Gua, John Paul De

, a learned French abbé, prior of St. George de Vigou, a member of the royal society of London (1742) and of the French academy of sciences, was born in Languedoc, in 1712, and was the son of John de Gua, baron of Halves, whose property was swallowed up in the unfortunate Missisippi Scheme. He was educated for the church, but appears to have had less ambition for promotion in that, than to render himself distinguished for scientific knowledge. When admitted into the academy of sciences in 1741, he gave a specimen of his skill in mathematics by publishing “Usages de l’analyse de Descartes,” and was the author of other papers on mathematical subjects in the Memoirs of the Academy, in one of which he endeavours to vindicate Descartes against our Wallis, who, in the abbe’s opinion, wrote his history of algebra for no other purpose than to bestow upon his coun ­tryman Hariot, the discoveries that belong to Viete and Descartes. (See Hariot.) The abbe* was, however, chiefly distinguished in France for having first given the plan of the Encyclopedic, although he wrote very little in it. In 1764 he presented a plan for exploring the mines of Languedoc, and was the author of some other projects whick | bad little success. His necessities sometimes drove him to the business of translating for the booksellers. Amonothese publications we find bishop Berkeley’s “Hylas and Philonous,” “Locke’s Essay,Anson’s Voyage, and Decker on trade. He died at Paris, June 2, 1735, leaving the character of a man of considerable learning and industry, but not very happy in his temper, and often pursuing trifling difficulties, which he made a great merit in surmounting, such as complicated anagrams; and on one occasion, in consequence of a sort of challenge, he perplexed himself in writing a very long poem, in which words only of one syllable were admitted. 1


Elopes des Academiciens, vol. IV. —Dict. Hist.