Abstract In an important work written in 1759, Quesnay quoted twice a book authored by a ‘Bellial des Vertus’ and published in 1759, Essai sur l’administration des terres (EAT). We prove that these quotations are of fundamental importance for the Physiocratic doctrine. We show that EAT was essentially written in 1754–1755, when Physiocracy did not yet exist. A detailed study of EAT and of the works of Quesnay and of Charles Richard de Butré, Quesnay’s disciple and collaborator, leads us to suggest that Quesnay was influenced by EAT before its publication, and to believe that Butré was the author of EAT. The attribution of EAT to Butré rests on a great variety of arguments and has allowed us to identify other texts by Butré, and to better grasp the publishing practices of the Physiocratic journals in the 1760s. The paper revisits the beginnings of Physiocracy and improves our knowledge of Butré. The origins and development of Quesnay’s interest in economics is a matter which requires some explanation (P. Groenewegen).1 I. INTRODUCTION This paper deals with two important 18th century economists, one universally known, François Quesnay, the other, Charles Richard de Butré, still largely ignored. In 1753 Quesnay2 published his last medical book, the Traité des fièvres continues.3 From 1749, he had provided his medical services to the Marquise de Pompadour in Versailles. Little is known of the circumstances that led him to become an economist in his 60s, and write his first two famous papers in economics, Fermiers (1756) and Grains (1757). One factor may have played a part: his purchase, finalized in January 1755, of a rural estate, which he gave to his son Blaise-Guillaume.4 While a secondary aim of this paper is to offer a hypothesis explaining Quesnay’s switch to economics, our main aim deals with one fact (A), one conjecture (B), and one belief (C) which is supported by much evidence; (B) and (C), which are independent of each other, are related to an observation to be proven: the bulk of EAT was written several years before 1759, its year of publication. In 1759, Quesnay and Mirabeau jointly produced their ‘Mémoire de Berne’ and sent to the Berne society a text which was corrected by Butré.5 They quoted twice the Essai sur l’administration des terres (EAT) authored by a ‘Bellial des Vertus’, and published in the same year. It is remarkable that these quotations were added by Quesnay to a Mirabeau manuscript.6 Like many of his contemporaries, Quesnay quoted sparingly the authors he carefully read: he quoted Cantillon only once.7 We show that these two quotations of EAT are of central importance to Quesnay’s theory. We have found in several economical works of Quesnay, written prior to the publication of EAT, what seems to be evidence of an influence of EAT. Through two quite different lines of attack, and a wealth of supporting evidence, mainly based on the publication history of EAT, we have reached the conviction that EAT was authored by Butré. Since EAT offers several views opposed to Physiocratic doctrine, and since in the late 1750s and early 1760s, Butré, together with Mirabeau, was Quesnay’s most devoted pupil, this requires some explanation. We have discovered a statement made by Butré in a memoir he wrote in 1762 at the latest,8 according to which he had previously held opinions opposed to those of Quesnay. One line of attack of (C) is straightforward: EAT is apparently the only book of the period 1740–1775 which describes the culture in Poitou of millet, then a very rare cereal in that province. Butré is apparently the only author of this period who wrote (competently) about millet in Poitou. The other line of attack is more complex, and has led us to attribute to Butré three papers published anonymously in Physiocratic journals during the 1760s, by identifying in them characteristics of EAT and of works acknowledged by Butré. The obvious difficulty is that the earliest of works acknowledged by Butré dates from 1766 and that his views had considerably evolved after 1755, hence the stress on stylistic points. Before giving the plan of the paper, we make clear a few clerical points: we call Bellial the author of EAT which was published under the alias of ‘Bellial des Vertus’.9 One of our aims is to prove that Bellial and Butré are the same person. When we refer to the Journal de l’Agriculture, we use the abbreviation JA. Similarly EPH denotes the well-known Physiocratic journal, Éphémérides du Citoyen. Since some issues of EPH have several editions differently paginated, we refer exclusively to the Feltrinelli reprints of EPH and JA. We privilege published sources, but in some cases we need to use the unpublished Butré archives found mostly in Strasbourg and Tours, none of which includes anything about Butré prior to circa 1762. The rest of the paper is divided into nine sections numbered from II to X. Section II gives a short indispensable account of the structure of the Mémoire de Berne, distinguishes between the two printed versions of this text and corrects its historiography. Section III proves that the bulk of EAT was written circa 1754–1755. Section IV establishes the importance of the Quesnay quotations. Section V gives a brief sketch of Butré and details some of the contents of EAT. We find striking similarities between Butré and Bellial and between Butré’s later themes and EAT. Section V lays the ground for Sections VI and VIII. Section VI compares some views of EAT and some opinions found in the early works of Quesnay, providing evidence for B. Section VII relates the history of the unusual publication of EAT which implies that its author had high protection and was still active circa 1784. Section VIII provides the proof of C. Section IX discusses various points of lesser importance. We conclude the paper by revisiting the beginnings of Physiocracy and going back to the Groenewegen quotation given above as epigraph. II. THE MÉMOIRE DE BERNE One may approximately date the writing of the text submitted in 1759 by Mirabeau to the Société économique de Berne thanks to Kapossy & Meylan (2012). These authors discovered an unpublished correspondence of Mirabeau with his Swiss friend Sacconay.10 On 13 April 1759, Mirabeau wrote to Sacconay that he was going to send a text to the Société de Berne and that he hoped to complete the writing in one day. However, on 20 June 1759, Mirabeau wrote to Sacconay that he was still working ‘pour votre société’. In his next letter, on 16 July 1759, Mirabeau informed Sacconay that his text was finished.11 An important question arises: what was exactly the text sent to Berne? One needs to ask the question since the two versions published, nearly simultaneously in 1760, one in the Berne series, whose first volume was entitled Recueil de mémoires, and the other in Mirabeau (1760), differ considerably, and since none of our predecessors compared them.12 Mirabeau sent a text on the topic proposed by the Société (the culture of corn in Switzerland) and mentioned, cf. Mirabeau (1760, p. 96) and Recueil de mémoires (1760, t. 1, p. 463), that he was offering to the Société an abridgement in French of the first six books of Thomas Hale’s Compleat body of husbandry. Mirabeau made clear that the work had been translated by another person. On 14 September 1759 Mirabeau wrote to Sacconay, mentioning this text as included (‘joint’) with his submission. While the Recueil de mémoires version omitted it (but preserved Mirabeau’s reference to it), Mirabeau had it printed on pp. 109–167 of Mirabeau (1760) where the Mémoire de Berne, proper, occupies pp. 9–108. This matter is significant for one startling reason: Quesnay (2005, p. 1316) referred to a manuscript in the French national Archives, K 906–23, and described it as a copy of ‘l’analyse de The complete body of husbandry de Thomas Hale (1757)’,13 in an unknown hand but with corrections of two authors, one of whom is Butré (we agree with this opinion). This innocuous description failed to connect the dots: this manuscript is printed, with all the corrections taken into account, in Mirabeau (1760, pp. 109–167). This means that Butré was involved in the manuscript that Mirabeau (and Quesnay) sent to the Société de Berne. The corrections seem to imply that Butré understood the English text, which is of intrinsic interest.14 The importance of this matter to us is elsewhere: obviously the abridgement of Hale’s text could have taken many months, not to mention that Mirabeau (1760, p. 96) had announced a full complete illustrated translation.15 In other words, the Mémoire de Berne proper could have been completed well before 16 July 1759 and the delay might have been due to the time required to translate and abridge Hale. There are common themes between EAT and Hale’s abridgement, as the use of pigeons to fertilize the soil, cf. (EAT, p. 49) and Mirabeau (1760, p. 118), but lack of evidence prevents us from exploiting them. Our only use of the above is to note that Mirabeau sent to Berne a very long text quoting Bellial’s work, that Butré collaborated to part of the text sent, and that it is difficult to determine when exactly the Mémoire de Berne proper was completed. III. THE DATE OF THE WRITING OF EAT None of the scholars who have discussed EAT seems to have noticed that the book, at least the body of its text, which has 203 numbered pages,16 must have been written several years before 1759, its date of publication.17 On p. 5 of EAT, one finds a note saying that the author had written the last lines of p. 5 in 1754. Page 44 of EAT refers to the weather of 1754 in a way which seems to imply that the author is writing about the most recent winter, so this