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DUPARQUET, James Diel, colonist, born in France about 1600; died in Martinique, 8 January 1658. He was a nephew of Enambuc, founder of the French colonies in the Antilles. The latter, feeling his end approaching and wishing to maintain the colony in Martinique, which he regarded as his own work, sent Duparquet there in 1637. The affability of the new governor gained the affection of all the inhabitants, and his prudence brought about a good understanding between the Caribs and the French. Yet, while Martinique was flourishing under his government, serious troubles arose in the part of St. Christopher that belonged to the French.
The governor general of the Antilles, recently sent out by the king, found that Poincy, who occupied this post, refused to surrender his authority to him. Duparquet went to Guadeloupe in 1646 to take out a commission from the new governor general, who authorized him to show the orders of the king to Poincy. He endeavored to enforce his claim by arms, but was defeated and obliged to take refuge among the English, who surrendered him to Poincy, and he was kept a prisoner until the following year. He then set about founding a colony in Grenada, where the West India Company had made several vain attempts at a settlement. The fame of his just dealings with the natives of Martinique had reached those of Grenada, who begged him to come among them.
He arrived in Grenada in June 1650, and Kaickruan, a Carib chief, said that if he wanted to make himself master of their Island he must consent to trade with them. Duparquet received the proposal joyfully, and agreed to give the inhabitants a certain quantity of glass beads, crystals, knives, and other wares in exchange for the island. When the bargain was concluded, he made the necessary arrangements for establishing the colony, and returned to Martinique. But the savages forgot their agreement, and attacked the French, who quickly reduced them to subjection. Some time afterward the English of St. Lucia, whom Duparquet had vainly warned of the plots that the natives of that Island were forming against them, were massacred or forced to leave it, and he planted a colony there, which rapidly became prosperous. Then he went to France and purchased the proprietorship of the three islands, the king appointing him his lieutenant general.
In 1654 he received hospitably and settled in Martinique a number of Dutch families who had been banished from Brazil. In 1656 he averted a famine in Guadeloupe, which had been devastated by a hurricane, by a seasonable supply of provisions. The expenses of his colony in Grenada absorbed a large part of his income, and he gladly consented to a proposal for its purchase from Father Dutertro, who acted as agent in the matter for a M. De Cerillac. The rest of his life was devoted to the people of Martinique, who repaid his zeal for their welfare with ingratitude during his life, but appreciated his great qualities after his death.
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