The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969

Devious Diplomat: Dubois de Saligny and
the Republic of Texas
NANCY N. BARKER*
T HE RESEARCH OF HISTORIANS OFTEN LEADS TO THE DEBUNKING OF
popular legends and the exploding of beloved myths. Given a
fresh body of evidence to explore, scholars will come forth in the
name of revisionism with enough inconvenient facts to tarnish many
previously spotless reputations or rehabilitate a number of history's
black sheep. They help set the record straight but often take quite a
bit of the spice out of it.
What will historians do with the "Count de Saligny," as he has
always been known in Texas, the charge d'affaires of France to the
Republic from 1839 to 1846? The little French dandy with his cellar
of fine burgundy wines, his stable of blooded horses, his irascible
temperament and unabashed lobbying has been the butt of a thou-
sand jokes. His encounter in the wilds of Austin with the pigs of a
hotelkeeper, Richard Bullock, provided one of the most ludicrous
episodes of the history of the frontier. The story is well known. The
pigs, which Bullock did not bother to fence in, invaded the stables of
the Frenchman's horses and made a general nuisance of themselves
around his house. When they penetrated to the French agent's very
bedroom to chew on his linen and devour his papers, he ordered his
servant to shoot them.' The result was the death of several pigs and
the creation of an international incident. Bullock retaliated by taking
a stick to the Frenchman's servant and even collared the charge
d'affaires himself and threatened to thrash him if he trespassed on his
property. The Frenchman had to beat an undignified retreat. Now
Saligny no doubt had much to complain of, but he made the mistake
of elevating this private quarrel to the level of international diplo-
*Mrs. Barker, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, is
the author of Distaff Diplomacy. A slightly different version of this paper was given at
the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association, April 11, 1968,
Dallas, Texas.
'The correspondence of the charge d'affaires with the Texas Secretary of State, J. S.
Mayfield, is published in George P. Garrison (ed.), The Diplomatic Correspondence of
the Republic of Texas (3 vols.; Washington, 1908-1911), III. See especially Dubois de
Saligny to Mayfield, March 21, 25, 1841, ibid., 1303-1304, 13o6-13o8.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed September 19, 2014.