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Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse

Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse (1750-1812), French admiral, was born at Auch[?], of a noble family of Languedoc.

He was originally destined for the church, but served for some time in the royal guard, which he had to leave at the age of sixteen after killing one of his comrades in a duel. He then entered the navy, and in 1773 was lieutenant on the "Atalante" in Indian waters. In 1778 he distinguished himself at the siege of Pondicherry, and was promoted captain. He afterwards served under Suffren, took part in the battle of Cuddalore[?], and in 1781 was taken prisoner after a fierce encounter with an English vessel.

He was released in 1783, and, unlike the majority of naval officers, did not emigrate during the Revolution. In 1791 he was in command of the "Prudente" in the waters of San Domingo, and in 1794 was appointed rear-admiral and assisted the Conventional, St Andre, in the reorganization of the fleet. Villaret was in command of the French fleet at the battle of the First of June. He was appointed a member of the Council of the Ancients in 1796, and was sentenced to deportation in the following year on account of his royalist sympathies. He escaped arrest, however, and until the Consulate lived in obscurity at Oleron.

In 1801 he commanded the squadron which transported the French army to San Domingo, and the following year was made captain-general of Martinique, which he surrendered to the English in 1809 after a brave defence. In 1811, after some hesitation on the part of Napoleon, Villaret was rewarded for his services with the command of a military division and the post of governor-general of Venice. He died at Venice.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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