited ; and he is called, more frequently than the member of any other order, to take on himself the first offices of adminiitration. À Master of Requests is rarely without a confiderable ihare of influence reípecting fome oce of the provinces, or the whole fiate; so that it feldom happens that his liberality or his prejudices, bis virtues or his vices, do not, in the course of his life, produce great goed or great mitchief.'
ti The immediate authority of an Intendant lies within narrow boonds. Directions in detail for carrying into execution the general orders of auminitration; the power of making provifional decisions in certain caies, and of adjudging others which respect commerce and finance subject to an arreal to the councii; such are nearly the
ciety of agriculture established at Limoges, by directing their efforts to important obje&is: he opened a mode of public instruction for female professors of midwifery: he procured for the people, the attendance of able physicians during the raging of epidemic diseases : he established houses of industry, supported by charity (the only species of alms giving which does not encourage idleness): he introduced the cultivation of potatoes into his province, &c. &c. While M. Turgot proceeded with unremitting activity and zeal, in promoting the good of the people over whom he was placed, he meditated projects of a more extenlive nature, such as an equal distribution of the taxes, the construction of the roads, the regulation of the militia, che prevention of a scarci!y of provision, and the protection of commerce.
We should exceed our bounds, were we to give the particulars of the many great actions which are here recorded, during the thirteen years in which he held this office : suffice it to say, that we do not remember to have often read of a man in power, whole lole and great object was the happiness and welfare of the people.
At the death of Louis XV. the public voice called M. Turgot to the first offices of government, as a man who united the experience resulring from habiis of business, to all the improvement which study can procure. After being at the head of the marine department only a short time, he was, August 24, 1774, appointed Comptroller General of the Finances. During his discharge of this important office, the operations he carried on are astonishing-He suppressed twenty-three kinds of duties on neceffary occupations, useful contracts, or merited compensations- He abolished the corvée * for the highways, saving the nation thirty millions of livres annually-He fet aside another kind of corvée, which respected the carriage of military fores
functions of his office. But he is the officer of government, and posdefies its confidence. Government fees but with his eyes, and acts but by his hands. It is on the information he collects, on the memorials which he dispatches, and on the accounts he renders in, that ministers decide on every thing, and that in a country where every political power centers in administration, and where a legislation, imperfect in all its parts, compels it to unintermitted a&ivity, and to reflection on every subject.'
* The word corvée seems to be derived from cura vix, i. e. the care of the roads. It fignifies the call made on individuals to furnibh labour and materials in kind for the construction and repair of roads. The same exists to this day in England, under the name of statute duty. It is indeed with us under proper restrictions, but in France, where there are no turnpikes, all the roads, which are very good, are made and repaired by the corvée alone ; whence it becomes an intolerable burden to the labourers.
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and baggage-He abated the rigour in the administration of indirect impofitions, to the great profit of the contributors, the king, and the financiers- He softened the mode of colleding the territorial impofts- He stopped the progress of a plague among cattle--He suppressed a fedition conducted with art He provided for the equal distribution of subsistence-He gave the utmost encouragement to the cultivation of the three chief productions of France, viz. wheat, cattle, and wine, and to the commerce thence resulting-He reformed a number of abuses, some of which yielded a profit to the place he filled-He abolished, as much as he could, the sale of offices-He formed many useful establishments--He paid the penfions of the poorer servants of the state, who were four years in arrear-He rupplied the expences of a coronation, the marriage of a princess, and the birth of a prince-He facilitated payments as far as India-He settled a part of che colony debts, and put the rest in order-He found the public borrowing at five and a half per cent, and reduced the rate to four-He lessened the public engagements eighty-four millions- He found the revenue nineteen millions deficient, and left a surplus of three millions and a half. All these he accomplished within the space of twenty months, during seven of which, severe fits of the gout totally incapacitated him from business. Such had been the operations, the labours, and the conduct of M. Turgot, when the king demanded his resignation. The courtiers were convinced that they had nothing to expect from the minister. They foresaw that if ever be obtained the power of extending his æconomical reform to the expences of the court, that many of their places would be annihilated. The financiers knew, that under an enlightened minifter, solely intent on simplifying the receipt of taxes, the sources of their enormous wealth would soon be dried up. The money.dealers felt how useless they should become under a minister who was the friend of order, and of the liberty of commerce. Pecple of all conditions, who had contracted the habit of living at the expence of the public, without serving it; all these men, alarmed and terrihed, formed a league, powerful by its numbers, which removed this great man from an office, in the dircharge of which, the happiness of the people and the good of his country were his ultimate objects.
Reduced to a private fituation, M. Turgot did not experience that frighiful void which is the juft but dreadful punishment of ambitious men when deserted by fortune. The sciences and the belles lettres, which he had cultivated in his youth, afforded him consolation, while an active sphere of lite was denied him, Natural philosophy and chymistry were his favourite pursuits; yet he frequently entertained himself with poetry, especially with translating Virgil into French verse. "We know,' says 633
ks of the fulmen, mar a pictu.compoled by
Clavigero's History of Mexico, his biographer, but of one Latin verse composed by M. Tur. got, and which was intended for a picture of Dr. Franklin.
Erripuit cælo fulmen, mox fceptra tyrannis.' The attacks of the gout, under which he had long laboured, becoming more frequent and excessive, forewarned him of the approaching moment, when in conformity to the laws of nature, he was going to fill, in a higher order of beings, the rank which these laws destined for him. He died March 20, 1781.
Nor having the original before us, we cannot speak as to the fidelity of the translation. The language is in general good, if we except a few Gallicisms, but as these rarely occur, they are pardonable in so large a work. The word perfectibility, which is used more than once, is, we think, no way preferable to per. feétion; but as it is printed in Italics, we suppose the original French word to have been peculiar.
We shall conclude, with recommending this curious and learned performance to the attention of our Readers; we are persuaded that the liberality of the Marquis de Condorcet's sentiments, and the juftness of his remarks, cannot fail of being admired by every person whose soul is not contracted by the narrow principles which despotism and bigotry must necessarily inculcate, for their own preservation.
ART. XXIII. The History of Mexico. Collected from Spanish and Mexican Histo. rians, from Manuscripts and ancient Paintings of the Indians. Illustrated with Charts and Plates. By Abbé D. Francesco Sa. verio Clavigero. Translated from the original Italian, by Charles Cuilen, Esq. 4to. 2 Vols. 21. 2s. Boards. Robinsons. 1787. THE discovery of America may be juftly esteemed one of
the most remarkable eras of the world. The history of that discovery is interesting and curious. The Europeans, aftonished at the extent and riches of the new world, were more furprised to find a rich and flourishing empire; a king on the throne of Mexico, governing, according to the most refined principles of equity, a polished nation ; the useful arts of architecture and agriculture nearly in a state of perfection : the fine arts of sculpture and painting made subservient to history; seminaries of learning for each sex, properly inftituted for promoting morality as well as knowledge; in a word, an enlightened people, furnished not only with the necessaries and the conveniences but even enjoying the luxuries of life.
The Abbé Clavigero, as we learn from the Translator's pre. face, is a native of Vera Cruz; he refided near forty years in the provinces of New Spain; acquired the language of the Mexicans, and other nations; gathered many of their craditions,