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Jean Bernard Louis Desjean Pointis

POINTIS, Jean Bernard Louis Desjean (pwan-tee), Baron de, French naval officer, born in Brittany in 1645; died in Champigny, near Paris, 24 April, 1707. He entered the navy when he was sixteen years old, and was promoted chef d'escadre in 1693. In 1696 he presented a memoir to Louis XIV., in which he proposed an attack on Carthagena, and was authorized to form a company which should provide for the expenses of the expedition inconsideration of receiving half the profits. He sailed from Brest, 9 January, 1697, and was joined in Santo Domingo by Ducasse, the governor of Tortuga, at the head of 600 buccaneers. He arrived off Carthagena on 12 April, and, landing three miles from the city, summoned it to surrender; but the Spaniards refused, and the French were driven back in several attacks. But, after the storming of the fort of Boca Chica and several other important points of defence, the city capitulated on condition that the buccaneers should not enter. Booty amounting to $15,000,000 was secured by Pointis, who also imposed upon the city a ransom of $600< 000. Ducasse, being appointed governor, left the buccaneers in garrison at Boca Chica; but they learned that Pointis tried to keep them out of their share of the plunder, and, although Ducasse restrained them for some time, they finally entered Carthagena, and pillaged and burned for three days, committing all kinds of atrocities. After destroying the fortifications of the place, the French re-embarked on 1 June, and, defeating two English fleets, anchored in Brest, 29 August, 1697. A medal was struck in commemoration of the expedition. Pointis afterward commanded a fleet, and besieged Gibraltar in 1704-'5, but retired from active service toward the close of the latter year. He published "Relation de l'expedition de Carthagene faite par les Frangois en 1697" (Amsterdam, 1698). The historian of the filibusters, Charlevoix, speaks with praise of Pointis as a humane and just commander, but he deplores his severity with the buccaneers, as it caused the latter to distrust France, which had often checked their tendency to commit useless cruelties, but was thenceforth unable to do so.

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