page was presumably written in 1754 or 1755 at the latest. Page 173 gives an example of accounts and refers to the ‘S. Jean 1754’. This is the Saint Jean, a religious celebration taking place in June, and this mention might imply that the author is writing at the latest in June 1755. There is however a precise way of dating p. 164: a note refers to a book just published (‘Il paroît un essai sur la police des grains’). This is clearly an (enlarged) edition of Herbert’s Essai sur la police des grains, first published in 1753. Since this note also alludes to a pamphlet by Tillet, which was published in 1755, and which is referred to by Herbert for the first time in the 1755 edition of his book (p. 384), one can assert that this note was added to p. 164 at the time of publication of Herbert (1755). As the text of EAT ends on p. 203, the writing of the bulk of EAT was presumably finished shortly after the publication of Herbert (1755), which was reviewed in the August issue of the Journal Oeconomique in 1755;18 this issue was approved by the censor on 10 August (as clear from its p. 191). It follows that Herbert (1755) was published at the latest around mid-1755, and that the writing of the bulk of EAT ended also around the same date. On p. 114 of EAT, one finds a brief mention of (Feydeau) ‘de Brou intendant de Rouen’, whose appointment was made in June 1755, so these lines of p. 114 have been written after this date. (We will explain later on how this mention suggests that Bellial was part of a group which favored de Brou.) This clearly invalidates most of the arguments used to deny Quesnay’s authorship of EAT (or its authorship by any Physiocrat), which rested on the contradiction between Quesnay’s convictions in 1759 and the non-Physiocratic part of EAT. There is no need to deal with this matter, since we intend to show that Butré is the author of EAT and that he wrote it before embracing the Physiocratic gospel. IV. QUESNAY’S QUOTATIONS OF EAT Quesnay’s quotations appear in Mirabeau (1760, pp. 66 and 68).19 The first reproduces four lines from EAT (pp. 104–105). Its gist is: in Poitou nowadays, one considers the traditional estimate of the value of harvests as paradoxical.20 It is clear from EAT (pp. 105–106) that we are here at the heart of an issue which is central to Quesnay’s teachings, and which later on obsessed Butré: what is the proper way of evaluating a harvest’s worth? EAT emphasizes that the Poitou custom to divide the soils into two categories, good and mediocre, and to fix in a flat way the rent without paying attention to the real harvest was inadequate.21 This issue is capital for two reasons: it affects the relationship of the landowner and the farmer, discussed in many comments on Quesnay, and it is a prerequisite to the question of taxation. In Fermiers and Grains, written at the latest in 1757, Quesnay had mused in a rather conventional way on these matters (Quesnay, 2005, pp. 157–159 and 190–194); he had however raised a significant and original objection against the suggestion to tax the income of the landowners proportionately to the rent received, by pointing out, in line with the EAT quotation, that for small farming the income of the landowner was determined only by the real harvest, since in many cases the landowner was the farmer and since in other cases one had a métayer (a sharecropper).22 We are here at the beginning of the road that led to the introduction of Quesnay’s memorable idea, the net product, lucidly explained by Turgot as follows: one needs to subtract from the gross product the reprises (a combination of amortization and renewable expenses) and the costs of the exploitation, to determine the net product.23 Of course, the net product provided the basis of Physiocratic taxation theory. The second quotation24 slightly rephrases part of p. 143 of EAT: an export worth three millions of agricultural products makes the state richer than an export worth ten millions of manufactured products. This became a central Physiocratic theme, expounded e.g. in Quesnay & Mirabeau (1763, pp. 203, 283, 318): a kingdom with a large territory ought to develop its agriculture, export the surplus, and import the luxury or manufactured products from small countries like Holland. What is striking is that Quesnay could have instead quoted himself: in his 1757 article Grains (in Quesnay, 2005, p. 199), he had basically written the same thing—his Maxime III emphasized that an export of one million of manufactured products could lead to a large loss versus an export of one million of agricultural products, and concluded that the product of the labor of the cultivators can be double or triple that of the labor of the manufacturers.25 We hope to have shown the importance of each of the EAT quotations, and we postpone to Section VI a discussion of the following questions: why did Quesnay quote EAT, published in 1759, instead of referring to his own article Grains, published in 1757? Could Quesnay have had access to the text of EAT before its publication? V. BUTRÉ AND EAT 5.a Butré After a long neglect,26 Charles Richard de Butré (1725–1805) has recently been extensively investigated. Although Weulersse (1910b) mentioned Butré many times and somehow recognized his importance,27 the modern age of Butré studies was initiated by an article published by Perrot in 1978,28 and continued with the appearance of Quesnay (2005), whose editors showed that Butré contributed to several of the works usually attributed to Quesnay and Mirabeau. The recent publications from the Butré revival changed our hazy picture of him. Follain (2010) investigated his Touraine years in the mid-1770s. Two papers by Charles & Théré (2016a & 2016b) stress his previously unpublished use of algebraic methods29. The first of these papers includes an intellectual biography of Butré which confirms that little is known of him before the late 1750s, when he started his collaboration with Quesnay and Mirabeau. Other papers (Le Masne & Le Masne, 2014; and Sabbagh, 2017) contain additional information. The latter of these papers attributed to Butré a book published in 1775, Principes sur l’impot, which seemed to be Butré’s first published book. None of these two papers says much about Butré’s early career.30 The editors of Quesnay (2005, p. xix) believed that Butré’s own publications are all later than 1763. What is relevant here is that Butré was born in Poitou, in his family’s castle of La Jarige in Pressac, close to Limousin and near the small town of Confolens; that he received his first education in Poitou or Limousin, and that from December 1743 to 1761, he was a Garde du Corps du Roi, moving in a circle close to Adrien-Maurice de Noailles, a protector of Quesnay.31 5.b. EAT EAT is largely a treatise on the management of rural estates, and covers a great many topics, including viticulture and forests. Here, we single out a few pages of EAT which reveal much on the background of its author. This background is remarkably similar to what is known of Butré. 5.b.a Poitou While EAT mentions various regions of France (mostly some of those listed later on by Butré in his 1767 papers) it is particularly strong on Poitou, whose agricultural customs were observed by Bellial more than once: Bellial remembers that his first observations of Poitou took place in 1740.32 On pp. 33–34, it mentions two consecutive harvests in Poitou. Pages 102–114 are almost entirely devoted to Poitou with a detailed33 description of a harvest (pp. 110–112); the author relates that he spent more than 6 weeks in a castle located in the plaine (the flat portion of Poitou). Butré in 1740 was aged 15 years, but it was certainly not unusual in the 18th century for a young man of that age to make this sort of observations. In fact Butré in a book34 published circa 1794 mentions that he had been planting trees since more than 50 years, which implies that he was active in the fields in the 1740s, while EAT emphasizes the economics of forestry (pp. 67–96), and mentions how planting trees increases the value of the land (pp. 197–198). Planting thousands of trees is mentioned in EAT (p. 198) and Butré (1794, p. 64). Later on Butré (1767b, pp. 92–109) gave precise information on three Poitou farms; in 1767, he provided detailed information on the third farm (its rent and tenants from 1740, the date mentioned in EAT, up to 1755); this information normally would have been only available to the landlord. Interestingly, Bellial (p. 111–112) mentions a conversation he had with the laborers when he tried to modify their habit of staying idle for 6 weeks. 5.b.b Poultry There are other similarities between Butré’s works and EAT, one of them implicitly noticed by Perrot, a remarkable connoisseur of 18th century French literature in political economy. In Perrot (1992), there are two occurrences of Bellial des Vertus. In one of them (p. 226)35, Perrot observes that on p. 35 EAT takes into account the product of the basse-cour (poultry). (EAT mentions this and the income derived from pigeons also at pp. 7, 23, 36, 49, 144 and 193.) To take into account the proceeds from animals in the Physiocratic computations was typical of Butré36 (as stressed in Perrot, 1992, pp. 226–227). We checked a great many French agronomists’ works, but found precise figures only in the work of Butré and on p. 36 of EAT: while several such works mention poultry and pigeons, none offered any computations. 