Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MERY, Gaston Etienne, explorer, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1793; died in Pau, France, in October, 1844. He was the son of a wealthy creole whose ancestors had settled in Louisiana a century before, and received his early education in New Orleans, but finished his studies in Paris, where he was gradtmted in law, returning in 1813 to his native city. Having quarrelled with his father, he joined Jean Lafitte (q. v.), who took him into his confidence, and gave him charge of his correspondence and accounts. When Commander Paterson invaded Grande Terre in 1814, 3[dry directed the flight of Lafitte and his companions through the swamps and bayous of the interior, which he knew well, and a few months later, when the British proposed to Lafitte that he should co-operate with the expedition against New Orleans, he recommended to the latter a more patriotic course, and fought under General Jackson in the battle of 8 January, 1815. Although wounded during the action, he rejoined Lafitte at Barataria bay, and continued to conduct the corsair's transactions till 1817, when the establishment in Grand Terre was abandoned. He then returned to New Orleans, and, the death of his father occurring a few months later, he found himself with an independent fortune. He then went to Texas, lived for some time in the Champ d'asue that was founded by Baron Lallemand (q. v.) and other French exiles, and afterward removed to Mexico, but was driven away by the civil wars, and went to California, where he explored the country for several months. He afterward visited the eastern states, resided several years in Philadelphia, where he married, and held from 1831 till 1833 the office of French consular agent. In 1835 he came to New York and tried to organize a French packet company, to ply between that port and Bordeaux; but, failing in the scheme, he returned to New Orleans, and in 1839 went to France in the hope of restoring his impaired health. He published "La legende du corsaire Lafitte" (Tours, 1841); "Observations sur le commerce des Etats-Unis," in which the author dwells upon the advantages of the establishment of packet lines between Europe and the United States (Paris, 1842); and "La politique amaricaine et les Indiens" (Pau, 1843).
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