Jean Laffite and His Memoirs

Jean Laffite, the pirate who helped Jackson win the battle of New Orleans in 1815,  is one of the more mysterious characters in American history and nothing is more mysterious about him than his purported memoirs.  According to most authorities Laffite died on February 5, 1823 from wounds received in a sea battle.

In 1958 a John Laflin began to shop around a manuscript which he claimed had been written by Jean Lafitte in 1845-50.  Laflin claimed that Laffite had faked his death and lived on for decades afterwards under an assumed name.  His claim was met with scepticism.  However, upon examination it was found that the paper and ink of the manuscript was indeed from the mid-nineteenth century.  Laflin eventually published an English translation and sold the manuscript to a document dealer in 1969.  Eventually the manuscript was analyzed at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center and similarities noted between John Laflin’s handwriting and that of the journal.  Laflin also came under suspicion of forging other documents purportedly written by Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and other figures from American history.  Most historians now believe the manuscript was a very elaborate forgery.  A new translation was published in 2000.  For those wishing to shell out $172.00 (not me!), a copy is for sale here on Amazon.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 6:59 am  Comments (7)  
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