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Title: The Exiles of Florida - or, The crimes committed by our government against the - Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave - states, seeking protection under Spanish laws.
Author: Giddings, Joshua R., 1795-1864
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Exiles of Florida - or, The crimes committed by our government against the - Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave - states, seeking protection under Spanish laws." ***

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produced from images available at the University of Florida
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[Illustration: Death of Waxe hadjo]







"I, as commander of the army, pledged the national faith that they
should remain under the protection of the United States."



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858.


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of Ohio.





Discarding that code of morals which teaches the suppression of truth,
for the purpose of upholding the honor, either of the Government, or of
the individuals who wield its administration, the Author of the
following work has endeavored to give a faithful record of those
interesting events which appear directly connected with the Exiles of

Torn from their native land, their friends and homes, they were sold in
the markets of Carolina and Georgia. Feeling the hand of oppression
bearing heavily upon them, they fled to Florida, and, under Spanish
laws, became free. Holding lands of the Spanish Crown, they became
citizens of that Territory, entitled to protection. To regain possession
of their truant bondmen, Georgia made war upon Florida, but failed to
obtain her object.

At a time of profound peace, our army, acting under the direction of the
Executive, invaded Florida, murdered many of these free men, and brought
others to the United States and consigned them to slavery. An expensive
and bloody war followed; but failing to capture more of the Exiles, our
army was withdrawn.

This war was followed by diplomatic efforts. Florida was purchased;
treaties with the Florida Indians were made and violated; gross frauds
were perpetrated; dishonorable expedients were resorted to, and another
war provoked. During its protracted continuance of seven years, bribery
and treachery were practiced towards the Exiles and their allies, the
Seminole Indians; flags of truce were violated; the pledged faith of the
nation was disregarded. By these means the removal of the Exiles from
Florida was effected. After they had settled in the Western Country,
most of these iniquities were repeated, until they were driven from our
nation and compelled to seek an asylum in Mexico.

Men who wielded the influence of Government for the consummation of
these crimes, assiduously labored to suppress all knowledge of their
guilt; to keep facts from the popular mind; to falsify the history of
current events, and prevent an exposure of our national turpitude.

The object of this work is to meet that state of circumstances; to
expose fraud, falsehood, treachery, and other crimes of public men, who
have prostituted the powers of Government to the perpetration of
murders, at the contemplation of which our humanity revolts.

The Author has designed to place before the public a faithful record of
events appropriately falling within the purview of the proposed history;
he has endeavored, as far as possible, to do justice to all concerned.
Where the action of individuals is concerned, he has endeavored to make
them speak for themselves, through official reports, orders, letters, or
written evidences from their own hands; and he flatters himself that he
has done no injustice to any person.



INTRODUCTION                                                           v


Circumstances attending the Early History of Slavery in the Colonies.
Exiles: efforts to restore them                                        1


Further efforts to restore Exiles                                     16


Hostilities maintained by Georgia; First Seminole War commenced       28


General Hostilities                                                   46


Further efforts of the Government to restore Exiles to servitude      57


Further efforts to enslave the Exiles                                 69


Commencement of the Second Seminole War                               97


Hostilities continued                                                115


Hostilities continued                                                125


The War continued--Peace declared--General Jessup assumes
command of the Army                                                  135


General Jessup overthrows his own efforts in favor of Peace          142


The renewal and prosecution of the War                               156


Vigorous prosecution of the War                                      172


Great difficulties interrupt the progress of the War                 189


Difficulties in enslaving Exiles continued                           214


Further difficulties in the work of enslaving the Exiles             224


Total failure of all efforts to enslave the Exiles                   233


Further difficulties in prosecuting the War                          251


Hostilities continued                                                274


Hostilities continued                                                284


Close of the War                                                     308


History of Exiles continued                                          317


The re-union and final Exodus                                        323




     Settlement of Florida--Boundaries of Carolina--Enslaving
     Indians--They flee from their Masters--Africans follow the
     example--Spanish policy in regard to Fugitive Slaves--Carolina
     demands the surrender of Exiles--Florida refuses--Colony of Georgia
     established--Its object--Exiles called Seminoles--Slavery
     Introduced Into Georgia--Seminole Indians separate from
     Creeks--Slaves escape from Georgia--Report of Committee of
     Safety--Report of General Lee--Treaty of Augusta--Treaty of
     Galphinton--Singular conduct of Georgia--War between Creeks and
     Georgia--Resolution of Congress--Treaty of
     Shoulderbone--Hostilities continue--Georgia calls on United States
     for assistance--Commissioners sent to negotiate
     Treaty--Failure--Col. Willett's mission--Chiefs, head men and
     Warriors repair to New York--Treaty formed--Secret
     article--Extraordinary covenants.

Florida was originally settled by Spaniards, in 1558. They were the
first people to engage in the African Slave trade, and sought to supply
other nations with servants from the coast of Guinea. The Colonists held
many slaves, expecting to accumulate wealth by the unrequited toil of
their fellow-man.

[Sidenote: 1630.]

[Sidenote: 1700.]

Carolina by her first and second charters claimed a vast extent of
country, embracing St. Augustine and most of Florida. This conflict of
jurisdiction soon involved the Colonists in hostilities. The Carolinians
also held many slaves. Profiting by the labor of her servants, the
people sought to increase their wealth by enslaving the Indians who
resided in their vicinity. Hence in the early slave codes of that
colony we find reference to "negro and _other_ slaves."

When the boundaries of Florida and South Carolina became established,
the Colonists found themselves separated by the territory now
constituting, the State of Georgia, at that time mostly occupied by the
Creek Indians.

The efforts of the Carolinians to enslave the Indians, brought with them
the natural and appropriate penalties. The Indians soon began to make
their escape from service to the Indian country. This example was soon
followed by the African slaves, who also fled to the Indian country,
and, in order to secure themselves from pursuit, continued their journey
into Florida.

We are unable to fix the precise time when the persons thus exiled
constituted a separate community. Their numbers had become so great in
1736, that they were formed into companies, and relied on by the
Floridians as allies to aid in the defense of that territory. They were
also permitted to occupy lands upon the same terms that were granted to
the citizens of Spain; indeed, they in all respects became free subjects
of the Spanish crown. Probably to this early and steady policy of the
Spanish Government, we may attribute the establishment and continuance
of this community of Exiles in that territory.[1]

[Sidenote: 1738.]

A messenger was sent by the Colonial Government of South Carolina to
demand the return of those fugitive slaves who had found an asylum in
Florida. The demand was made upon the Governor of St. Augustine, but was
promptly rejected. This was the commencement of a controversy which has
continued for more than a century, involving our nation in a vast
expenditure of blood and treasure, and it yet remains undetermined.

The constant escape of slaves, and the difficulties resulting therefrom,
constituted the principal object for establishing a free colony between
South Carolina and Florida, which was called Georgia.[2] It was thought
that this colony, being free, would afford the planters of Carolina
protection against the further escape of their slaves from service.

These Exiles were by the Creek Indians called "Seminoles," which in
their dialect signifies "runaways," and the term being frequently used
while conversing with the Indians, came into almost constant practice
among the whites; and although it has now come to be applied to a
certain tribe of Indians, yet it was originally used in reference to
these Exiles long before the Seminole Indians had separated from the

Some eight years after the Colony of Georgia was first established,
efforts were made to introduce Slavery among its people. The ordinary
argument, that it would extend the Christian religion, was brought to
bear upon Whitfield and Habersham, and the Saltzbergers and Moravians,
until they consented to try the experiment, and Georgia became
thenceforth a Slaveholding Colony, whose frontier bordered directly upon
Florida; bringing the slaves of her planters into the very neighborhood
of those Exiles who had long been free under Spanish laws.

[Sidenote: 1750.]

A difficulty arose among the Creek Indians, which eventually becoming
irreconcilable, a chief named Seacoffee, with a large number of
followers, left that tribe--at that time residing within the present
limits of Georgia and Alabama--and continuing their journey south
entered the Territory of Florida, and, under the Spanish colonial
policy, were incorporated with the Spanish population, entitled to lands
wherever they could find them unoccupied, and to the protection of
Spanish laws.[3]

From the year 1750, Seacoffee and his followers rejected all Creek
authority, refused to be represented in Creek councils, held themselves
independent of Creek laws, elected their own chiefs, and in all respects
became a separate Tribe, embracing the Mickasukies, with whom they
united. They settled in the vicinity of the Exiles, associated with
them, and a mutual sympathy and respect existing, some of their people
intermarried, thereby strengthening the ties of friendship, and the
Indians having fled from oppression and taken refuge under Spanish laws,
were also called Seminoles, or "runaways."

After Georgia became a Slaveholding Colony, we are led to believe the
practice of slaves leaving their masters, which existed in South
Carolina, became frequent in Georgia. But we have no definite
information on this subject until about the commencement of the
Revolutionary War (1775), when the Council of Safety for that colony
sent to Congress a communication setting forth, that a large force of
Continental troops was necessary to _prevent their slaves from deserting
their masters_.[4] It was about the first communication sent to Congress
after it met, in 1776, and shows that her people then sought to make the
nation bear the burthens of their slavery, by furnishing a military
force sufficient to hold her bondmen in fear; and if she adheres to that
policy now, it merely illustrates the consistency of her people in
relying upon the freemen of the North to uphold her system of

[Sidenote: 1776.]

General Lee, commanding the military forces in that colony, called the
particular attention of Congress to the fact, that slaves belonging to
the planters, fled from servitude and sought freedom among the "_Exiles
of Florida_."

There also yet remained in Georgia many descendants of those who, at the
establishment of that colony and since that time, had opposed the
institution of Slavery. These people desired to testify their abhorrence
of human servitude. They assembled in large numbers, in the district of
Darien, and publicly resolved as follows: "To show the world that we are
not influenced by any contracted or interested motives, but by a general
philanthropy for all mankind, of whatever climate, language or
_complexion_, we hereby declare our disapprobation and abhorrence of
slavery in America." The public avowal of these doctrines, naturally
encouraged slaves to seek their freedom by such means as they possessed.
One day's travel would place some of them among friends, and in the
enjoyment of liberty; and they were sure to be kindly received and
respectfully treated, soon as they could reach their brethren in
Florida. Of course many availed themselves of this opportunity to escape
from service.

The Exiles remained in the undisturbed enjoyment of liberty during the
war of the Revolution. The Creeks were a powerful and warlike people,
whose friendship was courted during the sanguinary struggle that secured
our National Independence. During those turbulent times it would not
have been prudent for a master to pursue his slave through the Creek
country, or to have brought him back to Georgia if once arrested.

The Exiles being thus free from annoyance, cultivated the friendship of
their savage neighbors; rendered themselves useful to the Indians, both
as laborers and in council. They also manifested much judgment in the
selection of their lands for cultivation--locating their principal
settlements on the rich bottoms lying along the Appalachicola and the
Suwanee Rivers. Here they opened plantations, and many of them became
wealthy in flocks and herds.

[Sidenote: 1783.]

Immediately after the close of the war, the authorities of Georgia are
said to have entered into a treaty with the Creek Indians, at Augusta,
in which it is alleged that the Creeks agreed to grant to that State a
large tract of land, and to restore such slaves as were then resident
among the Creeks. But we find no copy of this treaty in print, or in
manuscript. As early as 1789, only six years after it was said to have
been negotiated, Hugh Knox, Secretary of War, in a communication to
Congress, declared that no copy of this treaty was then in the
possession of Congress; and it has not been since reprinted. Indeed, it
is believed never to have been printed.

[Sidenote: 1785.]

The difficulty between Georgia and the Creeks becoming more serious, the
aid of the Continental Congress was invoked, for the purpose of securing
that State in the enjoyment of what her people declared to be their
rights. Congress appointed three commissioners to examine the existing
causes of difficulty, and if possible to negotiate a treaty with the
Creeks that should secure justice to all the people of the United

Communities, like individuals, often exhibit in early life those
characteristics which distinguish their mature age, and become ruling
passions when senility marks the downhill of life. Thus Georgia, in her
very infancy, exhibited that desire for controlling our National
Government which subsequently marked her manhood. Possessing no power
under the Constitution to enter into any treaty except by consent of
Congress, her Executive appointed three Commissioners to attend and
supervise the action of those appointed by the Federal Legislature. The
time and place for holding the treaty had been arranged with the Indians
by the Governor of Georgia. At Galphinton,[5] the place appointed, the
Commissioners of the United States met those of Georgia, who presented
them with the form of a treaty fully drawn out and ready for signatures,
and demanded of the Commissioners of the United States its adoption.
This extraordinary proceeding was treated by the Federal Commissioners
in a dignified and appropriate manner, in their report to Congress. One
important provision of this inchoate treaty stipulated for the return to
the people of Georgia of such fugitive negroes as were then in the
Indian country, and of such as might thereafter flee from bondage.

The Commissioners appointed by Congress waited at Galphinton several
days, and finding only _two_ of the one hundred towns composing the
Creek tribe represented in the council about to be held, they refused to
regard them as authorized to act for the Creek nation, and would not
consent to enter upon any negotiation with them as representatives of
that tribe. This course was not in accordance with the ideas of the
Commissioners appointed by Georgia. After those of the United States had
left, they proceeded to enter into a treaty with the representatives
from the two towns, who professed to act for the whole Creek nation.

This pretended treaty gave the State of Georgia a large territory; and
the eighth article provided, that "the Indians shall restore all the
negroes, horses and other property, that are or may hereafter be among
them, belonging to the citizens of this State, or to any other person
whatever, to such person as the governor shall appoint."[6]

This attempt to make a treaty by the State of Georgia, in direct
violation of the articles of Confederation, and to bind the Creek nation
by an act of the representatives of only two of their towns, constitutes
the first official transaction of which we have documentary evidence, in
that long train of events which has for seventy years involved our
nation in difficulty, and the Exiles of Florida in persecutions and
cruelties unequaled under Republican governments.

The Commissioners of the United States made report of their proceedings
to Congress; and those of Georgia reported to the governor of that
State.[7] Their report was transmitted to the Legislature, and that
body, with an arrogance that commands our admiration, passed strong
resolutions denouncing the action of the Federal Commissioners,
commending the action of those of Georgia, and asserting her State
sovereignty in language somewhat bombastic.

[Sidenote: 1786.]

[Sidenote: 1787.]

Soon after the making of this pretended treaty, the Creeks commenced
hostilities, murdering the people on the frontiers of Georgia, and
burning their dwellings. The Spanish authorities of Florida were charged
with fomenting these difficulties, and the Congress of the United States
felt constrained to interfere.[8] The Commissioners previously appointed
to form a treaty with the Creeks, were, by a resolution of the
Continental Congress, adopted Oct. 26, instructed to obtain a treaty
with the Indians which would secure a return of all prisoners, of
whatever age, sex or complexion, and to _restore all fugitive slaves
belonging to citizens of the United States_.[9]

This resolution was the first act on the part of the Continental
Congress in favor of restoring fugitive slaves. It was adopted under the
articles of Confederation, before the adoption of our present
constitution, and of course constitutes no precedent under our present
government; yet it introduced a practice that has long agitated the
nation, and may yet lead to important and even sanguinary results.

[Sidenote: 1788.]

Without awaiting the action of Congress, the authorities of Georgia, by
her agents, entered into another treaty, at a place called
"Shoulderbone," by which the Creeks appear to have acknowledged the
violation of the Treaty of Galphinton, and again stipulated to observe
its covenants.[10]

We have no reliable information as to the number of the Creek towns
represented at the making of this third treaty by Georgia. The whole
transaction was by the State, in her own name, by her own authority,
without consent of Congress, and all papers relating to it, if any
exist, would of course be among the manuscript files of that State. It
is believed that Georgia never printed any of these treaties; and we can
only state their contents from recitals which we find among the State
papers of the Federal Government. It is however certain, that the Creeks
denied that any such treaty had been entered into; and they continued
hostilities, as though no such treaty had been thought of by them. This
pretended Treaty of Shoulderbone exerted no more moral influence among
the Creeks than did that of Galphinton. The war continued between the
people of Georgia and the Creeks. The savages appeared to be aroused to
indignation by what they regarded as palpable frauds. Excited at such
efforts to impose upon them stipulations degrading to their character,
they prosecuted the war with increased bitterness.

[Sidenote: 1788.]

The natural results of such turpitude, induced Georgia to be one of the
first in the sisterhood of States to adopt the Federal Constitution
(Aug. 28). Her statesmen expected it to relieve their State from the
burthens of the war which then devastated her border.

[Sidenote: 1789.]

Soon as the Federal Government was organized under the constitution, the
authorities of Georgia invoked its aid, to protect her people from the
indignation of the Creek Indians.

General Washington, President of the United States, at once appointed
Commissioners to repair to the Indian country, ascertain the real
difficulty, and if able, they were directed to negotiate a suitable
treaty, in the name of the United States. The State of Georgia claimed
title to the territory ceded by the treaties of Galphinton and
Shoulderbone; while the Creeks entirely repudiated them, declaring them
fraudulent, denying their validity, and refusing to abide by their
stipulations. The governor of Georgia placed in the hands of the
Commissioners of the United States, a list of property which had been
lost since the close of the Revolution by the people of Georgia, for
which they demanded indemnity of the Creeks. This list contained the
names of one hundred and ten negroes, who were said to have left their
masters _during the Revolution_, and found an asylum among the Creeks.
The Treaty of Galphinton contained a stipulation on the part of the
Creeks, to return all prisoners, of whatever age, sex or color, and all
negroes belonging to the citizens of Georgia, "_then residing with the

Arrangements had already been made with the chiefs, warriors and
principal men of the Creek nation, to meet the Commissioners of the
United States at Rock Landing, on the Oconee River. The Commissioners
were received by the Indians with great respect and formality; but soon
as they learned that the Commissioners were not authorized to restore
their lands, they broke off all negotiation, promising to remain in
peace, however, until an opportunity should be presented for further

The failure of this mission was followed by the appointment of Col.
Willett, an intrepid officer of the Revolution, who was authorized to
proceed to the Creek nation, and, if possible, to induce its chiefs and
headmen to repair to New York, where they could negotiate a new treaty,
without the interference of the authorities or people of Georgia.

Col. Willett was successful. He induced the principal chief,
McGillivray, the son of a distinguished Indian trader, together with
twenty-eight other chiefs and warriors, to come on to New York, for the
purpose of forming a treaty with the United States, and settling all
difficulties previously existing between Georgia and their nation. On
their way to New York, they were received at Philadelphia, by the
authorities of that city, with great ceremony and respect. Their vanity
was flattered, and every effort made to induce them to believe peace
with the United States would be important to both parties.

At New York they found Congress in session. Here they mingled with the
great men of our nation. The "Columbian Order," or "Tammany Society,"
was active in its attentions. They escorted the delegation to the city,
and entertained them with a public dinner; and made McGillivray, the
principal chief, a member of their society. In this way, the minds of
the Indians were prepared for entering into the treaty which followed.

[Sidenote: 1790.]

There was, among the people of the entire nation, an intense anxiety to
render every part of the Union satisfied and pleased with the Federal
Government, then just formed, as they felt that their only hope of
prosperity depended upon a continuance of the federal union. There was
also a general sympathy throughout the nation with the slaveholders of
the South, who were supposed to have suffered much, by the loss of their
servants, during the war of the Revolution; few people at that time
realizing the moral guilt of holding their fellow-men in bondage.

While the revolutionary contest was going on, many slaves in the
Southern States escaped from the service of their masters, and, under
the proclamations of various British commanders, enlisted into the
service of his Britannic Majesty; and having taken the oath of
allegiance to the crown of England, were regarded as British subjects.
Others escaped with their families, and getting on board British
vessels, sailed to the West Indies, where they settled as "_free
persons_." Thus, while one class of masters had sustained great losses
by the enlistment of their slaves, another class had suffered by the
escape of their bondmen, through the aid of British vessels; while a
third sustained an equal loss by the escape of their servants to the
Seminoles in Florida. These three different interests united in claiming
the aid of government to regain possession of their slaves, or to obtain
indemnity for their loss.

The timely arrival of Mr. Pinckney, secured the insertion of a clause in
the Treaty of Paris, providing that his Britannic Majesty should
withdraw his troops from all American forts, arsenals, shipyards, etc.,
without destroying ordnance or military stores, or "carrying away any
negroes or other property of the inhabitants." This provision was
regarded by the slaveholders of the South as securing a compensation to
all those whose slaves had enlisted in the British army, as well as to
those whose slaves had escaped to the British West India Islands by aid
of English vessels; while those whose servants were quietly living with
the Seminoles, had not been provided for by the treaty of peace.[11]
These circumstances rendered the owners of the Exiles more clamorous for
the interposition of the State Government, inasmuch as the federal
authority had entirely omitted to notice their interests, while it was
supposed to have secured a compensation to the other two classes of

It was under these circumstances, that General Washington proceeded to
the negotiation of the first treaty, entered into under our present form
of government. The chiefs, headmen and warriors of the Creek nation were
present at New York: Georgia was also there by her senators and
representatives, who carefully watched over her interests; and General
Knox, the Secretary of War, was appointed commissioner to negotiate a
treaty, thus to be formed, under the personal supervision of the

The object of the President was effected, a treaty was formed, and bears
date August 1, 1790. It constitutes the title-page of our diplomatic
history. This first exercise of our treaty-making power under the
constitution, was put forth for the benefit of the Slave interests of
Georgia. It surrendered up to the Creeks certain lands, which the
authorities of Georgia claimed to hold under the treaty of Galphinton,
but retained substantially the stipulation for the surrender of negroes,
which had been inserted in that extraordinary compact.

By the third article of this new treaty, it was stipulated as follows:

     "The Creek nation shall deliver, as soon as practicable, to the
     commanding officer of the troops of the United States stationed at
     Rock Landing, on the Oconee River, all citizens of the United
     States, white inhabitants or negroes, who are now prisoners in any
     part of the said nation. And if any such prisoners or negroes
     should not be so delivered, on or before the first day of June
     ensuing, the governor of Georgia may empower three persons to
     repair to the said nation, in order to claim and receive such
     prisoners and negroes."

Historians have referred to this clause as containing merely a
stipulation for the surrender of _prisoners_;[12] but the manner in
which the term "_negroes_" stands connected in the disjunctive form with
that of "_prisoners_," would appear to justify, at least to some extent,
the subsequent construction put upon it, so far as regarded negroes then
resident with the Creeks; but it certainly makes no allusion to those
who were residing with the Seminoles in Florida.

It is a remarkable feature of this treaty, that the Creek chiefs,
principal men and warriors should, in its first article, profess to act,
not only for the Upper and Lower Creek Towns, but for the Seminoles who
were in Florida, protected by Spanish laws. They had not been invited to
attend the negotiation, had sent no delegate, were wholly unrepresented
in the Council; indeed, so far as we are informed, were wholly ignorant
of the objects which had called such a council, and of the fact even
that a council was held, or a treaty negotiated.

Our fathers had just passed through seven years of war and bloodshed,
rather than submit to "_taxation without representation_;" but this
attempt to bind the Seminole Indians to surrender up the Exiles, who
were their friends and neighbors, and who now stood connected with them
by marriage, and in all the relations of domestic life, without their
consent or knowledge, constitutes an inconsistency which can only be
accounted for by the desire then prevalent, to gratify and please those
who wielded the slaveholding influence of our nation.

Another extraordinary feature of this treaty may be found in the secret
article, by which the United States stipulated to pay the Creeks fifteen
hundred dollars annually, in all coming time. The reason for making this
stipulation secret is not to be learned from any documentary authority
before the public, and cannot now be accounted for, except from the
delicacy which the authorities of our nation then felt in taxing the
people of the free States, to pay southern Indians for the return of
those Exiles. And it is interesting at this day to look back and
reflect, that for nearly seventy years the people of the nation have
contributed their funds to sustain the authority of those slaveholders
of Georgia over their bondmen, while Northern statesmen have constantly
assured their constituents, they have nothing to do with that

It would be uncharitable to believe, that General Washington was at that
time conscious that he was thus precipitating our nation upon a policy
destined to involve its government in difficulties, whose termination
would be uncertain.

After the treaty had been agreed to by the parties making it, General
Washington met the chiefs, headmen and warriors, assembled in the Hall
of Representatives, in the presence of members of Congress and a large
concourse of spectators. The treaty was publicly read, and to each
article the Indians expressed their assent, and signed it in the
presence of the people, each receiving from the President a string of
wampum. The President then shook hands with each, which concluded the
ceremonies of the day.

The treaty was transmitted on the following day to the Senate,
accompanied by a Message from the President, saying: "I flatter myself
that this treaty will be productive of present peace and prosperity to
our Southern frontier. It is to be expected, also, that it will be the
means of firmly attaching the Creeks and neighboring tribes to the
interests of the United States." The President also alluded in his
message to the treaty of Galphinton, as containing a stipulation to cede
to Georgia certain other lands, which it was believed would be
detrimental to the interests of the Indians, and, therefore, that
covenant had been disregarded in the "treaty of New York." In another
Message to the Senate, on the eleventh of August, the President says:
"This treaty may be regarded as the main foundation of the future peace
and prosperity of the Southwestern frontier of the United States."

On the ninth of August, a motion was made in the Senate to refer the
treaty to a select committee, which was rejected by a vote of ten nays
to eight yeas; and on the twelfth, it was approved by a vote of fifteen
yeas to four nays; but we have no report of any discussion upon the
subject, nor do we know at this day the objections which dictated the
votes given against its ratification.[13]



     Seminoles repudiate Treaty of New York--Attempts to induce Spanish
     authorities to deliver up the Exiles--Their refusal--Lower Creeks
     hostile to Treaty--McGillivray--His parentage and
     character--Georgia hostile to Treaty--Makes war upon
     Creeks--General Washington announces failure to maintain
     Peace--General Knox's recommendation--Decision of United States
     Court--Exertions--Combination of various classes of
     Claimants--Washington finds his influence powerless--Appoints Judge
     Jay--Failure of claims on England--Condition and habits of
     Exiles--Effect on Slaves of Georgia--Treaty of
     Colerain--Commissioners of Georgia leave Council in
     disgust--Election of the elder Adams--His Administration--Election
     of Jefferson--His Administration.

The long pending difficulties between Georgia and the neighboring tribes
of Indians were now (1791) believed to be permanently settled, and it
was thought the new government would proceed in the discharge of its
duties without further perplexity. But it was soon found impossible for
the Creeks to comply with their stipulations. The Seminoles refused to
recognize the treaty, insisting that they were not bound by any compact,
arrangement or agreement, made by the United States and the Creeks, to
which they were not a party, and of which they had no notice; that they
were a separate, independent tribe; that this fact was well known to
both Creeks and the United States; and that the attempt of those parties
to declare what the Seminoles should do, or should not do, was insulting
to their dignity, to their self-respect, and only worthy of their
contempt. They therefore wholly discarded the treaty, and repudiated all
its provisions. They resided in Florida, under the jurisdiction of
Spanish laws, subject only to the crown of Spain. There they enjoyed
that liberty so congenial to savages, as well as civilized men. The
Creeks dared not attempt to bring back the Exiles by force, and the
Government of the United States was unwilling to invade a Spanish colony
for the purpose of recapturing those who had escaped from the bonds of
oppression, and had become legally _free_.

[Sidenote: 1792.]

In this state of affairs, an agent by the name of Seagrove was sent to
Florida for the purpose of negotiating with the Spanish authorities for
the return of the Exiles. He had been agent to the Creek Indians, and
well understood their views in regard to the treaty. When he reached
Florida, he found the authorities of that Province entirely opposed to
the surrender of any subjects of the Spanish crown to slavery. The
Exiles were regarded as holding the same rights which the white citizens
held; and it was evident, that the representatives of the King of Spain
encouraged both the Seminole Indians and Exiles, to refuse compliance
with the treaty of New York.[14]

Nor was the Creek nation united upon this subject. The "lower Creeks,"
or those who resided on the southern frontier of Georgia, were not
zealous in their support of the treaty; and it was said that
McGillivray, the principal chief of the Creeks, was himself becoming
unfriendly to the United States, and rather disposed to unite with the
Spanish authorities. This man exerted great influence with the Indians.
He was the son of an Indian trader, a Scotchman, by a Creek woman, the
daughter of a distinguished chief. He had received a good English
education; but his father had joined the English during the Revolution,
and he, having been offended by some leading men of Georgia, had taken
up his residence with the Indians and become their principal chief, in
whom they reposed implicit confidence.

Amid these difficulties, the people of Georgia manifested an equal
hostility to the treaty, inasmuch as it surrendered a large territory
to that State, which the authorities of Georgia pretended to have
obtained by the treaty of Galphinton. The general feeling in that State
was far from being satisfied with the action of the Federal Government.
Seagrove, writing to the Secretary of War on this subject, declared,
that "to such lengths have matters gone, that they (the Georgians) now
consider the troops and servants of the United States who are placed
among them, nearly as great enemies as they do the Indians."[15]

Under these circumstances, the Governor of Georgia was addressed, by
order of the President; but he evidently participated in the popular
feeling of his State. While the Spanish authorities and Seminoles, both
Indians and Exiles, repudiated the treaty of New York, Governor
Tellfair, of Georgia, declared that the people of his State "_would
recognize no treaty in which her commissioners were not consulted_."
Instead of observing its stipulations of peace, he proceeded to raise an
army; invaded the Creek country, attacked one of their towns said to be
friendly to Georgia, killed some of their people, took others prisoners,
burned their dwellings, and destroyed their crops.

[Sidenote: 1794.]

The Creeks declared their inability to return the Exiles,[16] and, on
the thirtieth of January, General Washington, in a Special Message to
Congress, announced the failure of all efforts to maintain tranquillity
between the people of Georgia and the Creek Indians. Such were the
difficulties surrounding the subject of regaining the Exiles, that
General Knox, Secretary of War, in a written communication addressed to
the President, recommended that Congress should make an appropriation to
their owners, from the public treasury, as the only practicable manner
in which that matter could be settled.[17] This communication was
transmitted to Congress by the President, accompanied by a special
message, recommending it to the consideration of that body; but the
members appeared unwilling to adopt the policy thus suggested. They
seem to have entertained doubts as to the propriety of appropriating the
money of the people to pay for fugitive slaves. They respectfully laid
the Message, and the recommendation of the Secretary of War, upon the
table, and ordered them to be printed.[18]

The claimants of the Exiles were again encouraged and strengthened in
their expectations by the excitement prevailing in the southern portion
of the Union, arising from a decision of the Circuit Court of the United
States, held at Richmond, Virginia. At the commencement of the war, the
States prohibited the collection of debts due British subjects from
citizens of the Colonies. These debts had remained unpaid for some
sixteen years; and although the debtors entertained an expectation of
paying them at some future period, many intended meeting those demands
by the funds which they supposed would be awarded them as indemnity for
slaves carried away in British vessels during the Revolution, and for
those enlisted into the British army.

These laws, enacted at the commencement of the Revolution, were declared
by the Court to have been superseded by the treaty of peace, in 1783;
and the debtors in the several States thus became liable to the payment
of those debts, while their demands of indemnity for slaves were
pending, and the British Government had thus far refused to acknowledge
their validity. These claimants became impatient of delay, and demanded
that another treaty be formed with England, by which they could obtain
indemnity for the loss of their slaves. These uniting with those who
claimed a return of the Exiles in Florida, constituted an influential
portion of the people of the Southern States, whose joint influence was
exerted to involve the Government in the support of slavery.

Notwithstanding these clamors, the Government was powerless as to
obtaining relief for either class. The British Ministry refused
indemnity, and the Seminoles, supported and encouraged by the Spanish
authorities, were inexorable in their refusal to surrender the Exiles.

At that early period of our history, the subject of slavery greatly
perplexed the Federal Administration; nor was the genius, or the
influence of Washington, sufficiently powerful to silence the
malcontents. He was fortunate in selecting Judge Jay, of New York, as a
Minister Plenipotentiary, for negotiating a treaty with Great Britain.
This illustrious patriot possessed great purity of character; had long
been distinguished for his devotion to the welfare of the nation; and,
although a Northern man, Southern slave claimants could raise no
objection to him.

But every step towards the adjustment of the claims arising for slaves
carried away by the English ships, or enlisted into the British army,
had the effect to render the owners of Exiles more importunate. There
was only one recourse, however, left for the Administration; they could
do no more than to call on the Creeks for a new treaty, in order to
adjust these claims.

[Sidenote: 1795]

As the President was about to take measures for obtaining another treaty
with the Creeks, news arrived from England that Judge Jay, in forming a
new treaty with the British Crown, had been constrained to surrender all
claims of our citizens for slaves carried from the United States in
British vessels during the war, or for those who had enlisted into the
British service. This news created much excitement among the
slaveholders of the Southern States. The treaty was denounced by the
public Press, and a strong effort was made to defeat its approval by the
Senate. But failing in that, the slave power was rallied in opposition
to making any appropriation, by the House of Representatives, for
carrying the treaty into effect, and perhaps at no time since the Union
was formed, has it been in greater danger of disruption; but the friends
of the treaty prevailed in both Houses of Congress, and it became a
paramount law of the nation.

While those incidents were transpiring, the Exiles were engaged in
cultivating their lands, extending their plantations and increasing
their flocks and herds, and consolidating their friendships with the
Indians around them. Of all these facts the bondmen of Georgia had full
knowledge. It were impossible for them to contemplate their friends, in
the enjoyment of these rights and privileges, without a strong desire to
share in those blessings of freedom. The example of the Exiles was thus
constantly exerting an influence upon those who remained in bondage.
Many of them sought opportunities to flee into Florida, where they, in
like manner, became free subjects of Spain.

[Sidenote: 1796.]

This condition of things induced General Washington to make another
effort to remedy existing evils, and prevent their recurrence in future.
He took measures to obtain the attendance of the Chiefs, head men and
warriors of the Creek nation, at a place called Colerain, for the
purpose of forming another treaty. He again appointed Benjamin Hawkins,
George Clymer and Andrew Pickens, Commissioners, to meet the Indians in
Council, and agree upon the proper adjustment of pending difficulties.
These men were interested in the institution of Slavery, and were
supposed to be perfectly acceptable to the claimants, as well as to the
authorities of Georgia.

The parties met at the place appointed, and proceeded to the
consideration of the proposed treaty. The Creeks were not disposed to
make further grants of territory; nor were they able to give any better
assurance for the return of the Exiles than had been given at New York.
They insisted that, by the treaty of New York, they were only bound to
return those negroes who had been captured _since_ the treaty of peace
between the United States and Great Britain; these they had delivered
up, so far as they were able to surrender them. They admitted there were
more negroes among them, whom they might probably obtain at some future
day, and expressed a willingness to do so. It is however evident, from
the talk of the various Chiefs, that they had no idea of returning those
Exiles who were residing in Florida--no allusion being made to them by
either of the Commissioners, on the part of the United States, nor by
the Indians. The Council was also attended by Commissioners on the part
of Georgia, who attempted to dictate the manner of transacting the
business, and, even in offensive language, charged the Commissioners of
the United States with improper conduct; but in no instance did they
name the Seminoles, nor allude to any obligation, on the part of the
Creeks, to return the Exiles resident among the Seminoles. It should
however be borne in mind, that these Commissioners on behalf of Georgia
left the council in disgust, before the close of the negotiation. In the
treaty itself, however, there is a stipulation that the treaty of New
York shall remain in force, except such parts as were expressly changed
by that entered into at Colerain; and that portion of the treaty of New
York by which the Creeks assumed to bind the Seminoles, was not

The seventh article of the Treaty of Colerain reads as follows:--"The
Creek nation shall deliver, as soon as practicable, to the
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, at such place as he may direct, all
the citizens of the United States, white inhabitants and negroes, who
are now prisoners in any part of the said nation, agreeably to the
treaty at New York; and also all citizens, white inhabitants, negroes
and property, taken since the signing of that treaty. And if any such
prisoners, negroes, or property, should not be delivered on or before
the first day of January next, the Governor of Georgia may empower three
persons to repair to the said nation, in order to claim and receive such
prisoners, negroes and property, under the direction of the President of
the United States." This stipulation was understood by the Creeks, and
they were willing to perform it; but it is very obvious, from all the
circumstances, that they had no idea of binding the Seminoles to return
the Exiles resident in Florida.

The State of Georgia obtained very little territory by this treaty, and
no further indemnity for the loss of their fugitive bondmen. The people
of that State, therefore, were greatly dissatisfied with it. But the
extraordinary feature of this treaty, consists in the subsequent
construction placed upon it by the authorities of Georgia, who,
twenty-five years subsequently, insisted that the Seminoles were in fact
a part of the Creek tribe, bound by the Creek treaties, and that the
Creek nation were under obligation to compel the Seminoles to observe
treaties made by the Creeks.

In each of the treaties made between the State of Georgia and the
Creeks, as well as in that made at New York, between the United States
and the Creek nation, attempts had been made to bind the Seminoles,
although that tribe had steadily and uniformly denied the authority of
the Creeks to bind them; and being sustained by the Spanish authorities,
it became evident that all further efforts to induce them to submit to
the government of the Creeks would be useless. This independence they
had maintained for nearly half a century. They had in no instance
acknowledged the authority of the Creeks since they left Georgia, in
1750; nor is it reasonable to suppose the authorities of that State, or
those of the United States, were ignorant of that important

The flagrant injustice of holding the Creeks responsible for fugitive
slaves resident in Florida, and under protection of the Spanish crown,
must be obvious to every reader; and the inquiry will at once arise. Why
did the Creek chiefs at New York consent to such a stipulation? The
answer _perhaps_ may be found in the secret article of that treaty,
giving to the Creeks fifteen hundred dollars annually, _forever_, and to
McGillivray _twelve hundred dollars during life_, and to six other
chiefs _one hundred dollars annually_. These direct and positive bribes
could not fail to have effect. The necessity for keeping this article
secret from the Indians generally, and from the people of the United
States, is very apparent; as the propriety of thus taking money, drawn
from the free States to bribe Indian chiefs to obligate their nation to
seize and return fugitive slaves, would have been doubted by savages as
well as civilized men. But the duty of the Creeks to seize and return
the Exiles was legally recognized by the treaty of Colerain, which
admitted the treaty of New York to be in force. This was regarded as a
continuance of the claims of Georgia, although the Creeks appear to have
had no idea of entering into such stipulations.

[Sidenote: 1797.]

Many circumstances now combined to quiet the apprehensions of the
fugitive bondmen in Florida. The elder Adams had been elected President
in the autumn of 1796, and assumed the duties of his office on the
fourth of March following. A descendant of the Pilgrims, he had been
reared and educated among the lovers of liberty; he had long served in
Congress; he had reported upon the rights of the people of the Colonies
in 1774, and was chairman of the committee who reported the Declaration
of Independence, in 1776, and to its doctrines he had ever exhibited an
unfaltering devotion. From such an Administration the claimants in
Georgia could expect but little aid.

Another consideration, cheering to the friends of Freedom, was the total
failure of the claims on Great Britain, for slaves lost during the War
of the Revolution. The influence of those claimants was no longer felt
in the Government. The public indignation was also somewhat excited
against the institution of Slavery by incidents of a barbarous
character, which had then recently transpired in North Carolina. After
the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence, the Quakers of that
State, conscious of its momentous truths, proceeded in good faith to
emancipate their slaves; believing that the only mode in which they
could evince their adherence to its doctrines.

The advocates of oppression were offended at this practical recognition
of the "equal right of all men to liberty," and, to manifest their
abhorrence of such doctrines, arrested the slaves so emancipated as
_fugitives from labor_. The Quakers, ever true to their convictions of
justice, lent their influence, and contributed their funds, to test the
legal rights of the persons thus set at liberty, before the proper
tribunals of the State; and the question was carried to the Court of
Appeals, where a final judgment was rendered in favor of their freedom.
This decision appears to have disappointed general expectation among the
advocates of slavery, and created much excitement throughout the State.

At the next session of the Legislature, an act was passed authorizing
persons possessing landed property to seize and reënslave the people
thus emancipated. But the planters of that State were usually possessed
of wealth and intelligence, and, holding principles of honor, they
refused to perform so degrading a service; and the liberated negroes
continued to enjoy their freedom.

But the opponents of liberty became so clamorous against the example
thus set in favor of freedom, that the Legislature passed an amendatory
act, authorizing _any person_ to seize, imprison and sell, as slaves,
any negro who had been emancipated in said State, _except those who had
served in the army of the United States during the war of the

Persons of desperate character, gamblers, slave-dealers and horse
thieves, were now authorized to gratify their cupidity, by seizing and
selling persons who had for years enjoyed their liberty; and the scenes
which followed, were in no respect creditable to the State, to the
civilization or Christianity of the age. Emancipated families were
broken up and separated for ever. In some instances the wife escaped,
while the husband was captured. Parents were seized, and their children
escaped. Bloodhounds were employed to chase down those who fled to the
forests and swamps, in order to avoid men more cruel than bloodhounds.

The Quakers, so far as able, assisted these persecuted people to escape
to other States. Some left North Carolina on board ships; others fled
north by land; and many reached the free States, where their descendants
yet live. But even our free States did not afford a safe retreat from
the cruelty of inexorable slave-catchers. Those free persons were seized
in Philadelphia, and, under the fugitive slave law of 1793, were
imprisoned in that city; and, what excites still greater wonder, were
delivered up and carried back to bondage.[20]

Some of these people, while in Pennsylvania, sent petitions to Congress,
praying protection against such barbarity; and great excitement was
aroused among Southern members by the presentation of such petitions.
The Quakers of that State, and of New Jersey, also sent petitions to
Congress, praying that these people may be protected against such
piratical persecution. The popular feeling of the nation was shocked at
these things, and great indignation against the institution, generally,
was aroused.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have no record of further attempts on the part of the claimants to
obtain a return of the Exiles, after the Treaty of Colerain, until the
close of Mr. Adams's administration. During that period, the fugitives
remained quietly in their homes, undisturbed by their former masters.
Their numbers were often increased by new arrivals, as well as by the
natural laws of population, and they began to assume the appearance of
an established community.

In 1801, Mr. Jefferson entered upon the duties of President. He had
himself penned the Declaration of Independence, and manifested a deep
devotion to its doctrines. Nor do we find that any attempt was made by
him for the return of the Exiles; nor were there any measures adopted to
obtain indemnity for the loss of the claimants during the eight years of
his Administration.

In 1802, a new law regulating intercourse with the Indian tribes was
enacted, by which the holders of slaves were secured for the price or
value of any bondmen who should leave his master and take up his
residence with any Indian tribe resident in the United States, or
Territories thereof--at least such was the construction given to this

The Creeks, Cherokees, and other Southern tribes, had gradually adopted
the institution of Slavery, so long practiced by their more civilized
neighbors, and thus became interested in every effort to extinguish the
hope cherished among their own bondmen, of regaining freedom by fleeing
from their masters. And many circumstances now appeared to favor the
idea, that no more attempts would be made to compel a return of the
Exiles to bondage.



     Mr. Madison's election--His character--Desire of people of Georgia
     to enslave Exiles--They demand annexation of Florida--Congress
     passes a law for taking possession of that Territory--General
     Mathews appointed Commissioner--Declares insurrection--Takes
     possession of Amelia Island--Spanish Government demands
     explanation--The President disavows acts of Mathews--Governor
     Mitchell succeeds Mathews--Georgia raises an Army--Florida
     Invaded--Troops surrounded by savage foes--Their danger--Their
     retreat--Stealing Slaves--Lower Creeks join Seminoles--Georgia
     demands their surrender--Chiefs refuse--Georgia
     complains--President refuses to Interfere--Another Invasion of
     Florida--Towns burned; Cattle stolen--Troops withdrawn from Amelia
     Island--Public attention directed toward our Northern
     frontier--Lord Cockrane enters Chesapeake Bay--Issues Proclamation
     to Slaves--Dismay of Slaveholders--Slaves go on board British
     ships--Several vessels enter Appalachicola Bay--Col. Nichols lands
     there with Troops--Gathers around him Exiles and Indians--Builds a
     Fort, arms it, and places Military Stores in Its Magazines--Treaty
     of Peace with England--Provision in regard to Slaves taken away
     during War--Claimants of the Exiles encouraged--Col Nichols
     delivers Fort to the Exiles--Their plantations, wealth, and social
     condition--Our Army--General Gaines represents Fort as in
     possession of Outlaws--Plans for its
     destruction--Correspondence--General Jackson's order--Col. Clinch's
     Expedition--Met by Sailing-Master Loomis and two gun-boats--Fort
     blown up--Destruction of human life--Negroes captured and
     enslaved--Property taken--Claimed by Governor of Florida--First
     Seminole War commenced.

When Mr. Madison assumed the duties of President (March 4, 1809), the
Exiles were quietly enjoying their freedom; each sitting under his own
vine and fig-tree, without molestation or fear. Many had been born in
the Seminole country, and now saw around them children and
grand-children, in the enjoyment of all the necessaries of life. Many,
even of those who fled from Georgia after the formation of that colony,
had departed to their final rest; but their children and friends had
been comparatively free from persecutions since the Treaty of Colerain,
in 1796. Discarding all connection with the Creeks, and living under
protection of Spain, and feeling their right to liberty was
"self-evident," they believed the United States to have tacitly admitted
their claims to freedom. With these impressions, they dwelt in conscious
security, believing no further attempts would be made to reënslave them.
Mr. Madison had penned the memorable Address of Congress to the people
of the United States, published near the close of the old Confederation,
in which was reiterated, in glowing language, the doctrines of the
Declaration of Independence; and in the Convention that framed the
Constitution, he had declared "it would be wrong to admit, in that
instrument, that _man can hold property in man_."

[Sidenote: 1810.]

The people of Georgia were not satisfied with the existing state of
things. They were greatly excited at seeing those who had once been
slaves, in South Carolina and in Georgia, now live quietly and happily
in the enjoyment of liberty, with their flocks and their herds, their
wives and their little ones, around them; but they were on Spanish soil,
protected by Spanish laws. The only mode of enslaving them was, firstly,
to obtain jurisdiction of the Territory; and the annexation of Florida
to the United States was, accordingly, urged upon the Federal

[Sidenote: 1811.]

Spain had acquired her American territories by conquest, and was too
proud to part with them. An excitement, however, was raised in favor of
its annexation; and this anxiety to secure the slave interests of the
South, soon extended to Congress, and infused itself into the Executive
policy of the nation. A law was passed by the two Houses, in secret
session, and approved by the President, for taking possession of
Florida. Gen. Mathews, a slaveholder of Georgia, was appointed
Commissioner for that purpose. A few malcontents were found in the
northeastern part of the Territory; their numbers were increased by men
of desperate fortunes from Georgia; and an insurrection was proclaimed
by the Acting General. Mathews, commanding the insurgents, took
possession of Amelia Island, and of the country opposite to it on the
main land. The Spanish Government, on learning the outrage, remonstrated
with our Executive, who disavowed the acts of Mathews, whom he recalled;
and proceeded to appoint General Mitchell, the Governor of Georgia, to
act as Commissioner, in place of Mathews.

Mitchell, however, continued to hold military possession of the island
and part of the main land, and, in fact, continued to carry forward the
policy which Mathews had inaugurated. These things occurred while our
nation was professedly at peace with Spain, and constituted a most
flagrant violation of our national faith.

[Sidenote: 1812.]

The Executive of Georgia, apparently entertaining the idea that his
State was competent to declare war and make peace, raised an army,
which, under the command of the Adjutant General, entered Florida with
the avowed intention of exterminating the Seminoles, who had so long
refused to surrender the Exiles; while the real object was the recapture
and reënslavement of the refugees. The Creeks of the Lower Towns,
however, took sides with the Seminoles, in opposing this piratical foray
of slave-catchers. The army having penetrated a hundred miles or more
into Florida, found itself surrounded with hostile savages. Their
supplies were cut off; the men, reduced almost to a state of starvation,
were compelled to retrace their steps; and with great loss the survivors
reached Georgia. But they robbed those Spanish inhabitants who fell in
their way of all their provisions, and left them to suffer for the want
of food. Nor were the Georgians satisfied with taking such provisions as
were necessary to support life; they also took with them a large number
of slaves, owned by Spanish masters, with whom they resided.[21]

The people, and the authorities of Georgia, were greatly incensed at the
Creek Indians, who had assisted the Seminoles in defending themselves;
and the Governor of that State demanded of the chiefs a surrender of
those individuals who had thus offended against the sovereignty of that
commonwealth. The chiefs refused to deliver up their brethren, and the
Governor complained to the President of this disregard of slaveholding
comity by the Creeks.

The Federal authorities appear to have felt very little interest in the
matter, and Georgia determined to redress her own grievances. The
Legislature of that State, deeming their interests neglected by the
Federal Government, passed resolutions declaring the occupation of
Florida essential to the safety and welfare of their people, whether
Congress authorized it or not; and they passed an act for raising a
force "_to reduce St. Augustine and punish the Indians_."

Under this declaration of war by the sovereign power of Georgia, another
army was raised. Hunters, trappers, vagabonds, and men of desperate
fortunes, were collected from that State, from East Tennessee, and from
other Southern States, to the number of five hundred; and Florida was
again invaded. This expedition was more successful, in some respects,
than the first. They burned two or three of the smaller Seminole towns,
destroyed several cornfields that had been planted by the Exiles, and
drove back to Georgia large herds of cattle, which they had stolen from
the negroes; yet the principal object of the Expedition failed: They
were unable to capture an individual, or family, of the Exiles. There
were no Spanish inhabitants in that part of Florida from whom they could
capture slaves, and they were compelled to return without human victims,
but with the loss of several individuals of their own party. Thus, after
a struggle of more than two years (ending May, 1813), the State of
Georgia found itself unable to conquer Florida or the Seminoles, or to
capture the Exiles. Further prosecution of the war was given up, the
troops were withdrawn from Amelia Island, and peace was restored.

This extraordinary proceeding, on the part of Georgia, appears to have
excited very little attention at the time; probably in consequence of
the more important operations that were then being carried forward, upon
our Northern and Northwestern frontiers. Harrison at Tippecanoe, and at
Maumee; and Scott and Van Rensselaer at Queenston, and along the Niagara
frontier, were gallantly confronting the British army, aided by powerful
allies from the various neighboring tribes of savages; and so greatly
was the attention of the people of the Northern States absorbed in these
operations, that they were scarcely conscious of the slave-catching
forays carried on by the State of Georgia. Indeed, during these
operations, the public men of that State were among the most vehement
advocates for a strict construction of the Federal Constitution, and for
maintaining the American Union.

[Sidenote: 1814.]

These transactions upon our Southern frontier, called attention of
British Ministers to the Seminoles and the Exiles. A hostile fleet
entered Chesapeake Bay, under Lord Cochrane, who issued a proclamation
inviting all persons (meaning slaves), who desired to emigrate from the
United States, to come with their families on board his Britannic
Majesty's ships of war; assuring them of the privilege of entering his
Majesty's naval service, or of settling with their families, as _free_
persons, in either of the British West India Islands. This proclamation
was widely circulated, and spread very general consternation along our
Southern seaboard: it gave the slaveholders of Georgia occasion to look
to their own protection, and to secure the fidelity of those bondmen who
yet remained in the service of their masters.[22]

[Illustration: Gopher John, Seminole Interpreter.]

Two British sloops of war and some smaller vessels suddenly appeared in
Appalachicola Bay, where they landed a body of troops, under Lieut.
Colonel Nichols, of the British Army, for the purpose of lending support
and protection to the Exiles and their Indian allies. He opened
communications with them, furnished them with arms and ammunition, and
soon drew around him a considerable force of Indians as well as negroes.
His encampment was on the east side of the Appalachicola River, some
thirty miles above its mouth. In November, he completed a strong fort on
the bank of that stream. Some eight pieces of heavy ordnance were
mounted upon its walls, and its magazine was well stored with the
material of war.[23] It was evidently intended as a defense against the
forays of slave-catchers, who were not expected to bring with them heavy
artillery. The plan was well conceived. Even the plundering expeditions
authorized by the State of Georgia, would have been unable to make any
impression on this fortification. But neither Nichols, nor the Exiles,
appear to have anticipated the employment of the United States navy in a
piratical work, discarded by most Christian nations and people, and
allowed to be carried on only upon the African coast.

The British fleet withdrew from the coast of Georgia, and the
slaveholders of that State were relieved, for a time, from those
apprehensions of slave insurrection which had been excited by the
proclamation of Lord Cochrane.

In the meantime the Treaty of Ghent was ratified, and peace restored to
the country. In that treaty the interests of Slavery had not been
forgotten; and the same stipulations were inserted, in regard to the
withdrawal of his Majesty's troops and navy, "without taking or carrying
away any negroes or other property of the citizens," which characterized
the treaty of 1782. The owners of slaves who had fled from service under
the proclamation of Lord Cochrane, now determined to obtain compensation
for their loss. This general feeling again aroused the cupidity of those
whose fathers had once claimed to own those Exiles, who fled from
Georgia some thirty or forty years previously.

In the spring of 1815, Colonel Nichols and his troops withdrew from
Florida, leaving the fort, with its entire armament and magazine of
military stores, in the possession of the Exiles, who resided in the
vicinity. Their plantations extended along the river several miles,
above and below the fort.[24] Many of them possessed large herds of
cattle and horses, which roamed in the forests, gathering their food,
both in summer and winter, without expense or trouble to their owners.

The Pioneer Exiles from South Carolina had settled here long before the
Colony of Georgia existed. Several generations had lived to manhood and
died in those forest-homes. To their descendants it had become
consecrated by "many an oft told tale" of early adventure, of hardship
and suffering; the recollection of which had been retained in tradition,
told in story, and sung in their rude lays. Here were the graves of
their ancestors, around whose memories were clustered the fondest
recollections of the human mind. The climate was genial. They were
surrounded by extensive forests, and far removed from the habitations of
those enemies of freedom who sought to enslave them; and they regarded
themselves as secure in the enjoyment of liberty. Shut out from the
cares and strifes of more civilized men, they were happy in their own
social solitude. So far from seeking to injure the people of the United
States, they were only anxious to be exempt, and entirely free from all
contact with our population or Government; while they faithfully
maintained their allegiance to the Spanish crown.

[Sidenote: 1815.]

Peace with Great Britain, however, had left our army without active
employment. A portion of it was stationed along our Southern frontier of
Georgia, to maintain peace with the Indians. The authorities and people
of Georgia maintained social and friendly relations with the officers
and men of the army. By means of Indian spies, the real condition of the
Exiles was also ascertained and well understood. What means were used to
excite the feelings or prejudices of the military officers against these
unoffending Exiles, is not known at this day. Most of the officers
commanding in the South were, however, slaveholders, and probably felt a
strong sympathy with the people of Georgia in their indignation against
them, for obtaining and enjoying liberty without permission of their

General Gaines, commanding on the Southern frontier of Georgia, making
Fort Scott his head-quarters, wrote the Secretary of War (May 14),
saying, "certain negroes and outlaws have taken possession of a fort on
the Appalachicola River, in the Territory of Florida." He assured the
Secretary, that he should keep watch of them. He charged them with no
crime, imputed to them no hostile acts. He was conscious that they had
taken possession of the fort solely for their own protection; but he
styled them _negroes_, which, in the language of that day among
slaveholders, was regarded as an imputation of guilt; and _outlaw_ was
supposed to be a proper term with which to characterize those who had
fled from bondage and sworn allegiance to another government.[25]

For more than a year subsequently to the date of this letter, General
Gaines made the Exiles a subject of frequent communication to the War
Department. In this official correspondence, he at all times spoke of
them as "runaways," "outlaws," "pirates," "murderers," etc.; but in no
instance did he charge them with any act hostile to the United States,
or to any other people or government.

Of these communications the Exiles were ignorant. They continued in
peaceful retirement, cultivating the earth, and gaining a support for
themselves and families. In the autumn of 1815, they gathered their
crops, provided for the support of the aged and infirm, as well as for
their children. They carefully nursed the sick; they buried their dead;
they lived in peace, and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. The
following spring and summer found them in this enviable condition.

