Toussaint, Francis Vincent

, a French writer, and one of the Encyclopedists, was born at Paris in 1715, and was bred an advocate, but forsook the bar to cultivate general literature. In his youth he is thought to have been somewhat fanatical, as he wrote Latin hymns in praise of the abb Paris, at whose tomb extraordinary miracles were performed. (See Paris). An enthusiasm of a very opposite kind connected him with the philosophers who were exerting their powers against revealed religion, and in 1748 he contributed his first share by his book called “Moeurs,” or “Manners,” in which, although tolerably disguised, are some of those bold attacks, both on Christianity and morals, which afterwards appeared more plainly in the writings of his associates D’Alembert, Diderot, &c. This work procured him, however, a name in the world, although some have endeavoured to deprive him of it, by asserting that the work was written by an impious priest, and that Toussaint consented to bear the praise or blame. | For this, however, there seems little foundation, if, according to the abbe Barruel, he afterwards publicly recanted his errors. In the mean time he published “Eciaircissemens sur les Mceurs,1764, which he meant as an apology for the former, but it was condemned by the parliament of Paris, and the author made his escape to Brussels, where he became editor of a French paper, devoted to the inte^ rests of the house of Austria. In this, of course, he treated the king of Prussia with little respect, even using the epithet, the “highwayman of the North,” and the philosopherking was not ignorant of this, but had been so much pleased with his book on “Manners,' 7 that he bestowed on him the professorship of logic and rhetoric at Berlin, where Tous* saint died in 1772. While there he published an excellent translation of Gellert’s Fables; and while in France had contributed some articles on jurisprudence to the Encyclopaedia, and assisted in a Dictionary of Medicine, published in 6 vols. folio. His” Mceurs" were translated into English about 1750. 1

1 Dict. Hist. Necrologie des Homtnes Celebres pour annee 1773. Thicbault’s Anecdotes of Frederick the Great, vol. I. 280, vol. II. 420. BarruePs Memoirs, vol. I. 295.