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Date:11/20/2014 1:09:39 PM
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These were not of the sea-worthy kind he was used to dealing with; these men were not of his kin; they were opportunists who felt no vested interest in Galveston (nor to anything or anyone) as had the Baratarians on Grand Terre. He had trouble controlling their behavior and had to endure constant interference & investigation from both Mexican & U.S. officials pursuing their trails. Campeche was always under scrutiny. Many of his old-time faithfuls such as Beluche or Dominique Youx, not approving of this climate of circumstances, left for other parts.

As well, the Karankawa Indians, who lived on the island long before the white man, proved meddlesome & even hostile. They were forever raiding Lafitte's properties, killing his men.

In late 1818, a great hurricane struck the island killing hundreds of men, flattening the settlement, sinking the fleet, washing contraband to sea. It was a devastatingly financial setback

Still, all of these could have been overcome. But, in the end, it was Lafitte's pirating activity that brought about his undoing. Continuing to harass Spanish ships for Mexico, he insisted everthemore that he was & had always been a privateer making a living off the liberties allowed in a letter of marque bestowed by a patron country. But, the nation now eyed a new diplomacy of peace. The only thing that stood in its way of developing a friendship with Spain was the constant harassment of Spanish ships by buccaneers anchored off the American coast. President Madison issued an all-out war on piracy. Lafitte had to go.

In late 1820, the USS Enterprise docked in Campeche Bay. On board was a designated naval diplomat, Lieutenant Larry Kearney, who, in speaking for President Madison, ordered Lafitte to abandon Galveston Island. For months, Lafitte stalled. But, a subsequent visit by Kearney, accompanied this time by a war fleet on a May day in 1821, produced a single command: Get off the island now or be blown to smithereens. This time, the island's chief graciously consented.

"That night," writes Robert Tallant, "Lafitte set fire to Campeche. Men aboard the USS Enterprise saw it burst into flames...When they went to shore at dawn they found only ashes & rubble. The ships of Lafitte were gone..."

Lafitte, at this point, returns to the oblivion from whence he came. Where he traveled, where he wound up, where or when he died, is mystery. There are, of course, many conjectures. There is strong evidence he sailed to & settled in, at least for a while, Charleston, South Carolina. Some writers say he fought with Bolivar's rebels against the South American nationalists. Other suppositions place him ahead of a band of pirates in Santo Domingo or dying of a plague at age 47 on the Isle de Las Mujeres near Yucatan.
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