[Sidenote: 1816.]

While the Exiles living on the Appalachicola were thus pursuing the even
tenor of their ways, plans were ripening among the slaveholders and
military officers of our army for their destruction. A correspondence
was opened by the Secretary of War with General Jackson, who commanded
the Southwestern Military District of the United States, holding his
head-quarters at Nashville, Tennessee. Various letters and
communications passed between those officers in regard to this "Negro
Fort," as they called it.

Power is never more dangerous than when wielded by military men. They
usually feel ambitious to display their own prowess, and that of the
troops under their command; and no person can read the communications of
General Gaines, in regard to the Exiles who had gathered in and around
this fort, without feeling conscious that he greatly desired to give to
the people of the United States an example of the science and power by
which they could destroy human life.[26]

At length, on the sixteenth of May, General Jackson wrote General
Gaines, saying, "I have little doubt of the fact, that this fort has
been established by some villains for the purpose of rapine and plunder,
and that it ought to be blown up, regardless of the ground on which it
stands; and if your mind shall have formed the same conclusion, destroy
it and return the _stolen negroes_ and property to their rightful

Without attempting to criticise this order of General Jackson, we must
regard a fort thus situated, at least sixty miles from the border of the
United States, as a most singular instrument for the purpose of
"rapine," or plundering our citizens. Nor could General Jackson have
entertained any apprehensions from those who occupied the fort. The
entire correspondence showed them to be _refugees_, seeking only to
avoid our people; indeed, his very order shows this, for he directs
General Gaines to return the "_stolen negroes_ to their rightful
owners." The use of opprobrious epithets is not often resorted to by men
in high official stations: yet it is difficult to believe, that General
Jackson supposed these negroes to have been stolen; for, neither in the
official correspondence on this subject, nor in the papers accompanying
it, embracing more than a hundred documentary pages, is there a hint
that these negroes were "_stolen_," or that they had committed violence
upon any person, or upon the property of any person whatever. They had
sought their own liberty, and the charge of stealing themselves, was
used like the other epithets of "outlaws," "pirates" and "murderers," to
cast opprobrium upon the character of men who, if judged by their love
of liberty or their patriotism, would now occupy a position not less
honorable in the history of our country than is assigned to the patriots
of 1776.

Nor is it easy to discover the rule of international law, which
authorized the Executive of the United States, or the officers of our
army, to dictate to the crown of Spain in what part of his territory he
should, or should not, erect fortresses; or the constitutional power
which they held for invading the territory of a nation at peace with the
United States, destroy a fort, and consign its occupants to slavery. But
those were days of official arrogance on the one hand, and popular
submission on the other. The Exiles, or their ancestors, had once been
slaves. They now were cultivating the richest lands in Florida, and
possessed wealth; they were occupying a strong fortress. Many slaves
during the recent war had escaped from their masters, in Georgia, and
some were supposed to be free subjects of Spain, living in Florida; and
if the Exiles were permitted to enjoy their plantations and property in
peace, it was evident that the institution in adjoining States would be
in danger of a total overthrow. These facts were apparent to General
Jackson, as well as to General Gaines and the slaveholders of Georgia.

General Gaines only awaited permission from his superior to carry out
the designs of the slaveholders, who had become alarmed at the dangers
to which their "peculiar institution" was subjected. Upon the receipt of
the order above quoted, he detailed Lieut. Col. Clinch,[28] of the
regular troops, with his regiment and five hundred friendly Creek
Indians, under McIntosh, their principal chief, to carry out the
directions of General Jackson. Colonel Clinch was directed to take with
him two pieces of artillery, for the purpose of cannonading the fort if

This commencement of the first Seminole war was, at the time, unknown
to the people of the United States. It was undertaken for the purposes
stated in General Jackson's order, to "blow up the fort, and _return the
negroes to their rightful owners_." Historians have failed to expose the
cause of hostilities, or the barbarous foray which plunged the nation
into that bloody contest which cost the people millions of treasure and
the sacrifice of hundreds of human lives.

It was July before the arrangements were fully made by Colonel Clinch
and his savage allies for descending the river, with suitable artillery
and supplies, to accomplish the object of their mission.[30] The Creeks,
having entered into the treaties of New York and Colerain, by which they
bound themselves, twenty years previously, to return those Exiles who
fled from Georgia, and having failed to perform those stipulations, now
cheerfully united with the American army in this first slave-catching
expedition undertaken by the Federal Government.

Of these movements the Exiles had been informed by their neighbors, the
friendly Creeks; for, among the Lower Creeks, were individuals who at
all times sympathized with them, and kept them informed of the measures
adopted for their destruction. All the families living on the river and
in the vicinity of the fort, fled to it for protection. They had no idea
of the advantages arising from scientific warfare; they believed their
fortification impregnable. Colonel Nichols had erected it for the
purpose of affording them protection, and they had no doubt of its
efficiency for that purpose.

Such were the delays attending the journey, in consequence of
difficulties in transporting heavy guns and provisions, that the troops
did not reach the vicinity of the fort until the twenty-fourth of July.
In the meantime, Commodore Patterson, in pursuance of orders from the
naval department, had detailed Sailing-Master Loomis, with two
gun-boats, to assist in carrying out the order of General Jackson.[31]

On the twenty-fourth of July, Colonel Clinch commenced a reconnoisance
of the fort. On the twenty-fifth, he cleared away the brush and erected
a battery, and placed upon it two long eighteen-pounders, and commenced
a cannonade of the fortress. At the time of this investment, there were
about three hundred Exiles in the fort, including women and children,
besides thirty-four Seminole Indians:[32] yet in the official report of
Colonel Clinch, he makes no mention of his fire being returned; nor does
he say that any of his men were killed or wounded by the occupants of
the fort.

On the twenty-sixth of July, Sailing-Master Loomis, with his command,
reached a point on the river some two miles below the fort. Colonel
Clinch met him at that place, for consultation, and informed him that
his fire had thus far proved ineffectual, and that a nearer approach of
artillery by land would be difficult.[33]

Judging from the language used in his official dispatch, Sailing-Master
Loomis must have entertained some feelings of distrust towards Colonel
Clinch, as they evidently separated in bad temper: yet no officer in the
service of the United States ever exhibited greater prudence in his
preparations, or more firmness in battle, than Colonel Clinch. He was,
however, a man of kind and humane feelings, and high notions of honor.
It has been supposed by many of his friends, that he shrank from the
perpetration of the outrage which he had been detailed to commit.[34]

On the morning of the twenty-seventh, Loomis, with his boats, ascended
the river and cast anchor opposite the fort, while Colonel Clinch and
the Creek Indians took positions so as to cut off retreat by land. The
cannonade was resumed, and the land and naval forces of the United
States were engaged in throwing shot and shells for the purpose of
murdering those friendless Exiles, those women and children, who had
committed no other offense than that of having been born of parents who,
a century previously, had been held in bondage. Mothers and children now
shrieked with terror as the roar of cannon, the whistling of balls, the
explosion of shells, the war-whoops of the savages, the groans of the
wounded and dying, foretold the sad fate which awaited them. The
stout-hearted old men cheered and encouraged their friends, declaring
that death was to be preferred to slavery.

The struggle, however, was not protracted. The cannon balls not taking
effect upon the embankments of earth, they prepared their furnaces and
commenced the fire of hot shot, directed at the principal magazine. This
mode proved more successful. A ball, fully heated, reached the powder in
the magazine. The small size of the fort, and the great number of people
in it, rendered the explosion unusually fatal. Many were entirely buried
in the ruins, others were killed by falling timbers, while many bodies
were torn in pieces. Limbs were separated from bodies to which they had
been attached, and death, in all its horrid forms, was visible within
that doomed fortress.[35]

Of three hundred and thirty-four souls within the fort, two hundred and
seventy were _instantly killed_; while of the sixty who remained, only
_three_ escaped without injury.[36] Two of the survivors--one negro and
one Indian--were selected as supposed chiefs of the allied forces within
the fort. They were delivered over to the Indians who accompanied
Colonel Clinch, and were massacred within the fort, in the presence of
our troops;[37] but no report on record shows the extent of torture to
which they were subjected.

We have no reliable information as to the number who died of their
wounds. They were placed on board the gun-boats, and their wounds were
dressed by the surgeons; and those who recovered were afterwards
delivered over to claimants in Georgia. Those who were slightly wounded,
but able to travel, were taken back with Colonel Clinch to Georgia and
delivered over to men who claimed to have descended from planters who,
some three or four generations previously, owned the ancestors of the
prisoners. There could be no proof of identity, nor was there any court
authorized to take testimony, or enter decree in such case; but they
were delivered over upon _claim_, taken to the interior, and sold to
different planters. There they mingled with that mass of chattelized
humanity which characterizes our Southern States, and were swallowed up
in that tide of oppression which is now bearing three millions of human
beings to untimely graves.

Sailing-Master Loomis informed the Naval Department, through Commodore
Patterson, that the value of the property captured in the fort was "not
less than two hundred thousand dollars." He also stated that a portion
of this property was "delivered over by Colonel Clinch to the Indians
who had accompanied him, on the _express agreement that they should
share in the plunder_." Another portion of property was held by Colonel
Clinch, as necessary for the use of the troops. A list of the articles
thus taken is given in the report: it embraces spades, shovels,
pickaxes, swords, sword-belts, pistols and muskets. The remainder of the
property was taken on board the gun-boats, and held subject to the order
of the Secretary of the Navy.[38]

The Governor of Florida demanded, in the name of "his Most Christian
Majesty the king of Spain," possession of the property thus captured in
the fort; denying the right of either our army or navy to invade the
territory of Spain, and take and carry away property from its

To this claim Sailing-Master Loomis replied, that the property did not
belong to the Spanish crown, but to the Exiles, who were in possession
of it, from whom it was taken by _conquest_. This correspondence between
his Excellency the Governor of Florida and the Commander of the two
gun-boats, was duly transmitted to our Government at Washington, and may
now be found in our National Archives.[39]

Some twenty-two years subsequent to the capture of this property, and
the massacre of those who were in possession of it, a bill was reported
in the House of Representatives,[40] granting five thousand dollars to
the officers, marines and sailors who constituted the crews of those
gun-boats, as compensation for their _gallant_ services. Whether the
honorable Chairman of the Naval Committee who reported the bill, or any
member of the House who voted for it, was aware of the true character of
the services rendered, is a matter of doubt; but the bill passed without
opposition, became a law, and the people of the United States paid that
bonus for the perpetration of one of the darkest crimes which stains
the history of any civilized nation.[41]

The official correspondence connected with this massacre was called for
by resolution, adopted in the House of Representatives, and was
communicated to that body at the second session of the fifteenth
Congress. But no action appears to have been proposed in regard to it;
nor does it appear that public attention was at that time particularly
called to this most wanton sacrifice of human life.

In this massacre, nearly every Exile resident upon the Appalachicola
River, including women and children, perished or was reënslaved. Their
homes were left desolate; their plantations, and their herds of cattle
and horses, became the property of those who first obtained possession
of them. Probably one-third of all the Exiles at that time resident in
Florida, perished in this massacre, or were reënslaved by Colonel
Clinch; yet the atrocious character of the transaction appears to have
attracted very little attention at the time. General Jackson was popular
as a military officer, and the Administration of Mr. Madison was
regarded with general favor. No member of Congress protested against the
transaction, or made known its barbarity to the people; while the ablest
members taxed their ingenuity, and brought all their rhetoric to bear,
in vindication of those concerned in the outrage.[42]

While Mr. Clay and others severely condemned the technical invasion of
Florida, as an act of hostility toward the King of Spain, they omitted
all reference to this wanton massacre of the Exiles: nor have we been
able to learn that any member even intimated that the bloody Seminole
war of 1816-17 and 18, arose from efforts of our Government to sustain
the interests of Slavery; or that our troops were employed to murder
women and children because their ancestors had once been held in
bondage, and to seize and carry back to toil and suffering those who
escaped death in that barbarous massacre. The officers of Government,
and historians of that day, appear to have avoided all reference to the
fact, that the people thus murdered had been far longer in the
wilderness than were the children of Israel; that they were contending
for that Liberty which is the rightful inheritance of every human being.
Indeed, more than twenty years elapsed after this massacre, before a
distinguished Philanthropist gave to the public the first intimation
that such a people as the Exiles had existed.[43]



     The Troops along the Florida frontier become active--The Exiles on
     Suwanee and Withlacoochee prepare for War--General Gaines's
     representation of their numbers--Depredations committed during the
     Spring and Summer of 1817--Massacre of Lieutenant Scott and his
     party--Its Effect upon the Country--Congress not consulted as to
     this War--General Gaines authorized to Invade Florida--General
     Jackson ordered to the Field--Mr. Monroe assumes the Duties of
     President--His Cabinet--Character of Congress--Public Sentiment in
     regard to discussion of Subjects connected with Slavery--General
     Jackson concentrates his Army at Fort Scott--Proceeds to
     Mickasukie--Battle--Destruction of the Town--Marches to St.
     Marks--Indian Chiefs decoyed on board a Vessel--Hanged by order of
     General Jackson--The Army moves upon Suwanee--Its Situation--Exiles
     prepare for a decisive Battle--Severe Conflict--General Jackson
     takes the Town--Captures Indian Women and Children--Burns the
     Villages of that region--Returns to Pensacola--Capture and Trial of
     Arbuthnot and Ambrister--Their Execution--Invasion of Florida
     condemned by some of our Statesmen, and vindicated by others.

The nation having been precipitated into war (1816), the Officers of
Government, and the army, at once became active in carrying it on.
Orders were sent to General Gaines, exhorting him to vigilance, caution
and promptitude. He was on the southern frontier of Georgia, where it
was naturally supposed the first blow, in retaliation for the massacre
of Blount's Fort, would fall. His scouts were constantly on the alert,
his outposts strengthened, and his troops kept in readiness for action.

The Seminole Indians had lost some thirty men, who had intermarried with
the Exiles, and were in the fort at the time of the massacre. They
entertain the opinion that the souls of their murdered friends are never
at rest while their blood remains unavenged; nor could it be supposed
that the Exiles would feel no desire to visit retributive justice upon
the murderers of their friends. Long did this desire continue, in the
minds of the surviving Exiles, until, many years subsequently, their
vengeance was satiated, their hands were stained, and their garments
saturated, in the blood of our troops.

The surviving Exiles had their principal remaining settlements upon the
Suwanee and Withlacoochee rivers, and in the Mickasukie towns. These
settlements were on fertile lands, and were now relied upon to furnish
provisions for their support during hostilities. Savages are usually
impetuous; but the Exiles were more deliberate. Colonel Clinch had
returned to Georgia; Sailing-Master Loomis was at Mobile Bay, and no
circumstances demanded immediate action. They gathered their crops,
obtained arms and ammunition from British and Spanish merchants, and
made every preparation for hostilities. During the summer and autumn of
1816, General Gaines reported slight depredations on the frontiers of
Georgia, but in February, 1817, he reported that larger bodies of
Indians were collecting in some of their villages; and in one of his
letters he stated that _seven hundred negroes_ were collected at
Suwanee, and were being daily drilled to the use of arms. This number of
fighting men would indicate a larger population of Exiles than is
warranted by subsequent information.

[Sidenote: 1817.]

During the Spring and Summer, both parties were in a state of
preparation--of constant readiness for war. A few predatory excursions
to the frontier settlements, marked the action of the Indians and
Exiles, while the army, under General Gaines, often sent parties into
the Indian country, without any important incident or effect. The first
effective blow was struck in November. A boat was ascending the
Appalachicola river, with supplies for Fort Scott, under the escort of a
Lieutenant and forty men, in company with a number of women and
children. Information of this fact was communicated to the Exiles and
Indians resident at Mickasukie, and a band of warriors at once hastened
to intercept them. They succeeded in drawing them into ambush, a few
miles below the mouth of Flint River, and the Lieutenant, and all his
men but six, and all the children, and all the women but one, were
massacred on the spot. Six soldiers escaped, and one woman was spared
and taken to Suwanee as a prisoner. Here she was kept by the Exiles
through the winter, and treated with great kindness, residing in their
families and sharing their hospitality. She had thus an opportunity of
learning their condition, and the state of civilization to which they
had attained, as well as their desire to be at peace with mankind, in
order to enjoy their own rights and liberties.

[Sidenote: 1818.]

This massacre was regarded by the country as a most barbarous and wanton
sacrifice of human life. The newspapers blazoned it forth as an
exhibition of savage barbarity. The deep indignation of the people was
invoked against the Seminoles, who were represented as alone responsible
for the murder of Lieutenant Scott, and his men. Probably nine-tenths of
the Editors, thus assailing the Seminoles, were not aware of the
atrocious sacrifice of human life at "Blount's Fort," in July of the
previous year. Even the President of the United States, in his Message
(March 25), relating to these hostile movements of the Seminoles, during
the previous year, declared "_The hostilities of this Tribe were
unprovoked_," as though the record of the massacre at "Blount's Fort"
had been erased from the records of the moral Universe. Notwithstanding
our army had, in a time of profound peace, invaded the Spanish
Territory, marched sixty miles into its interior, opened a cannonade
upon "Blount's Fort," blown it up, with an unprecedented massacre, in
which both Seminole Indians and negroes were slain, and two of their
principal men given over to barbarous torture; yet, the President, in
his Message, as if to falsify the history of current events, declared
that "as almost the whole of this Tribe inhabit the country within the
limits of Florida, Spain was bound, by the Treaty of 1795, to restrain
them from committing depredations against the United States." Such were
the efforts made to misrepresent facts, in relation to the first
Seminole War. With its commencement, the people had nothing to do; they
were not consulted, nor were their Representatives in Congress permitted
to exercise any influence over the subject. The correspondence between
General Gaines and the Secretary of War, in regard to the occupation of
the fort by the Exiles, had commenced on the fourteenth of May, 1815. It
was continued while Congress was in session, in 1815 and 1816, but no
facts in regard to the plan of destroying it, and entering upon a war,
for the purpose of murdering or enslaving the Exiles, had been
communicated to Congress or the public.

Orders were now issued to General Gaines, authorizing him to carry the
war into Florida, for the purpose of punishing the Seminoles. General
Jackson was ordered to take the field, in person, with power to call on
the States of Tennessee and Georgia for such militia as he might deem
necessary, for the due prosecution of the war; and the most formidable
arrangements were made for carrying on hostilities upon a large scale.

Mr. Monroe had assumed the duties of President in March, 1817. He had
appointed Hon. John Quincy Adams Secretary of State, at the commencement
of his administration; but the office of Secretary of War was not filled
by a permanent appointment, for some months, in consequence of Governor
Shelby's refusal to accept it, on account of his advanced age. It was
finally conferred on Hon. John C. Calhoun, who, through his entire
official life, was distinguished for his devotion to the institution of
Slavery; and this war having been entered upon for the support of that
institution, it may well be supposed that he exerted his utmost energies
for its vigorous prosecution.

The fifteenth Congress assembled in December, 1817. Most of the members
from the free States had not enjoyed the advantages of having served
long in that body. They afterwards showed themselves able men; but the
business of legislation requires experience, industry, and a perfect
knowledge of the past action of government. This cannot be obtained in
one session, nor in one Congress; it can only be gathered by the labors
of an active life. It is, therefore, not surprising that Congress
granted to the War Department whatever funds the President required to
carry on the war.

It is not our province to applaud, or condemn, public men; but history
represents no member of the fifteenth Congress as having proclaimed the
cause of this war, or the atrocious massacre which characterized its
commencement. On the contrary, those who spoke on the subject,
represented it as entirely owing to the Indian murders on the frontiers
of Georgia, and to the massacre of Lieutenant Scott and his men. There
was great delicacy exhibited, and had been for many years previously, in
regard to the agitation of any question touching the institution of
Slavery; and the people of the free and slave States appeared to feel
that silence on that subject was obligatory upon every citizen who
desired a continuance of the Union. These circumstances rendered it easy
for the Administration to prosecute the war, with whatever force they
deemed necessary for the speedy subjection of Indians and Exiles.

On entering the field of active service, General Jackson called on the
State of Tennessee for two thousand troops. He repaired to Harford, on
the Ockmulgee, where a body of volunteers, from Georgia, had already
assembled, and organizing them, he requested the aid of the Creek
Indians also. They readily volunteered, under the command of their
chief, McIntosh, ready to share in the honors and dangers of the
approaching campaign. With the Georgia volunteers and Creek Indians,
General Jackson marched to Fort Scott, where he was joined by about one
thousand regular troops.

With this force, he moved upon the Mickasukie towns, situated near the
Lake of that name, some thirty miles south of the line of Georgia. It
was the nearest place at which the Exiles had settled in considerable
numbers. There were several small villages in the vicinity of this Lake,
inhabited almost entirely by blacks. A large quantity of provisions had
been stored there. There were also several Seminole towns between
Mickasukie Lake and Tallahasse, on the west.

The Exiles appear to have viewed the approach of General Jackson with
coolness and firmness. They had evidently calculated the result with
perfect accuracy. Their women and children were removed to places of
safety, and their herds of cattle were driven beyond the reach of the
invading army; and some of their Indian allies followed the example thus
set them by the Exiles; yet others were not equally careful in
calculating future events.

Neither Indians nor negroes had made these towns their general
rendezvous; nor did they expect a decisive battle to occur at that
point; yet they prepared to meet General Jackson, and his army, in a
becoming manner. Most of their forces were collected prior to the
arrival of our troops. In making the requisite dispositions for battle,
the Indians were formed in one body, and the negroes in another--each
being under their respective chiefs.

General Jackson encountered the allied forces at some little distance
from the Mickasukie towns, April first. The battle was of short
duration. The Indians soon fled. The Exiles fought with greater
obstinacy. Their fire was so fatal that a reinforcement was ordered to
that part of the field, and the Exiles were driven from their position,
leaving twelve of their number dead upon the field.

In his official report of this battle, General Jackson insisted that
British officers had drilled the negroes, and British traders had
furnished them ammunition. He also reported that he burned more than
three hundred dwellings, and obtained a supply of provisions and cattle
for his army.

The Exiles, generally, retreated to Suwanee, and the Indians continued
to hang around the American army, watching its movements. General
Jackson, however, directed his course towards St. Marks, a Spanish fort,
situated on the river of that name, some fifty miles southwest of
Mickasukie Lake.

The American army reached St. Marks on the seventh of April, and
remained there several days. One of the American vessels lying in
Appalachicola Bay, hoisted British colors, in order to decoy some
Indians who were looking at them from the shore. Two of the "Red Stick"
band ventured on board; they were said to be chiefs, and in alliance
with the Seminoles. General Jackson ordered them to be hanged, without
trial or ceremony, justifying the act by charging them with having
participated in the massacre of Lieutenant Scott and his party, during
the previous autumn, apparently unconscious that, by his own orders, two
hundred and seventy people, including innocent children and women, had
been most wantonly and barbarously murdered at the fort on
Appalachicola, and that Lieutenant Scott and _thirty_ men were murdered
in retaliation for that act, according to savage warfare. He appears to
have felt it due to offended justice, that these men should die for
being suspected of participating in that act of retaliation. In all
these cases, the most assiduous efforts were exerted to misrepresent the
real state of facts.

The time occupied in the approach and capture of Fort St. Marks, gave to
the Exiles and Indians full opportunity to concentrate their forces at
Suwanee. It constituted the most populous settlement of the Exiles,
after the destruction of that upon the Appalachicola. It was regarded as
their stronghold. Surrounded by swamps, it was approached only through
narrow defiles, which rendered it difficult for an army to reach it.
Here many of the Exiles had been born and reared to manhood. Here were
their homes, their firesides. Here their chief, Nero, resided; and here
they concentrated their whole force. They had removed their women and
children, their provisions and cattle, to places of safety, and coolly
awaited the approach of General Jackson's army.[44]

Scouting parties were, however, sent out to harrass his advance guard,
and delay his approach, and render it more difficult; but,
notwithstanding these obstacles, the army steadily advanced, and on the
nineteenth of April reached the "Old Town" of "Suwanee," and found the
allied forces in order of battle, prepared to contest the field. The
Indians were again formed on the right, and the Exiles constituted the
left wing, bringing them in conflict with the right wing of General
Jackson's forces.

With the Exiles, there was no alternative other than war or slavery; and
they greatly preferred death upon the battle field, to chains and the
scourge. We may well suppose they would fight with some degree of
desperation, under such circumstances; and the battle of Suwanee gave
evidence of their devotion to freedom. They met the disciplined troops,
who constituted General Jackson's army, with firmness and gallantry.[45]
At the commencement, their fire was so fatal that the right wing of the
American army faltered, and ceasing to advance, gave signs of falling
back. But the left wing, opposed to the Indians, made a successful
charge; the Indians gave way, and the reserve was suddenly brought into
action to sustain the right wing, when a general charge was ordered, and
the Exiles were compelled to fall back.[46]

General Jackson, in his official report of this battle, refers to the
desperation with which the negroes fought, and says they left many dead
upon the field, but does not mention their number. He entered the town
and set fire to the buildings, and burned all the villages in the
vicinity. He also captured some three hundred Indian women and children,
while those belonging to the Exiles had been carefully removed beyond
the reach of the American army. This superior caution and provident care
appears to mark the character of the Exiles in all their conduct; while
the Indians appear to have practised none of these precautions.

But the allied forces, defeated, and their warriors scattered in various
directions, were pursued by McIntosh and his Creek warriors, who had
accompanied General Jackson, until fearing the Seminoles might rally in
force against them, they returned and again united with the American

This battle substantially closed the war of 1818. It had been commenced
for the destruction of the Exiles; they had shared in its dangers, and
by their energy and boldness, had given intensity to its conflicts. From
the time they united in the expedition for the destruction of Lieutenant
Scott and his party, in November, 1817, until the close of the battle of
Suwanee, they had been active participants in every skirmish, and had
uniformly displayed great firmness; bearing testimony to the truth of
those historians who have awarded to the African race the merit of great
physical courage.

General Jackson appears to have spoken as little of the Exiles as duty
would permit, when communicating with the Secretary of War; yet he was
more free to complain of them in his correspondence with the Governor of
Pensacola. In a letter to that officer, dated a few days after the
battle of Suwanee, he says: "_Negroes who have fled from their masters,
citizens of the United States, have raised the tomahawk, and, in the
character of savage warfare, have spared neither age nor sex_. _Helpless
women have been massacred, and the cradle crimsoned with blood._"

We can, at this day, scarcely believe that this eloquent description of
savage barbarity was from the pen of a man whose order for the massacre
of defenseless women and children, at the Fort on Appalachicola, bore
date less than two years before writing this letter; nor can we readily
comprehend the effrontery of him who thus attempted to justify the
invasion of Florida, by reference to acts done by the Exiles long after
the army under his command had entered that territory, and committed the
most atrocious outrages ever perpetrated by civilized men upon an
unoffending people.

After the battle of Suwanee, General Jackson returned to St. Marks,
being unable to follow the Indians and Exiles into the more southern
portions of Florida. While at St. Marks, he ordered a court-martial,
constituting General Gaines president, in order to try Arbuthnot and
Ambrister. The history of their trial and execution is familiar to the
reader. The first and principal charge against Ambrister was, that he
excited the _negroes_ and Indians to commit murder upon the people of
the United States; the second charge was for supplying them with arms.
On these charges he was convicted and executed. It was also alleged,
that he was present at the battle of Suwanee; and some writers say he
commanded the Exiles on that occasion, and had previously taught them
military discipline.

In May, General Jackson issued an Address to his troops, declaring the
war at an end; and wrote the Executive, asking permission to retire to
his home in Nashville, there being no further use for his services in
the field.

The Exiles now returned to their homes. They had full leisure to
contemplate their situation. Many of their best men had fallen. Nearly
the entire population residing upon the Appalachicola River had been
massacred. Their villages at Mickasukie and Suwanee had been burned; and
it is probable that nearly one half of their entire population had been
sacrificed, in this first war waged by the United States for the murder
and recapture of fugitive slaves.

The invasion of Florida by General Jackson was condemned by many public
men, and was approved by others with equal ability. Even the then
Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, in his correspondence with Don
Onis, the Spanish Minister, defended the invasion with great ability.
But in the discussions of this subject, we find no allusion to the
massacre at "Blount's Fort;"[47] that appears to have been regarded as
a subject of too delicate a nature for public scrutiny. In the alcoves
of our National Library, we find many volumes of documents touching this
war, embracing some thousands of pages, in which there is the strongest
censure expressed against the Seminoles for provoking the war, and
condemnation for the barbarous manner in which they conducted it; but we
search them in vain to find any condemnation, by American statesmen, of
the object for which the war was commenced, or the unprovoked and worse
than savage massacre which marked its beginning.



     Effects of the War--Situation of the Exiles--Servility of Northern
     Statesmen--Determination of Southern Slaveholders--The purchase of
     Florida demanded--Causes which led to it--Territory
     obtained--Authorities of Georgia demand a new Treaty with
     Creeks--Mr. Calhoun Secretary of War--His efforts in favor of the
     Claimants--Georgia appoints Commissioners--They attempt to dictate
     those appointed by the United States--Correspondence--Mr. Calhoun
     dissatisfied with those whom he had appointed--They resign--New
     Commissioners appointed--Their relation to the
     subject--Difficulties--Indian Talks--Treaty
     effected--Agreement--Assignment of Fugitive Slaves to United States
     in trust for the Creek Indians--Claims adjudicated--Slaveholders
     claim the funds belonging to the Creek Indians.

The first Seminole war, like most other wars, was attended with great
sacrifice of blood and treasure. It had corrupted the morals of the
nation; but the Administration had entirely failed to attain the objects
for which it had been commenced. Not ten slaves had been captured, if we
except those who were wounded and taken prisoners at "Blount's Fort,"
one half of whom had died of their wounds. Under such circumstances, the
Government could not, with propriety, condescend to make a treaty with a
community of black men, whose ancestors had fled from slavery. Such act
would, in the opinion of slaveholders, have compromised the dignity of
the Slaveholding States; nor could they treat with the Seminole Indians
as a separate tribe, for the Administration was endeavoring to hold the
Creeks responsible for the acts of the Seminoles, who, the slaveholders
insisted, were a part of the Creek tribe. The army was therefore
withdrawn from Florida, without any treaty whatever. But the act of
withdrawing the army and permitting the Exiles to remain in a state of
freedom and independence, constituted an acknowledgment of the inability
of our Government to reënslave them, although it was constantly asserted
that they were a degraded race, incapable of supporting themselves if
set at liberty.

In looking over the official reports of our officers, the action of
Congress, and the tone of the public press, we are forcibly impressed
with the constant and unceasing efforts to hide from the popular mind of
the nation the real questions involved in this war. Nor can we account
for it upon any other hypothesis, than the popularity of President
Monroe's Administration. The old Federal party had ceased to exist. They
had been the only party opposed to Mr. Monroe; and no member of Congress
appears to have possessed the requisite independence, information and
ability, to take a position distinctly against his policy.

Soon as our army was withdrawn from Florida, peace was of course
restored, and things remained as they were prior to the invasion under
Colonel Clinch, in 1816. The Exiles were again left in peace, as they
had been prior to the commencement of the war. Nothing had been gained
to the United States by the vast expenditure of blood and treasure which
attended the prosecution of hostilities. The Exiles had maintained their
liberty for at least a century, and now they had set the American
Government at defiance. These considerations operated upon the minds of
the slave population of Georgia and Alabama, who now became more anxious
to join them; and their numbers were thus increased almost daily by
slaves from those States.

From 1790, our Government had endeavored to reënslave these people. No
Northern statesmen objected to the policy; while those of the South had
come to believe that, although the Union may not have been formed solely
for the purpose of capturing slaves, yet that duty was regarded by them
as _one_ of its most important objects. It had now become evident that
no military force could pursue them into their retired fastnesses, or
seek them out when scattered among the hommocks, the swamps and
everglades of that singular country.

Southern statesmen now turned their attention to the purchase of
Florida. That would deprive the Indians and Exiles of the nominal
protection of Spanish laws, and would bring them under the jurisdiction
of the United States; they therefore addressed themselves to that policy
with renewed assiduity. Recent events had convinced the authorities of
Spain that it was impossible for them to maintain the dignity of the
Spanish crown, or the sanctity of her soil from invasion against an
American army, when in pursuit of fugitive slaves. She had seen her
territory invaded; her forts at Pensacola and at St. Marks captured, and
that upon the Appalachicola destroyed; her subjects massacred; her
authority despised, and her rights as a nation treated with indignity by
our army. There was, indeed, no other way for her but to accede to the
proposition of the United States.

[Sidenote: 1819.]

A treaty was negotiated (February 22), and in consideration of five
millions of dollars, Florida was transferred to the United States, and
the Seminoles were brought within the jurisdiction which they most

The slaveholders of Georgia, who had so long pressed their claims for
fugitive slaves, now became more clamorous. They saw, with intense
interest, the pertinacity with which the Executive had pressed the
claims of those who lost slaves, in the then recent war with England.
Under the Treaty of Ghent, the President insisted upon full indemnity to
those whose slaves had left the country, under British aid; and when the
English ministry refused, and insisted upon the same construction as
that placed upon the treaty of 1783, which contained the same words, the
American Executive refused, and the question was referred to the
umpirage of the Autocrat of Russia, who held an entire nation in
slavery, and could not be expected to decide in any other manner, than
that most favorable to the institution.[48]

[Sidenote: 1820.]

The influence of the slave power having increased so greatly since 1796,
as to induce the British Government to change its policy, adopted at the
framing of Jay's Treaty, was now believed competent to compel the Creek
Indians to comply with the treaties of New York and Colerain. A quarter
of a century had passed, since the signing of the last of these
treaties, and they had been forgotten by many; but the people of the
free States, and their Representatives and Senators in Congress, had
quietly submitted to this prostitution of our national character and
influence, and none appeared to doubt the propriety of continuing these

[Sidenote: 1821.]

Georgia now demanded of the Federal Government a new treaty with the
Creek Indians,[49] in order to obtain from them indemnity for the slaves
she had lost, subsequent to the close of the Revolution, and prior to
the act of 1802. To this demand the Federal Executive assented. The
Secretary of War, Mr. Calhoun, with his attachment to the institution,
could do no less than to exert what influence he was able to wield, in
assisting Georgia to obtain a compensation for the loss of her slaves.
On him devolved the burthen of selecting commissioners to negotiate the
contemplated treaty. Careful to place the subject in the hands of men
who would be likely to wield their power for the benefit of the
"peculiar institution," he appointed General Andrew Pickens of his own
State, and General Thomas Flournoy of Georgia, to conduct the

In his letters of instruction to those gentlemen, he was careful to
inform them that the treaty was to be negotiated _for the benefit of
Georgia_;[50] that she would also appoint commissioners to attend the
negotiation, and watch over the interests of her people. The
commissioners proceeded to make arrangements for the treaty. They
appointed the time and place for holding it; employed an agent to
furnish the requisite supplies, and made arrangements for the necessary
payments. At this point a correspondence arose between them and the
commissioners of Georgia, who assumed to dictate the terms on which the
treaty was to be founded. The commissioners of the United States,
finding those of Georgia inclined to dictate the course of action which
they were to pursue, were unwilling to submit to such dictation, and
reported the difficulty to the Secretary of War; while the commissioners
on the part of Georgia, feeling perfect confidence in the devotion of
that officer to the interests of slavery, made their report of the
matter to him also.[51]

The Secretary returned an answer, reproving the commissioners whom he
had himself appointed, so severely for their refusal to obey the
dictation of those appointed by Georgia, that they both immediately
resigned their offices, appearing to feel that their own self-respect
must be compromised by acting under the instruction of the State

Apparently determined to appoint no man who should again prove
refractory, the Executive--probably at the instance of the Secretary of
War--next selected as commissioner, in the place of Mr. Flournoy, David
Meriwether, who had, up to the time of receiving the appointment, acted
as commissioner on the part of Georgia. At the request of the Secretary
of War, he resigned his office of commissioner on behalf of the State,
and accepted the appointment from the Federal Government. Hon. D. M.
Forney, of North Carolina, was selected as the other commissioner, in
place of Mr. Pickens. These commissioners were expressly instructed to
assist the State of Georgia in obtaining the objects for which she was

These preliminary arrangements could not fail to foreshadow the
character of the treaty negotiated under such auspices. Anticipating no
other motive for the treaty than the settlement of the boundary between
the State of Georgia and the Creeks, the chiefs, head-men and principal
warriors of the tribe assembled at the time and place appointed. After
the ordinary formalities on such occasions, the commissioners on the
part of the United States opened the business by simply stating, that
the people of Georgia complained to the President that the Creeks had
not returned the property (negroes, cattle and horses), which they were
under obligations to return to their owners in Georgia, by the treaties
of New York and Colerain.

The commissioners on the part of Georgia now delivered their talk,
saying, that by the treaty of Augusta (1783), of Galphinton (1785), and
of Shoulderbone (1786), the Creeks had agreed to return to their owners,
negroes who had left their masters, and other property; that these
treaties were all made before the formation of the government of the
United States under their present Constitution; but they were ratified
by the treaty of New York (1790), and of Colerain (1796), made with the
United States, and Georgia now demanded compensation for the loss of her
negroes and other property.

On the following day, General McIntosh, principal chief of the Creeks,
replied, that he came to meet the commissioners of the United States,
and had no expectation of meeting those of Georgia; nor had he or his
friends any idea that such claims were to be presented. That the chief,
McGillivray, when he returned, after the treaty of New York, informed
them that they were to deliver up such negroes as were _then in the
nation_; that they were to pay for none who had removed or died; that
they all so understood that treaty, and that nothing was then said about
any other claims than for _negroes_; that the _prisoners_, both black
and white, were delivered up under the treaty of New York; that the
claims now presented were also presented at the treaty of Colerain, in
1796, but the Creeks then absolutely refused to acknowledge any further
obligation than that contained in the treaty of New York, and by that
they were under obligation to surrender no property except persons held
as prisoners, and negroes then in the nation. That many of these negroes
were carried away by the British, during the war of 1812; that others
were in the fort at Appalachicola, when he and his warriors went with
Colonel Clinch and blew it up, and killed nearly all who were in it; and
the others were with the _Seminoles_, and not with the Creeks.

To this answer the commissioners of Georgia replied, that by the
treaties of Augusta, and Galphinton, and Shoulderbone, the Creeks were
bound to deliver all negroes who had left their masters in Georgia;
that, if they had done so, the British would not have carried them off,
nor would they have been killed in the fort; that the _Seminoles were a
part of the Creek nation_, who were responsible, not only for the slaves
and their increase, but also for the loss of the labor which they would
have performed had they remained in bondage.

Of the means used to obtain the treaty, we have no other information
than appears of record. Those acquainted with the usual modes of
negotiating Indian treaties, by the use of intoxicating liquors, by
bribery, and those appliances generally used on such occasions, will not
wonder at the stipulations contained in the Treaty of "Indian Spring."

By the first article, the Creeks ceded to the United States, for the
benefit of Georgia, about five million acres of their most valuable
territory. The second article provided for the reservation of certain
lands, to be retained by those who were then living upon them. The third
reserved certain lands for the use of the United States agency; and the
fourth is in the following words:

"It is hereby stipulated and agreed, on the part of the United States,
as a consideration for the land ceded by the Creek nation, by the first
article, that there shall be paid to the Creek nation, by the United
States, ten thousand dollars in hand, the receipt whereof is hereby
acknowledged, forty thousand dollars as soon as practicable after the
ratification of this convention, five thousand dollars annually for two
years thereafter, sixteen thousand dollars annually for five years
thereafter, and ten thousand dollars annually for six years thereafter;
making in the whole fourteen payments, in fourteen successive years,
without interest, in money or goods, and implements of husbandry, at the
option of the Creek Nation, seasonably signified, from time to time,
through the agent of the United States residing with said nation, to the
Department of War. And as a further consideration for said cession, the
United States do hereby agree to pay to the State of Georgia, whatever
balance may be found due by the Creek Nation to the citizens of said
State, whenever the same shall be ascertained, in conformity with the
reference made by the commissioners of Georgia and the chiefs, head-men
and warriors of the Creek Nation, to be paid in five annual
installments, without interest, provided the same shall not exceed the
sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; the commissioners of
Georgia executing to the Creek Nation a full and final relinquishment of
all the claims of the citizens of Georgia against the Creek Nation, for
property taken or destroyed prior to the act of Congress, of one
thousand eight hundred and two, regulating the intercourse with the
Indian tribes."

The fifth article merely provides for running the boundaries of the
several reservations. It was duly signed and witnessed, and bears date
on the eighth of January, 1821.

Deeming the treaty not sufficiently explicit in its terms, the
commissioners on the part of Georgia, entered into a further agreement
with the Indians, which reads as follows:

"Whereas at a conference, opened and held at the Indian Spring, in the
Creek Nation, the citizens of Georgia, by the aforesaid commissioners,
have represented that they have claims to a large amount against the
said Creek Nation of Indians: Now, in order to adjust and bring the same
to a speedy and final settlement, it is hereby agreed by the aforesaid
commissioners, and the chiefs, head-men and warriors of the said Nation,
that all the talks had upon the subject of these claims, at this place,
together with all claims on either side, of whatever nature or kind,
prior to the act of Congress of one thousand eight hundred and two,
regulating the intercourse with the Indian tribes, with the documents in
support of them, shall be referred to the decision of the President of
the United States, by him to be decided upon, adjusted, liquidated and
settled, in such manner and under such rules, regulations and
restrictions as he shall prescribe: Provided, however, if it should meet
the views of the President of the United States, it is the wish of the
contracting parties, that the liquidation and settlement of the
aforesaid claims shall be made in the State of Georgia, at such place as
he may deem most convenient for the parties interested; and the decision
and award thus made and rendered, shall be binding and obligatory upon
the contracting parties."

There was also an assignment of the title, or right of property claimed,
executed to the United States by the Commissioners of Georgia, which is
in the following language:

"Whereas a treaty, or convention, has this day been made and entered
into, by and between the United States and the Creek Nation, by the
provisions of which the United States have agreed to pay, and the
commissioners of the State of Georgia have agreed to accept, for and on
behalf of the citizens of the State of Georgia having claims against the
Creek Nation, prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and two, the
sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars:

"Now know all men by these presents, that we, the undersigned,
commissioners of the State of Georgia, for and in consideration of the
aforesaid sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, secured by the
said treaty, or convention, to be paid to the State of Georgia, for the
discharge of all bona fide and liquidated claims which the citizens of
the said State may establish against the Creek Nation, do, by these
presents, release, exonerate and discharge the said Creek Nation from
all and every claim and claims, of whatever description, nature or kind
the same may be, which the citizens of Georgia now have, or may have
had, prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and two, against the
said Nation. And we do hereby _assign, transfer and set over unto the
United States, for the use and benefit of the said Creek Nation_, for
the consideration hereinbefore expressed, all the right, title and
interest of the citizens of the said State to all claims, debts,
damages, and property of every description and denomination, which the
citizens of the said State have or had, prior to the year one thousand
eight hundred and two, as aforesaid, against the said Creek Nation."

It were useless for the historian to criticise the language of these
several instruments. The "claims" mentioned in them, and referred to the
President, were mostly for slaves who left their masters during the
Revolution, and prior to 1802; at least such was the construction given
to the treaty, the agreement and assignment by the parties; and we
cannot, at this day, assert that they did not understand their own

The Creeks were to receive two hundred thousand dollars in cash; and the
United States agreed to pay to Georgia her claims, provided they did not
exceed _two hundred and fifty thousand dollars_. The amount due to
Georgia was to be ascertained by the President, and paid by the United
States. The third, and a very important point was the _assignment_ to
the United States, for the benefit of the Creek Indians, of the
interest vested in the claimants to the _property_ and _persons_
claimed--the _United States to hold such interest in trust_ for the
Creek Indians.

By this arrangement, our Government became owners of the Exiles referred
to, _in trust for the benefit of the Creeks_, according to the
construction which the Indians, the authorities of the United States and
those of Georgia, placed upon the assignment, the agreement and treaty.
This important point, if borne in mind, will aid the reader in
understanding the subsequent action of the Federal authorities in
relation to this subject.

[Sidenote: 1822.]

In pursuance of this treaty, the President promptly appointed a
commissioner to ascertain the amounts due the several claimants. But
great difficulties had to be encountered. The claims commenced in 1775
and extended down to 1802, and it was extremely difficult to obtain
evidence of facts which transpired so long prior to the examination.
Sufficient proof was produced, however, to satisfy the commissioner that
ninety-two slaves had, within the periods mentioned, left their masters,
in Georgia, and fled to the Indians; and the estimated value of slaves
and other property lost to the owners in this manner, amounted to one
hundred and nine thousand dollars.[54]

[Sidenote: 1823.]

This amount of money was duly appropriated by Congress. So far as we are
informed, no member of the House of Representatives, or of the Senate,
appears to have entertained doubts as to the propriety of this
governmental slave-dealing. The whole negotiation and arrangement had
been conducted and managed by Southern men, and Northern statesmen
quietly submitted. Thus, after a struggle of thirty-eight years, the
Slaveholders of Georgia, by the aid of our Federal Government, obtained
compensation for the loss of their fugitive bondmen.

After the distribution of the amount found due to the claimants, there
yet remained in the hands of the President one hundred and forty-one
thousand dollars, being the remainder of the two hundred and fifty
thousand appropriated by the treaty to secure the payment of these
claims. This money apparently belonged to the Indians. The claimants for
slaves could not have any title to it, for they had expressly
stipulated, that the award of the commissioner should be _conclusive_
upon the parties. The claimants, by that award, received full
compensation for their loss; yet they next demanded of the President the
hundred and forty-one thousand dollars which remained in his hands.
Notwithstanding the commissioners on the part of Georgia expressly
agreed to abide by the award, and had assigned all interest in the
property and _in the persons_ residing with the Indians, to the United
States, and had received their money in full, under the treaty; yet they
desired to get the remainder, which was considerably larger than the
amount awarded them by the commissioner.



     Indians and Exiles on the Appalachicola River--Other Exiles at
     Withlaeoochee, St. John's, Cyprus Swamp, Waboo Swamp--Indians in
     various parts of Territory--Difficulty of the subject--President's
     Message--Committee of Congress--Interrogations--Mr. Penieres'
     Answer--General Jackson's Answer--He relies on Force--United States
     recognize the Florida Indians as an Independent Band--Willing to
     treat with them--Difficulties--Instructions to
     Commissioners--Treaty of Camp Moultrie--Reservations--Covenants on
     part of United States--Covenants on part of the Seminoles--Congress
     makes no objection--Effect of Treaty--Its Objects--Election of the
     younger Adams--His Policy--Indian Agent, Colonel Humphreys--William
     P. Duval's Instructions--Claimants complain of the
     Agent--Commissioner of Indian Affairs reproves him--His
     Letter--Reply--Difficulty of Agent--Dangers which threaten the
     Exiles--Colored Man seized and enslaved--Indians Protest--Colonel
     Brooke's Advice--United States Judge expresses his Opinion--Effect
     on Exiles--Mrs. Cook's Slave--Demand for Negroes--Suggestions of
     Agent--Practice of Government--Treaty of Payne's Landing--Its
     Stipulations--Abram--His Character--Chiefs become
     Suspicious--Delegations sent West--Executive Designs--Supplemental
     Treaty--Major Phagan--Petition of the People of
     Florida--Indorsement thereon--Treaties approved by Senate--Creeks
     remonstrate--Payment of $141,000 to Slave Claimants--Supineness of
     Northern Statesmen--Creeks demand Exiles or Slaves--Georgians
     kidnap Exiles--Their Danger--They dissuade from Emigration--Their
     Warriors--Wiley Thompson's Statement--General Clinch's
     Interest--Colonel Eaton's Views--General Cass's Reply--His Address
     to Indians--He authorizes Slave trade--Effects of such
     License--Agent and others Remonstrate--He replies--Agent
     rejoins--Exiles prepare for War.

After the close of the war of 1818, many of the Seminole Indians took
possession of the deserted plantations and villages along the
Appalachicola River, whose owners had fallen in the massacre of Blount's
Fort, in 1816; and some of the Exiles united in reoccupying the lands
which had been reduced to cultivation by their murdered brethren. Some
six or eight small bands of Indians thus became resident along that
river. The fertile bottom lands, near that stream, constituted the most
valuable portion of Florida, so far as agriculture was concerned. These
towns afforded convenient resting places for fugitive slaves, while
fleeing from their masters in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana,
to the interior portions of Florida.

The United States, nor the slaveholders of the States named, could with
any propriety whatever hold the Creek Indians responsible for the many
refugees, who were now almost daily increasing the number of fugitives
located far in the interior of Florida; and the difficulties attending
the holding of slaves increased in exact proportion as the slaveholding
settlements extended towards these locations; while the greater portion
of the Exiles were taking up their residence farther in the interior of
the territory, upon the Withlacoochee, the St. John's, the Big Cypress
Swamp, the Islands in the Great Wahoo Swamp, and places far retired from
civilization. The Seminole Indians were scattered extensively over
different portions of the country; and although the United States now
owned the unoccupied lands, it was difficult to determine upon any
course of policy by which the difficulties, so long existing, could be

[Sidenote: 1822.]

The subject was alluded to by the President in his Annual Message to
Congress (Dec. 3), and a select committee was appointed to take that
portion of it into consideration. The committee propounded
interrogatories to various officers of government, who were supposed
capable of giving useful information in regard to the subject.[55]

In answer to these interrogatories, Mr. Penieres, Sub-Agent for the
Florida Indians, replied, stating the number of Indians at more than
five thousand, while the number of slaves which they held were estimated
at only forty. These he declared to be far more intelligent than the
slaves resident among the white people, and possessing great influence
over their Indian masters. He alluded to the Exiles in the following
language: "It will be difficult (says he) to form a prudent
determination with respect to the 'maroon negroes,' (Exiles), who live
among the Indians, on the other side of the little mountain of
Latchiouc. They fear being again made slaves, under the American
Government, and will omit nothing to increase or keep alive mistrust
among the Indians, whom they, in fact, govern. If it should become
necessary to use force with them, it is to be feared that the Indians
will take their part. It will, however, be necessary to remove from the
Floridas this group of freebooters, among whom runaway negroes will
always find a refuge. It will, perhaps, be possible to have them
received at St. Domingo, or to furnish them means of withdrawing from
the United States!"

This gentleman appears to have had more knowledge of the Exiles, than
was possessed by the officers of the United States, generally, who
supposed that each negro must have a legitimate master. He appears,
also, to have had sufficient humanity to suggest the plan of their
_removal_, rather than their enslavement.

In answer to the interrogatories of this committee, General Jackson
proposed to compel the Seminoles to _reünite with the Creeks_, by
leaving Florida and returning to the Creek country; and closed his
recommendation by saying, "this must be done, or the frontier will be
much weakened by the Indian settlements, and be a perpetual harbor for
our slaves. These _runaway slaves, spoken of by Mr. Penieres_, MUST BE
REMOVED from the Floridas, or scenes of murder and confusion will

This suggestion of General Jackson for the removal of the Seminoles,
both Indians and negroes, bears date September second, 1822, and is the
first suggestion, of that precise character, of which we have knowledge.
General Jackson was a warrior, and had more faith in the bayonet than in
moral truths. He trusted much to physical power, but had little
confidence in kindness, or in justice or moral suasion. He was an
officer of great popularity, however, and it is not unlikely that his
views had greater weight with those who followed him in official life,
than their intrinsic merits entitled them to. It is certain that his
policy of removing the Indians and Exiles from Florida, was subsequently
adopted by him while President, and has continued to be the cherished
object with most of his successors in that office.

The controversy between the State of Georgia and the Creeks had been
settled at Indian Springs. In the treaty entered into at that place, the
United States had held the Creek Nation responsible for the action of
the Seminoles, under the plea that they were a part of the Creek Nation.
Having obtained two hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the Creeks
in this way, to satisfy the slave claimants of Georgia, the Executive
now suddenly became satisfied that the Seminoles were a distinct and
independent tribe, and he prepared to treat with them as such.
Commissioners were appointed for that purpose, and efforts made to
collect their chiefs, warriors and principal men, in order to carry out
this object.

[Sidenote: 1828.]

Suspicious of the objects which prompted this proposal, the Indians were
unwilling to meet the commissioners. Runners were sent to the different
bands, and eventually some thirty or forty were collected. These were
declared by the commissioners to represent a majority of the Seminole
tribe, and (Sept. 18) they proceeded to form the treaty of "Camp
Moultrie." The letter of instructions, from the Secretary of War, was
specific on one point only. The commissioners were directed to so
arrange the treaty, as to constrain the Indians to settle within the
territory south of Tampa Bay, excluded from the coast on all sides by a
strip of country at least fifteen miles in width. This would have taken
from them their most fertile lands on the Suwanee River, the
Appalachicola River, and in the vicinity of the Mickasukie Lake. Some
six chiefs, who had taken possession of the plantations which had been
opened and cultivated by the Exiles murdered at "Blount's Fort," refused
to sign the treaty. They were, however, prevailed upon to agree to the
treaty, when it had been so modified as to give them each a reservation
of fertile lands, to meet their own necessities.

By agreeing to these stipulations, the commissioners obtained their
signatures to the treaty--the United States guaranteeing to the Indians
peaceable possession of the country and reservations assigned them. They
also covenanted to "_take the Florida Indians under their care and
and to "_restrain and prevent all white persons_ from hunting, settling,
or otherwise _intruding_, upon said lands." They also agreed to pay the
Indians six thousand dollars in cattle and hogs, furnish them with
provisions to support them one year, and pay them five thousand dollars
annually for twenty years. But one great object of the treaty was
embraced in the seventh Article, which was expressed in the following

"The chiefs and warriors aforesaid, for themselves and tribes, stipulate
to be active and vigilant in preventing the retreating to, or passing
through, the district, or country assigned them, of any absconding
slave, or fugitives from justice; and they further agree _to use all
necessary exertions to apprehend and deliver the same to the agent_, who
shall receive orders to compensate them agreeably to the trouble and
expense incurred."

It is worthy of note, that the commissioners, acting under instructions
of the Secretary of War, now assured the Seminoles that they had been a
separate and independent tribe more than a century; while other
commissioners, acting under instructions from the same Secretary, only
twenty months previously, insisted that the Seminoles were, at that
time, a part of the Creek tribe; and on that assumed fact, the Creeks
were held responsible for the value of such slaves as left their masters
during the Revolution and prior to 1802, and took up their residence
with the Seminoles. But these contradictory positions appeared to be
necessary to sustain the slave interest.

It may be remarked that from the signing of this treaty, there was no
longer any controversy between our Government and the Creeks in relation
to fugitive slaves. That quarrel was transferred to the Seminoles; and
now, after thirty-four years have passed away, and many millions of
treasure have been expended, and thousands of human lives sacrificed, at
the moment of writing these incidents, our army is actively employed in
carrying on the contest which arose, and for more than the third of a
century has been almost constantly maintained, for the recapture and
return of these people; and although our members of Congress from the
free States had witnessed the long and expensive contest, and the vast
sacrifice of blood and treasure, which had been squandered in efforts to
regain possession of the Exiles; yet we do not find any objection to
have been raised or protest uttered against this new treaty, in either
branch of our National Legislature. Indeed, so far as we have
information on the subject, the appropriations for carrying it into
effect were cheerfully made, without objection.

This compact drew still more closely the meshes of the federal power
around the Exiles. The United States now held what is called in
slaveholding parlance the "legal title" to their bones and sinews, their
blood and muscle, while the Creek Indians were vested with the entire
beneficial interest in them. But neither the United States nor the Creek
Indians had been able to reduce them to possession. The white
settlements were, however, gradually extending, and the territory of the
Seminoles was diminishing in proportion; and it was easy to foresee the
difficulties with which they were soon to be surrounded.

