Pinto, Isaac

Pinto, Isaac a Portuguese moralist of Jewish descent, was born in 1715. He first settled at Bordeaux, then went to Holland. He was a learned man, but commenced to write only at the age of about fifty, when he gained some reputation by defending against Voltaire his Jewish brethren, or at least, among them, the Portuguese and Spanish Jews. He wrote in French. We select among his writings, Essai sur le luxe (Amster. 1762, 12mo). He thus defines -his subject: "Luxury consists in this, that the houses we dwell in, the clothes we put on, the victuals we live on, the equipages we use, are so expensive in proportion of our means, that we can no longer discharge our duties towards our families, friends, the country, and the poor" (Apologie pour la nation Juive; Reflixions critiques, etc. [ibid. 1762, 12mo]). Pereire, the instructor of the deaf-mutes, was the editor of this work. The author sent a copy of it to Voltaire, who thanked him, and promised to notice it in the next edition of his works, which, however, he failed to do. Guenee reprinted the "Apology" as a kind of introduction to his Lettres de quelques Juifs Portugais: — Du jeu de Cartes (1768, 8vo), a letter to Diderot: — Traiti de la Circulation et du Credit (ibid. 1771, 1773, 1781, 8vo), translated into English and German: — Precis des arguments contre les materialistes (La Haye, 1774, 1776, 8vo). The complete works of Pinto were published in French (Amster. 1771, 8vo), and in German (Leipsic, 1777, 8vo). Pinto died Aug. 14, 1787, at La Haye. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé 40, 282.

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