Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MOREAU DE SAINT MERY, Mederie Louis Elie, French administrator, born in Fort Royal, Martinique, 13 January, 1750; died in Paris, 28 January, 1819. At the age of about twenty years he went to France and entered the royal police force. At the same time he studied law, and in three years was familiar with mathematics and the code. In 1773 he was admitted to the bar by the parliament of Paris, returned to Martinique to arrange his affairs, and began to practise in the court of Cape Francais. In 1780 he was called to the superior council of French Santo Domingo, and occupied his leisure time in collecting material about the laws, geography, and history of the French colonies. He searched the archives and the notary's office of the island for information, and during a visit to Santo Domingo in 1783 discovered the tomb of Christopher Columbus, which he restored at his own expense. He was sent as a representative for Santo Domingo to parliament, and contributed to the election of Lafayette as chief of the National guard. He was deputy for Martinique in 1790 in the constituent assembly, occupying himself especially with the colonial affairs. He was imprisoned with the Duke of Rochefoucauld on account of political disturbances, but escaped, and, taking refuge in the United States, established in Philadelphia a printing-office and book-store, and published various works. About 1800 the French government appointed him councillor of state, but in 1806 he was deposed by Napoleon, and after that time lived in retirement. Hie left many works of merit, including "Lois et constitutions des colonies Fran-caises de l'Amerique, sous le vent, de 1558 a 1785" (6 vols., Paris, 1784-'90) ; "Description topographique et politique de la partie Espagnole de File de Saint Domingue" (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1796); "Description de la partie Francaise de File de Saint Domingue" (2 vols., 1797-'8); and " Rhertoir de notions coloniales" (2 vols., Paris, 1801).
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