By the treaty, many of their cultivated fields, and most of the
villages, which they had recently defended with so much bravery, were
given up to the whites, and those who had so long occupied them, were
compelled to retire still further into the interior, and commence new
improvements. A few Exiles remained with the chiefs who held
reservations upon the Appalachicola. Those who remained, however, were
persons who had become connected by marriage with the Indians belonging
to those small bands, from whom they were unwilling to separate.

To this treaty some writers have traced the causes which produced the
recent "Florida War." They attribute to its stipulations that vast
sacrifice of treasure, and of national reputation, which has rendered
that territory distinguished in history. With that war, our present
history is connected only so far as the Exiles were concerned in its
prosecution; but it would appear difficult for any historian to overlook
the important fact that obtaining possession of fugitive slaves
constituted the moving consideration for this treaty, and the primary
cause of both the first and second Seminole wars.

[Sidenote: 1824.]

Most of this year was occupied in removing the Indians to their new
territory. They also suffered severely for the want of food, and the
attention of both Indians and officers of Government appears to have
been occupied with these subjects.

[Sidenote: 1825.]

In the autumn, Mr. Adams was elected President. But his policy was in
part unfavorable to the Exiles. Removals from office under his
administration were limited. If an officer were removed, it was not
until after it had been ascertained that just cause existed for the
removal. This policy continued nearly every man in office who had been
connected with the Indian Department under the former Administration.
Colonel Gad Humphreys had been appointed Agent for the Seminoles as
early as 1822. He was a resident of Florida, and a slaveholder, deeply
interested in maintaining the institution; but so far as his official
acts have come before the public, he appears to have performed his duty
with a good degree of humanity. Indeed, such were his efforts in behalf
of justice to the oppressed, that he became obnoxious to Southern men,
and was eventually removed from office on that account. William P. Duval
was also continued in the office of Governor, and ex-officio
Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Florida. He was
also a slaveholder, and resident of the territory; but even Southern men
found little cause to complain of his devotion to liberty or justice.
He, and many other officers, appear to have supposed the first
important duty imposed on them, consisted in lending an efficient
support to those claims for slaves which were constantly pressed upon
them by unprincipled white men.

Early as the twenty-fifth of January, Governor Duval, acting
Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory, wrote Colonel
Humphreys, giving him general directions in regard to the course which
he should pursue in all cases where fugitive slaves were claimed. "On
the subject (said he) of runaway slaves among the Indians, within the
control of your agency, it will be proper in all cases, where _you
believe_ the owners can identify the slaves, to have them taken, and
delivered over to the Marshal of East Florida, at St. Augustine, so that
the Federal Judge may inquire into the claim of the party, and determine
the right of property. But in all cases where the same slave is claimed
by a white person and an Indian, _if you believe_ the Indian has an
equitable claim to the slave, you are directed not to surrender the
slave, except by the order of the Hon. Joseph L. Smith, Federal Judge
residing at St. Augustine; and in that case, you will attend before him,
and defend the right of the Indian, _if you believe_ he has right on his

In all these cases, the slave or colored man, whether bond or free, was
to be treated in the same manner as a brute. He was permitted to say
nothing upon the subject of his own right to liberty. His voice was
silenced amidst the despotism with which he was surrounded. No law was
consulted. The _belief_ of a slaveholding Agent decided the fate of the
person claimed. Those who claimed to own their fellow men, would always
find persons to testify to their claims, and it was in vain for an
Indian to attempt litigation with a slaveholding white man before a
slaveholding Judge.[57]

The Exiles were not the property of the Indians in any sense. The
Indians did not claim to own them. Under the rule prescribed, if a white
man could get one of the Exiles within his power, he could at any time
prove some circumstance that would entitle him to claim _some_ negro;
when he proved this, the law of Florida presumed every colored man to be
a slave, unless he could prove his freedom. This, no Exile could do;
and, when seized, they were uniformly consigned to bondage. The only
safety for the Exile was, to entirely avoid the whites, who were not
permitted to enter the territory except upon the written permit of some

The slave-catchers, therefore, had recourse to the practice of
describing certain black persons, in the Indian country, as their
slaves, and demanding that the Agent should have them seized and
delivered to him. But the Agent, knowing these claims to be merely
fictitious in some instances, paid no attention to them. The claimants,
intent on obtaining wealth by catching negroes, and selling them as
slaves, complained of the Agent to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
who, on the eighth of February (1827), wrote the Agent, reproving him
for his remissness in failing to capture and return fugitive slaves,
saying: "Frequent complaints have been made to the Department,
respecting slaves claimed by the citizens of Florida, which are in
possession of the Indians; all which have been acted on here, in issuing
such orders to you as it was expected would be promptly obeyed; * * *
and that these proceedings would be followed by the proper reports to
the Department. _Nothing satisfactory has been received._"

[Sidenote: 1826.]

Thus the Indian Bureau, at Washington, took upon itself the
responsibility of deciding particular cases, upon the _ex parte_
testimony which the claimants presented; and the commissioner concluded
his letter by a peremptory order to Colonel Humphreys, directing him to
capture and deliver over two slaves, said to be the property of a Mrs.

To this order the Agent replied in the language of dignified rebuke.
After stating that one of the slaves had been captured by the Indians,
and given up, he says: "but they will not, I apprehend, consent further
to risk their lives in a service which has always been a thankless one,
and has recently proved so to one of their most respected chiefs, who
was killed in an attempt to arrest a runaway slave."[58]

The love of liberty is universal. We honor the individual who gives high
evidence of his attachment to this fundamental right, with which God has
endowed all men, and we applaud him who manfully defends his liberty,
whether it be a Washington with honors clustering upon his brow, or the
more humble individual who defends his liberty in Florida, by slaying
the man who attempts to deprive him of it. But these views were not
recognized by the agents of our Government.

[Sidenote: 1827.]

While the Department at Washington supposed the Agent to have neglected
his duty, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the territory
supposed the Agent had been quite too faithful to the slaveholders. On
the twentieth of March he wrote Colonel Humphreys, saying, "_Many slaves
These slaves cannot be obtained for their Indian owners without a
lawsuit;" and he then directed the Agent to submit the claim, in all
cases where there was an Indian claimant, to the chiefs for decision.

In these contests between barbarians and savages, concerning the rights
which they claimed to the bodies of their fellow men, the Exiles had no
voice. They well understood that the rapacity of the slave claimants was
unbounded and inexorable; they therefore endeavored to avoid all contact
with the whites, and to preserve their freedom by affording the
piratical slave-catchers no opportunity to lay hands on them.

These demands for negroes alleged to be among the Indians, continued to
excite the people of Florida and to perplex the officers of Government,
threatening the most serious results,[59] and continually enhancing the
dangers of the Exiles.

[Sidenote: 1828.]

The troops at Fort King were called on to aid in the arrest of fugitive
slaves; but their efforts merely excited the ridicule and contempt of
both Indiana and negroes. These circumstances becoming known to the
slaves of Florida, naturally excited them to discontent; and while their
masters were engaged in efforts to arrest negroes to whom they had no
claim, their own servants in whom they had reposed every confidence,
suddenly disappeared and became lost among the Exiles of the interior.
The white people became irritated under these vexations. Their
indignation against the Indians was unbounded. The Agent, Colonel
Humphreys, gave a vivid description of their barbarity, in a letter to
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.[60] But remonstrances with the
Indian Department appeared to have no effect. Peremptory orders for the
arrest and delivery of slaves continued to reach the Agent. These orders
he _could not carry into effect_, as he could command no force adequate
to the arrest of the fugitives. Governor Duval began to regard the Agent
as remiss in his efforts, and so reported him to the War Department.
Some of the most wealthy Seminoles had purchased slaves of the white
people, and for many years, perhaps we may say for generations, had been
slaveholders. They held their slaves in a state between that of
servitude and freedom; the slave usually living with his own family and
occupying his time as he pleased, paying his master annually a small
stipend in corn and other vegetables. This class of slaves regarded
servitude among the whites with the greatest degree of horror.

The owners of fugitive slaves, or men who pretended to have lost slaves,
when able, would seize and hold those belonging to the Indians. The
Indians being ignorant of legal proceedings, were unable to obtain
compensation from those who thus robbed them of what the slaveholders
termed _property_. This practice became so common that, on the
seventeenth of April, many of the chiefs and warriors assembled at the
Agency, and made their protest to the Agent, declaring that "many of
their negroes, horses, cattle, etc., were in the hands of the white
people, for which they were unable to obtain compensation." Contrary to
the treaty of Camp Moultrie, white men were at that time in the Indian
country searching for slaves, and the chiefs demanded of the Agent the
reason why the white people thus violated the treaty to rob the Indians?
The Agent could only reply, that the white men were there by permission
given them by the _Secretary of War_.[61]

So flagrant were these outrages upon the Indians and negroes, that
Colonel Brooke, of the United States Army, at that time commanding in
Florida, took upon himself the responsibility of addressing the Agent,
advising him not to deliver negroes to the white men, unless their
"_claims were made clear and satisfactory_."[62] The District Judge of
the United States for the Territory, also wrote Colonel Humphreys,
giving his construction of the rules adopted by the Indian Bureau. He
thought, in no case, should a negro be delivered up, where the Indians
claimed him, until proofs had been made and title established before
judicial authority.[63]

No law was looked to as the rule by which officers of Government were to
be controlled in their official duties. The opinion, the judgment, of
the individual constituted his rule of action. During the nineteenth
century, perhaps no despotism has existed among civilized nations more
unlimited, or more unscrupulous, than that exercised in Florida, from
1823 to 1843.

This state of affairs determined the Exiles _not to be arrested by white
men_. Thus, when Governor Duval ordered a compensation for a slave
claimed by Mrs. Cook, to be retained from their annuities, the chiefs
held a talk with the Agent, and assured him that the "_man was born
among the Seminoles, and had never been out of the nation_."[64]

These demands for negroes increased in number; and the whites became
more and more rapacious, and the Indians more and more indignant, until
hostilities appeared inevitable. The Agent, from long association with
the Indians and his knowledge of facts, naturally sympathised with them.
He assembled a number of the chiefs at the Agency, and suggested to them
the absolute necessity of submitting to the white people; and for the
purpose of avoiding further difficulties, advised them to emigrate west
of the Mississippi, or, rather, to send a delegation to examine the
country; and, as an inducement, offered to accompany their chiefs and
warriors on such a tour. To this proposition a few of them consented,
and the Agent notified the Department of the fact.[65]

It was easy to see that, under the existing state of affairs,
hostilities could not long be avoided. Up to the period of which we are
speaking, the action of our Government had been dictated by those who
sought to uphold and encourage Slavery; nor could it be expected that
this long-established policy would be suddenly changed, unless such
change were peremptorily demanded by the people.

There was apparently but one course to be pursued under this
policy--that was the removal of the Indians from Florida. This plan had
been recommended by General Jackson ten years previously, and he now
being President, had an opportunity of carrying out his proposed policy.
To effect this purpose, it would be necessary to negotiate a treaty by
which the Indians should consent to abandon Florida and remove west of
the Mississippi.

It had long been the policy of those who administered the Government, to
select Southern men to act in all offices in which the institution of
slavery was likely to be called in question. From the time General
Washington sent Colonel Willett to ascertain facts in regard to the
controversy between the State of Georgia and the Creek Indians, in 1789,
to the period of which we are now speaking, no Northern man was
appointed to any office which required his personal attention to the
situation of the Exiles.[66]

[Sidenote: 1832.]

In accordance with this practice, General Cass, acting as Secretary of
War, appointed Colonel James Gadsden, of South Carolina, to negotiate
the treaty of Payne's Landing. By the preamble of this treaty, the
Seminoles stipulated that eight of their principal chiefs should visit
the Western country, "_accompanied by their faithful interpreter,
Abraham_," (an Exile, and a man of great repute among both Exiles and
Indians,) and should they be satisfied with the character of the
country, and of the favorable disposition of the Creeks to reunite with
the Seminoles as one people, they would, in such case, agree to the
stipulations subsequently contained in said treaty.

The first article merely makes an exchange, by the Seminoles, of lands
in Florida for an equal extent of territory, west of the Mississippi,
adjoining the Creek Nation.

The second article provides compensation for the improvements, and
specifically stipulates, that Abraham and Cudjoe (two Exiles who acted
as interpreters) should receive, each, two hundred dollars.

The third provides for the distribution of blankets and frocks among

The fourth article provides for certain annuities, etc.

The fifth merely stipulates the manner in which the personal property of
the Seminoles shall be disposed of in Florida, and the same articles
supplied them in their new homes at the West.

[Illustration: Negro Abraham.]

The sixth is in the following language: "The Seminoles, being anxious to
be relieved from the repeated vexatious demands for slaves and other
property, alleged to have been stolen and destroyed by them, so that
they may remove to their new homes unembarrassed, the United States
stipulate to have the same properly investigated, and to liquidate such
as may be satisfactorily established, provided the amount does not
exceed fourteen thousand dollars."

The seventh article stipulates that a portion of the Indians should
remove in 1833, and the remainder in 1834.

Two leading features of this treaty attract the attention of the reader.
The first is the removal of the Seminoles; second, their _reunion with
the Creeks_. The Creeks, having paid the slaveholders of Georgia for
their loss of Exiles, had permitted the subject to rest in silence, and,
so far as we are informed, no formal claim had yet been asserted by the
Creeks to seize and hold the Exiles as slaves; but it is evident that
the negotiators of this treaty intended to place the Seminoles, when
settled in their western homes, within the power, and under the
jurisdiction, of the Creeks. Yet it was well known that, from the time
of their separation, in 1750, up to the signing of this treaty, they had
disagreed and, at times, had been in open war with each other. General
Cass, the Secretary of War, as well as the President, must have known
that McIntosh, the principal chief of the Creeks, had accompanied
Colonel Clinch, with five hundred warriors, when he invaded Florida for
the purpose of massacreing the Exiles at "Blount's Fort," in 1816; that
the Creeks shared in that massacre, and had publicly tortured and
murdered one Indian and one negro, whom they styled chiefs. It is
difficult to believe that any man could expect them to live together in
peace, with the recollection of those scenes resting on the mind; nor
has any explanation yet been given, nor reason assigned, for the anxiety
of our officers to place the Seminoles within the power of the Creeks,
except a desire to enslave the Exiles.

Abraham, who acted as interpreter, had been born among the Seminoles.
His parents had fled from Georgia, and died in their forest-home. He
appears to have been a man of unusual influence with his more savage
friends; and although he insisted on emigrating to the West, in
opposition to many of his brethren, yet he has to this day maintained a
high reputation among his people. Cudjoe was less known, and,
subsequently, was less conspicuous than Abraham; indeed, we know but
little of him. But the experience of Abraham, nor the learning of
Cudjoe, could detect that vague use of language which was subsequently
seized upon for justifying the fraud perpetrated under this treaty.

In the preamble, it was stipulated that the Seminoles were to send six
of their confidential chiefs to view the western country; and if _they_
were satisfied with the country, etc. The Seminoles supposed the pronoun
_they_ had relation to the Tribe; while General Jackson construed it to
refer to the chiefs sent West. If they were satisfied, he held the Tribe
bound to emigrate at all events; and his efforts were, therefore,
directed to satisfying the chiefs who went to view the country.

But the leading men of the Seminoles became suspicious of the design of
the Creeks to enslave the Exiles, before their delegation left Florida,
and publicly expressed their suspicion.[67]

The President appears to have determined on securing the emigration of
the Indians at all hazards and at any sacrifice. For that purpose he
appointed commissioners to go west and obtain from the Seminole
delegation, while yet in the western country, and absent from the tribe,
an acknowledgment that the country was suitable for a residence, and
that the Creeks were anxious to unite with them as one people. This was
to be obtained before the Seminole delegation should return to Florida,
or make report to their nation, or give the Tribe an opportunity to
judge or act upon the subject.

[Sidenote: 1833.]

His object was accomplished (March 28). The commissioners obtained an
"_additional treaty_," signed by the Seminole delegation sent West,
without any authority from their Nation to enter into any stipulation;
nor had the commissioners, on the part of the United States, authority
to form any treaty whatever: yet this additional treaty, as it was
called, after reciting some of the stipulations contained in that of
Payne's Landing, declares "that the chiefs sent to examine the country
are well satisfied with it;" and then stipulates, "that the Seminole
Indians shall emigrate to it so soon as the United States shall make the
necessary preparations." There was also another provision in this
additional treaty of vast importance to the Exiles; it designated and
assigned to the Seminoles a certain tract of country, giving its metes
and bounds, to the "_separate_ use of the Seminoles forever."

Their agent, Major Phagan, appears to have been willing and capable of
performing his part in this diplomatic intrigue. We have no knowledge of
the means used to obtain this additional treaty, nor the bribery by
which it was secured; but it is known that the chiefs, before they went
West, expressed their dislike of reuniting with the Creeks; that when
they returned, they denied having agreed to settle under Creek
jurisdiction; it is also certain that the additional treaty stipulates
that the Seminoles shall have their lands _separate_ from the Creeks.

When they returned, their agent, Major Phagan, represented them as
having stipulated for the positive removal of the Seminoles. The chiefs
denied it, and insisted they had understood their authority as extending
only to an examination of the country, and to report the result to the
Nation. They requested that the chiefs, head-men and warriors be
assembled to hear their report, and to express their own determination.
But the agent refused to call such council, and assured them that their
homes and heritage were already sold, and that nothing now remained for
them to do but to prepare for removal.

The people of Alachua County, Florida, feeling indignant at the
determination of the Seminoles to remain in that Territory, addressed a
protest to the President of the United States, declaring that the
Seminoles did _not capture and return_ the fugitive slaves who fled to
the Indian country, according to their stipulations in the treaty of
Camp Moultrie, but rather afforded protection to them. They further
stated that while the Seminoles remained in the country no slaveholder
could enjoy his property in peace. This protest was signed by ninety of
the principal citizens of said county, and forwarded to the President.

This statement aroused the ire of the President, who at once indorsed on
the back of the petition an order to the Secretary of War to "inquire
into the alleged facts, and if found to be true, to direct the Seminoles
to _prepare to remove West and join the Creeks_." The order was
characteristic of the author. He waited not for the approval or
ratification of any treaty; with him the whole depended upon the alleged
fact of the Seminoles failing to bring in fugitive slaves--not upon
treaty, nor upon the ratification of treaties.[68]

[Sidenote: 1834.]

The Senate of the United States was subsequently called on by the
President to approve the treaty after the lapse of nearly two years from
its date. This was done, and the President by his proclamation
immediately declared it in force. It was said by public officers, then
in Florida, that had the Seminole delegation been permitted to give an
unbiased opinion to their people, there would not have been a man in the
Nation willing to migrate.[69]

The whole Nation became indignant at this treatment, and such was the
feeling against the agent that he deemed it prudent to retire from the
agency. General Wiley Thompson was appointed to succeed him. General
Clinch was appointed to the command of the troops, and every preparation
was made to insure the speedy removal of the Indians and Exiles west of
the Mississippi.

In the meantime, the Creeks learning that a tract of country was, by the
additional treaty, agreed to be set off to the separate use of the
Seminoles, saw clearly the influence which Abraham had exercised in the
matter, and, fearing their own designs for obtaining slaves would be
defeated through their principal chiefs, addressed a protest to the
Hon. Lewis Cass, then Secretary of War, remonstrating against the policy
of giving the Seminoles a _separate_ country.

These chiefs were sagacious men, who had attained distinction with the
Creeks by their manifestation of superior intelligence. Two of them,
Rolley McIntosh and Chilley McIntosh, sons of a Scotch trader who lived
with the Indians, had been educated, and were regarded as among the able
politicians of the day. They, together with "Toshatchee Mieco" and
"Lewis," urged the propriety of uniting the two tribes as one people,
without any separate organization. The next day they addressed another
letter to Secretary Cass, giving additional reasons and arguments why
the Seminoles should not have separate lands.[70]

The President had already adopted the policy of compelling the Seminoles
to unite under one government with the Creeks: and this stipulation for
_separate_ lands was introduced into the "additional treaty," by
commissioners who were not fully informed of the President's views. This
compact, entered into at Fort Gibson, erroneously called an "additional
treaty," was known to be void: neither the Seminole chiefs nor the
United States commissioners had authority to negotiate any treaty
whatever; and this stipulation, for holding separate lands by the
Seminoles, appears to have been totally disregarded by the Executive, as
will more fully appear hereafter.

Another circumstance had induced the Creeks to remain silent in regard
to the Exiles. By the treaty of Indian Spring, they had placed at the
President's disposal $250,000, out of which the slaveholders of Georgia
were to be paid for slaves and property lost prior to 1802. The
commissioners appointed to make the examination found but $109,000 due
the claimants under this stipulation, leaving in the hands of the
President $141,000 belonging to the Creeks. This, however, was claimed
by the slaveholders, in addition to the amount allowed by the treaty. To
obtain this money the slaveholders sent their petition to Congress. The
subject was referred to a committee, of which Mr. Gilmer, of Georgia,
was Chairman. The committee made a very elaborate report, setting forth
that the claimants had an equitable right to this money as an indemnity
"_for the loss of the offspring which the Exiles would have borne to
their masters had they remained in bondage_," and it is among the
inexplicable transactions of that day, that the bill passed, giving the
money to those claimants without the uttering of a protest, or the
statement of an objection, by any Northern representative or senator.

The Creeks now having paid the full amount stipulated in the treaty, and
being robbed of the $141,000, to compensate the slaveholders for
children who had never been born, were excited to madness. They believed
themselves to hold the beneficial interest in the bodies of the Exiles,
and determined to obtain possession of them.[71] They immediately sent a
delegation to the Seminoles to demand possession of the Exiles as their

While the Creeks were thus demanding possession of the refugees, the
Executive of the United States and his officers were endeavoring to
compel them to go West, where the Creeks could, without opposition, lay
hands upon them and enslave them.

The six Seminole chiefs holding reservations upon the Appalachicola
River owned some slaves, and with those slaves some of the Exiles had
intermarried. Each chief, by the terms of the treaty of Camp Moultrie,
was permitted to name the _men_ who were to reside with him, and such
chief became responsible for the conduct of the persons thus named;
while the United States stipulated to "afford the chiefs and their
people _protection against all persons whatsoever_."

The white settlements had extended to the vicinity of these
reservations, and the Exiles and Seminole slaves living on them were
more immediately exposed to the rapacity of the whites than were those
in the interior of the territory.

[Sidenote: 1835.]

The mania for obtaining slaves by piratical violence, seems to have
reached a point almost incredible to the people of the free States.
E-con-chattimico was one of the chiefs whose reservation lay on the west
side of the river. He had long been highly respected by the whites. He
owned some twenty slaves, who were residing with him in a state of
partial freedom--paying him an annual stipend of provisions for their
time, and holding such property as they could acquire. Connected with
these slaves, and with some of the Indians on the Reservation, were
about an equal number of Exiles, who had never known slavery, but whose
ancestors, in former generations, had toiled in bondage. Unwilling to
separate from their intimate friends and connexions, they had, as stated
in a former chapter, come here to occupy, with E-con-chattimico and his
friends, one of the extensive plantations which had been occupied by
their brethren who fell at Blount's Fort, in 1816. The chief had named
them as his friends, and a record of the fact had been deposited in the
office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; and for their conduct
E-con-chattimico was responsible, under the treaty of "Camp Moultrie;"
while, by the same instrument, the faith of the nation had been solemnly
pledged "to protect them _against all persons whatsoever_."

The piratical slave-dealers of Georgia looked upon these people, both
Exiles and slaves, with strong desire to possess them. One of these
fiends in human shape, named Milton, residing in Columbus, Georgia,
professed to have purchased them from a Creek Indian. The claim was
presented to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and by him referred to
Judge Cameron, of the United States District Court in Florida, for

The chief being a man of influence and respected by the whites, found
friends to espouse his cause. The claimant began to doubt his success
under such circumstances, and proposed to withdraw his claim; but so
flagrant was its fraudulent character, that Judge Cameron felt it his
duty to report upon it, showing it to be void.[72] This report was duly
transmitted to the proper department at Washington, and the Old Chief,
with his people, once more reposed in apparent security.

It has been alleged, that men who so far paralyze their own moral
sensibilities as to rob their fellow-men of their labor, their liberty,
their manhood, and hold them in degrading bondage, can not entertain any
clear conceptions of right and wrong. However this may be, it is certain
that men who deal in slaves, are ever regarded, even by slaveholders, as
destitute of moral sentiment.

In this case, Milton, finding that Judge Cameron had reported the claim
to be fraudulent and void, professed to sell his interest in these
people to certain other slaveholders, of Columbus. These men provided
themselves with chains, and fetters, and bloodhounds, and all the
paraphernalia of regular slave-dealers upon the African coast, and
descending the river in a steamboat, intended to surprise their victims
before any notice should be given of their approach. But some friendly
white, who had learned the intentions of the pirates, had whispered to
the aged chief the danger which threatened his people. They were soon
armed, and prepared to defend themselves or die in the attempt. The
desperadoes landed upon the Reservation; but finding the people armed,
and ready to receive them in a becoming manner, they retired into the
country and alarmed the settlers, by proclaiming that E-con-chattimico
had armed his people and was about to make war upon the whites. The news
flew in all directions; troops were mustered into service; an army was
organized and marched to the Reservation, and the proper officer sent,
with a white flag, to demand the object and intentions of the chief, in
arming his people. The old man was most indignant that his honor should
be impugned in such manner. He fully explained the cause which induced
his people to convene, and assume a hostile attitude towards those who
had come to rob them of their liberty.

The officers, who sympathized with the pirates, were sustained by
military force. They assured the old man that no persons should be
allowed to injure him or his people; that the country was alarmed, and
the public mind could only be pacified by a surrender of his arms and
ammunition. To this proposition he was constrained to yield. They took
his arms and ammunition, and left him defenseless. They remained
undisturbed, however, during the night; but the next morning the
slave-hunters returned, fully armed. They seized every negro residing
upon the Reservation, including both Exiles and the slaves of
E-con-chattimico, and, fastening the manacles upon their limbs, hurried
them off to Georgia, where they were sold into interminable
bondage.[73][74] They, and their ancestors, had enjoyed a hundred years
of freedom; but they were suddenly precipitated into all the sufferings
and sorrows of slavery, and now toil in chains, or have departed to that
land where slavery is unknown.

E-con-chattimico petitioned Congress for indemnity, but obtained no
redress. Neither the President, nor the Secretary of War, manifested any
interest in maintaining our most solemn treaty obligations with the
Indians, or attempted any redress for their violation. Disheartened and
broken down in spirits, E-con-chattimico yielded to General Jackson's
orders, emigrated to the western country, and spent the remainder of his
days in poverty and want.

Nor were the piracies of the white people confined to the crime of
kidnapping Exiles. They robbed the Indians and Exiles of horses, cattle
and money.

A chief named Blunt also held a reservation on the river, under the
treaty of Camp Moultrie. He had some friends among the Exiles who
preferred to occupy, with him, one of the plantations left destitute by
the murder of the people at "Blount's Fort," in 1816. He too had named
his friends and become responsible for their conduct, and relied upon
the pledged faith of the nation to protect them.

Some desperadoes, said to have come from Georgia, entered his
plantation, robbed him of a large amount of money, and carried away all
the negroes living on the Reserve.

Another chief named Walker, also residing on a reservation, with some
slaves and Exiles, discovered that a notorious slave-catcher from
Georgia, named Douglass, and some associates, were hanging around his
plantation, with the apparent intention of capturing and enslaving the
colored people. Warned by the outrage committed upon E-con-chattimico
and his people, both Indians and negroes collected together, armed
themselves, and determined to resist any violence that should be offered

When the piratical Georgians approached, they fired upon them. Finding
the people armed and determined to resist, the manstealers retreated and
disappeared. Feeling they were in danger, Walker wrote the Agent of the
Seminoles, calling for protection, according to the stipulations of the
treaty of Camp Moultrie. In his letter he says, "Are the free negroes
(Exiles), and negroes belonging to this town (slaves), to be _stolen
away publicly_ in the face of law and justice--carried off and sold to
fill the pockets of those worse than land pirates?"

This appeal was in vain. The Agent paid no attention to it. The
kidnappers were vigilant and watchful, and when their victims supposed
themselves safe, they stole upon them, seized them, and hurried them off
to the interior of Alabama, and sold them into slavery.

The scenes so often witnessed upon the slave coast of Africa became
common in Florida; while Georgia, and Alabama, and Florida, afforded a
class of men in no respect superior in morals to those outlaws and
pirates who pursue the foreign slave trade.

The dangers threatening the Exiles now became imminent. They saw clearly
they were to be enslaved, or compelled to resort to arms in defense of
their liberties. Their entire influence was exercised to prevent
emigration, as they feared that would subject them to Creek jurisdiction
and enslavement.

These objections were made known to the Department at Washington by the
Agent of the Seminoles, Wiley Thompson, who, in plain and unmistakable
language, informed the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that the
principal objection to removing West which operated upon the minds of
the Seminoles arose from the claim of the Creeks to those people who had
fled from Georgia prior to 1802, and extending back to the commencement
of the Revolutionary War. He assured the Department, that if the
Seminoles were compelled to remove West, _these descendants of the
Exiles would be enslaved by the Creeks_, and if they remained in
Florida, they would be enslaved by the whites. He told the Department in
plain language, that many of those negroes who had been born and raised
among the Indians had been enslaved by the people of Florida and of
Georgia, and were then held in bondage.[75]

Among other officers who espoused the cause of humanity at that period,
so interesting to the Exiles, was the veteran General Clinch. He was a
man of great probity of character--one of the most gallant officers in
the service--at the time in actual command of the troops in Florida. He
had long been acquainted with the Indians, and no man perhaps better
understood the character of the Exiles. He had twenty years before
commanded, the troops at the massacre of "Blount's Fort," and well
understood the persecutions to which the Exiles had been subjected. In
strong language, he pointed out the wrong about to be perpetrated upon
them, as well as upon the Seminoles. He informed the Secretary of War,
in direct and positive language, that if the Seminoles and their "negro
allies" were sent West, the _negroes would be enslaved by the

Hon. John H. Eaton, Governor of Florida, a warm personal and political
friend of the President, in whom it was believed the Executive reposed
great confidence, also wrote the department, delineating the wrongs
about to be perpetrated upon these colored people, who for several
generations had resided with the Seminoles.

These and other officers of Government united in the opinion, that these
"_negroes_," as they were generally called, exerted a controlling
influence over the Indians, and that it would be in vain to attempt the
removal of the Indians under these circumstances.

To these remonstrances, the Hon. Secretary of War, General Cass,
replied, with apparent determination to remove the Indians at any
expense of blood, of treasure, and of national reputation. The appeals
made to the justice of our Government were stigmatized "as the
promptings of a _false philanthropy_;" and our agents and officers were
directed to inform the Seminoles, in peremptory language, that they must
emigrate to the western country.

Laboring under the delusion that official station would add a
controlling influence to his language, General Cass transmitted to the
Indian Agent a speech, addressed to the Seminoles and their allies, in
which he endeavored to persuade them to emigrate and join the Creeks,
and subject themselves to Creek authority. The Seminoles and their
friends listened to the speech with that respectful attention which
would be expected from men who knew their lives and liberties were in

It was at one of these consultations, in the presence of their Agent,
that "Osceola," at that time a young warrior, attracted attention by
saying, "_this is the only treaty I will ever make with the whites_,"
at the same time drawing his knife and striking it forcibly into the
table before him.[77]

It was at this period that abandoned white men conceived the plan of
buying negroes from Seminoles while in a state of intoxication, and
selling them to the white people. If they could get an Indian drunk,
they could of course obtain from him a bill of sale of any negro they
pleased, whether the Indian had any title to him or not. This plan of
separating the Seminoles from their colored friends, it was thought
would conduce to their removal.

Applications to enter the Indian Territory for the purpose of purchasing
slaves were referred by the Secretary of War to the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, and by the latter officer to the Attorney General Felix
Grundy, who gravely reported, that he "saw no good reason why the white
people should not be permitted to buy slaves of the Indians;" and the
President having considered the matter, ordered permission to be granted
for that purpose.

Officers who were in Florida saw at once that this policy would kindle
the smothered indignation of the Indians and Exiles into a flame. The
Agent of the Seminoles, refusing to obey the orders thus given,
remonstrated against the policy in a letter addressed to the head of the
Department, in which he says: "The remark in your letter that it is not
presumed the condition of these negroes (the Exiles) would be worse than
that of others in the same section of country is true; yet you will
agree that the same remark would apply to _you, to me, or to any other
individual of the United States_, as we should, if subjected to slavery,
be in the precise condition of other slaves."

So general and so great was the indignation excited by this order for
establishing a commerce in human flesh with drunken Seminoles, that it
was soon after countermanded; yet the immediate emigration of the
Indians was urged with increased earnestness, although the Department of
War was informed by nearly every officer in the military and Indian
service of Florida, that they could not be induced to emigrate, so long
as the Exiles should be regarded as in danger of being subjected to
Creek authority.

But the stern decree had gone forth that "the Indians should prepare to
emigrate West and _join the Creeks;_" and the necessary preparations
were hurried forward both in the Military and Civil Departments of
Government. The Exiles and Seminoles saw clearly the terrible
alternative to which they were soon to be driven, and they turned their
attention to active preparations for the conflict. Their crops were
carefully secured; their cattle driven far into the interior; and their
women and children removed from the frontier to places of safety. They
omitted no opportunity of securing powder and lead; and while
associating with the white people, they manifested a bold contempt and
dislike for them, which gave gloomy forebodings of the future.



     The number of Exiles in Florida--Spanish Maroons--Seminole
     Slaves--Osceola--His Parentage--His Character--His Wife--Her
     Parentage and sad Fate--Imprisonment of Osceola--His Release--He
     swears Vengeance against Mr. Thompson--Decree of General
     Council--Fate of Charley E. Mathler--Osceola and followers seek the
     life of Thompson--Lay in wait near Fort King--Fate of Mr. Thompson
     and Lieut. Smith--Of the Sutler and his Clerks--General Clinch
     orders Major Dade to Fort King--The Major seeks a faithful
     Guide--Engages the Services of Louis, a Slave--His Learning and
     Character--He meditates the Massacre of Dade and his men--Councils
     with the Exiles--Arranges the plan of Massacre, and informs them of
     the time--Exiles and Indians rendezvous in Wahoo Swamp--Dade's
     Approach--The preparation--The Massacre--Osceola and Louis--The
     Exiles and Indians again meet in the Swamp for the

The number of Exiles at the commencement of the Second Seminole War, has
been variously estimated. Probably their whole number, including women
and children, was not less than twelve hundred. To these may be added
the slaves belonging to the Seminoles, estimated at two hundred, making
a population of fourteen hundred blacks. Most of the slaves lived with
the Exiles, separate and apart from their masters, paying a certain
quantity of vegetables annually, for the partial freedom which they
enjoyed. There were many half-breeds, however, some of whom resided with
the Indians, and others were located with the Exiles.

The Spanish population called the Exiles "Maroons," after a class of
free negroes who inhabit the mountains of Cuba, Jamaica, and other West
Indian islands. Indeed, some of the Maroons of Cuba appear to have
found their way to Florida,[78] and many of the Exiles passed from that
Territory to the West India Islands. Many officers of Government appear
to have known or cared little for these people, while others manifested
much intelligence and humanity in regard to them. We have already
noticed the efforts of Mr. Thompson, the Indian Agent, of Colonel
Clinch, and of Colonel Eaton, in behalf of the Exiles, who had long
resided in Florida.

During the summer, the Indians committed various depredations upon the
white people, such as stealing horses and killing cattle; but the first
open hostilities occurred on the twenty-eighth of December, when two
important and bloody tragedies took place, which left the country no
longer in doubt as to the actual existence of war.

A young and gallant warrior, named Osceola, was the principal actor in
one of these scenes. He was the son of an Indian trader, a white man,
named Powell. His mother was the daughter of a Seminole chief.

He had recently married a woman said to have been beautiful. She was the
daughter of a chief who had married one of the Exiles; but as all
colored people by slaveholding laws are said to follow the condition of
the mother, she was called an African slave. Osceola was proud of his
ancestry. He hated slavery, and those who practiced the holding of
slaves, with a bitterness that is but little understood by those who
have never witnessed its revolting crimes.

He visited Fort King, in company with his wife and a few friends, for
the purpose of trading. Mr. Thompson, the Agent, was present, and, while
engaged in business, the wife of Osceola was seized as a slave.
Evidently having negro blood in her veins, the law pronounced her a
slave; and, as no other person could show title to her, the pirate who
had got possession of her body, was supposed of course to be her owner.

[Illustration: As.se.he.ho.lar. (known as Osceola, or Powell.)]

Osceola became frantic with rage, but was instantly seized and placed in
irons, while his wife was hurried away to slaveholding pollution.[79] He
remained six days in irons, when, General Thompson says, he became
penitent, and was released.

From the moment when this outrage was committed, the Florida War may be
regarded as commenced. Osceola swore vengeance upon Thompson, and those
who assisted in the perpetration of this indignity upon himself, as well
as upon his wife, and upon our common humanity.

The Exiles endeavored to stimulate the Indians to deeds of valor. In
general council, they decreed that the first Seminole who should make
any movement preparatory to emigration, should suffer death. Charley E.
Mathler, a respected chief, soon after fell a victim to this decree.
Osceola commanded the party who slew him. He had sold a portion of his
cattle to the whites, for which he had received pay in gold. This money
was found upon his person when he fell. Osceola forbade any one touching
the gold, saying it was the price of the red man's blood, and with his
own hands he scattered it in different directions as far as he was able
to throw it.

But his chief object appeared to have been the death of General
Thompson. Other Indians and Exiles were preparing for other important
operations; but Osceola seemed intent, his whole soul was absorbed, in
devising some plan by which he could safely reach Mr. Thompson, who was
the object of his vengeance. He, or some of his friends, kept constant
watch on the movements of Thompson, who was unconscious of the danger to
which he was exposed. Osceola, steady to his purpose, refused to be
diverted from this favorite object. Thompson was at Fort King, and
there were but few troops to protect that fortress. But Indians seldom
attempt an escalade, and Osceola sought an opportunity to take it by
surprise. With some twenty followers, he lay secreted near the fort for
days and weeks, determined to find some opportunity to enter by the open
gate, when the troops should be off their guard.

Near the close of December, a runner brought him information that Major
Dade, with his command, was to leave Fort Brooke on the twenty-fifth of
that month, and that those who intended to share in the attack upon that
regiment, must be at the great "Wahoo Swamp," by the evening of the
twenty-seventh. This had no effect whatever upon Osceola. No
circumstance could withdraw him from the bloody purpose which filled his

On the twenty-eighth, in the afternoon, as he and his followers lay near
the road leading from the fort to the house of the sutler, which was
nearly a mile distant, they saw Mr. Thompson and a friend approaching.
That gentleman and his companions had dined, and, on taking their
cigars, he and Lieut. Smith, of the Second Artillery, had sallied forth
for a walk, and to enjoy conversation by themselves.

At a signal given by Osceola, the Indians fired. Thompson fell, pierced
by fourteen balls; Smith received about as many.[80] The shrill
war-whoop followed the sound of the rifles, and alarmed the people at
the fort. The Indians immediately scalped their victims, and then
hastened to the house, where Mr. Rogers, the sutler, and two clerks,
were at dinner. These three persons were instantly massacred and
scalped. The Indians took as many valuable goods as they could carry,
and set fire to the building. The smoke gave notice to those in the fort
of the fate that had befallen the sutler and his clerks. But the
condition in which the commandant found his troops, forbade his sending
out any considerable force to ascertain the fate of Thompson and his
companion. Near nightfall, a few daring spirits proceeded up the road to
the hommock, and brought the bodies to the fort; but Osceola and his
followers had hastened their flight, not from fear of the troops, but
with the hope of joining their companions at Wahoo in time to engage in
scenes of more general interest.

General Clinch had foreseen that hostilities were unavoidable, and, as
early as the fifteenth of November, had sought to increase the number of
troops at Fort King by such reinforcements as could be spared from other
stations. For this purpose, he ordered Major Dade, then at Fort Brooke,
near Tampa Bay, to prepare his command for a march to Fort King. The
distance was one hundred and thirty miles, through an unsettled forest,
much diversified with swamps, lakes and hommocks. No officer nor soldier
could be found who was acquainted with the route, and a guide was
indispensable: yet men competent to the discharge of so important a
trust were rarely to be found, for the lives of the regiment might
depend upon the intelligence and fidelity of their conductor.

At this point in our history, even before the commencement of general
hostilities, we are led to the acquaintance of one of the most romantic
characters who bore part in the stirring scenes of that day. On making
inquiry for a suitable guide, the attention of Major Dade was directed
to a colored man named Louis. He was the slave of one of the old and
respectable Spanish families, named Pacheco, who resided in the vicinity
of Fort Brooke. Major Dade applied to the master, Antonio Pacheco, for
information concerning his slave, and was assured that Louis, then near
thirty years of age, was one of the most _faithful_, _intelligent_, and
_trustworthy_ men he had ever known. He had also been well bred, was
polite, accomplished, and learned. He read, wrote, and spoke, with
facility, the Spanish, French, and English languages, and spoke the
Indian, and was perfectly familiar with the route to Fort King, having
frequently traveled it.

Pleased with the character and appearance of Louis, Major Dade entered
into an agreement with the master for his services in conducting the
troops through the forest to Fort King, at the rate of twenty-five
dollars per month, and stated the time at which the service was to
commence. The contract was made in the presence of Louis, who listened
attentively to the whole arrangement, to which he of course gave his own

Louis Pacheco was too enlightened to smother the better sympathies of
the human heart. He was well informed, and understood the efforts that
were making to reënslave his brethren, the Exiles. With many of them he
had long been acquainted; he had witnessed the persecutions to which
they had been subjected, the outrages heaped upon them, and now saw
clearly the intention to subject them to slavery among the Creeks. He
had spent his own life thus far in servitude, and, although his
condition was regarded with envy by the plantation servants around him,
he yet sighed for freedom.

Blessed with an intellect of no ordinary mould, he reflected deeply upon
his condition, and determined upon his course. Hostilities had not yet
commenced, and he was in the daily habit of conversing with Indians, and
often with Exiles. He was well acquainted with the character of each,
and knew the men to whom he could communicate important information with
safety. To a few of the Exiles, men of integrity and boldness, he
imparted the facts that Dade, with his troops, would leave Fort Brooke
about the twenty-fifth of December, for Fort King, and that he, Louis,
was to act as their guide; that he would conduct them by the trail
leading near the Great Wahoo Swamp, and pointed out the proper place for
an attack.[81]

This information was soon made known to the leading and active Exiles,
and to a few of the Seminole chiefs and warriors. The Exiles, conscious
that the war was to be waged on their account, were anxious to give
their friends some suitable manifestation of their prowess. They desired
as many of the Exiles capable of bearing arms as could assemble at a
certain point in the Great Wahoo Swamp, to meet them there as early as
the twenty-seventh of December, armed, and prepared to commence the war
by a proper demonstration of their gallantry.

Information was sent to Osceola and his followers, inviting them to be
present. They were lying secreted near Fort King, too intent upon the
death of Thompson to turn their eyes for a moment from their victim.
However, many other chiefs and warriors assembled at the time and place
designated, in order to witness what they supposed would be the first
scene in the great drama about to be acted. Their spies detached for
that purpose, arrived at their rendezvous almost hourly, bringing
information of the commencement of Dade's march, the number of men
forming his battalion, and their places of encampment each night.

In the evening of the twenty-seventh, their patrols brought word that
Dade and his men had arrived within three miles of the point at which
they intended to attack them. Of course every preparation was now made
for placing themselves in ambush at an early hour, along the trail in
which it was expected the troops would pass. The scouts reported that
precisely one hundred and ten men constituted the force which they
expected to encounter, and the official report fully confirms the
accuracy of their intelligence. The Exiles looked to the coming day with
great intensity of feeling. More than two hundred years since, their
ancestors had been piratically seized in their own country, and forcibly
torn from their friends--from the land of their nativity. For a time
they submitted to degrading bondage; but more than a century had elapsed
since they fled from South Carolina, and found an asylum under Spanish
law in the wilds of Florida. There their fathers and mothers had been
buried. They had often visited their graves, and mourned over the sad
fate to which their race appeared to be doomed. For fifty years they had
been subjected to almost constant persecution at the hands of our
Government. The blood of their fathers, brothers and friends, massacred
at "Blount's Fort," was yet unavenged. They had seen individuals from
among them piratically seized and enslaved. Their friends, residing with
E-con-chattimico and with Walker, had been openly and flagrantly
kidnapped, and sold into interminable servitude, where they were then
sighing and moaning in degrading bondage. In looking forward, they read
their intended doom, clearly written in the slave codes of Florida and
the adjoining States, which could only be avoided by their most
determined resistance. If they behaved worthy of men in their condition,
their influence with their savage allies would be confirmed, and they
would be able to control their action on subsequent occasions. Every
consideration, therefore, tended to nerve them to the work of death
which lay before them.

In the meantime, their victims were reposing at only four or five miles
distant in conscious security. Their encampment had been selected
according to military science. The men and officers were encamped in
scientific order. Their guards were placed, their patrols sent out, and
every precaution taken to prevent surprise. They had seen service, and
cheerfully encountered its hardships, privations, and dangers, but had
no suspicion of the fate that awaited them on the coming day.

At early dawn, the men were paraded, the roll called, and the order for
regulating the day's march given. They were then dismissed for
breakfast, and at eight o'clock, resumed their march, and proceeded on
their way in the full expectation of reaching their destination by the
evening of that day.

But the insidious foe had been equally vigilant. They had left their
island encampment with the first light of the morning, and each had
taken his position along the trail in which the troops were expected to
march, but at some thirty or forty yards distant. Each man was hidden by
a tree, which was to be his fortress during the expected action. A few
rods on the other side of the trail lay a pond of water, whose placid
surface reflected the glittering rays of the morning sun. All was
peaceful and quiet as the breath of summer.

Unsuspicious of the hidden death which beset their pathway, the troops
entered this defile, and passed along until their rear had come within
the range of the enemies' rifles, when, at a given signal, each warrior
fired, while his victim was in full view and unprotected. One-half of
that ill-fated band, including the gallant Dade, fell at the first fire.
The remainder were thrown into disorder. The officers endeavored to
rally them into line; but their enemy was unseen, and ere they could
return an effective shot, a second discharge from the hidden foe laid
one-half their remaining force prostrate in death. The survivors
retreated a short distance toward their encampment of the previous
night, and, while most of the Exiles and Indians were engaged in
scalping the dead and tomahawking those who were disabled, they formed a
hasty breastwork of logs for their defense. They were, however, soon
invested by the enemy, and the few who had taken shelter behind their
rude defenses were overcome and massacred by the Exiles, who conversed
with them in English, and then dispatched them.[82] Only two individuals
beside Louis, the guide, made their escape. Their gallant commander, his
officers and soldiers, whose hearts had beat high with expectation in
the morning, at evening lay prostrate in death; and as the sable victors
relaxed from their bloody work, they congratulated each other on having
revenged the death of those who, twenty years previously, had fallen at
the massacre of "Blount's Fort." The loss of the allied forces
was--three killed and five wounded.

After burying their own dead, they returned to the island in the swamp
long before nightfall. To this point, they brought the spoils of
victory, which were deemed important for carrying on the war. Night had
scarcely closed around them, however, when Osceola and his followers
arrived from Fort King, bringing intelligence of the death of Thompson
and Lieutenant Smith, together with the sutler and his two clerks.
There, too, was Louis, the guide to Dade's command. He was now _free_!
He engaged in conversation with his sable friends. Well knowing the time
and place at which the attack was to be made, he had professed necessity
for stopping by the way-side before entering the defile; thus
separating himself from the troops and from danger. Soon as the first
fire showed him the precise position of his friends, he joined them; and
swearing eternal hostility to all who enslave their fellow men, lent his
own efforts in carrying forward the work of death, until the last
individual of that doomed regiment sunk beneath their tomahawks.

The massacre of the unfortunate Dade and his companions, and the murder
of Thompson and his friends, at Fort King, occurred on the same day, and
constituted the opening scenes of the second Seminole War.

[Sidenote: 1847.]

We bespeak the indulgence of the reader, while we digress from the
chronological narration of events which followed consecutively upon this
opening of the second Seminole War, in order to give a short sketch of
some incidents which occurred in Congress, and were connected with the
employment of Louis, and his subsequent service with the enemy.

Twelve years after the massacre of Dade's command, Antonio Pacheco
presented his petition to Congress, setting forth that he had been the
owner of a valuable slave named Louis; that he hired him as guide to
Major Dade to conduct his command from "Fort Brooke" to "Fort King;"
that at the time of Dade's defeat, Louis had been _captured by the
Indians_, and by them had been subsequently surrendered to Major General
Jessup, and by that officer sent to the Indian country, west of the
Mississippi, whereby he became lost to his owner, who, therefore, prayed
Congress to grant him full indemnity for his loss.

Among the proofs accompanying this petition was a letter from General
Jessup, setting forth that, after Louis had been employed to act as
guide, he had kept up a correspondence with the "Seminole negroes,"
informing them of the intended march of Major Dade, etc. He also
represented Louis as a man of extraordinary intellect and learning,
declaring that he regarded him as a _dangerous_ man; that he would have
had him tried and hanged, instead of sending him West, if he had found
leisure to attend to it; that from prudential motives he had sent him
to the Indian country; and stated that he was worth a _thousand

The case was most interesting in its character. Louis was probably the
most dangerous enemy of the United States at that time in Florida. With
his intelligence, he must have felt an inveterate hostility to the
Government and the people, who robbed him of his most sacred right to
liberty. Probably his former master and family were in greater danger
from his vengeance than any other persons. He had surrendered to General
Jessup as prisoner of war with arms in his hands; had been treated--very
properly treated--as a prisoner of war: therefore, the master called on
the people of the nation to pay him a thousand dollars for protecting
him, his family, friends and nation from the fury of his own slave; and
General Jessup and many Northern Representatives exerted their personal
and political influence to sustain the claim.

The petition and accompanying papers were referred to the committee on
Military Affairs, a majority of whom were known to be favorable to the
interests of slavery. At the head of it was the Hon. Armisted Burt, of
South Carolina, a man of intelligence and influence. He appeared devoted
to the interests of the "peculiar institution."

[Sidenote: 1848.]

Having examined the case, he presented it to the consideration of the
committee, and a majority at once agreed to sustain a bill giving to the
owner a fair compensation for the loss of his slave. The Chairman agreed
to draw up a report sustaining the bill, and present it to the committee
the next morning.

Hon. John Dickey, of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, now deceased, was also
a member of the committee. He boarded at the same house with the author
of this narrative. While at tea that evening, Mr. Dickey remarked, that
his committee were about to report a bill to pay for this slave, and
said, if he were familiar with the subject, he would draw up a minority
report against the bill. A gentleman sitting at the table remarked, that
other gentlemen, who were familiar with the subject, would doubtless
feel willing to lend him any aid in their power. All however agreed,
that an evening was too short a time to draw up a suitable report on so
important a question; yet it was known that slaveholders controlled the
action of the House, and they showed no courtesy to those opposed to the
"peculiar institution," and would of course grant no time to draw up a
minority report. After tea, Mr. Dickey and another gentleman retired to
a room by themselves, and before sunrise the next morning, had completed
the report, which now appears among the House Documents, Thirtieth
Congress, first session, numbered 187, filling sixteen heavy octavo
pages of printed matter. At ten o'clock the committee met, and, having
listened to the report of their Chairman, they were called on to hear
that of Mr. Dickey, which took distinct and unmistakable grounds against
the right of men to hold their fellow-beings as _property_, under the
Federal Constitution. This case furnishes the first instance in which
the records of the nation show a minority report from any committee
_against_ slavery. Mr. Dickey, having taken his position, stood firmly
upon the doctrines he had avowed in his report; and the other members of
the committee took their choice between the report of Mr. Burt and that
of Mr. Dickey.

General Dudley Marvin, of New York, General James Wilson, of New
Hampshire, and Hon. David Fisher, of Ohio, signed the report of Mr.
Dickey; while the four Democratic members, all of whom resided in the
slave States, signed that of Mr. Burt. So far as the committee were
concerned, the five Democratic members assumed the position now occupied
by that party, to wit, that under our Federal Constitution, man may
hold, sell and transfer human beings as property; while the four Whig
members based their action upon the doctrine now occupied by the
Republican party--that, under our Federal Constitution, men cannot be
transformed into brutes; nor can one man hold _property_ in another.

The reports of the majority and minority were printed, and attracted
attention among the members; but the bill did not come up for discussion
until the next session. On the twenty-third of the following December,
the committee of the whole House, in passing through its calendar of
private claims, reached this case. Mr. Dickey led off in a short, but
well-arranged argument, sustaining his report. His remarks were so well
directed and so pertinent, that, near the close of his speech, Mr. Burt
called him to order, for _discussing the subject of slavery_. Upon the
conclusion of Mr. Dickey's remarks, General Wilson of New Hampshire
obtained the floor, and the House adjourned.

The bill did not come up again for discussion until the twenty-ninth.
Before going into committee on that day, Mr. Rockwell, of Connecticut,
Chairman of the committee on Claims, offered a resolution closing debate
on this bill at half-past one o'clock, allowing but one hour and a
quarter for the discussion of this important question, which now
agitates the whole Union; but it was regarded at that time as
meritorious in any member to prevent agitation of the subject of
slavery, and the resolution passed with little opposition. When the
House resolved itself into committee of the whole, Mr. Wilson, of New
Hampshire, delivered his views, sustaining the report of the minority of
the committee; making the question distinctly to depend upon the right
of men to hold property in men, under the Federal Constitution.

Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, followed in a few remarks, taking strong
ground in favor of the principle, that slaves are _property_, to the
same extent that horses and cattle are property. Mr. Cabel, of Florida,
followed in a few words to the same point. Here the time for closing the
debate arrived; but Mr. Burt, having reported the bill, held the right
to speak one hour, under the rules, in reply to those who opposed its
passage. He had evidently expected the bill would pass without serious
opposition, and had become somewhat excited by the difficulties with
which he had to contend; confident however of final success, he at once
declared the only question to be, that of _property in human flesh_.
Many Northern men were unwilling to meet this bald question. Mr.
Collamer, of Vermont, interrupted Mr. Burt, inquiring, if there were not
other questions of law involved? Burt replied, with some degree of
arrogance, that he would "leave no other loop-hole for gentlemen to
escape." This supercilious bearing of Mr. Burt greatly delighted some
Northern members, while it appeared greatly to embarrass others; but his
speech was the last, and, there being no opportunity for reply, every
thing gave promise of a triumphant victory to the slaveholders.

After the conclusion of this speech, the vote was taken in committee,
where no record was kept, and stood for the bill _seventy_, against it
_forty-four_--the majority being even greater than the slaveholders
expected. The bill was then reported to the House, and Mr. Crowell, of
Ohio, moved to lay it on the table, and called for the yeas and nays;
and the recorded vote stood, ayes _sixty-six_, noes _eighty-five_--being
a majority of nineteen in favor of the claim. The bill was then ordered
to a third reading without division.

Soon as this result was announced, the Author moved a reconsideration of
this vote. The reconsideration being a privileged question, he held the
floor, and was proceeding to deliver his views, but gave way for an

[Sidenote: 1849.]

On the sixth of January, the bill again came up in the regular order of
business, and Mr. Giddings concluded his remarks. He endeavored to meet
the arrogance of Mr. Burt, clearly and as fully as his abilities would
permit. He accepted the challenge thrown out by that member, that he
would leave no other loop-hole for gentlemen to escape, than by meeting
the question of _property in human flesh_. To this point he directed his
remarks, attempting to show the doctrine of Mr. Burt to be opposed to
the Declaration of Independence, to the Constitution of the United
States, to civilization, to the dictates of our common humanity.[83]
When he concluded his remarks, he withdrew his motion to reconsider, in
order to test the sense of the House on the passage of the bill, which
would be the next question in order.

