Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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KERSAINT, Gui Pierre de Caetnelnpreu, Count de (kair-sang), French mariner, born in Paris, 20 July, 1742; died there, 4 December, 1793. He was descended from a family that is famous in the annals of the French navy, and entered the marine guards in 1755. Two years later, after fighting in the West Indies, he became lieutenant, and was made captain in 1765. He served in Canada in 1762 and during the war for American independence in 1777-'83. In 1777 he captured off Boston harbor two English frigates after a brilliant engagement. During the following year he served under Count de Guichen in the West Indies, and contributed under the Marquis de Bouille to the-capture of Tobago in 1779. He commanded in 1782 a squadron composed of one ship of the line and four frigates, and after a sharp action drove the English from the Dutch colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice. Then, joining Count de Grasse off Yorktown, he was stationed in Chesapeake bay and fought several engagements with English cruisers. In 1783 he became an honorary member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the Dutch voted him an annuity of 4,000 florins on the customs receipts of Guiana. From 1785 till 1790 he commanded the station of South America, and he was made vice-admiral in 1793. As a deputy to the constituent assembly his political influence was very great for a time during the French revolution, and he was conspicuous in supporting the claims for political rights of the colored population of the French colonies. He also wrote pamphlets that enjoyed a high reputation. When the reign of ter-for began he was arrested, mid after a mock trial sentenced and executed. Among his works the best known is "Opinion et projet de decret sur l'organisation des corsaires" (Paris, 1792).
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