5.b.c Calculations This brings us to another issue omnipresent in Quesnay (2005): Butré was renowned for his talents of calculateur (he constantly assisted Quesnay in these matters). EAT (pp. 173–183 and especially p. 36) provides agricultural accounts and estimates which have a flavor similar to the more intricate ones found in the four Butré papers of 1767, and in Quesnay & Mirabeau (1763, pp. 286–293).37 Of course, the Physiocrats believed that they were introducing a new science vindicated by the calcul. 5.b.d Nobility and improving the income of landlords Bellial appears to be concerned with the nobility’s prerogatives. He displays a deep knowledge of taxes. EAT devotes a chapter (pp. 114–121) to lods, censives,38 and other feudal rights. Another book which mentions lods and censives, a topic rarely present in economical texts, is Butré (1781, p. 157). A letter from Dupont to Butré from 20 April 1782, which is a scathing reply to a Butré letter which is not extant, implies that Butré was, even then, proud of his own nobility, and trumpeted it to humiliate Dupont.39 Yet, another similarity on a related theme can be found between EAT (pp. 122–124) and again Butré (1781, pp. 115–116): both books lament the damages caused to farmers by hunting. This was not a rare topic, but Weulersse (1910b, vol. 2, pp. 419–421) mentions among the opponents of hunting exactly one Physiocrat, Mirabeau, and several authors, among whom Bellial. There is another analogy between EAT and the work of Butré: EAT (p. 197) advises to renew the lease of farms when the prices of agricultural products are high, with the aim of doubling the income of landlords in 20 years. Butré (1767d, pp. 85–87) suggests a way of doubling the agricultural income and production of France; in what period? This is not made explicit but on p. 86 Butré is considering leases of 21 years. 5.b.e Vineyards A common theme of Bellial and Butré is that of vineyards. Both authors share a position shared by virtually nobody else. Both authors want vineyards to be planted on mediocre soils which, according to Bellial, could otherwise only produce rye.40 A contemporary economist, Goyon de la Plombanie, whose interests included vineyards,41 wrote many sensible things about the terroir suitable for wine, some of which have a modern tone, but never ventured to suggest to reserve to vineyards land unsuitable for the culture of wheat. Another contemporary writer, Schabol, dismissed the possibility of using marshes for vineyards.42 A standard handbook on vineyards, Bidet (1752), in its expanded edition of 1759, discusses the soils suitable for vineyards, and on p. 106 of the first volume stresses the poor quality of the wine obtained on the ‘côteaux élevés’ and ‘terrains aquatiques’, but none of these two editions contains anything close to the claims of EAT and Butré. In the mid-1750s, Bellial may have known only of vineyards in Poitou. In the 1760s, Butré was a landowner in Touraine, a region certainly not famous at the time for its wines43 (on pp. 10–11 of the second volume of Bidet (1759), a classification of French wines assigns to those from Poitou and Touraine a very low quality).44 In order to clarify the matter, we checked all the 18th century viticulture treatises mentioned in Bourde (1967). None of them contradicts Bidet on these points. Bellial and Butré dealt only with the few specific regions they knew, Poitou, Touraine and Île de France, all producing cheap wine. Bellial is the only non-Physiocratic author who had the same conceptions as Butré on vineyards. At this stage, there is yet no compelling argument to prove that EAT was authored by Butré. We simply know that Butré and Bellial were both in Poitou around 1740, that both were interested in rural estates and knew a lot about farming in Poitou, that Butré collaborated with Quesnay in the late 1750s, that Bellial was read and quoted by Quesnay in the same period in an essay (the Mémoire de Berne) which had some connection with Butré, and that their works share a number of common beliefs (but we will also see that EAT offers many non-Physiocratic opinions). The next sections allow us to fully present our case. VI. EAT AND QUESNAY We previously mentioned a passage of EAT (pp. 104–105) quoted by Quesnay, which is related to the idea of the net product. In the lines immediately preceding the sentence quoted by Quesnay, one finds calculations allowing us to crudely compute a profit net of all expenses in two kinds of farms, with one case in which45 it is impossible to the tenant to renew the expenses needed for a good farming, which again would lead to the notion of reprises, and to the net product. We also previously noted that the second quotation of EAT by Quesnay is close if not equivalent to a sentence found in Grains (see Quesnay, 2005, p. 199), and we are going to present two other very similar sentences of Quesnay, one of which was certainly written before the publication of EAT. But we need first to make clear when EAT was published. Inspector d’Hémery, who policed the French book trade for many years, recorded46 the publication of EAT on 17 May 1759. We do not know exactly when the book reached the Paris or Versailles trade. (It got a report by Grimm on 1 September 1759).47 We simply remind the reader that before 16 July 1759, at the latest, Mirabeau and Quesnay’s Mémoire de Berne was finished. In theory, Quesnay could have obtained in Versailles one of the first distributed copies, could have read it eagerly almost entirely (the second quotation is taken from p. 143) and could have made the changes to the manuscript prior to the completion of the Mémoire. We know that a few years later, in 1763, when Quesnay read Dupont de Nemours’s reply to Roussel de La Tour’s Richesse de l’Etat, he launched an extensive search to identify and meet its author.48 There is no evidence that Quesnay tried to identify the mysterious Bellial. This leads to two points to which we will go back: Quesnay knew who was Bellial. Quesnay was acquainted with EAT prior to its publication. The second point would explain why Quesnay, often reticent to quote anybody, felt the urge to quote EAT instead of quoting his Grains on ‘denrées du cru’: he had a debt towards EAT, whose author was most probably his collaborator and friend Butré.49 We now give a series of statements by Quesnay, including two on denrées du cru, all similar to parts of EAT, and all written before or around the date of publication of EAT. 6.a Denrées du cru In June 1758 Quesnay, assisted by Marivetz,50 published Questions intéressantes sur la population, l’agriculture et le commerce. One question,51 numbered V in the section entitled Commerce des denrées du cru, and not followed by a quotation mark, is a statement on the advantages of the (exterior) commerce of agricultural products over the (exterior) commerce of manufactured products. The original French defines denrées du cru as ‘the gifts of the earth’: clearly, we are dealing with agricultural products. The second statement by Quesnay on denrées du cru is even more interesting for us: exactly as is the case for Quesnay’s quotations from EAT, this long text (over 20 lines)52 is an addition (in Quesnay’s hand) to a manuscript written by Mirabeau for the intended Traité de la monarchie. The text is too long to reproduce here, but Quesnay distinguishes three kinds of commerce, including commerce des denrées du cru and commerce des marchandises de main-d’oeuvre, considered by Quesnay as the least profitable commerce. The editor of the 1999 edition of the Traité de la monarchie was unable to date with precision the fragments published, which seem to have been written from July 1757 to April 1759. This would imply that Quesnay added his text to the Mirabeau manuscript before the publication of EAT. One should note that this addition is rather extraneous to the annotated treatise and that it confirms once more the importance for Quesnay of the second quotation from EAT. It would be tempting to speculate that Quesnay inserted almost simultaneously his additions on denrées du cru in the two Mirabeau manuscripts, the one of the Mémoire de Berne and the one of the Traité, but we better stick to the texts. 6.b Other matters where Quesnay seems to be inspired by EAT In Grains53 Quesnay divided the soils not suitable for the culture of grain in two categories: the better one could be employed for rye and other vegetables, the other for forests, vineyards, etc … This is close to Bellial’s singular approach to vineyards, later on advocated by Butré, which we have discussed above. Grains, written by an author who apparently never had any first-hand knowledge of viticulture, and EAT share the same quixotic conception of vineyards. Fermiers, which was finished in the spring of 1756,54 gives the wages of a charretier (carter) as ‘300 liv. pour nourriture et gages’ (300 liv. for food and wages).55 The same words are found in EAT (p. 153): ‘On donne 300. liv. à un Me. Chartier pour gages & nourriture’. Hommes, which Quesnay finished writing at the beginning of 1758,56 commended the Marshall of Mirepoix for having put a fund at the disposal of his farmers, to be used in bad times and to be replenished in good times, which they actually did.57 Longhitano58 has stressed the importance of these lines of Quesnay’s. Mixing humanity and good management, EAT (pp. 125–128) gave exactly the same advice to landlords. While there are other points of EAT which seem to anticipate the Physiocrats,59 we must compare Fermiers and Grains with EAT on matters where Quesnay and Bellial differ. 