As the roll was called, and the votes given, the result became doubtful,
and much interest was manifested in all parts of the hall. The bill and
discussion had been thrust upon the House by slaveholders: its whole
merits were based upon the most vital principles of slavery. The
question of property in human flesh, constitutes one of the essential
elements of the institution, without which it could not survive one
hour. The slave power had not for many years been defeated on any
proposition touching slavery, and it appeared painful for those
interested in that institution to have their influence doubted.

The Clerk (a deputy) was engaged a long time in counting the votes, and
ascertaining the result. He was a slaveholder, and appeared perplexed;
some members, even before he made report of the vote, expressed doubts
of his accuracy. At length he passed his report to the Chair. The
Speaker, Mr. Winthrop of Massachusetts, casting his eye upon the
figures, rose from his seat, and announced the vote--"ayes _ninety_,
noes _eighty-nine_," and then remarking that the rules of the House made
it his duty to vote in all cases when such vote would _change the
result_, began to give his reasons for the vote he was about to record,
and as he proceeded it became evident that he was _opposed to the bill_.
The Clerk then handed him another paper, and the Speaker, after reading
it, announced that the Clerk had mistaken the vote, and without saying
more, announced--"ayes _ninety-one_, noes _eighty-nine_," and declared
the bill "_passed_."

The interest had now become intense in all parts of the hall. It was
perfectly natural that men should be suspicious of the Clerk. Mr.
Dickey, in particular, had taken a deep interest in the question. He was
sitting near the Author, and expressed freely the opinion, that the
Clerk had reported the vote incorrectly. So strong was this belief, that
he went to the Clerk, and demanded a copy of the record giving the ayes
and noes. The Clerk promised to give it soon. Dickey waited a short
time, and renewed his call on the Clerk, who again promised. Dickey,
after waiting a proper time, went to the Clerk's table, and took the
record of yeas and nays, and brought it to the seat of the Author, and
requested his assistance in counting the vote. They counted and
_re_-counted several times, but were unable to make the vote other than
"_eighty-nine_ ayes, and _eighty-nine_ noes"--showing a tie vote; which,
without the Speaker's vote, would have defeated the bill. Dickey
returned the record to the Clerk, and then called the attention of the
House and the Speaker to the fact, that the Clerk had inaccurately
reported the vote. The Speaker replied, if an error had occurred, the
proper time to correct it would be the next morning, on reading the
Journal, when a motion to correct the entry would be in order, in
preference to any other business.

On looking over the list, it was subsequently discovered, that the vote
of Hon. John W. Farrelly of Crawford county, Pennsylvania, was not
recorded. This added intensity to the interest already felt on the

The next meeting of the House was on Monday, when the Speaker recited
the facts as they occurred on Saturday, and declared that, on a more
careful examination, it was found that the vote stood--"ayes
_eighty-nine_, noes _eighty-nine_."

Mr. Farrelly inquired, if his vote was recorded? The Speaker informed
him it was not, but that it was his right to have it recorded, if he had
actually voted on the passage of the bill. That gentleman declared that
he had voted _no_, on the passage of the bill, and the vote being
recorded, the Speaker declared the result to be "_ayes eighty-nine,
noes_ NINETY," and then announced the bill "_lost_!"

The friends of freedom were greatly cheered, from the consideration,
that party ties had not been strong enough to control members on this
important vote. Of the twenty-one members from Ohio, only Mr. Ritchey of
Perry, Mr. Cummins of Tuscarawas, and Mr. Taylor of Ross, voted with the
slaveholders; while such Democrats as Messrs. Faran, Fries, Kennon,
Lamb, Miller, Morris, Sawyer and Starkweather voted against the doctrine
that men and women may be held and treated as property. Indeed, there
were but few Representatives from the free States willing to recognize
that doctrine. No member from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin or Iowa voted for it.
From Maine, Messrs. Clapp, Clarke and Williams; from New York, Messrs.
Birdsal, McClay, Murphy, Necoll and Tallmadge; from Pennsylvania,
Messrs. Brady, Bridges, Brodhead, Charles Brown, C. J. Ingersol, Levin
and Job Mann; from Indiana, Messrs. Dunn, R. W. Thompson and Wick; and
from Illinois, Messrs. McClernand and Richardson voted to pay Pacheco a
thousand dollars, because General Jessup sent a most dangerous enemy out
of Florida.

Mr. Burt, and the friends of slavery generally, appeared irritated by
defeat. They had driven their Northern allies to revolt. The more they
reflected upon the subject, the more important the issue appeared. They
had caused great agitation, while professing to deprecate all discussion
in regard to slavery. If slaves were not _property_ under the Federal
Constitution, they must be regarded as _persons_. If the civilized world
looked upon them as persons, those who held them in bondage must of
course be considered as oppressors of mankind, and could have no claim
to the title of Democrats or of Christians. In every point of view, the
result appeared disastrous to the slave power.

It was under these circumstances, that the Hon. William Sawyer of Ohio,
was induced to move a reconsideration of the vote by which the bill was
lost. From the fact that none but those voting in the negative could by
the rules of the House move a reconsideration, and that he subsequently
voted against his own motion, it is probable he made it from personal
kindness to those who supported the bill. On this motion, a long
discussion subsequently arose, which did not terminate until the
nineteenth of January, when the motion to reconsider prevailed, and on
the final passage of the bill the vote stood--ayes 101, noes 95. So the
bill was passed by the House of Representatives, and the struggle in
that body terminated. But the bill was never brought up for discussion
in the Senate, and the claim was never more moved in either House of
Congress. The question of property in human flesh, however, continued to
be discussed by the people, and in Congress, until it has become one of
the great issues on which political parties now base their action.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--The life of this slave Louis is perhaps the most romantic of any
man now living. Born and reared a slave, he found means to cultivate his
intellect--was fond of reading; and while gentlemen in the House of
Representatives were engaged in discussing the value of his bones and
sinews, he could probably speak and write more languages with ease and
facility than any member of that body. In revenge for the oppression to
which he was subjected, he conceived the purpose of sacrificing a
regiment of white men, who were engaged in the support of slavery. This
object effected, he asserted his own natural right to freedom, joined
his brethren, and made bloody war upon the enemies of liberty. For two
years, he was the steady companion of Coacoochee, or, as he was
afterwards called, "Wild Cat," who subsequently became the most warlike
chief in Florida. They traversed the forests of that territory together,
wading through swamps and everglades, groping their way through
hommocks, and gliding over prairies. They bivouacked together; suffered
heat and cold, hunger and thirst, together. For two years, they stood
shoulder to shoulder in every battle; shared their victories and defeats
together; and when General Jessup had pledged the faith of the nation
that all Indians who would surrender should be protected in the
enjoyment of their slaves, Wild Cat appeared at head quarters, followed
by Louis, whom he claimed as his property, under slaveholding law, as he
said he had captured him at the time of Dade's defeat. The ruse took.
General Jessup, being a slaveholder, and believing that slaves, like
horses and cattle, were the subjects of capture, immediately sent Louis
with other black warriors to Fort Pike, near New Orleans, and thence
with the first emigrating party of Seminoles to the western country,
where he was three years subsequently joined by Coacoochee, and these
friends, again united, became intimate, sharing together the fortunes
which awaited them, of which we shall speak in due time.



     The Allies in their Camp--News of General Clinch's advance--Two
     hundred men volunteer to meet him--His force--The Allies await his
     approach in ambush--He crosses the river in another place--They
     attack him--The battle--His intrepidity saves his army--The loss of
     the Allies--The loss of General Clinch--Escape of Florida
     slaves--Their blood-thirsty conduct--Families murdered--Dwellings
     burned--Inhabitants flee to villages--Their suffering--Effects of
     the War--General Jackson--Members of Congress--General Cass--His
     views and policy--Orders General Scott to Florida--General Gaines
     moves upon Florida with his Brigade--Reaches the scene of Dade's
     massacre--Buries the dead--Visits Fort King--While returning, is
     attacked--Ino, the Exile Chief--His character--The Allies surround
     General Gaines--His position--Is closely invested--Sends for
     assistance--Provisions fail--Unauthorized Interference of
     Cæsar--Flag of Truce--General Clinch arrives, and fires upon the
     Allies--They flee--General Gaines returns to Fort Brooks--General
     Clinch returns to Fort Drane.

The night after the massacre of Dade and his companions was spent in
exultation by the allies. Osceola and his friends brought with them from
the sutler's store various goods, with which they decorated their
persons; while the numerous scalps taken from the heads of their
enemies, were displayed as trophies of victory. They had also found
among the stores with which Major Dade's party were provided, sufficient
rum and whisky to intoxicate most of them, and their rejoicings and
felicitations continued, for hours, amid the darkness of night.

It was a late hour in the morning when they awoke from the stupor
occasioned by severe labors of the previous day, and the night's
debauch. Before they had refreshed themselves with the morning's meal,
their scouts arrived, bringing intelligence that troops were advancing
towards the Withlacoochee, in pursuit of Indians and Exiles. General
Clinch had been lying at Fort Drane. He clearly saw the evidence of
approaching hostilities; and, although wholly unconscious of the danger
which had threatened Major Dade, had felt it his duty to raise such
forces as he could command, and advance into the Indian country as far
as the Withlacoochee. He gathered about two hundred Regulars, from the
1st, 2d and 3d Artillery, and, with some four hundred Florida
volunteers, under General C. K. Call, had nearly reached the
Withlacoochee before the captors of Dade were informed of his approach.

About two hundred warriors, fifty of whom were Exiles, volunteered to
meet this army, of three times their own number, under the command of
one of the most able and gallant officers at that time in the service of
the United States.

Osceola and Halpatter-Tustenuggee commanded the allies. They hastened to
the crossing of the Withlacoochee, and there lay awaiting the approach
of General Clinch. Here the water was not more than two feet in depth,
and they entertained no doubt that the advancing forces would seek this
place for the purpose of fording the stream. Here they waited until the
morning of the thirtieth, when they learned that General Clinch, with
his two hundred Regulars, had already passed the stream some two miles
below. He had effected his passage by the aid of a bark canoe, which
carried only eight men at a time.

Having attained a position on the south side of the river with his
Regulars, General Clinch was ready for battle; although the four hundred
volunteers were yet on the north side of the stream. The Indians and
Exiles immediately engaged these veteran troops, although sustained by a
heavy force of volunteers, who were yet on the opposite side of the
river. At twelve o'clock, on the thirtieth of December, the contending
forces engaged, and a severe and deadly conflict followed.

As Osceola now for the first time engaged in battle, he felt anxious to
distinguish himself by his intrepidity. His voice was heard on every
part of the field, urging on his troops to deeds of daring. Undaunted by
the shrill war-whoop, and the constant report of Indian rifles and the
whistling balls around him, General Clinch charged his enemy. The allies
fell back, and he continually advanced until he drove them from the
thick hommock into the open forest. The gallant general coolly passed
along the lines during the action encouraging his men, and stimulating
them to effort by his presence and bravery. A ball passed through his
cap and another through the sleeve of his coat, to which he paid no
attention, but continued to encourage his men.

The Exiles also displayed unusual gallantry. Feelings which had
descended from father to son through several generations, had been
recently inflamed to the highest degree of indignant hatred. Conscious
that they were contending for their homes, their firesides, their
families, their liberties, they fought with desperation, and their aim
was fatal. Unfortunately, Osceola was wounded and disabled early in the
contest, and it was said that the Indians did not exhibit that undaunted
firmness on the field that was manifested by their more dusky allies.
They suffered less than our troops. Two negroes and one Indian were
killed, and three negroes and two Indians wounded--the loss of the
Exiles being twice as great as that of the Indians, although they
numbered but one-fourth of the allied force.

The battle continued an hour and twenty minutes. During this time, the
regular troops under Colonel Clinch were subjected to a brisk fire, and
their loss was severe. Eight men were killed and forty wounded, of whom
about one-third died of their wounds. Several officers were also
wounded. The militia consulted their own safety by refusing to expose
themselves to the fire of the enemy; while the regular troops lost, in
killed and wounded, nearly one-fourth of their number. The allies drew
off, leaving Colonel Clinch in possession of the field; but the victory
had been won at great expense of blood; and the determined coolness and
gallantry of the veteran officer who commanded our forces, saved them
from a total defeat.

The blows thus far had fallen most heavily upon our own troops. It
became evident, that the carrying out of General Jackson's policy, of
removing the Exiles and Indians from Florida, in order to encourage and
sustain slavery, was to be attended with great sacrifice of blood and
treasure. But while the Government and people were looking at these
unexpected exhibitions of firmness and love of liberty, on the part of
the allied forces, other scenes were presented to their view. The
fugitive slaves who had recently left their masters in Florida and
joined the Exiles, were stimulated with that hatred which slavery alone
can engender in the human breast. They thirsted for revenge upon those
who had held them in bondage; who had scourged and tortured them. They
were acquainted with the location of the small settlements throughout
the Territory. Uniting with the more daring spirits among the Indians
and Exiles, they proceeded rapidly and stealthily from plantation to
plantation, burning buildings, destroying property, and scattering
devastation throughout the border settlements; at times murdering whole
families, killing and scalping such individuals as fell in their way.

Men who had urged on the war with the hope of seizing and enslaving the
maroons of the interior, now saw their own plantations laid waste, and
in frequent instances mourned the loss of wives and children, instead of
rejoicing over captured slaves, whom they had intended to acquire by
piratical force. Farms, and the smaller villages on the frontier, were
abandoned to the enemy; and the inhabitants fled to the larger villages,
where they banded together for mutual defense. The citizens of Florida
who had petitioned General Jackson for the forcible removal of the
Indians, because they failed to capture and return slaves, were now
compelled to flee, with their families, before the infuriated servants
who had left them subsequently to the signing of that petition. Driven
from their homes--their property destroyed, their servants fled--many
families, who but a few months previously had been regarded as wealthy,
were now suffering from the want of bread.[84]

The whole scene was calculated to impress statesmen and people with that
religious philosophy which teaches, that every violation of justice or
of moral principle, is, by the immutable law of the Creator, inseparably
connected with an appropriate penalty. All that the Exiles or Indians
had ever asked or desired of the American Government, was to leave them
to themselves; to permit them to remain as they were, as they had been
for many generations.

The war on our part had not been commenced for the attainment of any
high or noble purpose. No desire to elevate mankind, or confer benefits
upon our race, had guided our national policy in commencing the war. Our
national influence and military power had been put forth to reënslave
our fellow men; to transform immortal beings into chattels, and make
them the property of slaveholders; to oppose the rights of human nature;
and the legitimate fruits of this policy were gathered in a plentiful
harvest of crime, bloodshed and individual suffering.

The great body of the people were ignorant as to the real causes of the
war. General Jackson had been popular as a military officer, and was not
less so as President of the United States. With his political friends
his will was law. The opposing political party were comparatively few in
numbers. They feared his power; and no member of either Senate or House
of Representatives appeared willing to expose the great moral crimes
which the Government was committing against humanity. Hence Congress
granted whatever supplies were demanded for carrying on this piratical
war, and enabling the President to slay those who refused to be

[Sidenote: 1836.]

General Cass, a statesman with whose character the present generation is
familiar, was Secretary of War. On him devolved the duty of controlling
the movements of the army. Unfortunately for him and for mankind, he
appears to have regarded moral and political duties as separate and
distinct in their character. He evidently believed that no moral
turpitude was attached to movements of the army, and the outrages
committed upon the Indians and Exiles, in order to compel them to
emigrate to the western country. He ordered Major General Scott to the
field, as Commanding General of the army in Florida (Jan. 20), with
authority to call on the Governors of South Carolina, Georgia and
Alabama for such troops as he should deem necessary. General Eustis,
commanding at Charleston, South Carolina, was directed to repair at once
to Florida with such forces as were stationed in that city and Savannah,
and to accept the services of such number of volunteers as he might deem
necessary under the circumstances.

Major General Gaines, commanding the western military department,
holding his head quarters at New Orleans, hearing of the sad fate of
Major Dade and his regiment, embarked at once with a brigade of eleven
hundred men, and reached "Fort Brooke" on the tenth of January. On the
thirteenth, he took up his line of march for "Fort King," and on the
nineteenth, encamped upon the same ground which Major Dade had occupied
on the night of the twenty-seventh of December. The next day they took
possession of the field of massacre, and buried the bodies of those who
had fallen in that unfortunate conflict. He then proceeded to Fort King,
where he arrived on the twenty-second. Leaving Fort King on the
twenty-fifth, he took a more westerly route back toward Fort Brooke.

On the twenty-seventh, as he was seeking a place at which to cross the
Withlacoochee, the allied forces opened a fire upon his advanced guard
from the opposite bank. The firing increased as other forces were
brought into action, and continued for more than two hours, ceasing with
the nightfall.

There were resident at different points upon the Withlacoochee many
families of Exiles. Their commander was named "Ino" of whom General
Jessup speaks in respectful terms. He is said to have been their
principal counselor, and one of the most important chiefs among the
Exiles. He, and such of his men as could be collected, hastily joined
the allied forces already in the field, and shared in the dangers of
that and of several following days. Both parties bivouacked upon the
field, on the different sides of the river, and at daylight the next
morning every man had his arms in readiness for renewing the conflict.

At sunrise, General Gaines moved down the river three miles, where he
expected to find a suitable ford; but on reaching it, the Indians and
Exiles opened a brisk fire upon his men. Lieutenant Izard of the
dragoons, endeavoring to rally his men to ascertain the possibility of
fording the stream, fell by a shot from the opposite bank.

Finding it impossible to ford the river, attempts were made to construct
rafts; but the fire upon the men employed was so galling that they were
ordered back out of the range of the enemies' shot. During these
movements, the Exiles, understanding the English language, kept up a
conversation with the whites on the opposite side of the river, and
tauntingly defied them. General Gaines was too well acquainted with the
Indian mode of warfare to attempt a retreat, under the circumstances
with which he was surrounded. He at once dispatched an express to
General Clinch, who was at Fort Drane, directing that officer to repair
as soon as possible to his relief with such troops as he could at the
moment bring with him. General Gaines soon after retired with his forces
into a pine barren, half a mile from the river, threw up a breastwork of
logs for the protection of his men, and awaited reinforcements.

The allied forces were estimated by General Gaines at fifteen hundred,
though subsequent reports show they did not exceed five hundred Indians
and two hundred negroes. He was immediately invested in his fortified
camp, but he coolly awaited the arrival of General Clinch. As the enemy
crossed the river in large forces, and became more bold in their
advances toward the breastwork, their fire became more annoying. In a
few days his provisions were nearly exhausted, and his men appeared to
feel unsafe, and expressed solicitude for the arrival of General Clinch.

On the first of February, the allied forces made a vigorous attack upon
the fortified camp, but they were repulsed after an hour of steady
firing. On this day, General Gaines directed all the corn in the camp to
be collected and dealt out to the men in equal quantities. It gave to
each _one pint_. On the third, they commenced killing horses, and
appropriating the flesh to sustain the lives of the men. The fire of the
allied forces was kept up on the fourth and fifth, while the troops had
nothing but horse flesh for food, and no tidings had yet arrived from
General Clinch. At this time great enthusiasm prevailed among the
allies. Their women were at the camp, a mile distant, casting balls,
cooking food for the men, and doing what they could to cheer them on to
victory, which they began to regard as almost certain. In the meantime,
the situation of General Gaines and his army was constantly becoming
more critical. His troops were depressed with a sense of their
situation; while the allies were becoming hourly more enthusiastic. They
had destroyed Dade's regiment; had maintained a severe battle with
General Clinch in the open forest. They knew their power, and that any
attempt to retreat from them would be fatal; while it would be
impossible for our troops to remain much longer in camp, as their stock
of horses must soon fail.

Twenty-one years had passed since General Gaines transmitted a letter to
the War Department, giving the first official notice that the Exiles
were collecting at "Blount's Fort." He then despised the friendless
people who were seeking liberty. He had himself detailed Colonel Clinch
and the regiment under his command, attended by Creek Indians, with
General Jackson's orders "_to destroy the fort, and return the slaves to
their rightful owners_." He then called the Exiles "outlaws," supposed
them incapable of taking care of themselves, even if in full possession
of their liberty. But he and his gallant army were now surrounded by
them and their friends, who were killing his men whenever they exposed
themselves to view. On the fifth of March, he had lost four men killed
and thirty wounded.

A circumstance occurred on the night of the fifth of February, which has
never been fully explained. About ten o'clock in the evening, John
Cæsar, one of the Exiles residing at Micanopy, an old man and somewhat
of a privileged character among both Indians and Exiles, advanced in the
darkness near the camp of General Gaines, and hailed the nearest
sentinel on duty. Speaking in good English, the sentinel supposed him a
messenger from General Clinch; but, on learning his true character, he
was inquired of as to his object. He declared that the allies were tired
of fighting, and wished to come in and shake hands with General Gaines
and his men. He was told to come in the morning with a white flag.

Cæsar returned to the allied camp and reported his conversation. He had
spoken to our troops as if authorized, while all the chiefs and head-men
denied his authority, and many were for inflicting upon him the penalty
of immediate death for this unauthorized act. Osceola, now raised to the
dignity of a chief, interposed to save him. He had headed the party who
put to death Charley E. Mathler, a brother chief, for consenting to go
West, and with his own hands had scattered the gold found on his person,
declaring it to be "the price of the red man's blood:" While now a black
man, one of their "allies," had committed a far greater impropriety, he
interposed to save him. All agreed that their honor had been pledged,
although Cæsar had no authority for his conduct.[85]

The next day some of their warriors left in disgust, after it had been
determined to send in a flag of truce, according to Cæsar's agreement.
But those who remained to carry out the arrangement, formed at twelve
o'clock into line, some forty rods in the rear of General Gaines's camp.
Three of their number, gaily dressed, advanced with a white flag.
Adjutant Barrow of the Louisiana Volunteers, met them. Osceola told him
that he desired a talk with General Gaines.

While these arrangements were going forward, General Clinch arrived in
sight of the Indians, on his way to relieve General Gaines. Seeing the
enemy thus drawn up, facing the camp, he at once deployed his column,
and opened a fire upon them. The allies supposing themselves to have
been betrayed fled precipitately, and the forces under General Clinch
united with those under General Gaines.

It is said that up to the time the allies received the fire of General
Clinch, they had not lost a man. That fire killed two Indians and one
negro, and wounded five others.

One of the Exiles, residing upon the Withlacoochee, who, after the
compact with General Jessup in 1838, surrendered, with others, and
emigrated West, stated that he assisted Osceola in counting the sticks
handed in by each warrior engaged in this affair, and there were seven
hundred present; and another bunch of sticks numbering one hundred had
been sent by a party who expected to reach the scene of action the next
day, when a general and determined attack was to have been made. But
their forces disbanded upon the arrival of General Clinch, and they
separated to their different homes.

The officers under General Gaines charged the allies with bad faith,
intending to massacre them under pretense of treating with them; while
the allies charged our troops with a treacherous effort to shoot them
while their flag of truce was floating over them, and they engaged in
peaceful negotiation.

General Gaines proceeded to Fort Brooke, and thence returned to New
Orleans; while General Clinch conducted his troops back to Fort Drane.



     General disappointment in regard to the continuance of the War--Its
     Difficulties--Feelings of the People of Florida--Letter of their
     Delegate in Congress--Letter of General Jessup to F. P.
     Blair--President Jackson's order in regard to it--Secretary of War
     orders General Scott to Washington, and General Jessup to take
     command--General Call in temporary command of the Army--Court of
     Inquiry--Osceola attacks Micanopy--Major Heilman's gallant
     Defense--General Jessup meets General Call at Tallahasse--Refuses
     to assume Command--Major Pearce's Expedition to Fort Drane--Meets
     Osceola with an equal force--Severe Contest--Major Pearce retires
     to Micanopy--General Jessup's contract with Creeks--Its
     Character--Resumes barbarous practice of Enslaving
     Prisoners--General Call's Expedition to Withlacoochee--Its
     Failure--Further attempts to destroy Stores on that
     River--Armstrong's Battle--Another severe Battle--Another
     Expedition to Withlacoochee--Its Failure--Skill and Valor of the
     Exiles and Indians--Loss of Creeks--They become Disheartened.

When General Scott took command of the army in Florida, the
Administration and the country confidently expected that he would bring
the war to an immediate close. There was but little known of the
combined strength, or the determined purpose, of the Seminoles and
Exiles. They were regarded as few in number, and were supposed to be
fighting without any very definite purpose. The difficulties of
collecting an army in that territory, procuring supplies and arranging a
campaign, were great; and the most effective mode for penetrating the
strongholds of the allied forces could only be ascertained by

The inhabitants of Florida had urged on the war. They held their enemy
in great contempt. They were slaveholders, accustomed to look upon the
negro as an inferior being, possessed of very limited reasoning powers,
and devoid of the nobler sentiments which adorn the human character.
They do not appear to have supposed the African capable of noble
aspirations, or of manly effort. They were also accustomed to look upon
the Indians with about the same degree of contempt. Regarding the war as
commenced and prosecuted for their own benefit, they felt authorized in
some degree to dictate the manner in which it should be conducted.

General Scott, bred to the profession of arms, and conscious of that
self-respect which was due to an officer of his rank, paid but little
attention to their attempts at interference with his official duties.
This was regarded as offensive, and the delegate in Congress from that
Territory demanded his withdrawal from the command.

General Jessup, at that time in command of the army in Georgia,
operating against the Creek Indians, in order to compel them to emigrate
West, also wrote a letter (June 20), addressed to a private citizen of
Washington City,[86] criticising General Scott's policy. This letter was
placed in the hands of President Jackson, who, after reading it,
indorsed upon it as follows:

     "Referred to the Secretary of War, that he forthwith order General
     Scott to this place, in order that an inquiry may be had into the
     unaccountable delays in prosecuting the Creek war, and the failure
     of the campaign in Florida. Let General Jessup assume the

A. J."

It is very evident that General Jackson, when speaking of the
"_unaccountable delays_" of a few months, had little expectation that
under the direction of his most favorite officer the war would continue
during his life, and that he would leave another generation involved in
hostilities, for the purpose of enslaving persons whom he had ordered to
be "returned to their masters" twenty years previously. But it is also
apparent that neither the President, nor Congress, nor the officers of
the army, had any just conceptions of that love of liberty which nerved
the Exiles to effort, and stimulated them to encounter every hardship
and privation, and suffering and danger, rather than be delivered over
to degrading bondage.

Congress, participating in the general astonishment at the failure of
our arms to conquer a handful of Indians and negroes, adopted a
resolution, calling on the President for information touching that
subject. In answer to this resolution, General Cass, Secretary of War,
transmitted voluminous papers to Congress, which may be found in the
Executive Documents of the second session, Twenty-fourth Congress, from
which much of our information is derived.

The Secretary of War issued the order for General Scott to retire, and
another for General Jessup to assume the command.

A court of inquiry was duly convened for the purpose of ascertaining the
cause of delay under General Scott.[88]

Several months now passed without any important incident to mark the
progress of hostilities. As the summer approached and the sickly season
commenced, General Scott left Florida, and the command of the army, for
the time, devolved on General C. K. Call. The allied forces seemed to
have retired to the interior, and were supposed to be engaged in raising
corn and other provisions, for their support during the coming winter,
and all appeared quiet.

Osceola, after the death of Thompson at Fort King, had become a
master-spirit among the Seminoles. He had conducted bravely during the
battle with General Clinch, and equally so in the several conflicts with
General Gaines, and had been raised to the dignity of a chief. He now
conceived, and executed, one of the boldest movements ever made by
savages against a fortified post manned by regular troops.

On the ninth of June, with three hundred warriors, some sixty of whom
were negroes, he attacked the stockade at Micanopy, garrisoned by an
equal force of disciplined troops, under the command of Major Heilman.
The assault was maintained with determined obstinacy for an hour and a
half, the assailants boldly facing the artillery, which was brought to
bear upon them; and when they left the scene of action, they carried
away their dead and wounded.

Although this attack proved unsuccessful, it gave the country to
understand, in some degree, the character of the enemy with whom our
Government was contending.

Major Heilman, in his report, regrets the severe wound of Capt. Lee; but
says nothing of his other loss, or that of the allies, either in killed
or wounded. He himself died soon after, from excessive fatigue during
the action.

Soon after this attack the allies became again active, making their
appearance at various points on the frontier, again spreading
devastation wherever they went.

Major General Jessup continued in Georgia, engaged in constraining the
Creeks to emigrate. In this he was very successful, and for that reason
was ordered to take command of the army in Florida. With this view he
repaired to Tallahasse, where he met General Call, who laid before him a
plan, which he had conceived, for an expedition to Withlacoochee.
General Jessup, not having received his instructions for prosecuting the
campaign, refused to assume the command at that time, leaving General
Call to carry out his contemplated movement.

General Clinch owned a plantation some twenty miles northwesterly of
Fort King. During the early part of the season he had encamped there
with his troops, and planted sugar-cane, and other crops; and, being
occupied as a military post, he gave it the name of "Fort Drane."

In consequence of the constant depredations committed by the enemy, he
was directed to fall back to an Indian town called "Micanopy," which
thereby became an outpost. He left Fort Drane in July, when his crops
were growing luxuriantly; and Osceola, being in the vicinity with about
a hundred followers, consisting of Indians and Exiles, took possession
of this plantation, and occupied it with apparent pride, at having
driven its veteran owner back farther towards the settlements.

On the twelfth of August, Major Pearce, being in command at Micanopy,
left that station, with one piece of artillery and one hundred and ten
regular troops, for the purpose of attacking the allies at Fort Drane.
He reached the plantation, situated eight miles from Micanopy, at
sunrise, and commenced the attack. Osceola and his followers fell back
to a hommock, where they made a stand. The number of men engaged were
about equal; Major Pearce and Osceola were known as gallant warriors; of
course, the battle was warm and well contested.

After an engagement of an hour and a quarter, Major Pearce fell back;
and the allied forces showing no disposition to follow him into the open
fields, he retreated to Micanopy, leaving them in possession of the
field of battle. Major Pearce's loss was reported to be one killed and
sixteen wounded.

Before leaving Alabama, John A. Campbell, aid to General Jessup, acting
under direction of that officer, entered into a written contract with
certain Creek chiefs and warriors. Being somewhat extraordinary in its
character, and rendered still more so by the construction given to it by
the Administration and the Indians, it is deemed worthy of being
inserted. The following is the language of the instrument:

     "The State of Alabama, Tallapoosa County.

     This contract, entered into between the United States of America on
     the first part, and the Creek tribe of Indians on the other part,
     Witnesseth: That upon the consideration hereafter mentioned, the
     party of the first part agrees to advance to the party of the
     second part the sum of thirty-one thousand nine hundred dollars, to
     be applied to the payment of the debts due by the Creek Nation of
     Indians. And the party of the second part hereby covenants, and
     agrees to furnish from their tribe, the number of from six hundred
     to one thousand men, for service against the Seminoles, to be
     continued in service until the same shall be conquered; they to
     receive the pay and emoluments, and equipments, of soldiers in the
     army of the United States, and such _plunder as they may take from
     the Seminoles_."

     "And the party of the second part releases, transfers and assigns
     to the party of the first part, all their right, title, claim,
     interest and demand in and to the annuity granted by the party of
     the first part to the party of the second part, for the year 1837.
     In witness whereof, I, John A. Campbell, on the part of the United
     States, do hereby set my hand and affix my seal, the 28th of
     August, 1836."


     "In witness whereof, we, the Chiefs and Head-men of said tribe, on
     the behalf of said Nation, do hereby set our hands and affix our
     seals, the 28th of August, 1836."

"HYPOTHLE YOHOLA, his X mark, [L.S.]
 LITTLE DOCTOR, his X mark, [L.S.]
 TUCKABATCHEE MICO, his X mark, [L.S.]
 YELCO HAYO, his X mark,[L.S.]"

         BARENT DUBOIS."

The real character of this contract will at once be seen when the reader
shall be reminded, that the laws of the United States had, in the most
specific manner, prescribed the amount to be paid each man who should
enter the military service of the Government, and the manner and time of
payment; nor had there been any act passed enabling General Jessup, or
the Secretary of War, or the President, to employ any other persons in
the army except those enlisted in the ordinary mode; yet this contract
was duly approved by the War Department, at that time under the
direction of General Cass. That provision which gives to the Creek
warriors such _plunder as they might capture_, has been denounced as
"_piratical_;" and we are constrained to admit there is some degree of
propriety in this denunciation, when we find that General Jessup, by
whose orders it was framed, and General Cass, Secretary of War, who
approved it, and the Creek Warriors who signed it, all understood that
the Creeks were to _hold as slaves all the negroes they might capture_,
while engaged in the service of the United States. It was this
construction which subsequently involved the War Department in
difficulties, from which it has never been able to extricate itself.

The barbarous practice of enslaving prisoners captured in war, had been
repudiated by all Christian nations for more than two hundred years. The
civilization of the sixteenth century had brought that atrocious
practice into disrepute, which was now resorted to and renewed in the
nineteenth, by this American Republic, so boastful of its refinement and
Christianity. While the laws of the United States provided for an
ignominious punishment of those who seize the stupid heathen of Africa
and enslave them, our nation was taxing its resources, employing our
army and paying out its funds, to employ heathen allies to capture and
enslave a people who for generations had been free.

On the nineteenth of September, General Armstrong, with a brigade of
twelve hundred Tennessee militia, was ordered to Suwanee "Old Town."
Here he was met by a detachment of two hundred Creek warriors, under
Major Brown, and a battalion of Florida militia, under Colonel Warren;
and with this formidable army, Governor Call moved upon Withlacoochee.
On coming near the stream he encamped.

During the darkness of night the allies fired upon his troops, and kept
them in a state of alarm. In the morning it was found that the _river
had suddenly risen_, which rendered it difficult for the troops to
cross; and this gallant army returned to Fort Drane for supplies without
firing a gun or seeing an enemy, leaving the allies in peaceful
possession of the country.

But the Indians and Exiles now found themselves almost daily threatened
in their own fastnesses. Along the Withlacoochee were many small
villages and plantations occupied almost exclusively by Exiles. Large
crops of corn and other vegetables had been raised there during the
season, and it was known that stores of provisions were located upon
various islands surrounded by the swamps lying along that river, and in
the great morass called the "Wahoo Swamp;" while it was equally known
that many families of the Exiles were residing in that vicinity. It was
therefore deemed important to destroy those villages and obtain the
supplies which they contained.

General Armstrong, with five hundred mounted men, while marching toward
these villages on the fourteenth of November, encountered a strong force
consisting of Indians and Exiles. The conflict was spirited. In forty
minutes, eleven of Armstrong's men fell before the deadly aim of the
allies. He, however, drove them from the field, but they took with them
their dead and wounded. This fact with savages is regarded the only test
of success in battle: they never acknowledge defeat while they hold
possession of their dead and wounded.

But the time drew near when they were constrained to acknowledge a
_defeat_. On the eighteenth of November, a regiment of Tennesseeans,
consisting of about five hundred, encountered a body of the enemy whose
numbers are not given by any officer or historian whom we have
consulted. They were posted in a hommock. The Tennesseeans were the
assailing party. The battle continued more than two hours, when the
allies fled, leaving upon the field twenty-five Indians and Africans
slain in battle; while the loss of the assailants was still larger. This
was the best contested battle which occurred during the campaign of
1836, and the first in which the allies left their dead in possession of
our troops.

This defeat appears to have taught the allies to be cautious, and
stimulated a desire to wipe out the impression which their defeat was
calculated to make upon the public mind.

General Call having formed a junction with Major Pearce of the regular
service, with nearly three hundred regular troops under his command,
making in all more than one thousand men, entered the great Wahoo Swamp
on the twenty-first of November. Their intention was to obtain the
provisions supposed to be deposited in the villages situated upon the
islands in that extensive morass. But they were attacked soon after
entering the swamp. The fire at first was principally concentrated upon
the Creek Indians, the mercenary troops employed by General Jessup.
Major Pearce hastened to their relief. The fire then became general. The
men were in a swamp which was nearly covered with water, and much of it
with a thick underbrush. After maintaining the battle for a time, the
Indians fell back, crossed the river, and formed upon its bank, each man
protected by a log or tree. The river was turbid and appeared difficult
to pass. As our troops approached it, the fire upon them was severe.
Captain Moniac, of the Creek warriors, was killed while examining the
stream to ascertain if it could be forded. Others were wounded. The
allied force appeared determined to make their final stand upon this
stream. Behind them were their wives and children, their provisions,
their homes and firesides.

General Call and his troops now obtained an opportunity of fighting the
enemy; a privilege which he had long sought, though he embraced it under
disadvantageous circumstances. Our troops had great inducements to
advance, but the dangers corresponded with the advantages to be
gained.[89] General Call, however, concluded to withdraw; and after
sustaining a heavy loss he retreated and left the allies in possession
of the field. They very correctly, feeling that their success depended
greatly upon the position they had taken, did not pursue General Call,
who, with his whole force, retired to Volusi to recruit. His loss was
fifteen killed and thirty wounded.

It is certain the allies manifested great skill in selecting their
place of attack, and the position for their final stand. Their success
greatly encouraged them, and the gallantry displayed by the Exiles
served to increase their influence with the Indians.

The Creek warriors had shown themselves very efficient in this
expedition, but they suffered severely; and at no subsequent period did
they maintain their former character as warriors. They had been greatly
stimulated in this conflict with the expectation of capturing women and
children, whom they expected to seize and sell as slaves. But so far as
that object was concerned, their warriors who fell in this battle died
ingloriously, and the result discouraged the survivors.



     General Jessup assumes command of the Army--Number of Troops in the
     Field--His Advantages--His energetic Policy--Orders Crawford to the
     Withlacoochee--Capture of fifty two Women and Children--They are
     held as _plunder_ by the Creeks--Wild Cat and Louis attack Fort
     Mellon--Severe Battle--Allies retire with their dead and
     wounded--Death of Captain Mellon--Our loss in killed and
     wounded--Caulfield's Expedition to A-ha-popka Lake--Capture of nine
     Women and Children--Expedition to Big Cypress Swamp--Capture of
     twenty-five Women and Children--General Jessup seeks
     Negotiation--Abram and Alligator meet him preparatory to a more
     general Council--Several Chiefs agree upon terms of
     Capitulation--Difficulty in regard to Exiles--Jessup
     yields--Express Stipulation for their Safety--Indians and Exile
     come into Tampa Bay--Are Registered for Emigration--General Jessup
     discharges Militia and Volunteers--Transports prepared--He declares
     the War at an end, and asks to be relieved from active duty.

On the eighth of December, 1836, Major General Jessup joined General
Call at Volusi, and relieved that officer from the further command of
the army in Florida. He had now eight thousand troops in the field well
provided in all the material of war. They were in fine spirits, and he
was in all respects prepared to push the campaign with energy. He had
all the advantages which experience of the previous campaign had
furnished, and endeavored to profit by it. He was careful to order no
large body of troops, nor any artillery, into the uninhabited portions
of the country. He employed only light troops for such purposes. His
first attention was directed to the settlements of Exiles on the
Withlacoochee who had up to that time defied our army. They had been
the object of frequent attacks, and the scene of as frequent defeats.
He directed a battalion of mounted men under Major Crawford, accompanied
by two battalions of Creek Indians, to make a sudden descent upon those
villages. But the allies had removed their provisions, and most of the
people had abandoned the settlements. A few only were left. The warriors
fled to the swamps; and the troops seized and secured fifty-two women
and children. These were the first prisoners captured during the war;
and General Jessup made a formal report of this important victory. It
was a victory over defenseless women and helpless children, obtained by
the aid of Creek Indians, who claimed both women and children as
_plunder_ under their contract. But this victory stimulated the allies
to strike in retaliation for the injury thus inflicted upon

[Sidenote: 1837.]

Fort Mellon, on the south side of a small body of water called Lake
Monroe, some thirty miles west of the Atlantic, was supposed by the
allies to be in a weak condition, and they determined to surprise it.
Preparatory to this, however, they sent spies to examine and report the
condition of the troops at that station. Their report being favorable,
"Wild Cat," acting in conjunction with Louis, the slave of Pacheco, who,
it will be recollected, concerted the massacre of Major Dade, made their
arrangements for an assault. With a force of two hundred and fifty
warriors the allies invested this fort, which they supposed to be
garrisoned by not more than one hundred men. Unfortunately for the
assailants, however, other troops arrived after the Indian spies had
left the vicinity of the fort, and the allied forces unexpectedly met
superior numbers protected by defenses which are always regarded as safe
against savage foes. The attack was made with great determination, and
continued for three hours, when the assailants retired without leaving
either dead or wounded upon the field.

Lieutenant Colonel Faning commanded our troops, numbering some three
hundred men. A steamboat was lying in the lake, near the fort, having a
field-piece on board. This was also brought to bear upon the left wing
of the allied forces, so as to completely drive them from that part of
the field.

Captain Mellon, who had entered the military service of the United
States in 1812, fell early in the action. Midshipman McLaughlin and
seventeen others were wounded; some of them mortally.

It may well be doubted, whether history furnishes an instance in which
savage troops have beset a superior number of disciplined forces in a
fortified position with such daring and obstinacy as that which was
manifested at Fort Mellon.

There was a small settlement of Exiles and Indians upon the south side
of A-ha-popka Lake, situated about the twenty-eighth degree of north
latitude, and nearly equi-distant between the Atlantic and the Gulf of
Mexico. On the twenty-second of January, Lieutenant Colonel Caulfield
with his regiment was ordered to visit that settlement, attended by the
Creek Indians. A sub-chief of the Seminoles, named Osuchee, with his
band of warriors, hastened to the defense of their friends, as soon as
they ascertained the object of our troops; but they were unable to
resist the large force under Caulfield. Osuchee and three warriors were
killed; and nine Exiles, all of them women and children, were taken

All the disposable forces under General Jessup were now put into active
employ. With the main body of the army he penetrated far into the Indian
territory. His report, dated at Fort Armstrong, February seventh, after
stating the commencement of his march, says, "On approaching the
Thla-pac-hatchee, on the morning of the twenty-seventh ultimo, the
numerous herds of cattle feeding on the prairies, and the numerous
recent trails in various directions, indicated the presence of the
enemy." He goes on to say: "On the twenty-eighth, the army moved
forward, and occupied a strong position on 'Ta-hop-ka-liga' Lake, _where
several hundred head of cattle were obtained_." These immense herds of
cattle show to some extent the means of subsistence which the allies
possessed. The commander of our army, however, proceeds to state that
"the enemy was found on the Hatchee-lustee, in and near the great
Cypress Swamp, and gallantly attacked. Lieutenant Chambers of the
Alabama Volunteers, by a rapid charge, succeeded in capturing the horses
and baggage of the enemy, with twenty-five Indians and negroes,
principally women and children." This language was novel in the military
reports of our officers. A charge made by a body of armed troops upon
horses, women and children, is termed by the commanding General

The next day one of the prisoners was directed to return to the two
principal chiefs, Abraham, with whom the reader is already acquainted,
and Alligator, who commanded the Indians, with a message of peace,
desiring them to meet the commanding General in council.

Abraham was, perhaps, the most experienced and best informed chief in
the allied forces. He had lived at Micanopy; and his familiar
acquaintance with the treaty of Payne's Landing, and the supplemental
treaty entered into at the West, qualified him to exert a powerful
influence with the Exiles.[90] The Indians, also, appear to have held
him in the highest respect.

Alligator was an active warrior and chief. He was a bold leader; but was
supposed to be much under the influence of Micanopy, a chief somewhat
advanced in years, said to be very corpulent, and too indolent to be
otherwise than pacific in his desires. It is related of him, that he was
actually carried, by the younger and more enthusiastic warriors, into
battle on one occasion, in the early part of the war. It is not unlikely
that both Abraham and Alligator were influenced in some degree by
Micanopy to visit General Jessup, and make arrangements to hold a
conference with him, at Fort Dade, on the eighteenth of February.

Lieut. Colonel Henderson, of the United States Marines, serving on land,
also made a very successful excursion into the Indian Country, with a
pretty large force of mounted men and friendly Indians. In his report,
he states the capture "of twenty-three negroes, young and old; over a
hundred ponies, with packs on about fifty of them; together with all
their clothes, blankets, and other baggage." In this expedition, his
loss was two men killed and five wounded.

On the first of March, the troops under the command of Major General
Jessup had captured one hundred and nine women and children of the
Exiles, and some fifteen belonging to the Indians. The fortunes of war
now bore hard upon those friendless and persecuted people; but not a
warrior had fallen into the hands of our troops. It is a remarkable
fact, that in all the conflicts which had occurred, no Seminole Indian
nor negro warrior had surrendered, even to superior numbers. They had
fought gallantly, they had died freely; but they preferred death to that
slavery which they knew would follow a surrender.

General Jessup now ordered the cessation of hostilities, in the hope of
getting the Indian and negro chiefs to assemble in council, in order to
negotiate for their emigration West. After his interview with Abraham
and Alligator, he appears to have felt confident of success. The Exiles
and Indians also began to feel that it would soon be necessary for them
to plant corn, potatoes and pumpkins, for their support during the
coming season. Every effort was made by General Jessup to acquaint the
different chiefs with this arrangement, and to induce them to come in,
or send by some sub-chief or warrior an expression of their willingness
to emigrate to the western country.

Agreeably to these arrangements, a few of their principal men met
General Jessup at Fort Dade, near the Withlacoochee, on the sixth of
March. Only five chiefs were present, either in person or by proxy. The
principal chiefs in attendance were Halatoochie and Jumper.

But the former difficulty was again encountered, at the very
commencement of the negotiation. The Indians would enter upon no
arrangement that did not guarantee to the Exiles equal protection and
safety as it did to the Indians. Such stipulation would constitute an
abandonment of the objects for which the war had been commenced and
prosecuted; but, after sixteen months occupied in hostilities, and the
expenditure of much blood and treasure, this question lay directly
across the path of peace. But the Indians were firm. Not one of the
Exiles, except Abraham, now dared trust himself within the power of our
troops; yet Abraham's influence was powerful with the Indians.

General Jessup yielded. The articles of capitulation were drawn up and
considered. The fifth reads as follows:--"Major General Jessup, in
behalf of the United States, agrees that the Seminoles and _their
allies, who come in and emigrate West, shall be secure in their lives
and property_; that their negroes, their bona fide property, shall also
accompany them West;[91] and that their cattle and ponies shall be paid
for by the United States."

The language of this article could not be misunderstood. The black men
then residing with the Indians, in the Indian Country, who were acting
with them, and fighting our troops by the side of the Seminoles, were
their "_allies_:" and to show that the capitulation was not a surrender
of property, they were careful to have the compact expressly state, that
their own "_negroes_, their bona fide _property_" (for many Seminoles
owned slaves), should accompany them; and that their cattle and ponies,
which would become the _property_ of the captors by virtue of an
ordinary surrender, under their ideas of warfare, were to be paid for by
the United States. There was no room left for cavil or dispute on these
points;[92] nor could it be supposed that Abraham, with his experience
and shrewdness, would leave such an important point doubtful.

Under these articles, the Exiles were to enjoy that security for which
they had contended during a century and a half. It was for this that
their ancestors left South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida; to
attain it, they were willing to leave the graves of their fathers--the
country in which they had lived during many generations. Abraham now
entered upon the work of inducing all his brethren, both Indians and
negroes, to go to the Western Country, where they could be free from

Those willing to emigrate, were to assemble within a district of ten
miles square, marked out for that purpose, near Tampa Bay. Many of the
Indian chiefs visited that station; spoke encouragingly of the prospect;
that the whole Nation would emigrate at no distant day. Even Osceola,
the most inveterate of all the Seminole chiefs, visited Fort Mellon,
avowing his intention to emigrate; while Abraham made report of a like
feeling among the Exiles. Twenty-six vessels, employed to transport the
emigrants to New Orleans, were anchored in Tampa Bay. Hundreds of
Indians and negroes had reached the camp assigned to the emigrants, near
"Fort Brooke." Their names were duly registered; they drew their
rations, and made every preparation to go West.

General Jessup announced the war at an end, dismissed the militia and
volunteers, and asked of the Department leave to retire from active



     Mr. Van Buren's advent to the office of President--Follows the
     policy of his predecessor--General Jessup's stipulation in favor of
     the Exiles--Sustained by precedent, and by National Law--Not
     contrary to General Jackson's object in commencing the
     War--Citizens of Florida protest--Compact ratified by War
     Department--General Jessup for a time endeavors to carry out
     Articles of Capitulation--Begins to yield--Promises to make
     arrangements with Chiefs to deliver up Slaves who had left their
     Masters during the War--Then declared he had done so--No such
     Compact found by the Author--Subsequent history shows that he had
     made such arrangement, by parol, with Co-Hadjo only--He also uses
     army to seize and return Exiles claimed by citizens of
     Florida--Revokes Order No. 79--Indians and Exiles take alarm--Flee
     to their fastnesses--General Jessup acknowledges _all is lost_--The
     War renewed.

On the fourth of March, Mr. Van Buren assumed the duties of President of
the United States, and General Jackson retired to private life.
Belonging to the same political party to which General Jackson had
attached himself, Mr. Van Buren was not expected to make any particular
change in the administration of the Government. Indeed so popular had
General Jackson been, that it would have required great boldness in his
successor to attempt any very obvious change in our national policy; and
so far as the Florida war was concerned, there was none whatever.

It was therefore fortunate that, under the administration of General
Jackson, the existence of the Exiles, as a distinct people, had been
acknowledged. In the articles of capitulation, they were again
recognized as the "allies" of the Indians. In entering into this
stipulation, General Jessup went no farther than his legitimate powers
extended. The peace of the country in that region was entrusted to his
judgment, under the direction of the President. If necessary to secure
peace, he had the undoubted right to send every slave, of whatever
description, from the Territory of Florida; and it would appear, that no
doubt whatever could arise as to his authority to transport to the
Western Country, all who were engaged in actual hostilities against our
nation, and that too without stopping to inquire whether one portion of
the people were, or were not, claimed as property by the people of
Florida. General Jackson had set a noble example on this subject which
was well worthy of imitation. When New Orleans was threatened by the
British, in 1814, he proclaimed martial law--ordered men into service
without inquiring whether they were slaves or freemen. Many of them were
slaves, and on the day of battle were emancipated by being captured or
killed by the enemy. The same powers had been exercised by our officers
almost constantly during the Revolution. It is a principle understood by
all intelligent men, that when war exists, peace may be obtained by the
emancipation of all the slaves held by individuals, if necessary.[93]

These articles of capitulation were duly transmitted to the War
Department, and were regularly approved by the Executive. It would
appear impossible that General Jessup, or any other person, could either
misapprehend or fail to understand this stipulation, which was in no
respect modified by other covenants.

But this solemn covenant was in direct conflict with the views and
feelings of the slaveholders in Florida and the adjoining States. They
understood the war to have been commenced for the purpose of reënslaving
the Exiles. These articles of capitulation constituted not only an
abandonment of that policy, but actually operated as an emancipation of
all the slaves who, having fled from service in Florida, Georgia and
Alabama, had joined the Seminoles and taken up arms against their
oppressors. The slaveholders were indignant at this stipulation, nor did
they fail to express their indignation.

A few gentlemen of distinction, who, with their families, had been
driven from the Territory, were residing at Charleston, South Carolina.
Having learned the character of the capitulation from private sources,
without waiting for its publication, they at once addressed the
Secretary of War, stating they had casually learned from a gentleman who
was present, that a treaty of peace had been concluded with the Seminole
Indians which contained "no stipulation for _indemnity, on the part of
the Indians, for such property of the inhabitants as had been captured
by said Indians_, and destroyed. Nor (say they) is it, we are told,
exacted from them that they should even _make restitution of such stolen
and other property, to wit_, NEGROES, _etc._, _as they now have in
possession_, or as has been invited into their country and allowed
refuge from its owners. We respectfully conceive, that the termination
of the war on such terms, anxiously as we desire peace, would be a
sacrifice of the national dignity, and an absolute and clear triumph on
the part of the Indians, who cannot fail to view the proposition made to
them, to close hostilities, followed up by a treaty permitting to them
such extraordinary terms, as a virtual suing for peace on the part of
the United States, and evidencing a want of confidence in their ability
to conclude the war through the means of their belligerent and physical

But the most singular portion of this memorial is the reference to the
treaty of Camp Moultrie, by which the Indians agreed to arrest and
return fugitives; and the memorialists insisted that unless the Indians
be compelled to perform this stipulation the owners "_may never regain
their slaves_."

The gentlemen who thus attempted to control the action of our National
Government appear to have forgotten that the treaty of Camp Moultrie had
been abrogated by that of Payne's Landing, which our Government was now
professing to enforce. By this latter treaty, the Indians agreed to pay
seven thousand dollars as an indemnity for all slaves then in their
territory. This was accepted as a full indemnity, and the slaves then
resident with the Indians became free in law.

This memorial, though written at Charleston, South Carolina, bears date
only twelve days later than the articles of capitulation, entered into
at "Fort Dade in Florida." Of this movement of the slaveholders, General
Jessup appears not to have been informed at the time; nor is there any
doubt that he then intended to carry out this solemn compact in good
faith. On the nineteenth of March, we find his aid-de-camp Colonel
Chambers, by order of General Jessup, writing Lieutenant Colonel Harney,
stationed at Fort Mellon, directing him not to permit the friendly
Indians (the Creeks) to pass into the country occupied by the Seminoles,
and to distinctly inform the Creeks they "_must make no more captures of
property_;" and if they had made any since the signing of the treaty,
(meaning the capitulation,) Harney was directed to take a list of such

But the first serious difficulty suggested to General Jessup, in
carrying out his stipulations with the "_allies_," appears to have been
a letter from Major Thomas Child, commanding at Fort Armstrong,
informing him that a "Colonel Dill," a citizen of Florida, was at that
post, wishing to pass into the Indian country for the purpose of
reclaiming certain negroes which he professed to have owned, but who
were then supposed to have fled to the Seminoles.

In reply to this note Colonel Chambers said: "I am _instructed by the
commanding General_ to say, that 'Colonel Dill,' the person whom you
report having detained at Fort Armstrong, must not be permitted to pass,
_but be required to return from whence he came with all convenient
dispatch_. Hereafter, no person, not in the employment of the
Government, or express rider, must be allowed to pass your post. The
necessity of this order, and the strict enforcement of it, arise from
the necessity, that, if persons come forward to urge their claims to
negroes, it will evidently prevent the negroes from coming in; and if
they do not come in, the commanding General is decidedly of opinion,
that the Indians themselves will be greatly delayed, if not entirely
prevented, from compliance with the terms of capitulation."

The termination of the war had been regarded as certain by the
commanding officer, and by him so reported. The first article in the
capitulation, provided for the cessation of hostilities. But they were
renewed soon after, and the Indians and Exiles charged with a breach of
faith, both by General Jessup and by the Executive. And it becomes
important to the truth of history, that facts should be stated. The
articles of capitulation pledged the faith of the nation for the safety
of both persons and property of the "Seminoles _and their allies_."
Those "allies" could have been no other people than the black men who
were with them contending against a common foe. It is also evident that
Abraham and the Exiles who came in for the purpose of emigrating so
understood it. It is equally certain that the people of Florida who
memorialized the Secretary of War so understood it; and we need only
read the letters and orders of General Jessup to learn that he surely so
understood it: and the whole conduct of the Indians shows that they put
the same construction upon it. While, therefore, justice should be done
to General Jessup, we should be careful to do no injustice to either the
Seminoles or the Exiles. As further evidence of General Jessup's good
faith at the time, we quote an extract from a letter, bearing date six
days later than the one last referred to. It was addressed to Lieutenant
Colonel Miller, commanding at Tampa Bay, and is dated March
twenty-seventh, 1837. It is signed by General Jessup himself, who says:
"I have also been informed that Mr. Cooley's business at Tampa Bay is to
_look after negroes_. If that be so, he must be sent away; a trifling
circumstance would _light up the war again. Any interference with the
negroes which would produce alarm on their part would inevitably deprive
us of all the advantages we have gained._ I sympathize with Mr. Cooley
in his afflictions and losses; but responsible as I am for the peace of
the country, _I cannot and will not permit that peace to be jeopardized
by his imprudence_."

