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BEAUMANOIR—BEAUMARCHAIS

Inverness by the Highland railway. Pop. (1901) 855. Its chief interest is the beautiful remains of the Priory of St John, founded in 1230 by John Bisset of the Aird, for Cistercian monks. At the Reformation the buildings (except the church, now a ruin) passed into the possession of Lord Lovat. On the right bank of the river is the site of Lovat Castle, which once belonged to the Bissets, but was presented by James VI. to Hugh Fraser and afterwards demolished. To the south-east is the church of Kirkhill containing the vault of the Lovats. Three miles south of Beauly is Beaufort Castle, the chief seat of the Lovats, a fine modern mansion in the Scottish baronial style. It occupies the site of a fortress erected in the time of Alexander II., which was besieged in 1303 by Edward I. This was replaced by several castles in succession, of which one—Castle Dounie—was taken by Cromwell and burned by the duke of Cumberland in 1746, the conflagration being witnessed from a neighbouring hill by Simon, Lord Lovat, before his capture on Loch Morar. The land around Beauly is fertile and the town drives a brisk trade in coal, timber, lime, grain and fish.


BEAUMANOIR, a seigniory in what is now the department of Côtes-du-Nord, France, which gave its name to an illustrious family. Jean de Beaumanoir, marshal of Brittany for Charles of Blois, and captain of Josselin, is remembered for his share in the famous battle of the Thirty. This battle, sung by an unknown trouvère and retold with variations by Froissart, was an episode in the struggle for the succession to the duchy of Brittany between Charles of Blois, supported by the king of France, and John of Montfort, supported by the king of England. John Bramborough, the English captain of Ploërmel, having continued his ravages, in spite of a truce, in the district commanded by the captain of Josselin, Jean de Beaumanoir sent him a challenge, which resulted in a fight between thirty picked champions, knights and squires, on either side, which took place on the 25th of March 1351, near Ploërmel. Beaumanoir commanded thirty Bretons, Bramborough a mixed force of twenty Englishmen, six German mercenaries and four Breton partisans of Montfort. The battle, fought with swords, daggers and axes, was of the most desperate character, in its details very reminiscent of the last fight of the Burgundians in the Nibelungenlied, especially in the celebrated advice of Geoffrey du Bois to his wounded leader, who was asking for water: “Drink your blood, Beaumanoir; that will quench your thirst!” In the end the victory was decided by Guillaume de Montauban, who mounted his horse and overthrew seven of the English champions, the rest being forced to surrender. All the combatants on either side were either dead or seriously wounded, Bramborough being among the slain. The prisoners were well treated and released on payment of a small ransom. (See Le Poème du combat des Trente, in the Panthéon littéraire; Froissart, Chroniques, ed. S. Luce, c. iv. pp. 45 and 110 ff., and pp. 338-340).

Jean de Beaumanoir (1551–1614), seigneur and afterwards marquis de Lavardin, count of Nègrepelisse by marriage, served first in the Protestant army, but turned Catholic after the massacre of St Bartholomew, in which his father had been killed, and then fought against Henry of Navarre. When that prince became king of France, Lavardin changed over to his side, and was made a marshal of France. He was governor of Maine, commanded an army in Burgundy in 1602, was ambassador extraordinary to England in 1612, and died in 1614. One of his descendants, Henry Charles, marquis de Lavardin (1643–1701), was sent as ambassador to Rome in 1689, on the occasion of a difference between Louis XIV. and Innocent XI.


BEAUMANOIR, PHILIPPE DE RÉMI, Sire de (c. 1250–1296), French jurist, was born in the early part of the 13th century and died in 1296. The few facts known regarding his life are to be gathered from legal documents in which his name occurs. From these it appears that in 1273 he filled the post of bailli at Senlis, and in 1280 held a similar office at Clermont. He is also occasionally referred to as presiding at the assizes held at various towns. His great work is entitled Coutumes de Beauvoisis and first appeared in 1690, a second edition with introduction by A. A. Beugnot being published in 1842. It is regarded as one of the best works bearing on old French law, and was frequently referred to with high admiration by Montesquieu. Beaumanoir also obtained fame as a poet, and left over 20,000 verses, the best known of his poems being La Manekine, Jehan et Blonde and Salut d’amour.


BEAUMARCHAIS, PIERRE AUGUSTIN CARON DE (1732–1799), French dramatist, was born in Paris on the 24th of January 1732. His father, a watchmaker named Caron, brought him up to the same trade. He was an unusually precocious and lively boy, shrewd, sagacious, passionately fond of music and imbued with a strong desire for rising in the world. At the age of twenty-one he invented a new escapement for watches, which was pirated by a rival maker. Young Caron at once published his grievance in the Mercure, and had the matter referred to the Academy of Sciences, which decided in his favour. This affair brought him into notice at court; he was appointed, or at least called himself, watchmaker to the king, who ordered from him a watch similar to one he had made for Mme de Pompadour. His handsome figure and cool assurance enabled him to make his way at court. Mme Franquet, the wife of an old court official, persuaded her husband to make over his office to young Caron, and, on her husband’s death, a few months later, married the handsome watchmaker. Caron at the same time assumed the name Beaumarchais; and four years later, by purchasing the office of secretary to the king obtained a patent of nobility.

At court his musical talents brought him under the notice of the king’s sisters, who engaged him to teach them the harp. This position enabled him to confer a slight favour on the great banker Joseph Duverney, who testified his gratitude by giving Beaumarchais a share in his speculations. The latter turned the opportunity to good account, and soon realized a handsome fortune. In 1764 he took a journey to Spain, partly with commercial objects in view, but principally on account of the Clavijo affair. José Clavijo y Fajardo had twice promised to marry the sister of Beaumarchais, and had failed to keep his word. The adventure had not the tragic ending of Goethe’s Clavigo, for Beaumarchais did not pursue his vengeance beyond words. Beaumarchais made his first essay as a writer for the stage with the sentimental drama Eugénie (1767), in which he drew largely on the Clavijo incident. This was followed after an interval of two years by Les Deux Amis, but neither play had more than moderate success. His first wife had died within a year of the marriage and in 1768 Beaumarchais married Mme Lévêque. Her death in 1771 was the signal for unfounded rumours of poisoning. Duverney died in 1770; but some time before his death a duplicate settlement of the affairs between him and Beaumarchais had been drawn up, in which the banker acknowledged himself debtor to Beaumarchais for 15,000 francs. Duverney’s heir, the comte de La Blache, denied the validity of the document though without directly stigmatizing it as a forgery. The matter was put to trial. Beaumarchais gained his cause, but his adversary at once carried the case before the parlement. In the meantime the duc de Chaulnes forced Beaumarchais into a quarrel over Mdlle Menard, an actress at the Comédie Italienne, which resulted in the imprisonment of both parties. This moment was chosen by La Blache to demand judgment from the parlement in the matter of the Duverney agreement. Beaumarchais was released from prison for three or four days to see his judges. He was, however, unable to obtain an interview with Goezman, the member of the parlement appointed to report on his case. At last, just before the day on which the report was to be given in, he was informed privately that, by presenting 200 louis to Mme Goezman and 15 to her secretary, the desired interview might take place, if the result should prove unfavourable the money would be refunded. The money was sent and the interview obtained; but the decision was adverse, and 200 louis were returned, the 15 going as business expenses to the secretary. Beaumarchais, who had learned that there was no secretary save Mme Goezman herself, insisted on restitution of the 15 louis, but the lady denied all knowledge of the affair. Her husband, who was probably not cognisant of the details of the transaction at first, doubtless thought the defeated