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USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente

USS Constellation vs L'Insurgente, or the Action of 9 February 1799, was a single-ship action fought between frigates of the French Navy and the United States Navy during the Quasi-War, an undeclared war that lasted from 1798 to 1800. The battle resulted in USS Constellation's capture of L'Insurgente, after an intense firefight in which both sides exchanged heavy broadsides and musket fire. French privateering attacks against American vessels, begun a year prior, caused the conflict between the United States and France. An American squadron under Commodore Thomas Truxtun had been sent to patrol the Caribbean waters between Puerto Rico and Saint Kitts with orders to engage any French forces they found in the area. While Truxtun was sailing independently of his squadron in Constellation, his flagship, he met and engaged L'Insurgente. After chasing the French ship through a storm, Constellation forced L'Insurgente into an engagement that lasted an hour and fourteen minutes before the French frigate surrendered.

The French sustained heavy casualties in the action, while the numbers of American dead and wounded were low. After the action, L'Insurgente was taken to Saint Kitts and commissioned into the United States Navy as USS Insurgent. With this and victories, American morale soared, Truxtun returned home to honor and praise from the American government and the public at large. In 1798, an undeclared war between the United States and France began due to French privateering attacks against American vessels; these attacks were sanctioned due to the failure of the United States to repay its considerable debts to France, incurred during the American War of Independence. In response to the attacks, the United States government decided to go on the offensive by sending four naval squadrons to the Caribbean with orders to seize armed French vessels and prevent privateers from attacking American ships. One of the squadrons, under the command of Commodore Thomas Truxtun, was dispatched to cruise between Puerto Rico and Saint Kitts.

Truxtun's squadron consisted of his flagship, the frigate USS Constellation, the 20-gun Baltimore, the brigs Richmond and Norfolk, the revenue cutter Virginia. Opposing Truxtun were several French vessels based in Guadeloupe, among them a number of privateers as well as two French naval frigates and a smaller, 20-gun corvette. One of the French frigates, L'Insurgente, sortied from Guadeloupe on 8 February, commanded by Michel-Pierre Barreaut. Though the 1,265-ton Constellation was classified by the United States Navy as a 36-gun frigate, during the Quasi-War she carried a heavier armament of 38 guns. Consisting of twenty-eight 24-pounders on her main deck and ten 12-pounders on her spar deck, Constellation's main armament had a combined throwing weight of 396 pounds. In contrast, L'Insurgente, rated a 32-gun Sémillante-class frigate, was armed with 40 cannons; the armament of Barreaut's 950-ton ship consisted of twenty-four 12-pounders, two 18-pounders, eight 6-pounders, four 32-pounder carronades, two 24-pounder carronades, totalling a combined throwing weight of only 282 pounds.

Thus, although Barreaut's vessel carried two more guns in total, Truxtun's frigate had a more powerful armament due to shot weight. In a boarding action, the French frigate's crew of 409 men would have had an advantage over the American ship's 309, but in a gunnery duel the Americans were superior. At noon on 9 February, while cruising independently, Truxtun's men sighted a frigate off the coast of Nevis. Upon approach it was evident that the vessel was flying American colors, Constellation attempted to move closer to investigate. Unknown to Truxtun, the frigate was the French L'Insurgente under Michel-Pierre Barreaut. Nearing the still-unidentified L'Insurgente, Truxtun attempted to signal her to discern her nationality by displaying first British signals and American signals. Unable to send the correct reply, L'Insurgente replaced the American colors with French and fired a gun. Upon sighting Constellation at 12:30 pm, Barreaut mistook the ship for a British corvette and began to flee toward the Dutch islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius to evade his assailant.

Truxtun was hampered at 1:30 p.m. when the two vessels ran into a gale. As a result of the storm, L'Insurgente lost her main topmast and was damaged, while Constellation managed to avoid significant damage and was able to close in on Barreaut. Though Truxtun's ship held an advantageous position in the wind known as the weather gauge, she was over-armed, as a result her leeward side heeled so much that the gunports on that side of the vessel could not be opened. Truxtun decided to cede the weather gauge to the French by sailing around L'Insurgente's leeward side and bringing Constellation near the French frigate's port side. In such a position Constellation was disadvantaged by the wind, but was able to avoid some of the heeling effect on her guns. With Constellation approaching his frigate fast, Barreaut tried to communicate with the Americans in order to avoid a fight; the American frigate ignored the French attempt at hailing her and closed to within fifty yards of L'Insurgente before opening up on her with a broadside.