But these demands for slaves increased. The slaveholders were indignant
at the loss of slaves, and it soon became apparent that the stipulation
of safety to the "allies" of the Seminoles was _unpopular_ in Florida.

On the twenty-ninth of March, General Jessup wrote Colonel Warner, of
the Florida Militia, saying, "There is no disposition on the part of the
great body of the Indians to renew hostilities; and they will, I am
sure, faithfully fulfill their engagements, if the inhabitants of
Florida be prudent: but any attempt to seize their negroes, or other
property, would be followed by an instant resort to arms. _I have some
hopes of inducing both Indians and Indian negroes_ to unite in bringing
in the _negroes taken from the citizens during the war_."

In this letter, General Jessup begins to modify his former position. He
still entertains no fear of the Indians, if _their_ negroes or other
property be not interfered with, and suggests the hope that he may
effect an arrangement with the Indians and Indian negroes to bring in
(that is, to surrender up,) the negroes _taken during the war_. This
letter gives the first evidence, which we find on record, of General
Jessup's intention to modify or disregard the solemn compact he had
made, or to make another with the Indians and Indian negroes by which
they should betray those who had fled to them during the war.

But that he did make some arrangement of that character with the chiefs,
we are led to infer from a letter bearing date May fifth, 1837,
addressed to General Jessup by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
informing him that his articles of capitulation with the Seminoles had
been submitted to the Secretary of War, "_together with his letters of
the first and fifteenth of April, and had been approved_;" and the
writer then adds: "In relation to the negroes captured by the Seminoles
and to be _surrendered_, I am directed to say, that your arrangement for
having them delivered to officers of posts on the St. John's River, _is

This letter also directs General Jessup to keep a registry of all
negroes delivered to citizens, showing their names, age, sex, etc.

A general order, dated Tampa Bay, April fifth, and numbered
seventy-nine, announces first, "The commanding General has reason to
believe that the interference of unprincipled white men with the _negro
property of the Seminole Indians_ will prevent their emigration, and
lead to a renewal of the war. Responsible as he is for the peace and
security of the country, he will not permit such interference under any
pretense whatsoever. And he therefore orders that no white man, not in
the service of the United States, be allowed to enter any part of the
territory, between the St. John's and the Gulf of Mexico, south of Fort

On the eighth of April, General Jessup wrote Colonel Harney, saying, "I
have made an arrangement with the chiefs _to-day_ to surrender the
negroes of white men, particularly those taken during the war."

With what particular chiefs this arrangement was made, or what were the
terms of the arrangement, the Author has not learned; yet, as we shall
see hereafter, he represented it to have been made at "Fort King" with
_Co-Hadjo_, an unimportant chief, and then attempted to hold the
Seminole Nation responsible for Co-Hadjo's promise. But under these
circumstances, the reader will ask what consideration was paid Co-Hadjo
to bribe him to enter into such a contract? That chief and General
Jessup and General Cass, Secretary of War, must have known he possessed
no power to bind the Seminole Nation, nor to surrender those persons to
slavery. It will long remain a subject of inquiry. Why did the War
Department sanction this violation of the solemn articles of
capitulation, which these officers termed a _treaty_, and which
certainly possessed all the solemnity and binding force of a treaty?

There is also an inexplicable obscurity attending this subject. General
Jessup wrote Colonel Harney, on the eighth of April, that he had _that
day_ made the arrangement, etc.; while the Secretary of War states that
he had learned of this arrangement by General Jessup's _two_ letters,
dated the first and fifteenth of April. One of these letters appears to
bear date seven days before, and the other seven days after, the day on
which he declares the arrangement was made. The withholding of such fact
seven days from the War Department would be as incompatible with
military duty as the giving it seven days before its existence, is
irreconcilable with the common perceptions of mankind.

In several instances, General Jessup had foretold that a renewal of the
war would follow any attempt to deliver up negroes to the claimants in
Florida, and it would appear that he must have expected that result; but
he communicated to the commandants of nearly all the different posts,
that he had made arrangements _with the chiefs_ for returning slaves
_captured during the war_. But, up to the twenty-sixth of April, he
steadily insisted that no obligation rested upon the Indians to bring in
runaway negroes who had fled to them before the war.

On the twenty-sixth, he wrote Colonel Brown, of St. Augustine,
saying:--"I have made arrangements with the Indians for the delivery of
the negroes _captured during the war_. They are to be delivered, if they
can be taken without delaying the Indians in their movements, at the
posts on the St. John's. The Indians are not bound to surrender runaway
negroes. _They must, and shall, give up those taken during the war_: at
all events, they shall not take them out of the country. Further than
that, I shall not interfere."

But while relating facts on this subject, we should be unfaithful to the
truth of history were we to omit the letter which this officer wrote, on
the following day, to Hon. J. L. Smith, a citizen of Florida. This
letter, bearing date at Tampa Bay on the twenty-seventh of April, 1837,

"I received, yesterday, your letter of the eighteenth, with a list of
the slaves which you claim. Ansel is the only one of the three who has
been taken. I have him employed, at one of the interior posts, as an
interpreter. _The negroes generally have taken the alarm_, and but few
of them come in; and those who remain out, prevent the Indians from
coming. But for the premature attempts of some citizens of Florida to
obtain possession of their slaves, a majority of those taken by the
Indians during the war, as well as those who absconded previous to it,
would have been secured before this time. More than thirty negro men
were in and near my camp, when some of the citizens, who had lost
negroes, came to demand them. The Indian-negroes immediately
disappeared, and have not been heard of since."

It is believed that, in the conducting of this second Seminole war, no
act of any public officer will hereafter appear more inexplicable than
the conduct of General Jessup, in regard to this stipulation in favor of
the Exiles. No person can suppose there was any doubt in regard to the
original design of this stipulation. He at first appears determined to
carry it out in good faith; this was before he learned the complaint of
the slaveholders of Florida, made to the Secretary of War. He next
expressed his intention to make an arrangement with the chiefs to
surrender negroes captured during the war--as though the chiefs were
authorized to consign "their allies" to slavery. He next says he had
made such an arrangement, but fails to say with whom. At length it comes
out, in the future history, that he alleges it to have been made with
Co-Hadjo, an obscure chief, in no way a party to the capitulation, or
connected with it. And finally, in this letter to Judge Smith, he
intimates that he would have _betrayed_ many of those allies to slavery,
if the people of the Territory had been quiet.

Our present duty, however, is to record facts, without asking attention
to the intended treachery or fraud of individuals; but this avowed
intention of entrapping the negroes by inducing them to come in under
the expectation of emigrating West with their Seminole friends, and then
consign them to bondage, must attract the attention and excite the
wonder of Christian men. This wonder is increased by the fact, that
language is constantly used by slaveholders apparently intended to
mislead the Northern reader. For instance, General Jessup speaks of
slaves "_captured during the war_," as though the Indians made prisoners
of slaves. This is believed to be entirely without foundation. Slaves
being regarded by Southern men as _property_, incapable of thought,
whenever they fled from their masters and sought an asylum with the
Indians, the masters spoke of them as _captured_.

Soon us it was known that slaves were to be seized and returned, claims
were preferred from all quarters. The correspondence on this subject,
now in the Department of War, would of itself form a volume, if quoted
at length. Spaniards sent in claims for slaves lost while the Territory
was in possession of Spain, in 1802 and 1803. Claims from South
Carolina, from Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and from Creek Indians,
were presented to the commandants of different posts. Slaveholders
evidently felt that they were to be permitted to seize such colored
prisoners as they could lay their hands upon, and enslave them. They no
longer waited for black prisoners to be brought to the St. John's, or
other posts, but like wolves greedy for their prey, they hurried into
the Indian Country, and risked their lives in order to secure victims
for the slave-markets.

The Legislative Council of Florida became affected with this general
mania, and in the most formal manner declared the right of masters to
regain possession of their slaves, without regard to the Federal
Government or its officers.

Finding General Jessup incapable of resisting the popular clamor, the
claimants for slaves openly demanded a revocation of the General Order,
by which they were prohibited from entering the Indian territory for the
purpose of seizing slaves. A public meeting of the citizens of various
parts of Florida, was held at San Augustine, and a committee appointed
to remonstrate with General Jessup, and procure a rescission of his
order, No. 79, prohibiting them from entering the Territory, between the
St. John's River and the Gulf of Mexico, south of Fort Drane. The
committee addressed him in a long, written protest, in which they
declare, "the regaining of their slaves constitutes an object of
scarcely less moment than that of peace to the country."[96]

General Jessup now began to modify his order, No. 79, so as to admit
citizens to enter the Territory as far south as the road leading from
Withlacoochee to Volusi; and, on the first of May, so informed Major
McClintock, commanding at Fort Drane. On the day following, he addressed
a letter to Brig. General Armistead, directing that officer to "consider
Order No. 79 so far modified, that citizens will be permitted to visit
any of the posts on the St. John's, and to traverse or remain in any
part of the country south of Withlacoochee. There are large herds of
cattle in that part of the country which no doubt _belong to the
citizens_, and by allowing them to go into the country, they may perhaps
secure a large portion of them."

It will be recollected, that General Scott would not permit the people
of Florida to interfere in the discharge of his official duties, and
that they, through their representative in Congress, had demanded his
removal from command of the army. They now applied directly to the
Secretary of War, remonstrating against the action of General Jessup;
and it is possible that officer deemed it prudent to yield to their
dictation. Be that as it may, it is certain that he now lent the power
of the army to carry out the wishes of the citizens. Officers and men
were detailed to take black prisoners--who had come in and surrendered
with the expectation of emigrating West--from their places of rendezvous
to certain points where it would be most convenient for claimants to
receive them.

On the seventeenth of April, Major Churchill, aid to General Jessup,
wrote Colonel Harney, saying, "I am instructed by the commanding General
to acknowledge the receipt to-day of your letter of the seventh instant,
and to inform you that the negro prisoners captured from the Indians,
and supposed to belong to the white people, were sent from this place,
on the eleventh instant, to Lieutenant D. H. Vinton, at St. Marks, for
the purpose of being returned to their owners. The Indians have agreed
to send all slaves, _taken from white people during the war_, to Fort
Mellon and Volusi; and runners are now employed in the interior on that
service." On the same day, information was given to William De Payster,
that seven of the number sent to Volusi probably belonged to him. On the
same day also, "A. Forrester" was informed of the fact, that those
slaves "had been sent to St. Marks, and that six of the number probably
belonged to him."

Other plans were devised for securing slaves, as we are informed by a
letter from General Jessup to E. K. Call, Governor of Florida, dated
eighteenth of April, 1837, in which he says: "If the citizens of the
territory be prudent, the war may be considered at an end; but any
attempt to interfere with the _Indian negroes_, or to _arrest_ any of
the chiefs or warriors as _debtors_ or _criminals_, would cause an
immediate resort to arms. The negroes control their masters; and have
heard of the act of your legislative council. Thirty or more of the
Indian negro men were near my camp on the Withlacoochee in March last;
but the arrival of two or three citizens of Florida, said to be in
search of negroes, caused them to disperse, and I doubt whether they
will come in again; at all events the emigration will be delayed a month
I apprehend in consequence of this alarm among the negroes."

The emigration of those Indians who had come in to Fort Brooke, and
registered themselves as ready for emigration, was delayed in
consequence of the difficulty of collecting those who were expected; and
General Jessup began to see the effects which his violation of the
articles of capitulation had wrought on the minds of both Indians and
negroes. Indeed, he had in plain and distinct language repeatedly
affirmed that the negroes _controlled the Indians_; that any
interference with the negroes would cause a resort to arms; yet he
himself subsequently ordered negroes to be sought out, separated from
their friends, and delivered over to slavery.

The ships were yet lying in the harbor. About seven hundred Indians were
encamped ready for emigration, and had been waiting for others to join
them. Impatient at delay and disappointment, on the twenty fifth of May,
he wrote Colonel Harney, as follows:

"If you see Powell (Osceola) again, I wish you to tell him that I intend
to send exploring and surveying parties into every part of the country
during the summer, and that I shall send out and _take all the negroes
who belong to the white people_, and he must not allow the Indians or
Indian negroes to mix with them. Tell him I am sending to Cuba for
bloodhounds to trail them, and _I intend to hang every one of them who
does not come in_."

This intention to reënslave the Exiles who had recently taken up their
residence with the Seminoles became known, and created general alarm.
Many of the blacks, who had come in for the purpose of emigrating,
became alarmed and fled; and General Jessup, doubtful whether more could
be obtained by peaceful means, seized about ninety Exiles who were
confined within the pickets at Tampa Bay, on the second of June, and at
once ordered them to New Orleans, under the charge of Lieutenant G. H.
Trevitt, of the United States Marines.

This struck the Indians and Exiles with astonishment. The chiefs,
warriors and families, numbering some seven hundred, who had collected
at Tampa Bay for the purpose of emigrating to the western country,
thinking themselves betrayed, now fled to their former fastnesses, far
in the interior, and once more determined to defend their liberties or
die in the attempt. A few, however, were secured at other posts, and
sent to New Orleans, where they were delivered over to Quarter-Master
Clark, and confined at "Fort Pike."

On the fourteenth of June, General Jessup, writing General Gadsden of
South Carolina, says: "_All is lost_, and principally, I fear, _by the
influence of the negroes_--the people who were the subject of our
correspondence. * * * I _seized_, and sent off to New Orleans, about
ninety Indian negroes, and I have about seventeen here. I have captured
ninety, the property of citizens; all of whom have been sent to St.
Marks and St. Augustine, except four at this place, twelve at Fort
Mellon, and six who died."

General Jessup now saw that both Seminole Indians and negroes had clear
conceptions of justice and honor. That his efforts to deliver over
negroes to slavery had defeated the entire object of the articles of
capitulation of the eighteenth of March. The Indians had fled. The
negroes, except those who were imprisoned, had fled. The twenty-six
vessels, collected at Tampa Bay to transport them to New Orleans, were
yet idle; and, to use his own words, "_all was lost!_"

Abraham, acting for his brethren while West, in 1833, had caused the
article to be inserted in the supplemental treaty, giving the Seminoles
a separate country for their settlement.

In forming the articles of capitulation with general Jessup, he again
exhibited his capacity for negotiation; obtaining the insertion of an
article which, if carried out, would have proved a triumphant
vindication of their cause. But from this second manifestation of his
powers for negotiation, the Government of the United States found it
necessary to recede, in order to maintain its designs of enslaving the



     Objects of the first and second Seminole War--Action of General
     Jessup and the Executive in regard to the Capitulation--His alleged
     arrangement--Resumes hostilities with intent to carry out original
     design of General Jackson--Establishes a series of forays for the
     capture of Negroes--Choctaws and Delawares employed--Cherokees
     refuse--Send a Delegation to make peace--Ross, the Cherokee Chief,
     addresses a Letter to Wild Cat, Osceola, and others--Difficulty
     with Creek Warriors--General Order--General Jessup's policy--Creek
     Warriors discharged--Capture of King Phillip--His message to Wild
     Cat--Influence of Cherokees--Wild Cat bears plume, etc., from
     Osceola to General Jessup, proposing to negotiate--Jessup sends
     back answer--Wild Cat, Osceola and Exiles come in to Fort
     Peyton--Are betrayed--Seized as prisoners--Imprisoned at San
     Augustine--Wild Cat escapes--Thrilling Narrative--Cherokee
     Delegation induce Micanopy, Cloud and others to visit General
     Jessup--They too are seized, and one hundred Exiles
     captured--Extraordinary conduct of General Jessup--Cherokees leave
     in disgust.

By the articles of capitulation, entered into on the sixth of March
(1837), the second Seminole War had been terminated. General Jessup so
regarded it, and so declared it. The Exiles and Indians so regarded it,
and some eight hundred came in under it and registered their names for
emigration, in good faith. The people of Florida regarded it in that
light, and remonstrated against it. They declared it a treaty of peace;
but complained of its terms, for the reason that it gave up the slaves
whom they claimed to own.

Learning this dissatisfaction to exist among the slaveholders of
Florida, General Jessup expressed, in his correspondence, an intention
of making an _arrangement_ with the chiefs, by which the slaves
belonging to the _citizens of Florida_, captured during the war, should
be given up. Why those claimed by the citizens of Florida should be
given up, and those escaped from Georgia and Alabama remain free, he has
failed to show! Why those who escaped, or, as he expresses it, were
captured during the war, should be returned, and those who escaped or
had been captured the day previous to the commencement of hostilities,
should not be returned, he has not explained; but he soon announced,
that he had made an arrangement with the chiefs to deliver up these
persons; and at once set the army at work to restore them. This
restoration of slaves, of itself, constituted a renewal of the war. It
had caused the first Seminole war, in 1816: it had caused this second
Seminole war, and General Jessup was himself conscious that such
interference with the Exiles would induce a renewal of hostilities. That
class of Exiles was numerous; they constituted a portion of the "allies"
for whose safety he had solemnly pledged the faith of Government.

It were useless for the friends of the then existing Administration to
say, that General Jessup made an arrangement with the Indian chiefs for
delivering up these people. The Exiles were the persons interested in
their own safety, for which they had fought. No chiefs had authority to
sell them, or to deliver them over to interminable bondage. But the
reader will inquire, with what particular chiefs was this arrangement
made? When, and where was it made? What were its terms? The only
answers, so far as we are informed, are to be found in the
interrogatories propounded to Osceola and other chiefs, when they were
captured, at Fort Peyton, on the twenty-first of October following.
General Jessup's first written interrogatory was, "Are they (the chiefs)
prepared to deliver up the negroes taken from the citizens? Why have
they not surrendered them already, as _promised by Co-Hadjo, at Fort
King_?" Here he merely claimed a promise from Co-Hadjo, an obscure
chief, who was not a party to the capitulation--did not sign it, and so
far as we are informed, was not present when it was entered into.

But, to show that no obligation whatever rested on the chiefs in this
matter, his next interrogatories were, "Have the chiefs of the Nation
held a Council in relation to the subjects of the talk at Fort King?
What chiefs attended that Council, and what was their decision?" These
questions seem to admit, that Co-Hadjo had merely promised to lay the
subject before the chiefs in Council; and here we find the reasons, on
the part of General Jessup, for not laying the arrangement before the
people: yet, under these circumstances, that officer charges bad faith
upon the Indians and Exiles, in renewing the war. The Exiles possessed
no means of informing the American people, and other nations, as to
these facts, or of maintaining their honor against this charge of having
violated their plighted faith.

In renewing hostilities, General Jessup appears to have fully determined
on carrying out the designs of General Jackson, in 1816, when he
directed General Gaines to "destroy the fort, and _return the slaves to
their owners_." From this time forward, he lent his energies, and the
power of the army, to the object of capturing and returning slaves. He
also deemed it necessary to change the mode of prosecuting the war, and
to make it a series of forays for the capture and enslavement of the

He had, the previous year, entered into a contract with the Creek
Indians, by which he stipulated to pay them a large pecuniary
compensation, and to allow them to hold all the plunder (negroes) whom
they might capture, as _property_. He now evidently believed that such
inducements, held out to the Florida militia, would have an effect to
stimulate them to greater effort.

On the eleventh of June, he wrote Colonel Warren, saying, "There is no
obligation to spare the property of the Indians; they have not spared
that of the citizens. Their _negroes_, cattle and horses, as well as
other property which they possess, will belong to the corps by which
they are captured."

The same orders were communicated to the Commandants of other posts, and
to the militia from other States; and the system by which the _negroes
and other property_ were to be distributed among the captors, was
prescribed in a letter to Colonel Heilman, declaring the field officers
entitled to _three shares_, the company officers to receive _two
shares_, and the non-commissioned officers and soldiers _one share

These arrangements were, of course, all duly certified to the War
Department, and approved, and thereby became acts of the Administration.
The letters of General Jessup, written during the summer and autumn of
1837, to Colonel Crowell, at Fort Mitchell, Alabama; to Colonel Mills,
of Newmansville, Florida; to Thomas Craghill, Esq., of Alabama; to
Captain David S. Walker, Captain Bonneville and Captain Armstrong;[97]
all show, conclusively, that the war was to be conducted by the
organization of slave-catching forays, in which the troops were expected
to penetrate the Indian Country for the purpose of capturing negroes.

During the sickly season no active operations against the allies could
be carried on, and the time was occupied in preparing for the more
vigorous prosecution of hostilities, so soon as the unhealthy months
should be passed. In order to carry out these forays, the Indians
residing west of the Mississippi were applied to for assistance. The
Choctaws and Delawares furnished many individuals whose low moral
development did not prevent their engaging in the proposed piratical
expeditions, for seizing and enslaving their fellow-men; but of the
precise number of individuals thus furnished, we have no authentic
information. The Cherokees however appear to have rejected a proposition
which, to them, appeared incompatible with the civilization of that
tribe; they evidently felt deep sympathy for their brethren, the
Seminoles, as well as for the Exiles. They agreed to furnish a
delegation who should, in a friendly manner, visit the Seminoles, state
to them the condition of the Western Country, and advise them in good
faith to emigrate.

At that period John Ross was acting as principal chief of the Cherokee
Nation. He was the son of a wealthy white man, who had long been
engaged as an Indian trader. His mother was a Cherokee. Ross had been
educated: had seen the advantages of civilization, and of Christianity,
and was at the time, and had long been engaged, in promoting
civilization among his own people. It will readily be supposed, that the
feelings of such a man would revolt at a proposition for his people to
engage in the capture and enslavement of any portion of the human
family. The correspondence between Ross and the Secretary of War is
interesting, and its perusal would well compensate the curious

This delegation from the Cherokees consisted of some twelve of their
most influential men. They bore with them an address from Ross, written
with great ability and sincerity. Among other things, he assured the
Seminoles that they might confide in the justice and honor of the United
States.[99] This address was directed to Micanopy, Osceola and Wild Cat,
the three most powerful and warlike chiefs among the Seminoles.

The Creek warriors had engaged to serve until the Seminoles were
conquered; but after the death of Captain Moniac, and their other
friends who fell in the Great Wahoo Swamp, they had shown a disposition
rather to _avoid danger_ than to _catch negroes_; and it was deemed
proper to discharge them. But difficulties intervened in regard to the
division of the negroes claimed to have been captured by them, while
acting in concert with our troops. Some ninety negroes had been
captured, in whose bones and muscles, blood and sinews, seven hundred
Creek warriors claimed an interest; while the Tennesseeans, and other
troops, had been in the field acting with the Creeks at the time of
capture; and the Creeks could, in equity, claim only a pro rata
interest. General Jessup however met the difficulty with promptness,
and, to put an end to all future strife and discontent, he issued the

"ORDER No. 175. TAMPA BAY, Sept. 6, 1837.

     "1. The Seminole negroes captured by the army, will be taken on
     account of Government and held subject to the _orders of the
     Secretary of War_.

     2. The sum of eight thousand dollars will be paid to the Creek
     chiefs and warriors by whom they were captured, or who were present
     at their capture, in full for their claims; the amount to be
     apportioned among the battalions in proportion to the numbers
     respectively taken by each, viz: To the first battalion, five
     thousand seven hundred dollars; to the second battalion, two
     thousand dollars; and to the spy battalion, three hundred dollars.

     3. To induce the Creeks to take alive, and not destroy, the negroes
     of citizens who had been captured by the Seminoles, a reward was
     promised them for all they should secure. They have captured and
     secured thirty-five, who have been returned to their owners. _The
     owners have paid nothing_, but the promise to the Indians must be
     fulfilled. The sum of twenty dollars will be allowed them for each,
     from the public funds.

     4. Lieutenant Frederick Searle is charged with the execution of
     this order. He will cause accounts to be made, in the name of the
     United States, and receipts taken from the Indians in full, for all
     claims to the negroes, both of the Seminoles and citizens.
     Lieutenant Searle will call on the Commanding General for funds to
     enable him to comply with this order.

     5. Until further orders, the Seminole negroes will remain at Fort
     Pike, Louisiana, in charge of the Assistant Quarter-Master at New
     Orleans, and in custody of the Commanding Officer of the post. They
     will be fed and clothed at the public expense."

This order was reported to the Secretary of War, and on the seventh of
October was approved and became the act of the Executive; and the people
of the nation became the actual owners of these ninety slaves, so far as
the Executive could bind them to the ownership of human flesh.

Such was, undoubtedly, the view of General Jessup, who, on the
fourteenth of September, wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
saying, "The Seminole negro prisoners are now the _property of the
public_. I have promised Abraham the freedom of his family, if he prove
faithful _to us_; and I shall surely hang him if he be not

This refinement in cruelty by which the life and liberty of a man and
his family is held out as a bribe to induce him to prove traitor to his
own kindred and nation, or to be hanged, and his family enslaved in case
of refusal, appears worthy a place in the history of our Government, in
order that our successors may have a correct idea of its administration.
The intention to enslave Abraham's wife, who was an Indian woman and had
been the wife of the former chief of the _nation_, and now the wife of
the principal chief of the Exiles, exhibits a total disregard of the
feelings and sympathies of the human heart, as well as of the prejudices
and condition of both Exiles and Seminoles. These Exiles were at Fort
Pike, near New Orleans, where we will leave them for the present, to
pursue our narrative of events which were transpiring in Florida.

On the ninth of September, General Jessup wrote Lieutenant Searle, as
follows: "You will muster the Creek regiment out of service, and
honorably discharge them. Then you will proceed to New Orleans, and
obtain funds to pay the Creeks for the captured negroes. The chiefs and
warriors who were actually in the field at the time of the capture of
negroes are alone to receive any part of the sum allowed. Those who
remained in camp and did not march are to receive nothing.

"You will examine the prisoners at 'Fort Pike,' (the ninety Exiles,) and
cause an accurate description to be taken of them, specifying their
names, ages, height, sex, and such other particulars as you may deem
important. They must all be comfortably clothed, at the public expense,
immediately, by the Assistant Quarter-Master at New Orleans, who will
keep them properly clad."

It would appear that some difficulty arose with the Choctaw and Delaware
warriors, who had expected to receive higher wages than the law allowed
for serving in the army. Such had been done with the Creeks, and
undoubtedly had been promised the Choctaws and Delawares. To quiet these
discontents, General Jessup wrote Colonel Davenport, on the seventh of
November, saying, "I regret the circumstance to which you refer. The
importance of fulfilling all our engagements with the Indians with the
most scrupulous good faith, is unquestionable. To dismiss them now,
might not only cost us another campaign, but may cause us difficulties
on our western border. We must retain them at all hazards. I wish you to
assure them, that _our laws_ do not authorize the payment of the sum
_stipulated_; but that the enemy has a large property, consisting of
ponies, cattle and _negroes_, and that I will pay them for all the
cattle they take, and they will be paid _fifty dollars for every negro_.
* * * Represent to them also, that our country is just, and if they will
serve well, I will take their chiefs to Washington, and represent their
case to the Great Council (Congress), and I have no doubt they will get
all that has been promised them." He also wrote Captain Armstrong of the
Choctaw agency, and Captain Bonneville, commanding the Choctaw warriors,
encouraging the Indians to faithful effort in order to obtain negroes.

Some of the Georgia volunteers appeared anxious to know definitely the
terms on which they were to expose their lives in these slave-catching
forays; and a letter was addressed to Brigadier General C. H. Nelson,
commanding the Georgia volunteers, by J. A. Chambers, aid to General
Jessup, saying, "We have not the order book with us at this moment; but
the General directs me to say, that all Indian property captured belongs
to the capturers."

On the same day, General Hernandez of the Florida militia, found means
to secure King Phillip, an aged chief, who lived some distance south of
San Augustine, with eleven others of his tribe. It may be regarded as
somewhat unfortunate, that history has failed to give us the particulars
of this capture. The subsequent conduct of General Hernandez may lead
the reader to look back upon this incident of the war with some desire
to know the manner of King Phillip's capture; to understand whether it
was peaceful or hostile; and whether any, and how many, white men, and
how many Indians and Exiles, fell in the conflict? But we must pass over
these particulars, as we have no authentic account concerning them.
General Jessup, when called on to report to the Secretary of War as to
violations of the flag of truce, merely remarks, incidentally, that King
Phillip and his companions were captured by General Hernandez.

Phillip had long been regarded as a chief of influence among the
Seminoles. Finding himself a prisoner, he became anxious to see, and
converse with, some of his friends; and General Hernandez, at his
request, gave permission, for one of the prisoners to carry this talk to
his family, inviting them to come and visit him in his captivity. The
message was faithfully delivered to his oldest son, already known to the
reader as "Wild Cat." He had been an active warrior at the massacre of
Dade's battalion; had been subsequently elevated to the dignity of a
chief; had visited General Jessup, under the articles of capitulation of
March, 1837, and at that time delivered up "Louis" as his slave,
demanding his transportation West under those articles; and when he
learned the intention of General Jessup to deliver up a portion of the
Exiles to slavery, he left Fort Brooke, and again swearing vengeance
upon the enslavers of mankind, became one of the most active warriors in
the Seminole Nation.

[Illustration: Coacoochee. (Wild Cat.)]

The Cherokee Delegation had reached the Indian country. The address of
John Ross was directed to Wild Cat and Osceola, as two of the principal
Seminole chiefs. They were together, and received the talk of Ross, the
Cherokee chief, assuring them of the integrity and honor of the United
States. After due consideration, it was determined that Wild Cat
should comply with the filial obligations due to his aged father,
bearing with him the peace token of Osceola, consisting of a neatly
wrought bead pipe, together with a beautiful white plume, to be
presented to General Hernandez, as the assurance of Osceola's pacific
desires. Co-Hadjo, another chief, bore a similar message and emblems.

These were received by General Hernandez, who communicated immediate
information thereof to General Jessup. They were propositions for
negotiating a peace, forwarded at the special request and advice of the
Cherokee Delegation, who were active in their efforts to stop the
effusion of blood, and restore harmony between our nation and the
Seminoles. By direction of General Jessup, Hernandez returned various
presents to Osceola by Co-Hadjo, saying, that General Jessup and himself
would be glad to hold a conference with them. The same assurances and
presents were given to Wild Cat, who also became the messenger between
General Jessup and General Hernandez on the one hand, and his brethren
on the other. With the hope of effecting an arrangement beneficial to
his friends and to mankind, Wild Cat left San Augustine with the promise
to return in ten days.

Punctual to the day, he returned with the very satisfactory assurance,
that Osceola, and one hundred Indians and as many Exiles, were on their
way toward San Augustine, for the purpose of entering upon negotiations.
With the intention of hastening their arrival, and manifesting an
earnest desire for peace, General Hernandez proceeded, with Wild Cat and
other friendly Seminoles, to meet the advancing chiefs, some twenty
miles south-west of San Augustine, at a place called "Pelican Creek."
Here he learned that Osceola would join them at evening. General
Hernandez left a quantity of provisions with them, and, desiring them to
select their encampment for the next day (Oct. 22) somewhere near Fort
Peyton, at which place he would meet them with a proper escort, left
them, and returned to San Augustine. They accordingly encamped the next
day near Fort Peyton, situated seven miles south-west from San
Augustine. They approached their encampment with great formality:
Osceola and other chiefs bearing white flags, expecting to meet a
suitable escort under General Hernandez, with the well-understood
intentions of entering upon diplomatic negotiations with that grave
dignity for which the Indian is so much distinguished. These flags were
kept flying in their encampment through the night and the next morning.

At ten o'clock (Oct. 23), General Hernandez, accompanied by his staff
and by most of General Jessup's staff, in full dress, met them as had
been promised, with the apparent purpose of escorting them to
head-quarters at San Augustine. After the ordinary salutations had been
exchanged, instead of preparing to march, General Hernandez, from a
written paper signed by General Jessup, read the following questions
addressed to Osceola: "Are you prepared at once to _deliver up the
negroes taken from the citizens_? Why have you not surrendered them
already, as promised by Co-Hadjo at Fort King? Have the chiefs of the
nation held a council on this subject?"[101]

Osceola exhibited the most perfect astonishment at hearing these
questions propounded at such a moment. He appeared, however, instantly
to comprehend his situation. Turning to Co-Hadjo, he said to him in his
own dialect, "You must answer; I am choked," at the same time exhibiting
unusual emotion for an Indian chief.[102]

At this moment, by a concerted signal, armed troops at once surrounded
the whole encampment, gathered rapidly in upon the occupants, made
prisoners of them, and at once disarmed them. They were then marched to
San Augustine, and closely imprisoned in the ancient castle of that
city. There was about an equal number of Exiles captured, at this
violation of our plighted faith; they were, however, sent to Tampa Bay
for safe keeping.

Wild Cat, having been made the instrument for betraying Osceola and
other friends, felt great indignation at what he regarded as the perfidy
practiced upon him and his brethren, and determined to escape from his
imprisonment so soon as an opportunity should offer. But he was
imprisoned in the Castle of San Augustine, whose gray walls, lofty
turrets, battlements and Catholic chapel, must have presented to the
young warrior a spectacle in striking contrast with the rude huts in
which he was accustomed to lodge, in the interior of the Territory. We
prefer letting him tell the story of his escape, which we copy from the
works of one who was then serving in our army.[103] Said Wild Cat:

"We were in a small room, eighteen or twenty feet square. All the light
admitted was through a hole (embrasure) about eighteen feet from the
floor. Through this we must effect our escape, or remain and die with
sickness. A sentinel was constantly posted at the door. As we looked at
it from our bed, we thought it small, but believed that, could we get
our heads through, we should have no further or serious difficulty. To
reach the hole was the first object. In order to effect this, we from
time to time cut up the forage bags allowed us to sleep on, and made
them into ropes. The hole I could not reach when upon the shoulder of my
companion; but, while standing upon his shoulder, I worked a knife into
a crevice of the stone-work as far as I could reach, and upon this I
raised myself to the aperture, when I found that, with some reduction of
person, I could get through. In order to reduce ourselves as much as
possible, we took medicine five days. Under the pretext of being very
sick, we were permitted to obtain the roots we required. For some weeks
we watched the moon, in order that, on the night of our attempt, it
should be as dark as possible. At the proper time we commenced the
medicine, calculating on the entire disappearance of the moon."

"The keeper of this prison, on the night determined upon to make the
effort, annoyed us by frequently coming into the room, and talking and
singing. At first we thought of tying him and putting his head in a bag,
so that, should he call for assistance, he could not be heard. We first,
however, tried the experiment of pretending to be asleep, and, when he
returned, to pay no regard to him. This accomplished our object. He came
in and went immediately out; and we could hear him snore, in the
immediate vicinity of the door. I then took the rope we had secreted
under our bed, and, mounting on the shoulder of my comrade, raised
myself upon the knife worked into the crevice of the stone, and
succeeded in reaching the embrasure. Here I made fast the rope, that my
friend might follow me. I then passed through the hole a sufficient
length of it to reach the ground upon the outside (about fifty feet), in
the ditch: I had calculated the distance when going for roots. With much
difficulty I succeeded in getting my head through, for the sharp stones
took the skin off my breast and back. Putting my head through first, I
was obliged to go down head foremost until my feet were through, fearing
every moment the rope would break. At last, safely on the ground, I
awaited with anxiety the arrival of my comrade. I had passed another
rope through the hole, which, in the event of discovery, Talmeco-Hadjo
was to pull, as a signal to me upon the outside that he was discovered,
and could not come. As soon as I struck the ground, I took hold of the
signal for intelligence from my friend. The night was very dark. Two men
passed near me, talking earnestly, and I could see them distinctly. Soon
I heard the struggle of my companion, far above me; he had succeeded in
getting his head through, but his body would come no farther. In the
lowest tone of voice, I urged him to throw out his breath and then try;
soon after, he came tumbling down the whole distance. For a few moments
I thought him dead. I dragged him to some water close by, which restored
him; but his leg was so lame he was unable to walk. I took him upon my
shoulder to a scrub, near town. Daylight was just breaking: it was
evident we must move rapidly. I caught a mule in the adjoining field,
and, making a bridle of my sash, mounted my companion. The mule we used
one day; but fearing the whites would track us, we felt more secure on
foot in the hommock, though moving very slowly. Thus we continued our
journey for five days, subsisting on berries, when I joined my band,
then assembled on the head-waters of the Tomoka River, near the Atlantic
coast. I gave my warriors the history of my capture and escape, and
assured them that they should be satisfied my capture was no trick of my
own, and that I would not deceive them."

While Wild Cat and his friends were imprisoned at San Augustine, the
Cherokee Delegation had been actively engaged in exertions to induce
other chiefs and warriors to come in, for the purpose of ascertaining
what negotiations could be effected with General Jessup in favor of
peace. Their objects were of the most humane character. Anxious to stop
the further shedding of human blood, they had come a thousand miles upon
this errand of mercy.

After great effort, Micanopy, the most important chief in the Nation,
Choud, Toskogee, and Nocose Yoholo, agreed to accompany a portion of the
Cherokee Delegation to General Jessup's camp, for the purpose of
negotiation, or rather to ascertain whether further negotiation were
practicable. They were accompanied by about seventy-five Indians and
forty Exiles. They approached the American camp under a flag of truce,
that emblem of peace, which is recognized as such by all civilized
nations, and treated with respect.

They reached General Jessup's camp on the third of December, in company
with a part of the Cherokee Delegation, and confided themselves to the
power of the commanding officer, trusting to the honor of our nation.
They were received with apparent respect and good faith, and remained in
camp under the expectation of further negotiation; of which there was
much said, and frequent conversations held.

After a few days spent in this way, the Seminole chiefs and warriors
were unsuspectingly seized, disarmed, made prisoners, hurried on board a
steamboat, and sent to San Augustine as prisoners of war.

As the Cherokees saw this violation of the flag, they were struck with
astonishment, and began to remonstrate against an act which, to them,
appeared an outrage upon the rules of civilized warfare, and which
involved them in its guilt. Finding remonstrance of no avail, they
requested permission of General Jessup to converse with the Seminoles,
in order to assure them that they, the Cherokees, had acted in good
faith, and were in no degree cognizant of the fraud practiced upon the
Seminoles, or implicated in the discreditable violation of the flag of
truce. This privilege, however, was denied them.

Feeling indignant, and conscious that the Seminoles would charge them
with complicity, in this violation of faith, they next demanded that
their principal chief should have an opportunity, in the presence of
such officer or officers as General Jessup may appoint, to see the
Seminoles, and explain to them that the Cherokees had in no respect
participated in the perfidy practiced upon them. To enforce this
request, they stated to General Jessup that, if the Seminoles were sent
West, they would thereby become neighbors to the Cherokees, and, if they
believed the Cherokee Delegation to have participated in this
transaction, they would never forget it, but would thereafter be hostile
to them.

General Jessup at length consented to permit the chief of the Cherokees
to explain these facts to the Seminoles, in the presence of himself and
officers; but would not suffer any other member of the delegation to
attend him.[104]

The Seminoles were sent to San Augustine; and that portion of the
Cherokees who had accompanied them to General Jessup's camp, at once
refused all further efforts to restore peace, and returned to their
homes; leaving, however, some four or five of their brethren in the
Seminole country, who, ignorant of the occurrences just related,
continued to urge other Seminoles to make peace upon such terms as they
believed just--assuring them that the Americans demanded nothing more.



     General Zachary Taylor--His character and past service--His
     expedition--Battle of Okechobee--His loss--Returns to
     Withlacoochee--Repudiates the work of catching Slaves--Exiles
     delivered over to bondage--Regular Troops despise such
     Employment--Indian prisoners indignant at the outrages perpetrated
     against the Exiles--Separated from Exiles--Are sent to
     Charleston--Exiles to Tampa Bay--Further efforts to re-enslave
     Exiles--General Jessup moves South--Skirmish of Loca
     Hatchee--Erects Fort Jupiter--Is persuaded to propose peace on
     basis of permitting Indians and Exiles to remain in Florida--Sends
     one of the Exiles to the enemy with these propositions--He returns
     with Hallec Hajo--Parties agree to hold Council and endeavor to
     form Treaty on that basis--Indians and Exiles meet for that
     purpose--Letter to Secretary of War--His answer--Indians and Exiles
     treacherously seized--Their numbers--Alligator and others
     surrender--Exiles sent to Fort Pike--Indians sent to Charleston.

[Sidenote: 1837.]

General Zachary Taylor was in command of an efficient force in the
western part of Florida, holding his head-quarters at Tampa Bay. He had
been thirty years in service; had distinguished himself in battle, and
was regarded as an officer of great merit. Looking to the honor of our
flag and the prestige of the service, he appears to have borne himself
entirely above all efforts to prostitute the powers of the nation to the
reënslavement of the Exiles. He was particularly opposed to the plan of
General Jessup, directing that all negroes captured should be the slaves
of the captors.[105]

It now became evident that there was hard fighting to be done. General
Taylor was at all times ready for such service. It is one of the
imperfections of human government, that the men who conceive and direct
the perpetration of great national crimes are usually exempt from the
immediate dangers which beset those who act merely as their instruments
in the consummation of transcendent wrongs. Had General Jackson and
General Cass been assured they would have been the first individuals to
meet death in their efforts to enslave the Exiles, it is doubtful
whether either of them would have been willing to adopt a policy which
should thus consign them to premature graves. Or had Mr. Van Buren, or
his Cabinet, at the time of which we are now writing, been conscious
that, in carrying on this war for slavery, they would fall victims to
their own policy, it may well be doubted whether either of them would
have laid down his life for the safety of that institution; yet they
were evidently willing to sacrifice our military officers and soldiers,
to maintain the degradation of the African race.

General Jessup had written General Taylor, that all hope of terminating
the war through the agency of the Cherokees, was at an end; that Sam
Jones and the Mickasukies had determined to fight to the last. He,
therefore, directed General Taylor to proceed, with the least possible
delay, against any portion of the enemy he might hear of within striking
distance. General Taylor at once concentrated such force as he deemed
necessary for the contemplated expedition. His little army was composed
of regulars and volunteers, including nearly one hundred Delaware and
Shawnee Indians, who had been induced to join the army under the
expectation of obtaining plunder by the capture of slaves. His whole
force amounted to nearly eleven hundred men. Conscious that he was
expected to encounter the full force of the enemy, if he could succeed
in bringing them to action, he left his artillery; divested his troops
of all heavy baggage, and prepared, as far as possible, for a rapid
movement. With him were some of the most valued officers in the service
of Government; men on whom he could rely with confidence, and who were
worthy to command veteran troops. With this force, he left his
encampment on the morning of the nineteenth of December, and directed
his coarse southeastwardly in the direction where, it was said, Sam
Jones and his forces were encamped. As he advanced into the interior, he
discovered signs of Indians; and, through the efforts of Captain Parks,
a half-breed chief, who commanded the Delawares and Shawnees, he induced
Jumper, and a few families of the Seminoles and some few Exiles, to come
in and emigrate under the articles of capitulation of March previous. On
the twenty-second of December, being the third day of their march, they
found conclusive evidence that they were in the vicinity of the enemies'
principal force, but found it difficult to bring them to action. That
night every precaution was taken against surprise. The necessary patrols
were kept out, sentinels doubled, and the troops slept upon their arms.
They confidently expected to engage the enemy the next day.

But the allies were cautious; they passed from swamps, through hommocks,
and over prairies, constantly keeping too far in advance of our army to
incur any danger. In this manner the whole of that day was occupied.

At night the troops bivouacked as on the previous night. They were in
the deepest recesses of the Indian Country, surrounded by swamps,
everglades and hommocks: through these they had groped their way for a
hundred miles. Up to this time, the mounted volunteers had managed to
keep their horses with them, knowing they might be useful in battle. But
the enemy indicated an unwillingness to encounter our troops with the
advantages which the mounted men would possess over them.

Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth, the troops were again put in
motion: the enemy keeping sufficiently in advance to be beyond the reach
of musket or rifle balls. General Taylor and his followers were in close
pursuit; and as the allies left a swamp, or hommock, or prairie, Taylor
and his men entered it, hoping to bring on a general action.

At about ten o'clock, the enemy were traced to a swamp of some
three-fourths of a mile in width, thickly covered with saw-grass, not
less than four feet in height. Through it flowed a turbid stream, whose
current was scarcely perceptible, while it seemed to stretch away to the
left in an endless savanna, and to the right it appeared to deepen into
an impassable morass. After the proper reconnoissance, it was found that
it could not be passed by horses; and on the farther side a thick
hommock reached down to the very edge of the swamp.

It was now plain that the enemy intended to make a stand at this point,
and give battle. Perhaps the whole territory did not furnish a more
advantageous position than that now occupied by the allied forces.
General Taylor saw at a glance the difficulties which lay before him. He
well understood the superiority of the enemy's position, but determined
to maintain the honor of the service. He did not hesitate in entering
upon the conflict. His arrangements were soon made. The volunteers were
directed to dismount, and act on foot. Knowing well that the battle was
to be fought here if anywhere, he directed his troops to divest
themselves of all baggage, which together with the horses, was left
under the charge of a small guard. His troops entered the swamp in two
lines. The first was composed of the volunteers, spies, and friendly
Indians, under the command of Colonel Gentry. They were ordered to
engage the enemy, and maintain their ground until reinforced; or, if
compelled to fall back, they were directed to form immediately in rear
of the second line, and await orders.

They entered the swamp in this manner at about twelve o'clock. The sun
was shining pleasantly, and a quiet stillness appeared to pervade the
scene around them. They passed the stream in safety, and the front line
was approaching the thick hommock in front. There, too, all was silent;
not an enemy to be seen; no voice was heard, nor could they discover any
evidence of animal life within the dense forest before them.

There, however, lay Wild Cat and his band, and the prophet and other
mighty chiefs of the nation with their followers. Wild Cat had been
stimulated to desperation by what he regarded the perfidy of General
Jessup, and his imprisonment at San Augustine, from which he had just
escaped. Most of the Exiles, who remained among the Seminoles, and were
capable of bearing arms, were collected here under their respective
leaders. They had retreated to this point for the purpose of separating
our troops from their horses, and then engaging them at such superior
advantage as would be most likely to insure victory. Their spies had
climbed into the very tops of the trees, whence they had witnessed every
movement of our troops in the swamp, and given constant information to
their comrades who were on the ground, and who, acting under the
information thus received, were enabled to place themselves directly in
front of those who were pursuing them. Every warrior was protected by a
tree, and the thick foliage of the hommock shielded every movement from
the scrutiny of our spies and officers.

Soon as the first line, commanded by Colonel Gentry, came within
point-blank shot of the hommock, the allies opened a heavy fire upon
them. The saw-grass was so high as partially to protect the bodies of
our men from view; but the fire was very fatal. Colonel Gentry, the
gallant commander of the volunteers, fell at the first fire; his son, an
interesting youth, acting as sergeant-major, was wounded almost at the
same moment. Captain Childs, and Lieutenants Rogers and Flanagan, of the
same regiment, and Acting Major Sconce, and Lieutenants Hare and Gordon
of the spies, and twenty-four men, fell wounded at the very commencement
of the action.

It was hardly to be expected that militia would stand such a fire. They
broke, fell back, and instead of halting in the rear of the regulars as
directed, they continued their flight across the swamp, to the place
where they left their horses; nor were the officers of General Taylor's
staff able to induce them again to join their comrades, who soon became
engaged in a most deadly conflict.

But the regulars moved steadily to the charge, under Colonel Thompson, a
most gallant and estimable officer. General Taylor says: "The weight of
the enemy's fire seemed to be concentrated upon five companies of the
6th Infantry, which not only stood firm, but continued to advance until
their gallant commander, Lieut. Colonel Thompson, and his adjutant,
Lieutenant Center, were killed; and every officer, with one exception,
as well as most of the non-commissioned officers, including the
sergeant-major, and four of the five orderly sergeants, were killed or
wounded. When that portion of the regiment retired a short distance and
re-formed, it was found that one of these companies had but _four men

Amid these difficulties, Lieut. Colonel Foster of the 4th Infantry, with
six companies, numbering about one hundred and fifty men, gained the
hommock in good order, and, after maintaining his ground a short time,
charged upon the allies and drove them from the field, with the loss of
nine Indians and one of the Exiles killed, and eleven wounded.

The battle commenced at half-past twelve M., and continued nearly three
hours, and proved the most desperate, and to our troops the most fatal
conflict which occurred during the war. It was past three o'clock in the
afternoon when the allies gave up the field, for which they had
contended against a force more than double their own numbers.

General Taylor and his surviving officers were now left to ascertain
their loss, and contemplate the expense of subduing even a savage
people, fighting for their homes, their firesides, their _liberties_.
And we are led to think if those Northern statesmen who, for many years
subsequent to that date, were accustomed to inquire, What has the nation
to do with slavery? had been present and propounded that question to
General Taylor or his officers, they would have been silently pointed to
_twenty-six dead bodies_ of their deceased comrades, then lifeless upon
the ground, and to _one hundred and twelve wounded officers and
soldiers_, who were prostrated in that swamp and hommock, suffering all
the pangs which mortals are capable of enduring; but the language of
their gallant commander better expresses his feelings than any which we
can command.

In his official report, General Taylor says: "We suffered much, having
twenty-six killed and one hundred and twelve wounded, among whom are
some of our most valuable officers. * * Soon as the enemy were
completely broken, I turned my attention to taking care of the wounded,
to facilitate their removal to my baggage, where I had ordered an
encampment to be formed. * * And here I trust I may be permitted to say,
that I experienced one of the most trying scenes of my life; and he who
could have looked on it with indifference, his nerves must have been
very differently organized from my own. Besides the killed, among whom
were some of my personal friends, there lay one hundred and twelve
officers and soldiers, who had accompanied me one hundred and forty-five
miles, through an unexplored wilderness, without guides; who had so
gallantly beaten the enemy, under my orders, in his strongest positions;
and who had to be conveyed back, through swamps and hommocks, from
whence we set out, without any apparent means of doing so."

The next day was occupied in burying the dead, making litters for the
transportation of the wounded, and preparing for their return to
Withlacoochee. One hundred and thirty-eight men had fallen in this
single conflict, victims to the policy of our Government, in attempting
to restore to a state of slavery men who abhorred and had fled from it.
The allies had also suffered severely. General Taylor reported that ten
of their dead and wounded were left on the field.[106] But no prisoners
were taken, no slaves were captured; and those Indians who had come from
Arkansas to Florida, for the purpose of sharing in slave-catching
forays, found it a far more dangerous employment, and one of more
difficulty, than they had expected.

On the morning of the twenty-sixth, General Taylor, with his sick and
wounded, left his encampment, and, after encountering great
difficulties, reached Withlacoochee on the thirty-first of December;
having been absent twelve days. He made a brief official report of this
expedition, and of the severe battle he had fought. This report was
quietly filed away in the War Department, and but few, even of our
public men, appeared to be fully conscious that he had performed
meritorious service in the Florida war.[107]

But while General Taylor was thus quietly engaged in the most hazardous
service, General Jessup was active in securing negroes, and employing
the military power of the nation, so far as able, to seize and return
fugitives to their owners. It would exceed the limits of our present
work, were we to notice the efforts of various individuals claiming to
have lost slaves. The Indian Bureau at Washington was engaged in this
service, and applications were constantly made for slaves to the
commanding officer. These applications were usually referred to some
quarter-master, or pay-master, for decision; and if such inferior
officer belonged to the militia, the person claimed was usually
delivered over to bondage, whether the claimant had ever seen him
previously or not. It is a matter of astonishment that our National
Administration, guided by a Northern President (Mr. Van Buren), should
have permitted a pay-master or quarter-master of militia, to sit in
grave examination of the right of their fellow-men to liberty; to act as
judge, jury and counselor, in cases involving the rights with which the
God of Nature had endowed them.

But to the honor of our army, it was said that both officers and men of
the regular service, generally held the work of catching slaves in
supreme contempt. More than three hundred heavy documentary pages were
communicated to Congress on this subject, nearly all of which are filled
with extracts of letters, reports, orders, opinions and directions
concerning slaves, connected with this Florida war.[108]

Great difficulty arose among the Indians in consequence of the
reënslavement of their friends, the Exiles. They felt the outrage with
as much apparent keenness as though it had been perpetrated upon
themselves. To prevent these difficulties, General Jessup separated the
Exiles from their Indian allies, whenever they surrendered or were taken

In pursuance of this plan, he sent Osceola and the other Indians seized
at Fort Peyton; and Micanopy, and others who had come into his own camp
for the purpose of negotiating a treaty, to Charleston, South Carolina;
while the Exiles were sent, some to Tampa Bay and other places, to be
subjected to the inspection of men who professed to have been their
previous owners.

General Jessup, in the very elaborate defense of his proceedings, dated
July, 1838, justifies this policy of separating the Indians and Exiles
by saying, that he learned the year previous, from prisoners captured,
that the Indians through the Seminole negroes had entered into
arrangements with their slaves that so soon as hostilities should
commence, the latter were to join their masters, and take up arms
against the whites. This information, representing the Indians as
entering into negotiation with their own slaves _through_ the "Seminole
negroes" (Exiles), bears the character of fiction; yet it is gravely set
forth in an official report, and we are bound to treat it

Under this arrangement--separating the Indians and Exiles--all the
relations of domestic life were disregarded. The Indian husband was
separated from the wife he had selected among the daughters of the
Exiles; and the Indian wife was separated from her more sable husband.
The darker colored prisoners were hurried to Tampa Bay, and the red men
and women were sent to Charleston for safe keeping.

Up to the commencement of the year 1838, General Jessup appears to have
been mostly employed in efforts to obtain peace by negotiation and in
directing the movements of various detachments of the army, who did not
require his personal attendance, and making arrangements for the
delivery of negroes to their supposed former owners; but had found very
little time to mingle in the dangers of the field. Brigadier General
Taylor had performed a most hazardous service; and it appeared proper
that the Commanding General should also strike a blow that would
distinguish his administration of the military department of the

[Sidenote: 1838.]

Early in January, he moved south, with about five hundred mounted men,
well provided. On the twenty-fourth, at about twelve o'clock, he
encountered the "allies," near the "Locka-Hatchee," and a short skirmish
followed, in which the General was himself wounded somewhat severely in
the arm. He lost seven men killed and thirty wounded. The enemy yielded
the field to our troops, but left neither dead nor wounded upon the
scene of conflict, nor is it known whether they sustained any loss
whatever. General Jessup expresses the belief that there were not more
than a hundred warriors engaged on the part of the enemy. On the
twenty-fifth, he erected a stockade called "Fort Jupiter." Here he lay
until the fifth of February, when he moved forward some twelve miles,
where, it is said, some of his officers--General Eaton and
others--proposed that General Jessup should make terms with the Indians
and their allies, and permit them to remain in the country, confining
them to the southern portion of the Territory. He, however, moved
forward another day's march, when, being called on by Colonel Twiggs,
and learning that it was the general desire of the officers, he says he
determined to send a messenger to the Indians, offering them peace.

The first messenger dispatched on this service was one of the Exiles,
or, as General Jessup called him, a "Seminole negro." This man soon
returned with several Indians, among whom was a sub-chief named "Hallec
Hajo," who was willing to hold a conference, and expressed a desire to
remain in the country; but said, if compelled, they must go West.

General Jessup insisted that "Toshkogee," the principal chief in that
neighborhood, should attend, and hold a Council the next day; and that
the Indians should give up their arms. Hallec Hajo at once refused to
comply with such condition. He would meet in Council, but would never
surrender his arms.

