Open main menu

Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Houdetot, François Lauriot de

< Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography

HOUDETOT, François Lauriot de (hoo-deh-to'), French adventurer, born in Avranches in 1617; died in Martinique in 1659. He entered the service of the West Indian company, and went in 1635 to St. Christopher, and afterward to Martinique. When the newly appointed governor-general of St. Christopher, Patrocle de Thoisy, sought help of Diel Duparquet, governor of Martinique, against the rebel commander, Louvilliers de Poincy, Duparquet left Houdetot in command. The expedition proved unsuccessful, and Poincy, sailing for Martinique, summoned Houdetot to submit to his authority, promising him the government of the colony. Houdetot sternly refused, and, having called to arms every able-bodied man in the colony, obliged Poincy to retire, securing also the release of Duparquet in 1648. Meanwhile he had successfully terminated a rebellion that had been incited by Captain Boutain, an agent of Poincy, in 1646. The colony being again pacified, Houdetot was sent with a force of 100 men to Santa Alousia, or Santa Lucia, conquered it from the Caribs in 1648, and, importing some laborers from Martinique, established a colony. Two years later Duparquet added the government of Granada to that of Santa Lucia, and Houdetot conquered and colonized that island. In 1654 the Caribs, incited by a half-breed Englishman named Warner began a bloody war, lasting three years, in which the French were several times on the verge of ruin. Houdetot, with a handful of soldiers, contrived to pacify his own governments, and landing in Martinique rescued Duparquet, who had been surrounded in his house, wounded, and his forces reduced to twelve men, and, chasing the Caribs, inflicted on them a decisive defeat. Duparquet died in the following year, leaving the government of Martinique to his wife, with a recommendation to seek the advice of Houdetot; but the violent temper of Mine. Duparquet brought about troubles, during which Houdetot found a premature death.