Question: Who was Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais?
Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was a dramatist and pleader of the most versatile, brilliant gifts, and French to the core, born in Paris, son of a watchmaker at Caen; ranks as a comic dramatist next to Moliere; author of "Le Barbier de Seville" and "Le Mariage de Figaro" his masterpiece; astonished the world by his conduct of a lawsuit he had, for which "he fought against reporters, parliaments, and principalities, with light banter, clear logic, adroitly, with an inexhaustible toughness of resource, like the skilfullest fencer." He was a zealous supporter of the Revolution, and made sacrifices on its behalf, but narrowly escaped the guillotine; died in distress and poverty. Of the two plays he wrote, Saintsbury says, "The wit is indisputable, but his chansons contain as much wit as the Figaro plays." He made a fortune by speculations in the American war, and lost by others, one of them being the preparation of a sumptuous edition of Voltaire. For the culmination and decline, as well as appreciation, of him, see the "French Revolution," by Carlyle. Born in 1732 and died in 1799.
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