Beaumarchais (bo-mar'shay), Pierre Augustin Caron de. Born in 1732. A man of many-sided genius, was the son of a watchmaker. His musical accomplishments procured him a place in the royal concerts, and he became rich by the fortunes of two widows whom he married, and successful financial speculation. He made another fortune by supplying arms and provisions to the Americans during the War of Independence, and then turned to dramatic writing, producing several highly successful pieces. In 1793 he was accused of treason to the state, and fled to England. Returning to France, he was for a time imprisoned, and died in poverty in 1799.