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GABARET, Jean de (gah-bah-ray), governor of Martinique, born in the Island of R6 in 1620; died in Rochefort, 31 March, 1697. He entered the navy at the age of sixteen years, and in 1653 had already obtained the rank of commodore. In 1677 he commanded the vanguard of d'Estree's fleet in the West Indies, entered the port of Tobago at its head, amid the cross-fire of the forts and the Dutch fleet, on 27 February, and in 1678 captured the same island, and, after destroying Granada, returned to Europe and participated in the battle of La Hogue, 29 May, 1692. In 1693 he was appointed governor-general of Martinique. Although he found the Island in a defenseless state, he soon organized troops and armed the forts. An English fleet of twenty-eight men-of-war and eight transports, with 4,200 landing troops under Sir Francis Wheeler, anchored in Port Royal on 1 April, and landed 1,600 men under Colonel Foulke, which were defeated and forced to re-embark, while Sir Francis landed with 2,600 men at Diamond bay. On 15 April he received a re-enforcement from Antigua under General Codrington, and concentrating all his forces, over 5,000, at Front Cananvilie, he marched on the capital, Saint Pierre. Gabaret had only 400 disciplined troops and 1,500 armed slaves, but met the invaders on 31 May, 1693, at Precheurs, defeated, and forced them to re-embark. He even attacked, in 1694, the port of Kingston, Jamaica, and sunk some English ships. After his return he organized the administration, introduced many useful reforms, embellished the capital, built the city-hall, and made improvements in the port in 1695-'6. Out of gratitude to the Negroes who had helped him to defeat the English, he reformed the so-called "black code," and presented, in 1696, to Louis XIV. a project for gradual emancipation, which was printed under the title of "Memoire presente h Sa Majeste par le comte de Gabaret, gouverneur de la Martinique sur l'emancipation graduelle des esclaves." In this he suggested the colonization of the slaves in Cayenne and Patagonia, which would encourage the immigration of white settlers to Martinique, and form new and useful French colonies in South America. The minister of war, marquis of Chamillard, favored the project, and reported it to the king, who called Gabaret to France. He sailed in January, 1697, but shortly after his arrival died of exposure to the cold, to which he had not been accustomed.
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