6.c Major differences between Quesnay’s early economical texts and EAT EAT (pp. 23–24) opposes the interest of the state to that of the farmers, when discussing the ideal size of farms. Fermiers argues that farmers and state have a common interest in large farms.60EAT (pp. 7, 143) favors the recruitment of soldiers among the peasants, while Fermiers complains that the militia depletes the ranks of farmers.61 The education of peasants, to which Bellial strongly objects,62 is supported by Quesnay in Fermiers.63 However, on the question of the evaluation of agricultural income and of its taxation, which we have discussed in Section IV, it is permissible to believe that Quesnay might have been led to the net product after having carefully systematized what is found in EAT (pp. 33–35 and pp. 102–105), and having distinguished between small and large farming (‘petite’ and ‘grande culture’), an idea which belongs to him, but which may have been influenced by EAT and his knowledge of English agriculture as described in Forbonnais (1754, vol. 1, pp. 97–241). Readers of Madame du Hausset will remember Quesnay’s interest in farming in Poitou.64 Did it come from EAT? We hope to have provided reasonable evidence that Quesnay had read EAT in manuscript form, but additional evidence will be provided by the history of the publication of EAT. Readers will then decide whether they are convinced, but they must know that Butré was initially opposed to Quesnay’s views. 6.d Butré’s early opinions and his conversion to Quesnay’s views Butré wrote, in 1762 at the latest, an interesting Mémoire sur la liberté du commerce des grains. What is important to us, and has apparently never been noticed, is that on p. 5 Butré acknowledges that he modified his views on grande and petite culture, which were opposed to Quesnay’s views, after having investigated the matter at Quesnay’s instructions.65 We suggest that Butré is here alluding to his earlier claims in EAT, about the advantages to the state of an agriculture consisting of small farms. We also suggest that the rich relationship between Butré and Quesnay started at the latest with the writing of EAT, and was pursued by a dialog the first traces of which are found in Fermiers and Grains and continued with the just quoted Mémoire. We will return to the matter later on. VII. THE PUBLICATION OF EAT AND ITS SECOND EDITION The publication of EAT obtained a privilège, registered in December 1758.66 This privilège, printed in the book, has several oddities.67 The manuscript record, which usually names the author or the publisher, names nobody. The printed privilège names ‘Bellial des Vertus’ as the author, but no person of this name is known to have ever existed. Thus, at a time of severe censorship caused by the attempt on the life of Louis XV by Damiens in 1757, a privilège, the highest kind of permission for a book in France, is granted to an author who is hiding his name, for a book which had on p. 107 a sentence deploring the revocation of the Édit de Nantes, amounting to a strong criticism of Louis XIV. Moreover, the censor of EAT (Rousselet) did not usually deal with books having economical contents. One thing is clear: the author had protectors in high places, who intended to protect his anonymity, and succeeded. Some light is brought to this when one considers what is in fact the second edition of EAT, anonymously published in 1784 in Paris by Lamy without any reference to the original book, under the title L’art d’augmenter et de conserver son bien, ou regles generales pour l’administration d’une terre (denoted by AA from now on). As far as we know, Hecht is the only scholar to have noticed any connection between AA and EAT:68 she claimed that AA was a plagiarism of EAT.69 A close comparison of EAT and AA will prove that only the author of EAT could have produced the text of AA. Indeed, AA shows an attempt to reorganize EAT which, combined with other very careful changes, points to an authorial intervention: Pages 104–114, on Poitou, which allowed to link Bellial to this region, have disappeared. The parts of the text which did not fit with the Physiocratic doctrine, found mostly on pp. 129–150, were suppressed: the suggestion to the landowner (pp. 134–145) to lend money to artisans and merchants and to become their business partner, which implied that commerce and industry were productive activities, has disappeared, as well as the warning against the education of peasants (pp. 138–141). The support for small farming (pp. 144–150) is equally omitted, as is the foreword of EAT, which emphasized the same view. Physiocracy was neither popular nor influential in the 1780s, no plagiarizer would have bothered to meticulously remove these sections. Interestingly, the insistence on trees in EAT is preserved in AA but with the transposition of various pages. AA offers a curious addition, obviously authorial, on p. 135: the author pokes fun on a philosophe who theorized that one could use nettle to manufacture linen.70 Butré is on record for criticisms of this kind: he had attacked opinions of Goyon de la Plombanie as not founded on concrete observation (Butré, 1767b, pp. 126–133), and had castigated Forbonnais, guilty of working in his cabinet, while he himself had been in the fields of many regions (Butré 1767d, p. 74). At this stage we refer to Sabbagh (2017) which shows that the publisher Valade had requested a permission tacite to publish Butré’s Principes sur l’impot. Lamy (publisher of AA) was a partner of Valade,71 and had been an apprentice to his shop.72 Butré had therefore easy access to Lamy,73 who on 17 May 1783 requested a permission tacite for AA.74 It is likely that this was a purely commercial venture: the book with an enticing new title could have sold well.75 The great historian Braudel, who ignored EAT, considered AA as a new and revealing publication. His analysis is of no interest for this paper, although it should appeal to the historians who have linked the Physiocrats to the birth and development of capitalism in France.76 We can now go back to EAT. The book was published by Jean-Thomas Hérissant, protected by the brother of Madame de Pompadour, and publisher of the 1765 auction catalog of her library.77 Jean-Thomas was a cousin of Claude-Jean-Baptiste I Hérissant, the father of the publisher of Mirabeau’s L’Ami des hommes, and a partner of his son.78 Butré, who in the 1750s was a Garde du Corps du Roi, needed an authorization from his superiors to publish anything, and such authorization was unthinkable for EAT. In the same period Quesnay was very cautious,79 and ceased his collaboration to the Encyclopédie, while the impetuous Mirabeau was briefly jailed in 1760 upon the publication of Théorie de l’impot. We believe that Quesnay, or one of his protectors such as Noailles, obtained the outlandish privilège. To the points which Bellial and Butré had in common, shown at the end of Section V, we may now add that both were active and publishing books in the 1780s, that Bellial’s non-Physiocratic views had by then disappeared, while those of Butré’s had changed well before, that each of them published a book with two closely related publishers (Valade and Lamy), and that they both enjoyed protection in the late 1750s, although we do not know who exactly protected Bellial, allowing the mysterious publication of EAT. Furthermore one may add that, since the Hérissant family published Bellial and Mirabeau, it would have been very easy for Quesnay to summon Bellial. We previously mentioned his curiosity about Dupont, then unknown, and he had similarly arranged to meet with Mirabeau.80 Nothing has been traced about any attempt by Quesnay to identify Bellial and this suggests that Quesnay knew who Bellial was before the publication of EAT. We can now present two quite different arguments which allow us to identify Bellial as Butré. VIII. BUTRÉ AUTHORED EAT 8.a Two articles published in Journal de l’Agriculture, and one published in Éphémérides Our aim is to discuss three papers and to prove that the author of each of them is simultaneously Bellial and Butré. 8.a.a Two articles published in JA We will first deal with two papers published in JA: we know that these two papers have the same author, thanks to Dupont who was then editing JA. These two articles are both signed with the initial J (or I, confused with J by printers then): ‘Observations sur la Grande & Petite Culture des Terres’ (JA, November 1765, pp. 173–188, denoted from now on by JA1); and ‘Observations sur quelques écrits d’Agriculture’ (JA, August 1766, pp. 138–144, denoted from now on by JA2). The editor of JA, Dupont, provided a foreword (pp. 210–212 of the November 1766 issue) which details the system of initials used (from A to I): articles signed by the same initial are written by the same author. As we have seen, EAT discusses Poitou in detail. The same feature occurs in JA1 but remarkably EAT and JA1 share a quixotic idea which is formulated in both works with the same vocabulary: the verbs, ‘contracter’ and ‘remarquer’ and the unusual term, at least with the meaning intended in both texts, ‘pesan’.81 In EAT (pp. 112–113) one finds:82 ‘le Poitevin est pésant & paresseux, il semble qu’il contracte les défauts du boeuf avec lequel il laboure… J’ai remarqué que dans les Cantons de cette Province où l’on se sert de chevaux pour le labourage, il y a plus d’activité parmi les Paysans’. In JA1 (p. 185) one has: ‘On remarque dans tous les pays de labourage avec les boeufs, que les colons y sont plus pesants… que dans les pays d’exploitation par les chevaux, l’homme contracte l’habitude de la bête avec laquelle il travaille’. We have been unable to find any similar contemporary opinion involving the words ‘pesan’ (or ‘pesant’) about the peasants of Poitou or elsewhere. This and the common vocabulary in the two extracts lead us to believe that the author of JA1 who used the initial J and Bellial are the same individual who was interested in ‘grande’ and ‘petite culture’ in the mid-1760s. Let us now consider the style of JA2. One finds on p. 143 lines very similar to lines 5–8 of Butré (1767a, p. 61). In both quotations, some common key words are italicized in the following brief extracts: (JA2) ‘On voit des Citadins dire au Pauvre, va t’en Labourer la terre,…on voit des Orateurs célèbres qui parlent du Laboureur dans sa chaumière, comme si les Laboureurs demeuroient & devoient demeurer dans des chaumières…’ (Butré 1767a) ‘…citadins qui n’ont jamais entendu parler du Laboureur que par des Poètes qui le dépeignent sous sa chaumière…un bon fermier n’habite point, & ne doit point habiter sous une chaumière…’83 At this stage, it is important to mention two possible objections84 about our comparison of the italicized words: who italicized the words, say for Butré (1767a), Butré or rather the editor of the journal? Is it conceivable that Butré (1767a) simply copied the paper JA2 which might be due to another author? We were fortunate to find a manuscript draft of Butré’s, which was used for Butré (1767a) and other papers. On the left margin of one of its pages,85 there are (inter alia) lines 1–12 of Butré (1767a, p. 61). The underlined words in this left margin are exactly those italicized in the printed version: it is Butré who had decided to italicize them, at least for Butré (1767a). The draft of Butré (1767a) shows no influence of any kind of any paper of JA. When one sees the entire file, and especially what precedes and follows folio 10, it is strictly impossible to believe that the draft is copied from or inspired by JA2. In fact nothing in the entire file is close to JA2: the beginning (chronologically) of the file seems to correspond to the 1767 known Butré papers, published in four consecutive issues of the Éphémérides, and starting with Butré (1767a). The logical conclusion would be that the same author wrote JA2 and Butré (1767a), and spontaneously introduced in one version the word ‘Orateurs’ and in the other the word ‘Poètes’. One can pursue the comparison of JA2 with other texts written by Butré and compare the central point of JA2 with what is found on the same topic in Butré (1767b). The government had provided incentives to encourage the ‘défrichements’, i.e. to bring moorlands into cultivation. JA2 objects that few farmers are rich enough to do it: ‘Quels sont les Colons assez riches pour essarter, écobuer…?’ (p. 141). In Butré (1767b, pp. 125–133), Butré had made the same objection, using on p. 125 a variant of the, then rare, word found above: ‘Ecobue’.86 The combination of the lines on ‘chaumière’ and of those on ‘écobuer’ leaves no reasonable doubt about the fact that Butré authored JA1 and JA2. The discerning reader may wonder about one feature of JA1: on some points87, the author does not write as a Physiocrat. This is in our opinion, a rhetorical device intended to present the author as an unbiased observer giving a balanced opinion on a controversy between Dupont and Forbonnais and to show that JA published ‘independent’ papers and not only papers supporting the Physiocrats: Dupont was simultaneously trying to make JA the organ of the Physiocrats and to pose as a fair editor. One may end the present discussion with a side remark on EAT and the connected four 1767 Butré papers. EAT opens with an ‘Avertissement’ (foreword) which links the decline of the Roman empire to the neglect of agriculture, quite similar to the ‘Avertissement’ with which the Butré series starts.88 This was a commonplace theme and it would be wrong to draw any conclusion from this sole element. 8.a.b One article published in Éphémérides The anonymous paper ‘Mémoire sur l’état des paroisses d’Azat-le-Ris’89 was published on pp. 64–73 of the January issue of the 1768 Éphémérides. It was sent to the editor (Baudeau at the time) by the Marquise de Montmort, a Physiocratic friend of Quesnay,90 and it deals with the agriculture of an area of Basse-Marche known to Butré, close to Poitou and located in the Limousin which was then supervised by the intendant Turgot. Baudeau introduced the paper, from now on denoted by Mémoire, as the work of an expert writing in the area. Madame de Montmort owned a castle in Azat-le-Ris, quite close to the castle of La Tour aux Paulmes, owned by the Butré family in Verneuil-Moustiers. Oddly enough, the running title of the paper is: ‘Etat au vrai de la petite culture’, while the table of contents of the January 1768 issue lists a title à la Butré: ‘Mémoire sur l’état de la petite culture’. Was the title modified to hide Butré’s authorship? The style and the contents of Mémoire remind the reader of EAT. Here, a few lines from EAT (pp. 112–113): ‘Je souffrois de voir 42 hommes sans occupation pendant plus de six semaines; je leur proposai… quelques défrichements… le Commerce des Bestiaux est plus précieux pour [le Poitevin] que la culture des Terres’.91 Let us compare them with Mémoire (pp. 66 and 73): ‘ils [the peasants] paroissent fort occupés depuis la S. Jean jusqu’à la Toussaints, & il semble que le reste de l’année ils n’ont plus rien à faire… s’il y avait assez de richesses pour les défricher & cultiver’; and ‘ils n’ont rien à faire qu’à gouverner leurs bestiaux’.92 While stylistic similarities show the hand of Bellial, the contents of Mémoire allow us to attribute it with almost total certitude to Butré. There are two intriguing points, the first of which strengthens also the attribution to Bellial: on p. 71, there is a criticism of the ‘arbitres qui ont abonné [le Limousin]’; Mémoire blasts the way taxes were there levied, and deplores that the ‘[arbitres] ont estimé le mauvais terrain autant que le bon’; this is more or less what Bellial wrote in the lines following those quoted by Quesnay about ‘la coutume du Poitou’: on top of p. 105 of EAT, Bellial criticized the fact that the taxes assumed that the ‘bonnes terres’ would always produce the double of the ‘terres médiocres’. But the lines just quoted from p. 71 are also a summary of the very detailed criticism made by Butré of the same tax experts, the ‘arbitres’ in charge of a ‘cadastre’, in the same province93 (Butré, 1767b, pp. 120–122). Incidentally, Butré there explains clearly how his criticism of this flat way of computing the harvests and taxes leads to the ‘produit net’ (cf. p. 120). The second point is far more striking. In the June issue of the 1767 Éphémérides (pp. 77–97), Turgot published anonymously his famous paper, ‘Des caractères de la grande et de la petite culture’. The comment inserted by Baudeau at the end of the paper did not name Turgot, but referred to him on p. 97 as the administrator of a province where small farming was in force. This Turgot paper was an extract from an official text sent by Turgot to his superiors on the sensitive issue of taxation. It was not published in its entirety at the time (see Schelle, 1913–1923, 2, p. 445). Turgot complained of the high level of taxation in the Limousin. The original full text was published by Schelle, who noted (p. 447) what part had been published in the Éphémérides. Turgot ended his text with calculations, of course not published in the Éphémérides, showing that the taxation level was 80%.94Mémoire managed to disclose on p. 71 two confidential facts, the name and position of Turgot and Turgot’s conclusion about the burden of taxes in Limousin.95 While the first disclosure was tactless but rather benign, the second made public, against all rules, an information provided to the government on the delicate topic of taxes. The author of Mémoire obviously had access to Turgot’s complete text like Baudeau and probably Dupont, who was in close touch with Turgot. As far as we know, Baudeau had no knowledge of the Basse-Marche region and neither he nor Dupont in 1768 would have betrayed the trust of Turgot. Butré, who was sending to the Éphémérides his 1767 papers on the topic discussed by Turgot of large and small farming, had certainly access to Turgot’s entire text. Butré’s tactless behavior in general is clear from his correspondence as found in Strasbourg and as is related in Reuss (1887).96 We have no doubt that the author of Mémoire is Butré and we suggest that Mémoire adds to the evidence that Butré and Bellial are the same person. We can now develop our second argument which proves that Bellial was Butré. 