Southwestern Historical Quarterly
LOUIS AURY: THE FIRST GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
UNDER THE MEXICAN REPUBLIC
In the Archives at the University of Texas there is a remarkable
collection of documents and letters concerning one Louis Aury, a
French sailor who became a corsair, an important figure in the
emancipation of South America, and the first governor of Texas
under the Republic of Mexico as proclaimed by the Mexican
A sailor on a French ship stationed in the French colonies in
the West Indies, Aury evidently deserted, for he wrote later of
the necessity of a pardon to enable him to return to France.
At widely separated intervals in the course of his adventures,
he wrote to his mother, citizeness Aury at Montrouge, several
times to his Uncle Maignet, whom he called his adopted father, to
his sister Victoire, who lived with the Maignets, and to another
uncle, M. Aury. Three other documents have also been saved, the
first a rough draft of a long speech that Aury evidently composed
to deliver before the Congress of Colombia in order to defend
himself against accusations of his enemies and to ask for the
payment of losses sustained in the service of the country. The
second document is a receipt of the government of Colombia for
sums advanced by Aury, and the last is a certificate of his death
and a list of his possessions at that time.
In the following pages I propose to translate the letters from
the original French, leaving out, however, all matters foreign to
the story of Aury's adventures. So arranged, the letters form a
rather coherent story.
The first letter, addressed to "My dear Mamma," is dated
Saint Pierre, Martinique, 16 Ventose, an 11 (March 6, 1803).
"Since my arrival here," he wrote,
I have had the yellow fever, which has attacked me three
different times, so that I have been in the hospital eighty
days and am still there.
Since I have been here, we have been on Guadaloupe Island.
Everything here is rather quiet and commerce is beginning to
flourish- because this island has been the least ravaged of the
Antilles. That is why I should, have liked to stay, but it is
impossible, for we have lost more than half of our crew by
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/. Accessed July 11, 2014.