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[341] then circulating in Paris, with the motto NEVER
Chap. LXI.} 1776. Apr.
despair, represented as ‘the unique end of all government and the universal aim of all philosophy, the greatest happiness of the greatest number;’ Turgot, by his earnest purpose to restrain profligate expenditure and lighten the grievous burdens of the laboring classes, seemed called forth by Providence to prop the falling throne and hold back the nobility from the fathomless chaos towards which they were drifting. Yet he could look nowhere for support but to the king, who was unenlightened, with no fixed principle. and, therefore, naturally inclined to distrust. Malesherbes, in despair, resolved to retire. Maurepas, who professed, like Turgot, a preference for peace, could not conceive the greatness of his soul, and beheld in him a dangerous rival, whose activity and vigor exposed his own insignificance to public shame. The keeper of the seals, a worthless man, given up to intemperance, greedy of the public money, which, without a change in the head of the treasury, he could not get either by gift or by embezzlement, nursed this jealousy; and setting himself up as the champion of the aristocracy, he prompted Maurepas to say to the king that Turgot was an enemy to religion and the royal authority, disposed to annihilate the privileges of the nobility and to overturn the state.

Sartine had always supported the American policy of Vergennes, and had repeatedly laid before the king his views on the importance and utility of the French colonies, and on the condition of India. ‘If the navy of France,’ said he, ‘were at this moment able to act, France never had a fairer opportunity to avenge the unceasing insults of the English. I beseech your majesty ’

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