8.b The culture of millet in Poitou in the age of Bellial and Butré To the best of our knowledge, Bellial and Butré are the only authors who in the second half of the 18th century mentioned the culture of millet in Poitou. There is however a relatively large and useful literature which discusses millet, a cereal cultivated thousands of years ago in France and in several continents.97 The decline of millet in France can be summarized as follows: millet lost ground as soon as maize was introduced; it then slowly disappeared, except in a few areas where it is up to now kept alive by cultural traditions.98 Louis de Froidour, a remarkable observer, wrote in 1673 that millet had become rare and had been replaced by maize.99 The information available on millet in Poitou is very fragmentary and confirms that the production was insignificant at the end of the 18th century, when France developed regional statistics.100 It is therefore interesting that Bellial (EAT, p. 108) described the ‘custom’ of Poitou in the culture of millet. Butré gave a first-hand precise testimony on millet in Poitou. In 1771, Linguet published his famous attack against the Physiocrats, Réponse aux docteurs modernes. Journal Oeconomique reprinted various parts of his text, containing the assertion that in Poitou many laborers only eat millet.101 Butré read Journal Oeconomique and wrote a long reply to Linguet in which he asserted that he, Butré, knew the province of Poitou as his room, that millet was cultivated only in a tiny area where he was born, which consisted of four villages at the border with Limousin and that millet was used to feed chicken, and in some cases for a pudding.102 There is no reason to believe that Butré, who indeed knew Poitou very well, erred about millet. All the data available confirm the truth of what precedes. The leading provincial journal devoted to Poitou was the Annonces, Affiches, Nouvelles et Avis divers de la Province de Poitou, a weekly whose publication started in 1773 and which regularly published the prices of many products, including all cereals, on the various local markets of Poitou. Between 1773 and 1781, we found hundreds of records in many locations. Only one gives a price for millet, in 1773 in Confolens, the natural market for the Pressac village where Butré was born.103 This establishes that millet was cultivated where Butré said it was. The great agronomical treatise of Rozier confirms the use of millet to feed chicken.104 In other words Bellial in 1740 spent 6 weeks exactly in the area where Butré was born, and these two authors are the only ones to have described the cultivation of millet in Poitou. This sole argument leads to the belief that Bellial was Butré and that the Poitou castle mentioned in EAT (p. 110) was La Jarige, the Butré family’s castle. Each of the reasons we gave for believing that Butré and Bellial are the same person can be doubted, but it is difficult to reject their accumulation. However, the devil’s advocate could maintain that there was a writer who spent 6 weeks in Poitou in 1740 near the village where Butré was born, who had interests similar to those of Butré, including the attention granted to the culture of millet in Poitou, who like Butré had views opposed to those of Quesnay on farming at the beginning of his career, who, like Butré, was active at least from 1740 to 1784, who, like Butré, was opposed to hunting, and who, like Butré, paid attention to the ‘lods’, who by 1783 had renounced his non-physiocratic opinions, who, like Butré, referred at the beginning of his work to the decline of the Roman empire, who, like Butré, was greatly interested in trees, who shared Butré’s and Quesnay’s unorthodox opinions on vineyards, who published the first edition of his book with a partner of a publisher of Mirabeau and the second edition with a partner of a publisher of Butré, who was immediately read and quoted by Quesnay, who had extraordinary protection allowing him to receive in 1758 an extravagant privilège, virtually unique of its kind and certainly unique around 1758, who managed to publish in 1759 opinions he held apparently circa 1755 on the export of agricultural products and on taxation which were those of Quesnay’s earliest economical works, who wrote the three papers discussed in our Section 8.a.,105 who occupies a most interesting place in the history of Physiocracy and who was not Butré. The devil’s advocate will of course dismiss Perrot’s remarks about Bellial’s (and Butré’s) interest in the proceeds from animals and the attention paid by Weulersse to Bellial. We have to leave the matter to the reader. IX. AT THE PERIPHERY OF THIS INVESTIGATION There are two topics we have neglected, the second of which deserves some scrutiny. We did not exhaust the similarities in style and contents between the works of Bellial and of Butré. Both authors for instance stressed (but this was common) the importance of granting distinctions to cultivators, and in quite similar terms.106 Both authors deplored the desolation of rural areas, and the fact that the nobility had left the castles where they lived, near to the peasants (but also this was a frequent complaint).107 A more interesting point is the discovery of an early text, with themes similar to those of EAT, anonymously published in 1751.108 The author mentions the use of oxen and horses and he also refers to ‘mules’ and ‘mulets’, frequently used in Poitou. He asks many questions which anticipate the Questions intéressantes of Quesnay and Marivetz109. Since this paper is rather irrelevant to our brief, we will not discuss it in detail, and we go back to de Brou, the Rouen intendant mentioned in EAT (p. 114), and discuss a paper signed by Bellial des Vertus, and the foreword of EAT. 9.a Feydeau de Brou On top of its p.114, EAT dealt with a technical matter: it recommended a change in the custom intended to optimize the ‘champart’ (a right, analogous to the religious dîme, which granted the landlord a percentage of the harvest, in nature), and suggested that the harvesters be paid ‘en argent’, i.e. not in nature. Right after that, at the very end of a chapter devoted to taxes, EAT lauded ‘de Brou, Intendant de Rouen’ for having rewarded the farmers who took care of their business in the best way110. We have searched in vain the Rouen archives,111 an authoritative source (Pigeon, 2011), the Parisian press and the literature about de Brou,112 to find any explanation or confirmation of these rewards. Of course, the lines in question could have been added to EAT at any time, e.g. at the correction of proofs. Our search however led to two interesting points: like Bellial113 and Quesnay, de Brou was a supporter of the freedom of commerce of grains;114 his administration was quite often lauded in the Mercure de France. The Mercure, at the time edited by people who owed their position to Madame Pompadour,115 on at least five occasions celebrated de Brou’s decisions.116 In June 1759, the Mercure reprinted an ‘ordonnance’ of de Brou’s, preceded by a letter117 published under the heading ‘Economie Politique’, allegedly written to Marmontel (but possibly written by him), and eulogizing de Brou. The Mercure did not similarly favor the other ‘intendants’. De Brou’s family was influential. His father was in 1754 together with Noailles, one of the nine members of the Conseil Royal de Commerce.118Mercure de France (and Quesnay, who was close to Marmontel) had good reasons to please de Brou, and the author of EAT may have been asked to add to his book a few lines celebrating the intendant. The praise of de Brou in EAT seems to suggest that Bellial was related to de Brou’s circle (Butré was of course a client of Noailles). 9.b A paper acknowledged by Bellial des Vertus Despite the existence of a few valuable works,119 no complete study of the economical French press of the period is available. Our aim here is to investigate one paper acknowledged by Bellial, which requires a preliminary brief exploration of the Gazette du Commerce, from now on Gazette. We need to correct and complete Charles & Théré (2015): the new director of Gazette appointed in July or August 1765 was Thomas Grace,120 not Yvon, as claimed by Charles & Théré (2015, n. 21). Furthermore, we wish to accurately describe the change in the journal’s editorial policy. While Gazette in the mid-1760s published various letters against and for the Physiocrats, the first, vehement, attacks against them by the editorial board, signing as ‘les auteurs de la Gazette’, were published in the issues of 1 August, and 1 September 1767.121 They are written by Grace: they are reproduced, almost verbatim, in Grace (1770).122 What is remarkable is that the second attack had a footnote (on p. 692) praising a pamphlet by Le Trosne in favor of freedom of the grain trade: thus in 1767 Grace, though strongly opposed to the Physiocrats, supported the freedom of the grain trade. In November 1767, Gazette published a Lettre, by the ‘Auteur de l’essai sur l’administration des terres’.123 This Lettre was mentioned at least six times by Weulersse (1910b)124, and was rediscovered by the editors of the 2005 edition of Quesnay’s economic works (p. XIV–XV). This text, an apology of the freedom of the grain trade and a curious mixture of Physiocracy and EAT, cannot be taken at face value. In the fall of 1767, when the Physiocrats were faced with a poor harvest, high prices, riots,125 they tried as much as they could to influence public opinion in their favor, but Gazette was closed to them. Butré could publish his defence by posing as the author of the Essai, and sent an opportunistic text. 9.c The foreword of EAT and the old French bibliographical tradition on EAT EAT opens with a foreword whose first lines state that it was not intended for publication, and that its sole aim was to provide a friend with the main notions required to manage a rural estate.126 Who was this friend? At this stage, we pause to mention an old French bibliographical tradition on EAT which led many libraries, including the BNF in 2018, and Daire, to attribute EAT to Quesnay, and other bibliographers to Quesnay’s son.127 We venture the hypothesis, hazardous and presently beyond proof, that the friend mentioned in the foreword was no other than Quesnay and that EAT was provoked by a request of Quesnay, wishing to use Butré’s knowledge of agriculture, in connection or not with his son’s estate. X. CONCLUSION We have explored two related themes: the beginning of Physiocracy and EAT. We have established that Quesnay chose to quote sentences of EAT figuring already almost in his own writings; why? EAT was obviously important to Quesnay and thus it is important to us: the history of the beginning of Physiocracy is an important chapter in the history of thought, and goes beyond French history. We believe that we gave convincing evidence that Butré, friend and collaborator of Quesnay, wrote EAT at a time when next to nothing was known of him. As an unexpected bonus, we identified the author of the Journal de l’Agriculture to whom the initial J was attributed and found that Butré, who acknowledged several papers in the Physiocratic journals, published others anonymously. We thus know more on the Machiavellian publication tactics of the Physiocrats. There are serious grounds to believe that there has been a back and forth dialog between EAT (or its author) and Quesnay, that Quesnay was aware of the contents of EAT prior to its publication, and that our work provides a tentative answer to Groenewegen’s interesting question: what led Quesnay to become an economist? Historians have paid attention to EAT: Weulersse wrote much on EAT, and one previously quoted remark of Perrot’s is really perspicuous. Although in one instance Weulersse claimed that Bellial was writing like Quesnay,128 these authors simply failed to systematically compare Bellial, Butré, and Quesnay. We dare believe that future historians of Physiocracy will not neglect EAT. Footnotes 1 Groenewegen (2002, p. 248). For a quite different discussion, see Groenewegen (2001). 