(1709-77). President of the Parlement de Dijon, friend of the philosophes, and in Diderot's words ??une petite t??te gaie, ironique et satiriquee. His learned publications include important work on the origins of language (Traite de la formation m??canique des langues, 1765) and on primitive religion (Du culte des dieux fetiches, 1760). His Lettres familieres crites d Italie en 1739 et 1740, published posthumously in 1799 and much loved by Stendhal, offer a model of personal travel writing, in which detailed accounts of art works and monuments, not always complimentary, or a careful description of Vesuvius, addressed to Buffon, are interspersed with sprightly, enthusiastic accounts of the peculiarities and the aesthetic and sensual pleasures of life in Italy.