Research Log 1, Privateers during the War of 1812

Lafitte, Jean. The Journal of Jean Lafitte: The Privateer-Patriot’s Own Story. Lexington, KY: Moonglow Books, 2011.

The Journal of Jean Lafitte: The Privateer-Pirate’s Own Story is a primary source that I will be using in my history practicum course HIST 298. The publisher of this work claims that it is the journal written by Jean Lafitte. Some historians dispute this claim. According to the Smithsonian Institution, the authenticity can neither be confirmed nor denied. The journal is a recollection of Lafitte’s memories written approximately 30 plus years after his involvement in the War of 1812. The beginning gives the reader the background story of Lafitte’s childhood and his families entry into the business of piracy and privateering. Lafitte records his activities as a privateer serving the United States during the war. Lafitte also discusses numerous events post-war. Lafitte writes of his brother Alexander’s “valuable secret services” in New Orleans and his (Alexander’s) “aid to Napoleon in 1815” (91).
Some of the later entries in the journal reference Lafitte’s family. The last entries in the journal describe Lafitte’s personal views on slavery and mankind in general. On page 131, he explains how he had travelled to Europe in 1847 and returned to the United States a year later. “I was always aroused, stirred up and dissatisfied, and always wished for a universal change of man toward man (131).

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