2 Quesnay (2005) is a convenient reference; we will freely use the life of Quesnay (by Hecht) which is reprinted there. 3 It has over 1300 pages. 4 See Quesnay (2005, p. 1368). 5 Weulersse (1910a) detailed the collaboration between Mirabeau and Quesnay. Butré's involvement in what was sent to Berne and published in Mirabeau (1760) was unknown prior to the present paper. 6 Manuscript M 783 5–2, pp. 31–33, Archives nationales. Hecht knew that these quotations are due to Quesnay but gave no details (see Quesnay, 2005, p. 1385). 7 See Van Den Berg (2015, p. 71). Quesnay’s quotations in general are discussed in Groenewegen (2002, pp. 253–254), and throughout Quesnay (2005). Except for the biography of Quesnay by Hecht, both sources ignore our quotations. See however, Groenewegen (2001). 8 This is his Mémoire sur la liberté du commerce des grains (Manuscript K 908 63, Archives nationales), discovered (authorship unidentified) by Weulersse. In the authoritative thesis of L. Charles (1999), this text is attributed to Dupont de Nemours. The error is silently corrected in Quesnay (2005, p. 1321). A copy of the Mémoire given by Quesnay, dated 1762 and now in a private collection, was inspected by us. Another copy is present among the Butré Strasbourg papers. 9 This alias is a mixture of evil (‘Bellial’) and good (‘Vertus’). Replacing in the word ‘Vertus’ the letter V by B yields phonetically the word Butré after a permutation of the letters. Butré’s passion for the occult is well-known; it was emphasized by Reuss (1887) and stressed in several letters by Mirabeau, which are published in Knies (1892). 10 All the letters quoted are accessible on the web at http://lumieres.unil.ch/projets/mirabeau/ 11 ‘Mon mémoire pour votre société est fait’. A letter by Mirabeau dated 11 August 1759 shows that Sacconay was then in possession of the manuscript. 12 Cf. Recueil de mémoires (1760, t. 1, pp. 227–311 and 443–477) and Mirabeau (1760, pp. 9–167, in two parts, see later on). An obvious point, among many variations, is that the lines on weights and measures of Mirabeau (1760, pp. 84–86) are not present in the Recueil de mémoires version. It is fair however to add that the validity of Sonenscher (2007) and Théré & Charles (2009) does not seem to depend upon the version(s) selected by these authors. The manuscript sent by Mirabeau to Berne remains unlocated. The text was omitted in Quesnay (2005). 13 This date, while inscribed on the first page of the manuscript, may be an error: this first page refers to a London edition and the only one known to us is dated 1756. 14 Various authors, the editors of Quesnay (2005, p. 465, n. 10), Sabbagh (2016, p. 121), Menegatti (2018, p. 28, n. 13) have tried to explain how Mirabeau and Quesnay, none of whom read English, managed to quote Postlethwayt. A simple hypothesis is that they could have been helped by Butré. 15 It took several years and volumes to Dupuy-Demportes (1761–1764) to offer a complete adaptation of Hale in French. 16 We exclude the ‘avertissement’ (foreword), the first lines of which imply that it was written after the main text. 17 See Quesnay (2005, p. 1385): there Hecht dismisses the attribution of EAT to Quesnay, but mostly in relying on her knowledge of Quesnay’s later views. One can also consign to oblivion what Oncken (1888, p. 358) wrote about EAT: Oncken conflated the date of writing EAT and the date of its publication, which is certainly 1759 (see later on). 18 The review implies that the reviewed book had been published very recently. 19 They are also found in Recueil de mémoires (1760, t. 1, pp. 296 and 298). In this case, both versions coincide. 20 ‘On regarde aujourd’hui en Poitou comme un paradoxe, l’évaluation du produit des terres telle qu’elle est fixée par la coutume’. 21 ‘cette évaluation, ayant ignoré le véritable produit des terres du Pays’ (EAT, p. 105). The entire career of Butré in Baden was devoted to an attempt of putting on a firm footing the evaluation of harvests there (see Sabbagh, 2017). 22 ‘[pour]… la petite culture… on ne peut connaître les revenus des propriétaires que par les produits’ (see Quesnay, 2005, p. 190). 23 See Schelle (1913–1923, 2, p. 302): ‘[il faut] soustraire du produit brut les reprises et les frais du cultivateur, afin d’arriver à connaître le produit net’. 24 ‘trois millions de denrées du crû vendues à l’étranger, apportent plus d’argent dans un Etat, que la vente de dix millions de marchandises de main d’œuvre’. 25 The final words of Maxime III are: ‘le produit du travail des hommes qui cultivent la terre, peut être le double et le triple de celui de la fabrication des marchandises de main-d’oeuvre’. 26 Previously only two detailed studies had been devoted to him: Reuss (1887) and Lindner (1906). 27 The index of Weulersse (1910b) allows to immediately see the detailed attention granted to Butré and Bellial. 28 See Perrot (1992, pp. 217–36), which reprints this article (dealing also with other Physiocrats). 29 We are grateful to the authors for having let us see their work prior to publication. 30 We gratefully acknowledge exchanges with Philippe Barrault, who is related to the family of Butré. 31 All biographical data on Butré are extracted from Le Masne & Le Masne (2014). 32 See EAT (p.111): ‘c’étoit en 1740 que j’eus occasion de remarquer les usages du Pays pour la premiére fois’. 33 Bellial mentions 42 ‘métiveurs’ (laborers). This word was then rare and confined to Poitou and a couple of other regions. 34 Butré (1794, p. 3). 35 In the other occurrence (p. 230, n. 44), Perrot finds an analogy between Mirabeau and Bellial on taxation. 36 See e.g.Butré (1767a, pp. 24, 36, 49). 37 These pages have been attributed to Butré by Charles & Théré (2016a, n. 29). 38 These rights originated in the Middle Ages. The most important, the lods, entitled the landlord to cash a transfer estate tax, generally equal to 1/12 of the value of the property, whenever the tenant sold his right to exploit the land. 39 Our thanks go to the Hagley Library and to Mr Clawson, Reference Archivist, for communicating us this text (reference W10, vol. 7, 39–41). 40 EAT (p. 56): ‘En général on n’emploie en Vignes que des Terres médiocres, qui pourroient tout au plus servir à récolter du seigle’. Butré (1767d, 123–4) recommends to use hills or marshes for forests and vineyards, but not for grain. Butré (1767c, 83) implies that one uses for vineyards and forests the (mediocre) land which cannot be employed to cultivate grain. 41 See Journal Oeconomique, March, October, December 1754 and January 1755. 42 See pp. 24–45 of the January 1755 issue of Journal Oeconomique (especially p. 37). 43 In the Butré manuscripts preserved in Tours, there is clear evidence that in Touraine Butré produced wine. 44 This is apparently the only mention of the Poitou wines in Bidet (1759), but pp. 59 and 279 of same volume 2 insist on the poor quality of the wine from Anjou (a province close to Touraine) and Île de France. 45 ‘Il n’est pas possible de faire les frais nécessaires pour remettre ce Champ en bonne culture’ (EAT, p. 103). 46 Ms. Fr. 22161, recto of folio 18 (BNF). D’Hémery did not name the author of EAT. 47 He mentioned his ignorance of its authorship (Grimm, 2011, tome 6, p. 181). 48 Cf. Saricks (1965, p. 24). 49 The correspondence between Butré and Quesnay preserved in file C 101 of the Tours archives shows that in the early 1770s, the two men were still friends and communicated on philosophy and mathematics. Butré wore no gloves to tell Quesnay that one of his extravagant mathematical results contradicted elementary inequalities found in a standard book by Rivard. 50 Quesnay’s collaborator, whose name was misspelt as ‘Marivelt’ by Dupont (see Zapperi, 1988, p. 136), was Marivetz, who published a book on France’s canals in 1788; he was identified by Zapperi who clarified this matter once for all (in 1972; for the reader’s convenience we refer to the English translation: Zapperi, 1988). It is clear to us that Marivetz was in charge of Questions on climate and rivers, and it is obvious that the first quotation of 6.a. was written by the sole Quesnay. 51 See Quesnay (2005, p. 370): ‘Les avantages du commerce extérieur des denrées du cru ou des dons de la terre, sur le commerce extérieur des marchandises de main-d’oeuvre’. 52 See Mirabeau & Quesnay (1999, pp. 145–146, n. 325). 53 See Quesnay (2005, p. 179). 54 See Quesnay (2005, pp. 127–128). 55 Cf. Quesnay (2005, p.144). 56 Cf. Quesnay (2005, p. 258). 57 See Quesnay (2005, p. 306). 58 See Mirabeau & Quesnay (1999, pp. lxvii–lxix). 59 See e.g. n. 35 above. 60 See Quesnay (2005, pp. 141, 148, 153–155). 