One of the first philosophes that David Hume met at Paris, the German-born Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach, was devoting all his efforts and his great wealth to the interests of the arts and sciences. Skilled in languages, ancient and modern, and well read in modern literature, philosophy, and science, he had contributed articles on metallurgy to the Encyclopédie and was a patron of its general editors, Denis Diderot and Jean D'Alembert. Holbach's house on the rue Royale, Butte St Roche, was the meeting place – facetiously named the ‘synagogue’ – of the leading intellectuals, and sumptuous dinners with costly wines were served every Sunday and Thursday. D'Alembert was Hume's favourite among the philosophes. To a foundling exposed near the church of St Jean le Rond in Paris was given the name of Jean Le Rond, to which was later added the surname of D'Alembert. Educated in philosophy and theology by the Jansenists, he acquired higher mathematics by himself.
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