Jacques Cazotte, a French writer, born at Dijon in 1720, guillotined in Paris, Sept. 25, 1702. He became first known by a prose poem, Olivier, somewhat in the style of Ariosto's poems. Soon a number of tales, full of wit and originality, among them Le diable amoureux and Le lord impromptu, added to his fame. He was endowed with such facility and power of imitation that in one night he wrote a sequel to Voltaire's poem, La guerre civile de Geneve, and so perfect was the imitation that no one doubted the addition to be Voltaire's own. Cazotte in his later years became one of the most fervent adepts of Illuminism and Martin-ism. Being a faithful royalist, he was arrested during the revolution, and escaped death in the September massacres through the heroism and entreaties of his daughter Elisabeth, but was soon arrested again, condemned by a tribunal, and executed.
Jacques De Vaijcanson, a French mechanician, born in Grenoble, Feb. 24, 1709, died in Paris, Nov. 21, 1782. He studied mechanics and anatomy for several years. The statue of the "Flute Player " in the gardens of the Tuileries first suggested to him the project of making an automaton player, and he acquired great celebrity by works of that class. (See Automaton.) Cardinal Fleury appointed him inspector of silk manufactures, and in consequence of his improvements in machinery he was attacked by the workmen of Lyons; he retaliated by constructing an automaton ass weaving flowered silks. He bequeathed his collection to the queen, who gave it to the academy of sciences; it was scattered in consequence of a contest with the mercantile authorities for the possession of the manufacturing machinery, and Vaucanson's most celebrated automatons are now in Germany.
Jacques Felix Duban, a French architect, born in Paris, Oct. 14, 1797, died at Blois in September, 1870. He studied in the school of fine arts, which in 1823 awarded a prize to his design of a custom house. After spending about five years in Italy, he completed in Paris the palace of the fine arts, which had been begun by Debret. He restored the palaces of Blois and Dampierre, and executed many works for the embellishment of the Louvre, of which he was the architect from 1848 to 1854, when he became inspector general of public buildings, and member of the institute.
Jacques Francois Dicquemare, a French naturalist and astronomer, born in Havre, March 7, 1733, died March 29, 1789. He was a priest, and became professor of experimental physics at Havre, and member of the academy of Rouen and of the royal marine academy. He invented several useful instruments in connection with astronomy and navigation, but is better known by his researches into the natural history of zoophytes, infusoria, and mollusks, and particularly by his discoveries relative to sea anemones, on which he published an essay in French and English (4to, London, 1774). He designed an instrument called the cosmoplane, by means of which he solved problems in nautical astronomy. Besides numerous papers in the Journal de Physique, he published an Index geographique (1769), Idee generate de l'as-tronomie (1769), and Connaissance de l'as-tronomie (1771).