61 See Quesnay (2005, p. 150–151). 62 See EAT (pp. 138–140). 63 See Quesnay (2005, p. 155; lines 3–5 seem a direct reply to Bellial). 64 See Oncken (1888, p. 125). 65 ‘Les instructions [de Quesnay]… m’ont déterminé, étant moi-même dans des idées un peu opposées, à faire plusieurs recherches’, recto of folio 57, Ms 839, Médiathèque André Malraux, Strasbourg. We are very grateful to the team of the Médiathèque, headed by Mrs Bischoff-Morales. 66 Ms.Fr. 21998, verso of folio 212, BNF. 67 We thank William Hanley for a helpful communication. We assume full responsibility for what follows. 68 See Quesnay (2005, p. 1386), or Ined (1956, numbers 386 and 4549): Hecht had hundreds of descriptions to write and could not read each book minutely. 69 Hecht used the word ‘démarquer’. 70 A similar suggestion had been published in several journals, notably JA (pp. 130–138 of June 1766 issue). 71 They issued together a catalog, found at the BNF under shelf number DELTA-3837. 72 We thank Jean-Dominique Mellot for this information. 73 Lamy had a series of titles similar to AA, all starting with the word ‘L’art’, e.g. L’art de nager. 74 Ms. Fr. 21986, BNF, p. 35. Although at the time an official in Baden, Butré in the 1780s used to extensively travel in winter and spring. Butré was away from Karlsruhe at the beginning of 1783, and returned there on 13 April 1783 (folio 192, Ms. 837, Strasbourg). He could perfectly well have made his publishing arrangements with Lamy before his return. 75 This was not the case: part of the stock remained unsold as late as 1804 (see a Royez catalog, digitized by Gallica, NUMM-132467). 76 See Braudel (1979, p. 256), or Braudel (1982, p. 295). Braudel (wrongly) attributed AA to (Ambroise-Marie) Arnould. 77 See Garrigue (2014, p. 15). We thank Christine Théré for this reference. 78 Mirabeau’s publisher and his father are not distinguished in Quesnay (2005, p. 1607). The partnership between the various Hérissants is clear from the Hérissant catalogs of the BNF. 79 This explains why Traité de la monarchie was not published. 80 See Quesnay (2005, p. 1379). 81 While it usually means heavy, it here means slow. 82 Both extracts are from paragraphs of comparable length, having about 40 words in JA1 and 60 words in EAT. The approximate English translation of each extract is that the labourer gets into the habit of the farm animals used, with those using oxen becoming slower than those using horses. 83 The approximate English translation of each quotation is the same, except that one text mentions orators and the other poets: city dwellers who have only a book knowledge of farmers have in mind farmers living in huts while good farmers should not live in huts. One may note that Weulersse (1910b, vol.1, p. 361), wishing to illustrate the ‘chaumière’ figure, quoted the same lines of JA2, attributed by him to an anonymous Physiocrat. 84 We thank Christine Théré and an anonymous referee who raised them: this led us to locate the Butré manuscript and to sharpen our arguments. We are sole responsible for the paper but are grateful for two careful readings. 85 Folio 10 of file C 101, Butré papers in Tours; Archives départementales d’Indre-et-Loire, which we deeply thank. Interestingly the file shows that Quesnay annotated some of the published papers of Butré. While several works, including the present paper, have made use of Quesnay’s annotations on books published by Mirabeau, nobody seems to have noticed that Butré submitted his 1767 work to Quesnay and incorporated his changes. The editors of Quesnay (2005) are silent on this matter. The Butré-Quesnay collaboration was a two-way avenue. 86 This term, for an instrument to clear the land, appears in italicized form on p. 125. It had been resurrected from old French by Turbilly (1760, p. 12), where it is also printed in italicized form (see Brunot, 1930, p. 256, or Gazette du Commerce, 1780, p. 92). 87 e.g. p. 186 (see Dupont’s note on p. 186–187). 88 See EAT (pp. V–VIII), and Butré (1767a, p. 6). 89 The title takes many lines (and omits the word culture: see below). This paper is denoted by Butré (1768). 90 Possibly because Butré was then in Russia with Le Mercier de la Rivière, but he could have left the text before his departure, as he apparently did for his 1767 Éphémérides papers. 91 ‘I was chagrined to see 42 men idle for more than 6 weeks. I vainly suggested to them to undertake some défrichement [clearing of the land]… For the peasants of Poitou, the commerce of cattle is more important than agriculture’. 92 ‘They look very busy from the Saint Jean [June 24] to the Toussaint [November 1] and it seems that outside of this period they are idle. If they were rich enough to clear the land… and they have nothing to do except caring for their cattle’. Remarquably, Weulersse (1910b, vol. 2, p. 193, n. 8) quoted other lines from Mémoire without having identified its author. Mémoire and Butré (1767b) are equally skeptical about the défrichements. 93 The Généralité de Limoges is explicitly named on p. 120. 94 ‘[L]a proportion de l’impôt au revenu est comme 80 à 100’ (see the last lines of p. 468). 95 ‘M. T….I….de cette Généralité a démontré dans le Mémoire qu’il a présenté au Conseil cette année,… des objets même en ferme, qui produisent 80 l. au Roi, & qui ne donnent au propriétaire que 20 l’. 96 See Sabbagh (2017, n. 35 and 36). 97 We are very grateful to many experts, notably Alain-Gilles Chaussat and Michel Chauvet, for having shared with us their knowledge. They helped us to locate Chaussat (2017), Franconie (1997), Hörandner (1995), Maurizio (1927) and Vouette (2008). 98 See Hongrois (1991). 99 See de Coincy (1929, p. 15); the original French is confusing: maize was called ‘gros millet’ and also ‘bled de Turquie’ (‘grano turco’ is commonly used in Italy for maize). 100 Chaptal (1819, vol. 1, table facing p. 173) does not even provide figures for the ‘menus grains’, the common denomination of millet and other minor cereals, for Poitou. Cochon de Lapparent (1801, p. 65) lists the cereals found in the department of ‘La Vienne’ (part of Poitou) as ‘blés, froment, seigle, orge, avoine’, and omits millet. Texier-Olivier’s monumental Statistique of the adjacent department of Haute-Vienne in 1808 mentions (pp. 295 and 377) a total of 15 hectares cultivated in millet against 72360 in ‘seigle’ (rye). Of course various 18th century writers mentioned millet but their works, e.g. Duhamel Du Monceau (1762, vol. 2, p. 93) or Dupuy-Demportes (1761–1764, t. 3, pp. 251–255) refer to its culture only in the Southern regions of France, Guyenne, Bearn or Armagnac. 101 ‘En France, combien de laboureurs qui ne subsistent que… de millet, comme dans le Poitou?’, Journal Oeconomique (1771, p. 104). 102 Recto of folio 209, Ms 839, Médiathèque André Malraux, Strasbourg. French original: ‘Par rapport au Poitou, il n’est point vrai qu’on y vit du millet, je connais cette province comme ma chambre…le millet ne se cultive que dans un petit coin du poitou, où je suis né, qui contient 4 paroisses et est limitrophe du limousin…on s’en sert pour élever de petits poulets…ils font quelquefois de la bouillie pour se régaler’. The millet pudding survives nowadays in Vendée. 103 P. 104 of the journal for 1773. 104 Rozier (1787, vol. 6, pp. 548–552). 105 or not? Only the devil knows what his advocate will plead. 106 See (EAT, p.133) and Butré (1767a, p. 42). 107 See (EAT, pp. 106–108) and Butré (1767b, pp. 117–119). 108 ‘Projet pour l’avancement de l’Agriculture’, Journal Oeconomique, May 1751, pp. 9–20. 109 The 1751 author suggests that the answers be sent to Journal Oeconomique, as later on did Quesnay and Marivetz (see Quesnay, 2005, p. 336). 110 ‘Il seroit à propos que…M. L’Intendant de la Province…à l’exemple de M. de Brou, Intendant de Rouen, donnât quelques récompenses aux Fermiers qui administreroient le mieux’. 111 Unfortunately, some documents are missing. 112 Weulersse (1910b, vol. 2, p. 157) mentioned the rewards granted by de Brou to the skilled farmers, but his only source was p. 114 of EAT. 113 See EAT, p. 167. 114 See Weulersse (1910b, vol. 2, p. 501) and Kaplan (2015, pp. 128–130). 115 At first Louis de Boissy, from 1758 Marmontel. 116 In the November 1756, June and July 1757, April 1758 and June 1759 issues. 117 Pages 180–182. 118 See Almanach Royal (1754, p. 124) 119 We made mostly use of Daumalle (2002) and Charles & Théré (2015). 120 See Dictionnaire des journalistes (available online at dictionnaire-journalistes.gazettes18e.fr). It needs to be slighly amended, because Grace took charge before September 1765: inspection of page 209 of the 31 August issue and page 113 of the 20 July issue of Gazette reveals a change of director between 20 July and 31 August. 121 See Gazette (1767, pp. 600–601 and 691–693). 122 Grace is mentioned as a previous director of Gazette on the title page of this book. 123 In two issues, on pp. 909–910 and 920–922. 124 In vol. 2, p. 270, n. 1, p. 409, n. 4, and elsewhere. 125 The riots which intensified in 1768 are described in Kaplan (2015). 126 ‘[D]onner à un ami les principales notions pour la Régie et l’Administration d’une Terre’. 127 An excellent summary is Quesnay (2005, p. xiv). 128 Cf. Weulersse (1910b, vol. 2, p. 497): ‘ne croirait-on pas entendre Quesnay lui-même?’. We do not necessarily agree with this comment. REFERENCES Almanach Royal ( 1754 ). Paris: Le Breton. Annonces, affiches, nouvelles et avis divers de la province de poitou ( 1773 –1781). Poitiers: Faulcon. 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Contributions to Political Economy – Oxford University Press
Published: May 23, 2018
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