On the morning of the eighth of February, Toshkogee and Hallec Hajo met
General Jessup agreeably to appointment. An interchange of opinions and
views took place, and the General agreed to recommend the conclusion of
a peace upon the _basis of allowing the allies to remain in the
country_, and occupy a suitable portion of the southern part of the
Territory. It was also agreed that a certain territory, near the place
of negotiation, should be occupied by the Indians and their families,
where they should be safe, and might remain until the views of the
Executive should be ascertained.[111]

In pursuance of this arrangement of treating upon the basis of
permitting the allies to remain in the country, many of the Seminoles
and Exiles collected with the expectation that the agreement was to be
carried out in good faith.

On the next day, General Jessup addressed a long communication to the
Secretary of War, in which he gives his views upon the policy of
immediate emigration somewhat at length, and advises its abandonment in
the following language:

"In regard to the Seminoles, we have committed the error of attempting
to remove them when their lands were not required for agricultural
purposes; when they were not in the way of the white inhabitants, and
when the greater portion of their country was an unexplored wilderness,
of the interior of which we were as ignorant as of the interior of
China. We exhibit in our present contest the first instance, perhaps,
since the commencement of authentic history, of a nation employing an
army to explore a country, (for we can do little more than explore it,)
or attempting to remove a band of savages from one unexplored wilderness
to another."

"As a soldier, it is my duty, I am aware, not to comment upon the policy
of the Government, but to carry it out in accordance with my
instructions. I have endeavored faithfully to do so; but the prospect of
terminating the war in any reasonable time is any thing but flattering.
My decided opinion is, that, unless _immediate_ emigration be abandoned,
the war will continue for years to come, and at constantly accumulating
expense. Is it not, then, well worthy the serious consideration of an
enlightened Government whether, even if the wilderness we are traversing
could be inhabited by the white man, (which is not the fact,) the object
we are contending for would be worth the cost? I do not certainly think
it would; indeed, I do not consider the country south of
Chickasa-Hatchee worth the medicines we shall expend in driving the
Indians from it."

To this communication the Secretary of War replied: "In the present
stage of our relations with the Indians residing within the States and
Territories east of the Mississippi, including the Seminoles, it is
useless to recur to the principles and motives which induced the
Government to determine their removal to the West. The acts of the
Executive, and the laws of Congress, evince a determination to carry out
the measure, and it is to be regarded as the settled policy of the
country. In pursuance of this policy, the treaty of Payne's Landing was
made with the Seminoles; and the character of the officer employed on
the part of the Government is a guarantee of the perfectly fair manner
in which that negotiation was conducted and concluded. Whether the
Government ought not to have waited until the Seminoles were pressed
upon by the white population, and their lands become necessary to the
agricultural wants of the community, is not a question for the Executive
now to consider. The treaty has been ratified, and is the law of the
land; and the constitutional duty of the President requires that he
should cause it to be executed. I cannot, therefore, authorize any
arrangement with the Seminoles by which they will be permitted to
remain, or assign them any portion of the Territory of Florida as their
future residence."

"The Department indulged the hope, that, with the extensive means placed
at your disposal, the war by a vigorous effort might be brought to a
close this campaign. If, however, you are of opinion that, from the
nature of the country and the character of the enemy, such a result is
impracticable, and that it is advisable to make a temporary arrangement
with the Seminoles, by which the safety of the settlements and posts
will be secured throughout the summer, you are at liberty to do so."

General Jessup had previously represented the subjection of the
Seminoles as an object easily to be accomplished. He had so represented
in his letter to Mr. Blair, in 1836, which occasioned the withdrawal of
General Scott, and his own appointment to the command of the army in
Florida. He had himself been in command more than a year, and the War
Department was doubtless somewhat astonished at his recommendation now
to adopt the policy which the Indians and Exiles had from the first been
ready to accept. He was probably somewhat mortified at seeing his
proposition so coldly received, and the whole responsibility of carrying
it out placed upon himself, upon condition that he was _satisfied
nothing better_ could be accomplished. He had done all in his power to
effect the objects so much cherished by the Administration. But the
Secretary of War still urged the carrying out of the treaty of Payne's
Landing, not according to its letter and spirit, but according to the
unnatural and unexpected construction which General Jackson placed upon
it, after complaints were made against the Seminoles by the people of
Florida. It is also evident that no intention of executing it according
to the supplemental treaty entered into by the Seminole Delegates while
at the West, was entertained by the Administration. No measures had been
taken for establishing the boundaries between the Seminoles and the
Creeks; nor do we hear of any intention to fulfill that stipulation. On
the contrary, it had been constantly asserted by the Secretary of War,
that the Seminoles and Creeks were to be _united as one people_.

The Commanding General, in the opinion of many statesmen, had
compromited the honor of the service, and violated the plighted faith of
the nation by treacherously seizing Indians and Exiles who had
approached the army under the white flag, which had so long been
regarded as a sacred emblem of peace by all civilized nations; yet,
notwithstanding these circumstances, his propositions were in spirit
rejected, although in language he had been authorized to negotiate a
temporary peace upon the basis he had proposed.

It is believed that the substance of this answer had become to some
extent known, or suspected by the Indians, for General Jessup admits he
received the decision of the Secretary of War on the seventeenth; and on
the nineteenth, he directed the chiefs to meet him in Council on the
twentieth, at twelve o'clock. For some cause, the Indians and their
allies appear to have been indisposed to do this, and he directed
Colonel Twiggs to seize them, and hold them prisoners; and he reported
to the War Department that, by this movement, "five hundred and thirteen
Indians, and one hundred and sixty-five negroes, were secured."[112]

Of this transaction we can only speak from the account given of it by
General Jessup. From his report, certain important facts are clearly
understood. For instance, he announces to the Indians and Exiles a
proposition to treat with them, _upon the basis of permitting them to
remain in the country_. That, for the purpose of entering into such a
negotiation, they collected near Fort Jupiter; and that, without any
attempt to negotiate, and while they were in his camp, they were
unexpectedly seized against their will; and that Passac Micco, and
fourteen others, escaped capture. Nor does General Jessup pretend that
one of those six hundred and seventy-eight persons _voluntarily_
surrendered. It is certain, that however honorable the intentions of
General Jessup were, the Indians and the Exiles were deceived, and, as
they believed, treacherously dealt with.

The official register of colored persons seized at Fort Jupiter,
represents one hundred and fifty-one as properly belonging to the
Seminoles, or as "_Seminole negroes_," the term usually applied to the
Exiles by General Jessup and his officers; and fourteen are represented
as the slaves of citizens of Florida. These people were soon hurried off
to Tampa Bay, where they were confined within the pickets, under a
strong guard. Fort Brooke now presented to the eye of a stranger all the
external appearances of a first class "slave factory" upon the African
coast. The Exiles who had been betrayed at Fort Peyton and other places,
and not delivered over to slave-hunters, were also here; and the number
had so greatly increased, that many had to be sent to New Orleans for
safe keeping.

When the Exiles seized at Fort Jupiter arrived at Tampa Bay, they found,
among those already there, many old acquaintances, friends and
relatives, who had been taken at other places. Families, in some
instances long separated, were once more united; husbands, whose wives
and children had been seized and long imprisoned at Tampa Bay, now
rejoined their families, and were in some degree compensated for the
mortification of having been made prisoners by treachery.

But fathers and husbands, whose children and wives were captured by the
Creeks near Withlacoochee and other places during the previous year, now
looked around for their families in vain. On making inquiry, they were
informed their friends had been taken to Fort Pike, which had now become
a general depot for the imprisonment of Exiles.

The Indians who had been captured by this "coup d'etat," were sent to
Charleston, South Carolina, for safe keeping; and the negroes reported
upon the registry as "slaves of citizens of Florida," were without
ceremony delivered over to those who claimed to be their masters.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now reached a period of the war at which we are constrained to
admit our inability to give a full or accurate history of the various
captures of Exiles, or of the reënslavement of those captured.

Captain Sprague, who had the advantages of personal observation and
experience during the war, says that General Hernandez of the Florida
Militia, serving principally in the eastern part of the Territory,
"captured some important chiefs, and restored to citizens more than
_three hundred negroes_ who had been captured by the Indians." But the
means which he used for their capture is not stated.

General Jessup informs us, also, that Abraham, the negro chief, and two
Indians, were sent to the Seminoles west of the Okechobee, and prevailed
upon Alligator, and three hundred and sixty Indians and negroes, to
surrender to Colonel Smith and General Taylor. But what proportion of
this number were Exiles, we are not informed; nor are we told of the
means used, or the assurances given, to induce them to surrender. It is
certain, that many of the chiefs alleged that the Cherokee Delegation
assured their friends, that they would be permitted to remain in their
own country, and that the President was desirous of making peace upon
those terms; and General Jessup says, that the negro chief Abraham, and
another negro interpreter named Auguste, gave the same information.
Abraham had in fact dictated the supplemental treaty, entered into by
the delegation while in the Western Country, and was made to believe, at
all times, that the Government would fulfill, and abide by, the terms of
this supplemental treaty. It was on this conviction that he acted, and
he appears never to have doubted the good faith of the Executive until
he actually arrived in the Western Country.



     John Ross, the Cherokee Chief, demands the release of Wild Cat and
     other Chiefs--Answer of Secretary of War--Mr. Everett's resolution
     in Congress--Secretary's Report--General Jessup's answer--Agitation
     in Congress--Hon. John Quincy Adams--Hon. William Slade--Difficulty
     with Creek Warriors--The Exiles who had been captured by the
     Creeks--Arrangements for emigrating both Indians and
     Exiles--Indians at Charleston, and Negroes at Tampa Bay,
     transported to Fort Pike--Families again united--Sympathy
     excited--General Gaines becomes engaged in their behalf--His noble
     conduct--Embarrassment of Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and of
     the Secretary of War--Singular arrangement--Discrepancies
     unexplained--A Slave-dealer professes to purchase ninety of the
     Exiles, in order to relieve the Government--Appoints his
     brother-in-law an Agent to receive them--Department furnishes the
     necessary vouchers--Sudden change of policy--Sixty Exiles claimed
     by a Slave-dealer named Love--General Gaines appears on behalf of
     Exiles--His able defense--Court renders judgment discharging
     Rule--Thirty-six Exiles released by Love--Lieutenant Reynolds with
     the Indians, and all but these thirty-six Exiles, take passage for
     Fort Gibson.

While General Jessup was engaged in carrying out the designs of the
Administration by artifice, and by force, events of a serious character
were transpiring at Washington which demanded the attention of both the
Executive and himself. John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee
Nation, learning the manner in which Osceola, Wild Cat, and other
Seminole chiefs and warriors, had been betrayed and seized, while
visiting General Jessup under a flag of truce, by advice and at the
suggestion of the Cherokee Delegation, wrote an able and very spirited
letter to the Secretary of War, demanding the release of the prisoners
thus captured in violation of the principles of civilized warfare.

The Secretary attempted a vindication of General Jessup, and an
interesting correspondence followed, marked with great ability, in which
Ross, with much force, exhibits what he seemed to regard as the
perfidious treatment to which the Seminoles had been subjected, while
acting under the advice of himself and his country-men, and protected by
the flag of truce, which had ever been recognized and held sacred as the
inviolable emblem of peace. This was the first exposure of the manner in
which this disastrous war had been conducted. Up to that time no member
of Congress, or Executive officer, appears to have uttered an objection
or protest against the war, or against the manner in which it was
carried on. Ross was at the city of Washington, and mingled freely with
members of Congress, and in private conversations called their attention
to the facts stated.[113]

Mr. Everett, of Vermont,[114] a man of great experience and ability,
moved a resolution (March 21) in the House of Representatives, calling
on the Secretary of War for such information as he possessed touching
the capture of Indians, while visiting the American army under flags of
truce. The resolution was adopted, and, in reply, the Secretary of War
(April 11) transmitted the answer of General Jessup, in which he rests
his justification, upon the bad faith which, he alleges, the Indians had
previously exhibited towards the United States. This answer occupies
some fifteen documentary pages, most of which are filled with the facts
already known to the reader.

After the report of the Secretary of War had been printed, Mr. Everett
gave his views upon the facts, in a speech which attracted much
attention in the country. The people were already turning their
attention to the subject of slavery. Petitions were sent to Congress
calling on that body to abolish the institution within the District of
Columbia. The Hon. John Quincy Adams had thrown the weight of his
influence in behalf of the right of petition, and was known to be
opposed to the institution. Hon. William Slade, a member of the House of
Representatives from Vermont, had openly avowed his deep and heart-felt
sympathy with the Abolitionists, who were striving to direct the popular
mind to the crimes of the "_peculiar institution_," as slavery was then

It was evident, that a full exposure of the causes which led to the
Florida war, and of the manner in which it had been prosecuted, would
tend to defeat the Democratic candidate in the next Presidential
campaign. It was therefore clearly the policy of that party, and of the
Administration, to maintain as great a degree of silence as possible
upon all these subjects.

Among the early difficulties presented to the consideration of the War
Department, was the settlement with the Creek warriors who had served
under the contract made by order of General Jessup, in 1836, to give
them a certain gross amount in cash, and all the _plunder they could
capture_--which General Jessup and the Creeks understood to embrace
negroes, as well as horses and cattle.

The General, by his order, had directed eight thousand dollars to be
paid to them, and twenty dollars for each negro belonging to citizens,
who had been captured by them and delivered over to the claimants.

This disposal of the public treasure by an individual, was most clearly
unauthorized, either by law or by the constitution; yet the order had
been approved by the Executive, and had been made the act of the
President, who thus assumed the moral and political responsibility
attached to this gross violation of law, and of the Constitution.

The question how this charge upon the treasury was to be met, seems to
have borne heavily upon the mind of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
and he expressed this difficulty to General Jessup. That officer, being
less familiar with matters of finance than with those of a strictly
military character, replied, that the amount might with propriety be
charged to the annuities due the Seminoles; but as that fund was under
the supervision of Congress, it would not do to charge it over to that
appropriation, lest it should create agitation.

Another difficulty was, as to the disposal of the negroes themselves.
They were now said to be the "_property of the United States_;" and the
question very naturally arose, what shall be done with them? This
question was also propounded to General Jessup by the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs. The General replied, that he thought it best to send
them to Africa, for the benefit of civilization on that coast. But that
could not be done except by appropriations made by Congress; and it was
feared that, to ask Congress for an appropriation of that character,
might lead to the disclosure of unpleasant facts.[115]

In the meantime, arrangements were made to send the prisoners, both
Indians and Exiles, to the Western Country, without any particular
decision in regard to the ninety negroes captured by the Creek warriors,
and sent to Fort Pike as the property of the United States, and fed and
clothed at the public expense for more than a year.

Agreeably to orders from the War Department, General Jessup detailed
Lieutenant J. G. Reynolds to superintend the emigration, as disbursing
agent, and W. G. Freeman as an assistant. These appointments were
approved by the Department; and transports were engaged to take such
prisoners as were at Charleston, South Carolina, around the peninsula of
Florida to Tampa Bay, on the western coast, and thence to New Orleans.

There were at that time many negroes at Tampa Bay, intentionally
separated from the Indians, who had been sent, at the same time, to
Charleston. Major Zantzinger wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
to know how these negroes at Tampa Bay were to be disposed of. The
Commissioner immediately answered by letter, directed to Lieutenant
Reynolds, saying, "I have to instruct you, that all of those negroes
mentioned by Major Zantzinger, which are the property of the
Seminoles,[116] are to be received with, and to constitute a portion of,
the emigrating party for all purposes of transportation and subsistence.
* * * * You will consider it your duty to call at Tampa Bay, receive
this party, and transport it to the West _with the detachment now at New

This direction required Lieutenant Reynolds to transport the ninety
Exiles, sent to New Orleans on the second of June, 1837, to the Western
Country; for they constituted a part of "the detachment at New Orleans,"
which he was directed to transport West. They had been captured while
fleeing from our army, and of course were nearly all of them women and
children, who, by the fortunes of war, had been separated from their
husbands, and fathers, and brothers, that were left behind in the Indian
Country. Those husbands, brothers and fathers, were among the first to
capitulate in order to rejoin their families from whom they had thus
been separated. Many Exiles had been betrayed and seized at Fort Peyton.
Some had surrendered at Volusi; others had capitulated at Fort Jupiter;
others had come in and given themselves up at different posts: and all
these were assembled for transportation at "Tampa Bay," where they
awaited arrangements for sending them to the Western Country.

Major General Gaines was at that time commanding the south-western
division of the army of the United States; and Fort Pike was situated
within his military district. Lieutenant Reynolds had taken the
prisoners at Charleston on board the transports; had sailed around the
peninsula of Florida; called at Tampa Bay; had taken on board the
negroes assembled at that point, and had reached Fort Pike.

Members of families long separated were now united. Fathers embraced
their wives and children, whom they had not seen for more than a year;
brothers and sons embraced their sisters and mothers; and all exhibited
those deep sympathies of the human heart, which constitute the higher
and holier emotions of our nature. The officers and soldiers who
witnessed this scene could not but feel interested in these people, many
of whose ancestors had fled from oppression generations previously, and
who, for more than half a century, had been subjected to almost constant
persecution. It was undoubtedly owing to these circumstances, that so
many of the officers of our army became deeply interested in securing
their freedom.

Major Zantzinger was in command at Fort Pike; but he could only act
under the direction of his superior officers. Lieutenant Reynolds,
therefore, applied to Major General Gaines for orders to Major
Zantzinger to deliver the Exiles at Fort Pike to him for emigration.
From the peculiar language used in this order, it is most evident that
General Gaines expected some effort would be made to prevent the
emigration of the Exiles, then resident at Fort Pike. The order is so
unusual in its tone and language, that we insert it, as follows:

     "To Major Zantzinger, or the officer commanding at Fort Pike, or
     the officer who has charge of the slaves, or other servants,
     belonging to, or lately in possession of, Seminole Indians, now in
     charge of Lieutenant Reynolds, destined to the Arkansas: You will,
     on receipt hereof, deliver to the said Reynolds all such slaves or
     servants belonging to, or claimed by, or lately in possession of,
     the said Seminole Indians to be conducted by him in their
     movements to the Arkansas River, where the Indians, or their
     slaves or servants, are to be permanently located and settled:
     taking triplicate receipts for said slaves or servants, one of
     which will be forwarded to the undersigned.


_Maj. Gen. U. S. A., Commanding_."

The above order was dated on the twenty-first of March. The next day
Lieutenant Reynolds inclosed a copy to the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, saying, he should commence his voyage West with the emigrants,
and adding, "It is not my intention to remove the negroes from Fort Pike
until ready for departure, as I am convinced that many individuals with
fraudulent claims are in a state of readiness, and only waiting the
arrival of the negroes in this city (New Orleans) to carry their object
into effect. The measures I shall adopt will bar their intention."

This letter explains the reason of the precise and specific terms in
which the order of General Gaines was expressed. It is due to the memory
of General Gaines, and to the character of Lieutenant Reynolds, that
their determined efforts to preserve the liberties of these people, so
far as they were able, should find a place in history. The war had been
commenced and prosecuted for the purpose of seizing and returning to
bondage all those people whose ancestors had once fled from oppression.
It was the avowed policy of the Administration to prevent these ninety
Exiles, who had been captured by the Creek Indians, from going to the
Western Country, preferring to have them consigned to slavery in Georgia
or Florida, rather than enjoy freedom in the new homes assigned to the
Indians in the West. This feeling had encouraged desperate men to make
unfounded claims to their persons: and it should be recorded to the
honor of many of our officers, that they were active and vigilant in
their efforts to defeat these piratical claims, and the exertions of the
President and heads of the various Executive Departments, to consign
these people to interminable bondage. In order to do justice on this
subject, it is necessary to permit all concerned to speak for
themselves, so far as convenience will allow. To carry out this object,
the reader will excuse our frequent quotations from official documents.

On the twenty-sixth of March, Lieutenant Reynolds wrote the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs, dating his letter at "New Barracks," below New
Orleans, saying, "The Indian negroes will be received at Fort Pike, and
brought to this place, via the Mississippi River. This course was
adopted with the concurrence of General Gaines. Everything will be in
readiness to embark soon as the boat arrives. General Gaines has
directed that the guard under the direction of Lieutenant Wheaton shall
proceed with me."

Major Zantzinger, who commanded at Fort Pike, appears to have felt some
delicacy at delivering up the negroes on the order of General Gaines,
and, with those impressions, wrote General Jessup, inquiring as to that
point. He received an answer, dated seventh of April, approving his
course, and saying, "the removal of the negroes was _proper_; they were
either _free_, or the property of the Indians."

All these proceedings were reported to the proper Department at
Washington. About the time, or soon after, they would naturally reach
that city, William Armstrong, Acting Superintendent of the Indians in
the Western Territory, evidently in the joint service of our Government
and of the Creek Indians, addressed a note to the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, dated at Washington City, April twenty-third, 1838, saying,
"When General Jessup called upon volunteers to go to Florida, he
promised them all the _property_ they could capture. Accordingly, the
Creeks captured near _one hundred negroes_, which they left in
possession of the officers of the United States. _What has become of
these negroes?_ Will they receive them, or their value, as promised?"

The difficulty attending the transformation of men into chattels now
increased so much, that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs addressed a
letter to the Hon. Secretary of War, which is so characteristic of the
manner in which the administration of our Government was then conducted,
that we give the letter in full:


"_Office of Indian Affairs_, May 1, 1838.

     "SIR: I have the honor to submit for the consideration and decision
     of the Department a question that has been presented by the
     Superintendent of the Western Territory, (Captain Armstrong.)

     "In September last, General Jessup advised the Department that he
     had purchased from the Creek warriors all the negroes (about eighty
     in number), captured by them, for $8,000, and this purchase was
     approved on the seventh of October. At a subsequent date, he wrote
     that he had supplied Lieutenant Searle with funds, and directed him
     to make the payment. It is believed, however, that the warriors
     refused to take the sum named, Lieutenant Searle having made no
     such payment, and the delegation here asserting that they never
     received it. It is now asked, whether they will be permitted to
     take the negroes, or be paid their value? It was suggested by
     General Jessup, that the consideration for the captives would be a
     proper charge on the Seminole annuity. But this would deprive the
     friendly portion, who have emigrated, of what they are justly, and
     by law, entitled to, and to a certain extent would be paying the
     Creeks with their own money; for the fourth Article of the Treaty
     with the Seminoles, of May ninth, 1832, provides, that 'the
     annuities then granted shall be added to the Creek annuities, and
     the whole amount be so divided that the chiefs and warriors of the
     Seminole Indians may receive their equitable proportion of the same
     as members of the Creek confederation.' Independently of this
     difficulty, I would respectfully suggest, whether there are not
     _other objections to the purchase of these negroes by the United
     States_? It seems to me, that a proposition to Congress _to
     appropriate money to pay for them, and for their transportation to
     Africa, could its authority for that course be obtained, or for any
     other disposition of them_, WOULD OCCASION GREAT AND EXTENSIVE
     EXCITEMENT. Such a relation assumed by the United States, for
     however laudable an object, would, it appears probable, place the
     country in no enviable attitude, especially at this juncture, when
     the _public mind here and elsewhere it so sensitive upon the
     subject of slavery_. The alternative would seem to be, to deliver
     the negroes to the Creeks, as originally agreed on. The subject
     involves so many delicate considerations, that I respectfully
     invite your attention to it, and your direction as to the answer to
     be given to the delegation now in the city. As early a decision of
     this question as practicable, is very desirable: the Indians
     intending to leave this place in four or five days, and being
     anxious that this matter should be disposed of before they go.

"Very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,

C. A. HARRIS, _Commissioner_.

Captain S. COOPER, Acting Sec'y of War."

     "P. S.--If it should be determined to deliver them to the Creeks, I
     would suggest, as the opinion of this office, that it would be
     _impolitic for them to be taken to the country West_, and that so
     far as the Department may of right interfere in regard to the
     ultimate disposition, _it should endeavor to have it effected_ IN

C. A. H."

It is no part of our duty to comment on these proceedings; yet we are
constrained to say, that no historian has, or can explain the reason of
delay on the part of the Creek Indians, in regard to their claim to
these people, for more than an entire year, upon any principles of
consistent action. General Jessup said, in his official communications,
they _had received their pay_, and that "the negroes _were the property
of the Government_;" and the Department had approved his whole course on
this subject. The Creeks, so far as we can learn, left the country and
went West, perfectly satisfied. This Delegation had been some months in
Washington, and, as the Commissioner of Indian Affairs says, were to
leave in four or five days; when, for the first time, they mentioned the
subject, although the negroes had been detained from them, as they
allege, in direct violation of their contract. They appear to have
rested satisfied until difficulties from other quarters were presented
to the Administration. And these letters may all easily be explained, as
the carrying out of a previous understanding between these officers and
the Creek Indians. However that may be, the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs wrote Captain Armstrong, Superintendent of the Western
Territory, as follows:


"_Office of Indian Affairs_, May 5, 1838.

     "SIR: The Secretary of War has directed that the negroes belonging
     to the Seminoles, and captured by the warriors in Florida, shall be
     placed at the disposal of the Delegation now in this city. But
     before this can be carried into effect, it will be necessary to be
     satisfied that the warriors have not received the $8,000 promised
     in the agreement with General Jessup; to ascertain accurately their
     number and identity, and the claims of citizens upon any of them.
     For all to which such claims can be established, $20 each will be
     allowed. From the information now here, the number is supposed to
     be between sixty and seventy, the original number having been
     reduced by sickness. All the facts herein indicated will be
     required as early as practicable; but some time must necessarily
     elapse. It is the opinion of the Department, that it will be
     impolitic to take these negroes West, and that they should be
     otherwise disposed of. Any arrangement the Delegation may make
     respecting them, and submit to this office, will be sanctioned, and
     instructions given for such action as may be proper on the part of
     the Government.

"Very, &c., C. A. HARRIS.



One feature in these communications stands out prominently to the view
of the reader: the number of these victims appears to have undergone
constant diminution. General Jessup reported the number sent to Fort
Pike at _ninety_. In his previous letter, addressed to the Secretary of
War, Commissioner Harris states the number at eighty; and in this
communication, written four days subsequently, he states the number to
be between sixty and seventy; while the official registry shows there
was one hundred and three--of whom some, however, undoubtedly died.

If the honorable Secretary of War intended these people should be
delivered over to the Creek Indians as their _property_, it would be
difficult to understand by what law he should himself attempt to control
them, in the subsequent disposition of their legalized chattels, or by
what authority he should object to their going West.

It will however be seen that one point yet remained undecided. The
negroes were not to be delivered until it was ascertained that the
Creeks had _not_ received the eight thousand dollars, agreeably to the
order of General Jessup in September, 1837.

Fortunately, a Lieutenant Sloan, who had acted as a disbursing agent of
the United States, was at that precise time in Washington City. He
stated to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in a letter dated May
sixth, being the day after this decision of the Secretary of War,
assuring him that he had learned _from Lieutenant Searle himself that
the Indians refused_ to accept the eight thousand dollars for their
interest in the negroes. These statements constituted a series of
supposed facts, which appears to have been regarded as necessary to
authorize the subsequent proceedings.

This evidence was, accordingly, deemed satisfactory; and the Creek
Indians were now declared to be the owners of these ninety Exiles, under
the original contract made between them and General Jessup, in 1836:
thus abrogating the order of General Jessup, No. 175, and setting aside
the approval of that order by the Department of War itself--which was
dated the seventh of October, 1837--leaving the United States to sustain
the loss incurred by feeding and clothing the prisoners, and guarding
them for thirteen months.

At this time a slave-dealer by the name of James C. Watson, said to
reside in Georgia, happened to be also at the seat of Government, as was
common for Southern gentlemen during the sessions of Congress. To this
man the officers of Government now applied for aid, in extricating
themselves from the difficulty into which they had been brought by this
slave-dealing transaction. Even the Secretary of War is said to have
encouraged Watson to purchase those negroes of the Creek Indians.[117]
By request of these public functionaries, and at their instance, Mr.
Watson declares he was induced to purchase the negroes, and to give
between fourteen and fifteen thousand dollars for them.[118] It was
perhaps the heaviest purchase of slaves made in the city of Washington
during that year, and certainly the most dignified transaction in human
flesh that ever took place at the capital of our nation, or of any other
civilized people; inasmuch as the high officers of this enlightened and
Christian confederation of States constituted a negotiating party to
this important sale of human beings.

The purchase appears to have taken place on the seventh of May; and
Watson, being unable to go immediately to New Orleans, authorized his
brother-in-law, Nathaniel F. Collins of Alabama, as his agent and
attorney, to repair to that city and take possession of the prisoners.
Yet the whole business appears to have been carried on in the name of
the Creek Indians.

On the eighth of May, five persons, styling themselves "chiefs, head-men
and delegates of the Creek Tribe of Indians," filed with the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs a request, stating that they had
appointed Nathaniel F. Collins, Esq., of Alabama, their agent and
attorney, to demand and receive from General Jessup the negro slaves
which the Creek warriors had captured in Florida, under their agreement
with that officer, made in September, 1836, and requesting the
Department to furnish the proper order for obtaining possession of the
slaves from the officer having them in charge. This request was
communicated to the Secretary of War the next day, by the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs, and constitutes a part of the record; and, coming
from that department of government most implicated in this slave-dealing
transaction, we place it before the reader:


_Office of Indian Affairs_, May 9, 1838.

     SIR: The decision made a few days since, requesting that the
     negroes captured by the Creek warriors in Florida, should, in
     compliance with the engagement of General Jessup, be delivered to
     the Delegation now here, has been communicated to them with the
     intimation that, when they had determined what disposition would be
     made of them, and communicated information of the same to this
     Department, the necessary orders would be issued. In a
     communication just received from the Delegation, they state they
     have appointed Nathaniel F. Collins, of Alabama, their attorney in
     fact to receive the negroes. I have the honor to request that an
     order be issued to the commanding officer at Fort Pike; to Major
     Isaac Clark, at New Orleans; to the commanding officer in Florida,
     and to any other officer who may have charge of them, to deliver to
     Mr. Collins all the negroes in question. He will, of course, hold
     them subject to the lawful claims of all white persons. Abraham and
     his family should be excepted, in consequence of a promise made by
     General Jessup. The officers should be instructed to use due
     caution, so as to deliver only those captured by the Creeks. It is
     proper to remark, that it appears from a letter received from
     Lieutenant Sloan, that these Indians refused to receive the $8,000,
     offered them under the direction of General Jessup, for their
     interest in these negroes.

Very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,


Capt. S. COOPER, Acting Sec. of War."

On the same day, Mr. Collins was furnished with written instructions,
which, being also important, are presented to the reader:


"_Office of Indian Affairs_, May 9, 1838.

     "SIR: Having been notified by the Creek Delegation that they have
     appointed you their agent and attorney in fact, to receive the
     negroes captured by their warriors in Florida, which, by the
     decision of the Secretary of War, are to be delivered up to them,
     in conformity to the agreement made with them by General Jessup, I
     have the honor to transmit herewith the copy of a communication to
     the Secretary of War on the subject, which has received his
     approval. Orders will be given to the officers therein named to
     carry the measure into effect, in conformity to the recommendation.
     Captain Morrison, Superintendent of Seminole Emigration at Tampa
     Bay, and Lieutenant Reynolds, engaged in removing a party of the
     same, at New Orleans, have been instructed to assist and coöperate
     in the matter. Herewith you will receive the copy of a list of
     negroes captured by General Jessup, which, it is believed, embraces
     the negroes to which the Creeks are entitled; but as this is not
     certain, much caution should be used in identifying them. It is
     supposed that all these negroes now alive are at Fort Pike; but
     some of them may be at Tampa Bay, or other places: it will be for
     you to find them. No expense of any nature whatever, growing out of
     this matter, will be paid by the United States.

C. A. HARRIS, _Comm'r._


Washington, D. C."

Preparations being now perfected, and the whole matter being fully
understood, Mr. Collins left Washington on the following morning,
prepared to bring those fathers, and mothers, and children, back to
servitude in Georgia, from which their ancestors had fled nearly a
hundred years previously; and this nefarious work was thus encouraged
and sanctioned by our Government.

Of these movements the Exiles were ignorant. Many hearts were moved in
sympathy for them, and many of our military officers were active in
their endeavors to defeat the machinations of the President and the War

Lieutenant Reynolds found it necessary to return to Florida before
leaving New Orleans with his party of Emigrants. While he was absent,
the efforts of slaveholders to reënslave these people appeared to
increase, and they became more bold, although Collins had not yet
appeared, clothed with the authority of Government, to effect their

General Gaines, commanding the Western Military District of the United
States, and residing at New Orleans, as if premonished of the arrival of
this national slave catcher, issued his peremptory order (April 29),
directing Major Clark, Acting Quarter-Master at New Orleans, to make
arrangements for the _immediate_ embarkation and emigration of the
Seminole Indians and _black prisoners of war_, at that time in
Louisiana, to the place of their destination on the Arkansas River, near
Fort Gibson.

Major Clark being thus placed in charge of the prisoners for the purpose
of emigrating them, at once informed the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
that claims were "made for about seventy of the Seminole negroes, and
the courts here have issued their warrants to take them. The United
States District Attorney has been consulted. He gives it as his opinion,
that the Sheriff must be allowed to serve the process. It appears they
are claims from Georgia, purchased from _Creek Indians_. No movement of
the Indians or negroes can be made at present. The Indians are almost in
a state of mutiny."

This state of feeling arose from these attempts again to separate the
Indians and negroes. Many of them were intermarried: they had been
separated; their families broken up, but were now reunited, and they
determined to die rather than be again separated. The Exiles had also
fought boldly beside the Indians; they had encountered dangers together,
and had become attached to each other; and soon as the subject of
surrendering the Exiles to bondage was named, the Indians became
enraged, threatening violence and death to those who should attempt
again to separate them from the Exiles.

The claimants mentioned by Major Clark, were from _Georgia_. The pirates
who robbed E-con-chattimico and Walker of their slaves and seized the
Exiles resident with those chiefs, as stated in a former chapter, were
from Georgia. Watson, the more dignified dealer in human flesh, and
acting in accordance with the advice of the Secretary of War, was also
from Georgia; and all these claims were said to be derived from Creek
Indians, who, as we have seen, professed to own all the Exiles who fled
from Georgia after the close of the Revolution, and prior to 1802,
together with their descendants.

Information, respecting these difficulties of reënslaving the Exiles,
reached the authorities at Washington, and created great embarrassment.
The War Department appears never to have anticipated that negroes, who
were already prisoners of war, would find friends or means to awaken the
sympathy of others. But it was clear that any litigation would make the
public acquainted with the facts.

It will be recollected that on the tenth of May, the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs wrote an order, directed to General Jessup, to deliver up
near one hundred of these Exiles to Collins, the Agent of Watson, and
two days later--that is, on the twelfth of May--he wrote Thomas Slidell,
District Attorney of the United States at New Orleans, saying, "It is
represented to this Department, that the emigration of the Seminoles,
now near New Orleans, has been impeded by claims set up to some of their
negroes. I am directed by the Secretary of War to request that you will
give the Indians your advice and assistance, and by all proper and legal
means protect them from injustice and from harrassing and improper
interferences with their property and persons. It is of the highest
importance that, if possible, no impediments should be suffered to be
thrown in the way of their speedy conveyance to their country, west of

It is a historical curiosity, that the Secretary of War should so often
change his policy. He had, as the reader is aware, exerted his influence
to prevent those Exiles, who had been captured by the Creeks, from going

On the fifth of May, Commissioner Harris declared--"_it is the opinion
of the Department that it will be impolitic to take these negroes
West_;" and on the ninth, acting under the direction of the Secretary of
War, he furnished Mr. Collins with authority to demand and receive these
people, and instructions were also issued "to the officer commanding at
Fort Pike; to Major Isaac Clark at New Orleans; to the commanding
officer at Florida, and to any other officer who may have the negroes in
charge," to deliver them to Mr. Collins; while three days afterwards he
assures Mr. Slidell, as before stated, "It is of the _highest importance
that, if possible, no impediments should be suffered to be thrown in the
way of their speedy conveyance to their country, west of Arkansas_."
This letter to Mr. Slidell was inclosed in another of the same date,
addressed to Major Clark, as follows:

     "SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt to-day of your
     letter of the third instant.

     "The enclosed copy of a letter of this date to the United States
     District Attorney will show you what measures have been adopted in
     relation to the claims set up to the Seminole negroes. This is all
     that this Department can do in this matter.

     "_It is very much to be regretted, that anything has occurred to
     prevent the speedy emigration of these Indians._ I will be greatly
     obliged to you, should no emigrating agent be at New Orleans, to
     give all the aid in your power in removing the difficulties which
     are thrown in their way."

While the Executive officers at Washington, the Creek Indians, and the
slave-dealer Watson, were arranging their contracts and perfecting
their plans for enslaving those Exiles, who had been captured with the
assistance of the Creek warriors, an important and most spirited contest
was progressing in New Orleans.

Before one of the courts of the State of Louisiana, a slave-dealer by
the name of Love, claimed title to the bodies, the bones and muscles,
the blood and sinews, of some sixty of these persons, held by the United
States as _prisoners of war_. They had been captured by our troops as
hostiles; had been held for thirteen months as prisoners of war; had
been fed, and clothed, and guarded, at the expense of the people of the
United States: but they were now claimed as the _property_ of Love. This
absurdity was presented before an enlightened court as a grave question
of international law; and a determined effort was put forth before that
State tribunal to change the law of nations; to modify the law of Nature
and of Nature's God, so far as to transform men into chattels, and
declare these prisoners of war to be the property of their fellow men.

Love demanded the Exiles of General Gaines, who was in actual command of
the Western Military District of the United States, and by virtue of his
office held control of the Exiles while in his district. Bred to the
profession of arms, he had made himself familiar with those principles
of natural, of international, law which point out the rights of
belligerents, whether they belong to the victorious or the vanquished
nation. Being advised that efforts were making to get possession of
these Exiles for the purpose of reënslaving them, he indicated to the
officer in command at the barracks the propriety of retaining possession
of them as he would of other _prisoners of war_.

On the second of May, the Sheriff of New Orleans appeared at the
barracks, and desired to pass the line of sentinels for the purpose of
serving his process; but the sentinel, punctilious to his duty, refused
to let him enter. The Sheriff then returned his writ with the following
indorsement thereon:

     "Received May second, 1838, and demanded the within slaves of
     General Gaines, the defendant, who answered me, that he never had
     the within described _slaves_ in his possession, or under his
     control. I found the slaves at the barracks of the United States,
     but the officers in charge of the same refused to deliver them to
     me. Returned May eighth, 1838.


The Exiles still remained in the barracks under the officers in charge
of them; and on the ninth of May, General Gaines sued out a rule to set
aside the order of sequestration upon the grounds, "that the negroes
were '_prisoners of war_' of the United States, taken in combat with the
Seminole Indians; that the control of the United States over said
negroes, and their right to the control of such negroes as _prisoners of
war_, could not be taken away by the sequestration issued."

Thus was the manhood of these colored people asserted by this military
officer of the United States at that day, when few members of Congress
would have hazarded their reputation by the avowal of similar doctrines.
Twenty-three years previously, as the reader has already been informed,
General Gaines gave to the War Department notice that "fugitives and
outlaws had taken possession of a fort on the Appalachicola River."
Twenty-two years previously, he had detailed General Clinch, with his
regiment and five hundred Creek warriors, to destroy "Blount's Fort,"
and take the fugitive slaves and return them to their owners. He had
only two years previously gone to Florida, marched into the Indian
Territory, and fought them bravely for several days. He now saw these
Exiles and Indians in a different situation. He witnessed their
attachment to each other as parents and children, as husbands and wives,
as members of the human family, and his sympathy was aroused--his
humanity was awakened. His finer feelings being called forth, he
possessed the firmness, the independence, to act according to the
dictates of his conscience and judgment.[119]

He assumed the responsibility of paying costs and damages, caused
himself to be made defendant in the case, and, having obtained a rule on
the sheriff to show cause why the negroes should not be delivered as
prisoners of war to him, as commander of that Military District, he
appeared in person at the bar of the court, and ably vindicated the
rights of Government, of himself, and of the prisoners.

"The laws (said he) of the United States authorize the late and existing
war against the Seminole nation of Indians, and against all persons in
their service. The negroes claimed by the plaintiff were found in the
service of the Indians, speaking the same language, and, like the
inhabitants of all savage nations, aiding and assisting in the war. They
were captured and taken by the United States forces _as prisoners of
war_, and they are now in charge of a United States officer, Lieutenant
Reynolds, acting pursuant to the orders of the President of the United
States, directing him to superintend their transportation from the
theatre of war in Florida, to a place set apart for their location, west
of the State of Arkansas, _as prisoners of war_, as well as servants of
the Seminole Indians, who are also _prisoners of war_.

"The laws of war, as embraced in the works of Brynkershoeck, Vattel and
Wheaton, clearly sanction the principle, that all persons taken in
battle, or who may be forced to surrender, whether officers, soldiers,
or followers of the enemy's army, _are prisoners of war_. * * *

"Among savage nations, it is universally known and admitted, that in war
they have no _non-combatants_, excepting only such as are physically
incapable of wielding arms. Every man, without regard to age or color;
every boy able to fire a gun, or wield a hatchet, or an arrow, is a
_warrior_. And every woman is a laborer, in the collection and
preparation of subsistence and clothing for the warriors: all are
therefore liable, when captured in a state of hostility, to be treated
_as prisoners of war_."

He declared himself "lawlessly taxed with this investigation, and
lawlessly threatened with heavy damages and costs, and forced to be
defendant, without any legal or rational grounds of action against him.
I am (said he) authorized, in virtue of my official station as Major
General, commanding the Western Division of the Army of the United
States of America, to serve them honestly and faithfully against their
enemies and opposers, whomsoever, and to obey the orders of the
President of the United States, etc. Under this official pledge, I deem
it my duty to afford every officer of the army whatever facilities may
be necessary and proper, to enable them to perform whatever duty is
confided to them by the President of the United States. In pursuance of
this authority, I ordered Major Clark to furnish transportation, for
enabling Lieutenant Reynolds, and the officers on duty with him, to
convey the prisoners of war to the place of their destination in the
Western Country."

"But it seems that the counsel for the claimant has flattered himself
that I should make the most convenient and accommodating defendant
imaginable. I was expected to take _the responsibility_ of doing
whatever the voracious claimant might desire, without coming into this
honorable court. I take leave to apprise the court, for the benefit of
all concerned, that I have never hesitated to assume the responsibility
of _doing my duty_, or of doing _justice_; but I have not yet learned,
while acting in my official capacity on oath, to take the responsibility
of doing that which is _repugnant to law, unjust and iniquitous_, as I
verily believe any favor shown to this claim would be."

"The court appears to labor under the impression, that the negroes in
question were captured by the Seminole Indians, in the course of their
hostile incursions upon our frontier inhabitants. _Is this the fact?_ I
will assume, for the learned counsel of the claimant, that he _will
never have the temerity to assert that they are among the number taken
from our frontier inhabitants in the present, or in any former war_."

The gallant General, as well as some other well informed officers,
appears to have been conscious of the real character of these Exiles, as
will have been noticed in his last remark, assuring the court, that they
were _never captured from the white people_ "in the present, or in _any
former war_."

The ground which he assumed, that the captives were prisoners of war,
subject to the orders of the Executive, was so self-evidently true that
it could not be met or overthrown, by reason or by argument.

His honor the Judge, in delivering his opinion discharging the rule,
disregarded all claims to right on the part of the Exiles. They being
black, under the laws of Louisiana, were presumed to be slaves to some
person; and he spoke with exultation of the fact, that neither General
Gaines nor the United States had claimed them as _slaves_; and he
declared it would be infinitely more wise and natural for the United
States to hold them as lawful _prize_ to the captors, than it would be
to send them with the Indians to cultivate their lands in time of peace,
and swell the number of our enemies in times of war; but, on this
motion, he thought the court bound to regard the facts set forth in the
plaintiff's claim as true, and he therefore discharged the rule, and
made the order of sequestration absolute.

There now appeared no hope of escape for these people; they seemed to be
the sport of fortune. For more than a century they and their ancestors
had set at defiance the efforts of slaveholders, assisted by Government,
to reënslave them; but they now appeared to be within the power of those
who were anxious to consign them to bondage.

On the fifteenth of May, Lieutenant Reynolds, having returned to New
Orleans, wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, saying, "I arrived at
this place from Tampa Bay yesterday; was detained longer than I expected
to be, in consequence of the absence of General Jessup from Fort Brooke.
Arrangements are made for the embarkation of the party for 'Fort
Gibson,' with the exception of sixty-seven of the negroes, who are
claimed by persons from Georgia. The civil authorities, I understand,
require that these negroes be not removed. It appears that General
Gaines presented himself as defendant, and contended, that as the
negroes were _prisoners of war_, the civil authority had no right to
wrest them from the Government's hands. The court however decided
contrary, acknowledging the Indians alone as _prisoners_, and the
negroes as the _property_ of the Indians. The case will not come on for
some time, and, deeming (from all that I can learn) that the claim is
fraudulent, it will be necessary that they remain."

Lieutenant Reynolds was delayed until the twenty-first of May before he
was able to embark the other prisoners. One steamer left on the
nineteenth; and on the twenty-first, he wrote the Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, saying, "Thirty-one of the negroes, out of the sixty-seven,
have been selected by the claimants. These negroes, I am informed, do
not belong to the Indians on whom the claims have been made."

This opened up new hopes for those to whom the claimants admitted they
had no title. There is, however, something about this surrender which we
are not able to explain. It is certain that Lieutenant Reynolds left New
Orleans on the twenty-first of May with all the prisoners, both Indians
and negroes then at that city, except thirty-one left in charge of the
sheriff, and seven Spanish maroons, whom he discharged. The remaining
thirty-one were left in the charge of the sheriff, with the
slave-catching vultures watching, and eager to fasten their talons upon
them so soon as opportunity should permit. The separation was painful.
Families were again severed: parents were torn from their children, and
brothers and sisters compelled to bid adieu to each other; and as they
could see no escape for those left at New Orleans, they regarded the
separation as final.

But the other prisoners were on board. Lieutenant Reynolds and other
officers had done what they could, and they desired soon as possible to
get the hapless Exiles, who yet remained in their possession, beyond the
reach of slave-hunters and slave-catchers. That mysterious power,
steam, was now applied; and rapidly the vessel was driven against the
strong current of the Mississippi, as the sable passengers cast their
last, lingering look toward their friends who remained behind, the
victims of a tyranny--an oppression--which yet disgraces the
civilization of the age in which we live. The Indians were also
thoughtful and sad, as they cast their eyes back towards their beloved
Florida, the scenes amidst which they had been born and reared; where
they had fought; where their brethren had been slain; where their
fathers rested peacefully in their graves. Many bitter sighs were heard,
and many tears fell from the eyes of those prisoners as they resumed
their voyage, for unknown homes in the Western Country.



     Collins, Agent for the Slave-dealer, reaches Fort Pike--Prisoners
     gone--He repairs to New Orleans--reaches that City one day after
     the Exiles and Indians had left--He follows them up the
     River--Whole number of Prisoners on the two boats--They stop a few
     hours at Vicksburg--Collins overtakes them--Hands his Order to
     Reynolds--They consult together--Difficulty in separating Indians
     from Negroes--They all proceed together--Reynolds and Collins
     endeavor to persuade Indians to deliver over Negroes--They
     refuse--They reach Little Rock--Call on Governor Roane for military
     aid--His emphatic Answer--They proceed to Fort Gibson--Call on
     General Arbuckle to separate them--He refuses--Collins gives up all
     as lost--His Letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

Collins, the agent of Watson, left the City of Washington on the tenth
of May with full powers to act for the Creek chiefs as well as for his
principal; fully provided, also, with orders from the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, directing all officers of the United States, in whose
custody the Exiles might be, to deliver them to this agent of the
slave-dealer. Expecting to find his victims at Fort Pike, he repaired to
that place; but on his arrival found they had left for New Orleans some
days previously. He forthwith followed them, and reached that city on
the twenty-second of June, being one day after Reynolds and his
prisoners had left that city for Fort Gibson.

Thus it will be seen, that the efforts of General Gaines, and the active
vigilance of Major Clarke and Lieutenant Reynolds, had barely succeeded
in getting these people under way for their western homes, when the
authority for their reënslavement arrived.

Vexed and mortified at this disappointment, Collins took passage on the
first packet bound up the river, determined to secure the victims of
Watson's cupidity wherever he should find them.

While Collins was thus speeding his way up the river, Reynolds and his
charge, unconscious that the slave-hunter was on their track, stopped at
Vicksburg for a few hours to obtain supplies for their journey. While
passing up the river, Reynolds wrote a report to the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, stating that on the boat which left New Orleans on the
nineteenth, six hundred and seventy-four prisoners had been placed for
emigration; that on the boat which left the twenty-first, on which he
had taken passage, there were four hundred and fifty-three--making in
all twelve hundred and twenty-one Indians and negroes, who were now
emigrating to the Western Country. While they were lying at Vicksburg,
Collins arrived, and, as he states, "succeeded in getting the order of
the Commissioner of Indian Affairs handed to Reynolds." This was
undoubtedly correct, for Reynolds wrote the Department the same day,
saying, "Since my letter this morning, enclosing an abstract of my
muster-roll, Mr. Collins, the attorney, recognized by you, has sent off
various papers, in relation to certain claims for negroes taken by the
Creek Volunteers, and _your order has been received_. I have therefore
made arrangements with Mr. Collins to accompany me to Little Rock on
board of my boat, that no time may be lost in the emigration on the
passage from here thither. Due care will be had in selecting such only
as come within your order, as also to apprise the chiefs and other
Indians with regard to the claim. The excitement evinced at New Orleans
on the part of the Indians, convinced me of the necessity of this
measure. I think that, between this and Little Rock, I will be enabled
to persuade them to consent without any resistance on their part."

As stated in this letter, Mr. Collins took passage at Vicksburg with
Lieutenant Reynolds, and agreed to go on with him and his prisoners,
until they could persuade the Indians to separate from their friends and
companions, their wives and children, or until they could obtain a
military force sufficient to compel the separation. Mr. Reynolds says
that the excitement on the part of the Indians at New Orleans, had
convinced him of the necessity of this measure; and the only doubt of
his perfect sincerity rests on the assertion, that he thought he could,
while on the voyage, induce the Indians to _consent to such separation_.

On the twenty-seventh, they left Vicksburg for Fort Gibson. While on
their passage, they had full opportunity to deliberate and consult
together as to the best mode of carrying out the plan of transforming
this small portion of mankind into property; but the universal laws of
Nature and of Nature's God appeared to conflict with this slave-dealing
theory. While on the passage up the river, Mr. Reynolds assembled the
Indian chiefs and warriors, and laid before them the facts concerning
the claim of Watson, and, as he says, "explained every thing calculated
to appease them." But the result we give in his own words, expressed in
a letter dated at Little Rock, Arkansas, June second, being one week
after they left Vicksburg, in which he says: "They (the Indians) at once
demurred: Micanopy taking the lead, saying, it was contrary to the
express words of General Jessup, and would listen to nothing calculated
to dispossess them of their negroes. Finding them thus determined, I
prevented any communication with them on the subject until reaching this
place, when they were again called together, and I repeated all that had
been mentioned to them before. I told them it was needless to object; my
orders were positive, and must be obeyed. All was of no use; they
became, if anything, more vexed than before, and left me much
exasperated. Mr. Collins witnessed my exertions to carry out your
instructions; indeed, sir, I have been excessively perplexed with these
Indians and negroes. I see no method in the absence of force by which
possession of the negroes can be had. The authorities here show a
decided inclination to protect the Indians, and there is no doubt every
attempt will fail on our part. I have in no instance acted with
duplicity. The statements made, have been as they actually exist.
Thirty-one of the number left at New Orleans are on the official list
handed me by Mr. Collins."

The whole party were detained several days at Little Rock in consequence
of the low stage of water. While waiting here, Collins appears to have
become impatient, and anxious to get possession of the negroes. Indeed,
from the closing remark of Mr. Reynolds's letter, last quoted, we are
led to suspect that little sympathy existed between Reynolds and this
agent of the slave-dealer; nor is it unlikely that an officer, bred up
in the cultivation of a high and chivalrous sense of honor, would feel
some repugnance at being constrained to associate with any man employed
in the business which brought Collins to the Western Country. Knowing,
however, that the Executive of the United States had become in fact a
party in this disreputable transaction, he endeavored to manifest at
least a respect for those officers of Government who had become
participants in it.

On the third of June, Lieutenant Reynolds addressed an official letter
to Samuel C. Roane, Governor of Arkansas, stating the circumstances in
which he was placed. He set forth the claim of the Creeks, and their
sale to Watson, together with the fact that Collins was then at Little
Rock, anxious to obtain possession of the negroes; that he (Reynolds)
could not deliver them to Collins without assistance, and on that
account demanded of his Excellency assistance of the civil authority to
aid him in carrying out the policy of the Federal Government.

Here again the workings of the human heart, and the laws of human
nature, cast insurmountable obstacles in the way of carrying out the
Executive designs. True, Arkansas was a slave State, and her Governor
was a slaveholder, characterized by that bold and generous nature which
usually distinguishes the pioneers of the West; but his letter breathes
such a spirit of independence, such a bold and unhesitating regard for
justice and propriety, that we prefer to let his Excellency speak for
himself. The letter is couched in the following language:


"_Little Rock_, June 4th, 1838.

     "SIR: Your note of this day has been duly received, in which you
     call on me as the Executive of the State of Arkansas to furnish you
     military force, sufficient to coerce obedience to your instructions
     to surrender a number of negroes, now with the Seminole Indians
     under your command; and stating that the Indians manifest a hostile
     determination not to permit the negroes in question to be
     surrendered to the agent or attorney of the Creek Indians. I have
     also examined the copies of the order from the War Department,
     directed to you on this subject, as well as the schedule of the
     negroes and letter of attorney, in the possession of Mr. N. F.
     Collins, the Creek agent or attorney, to receive the negroes in
     controversy. After due reflection on the subject, I have determined
     not to afford you any assistance to carry these instructions into
     effect, and respectfully request of you not to attempt to turn over
     those negroes to the claimants within the State of Arkansas, and
     more especially in the neighborhood of Little Rock. And _I require
     of you to proceed_ with your command of Indians and _negroes_ to
     their place of destination with the least practicable delay, that
     the citizens of Little Rock and its vicinity may be relieved from
     the annoyance of a hostile band of Indians and _savage negroes_.

     "Without prejudging the claim of the Creek Indians to the negroes,
     from the nature of things it is wholly impracticable for the
     claimants to make a proper designation of the negroes claimed.
     _There are no witnesses here that can identify the negroes_--not
     even the person setting up the claim. And had the Government
     intended to dispose of those negroes to the Creek Indians, it
     should have been done in Florida, and not bring Indians and negroes
     into Arkansas, the vicinity of their future residence, and then
     _irritate_ the Indians to madness, and turn them loose on our
     frontier, where we have no adequate protection--the massacre of our
     citizens would be the inevitable consequence.

     "I have just visited the chiefs of your command, and assured them
     that their negroes should not be taken from them, and they have
     pledged themselves that their people should go on to their country
     peaceably. Your immediate departure will insure peace and avert the
     outrages you had such good cause to expect.

     "You will transmit this note to the proper Department at Washington
     as a justification of the course you may pursue in accordance with

I am, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


1st Lieut. U. S. M. C., and Disb'g Agent, Ind. Dep't."

This letter of Governor Roane certainly indicated to Mr. Collins a
strong repugnance to the policy adopted by the War Department, and must
have convinced him that his mission was, at least, unpopular among men
removed from the moral atmosphere in which the Executive appeared to
live. We are not informed of its effects upon Mr. Reynolds; but that
gentleman could not have been very greatly disappointed, as he had
clearly predicted the failure of all attempts to separate the Indians
and negroes.

