, a gentleman of considerable literary and political knowledge,
, a gentleman of considerable literary
and political knowledge, was descended from a protestant
family in France, which his father left about the beginning
of the last century, in order to reside in England, where he
had an opulent brother, but not finding the climate agree
with him, returned to France. There he married, and
became the father of seven children, one of whom, the
subject of this memoir, was born in 1729, and assumed the
name of Duchiiion from a small estate so called, which had
long been the property of his ancestors. His talents, according to his own account, were extraordinary; in his
fifth year he was a proficient at chess; and at ten, he composed comedies for his amusement, enigmas for the
Mercure de France, epigrams in the news of the day, and
madrigals for the ladies. He read much in romances,
belles lettres, poetry, history, and morality, and though
somewhat roving and unsettled in his disposition, had evidently laid in a very large stock of general knowledge.
After various youthful adventures, which form a very
amusing part of his “
Memoires d'un Voyageur,” &c.
which he published a few years before his death, we find
him appointed, in 1758, chaplain (for he was then in orders) and secretary to the hon. Stuart M'Kenzie, envoy
extraordinary to the court of Turin.