Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
is the name given to a secret organization of infidel French philosophers, of whom Dr. Duquesnai was the founder. He so ingratiated himself with Louis XV that the latter used to call him his thinker, and gained the affections of the people under pretense of promoting economy in the state. According to abbe Barruel, however, the real object of the majority of the society was to subvert Christianity, by circulating the writings of Voltaire, Rousseau, and other infidels. This they did by printing extracts from these popular authors, and circulating them through the kingdom by hawkers and peddlers, who had them for little or nothing, that they might undersell all other literature. Their secret meetings, for preparing and revising these tracts, were held at baron Holbach's (q.v.). ‘ In some of these tracts their object was disguised; in others they were so bold as to avow their object under such titles as "Christianity unmasked," etc. They also attempted schools, for the avowed intention of preparing children for trade and mechanic arts, in which the same writings were read and circulated. Among the members of their secret club were D'Alembert, Turgot, Condorcet, Diderot, La Harpe, and La Moignon, keeper of the seals, who, on his dismissal from that office, shot himself. (See ILLUMINATI); (See PHILOSOPHISTS); (See PHYSIOCRATS).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Oeconomists'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/o/oeconomists.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.