André Morellet

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André Morellet
Réfutation de l'ouvrage qui a pour titre Dialogues sur le commerce des bleds, 1770

André Morellet (7 March 1727 – 12 January 1819) was a French economist writer and contributor to the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers.[1] He was one of the last of the philosophes, and in this character he figures in many memoirs, such as those of Madame de Rémusat.

He was born at Lyon, and educated by the Jesuits there, and later at the Sorbonne. He took holy orders, but without much conviction. Voltaire called him "L'Abbé Mords-les" ("Father Bite-them"), because of his ready and biting wit. His most notable works were a smart pamphlet in answer to Charles Palissot's scurrilous play Les Philosophes (which procured him a short stay in the Bastille for an alleged libel on Palissot's patroness, the princesse de Robecq), and a reply to Ferdinando Galiani's Commerce des blés (1770).

In 1765, Morellet produced a French translation of On Crimes and Punishments. His translation was widely criticized for the liberties he took with the text.[2] He was a contributor to the Encyclopédie and a friend of Benjamin Franklin.[3]

Later, he made himself useful in quasi-diplomatic communications with English statesmen, and was pensioned and also elected a member of the Académie française in 1785. A year before his death in Paris, he brought out four volumes of Mélanges de littérature et de philosophie du XVIIIe siècle, composed chiefly of selections from his former publications, and after his death appeared his valuable Mémoires sur le XVIIIe siècle et la Révolution (2 vols., 1821).

His semi-satirical translation of Nicolau Aymerich's Directorium Inquisitorum was an influencing factor in the cessation of some of the Roman Catholic Church's more inquisitorial practices.


  1. Frank Arthur Kafker: Notices sur les auteurs des 17 volumes de « discours » de l'Encyclopédie Recherches sur Diderot et sur l'Encyclopédie. Année (1990) Volume 8 Numéro 8, p. 106
  2. Cesare Beccaria (1986). On Crimes And Punishments. Hackett. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-915145-97-3. Retrieved 21 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Walter Isaacson (4 May 2004). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon and Schuster. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-7432-5807-4. Retrieved 21 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • The Britannica in turn cites:
      • A bibliography of his numerous works is given in Quérard's La France littéraire, vol. vi.; see also Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. i.