Benyowsky, Maurice-Auguste, baron de (1741-1786)

Hungarian nobleman and adventurer.

Born in Verbovo, Verbo. Married Susanna Henska, daughter of a Polish nobleman (1768).

Fought for the Poles. Captured by the Russians. Exiled at Kamchatka, where he tutored the children of the Russian Governor, Nilov. While still married to Susanna Henska, married one of Nilov’s daughters. Fled to China where his young wife died.

Arrived in France (1772). Sent by the French to establish a colony on Madagascar (1773). His conduct there provoked an investigation. Arrived in Paris (1777). Briefly served as brigadier general in the French army.

Arrived in America (1779). Fought in the attack on Savannah in which his relative Pulaski was mortally wounded. Failed to obtain a commission in America.

Went to Austria where his plans to pursue a commercial venture failed due to a lack of funds. Denied a position in the French army.

Returned to the United States where Congress rejected his plan to raise a corps of German volunteers (1782). Offered to place Madagascar in the hands of the British (1783), for which he obtained financial backing in England through Franklin’s friend Magellan. Sailed from Baltimore to Madagascar (1784). Killed during an attack of the island by French troops (1786).