A rise in the Arkansas River enabled them to resume their journey. They
reached Fort Gibson on the twelfth of June, and both Indians and negroes
were turned over to the care of Captain Stephenson, the agent appointed
to reside with the Western Seminoles. Here Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Collins
expected to make a final effort to separate the Indians and negroes, in
order that the latter might be transported back to that interminable
slavery which all knew awaited their return to Georgia. For this
purpose, Lieutenant Reynolds addressed Brigadier General Arbuckle, in
command at Fort Gibson; but, as the correspondence between these
officers brought the important mission of Mr. Collins in that Western
Country to a close, we will present these letters to the reader.

On the twelfth of June, the day of his arrival, Lieutenant Reynolds
addressed General Arbuckle the following note:

     "GENERAL: I herewith enclose orders, received from the Commissioner
     of Indian Affairs, for the surrender of a certain number of
     negroes, belonging to the Seminole Indians, to Mr. N. F. Collins,
     the attorney appointed by the Creek Delegation which recently
     visited Washington, which appointment has been ratified by the
     Department; and feeling myself bound to turn over all in my
     possession, in obedience to such orders, and the Seminole chiefs
     and Indians refusing _positively_ to give them up, I have to
     request the employment of such a force, General, as you may deem
     _adequate_ for carrying into effect my instructions.

I am, General, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


_1st Lieut. U. S. M. C., and Disb'g Agent, Ind. Dept._

General M. ARBUCKLE,

Commanding, etc., Fort Gibson."

General Arbuckle was in command of the military forces of the United
States in that Western Country, and of course felt great responsibility
in regard to maintaining peaceful relations with the Indians of that
region. Having maturely reflected upon the communication of Mr.
Reynolds, he returned the following answer:

_Fort Gibson_, June 13th, 1838.                       }

     "SIR: I have received your letter of the 12th instant, with the
     papers accompanying it, in which you request me to furnish such a
     force as I deem adequate, to enable you to turn over a number of
     negroes that were captured by the Creek warriors in Florida, to
     Nathaniel F. Collins, their attorney.

     "I have given your application much reflection, and have determined
     to decline a compliance therewith for the following reasons:

     "First. The difficulty and uncertainty of identifying the negroes
     actually captured by the Creek warriors, who are now with their
     former owners, and in company with a large number of other Indian
     negroes, and there being no individual of character present (as far
     as I am informed) who could with certainty designate them.
     Secondly. The Seminole chiefs positively declare that General
     Jessup promised that the negroes taken from them by the Creek
     warriors should be returned; and there is reason to believe that
     such a promise was made, other than the declaration of the chiefs.

     "In addition to the above, it is proper that I should state, that
     the Seminole chiefs, at the council I held with them yesterday,
     voluntarily pledged themselves to give up the negroes in question,
     provided the President of the United States should, after being
     informed of the facts in the case, so decide; yet they state that
     many of the negroes have died, and that several are claimed to have
     been captured that were brought in by their owners when they

"I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


_Brevet Brigadier General, Commanding_.


1st Lieut. U. S. M. C., and Disb'g Agent, Ind. Dept."

Collins now gave up all as lost. He appears to have realized, that
almost every officer of the army west of Florida, had conspired against
this policy of enslaving the Exiles, while he himself seemed to
entertain no doubt of the honor and rectitude of his own position; and
in order to do him justice, and render our narrative brief as
consistent, we here insert so much of his report to the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, drawn up after his return to Alabama, as relates to his
mission up to the time of leaving Fort Gibson, on his return. It is as

"TUSKOGEE, ALABAMA, July 29, 1838"

     "SIR: Immediately after my arrival (about the first of this month),
     I was taken sick with the fever, from which I am just recovering,
     which will account for the delay in communicating the result of my
     mission to procure the Seminole negroes that were to have been
     turned over to me, as agent of the Creek Indians."

     "I left Washington on the 10th of May, and arrived in New Orleans
     on the 22d, the day after Lieutenant Reynolds had left there with
     the Indians and all the negroes, except thirty-two that were
     detained by the civil authority, at the instance of Love. I did not
     overtake Reynolds until he arrived at Vicksburg, when, after some
     exertion, I succeeded in having his order handed to him; and he
     came ashore, and suggested the probability of his being able to
     induce the Indians to consent to deliver the negroes willingly
     (between thirty-five and forty of which, by a comparison of our
     lists, we found he had in his possession), if I would go on board
     and proceed up the river with him. This I acceded to, as I was
     anxious to pursue such a course as would tend, ever so remotely, to
     conciliate the Indians, and harmonize with the views of the officer
     in charge. The experience of a day or two however proved that these
     calculations were erroneous, and I went on to Little Rock, to get a
     force to coerce their delivery. On our arrival there, Lieutenant R.
     called upon the acting Governor of Arkansas for assistance; _but
     from some cause or other_ he refused it, as will be seen by the
     correspondence forwarded you by Lieutenant R. I then proceeded with
     the party to Fort Gibson, calculating certainly on being able to
     obtain the necessary assistance at that place. Lieutenant R., on
     arriving within three miles of the fort, landed one of the boats,
     and proceeded with the other (having all the negroes and some
     Indians) directly to the fort, and made known to General Arbuckle
     the situation of the affair, and presented him with all the papers.
     He held a lengthy interview with the Seminole chiefs, in which the
     various talks and promises of General Jessup were detailed, the
     number and identity of the negroes denied, and the validity of the
     whole transaction questioned, etc.; and hence the conclusion, as he
     had received no order in relation to the negroes, he should not
     interfere; and directed Lieutenant R. to land them with the
     Indians. First, however, to conclude the farce, he exacted from
     each chief separately the promise, _if the President should decide
     that the negroes should be given up_, that they would deliver them
     to him. This of course they promised; any explanation or
     remonstrance urged by me was unavailing."



     General Gaines in person defends those left at New Orleans--He
     appeals from the judgment--Effect of appeal--Authorities at
     Washington informed of difficulties--General Jessup retires from
     the command--General Taylor succeeds him--He refuses to follow
     policy of General Jessup--Recognizes no prisoners as slaves--Letter
     from Adjutant General--He promptly refuses to have any thing to do
     in Watson's slave-dealing transaction--This indignant answer is
     received without reply by Department--Other persons claim the
     Exiles detained at New Orleans--Commissioner driven to the
     necessity of declaring correct law on the subject--Same as that
     avowed by General Gaines, by General Taylor, and by Hon. J. Q.
     Adams--Claim of Colonel Humphreys for slaves--Jessup's
     answer--Reynolds returns from Fort Gibson to New Orleans--Collins
     reaches the city same day--Inquires as to the situation of the
     thirty-one Exiles left there--Is referred to Major Clark--Clark's
     answer--Collins leaves city in disgust--His Letter to Secretary of
     War charging Reynolds with misconduct--Exiles remaining at New
     Orleans are delivered to Reynolds--Are sent to Fort Gibson--Join
     their friends--All are left however without permanent homes or
     lands--Intention of the Administration to compel them to unite with
     the Creeks--They refuse--Cherokees tender them lands--They settle
     upon Cherokee territory.

[Sidenote: 1838.]

After the emigrating company of Indians and Exiles had left New Orleans,
under charge of Lieutenant Reynolds, Gen'l Gaines assumed upon himself
the whole responsibility of defending the thirty-one who remained in
that city; for as yet there had been no trial upon the merits of the
case, although it was pretty evident that the judge was strongly
impressed in favor of reënslaving them. The cause was duly brought to a
hearing, and, after argument and consideration, the court gave judgment
in favor of the claimants.

This was no more than had been expected. General Gaines, faithful to his
own convictions of justice, took an appeal to a higher tribunal; and
this appeal rendered it necessary for the court to fix a time within
which the claimants should enter bail for costs and damages, or the
negroes would be delivered up to General Gaines by the sheriff.

In the meantime, the Executive officers at Washington had become
informed of the difficulties which had lain across the path of Mr.
Collins, and felt it to be desirable that the whole matter should be
arranged with as little discussion as possible.

General Jessup retired from the command of the army in Florida on the
fifteenth of May, and returned to Washington, leaving General Zachary
Taylor as commander-in-chief of our military forces in that Territory.
He had shown himself prompt in the execution of all orders; cool,
deliberate, and firm in battle; faithful to his men, to himself and his
country; but, up to this time, he had manifested no particular zeal in
the capture of negroes. Indeed, although he had penetrated farther into
the Indian Country than any other officer--had fought the bloodiest
battles of any commander in Florida, yet he refused to draw any
distinctions among his prisoners. With him Indians and negroes were
equally _prisoners of war_, and entitled to the same treatment. Nor
would he listen to men who professed to own the persons whom he
captured, or who had surrendered themselves as prisoners.

The Administration having been a party in the sale to Watson, determined
to carry out the slave-dealing arrangement with him; at least so far as
regarded the thirty-one negroes who yet remained in New Orleans. In
order to effect this object, it was deemed necessary to have the
coöperation and aid of General Taylor. The Adjutant General, therefore,
addressed him on the subject, enclosing to him the letter of the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated the ninth of May, addressed to the
Secretary of War, and heretofore referred to. General Taylor evidently
thought the honor of the service would be compromited by this
slave-dealing transaction. He subsequently became President of the
United States; and as the reader will feel anxious to understand
precisely the views which he entertained, we give that portion of his
letter to the Adjutant General which relates to this subject. It is in
the following words:

     "I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of the tenth of
     May, 1838, accompanied by one of the ninth from the Commissioner of
     Indian Affairs, addressed to Captain Cooper, Acting Secretary of
     War, on the subject of turning over certain negroes, captured by
     the Creek warriors in Florida, to a Mr. Collins, their agent, in
     compliance with an engagement of General Jessup.

     "I know nothing of the negroes in question, nor of the subject,
     further than what is contained in the communication above referred
     to; _but I must state distinctly for the information of all
     concerned, that, while I shall hold myself ever ready to do the
     utmost in my power to get the Indians and their negroes out of
     Florida, as well as to remove them to their new homes west of the
     TRANSACTION, _or to be concerned for the benefit of Collins, the
     Creek Indians, or any one else_."

This language was received at the War Department without reproof,
although the Secretary was from South Carolina, bred up in the
chivalrous doctrines of the Palmetto State. He quietly suffered a
Brigadier General thus plainly to express his contempt for this
slave-dealing transaction, in which not only the War Department, but the
President of the United States, was involved. He appears to have been
willing to encounter almost any kind of disrespect, rather than call
public attention to the subject.

In the meantime other claims were presented to the Department for those
Exiles, or portions of those, who had been captured by the Creeks.[120]
Gad Humphreys filed with the Secretary of War a list of forty-seven
slaves who had fled from him in 1830, stating that they had gone to the
Seminoles, and that a part of them had been sent to Fort Pike.

Colonel Humphreys appeared to regard himself as entitled to the
possession of those people; although by the treaty of Payne's Landing
the Seminoles had paid for all slaves residing with them prior to 1832;
and had been released from all further demands on account of such

Colonel Humphreys stated that his claim had been examined by the late
agent, General Wiley Thompson, and decided _against_ him; but insisted
that the decision was wrong, and avowed his ability to show it erroneous
by proper proof whenever he should have an opportunity, and again
demanded that the slaves should be brought back to Florida, where he
could present his proof without trouble. This letter was inclosed in one
directed to Mr. Downing, Delegate in Congress from Florida, and by him
transmitted to the Secretary of War, and by that officer referred to the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Thus driven to the wall, the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs came out in plain and unmistakable
language, asserting the doctrine, that the Government held the power and
constitutional right to dispose of prisoners taken in war, whatever
their character may be. This doctrine had been eloquently sustained by
General Gaines, on the trial in New Orleans. It was the doctrine avowed
by Hon. John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives, during the
next session of Congress; but it called down upon him much abuse in that
body, and in the Democratic papers of the country. The Commissioner's
report to the Secretary of War set forth in distinct language, that the
claims of individuals to slaves were precluded by the action of the
Government in sending these people West; that they had been captured by
the army and disposed of by the Executive, and the action of the
Department could not be changed in consequence of individuals claiming
them as slaves. In short, he repeated the doctrine advanced by General
Gaines at New Orleans. The report also confirmed the policy of General
Taylor in disregarding the claims of individuals to persons captured by
the army, and was a tacit condemnation of that pursued by General
Jessup, and previously sanctioned by the Secretary of War. This report
was passed over to the Secretary.

That officer (Mr. Poinsett) having received this report, transmitted it
to Colonel Humphreys. This drew from that gentleman a still more
elaborate argument in favor of his claim, which occupies nearly four
heavy pages in documentary form. This was also transmitted to Mr.
Downing, and by him passed over to the Secretary of War; but we are not
informed whether the Secretary of War replied to this second argument or

It is, however, important to the truth of history to notice this
recognition of the doctrine by a slave-holding Secretary of War, that
the Executive in time of war may separate slaves from their masters, and
send them out of the country, without regard to the relation previously
subsisting between them and their owners. The principle was thus
recognized by Mr. Poinsett, although a citizen of South Carolina, acting
under the advice and direction of Mr. Van Buren, a Democratic President
of the United States.

General Jessup also, in a report to the War Department, declared, that,
in his opinion, the treaty of Payne's Landing exonerated the Indians
from all claims for slaves which accrued prior to that date, and that
Colonel Humphreys and other claimants could only demand a proportion of
the seven thousand dollars allowed by the Indians for slaves then
residing among them. This suggestion was obviously just, and was
approved by the Secretary of War; and we are naturally led to inquire,
why the same obviously just rule was not applied to some hundreds of
other cases precisely like that of Colonel Humphreys?

In the meantime, Lieutenant Reynolds having accomplished his mission, so
far as the emigration of the captives shipped on board the two boats
which left New Orleans on the nineteenth and twenty-first of May were
concerned, returned to that city in order to complete the duties
assigned him in regard to the thirty-one prisoners who had been detained
there by legal sequestration. Collins, faithful to the trust reposed in
him, also returned to New Orleans with the full purpose of securing
those people as slaves to Watson. They reached the city on the
twenty-third, and found the slaves still in the possession of the
Sheriff; as the time assigned by the court within which the plaintiff
was to enter bail had not expired.

On the twenty-fifth of June, Mr. Collins addressed a note to Mr.
Reynolds, inquiring whether there had been any decision of the court
upon the claim of Love to the Seminole negroes left at that place; and
what number he (Reynolds) was satisfied belonged to the Creek Indians;
and demanding that such as belonged to them should be delivered to him,
under the order of the Commissioner of "Indian Affairs."

Mr. Reynolds replied that he understood the case had been dismissed; but
as he (Reynolds) was then acting under a superior officer (Major Clark),
he would refer Mr. Collins to him.

On the following day, Collins addressed Major Clark on the subject; but
receiving no answer, and becoming vexed and disgusted with the business,
he left the city on the twenty-seventh for his home in Alabama. In
justice to Mr. Collins, we let him speak for himself, and quote the
remainder of his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, being
that portion which relates to his efforts to get possession of these
thirty-one Exiles. It reads as follows:

     "On arriving at New Orleans on my return, I found the
     representatives of Love had withdrawn their claim against those
     thirty-two negroes that were left there, thirty-one of which
     Lieutenant R. expressed himself satisfied belonged to the claim. I
     addressed a note to Lieutenant R. requesting that such of the
     negroes as he was satisfied of the identity might be turned over to
     me; he in turn referred me to Major Clark who was his senior
     officer, and who had received similar instructions to his own. I
     had, in company with Lieutenant R. the day before, called upon
     Major Clark, and learned his determination in relation to the
     negroes. He did not recognize the validity of his order, inasmuch
     as 'By order of the Secretary of War' did not precede your
     signature, and had even the hardihood to state, that, by an
     examination of the lists, none of those negroes in New Orleans were
     embraced in the claim I presented, and subsequently ordered
     Lieutenant Reynolds to send the negroes forthwith to Arkansas.
     After I saw a settled and determined purpose to thwart me there as
     well as elsewhere, I left New Orleans on the next day for this
     place, and since my arrival here, I have learned by a letter from
     Lieutenant Reynolds, that the negroes were sent off the next day
     after I left."

     "Captain Morrison I did not see. Not perhaps being as fruitful in
     expedients as some others of them, he stopped at Fort Jackson, and
     sent to New Orleans for transportation outfit, etc., and passed the
     city on his way up, without but few knowing who he was, or anything
     else in relation to him. I learned indirectly from Major Clark,
     (who probably did not intend this admission for me,) that he had
     between twenty and thirty of the negroes on board belonging to this

"I am, sir, with the highest respect,

Yours, etc.,


C. A. HARRIS, Esq.,

Comm'r Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C."

It is most obvious that Collins believed that the military officers of
Government, who were serving at a distance from Washington, viewed his
mission with no particular favor, and he evidently retired from New
Orleans with some degree of indignation.

In the meantime, the claimant Love, despairing of obtaining the negroes,
refused to enter bail for costs and damages, in case the suit should be
determined against him in the higher court, and the sheriff delivered
them over to Mr. Reynolds on the same day that Collins left the city. On
the next day, Mr. Reynolds wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
saying, "The thirty-one negroes who were arrested, seized from me and
lodged in the jail of this city, were last evening surrendered to me.
The Creek attorney (N. F. Collins, Esq.) nor any authorized agent being
present, and not wishing to detain them at the expense of the
Government, they were immediately embarked and dispatched West, with
twenty-five days' provisions, under the charge of Assistant Conductor
Benjamin, who, to satisfy the Indians, had been left with the negroes at
the period of the service of the process; of which fact I informed the
Department at the time."

These thirty-one prisoners who had been thus detained, were now once
more under way for their western home. Their hearts appeared to beat
more freely as the noble steamer, which bore them on their way to their
friends and future homes, cut loose from her moorings and sped her way
toward her destined port. On board that happy craft, also, were many
smiles and hearty congratulations exchanged among those children of the
forest, who had been borne along on the tide of ever-varying
circumstances. Although helpless and penniless, and apparently
friendless, they had almost miraculously escaped the meshes which our
Government and the slave-dealers had spread for their destruction. In
due time they reached Fort Gibson, and were delivered over to the care
of the proper agent, who conducted them to their friends. And now some
nine hundred Seminoles, and some three to four hundred Exiles, had
reached the Indian Country; they constituted the first party of that
nation who, driven from their homes--their native wilds--had consented
to be taken to a strange land.

They had been assured by General Jessup and all officers who spoke for
the Government, that the treaty of Payne's Landing was to be complied
with. To enforce that treaty had been the order of General Jackson.
General Cass had declared that the _Indians must comply with that
treaty_; while, to our Indian agents, he asserted it to be the policy of
the Government to _unite the Creeks and Seminoles as one people_.

But the Indians and Exiles were constantly assured, that they were to
have a tract of country set off to their separate use; and when they
entered into the articles of capitulation with General Jessup, on the
eighteenth of March, 1837, that officer, on behalf of the United
States, had stipulated to protect the Indians and "their allies" in the
enjoyment of their lives and property.

But now the turpitude and guilt of the Executive were revealed. The
orders of the agent directed him to take them on to the territory
assigned to the Creeks. This would subject them to Creek jurisdiction
and Creek laws; and they were perfectly conscious that every Exile would
be immediately enslaved. Yet there was no country which they could call
their own. The perfidious pretense of enforcing the treaty of Payne's
Landing, without giving them a separate territory according to the
supplemental treaty, now stood exposed in its proper light. Abraham was
a man of influence with his brethren. He had used his utmost efforts to
induce them to emigrate. He had been honest. He believed in the
integrity of our nation, of its people, its government; but his error
had been fatal. The Exiles were in the Western Country, without a home,
and with no means of support, except the stipulation of Government to
furnish them provisions for one year.

It was at this time, when a Christian government had violated its faith,
most solemnly pledged, in order to enslave a people who for ages had
been free, that a Pagan government performed towards the Exiles and
Seminoles the Christian duty, the hospitality, of furnishing them
temporary homes. The Cherokees had volunteered to exert their influence
with the Indians and Exiles in favor of peace. They had induced many of
them to come into the American camp under flags of truce which had been
violated, and their persons seized, held prisoners, and sent West. They
had themselves, apparently, been involved in this treachery practiced by
our Government, and, under these circumstances, they consented to share
their own possessions with the Seminoles and Exiles until further
arrangements were made; they consented to have the Seminoles and Exiles
settle on their land for the present, until the Government could be
induced to fulfill its most sacred compacts with these victims of
slaveholding persecutions.



     Indians and Exiles complain--Government disregards their
     complaints--Further efforts to enslave Exiles--They fail--General
     Arbuckle's Report--Collins charges Reynolds with
     misconduct--Reynolds called on to explain--His reply and
     proofs--Collins desires claim to be made against Creek
     Warriors--They refuse to notice it--Political feelings--Watson
     presents his claim to Congress--Resolution of that body calling for
     information--Answer--House Doc. 225--Digression--Proceedings on
     claim before Congress--Its final settlement.

[Sidenote: 1838.]

The Indians and Exiles who had emigrated, now found themselves separated
at the distance of more than a thousand miles from their brethren in
Florida, with whom they could hold no intercourse. They were without a
country--without permanent homes--residing upon the lands of the
Cherokees, at the mere sufferance of that Tribe, whose humanity had been
awakened, and whose sympathy had been extended to them. Their situation
and discontent were duly communicated to the Executive; but it appears
to have been regarded as of too little importance to receive attention.

But while the President and the War Department disregarded all
complaints coming from the Seminoles and Exiles, they relaxed no effort
to secure Watson in the possession of the ninety human beings whom he
had purchased of the Creek Indians, at the request of the Executive.

As the last resort, instructions were sent to General Arbuckle,
commanding in the West, to make investigations, and ascertain what more
could be done for the reënslavement of those people. That officer
replied to this communication as follows:

_Fort Gibson_, Aug. 27th, 1838.                }

     "SIR: I had the honor, on the 22d instant, to receive your
     instructions of the 21st ultimo, together with the papers to which
     they refer. I extremely regret that the United States is liable to
     suffer loss in consequence of the Creek warriors having sold, and
     received pay, for the negroes they captured from the Seminole
     Indians in Florida; and these negroes having been imprudently
     returned to the possession of their former owners at New Orleans,
     and brought to this place, with two hundred or more other negroes
     belonging to the Seminoles. Owing to these transactions, it would
     be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify at most but
     few of them; and from the present position of this case, it is not
     probable _that one of the negroes will be obtained except by
     force_. For further information in relation to this subject, I beg
     leave to refer you to my letter to Captain Armstrong, Acting
     Superintendent of the Western Territory, of this date, a copy of
     which is herewith enclosed. I shall do all in my power to prevent
     loss to the Government, and will at an early period have the honor
     to advise you of the measures taken in the case."

"I have the honor to be, Sir, with great respect,

Your obedient servant,


_Brevet Brig. Gen'l, U. S. A._


Secretary of War."

The letter to Captain Armstrong, Superintendent of the Western
Territory, was as follows:

_Fort Gibson_, Aug. 27, 1838.                  }

     "SIR: I received by the last mail, from the honorable the Secretary
     of War, a communication under date of the 21st ultimo, on the
     subject of the negroes captured by the Creek warriors, together
     with a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the
     Secretary of War, under date of the 19th ultimo, relating to this
     subject, copies of which are herewith enclosed. All other papers or
     transactions in relation to this matter, it is presumed, you are
     apprized of. It will be seen by the communication first referred
     to, that it was not known at Washington, at the date of that
     letter, that the Creek warriors had been paid for the negroes. That
     circumstance, however just to the warriors and proper, so far as
     you have had an agency in the affair, will increase the difficulty
     of obtaining the negroes, as it is believed the Creek warriors will
     not now give themselves any trouble to have the negroes delivered
     to the individuals to whom they sold them. And notwithstanding the
     pledge of the Seminole chiefs to me, to surrender the negroes in
     the event the Government should so require (after reconsidering
     their claim to them), I do not believe they will comply with their
     promise, with the knowledge that the negroes are to be taken from
     this country as the servants of a white man. Finally, as the
     Seminoles are greatly under the influence of their negroes, there
     is scarcely a hope that the captured negroes will be surrendered
     without the application of force (which is not required); and, in
     that event, it is not probable they could be had, as they would no
     doubt run away the moment they are informed a military force is to
     be employed to take them. And in such case, it is believed, they
     would be assisted, when necessary, by most of the Seminoles, and by
     all the Seminole and Creek negroes; and if the captured negroes
     could be placed in the possession of the Creek agent, he would not
     detain them a moment without he had a suitable guard for that
     purpose. I am therefore of the opinion, that the best means that
     can now be resorted to, to prevent loss to the United States, is,
     if possible, to induce the Seminoles to refund, from their annuity,
     the sum paid to the Creek warriors for the negroes, and the
     interest on the same until paid. I will be much gratified if you
     can visit this post in six or eight days, when the Seminole chiefs
     can be assembled here, with the object of inducing them to agree to
     the measure proposed, or such other as may be deemed advisable. In
     the event that it may not be convenient for you to be at this post
     at an early period, I request that you will favor me with your
     views on the subject of this communication by the return of mail."

"I am, Sir, with much respect,

Your obedient servant,


_Brevet Brig. Gen'l, U. S. A._


Acting Sup't W. Ter., Choctaw Agency."

This correspondence might well have concluded the efforts of the
Executive to deliver these ninety Exiles to the slave-dealer. It were
unnecessary to say, that General Arbuckle's labors in this behalf proved
useless. He had foretold such failure in his letter to the War
Department. In January, 1837, the Creek warriors captured these people,
and for almost two years the influence of the Executive had been exerted
to enslave them; but a series of incidents, unequaled in real life, had
constantly succeeded each other, preventing the consummation of this
intended crime; yet the slave power was inexorable in its demands.

These circumstances failed to convince the President that it was useless
for the Executive of a great nation to contend against the plainest
dictates of justice; against those convictions of right which dwell in
the breast of every human being who has not extinguished the moral
feelings of his nature.

Collins having returned to his plantation in Alabama, deliberately, drew
up and transmitted his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
which we have heretofore quoted. But when he was subsequently informed
that the thirty-two Exiles who were in the hands of the Sheriff at New
Orleans had, on the day of his leaving that city, been delivered over to
Reynolds, and sent West, his indignation was further excited, and he
immediately wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs again more
distinctly charging the officers engaged in the emigration of these
people with bad faith. He wrote as follows:


     SIR: Since writing you a week since, I have understood that
     Lieutenant Reynolds has informed you that on his arrival in New
     Orleans the negroes that were detained there had been surrendered
     to him, and that, in consequence of my not being there, they were
     sent off to, etc. After seeing so much duplicity and management as
     has been manifested by the officers with whom I have recently had
     intercourse, particularly Lieutenant R., I am not surprised at the
     above statement. Lieutenant R. is well apprised that the negroes
     had been turned over to him while I was in New Orleans; and it is
     also susceptible of proof that during my stay there arrangements
     were privately making to charter a boat to transport them. After I
     learned this, I purposely threw myself in his way; but he said not
     a word to me in relation to the negroes, until I addressed him the
     note which is herewith enclosed. After receiving his answer, I, in
     his presence, addressed the enclosed copy to Major Clark; but
     before I had procured a messenger to carry it to Major C.,
     Lieutenant R., after being a short time absent from the room,
     returned, and informed me he had seen the Sheriff, and he had
     refused to turn over the negroes to him, which rendered it, as I
     conceived, unnecessary to send the note to Major C. After my return
     home, he wrote that (the next day after I left it seems) the
     Sheriff reviewed his decision, and a _second time_ turned them over
     to Lieutenant R.; and as he states in his letter to me, that Major
     Clark _ordered them to proceed forthwith to Arkansas_. Why was it
     necessary, then, for me to have been there, since he had yielded
     everything to his senior officer, and that officer he knew had
     determined not to respect the order he had received, and had
     determined (as his previous statement and subsequent conduct prove)
     to send them forthwith to Arkansas? It is about such a subterfuge
     as the Sheriff turning the negroes and withholding them after my
     letter to Major C. was seen, and then turning them over again after
     it was known I had left. It is due Lieutenant R. to observe, that
     he stated to me the Sheriff had told him a lie. I know not what
     object he could have had in view in doing so.

     "I remained in New Orleans four days, in which time I became
     convinced from the maneuvering that was evinced that nothing would
     be gained by a longer stay, and as the sickly season was
     approaching, I left with the conviction that the Sheriff would
     alter his decision as soon as I left there.

"I am, with the highest respect, sir,

Yours, etc.,


_Agent Creek Warriors_."

C. A. HARRIS, Esq.,

Commissioner Indian Affairs.

It is worthy of notice that this agent of a slave-dealer should thus
address, to one of the Executive Departments of this august nation,
complaints against the sworn officers of our Government; but it is still
more worthy of note that the War Department should call on its
authorized and sworn agents to respond to complaints coming from such a
source. Copies of Collins's two letters were immediately enclosed to
Lieutenant Reynolds, accompanied by a letter from Commissioner Harris,
of which we give a copy:

"WAR DEPARTMENT,                           }
_Office of Commissioner of Indian Affairs_,}
August 27, 1837.                           }

     "SIR: I enclose copies of two letters from N. F. Collins, Esq.,
     (one of the twenty-ninth ultimo and the other of the eighteenth
     instant,) in relation to the negroes which you were directed to
     turn over to him as the agent of the Creeks. From these papers, and
     from other information received here, it would seem there has been
     great disregard, if not a violation, of the orders of the War
     Department in this matter. I trust you will be able to make such
     explanations of your conduct as will relieve you from censure--_a
     prompt answer is desired_.

     "It may not be amiss to inform you that, when on duty in the Indian
     Department, you are bound to obey the orders of no military
     officer, unless you have been placed under his direction. Captain
     Morrison is the only army officer authorized to control your

"Very, etc.,

C. A. HARRIS, _Commissioner_.

Lieut. J. G. REYNOLDS."

These intimations to Lieutenant Reynolds of _censure_, and the distinct
call for _explanations_, could be neither misinterpreted nor
misunderstood; and, although the complaints and charges had been
preferred not merely by a man in private life, but by an individual
whose very employment as an assistant slave-dealer had rendered him
odious and infamous among honorable men, yet this officer who had fought
under the flag of his country, and was ready at any moment to peril his
life in the support of his country's honor, was now constrained to meet
charges coming from an infamous source. The surprise of Lieutenant
Reynolds at this procedure was expressed in the following letter:

     /* "NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 20, 1838. */

     "SIR: Your letter, dated twenty-seventh ultimo, enclosing copies of
     two communications received at your office from Mr. N. F. Collins,
     the Creek attorney, came to hand on the tenth instant. I was
     surprised at being called upon to answer for 'my conduct' toward
     Mr. Collins, as also the Department for disregarding its orders.
     Indeed, sir, I have been, in my own estimation, too faithful a
     servant in the special department in which it was the pleasure of
     General Jessup to assign, and you to continue, me, to make a
     defense to the allegations advanced by Collins. At the time of Mr.
     Collins's departure from this city, he did not evince that
     virulence of feeling that he has thought proper to express in his
     letter; on the contrary, he was then apparently under the full
     conviction that I had done all that was possible to aid him, and
     carry out the orders received in relation to the negroes in
     question. What object could I possibly have in wishing
     clandestinely, and in the very face of orders, to send those
     negroes to Arkansas? Had Mr. Collins been here, sir, so far as I
     was concerned, he should have had the negroes upon _identity_. I
     enclose papers, sir, from various gentlemen to disprove the
     assertion of Mr. Collins, 'that the negroes were in my possession
     during the time he was here;' on the contrary, they did not come
     into my hands until some time after his departure. It is true, I
     have frequently referred to Major Clark for advice in matters
     relative to my official situation. It was on account of the high
     regard I have of his character as a gentleman, and an officer of
     long standing and experience, and whose integrity stands
     preeminently and deservedly high.

"I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,

Your obd't servant,


_U. S. M. C. Disb. Agent, Ind. Dep't._


Com. Ind. Affairs, Washington City, D. C."

We have too little space in this work to copy official papers to any
considerable extent. Those which accompanied Lieutenant Reynolds's reply

First. A full statement of facts from Sheriff Buisson, showing that the
thirty-one prisoners, who had been in his charge, were not turned over
to Major Clark until the twenty-eighth of June, 1838.

Second. A full statement of facts by George Whitman, owner of the
steamboat, who contracted to carry the prisoners West.

Third. A similar statement by Major Clark of the facts that came within
his knowledge, accompanied by a copy of a communication from Jno. C.
Casey, Acting Seminole Agent.

All these statements showed that Lieutenant Reynolds had strictly obeyed
his orders; and whether they proved satisfactory to the War Department
or not, we are unable to state. It is, however, believed, that no
further proceedings were had in relation to the conduct of that officer.

Mr. Collins, finding that he possessed some influence with the War
Department, on the eighteenth of October, wrote the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs, saying, "I have now to request that, should General
Arbuckle be unable to comply with the instructions I understand he has
received, (which from my knowledge of the Indian character I have no
doubt he will,) this claim may be laid before the agent who may be
appointed to investigate the claims of the Creeks with the necessary
documents; that it may be examined and reported on by him."

In answer to this letter, Mr. Crawford, Acting Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, replied, stating that General Arbuckle had, on the
twenty-eighth of September, informed the Department that the negroes
could only be obtained by military force. Mr. Crawford also assured Mr.
Collins that General Arbuckle had been instructed to act in concert with
Captain Armstrong for the purpose of obtaining a treaty with the Indians
by which provisions for this claim would be made; and that the necessary
papers had been transmitted to those gentlemen to enable them to act
with a correct understanding of the subject.

But the Creek Indians appear to have become impressed with the opinion,
that the whole proceeding was either unjust or dishonorable, and they
wholly refused to participate any further in the transaction.

The Exiles and Indians were now living on the Cherokee lands. The Creeks
would have nothing further to do with Watson, nor with the United
States, in regard to the _captured_ negroes. The Seminole Indians showed
no disposition to surrender them to slavery, and the Exiles themselves
exhibited no intention of going voluntarily into bondage. General
Arbuckle advised against the employment of military force to effect that
object; and to all present appearances these ninety Exiles had, through
a train of mysterious incidents, been preserved from bondage. The
Florida War had become unpopular; and Watson, the purchaser of the
supposed slaves, had warm personal friends among the Whigs of Georgia.
They were quite willing to subject Mr. Van Buren to any degree of odium
in their power. Watson, therefore, sent his petition to Congress, asking
indemnity for the loss of slaves whom he had purchased of the Creeks at
the instance, and by the recommendation, of the Executive officers of

In order to sustain the claim of Watson, it was necessary to place the
facts attending this transaction before the House of Representatives.
For this purpose a resolution was adopted, on the twenty-eighth of
January, 1839, calling on the Secretary of War for "such information as
was to be found in his office touching the capture of negroes and other
property from the hostile Indians, during the present war in Florida."

In answer to this resolution, the Secretary of War, on the
twenty-seventh of February, made report, embracing one hundred and
twenty-six pages of printed matter. It was numbered H. Doc. 225, and
ordered to be printed. From that document much information has been
obtained in regard to the capture and emigration of this first party of
Indians and Exiles to the Western Country.

The result of this speculation in human flesh is so essential to a
correct appreciation of the whole transaction, that we deem it proper to
give, in this connection, the proceedings of Congress upon that subject;
although it may appear to be rather a digression from the chronological
narration of events which constitute the subject of our history.

It will be recollected that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in his
letter to the Secretary of War, dated the first of May, 1838, suggests
that it might create agitation, were the Department to ask Congress for
an appropriation of money to carry these Exiles to Africa, or for any
other disposition of them; that, to suppress all discussion in Congress
upon the subject of slavery, gag-resolutions and gag-rules had been
adopted at each session since 1835. It was under the operation of these
rules that the advocates of slavery expected to pass a bill to indemnify
Watson for his loss in failing to enslave these Exiles.

[Sidenote: 1839.]

During the summer of 1839, the document, No. 225, above referred to, was
printed. According to the practice of that day, few, even of the members
of Congress, examined these documents. A copy of this, however, was
placed on file, with Watson's petition and other papers, as evidence on
which his claim rested.

At the commencement of the next session, the Author of this work, being
a member of the House of Representatives, was placed upon the committee
of Claims; at the head of which was Hon. David Russel, of Washington
County, New York, a man of great industry, integrity and ability; always
independent, according to the general views of that day, and upright in
the discharge of official duties. Hon. William C. Dawson, of Georgia,
was also a member of that committee, and appeared to take much interest
in this claim. He was a man of much suavity of manner; one of that class
of Southern statesmen who felt it necessary to carry every measure by
the influence of personal kindness, and an expression of horror at all
agitation of the slave question, under the apprehension that it might
dissolve the Union.

Mr. Dawson was anxious to get this claim of Watson through Congress,
and, not expecting the Chairman of the committee on Claims to favor its
passage, requested the Author to examine and give support to it. It was
that examination which gave him the first information as to the real
cause of the Florida War. After a full and thorough investigation, he
assured Mr. Dawson that he would be constrained to oppose the passage of
any bill giving indemnity to Watson. At that time it was the usual
practice for the committee on Claims to leave all petitions asking pay
for slaves, or which involved the question of slavery, without reporting
upon them, lest they should cause agitation. There being no prospect of
obtaining from the committee a favorable report, the case was at the
next session of Congress referred to the committee on Indian Affairs,
who reported in its favor, providing for the payment of the full sum
which Watson gave the Creeks, and interest thereon from the time of the
contract up to the time of passing the bill.

[Sidenote: 1841.]

This bill was placed on the calendar, and in 1841 the Author endeavored
to call attention to it, in a speech made in the House of
Representatives on the "Florida War." This led some members to examine
it; and some of them, more independent than others, declared their
hostility to its passage.

In the Twenty-eighth Congress, the Author, having become obnoxious to
the slaveholders, was removed from the committee on Claims,[121] and
Watson's petition was again referred to that committee, in order that it
should receive the prestige of its influence; but it was reported upon
late, and was so low on the calendar that it was not reached during that

[Sidenote: 1848.]

[Sidenote: 1849.]

In the Thirty-first Congress, Mr. Daniels, Chairman of the committee on
Claims, reported it in February. But General Crowell, of Trumbull
County, Ohio, being on the committee, opposed its passage, and caused a
postponement for that session; and at the next session it was, after a
short discussion, passed over without any final action upon it.

At the Thirty-second Congress, the committee on Claims was yet more
favorably constituted for the slave interest--Mr. Sacket, of New York,
and Mr. Rantoul, of Massachusetts, being the only two members upon it
who openly resisted the slave power. Mr. Edgerton, of Ohio, Mr. Seymour,
of Connecticut, and Mr. Curtis, of Pennsylvania, being Northern
Democrats, remained silent during the discussion of this claim. It was
however again reported by the Chairman, Mr. Daniels, of North Carolina,
at an early day, and a full determination to carry it through was
manifested by the slaveholders.

Both of the great political parties were at that time (1852) endeavoring
to suppress all agitation of the slave question. Southern men,
particularly, were horrified at every appearance of discussion in
relation to the "pecculiar institution;" and they hoped to pass this
bill without even an examination of its merits before the House. But the
opponents of slavery were not idle. Efforts were privately made to call
attention of gentlemen to this claim, that they might examine its merits
before it came up for discussion; and on looking into it, a number of
members prepared to oppose its passage.

[Sidenote: 1852.]

After one or two postponements, it came on for discussion on the
twentieth of February, 1852. Mr. Sacket, of New York, met the case at
once, in a speech which showed that he had studied it very thoroughly,
and understood it perfectly. He insisted that slaves were not _plunder_,
and did not come within the contract of General Jessup, which gave to
Creeks the "plunder" they might capture. 2d. That the whole transaction
was one of _speculation_ on the part of Watson, inasmuch as the report
set forth that the negroes were worth at least sixty thousand dollars,
while he paid only fourteen thousand and six hundred dollars--being less
than one-fourth their value, evidently taking upon himself all risk of
title and possession. 3d. That the officers of Government had no
authority to involve the nation in this slave-dealing transaction. 4th.
That those officers were not the Government, and could not bind the
people to pay their funds for human flesh.

Mr. Abercrombie, of Alabama, was in favor of the claim. He declared that
he was in Florida at the time of this contract, and knew all about it,
and that it was well understood that the term "plunder" did include

Mr. Daniels, Chairman of the committee, felt called on by the effort of
Mr. Sacket to speak early in the discussion. He insisted that General
Jessup, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Secretary of War, fully
understood the case; that it was understood by the parties that the term
"plunder" _did_ include slaves; that Watson was drawn into this matter,
partly, to relieve the Government from the transaction in which it had
become involved. He insisted that the negroes captured were _slaves_ of
the Seminoles; but when inquired of on that point, could only say, that
officers engaged in the Florida War had spoken of them as such. He was
much embarrassed by interrogatories propounded to him by Mr. Stanton, of
Ohio, and other gentlemen.

Mr. Mace, of Indiana, a Democrat, took a short and comprehensive view of
the case. He, nor any other man could tell whether these negroes were
slaves or freemen. On the part of the officers of Government, there was
not a single impulse of humanity manifested in regard to these people;
but all their endeavors were put forth to _enslave_ them. He was
entirely opposed to the bill.

Hon. John W. Howe, of Pennsylvania, would never give his vote in favor
of regarding men, and women, and children, as _plunder_. He commented
with much force upon the contract, and the documentary evidence before
the House, and would maintain the humanity of all prisoners captured in
war. He sustained the position of General Gaines, that they were
prisoners of war.

On the tenth of March the bill came up again for consideration, when Mr.
Johnson, of Georgia, advocated its passage in a very elaborate speech.
He differed from Mr. Sacket, Mr. Howe, and those who opposed the bill,
mostly upon the great question--insisting that slaves were _property_
under our Federal Constitution; that the people captured by the Creek
Indians were not possessed of any rights; that they were to be regarded
as mere chattels: indeed, this point lay at the foundation of the entire
discussion. He however sought to add strength to the claim by reading
letters from Mr. Crawford, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and from Mr.
Poinsett, Secretary of War, to show that they sympathized with the
slave-dealer, and were desirous that this bill should pass.

Mr. Welch, of Ohio, in few words, declared his conviction that these
negroes were prisoners of war, to be treated as such, and not to be
regarded as slaves or chattels.

Mr. Evans, of Maryland, thought it difficult to understand the case, but
would adopt the views of Judge Iverson, of Georgia; that gentleman had
been a member of the House of Representatives, and his statements could
be relied upon. He read a long affidavit showing the recollections of
Mr. Iverson, and, as the United States had the _property in possession_,
he would vote for the bill.

Mr. Stuart, of Michigan, now a Democratic Senator, thought the
Government had been in great difficulty in getting these Seminoles to go
West; they would not go without the negroes, many of whom had
intermarried with the Seminoles. By the treaty which General Jessup
made, in 1837, our Government was bound to send the negroes West, and
having done so, was bound to pay Watson for his loss.

Mr. Skelton, of New Jersey, a Democrat, recognized no power in this or
any other government to treat prisoners of war as _slaves_. The
discussion had become interesting, and, in some degree, constituted an
agitation of the slave question; and as the committee rose without
taking a vote upon the bill, Mr. Orr, of South Carolina, moved a
resolution precluding further debate upon it; but the House adjourned
without taking a vote on the resolution.

The case came up again on the tenth of April, when a resolution to close
debate in one hour was adopted. The House then resolved itself in
committee; and Mr. Bartlett, of Vermont, a Democrat, took the position
that the Government, nor its officers, had power to enter into any
agreement with Indians or white men, by which they should enjoy any
privilege, or receive any compensation, not authorized by law; that the
contract between General Jessup and the Creeks was of no validity, but
absolutely void; and every transaction touching the enslavement of the
Exiles was without authority, and of no effect.

Mr. Walsh, of Maryland, insisted that the Indian tribes were not
nations, and ought not to be treated as such; that it was not incumbent
on the friends of the bill to show that slavery existed among the
Seminoles; if they lived within a slave State, they might hold slaves;
that the Government had the right to enslave the negroes when captured.

Mr. Sweetzer, of Ohio, Democrat, denied the authority of General Jessup
to make any contract for the services of the Creek warriors other than
the law had provided; nor could he have authority to make any
stipulation as to the disposal of prisoners when captured.

Mr. Southerland, of New York, a Whig, thought the question of slavery
was not necessarily involved in this case; that the United States,
having sent the negroes West, were bound to indemnify Watson for his

Mr. Daniels, by the rules of the House, had one hour to reply, after the
expiration of the time for closing debate. He attempted to reply to some
of the arguments offered against the bill, but advanced no new position.
At the expiration of his speech the vote was taken, and the bill
reported to the House as agreed to in committee. The previous question
was then called, and under its operation the bill passed--seventy-nine
members voting in favor of its passage, and fifty-three against it.

One member from the slave States, Williamson R. W. Cobb, of Alabama,
voted against the bill. All the other members from the slave States
voted for it; and were aided by the votes of members from the free
States, as follows:

From _New Hampshire_: Harry Hibbard--1.

_Massachusetts_: Wm. Appleton, Zeno Scudder--2.

_New York_: Abram M. Schemmerhorn, James Brooks, Gilbert Dean, F. S.
Martin, Abram P. Stevens, Joseph Southerland--6.

_Connecticut_: Collins M. Ingersoll--1

_New Jersey_: R. M. Price--1.

_Pennsylvania_: Joseph R. Chandler, Thomas Florence, Joseph H. Kuhns,
Joseph McNair, Andrew Packer, John Robbins, Thomas Ross--7.

_Ohio_: John L. Taylor--1.

_Indiana_: Sam'l W. Parker, Richard W. Thompson--2.

_Michigan_: E. S. Penniman, Charles E. Stuart--2.

_Iowa_: Lincoln Clark, Bernard Henn--2.

_California_: Joseph W. McCorkle--1. In all the free States twenty-five.

The vote against the bill was given by the following members, from the
free States:

From _Maine_: E. K. Smart, Israel Washburn, jr.--2.

_New Hampshire_: Jared Perkins, Amos Tuck--2.

_Massachusetts_: Orrin Fowler, Z. Goodrich, Horace Mann--3.

_New York_: Henry Bennet, George Briggs, John G. Floyd, Timothy Jenkins,
Daniel F. Jones, Preston King, William Murray, Joseph Russel, Wm. A.
Sacket, W. W. Snow, Hiram S. Wallbridge, John Wells--12.

_New Jersey_: Charles Skelton, N. T. Stratton--2.

_Vermont_: Thomas W. Bartlett, James Meacham--2.

_Connecticut_: Charles Chapman--1.

_Pennsylvania_: James Allison, John L. Dawson, James Gamble, Galusha A.
Grow, John W. Howe, Thomas M. Howe, Milo M. Dimmick, Thaddeus

_Ohio_: Nelson Barrere, Joseph Cable, Alfred P. Edgerton, J. M. Gaylord,
Alex. Harper, Wm. F. Hunter, John Johnson, Eben Newton, Edson B. Olds,
Charles Sweetzer--10.

_Indiana_: Samuel Brenton, John G. Davis, Graham N. Fitch, Thomas A.
Hendricks, Daniel Mace--5.

_Illinois_: Wyllis Allen, R. S. Molony--2.

_Wisconsin_: James D. Doty, Solomon Durkee, Ben. C. Eastman--3.

These fifty-two members, with Mr. Cobb, of Alabama, made up the entire
opposition to the bill in the House of Representatives. In the Senate
there was very little opposition to its passage; and after thirteen
years, the people of the United States paid for the slaves whom Watson
bought on speculation, but of whom he failed to obtain possession. The
Northern advocates of the bill justified their support of it more
generally upon the principle, that our officers sent the negroes West,
and thereby rendered it difficult, if not impossible, for Watson to
obtain possession of them; and they insisted that, in refunding to
Watson his money, they did not pay him for human flesh, but for the
money he had paid out at the instance of federal officers. This vote
closed the controversy in regard to General Jessup's contract, to give
the Creek warriors such _plunder_ as they might capture from the enemy.



     Emigrants under Captain Morrison--Feeling among the Regular
     Troops--They detest the practice of catching Negroes--Another party
     Emigrate--Still further Emigration--Situation of the Exiles--Deep
     depravity of the Administration--General McComb's Treaty--His
     general order--Peace cheers the Nation--Citizens of Florida return
     to their homes--Administration congratulates its friends--More
     murders perpetrated--Planters flee to villages for
     protection--Massacre of Colonel Harney's party--Indians seized at
     Fort Mellon--Exiles refuse to participate in those massacres--They
     would make no Treaty--Administration paralyzed--Report of Secretary
     of War--Its character--Barbarous sentiments of Governor
     Reid--Resolution of Legislature of Florida in favor of employing
     blood-hounds--Original object in obtaining them--The effort proves
     a failure--General Taylor retires from command of Army--Is
     succeeded by General Armistead.

We now resume our chronological narration of events connected with the
Exiles of Florida, during the year 1838.

On the fourteenth of June, Captain Morrison arrived at New Orleans from
Tampa Bay in charge of some three hundred Indians and thirty negroes, on
their way to the West; he having been assigned to that particular duty.
These Indians and Exiles had most of them come to Fort Jupiter by advice
of the Cherokees, and surrendered under the capitulation of March, 1837.
At the time they reached New Orleans, Lieutenant Reynolds was absent
with his first emigrating party; and the thirty-one negroes left at New
Orleans were at that time in the hands of the Sheriff. Captain Morrison
felt it his duty to hasten the emigration of those whom he had in
charge, and on the sixteenth, he left that city with his prisoners for
the Indian Country without waiting the return of Lieutenant Reynolds. On
reaching Fort Gibson, he delivered them over to the officer acting as
Seminole Agent for the Western Country, and they soon rejoined their
friends who were located on the Cherokee lands.

It may not be improper to state, that, in several of our recent
chapters, we have quoted from official documents pretty freely, for the
reason that many living statesmen, as well as many who have passed to
their final rest, were deeply involved in those transactions, and we
desired to make them speak for themselves as far as the documents would
enable us to do so. But as we have narrated most of the scenes involving
individuals in transactions of such deep moral turpitude, we hope to be
more brief in our future history.

When General Taylor assumed the command of the army, there was a feeling
of deep disgust prevalent among the regular troops at the practice of
seizing and enslaving the Exiles.

We have already noticed the fact, that the citizens of Florida supposed
the war to have been commenced principally to enable them to get
possession of negroes whom they might enslave. Indeed, they appear not
to have regarded it as material, that the claimant should have
previously owned the negro. If they once obtained control of his person,
he was hurried into the interior of Georgia, Alabama, or South Carolina,
where he was sold and held as a slave. And the Florida volunteers, while
nominally in service, appear to have been far more anxious to catch
negroes than to meet the enemy in battle.

This feeling was so general among the people and troops of Florida, that
General Call, Governor of the Territory, recommended to the Secretary of
War that military expeditions should be fitted out for the purpose of
going into the Indian Country, in order to capture negroes, who, when
captured, _should be sold, and the avails of such sales applied to
defray the expenses of the war_.

It is easy to see that this feeling would lead the regular troops to
entertain great contempt for the volunteers of Florida; and a
corresponding feeling of hostility would arise on the part of such
volunteers toward the regular troops.

These feelings operated upon President Jackson in ordering the
withdrawal of General Scott; and General Jessup sought to appease this
hostility by obeying the dictates of the slave power. Indeed, whatever
appears like a violation of pledged faith, or bears the evidence of
treachery on the part of General Jessup, may probably with great justice
be attributed to the popular sentiment of the Territory. He had
assiduously captured, and delivered over to bondage, hundreds of persons
whom he had most solemnly covenanted to "_protect in their persons and

General Taylor discarded this entire policy. His first efforts were to
make the Indians and Exiles understand that he sought their emigration
to the Western Country, for the advancement of their own interest and
happiness. Owing to these circumstances there was scarcely any blood
shed in Florida while he had command. The army was no longer employed to
hunt and to chase down women and children, who had been reared in
freedom among the hommocks and everglades of that Territory.

There were yet remaining several small bands of Indians upon the
Appalachicola River, and in its vicinity. Most of the Exiles who had a
few years previously resided with these bands, had been captured by
pirates from Georgia, and taken to the interior of that State and sold,
as the reader has been already informed. Those of E-con-chattimico's and
of Blunt's and of Walker's bands were nearly all kidnapped; but of the
number of Exiles who remained with the other remnants of Indian Tribes,
resident upon the Appalachicola River, we have no reliable information.
We are left in doubt on this point, as General Taylor drew no
distinctions among his prisoners; he neither constituted himself nor his
officers a tribunal for examining the complexion or the pedigree of his
captives. He denied the right of any citizen to inspect the people
captured by the army under his command, or to interfere in any way with
the disposal of his prisoners. He repaired to the Apalachee towns with
a small force about the first of October. Neither the Indians nor Exiles
made any resistance; nor did they oppose emigration. They readily
embarked for New Orleans on their way westward. Their emigration was not
delayed in order to give planters an opportunity to examine the negroes.
Under the general term of "Apalachees," two hundred and twenty persons
were quietly emigrated to the Western Country; but, as we have already
stated, how many of them were negroes, we have no information. These
people were also delivered over to the agent, acting for the Western
Indians, and settled with their brethren upon the Cherokee lands.

General Taylor now entered upon a new system for prosecuting the war, by
establishing posts and manning them, and by assigning to each a
particular district of country, over which their scouts and patroles
were to extend their daily reconnoisances.

[Sidenote: 1839.]

Small parties of Indians and negroes occasionally came in at different
posts, and surrendered under the articles of capitulation of March,
1837; and, on the twenty-fifth of February, one hundred and ninety-six
Indians and _negroes_ were embarked at Tampa Bay for the Western
Country. But the proportion of negroes, compared with the whole number,
is not stated in any official report. General Taylor, in his
communications, speaks of them as _prisoners_, and occasionally uses the
terms "Indians and negroes".

Thus, in less than a year, General Taylor shipped more than four hundred
prisoners for the Western Country without bloodshed. These prisoners
were also delivered over to the Indian Agent of the Western Country, and
immediately reunited with their brethren already located on the Cherokee
lands. There were, at that time, a colony of more than sixteen hundred
of these people living upon the territory assigned to the Cherokees.
They were without homes, or a country of their own: whereas the
Government had constantly held out to them the assurance that, if they
emigrated West, they should have a country assigned to their _separate
use_, on which they could repose in safety.

At this point in our history, Mr. Van Buren's administration exhibited
its deepest depravity. Since the ratification of the supplemental treaty
of 1833, the Executive, through all its officers, had assured the
Indians and Exiles that they should enjoy its full benefits, by having a
territory set off to their separate use, where they could live
independent of Creek laws. Under these assurances they had received the
pledged faith of the nation, that they should be _protected_ by the
United States in their persons and property.

With these pledges, and with these expectations, a weak and friendless
people had emigrated to that western region; and when thus separated
from their friends and country, with the slave-catching vultures of the
Creek Nation watching and intending to make them their future victims,
the President deliberately refused to abide by either the treaty or the
articles of capitulation. He left them unprotected, without homes, and
without a country which they could call their own. True, many of them
had been betrayed, treacherously seized and compelled to emigrate; but
this was done in violation of the existing treaty and pledged faith of
the nation, which they were constantly assured should be faithfully
observed; and these circumstances enhanced the guilt of those who
wielded the Executive power to oppress them.

Major General McComb arrived in Florida (May 20) for the purpose of
effecting a new treaty with the Seminoles upon the basis of _permitting
them to remain in their native land_. The war had been waged with the
intent and for the purpose of compelling the Indians to emigrate West
and settle with the Creeks, and become subject to the Creek laws. It had
continued three years at a vast expenditure of treasure and of national
reputation. Many valuable lives had also been sacrificed; and, although
some two thousand Indians and Exiles had emigrated West, not one Exile
had settled in the Creek Country, or become subject to Creek laws. Some
hundreds had been enslaved and sold in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and
South Carolina; but a remnant of that people, numbering some hundreds,
yet maintained their liberties against all the machinations and efforts
of Government to reënslave them.[122]

The vast expenditure of national treasure had called forth severe
animadversion in Congress; while the entire policy of the slave power
forbid all explanation of the real cause of this war, and of the objects
for which its prosecution was continued.

