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Date:8/22/2014 4:48:45 AM
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On the dance floor were many curious sights that night, among them Andy Jackson reeling with his wife Rachel (she had been brought in from their home in Tennessee) to the popular "Possum Up a Gum Tree" & Dominique Youx, drunk, tantalizing & in his pirate's garb, demonstrating a mazurka. Jean Lafitte, as usual, was a "lion among the ladies," to quote Lyle Saxon. One uncomfortable moment came when Governor Claiborne introduced his wife to Lafitte. She blinked her eyes, thought a moment, & blurted, "But you're Monsieur Clement!" remembering the time he had used the alias at the dinner party. But, the strangest scene was that of the King of Corsairs & the governor laughing together in a corner about the respective warrants they had issued on each other's heads.

For their heroism, Jackson had delightedly fulfilled his promise to see that the Lafittes & their brigands were exonerated of all criminal charges. Of Jean's & Pierre's efforts, he wrote Washington of their "courage & fidelity," praising as well the "gallantry" of Dominique Youx & Beluche. Due to Jackson's support, President Madison soon issued a proclamation granting a full pardon to Lafitte & his Baratarians, restoring to them the full rights of citizenship.

Before Jackson departed New Orleans, he wrote Lafitte a personal letter: "I do an act of justice, and at the same time one very agreeable to my feelings to state the services you have rendered during the late invasion of your country...Sir, to one of those to whom the country is most indebted, I feel great pleasure in giving this testimony of your worth, and to add the sincere promise of my private friendship and high esteem." It was a testimony Lafitte would always cherish.

Throughout the year 1815, Lafitte came & went at will much as he had done before but now without a price on his head. He was even seen dining with Claiborne. Citizens clamored around him wherever he went, pointing him out & applauding him when he entered a public place. Children told their parents they wanted to be a hero like Jean Lafitte when they grew up. He continued to attend the quadroon balls & was often seen in the arms of a lovely at the theatre & emporiums. But civil life was not for him. Most of his commrads had returned to Barataria as simple fishermen. Very few remained in town that he could drink with man-to-man, cheering the good old days & relive the salt of the sea, the tropical nights, even in memory. The gentility of society proved far too tame. He grew bored.

Lafitte wanted his ships and provisions restored. Attorney Grymes, acting on his behalf, insisted to the government that it open its warehouse doors and return the "private property" to the Hero of New Orleans.
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