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Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de, 1732-1798



  • Existence: 1732 - 1798


Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was a French polymath. At various times in his life, he was a watchmaker, inventor, playwright, musician, diplomat, spy, publisher, horticulturist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American).

Born a Parisian watchmaker's son, Beaumarchais rose in French society and became influential in the court of Louis XV as an inventor and music teacher. He made a number of important business and social contacts, played various roles as a diplomat and spy, and had earned a considerable fortune before a series of costly court battles jeopardized his reputation.

An early French supporter of American independence, Beaumarchais lobbied the French government on behalf of the American rebels during the American War of Independence. Beaumarchais oversaw covert aid from the French and Spanish governments to supply arms and financial assistance to the rebels in the years before France's formal entry into the war in 1778. He later struggled to recover money he had personally invested in the scheme. Beaumarchais was also a participant in the early stages of the 1789 French Revolution. He is probably best known, however, for his theatrical works, especially the three Figaro plays.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais letter

Identifier: Mss 779163
Mss 779163
Date(s): 1779-02-13
Scope and Contents

Letter from Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais in Paris, France to Benjamin Franklin telling him that he regrets that the machinations of Mr. Lee has caused him to diminish the performance of his duties and assures Franklin of his esteem; offers to send parcels to America on ships about to leave for Virginia.

Pierre Augustin, Caron de Beaumarchais letter

Identifier: Mss 777617
Mss 777617
Date(s): 1777-11-17
Scope and Contents Letter from Pierre Augustin Beaumarchis of Marseilles to Robert Norris, reporting, in a letter delivered by Mr. Perrier, an officer of the ship which Ricard and Merle sent, to tell that the ship 'Flamand' is on its way, loaded with articles of the greatest value to the Republic. Also mentions Mr. Deane as most useful to the American Cause. He says the reports that Washington is beaten and Philadelphia taken, are not being believed. A translation of the letter is included as well...

Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais letter

Identifier: Mss 772506
Mss 772506
Date(s): 1772-09-06
Scope and Contents

Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais letter to unidentified person. Has received his letter. Goes on to mention that LaCour is sick.

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