Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799) was a watch-maker, inventor, musician, politician, fugitive, spy, publisher, arms-dealer, and revolutionary (both French and American). He was best known, however, for his theatrical works, especially the three Figaro plays. Beaumarchais is well remembered for his essential support for the American Revolution. Louis XVI, who did not want to break openly with England, allowed him to found a commercial enterprise, Roderigue Hortalez and Co., supported by the French and Spanish crowns, whose real purpose was to supply the American rebels with weapons, munitions, clothes, and provisions. Shortly after Voltaireâ¿¿s death in 1778, he set out to publish Voltaireâ¿¿s complete works, many of which were banned in France. While the venture proved a financial failure, Beaumarchais was instrumental in preserving many of Voltaireâ¿¿s later works which otherwise might have been lost. His Figaro plays are indicative of the change in social attitudes before, during, and after the French Revolution. His works include: The Barber of Seville; or, The Useless Precaution (1773) and The Follies of a Day; or, The Marriage of Figaro (1778).