The main aim of this article is to identify the first translator in English of Turgot’s Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses, one of the most important economic works of all time. The translation, which appeared in book form in 1793, was first serialized in 1791–92 in an obscure English periodical. We show that the translator was Benjamin Vaughan (1751–1835), an interesting figure of the Enlightenment, previously known mostly for his role in the negotiations that led to the independence of the American colonies, and for his publication of Benjamin Franklin’s works in 1779. Vaughan deserves to be better known for many reasons: he was also an economist, influenced both by the Wealth of Nations and by the physiocrats, who wrote his own book on free trade (1788), which he also translated into French. He founded two London periodicals, supported religious tolerance, and published translations of other works by Turgot besides Réflexions (these translations have remained virtually unknown until now). He was also the translator of Condorcet’s Vie de Turgot. After a rather turbulent life, in 1797 Vaughan settled in the United States.
The First Translator in English of Turgot’s Réflexions Sur La Formation Et La Distribution Des Richesses: Benjamin Vaughan
Giancarlo de Vivo, Gabriel Sabbagh; The First Translator in English of Turgot’s Réflexions Sur La Formation Et La Distribution Des Richesses: Benjamin Vaughan. History of Political Economy 1 March 2015; 47 (1): 185–199. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-2847363
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