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Du Ponceau, Pierre Étienne (03 June 1760–01 April 1844), scholar and lawyer, was born in St. Martin, Isle of Ré, France, the son of a French army officer. He was trained first for the military, which he had to abandon because of poor eyesight, and then for the Roman Catholic priesthood by Benedictine monks at St. Jean Angely and at the Episcopal College in Poitou. After 1775 Du Ponceau served as a secretary and assistant to minor government officials in Paris and to the philologist Count de Gebelin. He came to the United States in 1777 as secretary and nominal military aide to Prussian army officer Baron ...