Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin Caron de (1732-1799)

Arms contractor and playwright.

A clock- and watchmaker early in life. Became one of the Court watchmakers after presenting to the King a miniature watch he had invented (1755).

Appointed musical director and gentleman messenger to the daughters of Louis XV (1759).

Purchased the titles of secrétaire du Roi and of lieutenant general of the King’s Preserves (1761). Wrote and published Eugénie (1764) and le Barbier de Séville (1775).

Sent to London as a secret agent for the French government (1775). Pleaded the American cause to the French government and began to furnish arms and military supplies to the Americans (1776).

Founded the large trading company, Roderigue, Hortalez & Cie. (1776). Purchased the warship the Fier Roderigue to further his endeavor.

Wrote his most famous play, le Mariage de Figaro, in 1784 after his financial ruin. Published la Mère coupable (1792) and went into exile during the French Revolution.

Born in Paris. Took the name of Beaumarchais from a property belonging to his first wife (1756).