He was born at Lyons, and educated by the Jesuits there, and later at the Sorbonne. He took holy orders, but without much conviction. Voltaire called him "L'Abbé Mords-les", because of his ready and biting wit. His most notable works were a smart pamphlet in answer to Charles Palissot's scurrilous play Les Philosophes (which procured him a short stay in the Bastille for an alleged libel on Palissot's patroness, the princesse de Robeck), and a reply to Ferdinando Galiani's Commerce des blês (1770).
Later, he made himself useful in quasi-diplomatic communications with English statesmen, and was pensioned and also elected a member of the Académie française in 1785. A year before his death in Paris, he brought out four volumes of Mélanges de littérature et de phiosophie du XVIII' siècle, composed chiefly of selections from his former publications, and after hi~ death appeared his valuable Mémoires sur le XVIII' siècle et la Revolution (2 vcls., 1821).
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.