The double-shotted American salvo damaged the French frigate's quarterdeck. Barreaut's vessel replied with her own broadsides. Midshipman David Porter, stationed in the rigging of Constellation's damaged mast, managed to relieve pressure from it and prevented its collapse. L'Insurgente attempted to close on the American frigate to board her. With less damage to her rigging, Constellation was able to avoid Barreaut's attempts at boarding. Constellation raked her with a broadside. Truxtun maneuvered Constellation to L'Insurgente's starboard

Joseph Lau

Joseph Lau Luen Hung is a Hong Kong billionaire. He owns a 61% stake in Chinese Estates Holdings and his fortune is estimated by Forbes at $15.1 billion as of April 2017. He is a convicted felon and fugitive in Macau. Joseph Lau was born on 21 July 1951 in Hong Kong, he has two younger sisters. He had his university education in Canada. Lau owns a 61% stake in Chinese Estates Holdings. On 31 May 2012, the Macau Court of Final Appeal confirmed that Lau and Steven Lo were involved in the case of offering Macau's former public works chief Ao Man-long HK$20 million over the bid for five plots of land opposite Macau International Airport. Lau and Lo were charged with money laundering, they both denied the charges and Lo earlier told the court that the HK$20 million was a preliminary payment to construction company San Meng Fai. On 14 March 2014 Lau and Lo were found guilty of the charges against them in Macau's Court of First Instance. Lau was sentenced to five years and three months in prison. However, the Court of Second Instance rejected his and Lo's appeals on 19 July 2015 and let the length of their prison terms stand.

Lau has so far escaped extradition and remains at large as a fugitive as Macau and Hong Kong do not have an extradition treaty. Lau married Bo Wing-kam in 1977 and they were divorced in 1992, they had two children: Lau Ming-wai and daughter Jade Lau Sau-yung. In 2008, Lau Ming-wai's wife gave birth to mix twins, they are Lau's eldest grandchildren. Lau Ming-wai, a British citizen, is vice-chairman of Chinese Estates Group and is both chairman of the government's Commission on Youth and on the steering committee of the HK$10 billion Community Care Fund, established in 2010, he was a member of the Commission on Poverty. In 2011, he was part of Henry Tang's election team for the 2012 chief executive election. Lau had two children with former assistant Kimbie Chan -- Josephine and a son. In 2008, Lau became the grandfather of twins. Lau junior acceded to the chairmanship of Chinese Estates following his father's conviction in the court of Macau on bribery charges in 2014. In May 2007, Lau was revealed to be among the first seven purchasers of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet for private use.

According to the Sunday Times, Lau owns a collection of 10,000 bottles of red wine, is an avid art collector. On 7 November 2007, he made the top purchase of the evening at a Sotheby's auction by paying $39.2 million for Paul Gauguin's Te Poipoi, a painting of a Tahitian scene. In 2009, Lau bought a 7.03 carat blue diamond for his daughter Josephine, that he named the "Star of Josephine" at Sotheby's for $9.5 million. In November 2014, Lau bought a 9.75 carat blue diamond for his daughter Zoe, at Sotheby's for $32.6 million, that he named "Zoe Diamond". He bought her a Cartier brooch featuring a 10.1 carat ruby, that he named "Zoe Red" at Christie's for $8.4 million. In November 2015, Lau bought another two expensive diamonds. On 10 November, he bought a 16.08 carat pink diamond at Christie's for $28.5 million. The next day, Lau bought a 12.03 carat blue diamond at Sotheby's for $48.4 million, setting new records for the most expensive jewel sold at auction and the most expensive diamond ever.

He subsequently renamed the "Blue Moon of Josephine" respectively. On 7 December 2016, Lau married Chan Hoi-wan at Hong Kong, they have two children. In 2017, citing serious health issues, the business tycoon has transferred his 75% shares in Chinese Estates to his new wife and his son

Gaius Dillius Aponianus

Gaius Dillius Aponianus was a Roman senator and general, who played a role in the Year of Four Emperors. Aponianus ended up supporting Vespasian, as a reward he was appointed suffect consul during the early years of that emperor. According to an inscription recovered in Cordoba, Aponianus was of Spanish origins, he belonged to the Sergia voting tribe, was the son of a Lucius and the grandson of an Aulus. Another senator active at the time, Gaius Dillius Vocula belonged to the Sergia voting tribe but was the son of an Aulus; the inscription from Corduba provides the cursus honorum for Aponianus up to the year 69. The first position recorded was his commission as a military tribune with Legio IV Macedonica, he was appointed as a tresviri capitales, one of the four magistracies that comprised the vigintiviri. His next office was as quaestor of the province of Sicily, upon completion of this traditional Republican magistracy Aponianus would be enrolled in the Senate; the traditional Republican magistracy plebeian tribune followed, after that praetor, which enabled him to hold important appointments.

Late in the year 69 Aponianus was commissioned legatus legionis or commander of Legio III Gallica. Aponianus does not appear to have been aligned with any of the four emperors for most of the conflict, aside from being under Vitellius at the time, he asked the governor of Moesia—his relative Marcus Aponius Saturninus—for assistance. Saturninus informed Vitellius of the legion's refusal, but not that their allegiance was aligned with Vespasian. Legio III Gallica went on to be instrumental in inflaming legionary sentiment against Vitellius, in the Second Battle of Bedriacum, where they fought for Vespasian. Aponianus is believed to have served as a suffect consul some time around 71 or 73, his name appears as consul in the primary sources. Paul Gillivan suggests the possible dates for his tenure as suffect consul could be November/December 71, the last half of 72, or March/April of 73. However, more Giuseppi Camodeca has completed the list of consuls for 71, so the available dates for his tenure are now limited to 72 and 73.

There is epigraphical evidence that, as a member of the curator riparum et alvei Tiberis, he was responsible for repairs made on the right bank of the Tiber River in 73. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: William. "Aponianus,Dillius". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. P. 247