A Guide to the Louis-Michel Aury Papers, 1808-1821
Louis Michel Aury, pirate, was born in Paris about 1788. He served in the French navy and on French privateers from 1802 or 1803 until 1810, when accumulation of prize money enabled him to become master of his own vessels. He sailed from a North Carolina port with a Venezuelan commission in April 1813 and reached Cartagena in May. In August 1813 he was given command over the Granadine Republic's privateer schooners, a service that ended in January 1816, when he reached Aux Cayes, Haiti, after successfully running the Spanish blockade of Cartagena.
At Aux Cayes Aury quarreled with Simón Bolívar and transferred his services to a group of New Orleans associates who were planning a Mexican rebel port on the Texas coast, an invasion of the Provincias Internas,qv and attacks on Mexican Royalist ports, all part of the Mexican revolt against Spain. Aury left Aux Cayes on June 4 and captured several vessels en route to the Belize, where he arrived on July 17. Then he went on to Galveston.
José Manuel de Herrera, Mexican rebel envoy, proclaimed Galveston a port of the Mexican republic, made Aury resident commissioner, and raised the rebel flag on September 13, 1816. Aury resigned his commission to rule Galveston Island on July 31, 1817. He then sailed to the Florida coast, where he joined Gregor McGregor, authorized agent of the rebel colonies of Venezuela, New Grenada (Colombia), Mexico, and La Plata (Argentina), in attacking Spanish Florida from Amelia Island. After numerous disappointments, he captured Old Providence Island on July 4, 1818. From that headquarters he participated in several unsuccessful attempts to aid the republican cause. He probably died at Old Providence on August 30, 1821, though some sources state that he was living in Havana in 1845.
Letters, inventory, statements of account, memorial, and drawing relating to Aury (ca. 1788-1821). Papers include Aury’s correspondence with his mother, sister, and other relatives in France regarding his experiences in the French Navy; his experiences as a privateer under commission of “Etats Unis de l’Amerique de Sud”; his purchase of a ship and the siege of Cartagena, Colombia; and his experiences as a privateer and politician under the commission of the rebel forces of the Mexican Republic, as well as his appointment as civil and military governor of Texas. Materials are in French and include a pencil sketch considered to represent Aury. Also included is documentation for such familial concerns as Aury’s sending money to his family, the death of relatives, and advising his sister regarding matrimony.
Note: List of Separated items in 2J112.
Louis-Michel Aury Papers, 1808-1821, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers