On introducing the first of multiple volumes offering the collected writings of the Physiocrat economist Pierre Samuel Du Pont (de Nemours), lengthy pages could be devoted to his merits or the tremendous heritage that he left, both intellectually and practically, on each side of the Atlantic. Yet on the assumption that a reader opening such a large book must have been motivated by more than a sense of curiosity, and his justification been more substantial than a pick at random, I shall confine myself presently to the assertion that on the part of the Institut Coppet, and mine, it is our feeling that a duty has simply been performed, and justice rendered.
Dupont understands the table well and can even apply it to all cases of accounting and administrative operations, with the exception of rural activities for which he does not have the exact data, and which are nevertheless the key to everything. However, he can be regarded as a true scholar in regard to the table. La Rivière has no clue about it. He was in a hurry to use and enjoy. He even wanted to strip the doctor, who was doing it enough by himself, and then disavow him. He would have gone as far as to turn his back on his father and mother, said the doctor. Thus, although he has written under his direction and in his entresol a great work on the totality of science applied to practice, and that he can still write some very good other ones, he possesses the results and most of the principles, but he is not and will never be a literate economist. The same can be said of Turgot, who moreover adds errors to what he knows and disavow the master.
You must have known for a very long time just how much I love peace, and your letter confirms me that you are indeed well aware of it. I have proved you how much peace is dear to me as soon as 1763, that is, from the first moment we met, and at a time when you looked so negatively on my book De l’exportation et de l’importation des grains, which was nonetheless very well received in the public, and which you strongly advised me never to publish….
In the question I am dealing with here, I find myself led to criticize the system of some philosophers, who have been called Economists, and who supposed they could establish the uselessness of the balance of powers by putting forward what they called the power of the evidence; the natural and essential order of political societies; legal despotism. This is, without a doubt, a very peculiar opinion, the examination of which one could deem unnecessary. But the real services that these philosophers have rendered to the enhancement of social knowledge compel us not to ignore the paradoxes which they sometimes put forward while believing to be spreading useful truths. […]
Letter from Dupont (de Nemours) to G.-F. Le Trosne July 24th, 1766 translated by Benoît Malbranque [Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Winterthur Manuscripts, W2-5.] To Mr. Le Trosne 24 July 1766 You have very distressing affairs, Sir, for those who would have a thousand reasons to wish to spend a little more time with you. You left my house when I had barely started to tell you half of the things that I had to say; I must finish relieving my heart by continuing my speech to you. Let me repeat, Sir, that there is no one whom I desire to […]