ST PIERRE. See MARTINIQUE, vol. xv. p. 586. SAINT-PIERRE, CHARLES IRENEE CASTEL, ABBE DE (1658-1743), a French writer of much ingenuity and influence, who is not unfrequently confounded with the author of Paul et Virginie, was born near Barfleur on the 18th of February 1658. His father was bailli of the Cotentin, and Saint-Pierre, who was educated by the Jesuits, appears to have had an easy entrance to the best literary and political society of the capital. He was presented to the But in 1718, in consequence of the political offence given by his Polysynodie, he suffered the very rare penalty of expulsion from that body. He died at Paris in 1743.
Saint-Pierre's works (collected shortly before his death in eighteen volumes and originally published chiefly in the second and third decades of the 18th century) are almost entirely occupied with an acute and inventive, though generally visionary, criticism of politics, law, and social institutions. They had a great influence on Rousseau, who has left elaborate examinations of some of them, and has reproduced not a few of their ideas in his own work. The titles are almost sufficient to show their nature. The chief are Projet de Paix Perpetuelle (appositely published at Utrecht in 1713) and Polysynodie (a severe stricture on the Government of Louis XIV., with projects for the administration of France by a system of councils for each department of government), together with a crowd of memorials and projects for stopping duelling, for equalizing taxation, for treating mendicancy, for reforming education and spelling, &c. Unlike the later reforming abbes of the philosophe iseriod, Saint-Pierre was a man of very unworldly character and quite destitute of the Frondeur spirit. He was also a man of not a little intellectual power, and, as in the case of every such man who gives his fancy free course in the construction of political Utopias, not a few of his wishes and ideas have been realized in course of time. But it is difficult to give him much credit for practical grasp of politics.