Coyer, L'Abbé

, who was born at Baumeles-Nones in Franche-Comtt;, and died at Paris July 18, 1782, in an advanced age, was for some time a Jesuit. Having quitted that society, he repaired to the capital about 1751, and sought a livelihood by his pen. He began his career by certain fugitive pieces, of which some, as the “Discovery of the Philosopher’s stone,” in imitation of Swift, and the “Miraculous year,” had the most success. These trifles were collected under the very suitable title of “Bagatelles morales.” Some of the pieces in this collection are written, with ease, delicacy, and sprightliness; but irony being the favourite figure with the author, the style of it is too monotonous, and the witticisms sometimes too far fetched. There was visible in the writings of the abbe Coyer, as well as in his conversation, a perpetual effort at being agreeable, which he was unable to sustain to any length. Besides some temporary pieces, the abbé Coyer also wrote, 1. “The History of John Sobieski,1761, 3 vols. 12mo; a very interesting work. 2. “Travels in Italy and Holland,1775, 2 vols. 12mo. The abbe Coyer ran over these countries, oiot so much in the character of a deep observer, as of a light Frenchman, who takes a superficial glance, and then hastily sets down some remarks analogous to the fluctuation of his mind, of his inclinations and his character. The book is far inferior both to the observations of M. Grosley and the travels of M. de la Lande. 3. “New observations on England,1779, 12mo, which is little else that an abridgment of Grosley’s London. 4. “Noblesse Commenjante,” 2 vols. 8vo, and a little romance entitled “Chinki, histoire Cochin-Chinoise,” which made more noise in France than his “Bagatelles,” and are said to have contributed to two important changes in France, the granting of letters of noblesse to eminent merchants, and the abolition of wardenships. 5. “Plan d’education publique,1770, 12 mo. The abbe Coyer also translated Biackstone’s Commentaries on the Criminal Law of England. He had long fruitlessly endeavoured to | obtain admittance into the French academy, and had adopted many of the sentiments of the modern philosophers, who do not appear, however, to have had a profound respect for him. He was always telling Voltaire that he intended to come and spend three months with him, until the poet, frightened at his threat, wrote to him, “Mons. Abbe, do you know the difference which I find between you and Don Quixote It is, that he took inns for castles, and you take castles for inns.1

1 Dict. Hist. Many of his ^rorks are noticed in the Month. Rev.; see Inde*.