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Date:7/30/2014 1:03:28 PM
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The letter to Blanque described the terms of the British offer in more detail. As he did with Claiborne, he again underscored his zeal to fight for the United States, which he considered his adopted country. To this correspondence, he attached the documents given him by the British. "In short, sir," he communicated, "I make you the depository of the secret on which perhaps depends the tranquillity of our country."

Both letters were delivered the following morning by a member of his colony via pirogue through the fastest route through the swamps. While Lafitte waited for an answer, he gathered his men together to explain his latest actions. He truly believed, he told them, that his offer for help would be accepted. And he urged them to load their muskets, sharpen their cutlasses, & prepare to fight for America. They have found, he told them, a country to fight for at last. The pirates, ever the ones for a good fight, cheered!

.In the meantime, Claiborne's pleas to Washington for more defense-power were answered through official channels. A small fleet under the command of Commodore Daniel Patterson sailed into New Orleans in early Fall, and a body of troops led by Army Colonel J.Y. Ross appeared to repair and reinforce some of the already-existing forts along the Mississippi up from which the British were expected to sail.

When he received Lafitte's letter, and after counseling with Blanque on his opinion of the Lafitte proposal, Claiborne called together members of his defense council for advice. (Even though legislator Blanque vouched for Lafitte's sincerity, Claiborne remained very reluctant.) This group included, among others, Naval Commodore Patterson, Col. Ross of the Regular Army, Major General Jacques Villieres, the senior officer representing the New Orleans Militia, & Customs Collector Dubourg. In question were two items: 1) the authenticity of the Briitsh documents presented by Lafitte and 2) the sense of dealing with a known pirate.

The biased outcome of the committee's central players is deliberated on by Lyle Saxon in Lafitte the Pirate. "Both Patterson & Ross voted no. Villiere voted a vehement yes (saying) that he believed the letters were genuine, & that Lafitte & his men were needed in case of invasion; but he was outvoted. Collector Dubourg...was particularly insistent that this pirates' stronghold, or smugglers' retreat, be done away with at once...Patterson & Ross were anxious to attack the stronghold at Barataria,...There were rich prizes to be had there."

Sam leans down for a moment to pull out a big box of tissues. Tears trickle from his eyes & he blows his nares & begins to tell the dreaded part. Within days, Claiborne's answer to Jean Lafitte's offer for assistance left New Orleans. It came in the form of three barges crammed with men & ammunition, six gunboats & the warship Carolina a flotilla more than adequate to devastate Grande Terre.
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