History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 25
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HISTORY OF TEXAS.
alternative they indeed chose, Perry blowing
out his own brains with a pistol!
Commodore A ury continued to prey upon
the Spanish trade, with some success, making
his headquarters for about two months in
Matagorda bay, and then he went to Florida.
TIHE " PIRATE OF THIE GULF."
At this time Jean Latitte, a noted character
from France, was established at the little island
of Barrataria, about sixty miles west of
tlhe delta of the Mississippi, engaged as a
smuggler and probably as pirate. He was
joined by a crowd of roughs, and the goods
they seized found ready sale in New Orleans.
Governor Claiborne, of Louisiana, seeing
the demoralizing effect of this "trade" upon
his favorite city-for inmay large houses
there were in collusion with the maraudersissued
a proclamation ordering these freebooters
to disperse; but as this had no effect,
lie placed a reward of $500 on the head of
Lafitte, which the latter treated with such
contempt as to offer thirty times the amount
tor thle governor's head. Claiborne then
tried force, and again was unsuccessful. Lafitte
surrounded the troops sent against him,
and dismissed them loaded with presents.
This state of affairs being reported to President
Madison, Commodore Patterson, of the
United States Navy, was ordered to destroy
this hornet's nest, anld in June, 1814, lie arrived
before Barrataria with gunboats and
tlhe schooner Caroline. The pirates, in seven
fine earned cruisers and a felucca, manned
by nearly a thousand men, at first made a
show of resistance; but, finally abandoning
their vessels, they made for the land and dispersed
among the swamps. Patterson then
took thle surrendered vessels and all the spoils
of ]Jarratarja to New Orleans,
Lafitte, the " Pirate of the Gulf," was still
at large, however, and the gradually returning
men again resumed their old nefarious
traffic. About this time, war existing between
the United States and Great Britain,
the latter government approaclied Lafitte
with large offers of position and inoney if he
would assist in their cause; but lie asked
time to consider, and in this time he entered
into correspondence witlL Governor Claiborne,
by which it was finally agreed that
the governor would not further molest him
if he would espouse the cause of the United
States; and, sure enough, at the battle of
New Orleans, he rendered such signal service
that President Madison pardoned him of his
former offences against our government.
During the next two years Lafitte's movements
were not conspicuous; but his followers,
to the number of about 1,000, joined
a politico-piratical government at Galveston
island, who, for security, swore allegiance to
the Mexican government. In consequence
Galveston became naturally the asylum of
refugees from justice and desperadoes of
every nationality. Their depredations on the
gulf were carried on to such an extent that
Spanish commerce was almost swept from
the sea, and even the vessels of other nations
suffered at their hands. The United States
would have broken up this nest also had it
not been for the opposition of the Spanish
minister, Onis. The boundary question had
not yet been settled, and it was feared that
if our government dispersed the buccaneers
from Galveston by armed force it would retain
possession of the island. Thus for years
the "Pirate of the Gulf" remained un.
molested. On the site where the city of
Galveston now stands he erected a fort and
built himself a house, around which numerous
other edifices sprung up, fQrining a
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/26/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .