Military reverses were inevitable, and responsibility for them could not be shirked.
Although himself a stranger to letters he welcomed scholars to his court and eagerly seconded the efforts of his brother Bruno to encourage learning; and while he neither feared nor shirked battle, he was always ready to secure his ends by peaceable means.
At an early date, as a foreign town began to spring up, the necessity of having some authority to lay out and pave streets, to build drains, &c., for the common benefit, became evident, and as the Chinese authorities shirked the work and the expense, the foreigners resolved to tax themselves voluntarily, and appointed a committee of works to see the money properly laid out.
He also contemplated a thorough-going reform of the ferme generale, but contented himself, as a beginning, with imposing certain conditions on the leases as they were renewed - such as a more efficient personnel, and the abolition for the future of the abuse of the croupes (the name given to a class of pensions), a reform which Terray had shirked on finding how many persons in high places were interested in them, and annulling certain leases, such as those of the manufacture of gunpowder and the administration of the messageries, the former of which was handed over to a company with the scientist Lavoisier as one of its advisers, and the latter superseded by a quicker and more comfortable service of diligences which were nicknamed" turgotines."He also prepared a regular budget.
Professor Josiah Royce has pictured the social-moral process by which society finally impressed its " claims on wayward and blind individuals " who " sought wealth and not a social order," and so long as possible shirked all social obligations.