Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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VAUGIRAUD, Pierre Rene Marie (vo-zhe-ro), Comte de, French naval officer, born in Sables-d'Olonne in 1741; died in France, 14 March, 1819. He entered the navy at the age of fourteen, and in 1781 was major-general in the fleet of the Count de Grasse, and contributed to the early successes of that commander in the West Indies. While the fleet was off Cape Haytien, a fire was discovered on board the "Intrepide," which was stationed in the centre, close to the town. The sailors, panic-stricken, mutinied and abandoned the vessel, and Vaugiraud asked leave of the Count de Grasse to aid the commander of the "Intrepide " in saving the fleet or to perish with him. He then made his way to the vessel, which was already in flames, forced the mutineers to return, and ordered the necessary measures. The fire was approaching the powder-magazine, when the" Intrepide" was moved some distance from the fleet and town. Vaugiraud and its commander then ordered the crew to take to the boats, and were the last to leave the ship, which blew up five minutes after their departure. Vaugiraud afterward sailed to Chesapeake bay, and. returning with De Grasse to the Antilles, took part in the battle of 12 April, 1782, against Lord Rodney, receiving from the king an autograph letter of thanks and a pension of 12,000 livres. He was in command of a vessel at Martinique in 1789, when an insurrection began in the island. He seconded the efforts of the governor, and both for a time arrested the progress of the revolution. He left France in 1791, and returned with the Bourbons in 1814. He was made vice-admiral and governor of Martinique, and soon afterward governor-general of the Antilles. When he arrived he found that the people had learned of the return of Napoleon, and were everywhere hoisting the tricolor flag. He took energetic measures to preserve Martinique and Guadeloupe to Louis XVIII., and. when he saw that this was impossible without assistance, he formed a convention with the English, in virtue of which he gave them control of the colonies for the time. He governed the colony afterward with firmness, and restored its finances to a sound condition, but he was charged with being harsh and tyrannical, and was recalled in 1818. The king forbade him his presence, and he died broken-hearted. Vaugiraud published "Rapport au roi sur le gouvernement de la Martinique et de la Guadeloupe" (Paris, 1822), which was declared unauthentic by his family.
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