Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BOUGAINVILLE, Louis Antoine de, navigator, born in Paris, 11 November 1729; died 31 August 1811. He studied law and was admitted a counselor of the parliament of Paris. He was proficient in mathematics, and in 1752 published a work on the integral calculus. In 1753 he became an aide-de-camp to General Chevert, and m 1754 was secretary of the French embassy in London, and while there made a fellow of the royal society. Subsequently he served as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Montcalm, in Canada, whence he was sent for re-enforcements to France, in 1758, and there made a colonel and a knight of St. Louis. He returned to Canada in 1759, and distinguished himself at the capture of Quebec. In 1760 he was appointed aide-de-camp of Choiseul Stainville in Germany, and in 1761 displayed such courage in the campaign on the Rhine that he received from the king two guns he had taken from the enemy. After peace had been declared, he engaged in the naval service, and founded a colony on one of the Falkland islands, he being a large proprietor jointly with merchants of St. Malo. In 1766 this colony was purchased by Spain for 500,000 crowns, and Bougainville was sent, November 15, to make the final transfer, and with instructions to circumnavigate the globe, He had two ships*the "Boudense," 26 guns and 214 men, and the "Etoile," a store-ship*and was accompanied by Prince Sieghen, of Nassau, and the naturalist Commercon, and after a cruise of over two years, during which he made some important discoveries, returned to St. Malo in March 1769. He published "Voyage autour du monde" (2 vols., Paris, 1771-'2), which was at once translated into English and subsequently into German. In 1778, when France took part in the American war, Bougainville commanded ships of the line, and gained distinction in the engagements between the British and the French fleets. In 1779 he became a commodore, and in 1780 a field-marshal in the army. When Admiral Rodney defeated De Grasse, 12 April 1778, Bougainville commanded the "Auguste" and, though she suffered severely, he succeeded in maintaining her position in line, and by judicious manceuvring rescued eight sail of his own division, which he conducted safely to St. Eustace. He attempted, without avail, to allay the disturbance in Brest in 1790, and soon afterward retired from professional employment. In 1796 he was elected a member of the geographical section of the institute, and afterward of the bureau des longitudes. On the creation of the senate he was made a member of that body, and subsequently he was created a count of the empire by Napoleon.
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