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Charles-Irénée Castel, abbé de Saint-Pierre (February 18, 1658 - April 29, 1743), French writer, was born at the château de Saint-Pierre-Église near Cherbourg. He was an influential writer and radical. He was perhaps the first to propose an international organisation responsible for maintaining peace.

His father was bailli of the Cotentin, and Saint-Pierre was educated by the Jesuits. In Paris he frequented the salons of Madame de la Fayette and of the marquise de Lambert. He was presented to the abbacy of Tiron, and was elected to the Academy in 1695.

In the same year he gained a footing at court as almoner to Madame. But in 1718, in consequence of the political offence given by his Discours sur la polysynodie, he was expelled from the Academy. He afterwards founded the Club de l'Entresol, an independent society suppressed in 1731. He died in Paris on the 29th of April 1743.

Saint-Pierre's works are almost entirely occupied with an acute though generally visionary criticism of politics, law and social institutions. They had a great influence on Rousseau, who left elaborate examinations of some of them.

Ideas contributed by de Saint-Pierre include

  • An equitable tax system, including a graduated income tax,
  • Free public education, for women as well as men,
  • State improvement of transportation to further commerce,
  • An international court and league of states (In Projet de paix perpetuelle 1713 ),
  • A constitutional monarchy, aided by a system of councils and an academy of experts (In Discours sur la Polysynodie 1718).


Reference

External links

Saint-Pierre’s biography at the Academy Francais (http://www.academie-francaise.fr/immortels/base/academiciens/fiche.asp?param=120) - In French, includes portrait.


Preceded by:
Jean-Louis Bergeret
Seat 8
Académie française
Succeeded by:
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis
fr:Charles-Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre
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