Carra, John Lewis

, one of those French philosophers and statesmen to whom the revolution gave a shortlived importance, was born at Pont-de-Vesle in Dombes, | of poor parents. He early discovered an impetuous and ungovernable temper, and even his youth is said to have been stained with crimes. He travelled into Moldavia and Walachia, and wrote an account of those countries, which is the most unexceptionable of his works. On the commencement of the revolution he came to Paris, with all the talents requisite to give him consequence, a violent hatred of the royal family, and confused and ill-digested notions of political freedom. Mirabeau, during his short life, appears to have discerned and despised his character; but in 1792 he acted without controul, and was one of the chiefs of the revolt on the 10th of August, and gloried in having laid the plan of that fatal day. When the unhappy king was brought to trial, he was among the most active in preventing any change in the sentence, or any access to the voice of clemency. His triumph, however, was very short. Having fallen out with Robespierre and his colleagues, he joined the party of the Gironde, was implicated in their fate, and guillotined Nov. 1, 1793. The convention afterwards honoured him as a martyr to liberty, but his countrymen now seem disposed to revive his real character. As a writer, they tell us, he first acquired notice by some bad articles in the Encyclopaedia. His separate publications were, 1. “Systeme de la Raison,” a declamation against royalty; said to have been printed at London in 1773. 2. “Esprit de la Morale et de la Philosophic,1777, 8vo; in which the principles of infidelity are unblushingly brought forward. 3. “Histoire de la Moldavie et de la Valachie,1778, 12mo. 4. “Nouveaux principes de Physique,1782, 2 vols. 8vo, a work in which he has pretty nearly ascertained how far the imagination, without the aid of knowledge or experiment, can carry conjecture and paradox. 5. “Essai sur la nautique aerienneV' 1784, in which he assumes the merit of a plan. to guide air-balloons with safety and speed which in point of utility may be classed with the following 6.” Examen physique du magnetisme animal,“1785, 8vo. 7.” Dissertation elementaire sur la nature de la lumiere, de la chaleur, du feu, et de Pelectricite,“1787, 8vo. 8.” Un mot de reponse a M. de Calonne, sur s;i Kcquete au roi.“9.” L’Orateur des Etats-Generawx,“1781;, 8vo. 10.” Annales politiques,“a sort of newspaper, if we mistake not, at the time when every party had its newspaper. | 1.” Mernoires historiques sur la Bastille," 1790, 3 vols. 8vo; and many anonymous pamphlets. 1


Dict. Hist. Bjoj. Moderne. For his philosophy, see Month. Rev. vol. 63, 69, and 70.