I. Antoine Louis Claude, count de Tracy, a French philosopher, born at Paray-le-Fresil, near Moulins, Bourbonnais, July 20, 1754, died at Auteuil, March 9, 1836. At the desire of his father, who was a general, he entered the army, and was a colonel at the outbreak of the revolution. He was a member of the provincial assembly of Bourbonnais, and was elected as delegate of the nobility to the states general, Jan. 24, 1789. Here he was a leader in reform measures, attacking the monarchy and the privileges of the nobility. Upon the dissolution of the assembly he retired to his estate at Auteuil; but in 1792 he was appointed marechal de camp and joined the army under Lafayette, with whose moderate views he fully sympathized. After the events of Aug. 10 he followed him beyond the frontier, but soon returned privately to France, where he was arrested Nov. 2, 1793, and imprisoned till some time after the death of Robespierre. During this time he developed a taste for metaphysics, and became known as a philosopher. He was a member of the national institute from its formation, and as secretary of the committee of public instruction helped reorganize the public schools. After the 18th Brumaire he was made one of the first senators.
In 1814 he voted for the fall of the empire, and entered the royalist chamber of peers; he protested against the reactionary measures of 1815. The departure of the national policy from his views, together with bereavement and personal sickness, brought upon him in old age a profound melancholy, and he became almost blind. He was a disciple of Condillac, and with clear and earnest convictions carried his materialism to its last extreme. His Gram-maire generate (Paris, 1803) applies his philosophy to the analysis of language; his Lo-gique (1805) applies it to the rules of reasoning, and has been considered a masterpiece; and his Traite de la volonte (1815) applies it to the motives and results of our actions. These different parts of his system he afterward united under the title Elements d' ideolo-gie (4 vols. 8vo, 1817-18). His Gommentaire sur l'Esprit des lois he sent (before its publication in 1819) to President Jefferson, who translated it for a college text book (published in Philadelphia, 1811). Among his other works are Quels sont les moyens de fonder la morale chez un peuple? (Paris, 1708), and Observations sur le systeme actuel de l'instruction publique (1801). II. Alexandre Cesar Victor Charles, marquis de Tracy, son of the preceding, born in Paris, Sept. 9,1781, died at Paray-le-Fresil, Allier, March 13, 18G4. He served in Napoleon's campaigns, became colonel in 1814, and retired in 1820. He was afterward for many years member of the chamber of deputies, distinguishing himself as an earnest liberal, and was minister of marine under Louis Napoleon from December, 1848, to October, 1849, when he joined the opposition.
He protested against the coup d'etat of Dec. 2,1851, and retired to his estate at Paray. He was the author of Lettres sur la vie rurale (1861; previously published as Lettres sur Vagriculture, 1857). III. Sarah Newton, marchioness de Tracy, wife of the preceding, born at Stockport, England, Nov. 30, 1789, died at Paray-le-Fresil, Oct. 26, 1850. She was great-grand-niece of Sir Isaac Newton, and was brought to France in 1790. At the time of her marriage with the marquis de Tracy (1816) she was the widow of Gen. Letort. "Wishing to settle her religious convictions, she acquired a knowledge of patristic Latin, and left writings which were published after her death, under the title of Essais divers, lettres et pensees de Mme. de Tracy (3 vols., 1852-'5), only 150 copies being printed.