Charles Pinot Duclos

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Charles Pinot Duclos
Charles Pinot Duclos by Maurice Quentin de La Tour.jpg
Born(1704-02-12)12 February 1704
Dinan, Brittany, France
Died26 March 1772(1772-03-26) (aged 68)
Period18th century
GenreHistory, memoirs

Charles Pinot (or Pineau) Duclos (12 February 1704 – 26 March 1772) was a French author and contributor to the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers . [1]

<i>Encyclopédie</i> general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, better known as Encyclopédie, was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It had many writers, known as the Encyclopédistes. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d'Alembert.



Duclos was born at Dinan in Brittany and studied at Paris. After some time spent in dissipation he began to cultivate the society of wits and joined a club of young men who published their literary efforts under such titles as Recueil de ces messieurs, Étrennes de la saint Jean, Œufs de Pâques etc. His romance Acajou et Zirphile was the result of a wager among the club's members: Duclos composed it for a series of engraved plates intended for another work. He wrote two other romances which were favorably received: The Baroness de Luz (1741) and Confessions of Count de *** (1747).

Dinan Subprefecture and commune in Brittany, France

Dinan is a walled Breton town and a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in northwestern France. On 1 January 2018, the former commune of Léhon was merged into Dinan.

Académie française

Duclos became a member of the Academy of Inscriptions in 1739 and of the Académie française in 1747, being appointed perpetual secretary. In 1747, both academies were indebted to him not only for many valuable contributions, but also for several useful regulations and improvements. As a member of the Academy of Inscriptions, he composed several memoirs on trial by combat, on the origin and revolutions of the Celtic and French languages, and on scenic representations and the ancient drama. As a member of the Académie française, he assisted in compiling the new edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 1762; and he made some just and philosophical remarks on the Port Royal Grammar. On several occasions he distinguished himself by vindicating the honour and prerogatives of the societies to which he belonged, and the dignity of the literary character in general. He used to say of himself, "I shall leave behind me a name dear to literary men.". He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1764. [2]

Académie française Pre-eminent council for the French language

The Académie française is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the oldest of the five académies of the institute.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.


The citizens of Dinan, whose interests he always supported with zeal, appointed him mayor of their town in 1744, though he was resident at Paris, and in this capacity he took part in the assembly of the estates of Brittany. Upon the requisition of this body the king granted him letters of nobility. In 1763 he was advised to retire from France for some time, having rendered himself obnoxious to the government by the opinions he had expressed on the dispute between the duc d'Aiguillon, and M. de La Chalotais, the friend and countryman of Duclos. Accordingly he set out first for England (1763), then for Italy (1766); and on his return he wrote his Considerations on Italy. He died in Paris.

Emmanuel-Armand de Richelieu, duc dAiguillon French noble and politician

Emmanuel-Armand de Vignerot du Plessis-Richelieu, duc d'Aiguillon, was a French soldier and statesman, and a nephew of Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, 3rd Duke of Richelieu. He served as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under King Louis XV.

Louis-René de Caradeuc de La Chalotais French jurist

Louis-René de Caradeuc de La Chalotais was a French jurist who is primarily remembered for his role on the so-called "Brittany Affair", in which the Breton Parlement resisted the authority of the French monarchy over an issue of taxation. The affair has been seen as a precursor of the French Revolution.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.


As a character, Duclos was considered a mixture of impulsiveness and prudence. Jean-Jacques Rousseau described him laconically as a man droit et adroit. In his manners he displayed a bluntness that frequently rendered him disagreeable; and his caustic wit made him enemies. To those who knew him, however, he was a pleasant companion. A considerable number of his bons mots have been preserved by his biographers.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Genevan philosopher, writer and composer

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought.


His first serious publication was the History of Louis XI , which is dry and epigrammatical in style but displays considerable powers of research and impartiality. The reputation of Duclos as an author was confirmed by the publication of his Considérations sur les mœurs de ce siècle (1751), a work justly praised by La Harpe as containing a great deal of sound and ingenious reflection. It was translated into English and German. The Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire du dix-huitième siècle, intended by the author as a sort of sequel to the preceding work, are much inferior in style and matter, and are, in reality, little better than a kind of romance. In consequence of his History of Louis XI, he was appointed historiographer of France, when that place became vacant on Voltaire's retirement to Prussia. His Secret Memoirs of the Reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV (for which he was able to utilize the Mémoires of Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, suppressed in 1755), were not published until after the French Revolution.

Louis XI of France king

Louis XI, called "Louis the Prudent", was King of France from 1461 to 1483, the sixth from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Charles VII.

Voltaire French writer, historian, and philosopher

François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plumeVoltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital in Königsberg and from 1701 in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

A complete edition of the works of Duclos, including an unfinished autobiography, was published by Auger (1821). See also Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, t. ix.; René Kerviler, La Bretagne et l'Académie française du XVIIIe siècle (1889); L. Mandon, De la valeur historique des mémoires secrets de Duclos (1872).

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