The controversy as to the nature of his religious opinions, arising as it did chiefly out of his connexion with the Encyclopaedia, has no longer any living interest now that the Encyclopaedists generally have ceased to be regarded with unqualified suspicion by those who count themselves orthodox.
In the Observations sur les ecrits modernes (1735-1743) Desfontaines held the gates of Philistia for eight years against the Encyclopaedists, and even the redoubtable Voltaire himself.
Here he remained till 1862, reading widely on his own account, and giving special attention to the works of the French encyclopaedists and to modern French history.
It was to their credit, indeed, that the encyclopaedists attacked them as the foremost representatives of Christianity, but they are accountable in no small degree in France, as in England, for alienating the minds of men from the religion for which they professed to work.
The Romantic movement helped, with its idealization of a past but vaguely realized and imperfectly understood, and Chateaubriand heralded in the Catholic reaction with his Genie du Christianisme (1801) a brilliant if superficial attack on the encyclopaedists and their neo-Paganism, and a glorification of the Christian Church as supreme not only in the regions of faith and morals, but also in those of intellect and art.
Voltaire and the encyclopaedists with whom she corresponded, and on whom she conferred gifts and pensions, repaid her by the grossest flattery, while doing their best to profit by her generosity.
As she appears in the panegyrics of the encyclopaedists and Catherine as she appears in her correspondence and in her acts.
He adopted the principles of the Encyclopaedists, and his own aim was the complete overthrow of all existing institutions, political, social and religious.
Lacordaire read, and his ardent and believing nature, weary of the theological negations of the Encyclopaedists, was convinced.
It was, however, Voltaire and the encyclopaedists who raised Bacon to the pinnacle of his fame in France, and hailed him as " le pere de la philosophie experimentale " (Lettres sur les Anglois).
Rosen von Rosenstein embraced the principles of the encyclopaedists while he was attached to the Swedish embassy in Paris.
He had been in France in 1773, where he had not only the famous vision of Marie Antoinette at Versailles, "glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendour and joy," but had also supped and discussed with some of the destroyers, the encyclopaedists, "the sophisters, economists and calculators."
Voltaire, Montesquieu, the Encyclopaedists and the Physiocrats (recurring to the tradition of Bayle and Fontenelle), by dissolving in their analytical crucible all consecrated beliefs and all fixed institutions, brought back into the human society of the 18th century that humanity which had been so rudely eliminated.
The book is also interesting as having appeared on the borderland between the medieval and the modern school of natural history, avoiding the uncritical blundering of the old Encyclopaedists, without entering on the technical and analytic character of the opening age of separate monographs.
Morley, Diderot and the Encyclopaedists (London, 1878); D.