Thus, while the nation was involved in a most expensive and disastrous
contest for the benefit of slavery, the House of Representatives had
adopted resolutions for suppressing all discussion and all agitation of
questions relating to that institution.

General Scott, a veteran officer of our army, had exhausted his utmost
science; had put forth all his efforts to conquer this indomitable
people; or rather to subdue the love of liberty, the independence of
thought and of feeling, which stimulated them to effort; but he had
failed. The power of our army, aided by deception, fraud and perfidy,
had been tried in vain. General Jessup, the most successful officer who
had commanded in Florida, had advised peace upon the precise terms which
the allies demanded at the commencement of the war; and General McComb,
Commander-in-Chief of the army of the United States, was now
commissioned to negotiate peace on those terms. But the first difficulty
was to obtain a hearing with the chiefs who remained in Florida, in
order to enter upon negotiations touching a pacification. To effect this
object, recourse was had to a negro, one of the Exiles who knew General
Taylor, and in whom General Taylor confided. At the request of General
McComb, this man was dispatched with a friendly message to several
chiefs, requesting them to come into the American Camp for the purpose
of negotiation. His mission proved successful. A Council of several
chiefs, and some forty head men and warriors, was convened at Fort King,
on the sixteenth of May, 1839, and the terms of peace agreed upon; but
no treaty appears to have been drawn up in form. On the eighteenth of
May, General McComb, at Fort King, his head-quarters, issued the
following general orders:

_Fort King, Florida_, May 18, 1839.             }

     "The Major General, commanding in chief, has the satisfaction of
     announcing to the army in Florida, to the authorities of the
     Territory, and to the citizens generally, that he has this day
     terminated the war with the Seminole Indians by an agreement
     entered into with Chitto-Tustenuggee, principal chief of the
     Seminoles and successor to Arpeika, commonly called Sam. Jones,
     brought to this post by Lieutenant Colonel Harney, 2d Dragoons,
     from the southern part of the peninsula. The terms of the agreement
     are--that hostilities immediately cease between the parties; that
     the troops of the United States and the Seminole and Mickasukie
     chiefs and warriors, now at a distance, be made acquainted with the
     fact, that peace exists, and that all hostilities are forthwith to
     cease on both sides--the Seminoles and Mickasukies agreeing to
     retire into a district of country in Florida, below Pease Creek,
     the boundaries of which are as follows: viz, beginning at the most
     southern point of land between Charlotte Harbor and the Sanybel or
     Cooloosahatchee River, opposite to Sanybel Island; thence into
     Charlotte Harbor by the southern pass between Pine Island and that
     point along the eastern shore of said harbor to Toalkchopko or
     Pease Creek; thence up said creek to its source; thence easterly to
     the northern point of Lake Istokopoga; thence along the eastern
     outlet of said lake, called Istokopoga Creek, to the Kissimee
     River; thence southerly down the Kissimee to Lake Okeechobee;
     thence south through said lake to Ecahlahatohee or Shark River;
     thence down said river westwardly to its mouth; thence along the
     seashore northwardly to the place of beginning; that sixty days be
     allowed the Indians, north and east of that boundary, to remove
     their families and effects into said district, where they are to
     remain until further arrangements are made under the protection of
     the troops of the United States, who are to see that they are not
     molested by intruders, citizens or foreigners; and that said
     Indians do not pass the limits assigned them, except to visit the
     posts, which will be hereafter indicated to them. All persons are,
     therefore, forbidden to enter the district assigned to the Indians
     without written permission of some commanding officer of a military

"By command of the General: ALEXANDER McCOMB,

_Major General Commanding_.


Captain and A. A. General."

The country now again rejoiced at what the people regarded as the
restoration of peace. By the terms agreed upon, the Indians retained as
large a territory in proportion to the number left in Florida as was
held by them at the commencement of the war.

The people of Florida had originally petitioned General Jackson for the
forcible removal of the Indians, because they would not seize and bring
in their fugitive slaves. They had protested against peace upon any
terms that should leave the negroes, whom they claimed, in the Indian
Country. These citizens of Florida had long since been driven from their
homes and firesides by the enemy whom they so much despised; and they
now desired peace. The Indians and Exiles were also anxious to cultivate
corn and potatoes for the coming winter, and were glad to be able to do
so in peace.

Thus, the people of Florida, as they supposed, in perfect safety,
returned to their plantations, and resumed their former habits of life.
And the political party in possession of the Government, congratulated
themselves and the country upon the fortunate conclusion of a war which
had involved them in difficulties that were inexplicable.

But this quiet continued for a short time only. Early in July, travelers
and express-riders were killed by small parties of Indians; plantations
were attacked and the occupants murdered; buildings burned and crops
destroyed; families fled from their homes, leaving all their property,
in order to assemble in villages in such numbers as to insure safety to
their persons; and the Florida War again raged with accumulated horrors.
As an illustration of the manner in which it was carried on, we quote
the following:

_Fort Brooke, East Florida_, July 29, 1839.             }

     "SIR: It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the assassination
     of the greater part of Lieutenant Colonel Harney's detachment, by
     the Indians, on the morning of the 23d instant, on the
     Coloosahatchee River, where they had gone, in accordance with the
     treaty at Fort King, to establish a trading-house. The party
     consisted of about twenty-eight men, armed with Colt's rifles; they
     were encamped on the river, _but unprotected by defenses of any
     kind_, and, it is said, without sentinels. The Indians, in large
     force, made the attack before the dawn of day, and before reveillé;
     and it is supposed that thirteen of the men were killed, among whom
     were Major Dalham and Mr. Morgan, sutlers. The remainder, with
     Colonel Harney, escaped, several of them severely wounded. It was a
     complete surprise. The Commanding General, therefore, directs that
     you instantly take measures to place the defenses at Fort Mellon in
     the most complete state of repair, and be ready at all times to
     repel attack, should one be made. No portion of your command will,
     in future, be suffered to leave the garrison except under a strong
     escort. The detachment will be immediately withdrawn. Should Fort
     Mellon prove unhealthy, and the surgeon recommend its abandonment,
     you are authorized to transfer the garrison, and reinforce some of
     the neighboring posts.

"I am, Sir,


_Assistant Adjutant General_.

Lieutenant W. K. HANSON,

Commanding at Fort Mellon."

The Indians killed ten men belonging to the military service, and eight
citizens, employed by the sutlers; while Colonel Harney and fourteen
others escaped. The Indians obtained fourteen rifles, six carbines, some
three or four kegs of powder, and about three thousand dollars worth of

Lieutenant Hanson, commanding at Fort Mellon, on receiving the order
which we have quoted, seized some thirty Indians at that time visiting
Fort Mellon, and sent them immediately to Charleston, South Carolina;
whence they were embarked for the Indian Country, west of Arkansas,
where they joined their brethren, who still resided upon the Cherokee

In these transactions, the Exiles who remained in Florida appear to have
taken no part, at least so far as we are informed. They labored to
obtain the treaty of peace; but such was the treachery with which they
had been treated, that they would not subject themselves to the power of
the white people, and were not of course present at the treaty; nor were
they recognized by General McComb as a party to the treaty, or in any
way interested in its provisions. Indeed, we are led to believe that
General McComb adopted the policy on which General Taylor usually
practiced, of recognizing no distinctions among prisoners or enemies.

The Administration appeared to be paralyzed under this new demonstration
of the power and madness of the Seminoles. At the commencement of the
war, some officers had estimated the whole number of Seminoles at
fifteen hundred, and the negroes as low as four hundred. They had now
sent some two thousand Indians and negroes to the Western Country; and
yet those left in Florida, renewed the war with all the savage barbarity
which had characterized the Seminoles in the days of their greatest
power. Indeed, they exhibited no signs of humiliation.

The Secretary of War, Mr. Poinsett, a South Carolinian, probably exerted
more influence with the President in regard to this war than any other
officer of Government. His predecessor, General Cass, had treated the
Exiles as mere chattels, having "no rights." He had advised the
employment of Creek Indians, giving them such negroes as they might
capture; he had officially approved the contract made with them by
General Jessup. After he left the office, his successor, Mr. Poinsett,
approved the order purchasing some ninety of them on account of
Government. He had advised Watson to purchase them; had done all in his
power to consign them to slavery in Georgia. He was, however,
constrained to make an official report upon the state of this war, at
the opening of the first session of the Twenty-sixth Congress, which
assembled on the first Monday of December, 1839.

That report, when considered in connection with the events which gave
character to the Florida War, constitutes a most extraordinary paper.
Notwithstanding all the difficulties which he had encountered in his
efforts to enslave the Exiles, to prevent at least ninety of them from
going West, and the complaints of the Seminoles who had emigrated to the
Western Country, at finding themselves destitute of homes and of
territory on which to settle, he made no allusion to their troubles; nor
did he give any intimation of the difficulties arising on account of the
Exiles; nor did he even intimate that such a class of people existed in

[Sidenote: 1840.]

He declared the result of General McComb's negotiation had been the loss
of many valuable lives. "Our people (said he) fell a sacrifice to their
confidence in the good faith and promises of the Indians, and were
entrapped and murdered with all the circumstances of cruelty and
treachery which distinguish Indian warfare. * * * The experience of the
last summer brings with it the painful conviction, that the war must be
prosecuted until Florida is freed from these ruthless savages. Their
late, cruel and treacherous conduct is too well known to require a
repetition of the revolting recital; it has been such as is calculated
to deprive them of the sympathy of the humane, and convince 'the most
peaceable of the necessity of _subduing them by force_."

It appeared necessary to raise the cry of treachery and cruelty against
the Indians and Exiles. They had no friend who was acquainted with the
facts, that could call attention of the nation to the treachery which
had been practiced on them by the order, and with the approval, of the
Secretary of War. No man was able to say how many fathers and mothers
and children were, by the influence of that officer, consigned to a fate
far more cruel than that which awaited the men, under Colonel Harney, at

In his report the Secretary most truly remarked: "If the Indians of
Florida had a country to retire to, they would have been driven out of
the Territory long ago; but they are hemmed in by the sea, and must
defend themselves to the uttermost, or surrender to be transported
beyond it." And he might well have added: _When they shall be thus
transported, they will have no country--no home_. Indeed, the whole
report shows that he relied on physical force to effect an extermination
of the Indians and their allies; he looked not to justice, nor to the
power of truth, for carrying out the designs of the Executive.

Men in power appear to forget that justice sits enthroned above all
human greatness; that it is omnipotent, and will execute its appropriate
work upon mankind. Thus, while the people of Florida and Georgia had
provoked the war, by kidnapping and enslaving colored men and women, to
whom they had no more claim than they had to the people of England;
while they had sent their petition to General Jackson, asking him to
compel the Indians to seize and bring in their negroes, and had
protested against the peace negotiated by General Jessup, in 1837;--Mr.
Reid, Governor of Florida, in an official Message to the Territorial
Legislature, in December, 1839, used language so characteristic of those
who supported the Florida War, that we feel it just to him and his
coadjutors to give the following extract:

"The efforts of the General and Territorial Governments to quell the
Indian disturbances which have prevailed through four long years, have
been unavailing, and it would seem that the prophecy of the most
sagacious leader of the Indians will be more than fulfilled; the close
of the fifth year will still find us struggling in a contest remarkable
for magnanimity, forbearance and credulity on the one side, and ferocity
and bad faith on the other. We are waging a war with beasts of prey;
the tactics that belong to civilized nations are but shackles and
fetters in its prosecution; we must fight 'fire with fire;' the white
man must, in a great measure, adopt the mode of warfare pursued by the
red man, and we can only hope for success by continually harrassing and
pursuing the enemy. If we drive him from hommock to hommock, from swamp
to swamp, and penetrate the recesses where his women and children are;
if, in self-defense, we show as little mercy to him as he has shown to
us, the anxiety and surprise produced by such operations will not fail,
it is believed, to produce prosperous results. It is high time that
sickly sentimentality should cease. 'Lo, the poor Indian!' is the
exclamation of the fanatic, pseudo-philanthropist; 'Lo, the poor white
man!' is the ejaculation which all will utter who have witnessed the
inhuman butchery of women and children, and the massacres that have
drenched the Territory in blood.

"In the future prosecution of the war, it is important that a generous
confidence should be reposed in the General Government. It may be that
mistakes and errors have been committed on all hands; but the peculiar
adaptation of the country to the cowardly system of the foe, and its
inaptitude to the operations of a regular army; the varying and often
contradictory views and opinions of the best informed of our citizens,
and the embarrassments which these cases must have produced to the
authorities at Washington, furnish to the impartial mind some excuse, at
least, for the failures which have hitherto occurred. It is our duty to
be less mindful of the past than the future. Convinced that the present
incumbent of the Presidential Chair regards with sincere and intense
interest the afflictions we endure; relying upon the patriotism, talent
and sound judgment of the distinguished Carolinian who presides over the
Department of War, and confident in the wisdom of Congress, let us
prepare to second, with every nerve, the measures which may be devised
for our relief. Feeling as we do the immediate pressure of
circumstances, let us exert, to the extremest point, all our powers to
rid us of the evil by which we are oppressed. Let us, by a conciliatory
course, endeavor to allay any unkindnesses of feeling which may exist
between the United States army and the militia of Florida, and by union
of sentiment among ourselves, advance the happy period when the
Territory shall enjoy what she so much needs--a long season of peace and

Perhaps no vice is more general among mankind than a desire to represent
ourselves, and our country and government, to mankind and to posterity
as just and wise, whatever real truth may dictate. Surely, if General
Jessup's official reports be regarded as correct, the people of Florida
should have been the last of all who were concerned in that war, to
claim the virtue of magnanimity or forbearance, or to charge the
Seminoles or Exiles with ferocity or bad faith. The expression that "_it
is high time that sickly sentimentality should cease_," manifests the
ideas which he entertained of strict, equal and impartial justice to all

This message was an appropriate introduction to the legislative action
which immediately succeeded its publication. It was that legislative
body which first gave official sanction to the policy of obtaining
blood-hounds from Cuba to aid our troops in the prosecution of this war.
Of this atrocious and barbarous policy much has been said and written,
and its authorship charged upon various men and officers of Government.
At the time of the transaction, it was represented that the blood-hounds
were obtained for the purpose of trailing the Indians, and historians
have so stated;[123] but for various reasons, we are constrained to
believe they were obtained for the purpose of trailing _negroes_. It was
well known that these animals were trained to pursue _negroes_, and
_only_ negroes. They would no more follow the track of a white man than
they would that of a horse or an ox. It was the peculiar scent of the
negro that they had been trained and accustomed to follow. No man
concerned in obtaining these animals, could have been ignorant that they
had, in all probability, never seen an Indian, or smelt the track of
any son of the forest.

Every slaveholder well understood the habits of those ferocious dogs,
and the manner of training them, and could not have supposed them
capable of being rendered useful in capturing Indians. The people of
Florida appear to have been stimulated in the commencement and
continuance of this war solely by a desire to _obtain slaves_, rather
than to _fight Indians_; and while acting as militia or as individuals,
they were far more efficient in capturing negroes and claiming those
captured by other troops than in facing them on the field of battle. Nor
can we resist the conviction, that catching _negroes_ constituted, in
the mind of General Jessup, the object for which those animals were to
be obtained. Such was evidently his purpose when he wrote Colonel
Harney, as quoted in a former chapter, "If you see Powell (Osceola),
tell him that I intend to send exploring and surveying parties into
every part of the country during the summer; and that I shall send out
and take _all the negroes who belong to white people, and he must_ not
allow the Indians or Indian negroes to mix with them. Tell him I am
sending to Cuba for blood-hounds to trail them, and I intend to hang
every one of them who does not come in."

We cannot close our eyes to the fact, that General Jessup intended the
blood-hounds to be used in catching "the negroes belonging to the white
people," as he said. Those white people were mostly slaveholders of
Florida; those who proposed in the legislative assembly of that
territory the obtaining of the animals, and adopted a resolution
authorizing their purchase. They did not wait for the President to act,
nor for the "Secretary of War," whom the Governor of Florida
characterized as "that distinguished _Carolinian_" on whose judgment and
patriotism the people of Florida so much relied.[124]

By resolution, Colonel Fitzpatrick was "authorized to proceed to
Havana, and procure a kennel of blood-hounds, noted for tracking and
pursuing negroes." He was fortunate in his mission. He not only obtained
the animals, but he accomplished the journey, and reached St. Augustine
as early as the sixth of January, 1840, with a reinforcement for the
army of the United States of thirty-three blood-hounds well trained to
the work of catching negroes. They cost precisely one hundred and
fifty-one dollars seventy-two cents, each, when landed in Florida. He
also procured five Spaniards who were accustomed to using the animals in
capturing negroes; and as the dogs had been trained to the Spanish
language, they would have been useless under the control of persons who
could only speak the dialect of our own country.

The very general error that existed throughout the country, at the time
of this transaction, arose from a misapprehension of the facts. There
had been much said in regard to these blood-hounds before they were
actually obtained. When the report of the War Department, under the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the twenty-eighth of
January, 1839, was published, containing the letter of General Jessup
addressed to Colonel Harney, which we have quoted, many members of
Congress appeared indignant at what they regarded as a stain upon our
national honor in obtaining and employing blood-hounds to act in concert
with our troops and our Indian allies in this war. Party feelings ran
high, and southern members of Congress, who were acting with the Whig
party, were willing to seize upon any circumstance that would reflect
discreditably upon the then existing Administration.

On the twenty-seventh day of December, 1839, the Hon. Henry A. Wise, a
member of the House of Representatives from Virginia, addressed a letter
to the Secretary of War, inquiring as to facts relating to the
employment of blood-hounds in aid of our troops.[125]

To this letter Mr. Poinsett, the Secretary of War, replied on the
thirtieth of December, as follows:

"WAR DEPARTMENT, December 20, 1839.

     "SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
     the twenty-seventh instant, inquiring into the truth of the
     assertion made by the public papers, that the Government had
     determined to use blood-hounds in the war against the Florida
     Indians; and beg to assure you it will give me great pleasure to
     give you all the information on this subject in possession of the

     "From the time I first entered upon the duties of the War
     Department, I continued to receive letters from officers commanding
     in Florida, as well as from the most enlightened citizens in that
     Territory, urging the employment of blood-hounds as the most
     efficient means of terminating the atrocities daily perpetrated by
     the Indians on the settlers in that Territory. To these proposals
     no answer was given, until in the month of August, 1838, while at
     the Virginia Springs, there was referred to me, from the
     Department, a letter, addressed to the Adjutant General by the
     officer commanding the forces in Florida (General Taylor), to the
     following effect:

_Fort Brooke_, July 28, 1838.        }

     "SIR: I have the honor to inclose you a communication this moment
     received, on the subject of procuring blood-hounds from the Island
     of Cuba to aid the army in its operations against the hostiles in
     Florida. I am decidedly in favor of the measure, and beg leave to
     urge it as the only means of ridding the country of the Indians,
     who are now broken up into small parties that take shelter in
     swamps and hommocks, making it impossible for us to follow or
     overtake them without the aid of such auxiliaries. Should this
     measure meet the approbation of the Department, and the necessary
     authority be granted, I will open a correspondence with Mr.
     Evertson on the subject, through Major Hunt, Assistant Quarter
     Master at Savannah, and will authorize him, if it can be done on
     reasonable terms, to employ a few dogs with persons who understand
     their management.

     "I wish it distinctly understood, that my object in employing dogs
     is only to ascertain where the Indians can be found, not to worry

"I have the honor to be, sir,

Your obedient servant,


_Brev. Brig. Gen. U. S. A. Commanding_.

General R. JONES,

Washington, D. C."

"On this letter I indorsed the following decision, which was
communicated to General Taylor: 'I have always been of opinion that dogs
_ought_ to be employed in this warfare to protect the army from
surprises and ambuscades, and to track the Indian to his lurking place;
but supposed if the General believed them to be necessary, he would not
hesitate to take measures to secure them. The cold-blooded and inhuman
murders lately perpetrated upon helpless women and children by these
ruthless savages, render it expedient that every possible means should
be resorted to, in order to protect the people of Florida, and to enable
the United States forces to follow and capture or destroy the savage and
unrelenting foe. General Taylor is therefore authorized to procure such
number of dogs as he may judge necessary: it being expressly understood
that they are to be employed to track and discover the Indians, not to
worry or destroy them.'

"This is the only action or correspondence, on the part of the
Department, that has ever taken place in relation to the matter. The
General took no measures to carry into effect his own recommendation,
and this Department has never since renewed the subject. I continue,
however, to entertain the opinion expressed in the above decision. I do
not believe that description of dog, called the blood-hound, necessary
to prevent surprise or track the Indian murderer; but still I think that
every cabin, every military post, and every detachment, should be
attended by dogs. That precaution might have saved Dade's command from
massacre, and by giving timely warning have prevented many of the cruel
murders which have been committed by the Indians in middle Florida. The
only successful pursuit of Indian murderers that I know of, was, on a
late occasion, when the pursuers were aided by the sagacity of their
dogs. These savages had approached a cabin of peaceful and industrious
settlers so stealthily, that the first notice of their presence was
given by a volley from their rifles, thrust between the logs of the
house; and the work of death was finished by tomahawking the women,
after tearing from them their infant children, and dashing their brains
out against the door posts.

"Are these ruthless savages to escape and repeat such scenes of blood,
because they can elude our fellow citizens in Florida, and our regular
soldiers, and baffle their unaided efforts to overtake or discover them?
On a late occasion, three of our estimable citizens were killed in the
immediate neighborhood of St. Augustine, and one officer of
distinguished merit mortally wounded. It is in evidence, that these
murders were committed by two Indians, who, after shooting down the
father and beating out the son's brains with the butts of their rifles,
upon hearing the approach of the volunteers, retired a few yards into
the woods and secreted themselves, until the troops returned to town
with the dead bodies of those who had been thus inhumanly and wantonly

"It is to be regretted that this corps had not been accompanied with one
or two hunters, who, with their dogs, might have tracked the
blood-stained footsteps of those Indians; have restored to liberty the
captives they were dragging away with them, and have prevented them from
ever again repeating such atrocities; nor could the severest casuist
object to our fellow citizens in Florida resorting to such measures, in
order to protect the lives of their women and children."

"Very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,



House of Representatives."

It is no part of our present duties to comment on the code of morals
which the Secretary of War had adopted. He undoubtedly felt, that
neither the Indians nor negroes "possessed any rights which white men
were bound to respect." He was not, he could not, have been ignorant of
the cold-blooded massacre of nearly three hundred Exiles and Indians at
Blount's Fort, in 1816; nor of the manner in which the present war had
been brought on; nor of the objects for which it was prosecuted; nor
does it appear possible that he, a large slaveholder of South Carolina,
could have expected these blood-hounds would follow the trail of
Indians. But we must bear in mind that he had been exceedingly vexed
with the indomitable resistance of the Exiles. They appeared perfectly
determined not to be enslaved, and that determination had given him much
trouble; and he must have foreseen the defeat of his party in the next
Presidential contest, should all these facts become known to the public.
With these feelings, he was prepared to apply almost any epithets to the
Indians, as the friends and allies of a people to whose real character
he dared not publicly allude, although they were occasioning the
Administration so much trouble.

Having shown that no blood-hounds had been previously employed, he
proceeded to argue the propriety of employing them in future, by
adopting the policy proposed by the Legislature of Florida, who, as we
have already seen, had taken measures to obtain them some twenty days
prior to the date of this communication.

The Secretary of War thus exonerated himself and the Federal Executive
from the responsibility of employing blood-hounds, on the thirtieth of
December; and the animals arrived in Florida, under charge of Colonel
Fitzpatrick, just one week _subsequently_ to that date.

One feature was most obvious, in the commencement and prosecution of
this war: we allude to the very respectful, almost obsequious obedience
of the Executive to the popular feeling in favor of slavery, in every
part of the country where that institution existed. This war had been
commenced at the instance of the people of Florida. General Jessup
attempted to change the articles of capitulation which he had signed,
when the people of Florida protested against peace, unless attended by a
restoration of slaves; and now, when the popular voice of the nation had
paralyzed the Executive arm in regard to obtaining blood-hounds, the
people of Florida, in their Legislature, took up the subject and carried
the policy into practice, so far as to obtain the animals; but that
would be of no use unless they could be employed by the army of the
United States. Preparatory to this adoption of the purchase made by the
Legislature of Florida, Mr. Poinsett had argued the propriety of their
employment, in his letter to Mr. Wise; and twenty-six days afterwards,
he wrote General Taylor as follows:

"WAR DEPARTMENT, Jan'y 26, 1840.

     "SIR: It is understood by the Department, although not officially
     informed of the fact, that the authorities of the Territory have
     imported a pack of blood-hounds from the Island of Cuba. And I
     think it proper to direct, in the event of those dogs being
     employed by any officer or officers under your command, that their
     use be confined altogether to tracking the Indians; and in order to
     insure this, and to prevent the possibility of their injuring any
     person whatever, that they be muzzled and held with a leash while
     following the track of the enemy.

"Very respectfully,

Your most obedient servant,


Brig. Gen'l Z. TAYLOR,

Com'd'g Army of the South, Florida."

From the commencement of this war, the officers of our army had found it
necessary to employ persons who could communicate with the Indians in
their own tongue. This was usually done through negroes, who could
safely approach both Exiles and Indians; they were, in fact, the only
class of persons who could safely go from our posts to those of the
enemy. No Indians could do it unless by arrangement made through those
negroes; inasmuch as Creeks, Chickasaws and Choctaws were employed to
act with our troops in hunting down the Seminoles, who shot those
Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws, when opportunity permitted, with just
as little ceremony as they did white men.

When those negroes visited the Seminoles, they were supposed to convey
to them as accurate intelligence in regard to our troops, as they
brought back respecting the enemy's forces; they were, therefore,
supposed to have put their brethren, the Exiles, upon their guard in
respect to the blood-hounds. Understanding perfectly the nature and
_education_ of those animals, it does not appear very extraordinary to
us that the Exiles remained for a time in the interior, where neither
blood-hounds nor civilized troops were accustomed to penetrate. This
policy of the Exiles rendered useless the whole expenditure of money and
honor, made in the purchase of blood-hounds and Spaniards, with a view
to their capture.

But the animals had been obtained, and authority given to our officers
to employ them. The Spaniards attended them. The dogs were attached to
different regiments, and fed liberally on bloody meat; young calves were
provided, and driven with each scouting party, to supply food for them.
The Spaniards were supplied with a sufficient number of assistants to
keep the dogs in their leashes. Thus provided, several parties, composed
of regular troops, militia, Indians, Spaniards, dogs and calves, started
for the interior. Their marches continued in some instances for days
before they found even the track of an enemy; but when they found
foot-prints of Indians, and the dogs were looked to with confidence to
lead on the warlike host, while some more humble officer, following the
canine leaders, Spaniards and Indians, was expected to bear aloft the
glorious stars and stripes, as they engaged in deadly conflict with the
wily foe;--lo! just at that moment, when all hearts were palpitating;
while hope was at its height; when the stern resolve clothed each brow
with the dark scowl of battle, the dogs were blithe and frolicsome, but
paid no more attention to the tracks of the Indians than to those of the
ponies on which they sometimes rode.

This grand experiment for closing the Florida War was now pronounced a
_dead failure_; and the use of dogs, and calves, and Spaniards, was
discarded; and the whole affair served no other purpose than to bring
odium upon the Administration, and ridicule upon the officers who
proposed the employment of blood-hounds to act as allies of the American

General Taylor, having had command of the army in Florida nearly two
years, and the sickly season having commenced, requested to be relieved
from that responsible station. His request was granted, and he left
Florida for his plantation in Louisiana. Brevet Brigadier General
Armistead, by order of the War Department, assumed the position from
which General Taylor retired.



     Presidential Election of 1840--The War discussed as one of the
     issues--Effect on the Election--Publication of Jay's View--Action
     of the Executive paralyzed--Spanish Indians--Destruction of Indian
     Key--Troops inactive--Allies commit new depredations--New
     Expedient--Its failure--Chiefs invited to Fort King--Exiles refuse
     to treat--Massacre of Lieutenant Sherwood and party--Melancholy
     fate of Mrs. Montgomery--White men disguised as Indians--Murder of
     Cora Tustenuggee--Order of Secretary of War--Letter to General
     Armistead--Bribery of Indians--Mr. Thompson's Bill--Discussion of
     the causes of the War in Congress--Enemy find protection in large
     swamps--Their renewed depredations--General distress--People of
     Florida again driven from their homes--Employed in public
     service--Their Slaves employed--They become interested in
     continuing the War.

[Sidenote: 1840.]

The Presidential election of this year was conducted differently from
any that had preceded it. The opponents of Mr. Van Buren arraigned him
before the people for his extravagance in the expenditure of the public
treasure, and the immense losses which the nation sustained by the
default and irresponsibility of officers appointed by him. It
constitutes an era in our political history, from which we date the
practice of calling directly upon the people to pass judgment of
condemnation upon the action of our National Executive. Every honorable
means was resorted to for the purpose of exposing the errors of the
Administration during the previous four years.

Among the subjects made prominent before the country, was that of the
extravagant expenditures in prosecuting the "Florida War." Speeches were
made in Congress exposing the various practices by which the people's
money was squandered in that unfortunate conflict; the policy of
attempting to compel the Indians to emigrate, and the cruelty practiced
towards them, were commented on with severity. These speeches were
printed in pamphlet form, and sent to the people in vast numbers: but
the real cause of the war, the deep depravity of that policy which
sought the enslavement of the Exiles, was not mentioned; nor does it
appear that any member of Congress was conscious, even, that such a
people as the Exiles was living in Florida.[126] But, nevertheless, it
is quite certain that this war proved one of the principal causes of Mr.
Van Buren's defeat; and, during the pendency of the election, these
complaints paralyzed the action of the Executive.

Another cause operated to call public attention to the war. Hon. William
Jay, of New York, published a small book upon the action of our
Government in regard to slavery. It was a work of much merit, and,
coming from the pen of one so intimately associated with the best
interests of the country, it exerted an influence upon the public mind.
It had been published some two or three years; but at the time of which
we are writing, it attracted attention in most of the free States, and
gave public men to understand that their official acts were to be made
known to coming generations.

The intimate relation which this war bore to slavery, rendered every
movement in regard to it dangerous to the Executive character, and
caused our army to be almost inactive for several months; but the
allies, driven to desperation, prepared to wreak their vengeance on
every white person who should venture within their reach. A small band,
composed of Spanish negroes and Indians, among whom were said to be some
maroons from Cuba, resided far down in the Peninsula of Florida. They
were called Spanish Indians, and had remained neutral up to the period
of which we are speaking; but finding their brethren driven from their
own possessions, and compelled to encroach upon the territory so long
occupied by themselves, they took up arms against the United States.
Every vessel that happened to be wrecked upon their coast was plundered,
and the crews massacred.

On the morning of the seventh of August, a number of these people, said
to have been led on by Spanish maroons, crossed over to a small island
called "Indian Key," situated at some twenty miles distant from the main
land, and attacked the dwellings, burned the storehouses, and destroyed
most of the property belonging to the inhabitants. There were but four
or five families resident on the island. Of these, Dr. Perrine, a man of
some distinction, was murdered in his own house; but, by his valor, he
enabled the other members of his family to escape, amid the darkness of
night. The allies obtained much plunder, but found no powder, which was
said to have been the principal object of the foray.

During the summer and autumn, our troops in Florida were inactive. The
season was sickly, and the officers and men lay supinely in their
encampments. The enemy felt secure in their strong-holds--sallying forth
in occasional forays, murdering the people, and plundering the
settlements with impunity. The Administration appeared astonished at the
audacity with which a few Indians and negroes hurled defiance at our
army and the nation. The expedient of employing savages to assist in the
war had failed; the more questionable policy of employing blood-hounds,
had not only failed, but was supposed by many to reflect discredit upon
the army and nation. Nearly five thousand troops were kept in Florida,
maintained at vast expense; but they could neither conquer the Indians,
nor even protect the white people. Under these circumstances, the
Executive saw but one resource; of that he availed himself. By his
direction, twelve Seminole and Mickasukie Indians, who had emigrated
West, were induced by sufficient pecuniary considerations to leave their
families in the Western Country and return to Florida, for the purpose
of persuading the Indians and Exiles to emigrate. Thus, after four years
of war and constant expenditure of blood and treasure, the President
discovered that moral power is greater and stronger than physical

But this discovery came too late. He could no longer do justice to those
fathers and mothers and children who had been slain, nor to those who
had been enslaved; who had been taken far into the interior, sold and
transferred from hand to hand like brutes. They had passed from
Executive control. The crime now stained our national escutcheon, and no
effort could wash it out. The very means which he adopted to close the
war, operated to prolong it. These Seminoles and Mickasukies informed
their brethren of their own condition, of the manner in which they were
treated, and the violations of faith on the part of our Government in
not giving them a territory for their separate use, as stipulated in the
treaty, and constantly represented to them by our officers; that they
were without a home and without a country, residing on Cherokee lands,
under Cherokee protection, to prevent the Creeks from enslaving their
friends, the Exiles. Many officers at the time doubted their desire to
induce the emigration of their brethren.[127]

They, however, obtained an interview between the Commanding General and
two Seminole chiefs at Fort King. The chiefs were attended by some forty
warriors, who remained in that vicinity four or five days, receiving
food and articles of clothing from the United States; but they suddenly
disappeared, and it was believed they originally came with hostile,
rather than pacific, intentions. When it was found they had left
clandestinely, the troops attempted to follow them, but were unable to
find any traces of their flight.

While these things were transpiring, the army lay idle in their
quarters; neither the Executive, nor the Secretary of War, nor the
Commanding General, knowing what to do.

The Exiles learned from the Seminoles and Mickasukies, who visited them
from the West, that many of their brethren who surrendered under the
articles of capitulation, had been reënslaved, in violation of our
plighted faith; and they refused to hold further intercourse with the
agents of our Government. To them there appeared but one
alternative--victory or death; and they greatly preferred the latter to
slavery. Taking their families far into the interior, they hastened to
renew the war with vigor and energy.

A party of some thirty Indians and Exiles were lurking about Micanopy,
when, on the twenty-eighth of December, Lieutenant Sherwood, Lieutenant
Hopson, Sergeant Major Carrol, and ten privates of the 7th Infantry,
left Micanopy for the purpose of escorting Mrs. Montgomery, wife of a
Lieutenant of that regiment, through the forest to Watkahoota, eight
miles distant. The lady was on horseback, while others of the party rode
in a wagon drawn by mules, and some marched on foot. The enemy having
observed their movements, preceded them to a hommock, about four miles
from Micanopy, where they secreted themselves, and awaited the approach
of Mrs. Montgomery and party. When they were fairly within the hommock,
through which the road passed, they were fired upon, and two privates
fell dead. The war-whoop was raised, and the little party found
themselves confronted by savages. Lieutenant Sherwood is said to have
rallied his escort with promptness. Mrs. Montgomery, attempting to get
into the wagon, was shot dead. Sherwood very discreetly retreated to the
open forest, and dispatched Lieutenant Hopson to Micanopy for a
reinforcement. Knowing the impossibility of retreating from Indians, and
conscious that they gave no quarter, he bravely determined to defend
himself or die on the field. But his assailants numbered three times as
many warriors as he had. They out-flanked and surrounded his ill-fated
party, all of whom with himself fell victims to that policy which had
brought this war, with all its crimes, upon our nation.

We cannot withhold our sympathy from those patriotic men who enter the
public service expecting to act in an honorable sphere in favor of just
measures; but who are often made the instruments of injustice, and their
lives sacrificed to the spirit and policy of oppression. Our officers
and soldiers, serving in this Florida War, were duly conscious of the
dishonorable employment in which they were engaged; that they were daily
subjected to dangers and death for the purpose of enabling the people of
Florida to seize men and women, and sell them into interminable bondage.
Officers and men who would cheerfully meet danger and death upon the
field of honorable warfare in defense of freedom, were compelled to meet
death in all its various and revolting forms in Florida to uphold
oppression, to sustain an institution which they abhorred; nor can we
wonder that the consciousness of these facts should have created a
feeling of hostility between our regular troops and the slaveholders of
Florida, who were constantly charging them with inefficiency and want of
energy in the capture of negroes. This feeling ran so high that the
white men of Florida were charged with disguising themselves as Indians,
and actually committing murders and robberies upon mail carriers and
express riders, in order to continue hostilities and keep up the
war.[128] This feeling greatly increased the embarrassment of the

A chief named "Cora Tustenuggee," after due consultation with the
interpreters sent to induce him to emigrate, concluded to surrender, and
go West. He collected his band, numbering about one hundred in all.
Among them were some half breeds, descendants of the pioneer Exiles.
They had intermarried with Indians of this band, and were treated as
Indians. While on their way to one of our posts, near Palaklikaha Lake,
they were fired upon by a party at dragoons who were said to have been
conscious of the intentions of the Indians. This supposed violation of
faith was greatly aggravated by the subsequent wanton murder of the
chief, after he and his band had quietly submitted as prisoners. These
people were immediately sent to Tampa Bay, and then embarked for the
Western Country, where they joined their brethren, still resident on the
Cherokee lands, and under Cherokee protection.

The Presidential election being past, the Executive felt more
untrammeled; and Mr. Poinsett, Secretary of War, resisting the
instruction which he might have drawn from four years of unfortunate
experience, appears to have determined to leave this Florida War in as
unpromising condition as he found it. He sent instructions to the
Commanding General to renew the war with whatever force he could bring
into the field.

It is a somewhat singular fact, that when the Secretary understood, and
the country was fully informed, that he would leave the Department on
the fourth of March, he wrote the commanding officer on the eighteenth
of February, thirteen days prior to his own political dissolution,
saying, "The Department entertains the well-grounded hope that you will
be able to bring the war to a close upon the terms required by the
treaty of Payne's Landing, and by the _interests and feelings of the
people of Florida_."

The reader must be aware that the _feelings and interests_ of the people
of Florida _required_ the capture and enslavement of the Exiles; for
which the Secretary of War had so long labored, and which appeared to be
his ruling passion--"strong in the hour of his political death."

To effect this object, recourse was had to the bribery of certain
chiefs. Money was now offered certain influential men of the Seminoles
and Exiles to induce them to exert their influence with their friends to
emigrate. It was reported that slaves who had but a few years since left
their masters, and intermarried with the Seminoles, dare not surrender,
knowing that slavery awaited such act. Without them, their relatives and
connexions would not remove. It was therefore proposed that Congress
should make an appropriation for the purpose of purchasing such Exiles;
yet the bill making it was general in its provisions, granting a hundred
thousand dollars to be expended by the Secretary of War for the
subsistence and _benefit_ of certain chiefs and warriors of the Seminole
Indians who wished to emigrate. The subsistence of such emigrants was
provided for in other bills; but the _benefits_ for which this money was
to be expended was to purchase the pretended interest of certain white
men to individual Exiles whom they claimed as property.

By thus disguising the real intention and object of the bill, it was
evidently expected it would pass without scrutiny, under the rules which
prohibited the discussion of all questions involving the subject of
slavery. The better to carry out this design, Hon. Waddy Thompson of
South Carolina, a Whig member of the House of Representatives, but fully
sympathizing with the Executive in his policy of conducting the war in
the manner "_required by the interests and feelings of the people of
Florida_," was regarded as the proper agent to introduce the bill and
superintend its passage.

[Sidenote: 1841.]

The information found in the public documents had awakened previous
investigation; and when this bill came up for action (Feb. 9), the
policy of this war, with the causes which led to its commencement, were
exposed. Every effort was made by slaveholding members to prevent the
public discussion of this subject. They insisted that the gag-rules, as
they were called, prohibiting the discussion of slavery, forbid this
exposure; but the presiding officer (Mr. Clifford of Maine) adhering to
the parliamentary law, decided that an examination of the causes which
led to the war was legitimate, and the discussion proceeded.

This discussion was published and widely circulated among the people;
and is supposed to have given to the public the first information
touching the real causes of the war.[129]

The bill passed by a large majority; and the report of the Secretary of
War the next year, showing the expenditures of his department, exhibited
the manner in which the money appropriated and entrusted to his care was
expended. Another bill, however, making an appropriation of more than a
million of dollars for suppressing Indian hostilities in Florida was
passed, giving to the War Department all the powers desired for bribery,
and tempting Indian chiefs to emigrate to the Western Country.

By reference to the map of Florida, it will be perceived that the great
swamps, extensive everglades, hommocks, ponds and lakes, which spread
over that Territory, must present great difficulties in the progress of
troops embodied in military force; while a small party, following the
footsteps of their leader, would pass over, around or through them with
facility. The Great Okefenoka Swamp, lying on the south line of Georgia
and the northern portion of Florida, afforded a retreat for small
parties of Indians and Exiles, from which they sallied forth and
committed depredations upon the people of southern Georgia, murdering
families, burning buildings and devastating plantations. The swamps
bordering on the Withlacoochee, the Great Wahoo Swamp, and other
fastnesses on the western portion of the Peninsula, gave shelter to
other bands, who, in like manner, wreaked their vengeance upon the
inhabitants of that portion of the Territory. So also the Big Cypress
Swamp, lying farther south, afforded shelter for others, who laid waste
the settlements along the St. John's River, and in the vicinity of the
Atlantic Coast. From these, and numerous other strong-holds, the Indians
and their allies came forth in small bands, spreading devastation and
death throughout the Territory and the southern portion of Georgia.

The people of Florida who had sought this war, and protested against
peace except on such terms as would secure them in the exercise of that
oppression which they deemed so necessary to their happiness, now felt
the full force of that appropriate penalty which some philosophers
believe attaches to every violation of the law of righteousness. Some
died by the hands of the very individuals whom they had oppressed, and
whom they again sought to enslave; others were again driven from their
homes, unable even to obtain food; their wives and children receiving
rations from the public stores, and subsisting by the charity of the
United States.

But this condition of things superinduced another most extraordinary
feature of this war. Our officers, and the Executive, naturally feeling
some degree of sympathy for a people thus driven from their homes, on
whom the evils of war fell with so much force, extended to them every
aid in their power. Some were employed in the Commissary's Department;
some as contractors for transporting provisions; and others as
attendants upon the army in all the various departments of service, so
numerous in a time of war. Even the slaves who remained in the service
of their masters were employed by the officers as guides, interpreters
and employees at high wages. In this manner they earned for their owners
far more than they could by labor upon plantations. This system was
carried so far, that the war actually afforded to many greater profits
than they could acquire in any other way; and consequently it became a
matter of interest with such men to prolong hostilities, and they were
said to exert all their influence to effect that object.



     General Harrison assumes the duties of Chief Executive--Much
     expected of him--His sudden death--His successor--Political
     feeling--General Armistead retires--Is succeeded by General
     Worth--Instructions to General Worth--He discharges all unnecessary
     employees--Halec Tustenuggee--General Worth's attempt to capture
     him--Wild Cat--His character and adventures--General Worth sends
     message to him--He and some companions come in--His manner and
     bearing--Meets his daughter--Interesting scene--Is seized by
     Colonel Childs--Placed in irons and sent to New Orleans--General
     Worth orders his return--Meets him at Tampa Bay--Arrangements--Wild
     Cat sends messengers to his friends--Sympathy for him--Chief
     Micco--He brings in his people--Wild Cat's band comes in--He is
     released from his irons--Meets his friends--His wife and
     child--General Jessup's policy as to Exiles--Consults Wild
     Cat--Hospetarche and Tiger-tail--Otulke comes in--Hospetarche is
     suspicious--Wild Cat brings him in--Army suffers from
     sickness--General change of policy from that adopted at the
     commencement of the War--Army reduced--Wild Cat visits
     Tiger-tail--Singular adventure--Embarkation of Emigrants--Parting
     scene between Wild Cat and General Worth--The Emigrants reach Fort
     Gibson and join their friends--Wild Cat's position in his new home.

[Sidenote: 1841.]

On the fourth of March, General Harrison was inaugurated President of
the United States. Much was expected of him in regard to the war. The
Whigs had condemned it throughout the Presidential struggle, and it was
anticipated that he would bring it to a successful and honorable
termination; but before he even entered upon the consideration of this
subject, he was called from this to another sphere of existence, and was
succeeded by the then Vice President, John Tyler, of Virginia. Nor is it
easy to see what great reform General Harrison could have effected in
regard to this war, had he lived to complete his term of service. The
policy of so directing the energies of the Federal Government as to
support the interests of slavery, had long existed; he was not expected
to make any substantial changes in that respect. But whatever may have
been his designs, he had no opportunity to carry them into effect; and
Mr. Tyler, after coming into office, soon ceased to enjoy the confidence
of the Whig party, who generally declared themselves no longer
responsible for his acts.

The new Administration soon identified itself with this war by the
following order:

_Washington City_, May 19, 1841."

     "SIR: Brigadier General Armistead, being about to relinquish the
     command of the Florida Army, as you will see by the instructions
     communicated to him of this date, of which a copy is herewith
     enclosed; as the officer next in rank, you will relieve him and
     assume the command accordingly.

     "I am directed, by the Secretary of War, to advise you of the
     earnest desire of the Department to terminate, as speedily as
     possible, the protracted hostilities in Florida, and to cause the
     most perfect protection and security to be given to the frontiers,
     and to those citizens who may be disposed to penetrate the country,
     for lawful purposes of trade or settlement. For the attainment of
     these important objects, you are considered as being clothed with
     all the powers of a commander in the field, under the laws and
     regulations of the army.

     "It is expected the troops under your command will be kept in a
     perfect state of discipline, and that you make such disposition of
     them as to be in readiness to meet any contingency that may all for
     active and energetic movements, the execution of which is left
     entirely at your own discretion.

     "If you should deem it indispensable for the protection of the
     frontier, the President directs that you make a requisition upon
     the Governor of Florida for militia, not exceeding one regiment,
     which, if called out, you will cause to be mustered into the
     service of the United States, in the manner prescribed by the
     regulations, for any period authorized by the constitution and

     "The Secretary of War, placing, as he does, entire confidence in
     your ability and patriotism, desires me to say, that every possible
     aid and support will be afforded to enable you to bring to a close
     this protracted and most embarrassing war."

     "As the commander of Florida, you will exercise a sound discretion
     in the use of the means placed at your disposal; and while these
     should be employed with the greatest efficiency, the Secretary of
     War directs that you will, consistently with the primary object in
     view, diminish, in a spirit of sound economy, all unnecessary
     drains upon the Treasury, by discharging all persons employed in a
     civil capacity whose services you shall not deem indispensable to
     the duties of your command, and by regulating and reducing as far
     as practicable all other expenses, in accordance with the just
     expectations of the Government and the country.

"I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

(Signed) R. JONES, _Adjutant General_.

Col. J. W. WORTH,

8th Infantry, Tampa, Florida."

General Worth now applied himself, with commendable zeal, to the work
assigned him. His first object was to discharge all employees not
necessary to the operations of the army, and in every department to
curtail the expenditures as far as possible; thereby rendering the war
unprofitable to those who had been seeking to prolong it. Early in June
he issued the following order:

No. 1.] _Fort King_, June 8, 1841.    }

     "I. Hereafter no expenditures of money will be made on account of
     barracks-quarters, or other buildings at temporary posts, except
     for such slight covering as may be indispensably necessary for the
     protection of the sick and security of the public stores, without
     previous reference to, and authority obtained from, head-quarters.

     "II. All safe-guards or passports granted to Indians prior to this
     date, are hereby revoked. Any Indian presenting himself at any
     post, will be seized and held in strict confinement, except when
     commanding officers may, in the exercise of sound discretion, deem
     it advisable to send out an individual runner to communicate with

     "III. When the garrisons are not too much reduced by sickness,
     detachments will be sent out as often as once in seven days, or
     more frequently if circumstances indicate a necessity, to scour and
     examine in all directions to the distance of eight or ten miles.

     "IV. All restraints heretofore imposed upon district commanders, in
     respect to offensive field operations, are hereby revoked; on the
     contrary, the utmost activity and enterprise is enjoined. District
     commanders will give instructions to commanders of posts

     "V. Brief reports of the operations carried on under the foregoing
     orders, setting forth the strength of the detachments, and by whom
     commanded, with such observations as may be deemed useful or
     interesting to the service, will be made to district commanders on
     the 10th, 20th, and last of every month, by whom they will be
     transmitted to these head-quarters.

"By order of Colonel WORTH:

(Signed) G. WRIGHT,

_Capt. 8th Infantry, and A. A. A. General_."

Halec Tustenuggee was regarded as the most active and vindictive of the
hostile chiefs. Among his followers were some forty Indian warriors and
ten or twelve Exiles capable of bearing arms. They and their families,
numbering in all some two hundred souls, were supposed to be somewhere
in the neighborhood of Lake "Fonee-Safakee," among the extensive swamps
and hommocks of that region. Some few of this band had surrendered and
gone West. Among those who came in to Fort Jupiter for the purpose of
emigrating, were several Exiles who had been born in that region, and
had ever been connected with this small tribe. Some of those who had
previously surrendered, were retained as guides and interpreters, with
the expectation that they might be made useful in persuading their
friends to emigrate also. It was thought very desirable to capture this
band, if possible; and guides, and interpreters, and scouts were sent in
every direction, where it was supposed they might be discovered, in
order to open a communication with them. At length it was reported that
a trail had been discovered leading to one of their favorite haunts,
where it was believed they might be found.

We cannot better exhibit the dangers which constantly beset the Exiles
who remained hostile, or the vigilance with which they and their friends
watched for their own safety, than by giving a short account of Colonel
Worth's expedition for the capture of this small party, which we copy
from Sprague's History of the Florida War. Says that author:

"The negro guides, recently of the band, represented it as his favorite
resort from its seclusion, where he held his green corn dances and
councils. Measures were at once adopted to follow it up. Colonel Worth,
with one hundred men of the 2d Infantry, accompanied by Lieutenant
Colonel Riley and Major Plympton, together with Captain B. L. Beall's
company 2d Dragoons, and forty men of the 8th Infantry, in command of
First Lieutenant J. H. Harvil, moved from Fort King for Fort McClure or
Warm Spring; thence, under the guidance of Indian negroes, to the
neighborhood of the lake. At midnight, on the night of the tenth, the
swamp was reached; the troops having marched forty-four miles. To
surprise the Indian camp just at break of day, was the only chance of
success. The guides represented it to be on the opposite side of the
swamp, five or six miles through. The horses were picketed, and the
baggage left with a small guard on the margin of the swamp. The soldier
carried only a musket and his ammunition; the officers a rifle or sword.
Quietly and resolutely the command moved, confident of success. The
water became colder and deeper at every step; halts were frequently
made to extricate the officers and soldiers from the mud. The night was
dark, which added to the dismal gloomy shadows of a cypress swamp. The
command could only follow by the splashing of water, and the calm but
firm intonations of the word of command. The negroes in advance,
followed closely by the most hardy and active, guided these two hundred
men to what was believed to be the stronghold of the enemy. Every hour
and step confirmed this conviction. The advance reached the opposite
side just before the break of day. Anxiously they awaited and greeted
every officer and soldier as he emerged from the swamp, covered with mud
and water. Day broke; when silently the command was given--'Fall in!'
Eleven officers and thirty-five privates were present. Occasionally a
straggler would arrive, and report those in the rear as coming. The
Indian huts, by the gray dawn of morning (twenty-four in number), could
be discerned through the scrub, which separated the white and red man,
three hundred yards distant. At this hour the Indian around his camp
fire feels secure. From the number of huts, and their location, they
outnumbered the assailants. To await the arrival of the entire force,
the day would be far advanced; and discovery was a total defeat. It was
determined with the number present to make a vigorous assault, and, if
outnumbered, to rely upon those in the rear. Each man reprimed his
musket, and cautiously, on his hands and knees, worked his way through
the dense undergrowth to within a few yards of the cluster of huts and
temporary sheds. Not a word was uttered. Eagerly each man grasped his
musket, anxious for the first whoop, when he would be rewarded for his
toil. A musket was discharged to arouse the inmates, and meet them on
their retreat. It sent back its dull heavy reverberation, causing
disappointment and chagrin. Not a human being occupied the huts, or was
upon the ground."

Large fields of corn were before them; they had been carefully
cultivated, and gave incontestable proof that the allies had just left.
This place had been the temporary residence of a strong force; but
their patrols had discovered the approach of our troops, and
communicated information to the party in time to enable them, with their
wives and children, to escape from danger.

The officers and soldiers looked about a while with wonder, and then
commenced the work of destroying the cabins and crops, which being
effected, they retraced their steps to head-quarters, fully satisfied
that a disciplined army was not adapted to the work of surprising
Indians and Exiles.

Perhaps no act or policy of General Worth contributed so much to the
favorable prosecution of the war, as his treatment of Coacoochee, or
Wild Cat, as he was more recently called. This extraordinary personage
became conspicuous in 1841. During the entire war he deeply sympathized
with the Exiles--was always attended by some of his more dusky friends,
in whose welfare he took a deep interest; nor has he yet forsaken them.
Even at the time of writing this narrative, he is supposed to be with
them; and a short notice of some of his more than romantic experience in
this war may interest the reader in the fortunes of a man who may yet
fill a large space in the history of our country.

He was the son of King Philip, a Seminole chief of some reputation. He
is now (1857) about fifty years of age; five feet eight inches in
height; well proportioned; exhibiting the most perfect symmetry in his
physical form. His eye is dark, full and expressive; and his countenance
youthful and pleasing. His voice is clear, soft and musical; his speech
fluent; his gestures rapid and violent. His views are always ingenious
and clearly expressed; and he never fails to infuse all his measures
with spirit, and to exert a controlling influence over his followers. He
was born near Ahapopka Lake, where he resided at the commencement of the
Florida War; but soon after sought a more secure retreat in the large
swamps, near Fort Mellon and Lake "Okechobee." His band at that time
numbered some two hundred souls, among whom were several families of
Exiles. In these sable warriors he is said to have reposed much
confidence. He accompanied them at the massacre of Major Dade and his
battalion in December, 1835. Here he formed his acquaintance with Lewis
Pacheco, who acted as guide to Major Dade. Lewis is said to have
attended him, and to have shared in every battle in which Wild Cat
participated, until the capitulation of 1837. After that capitulation
had been agreed to, he visited General Jessup's camp with the apparent
intention of emigrating West. He brought in some of his friends, among
whom was Lewis Pacheco, whom he claimed as his slave, and declared that
he had captured him at Dade's massacre. Lewis, being a negro, was placed
within the stockade at Tampa Bay, but Wild Cat of course went among his
friends in the vicinity. When he found that General Jessup was violating
the articles of capitulation, and delivering over to slavery those
Exiles who were claimed by the people of Florida, instead of securing
them in their lives and property, for which the faith of the nation had
been pledged, he became indignant, and insisted that every Indian and
Exile who was enjoying his liberty, should leave the encampment where
they were receiving food and raiment from the United States, and flee to
their own homes. Micanopy, one of the most wealthy and influential
chiefs, refused, and expressed his determination to emigrate. Wild Cat
and Osceola (Powell), two young and daring chiefs, came to the tent of
Micanopy, at midnight, and compelled him, at the peril of his life, to
leave and flee to the Indian country. He did so, and with him every
Indian and Exile, who was outside the stockade at Tampa Bay, made their

At the battle of Fort Mellon, on the eighth of February, 1837, he is
said to have commanded two hundred warriors, many of whom were Exiles.
He was at the battle of "Okechobee," on the twenty-fifth of December,
1837; the severest battle ever fought in Florida. Nearly all his
warriors were with him. He was posted on the left of the Indian line,
occupying the hommock, when General Taylor approached. He declared that
not an Indian gave way until the charge of Colonel Foster, although he
said the fire of our men "sent a stream of bullets among his warriors."
He stated the whole loss of the allied forces in that memorable
conflict to be thirteen killed and nineteen wounded, being less than
one-fourth of General Taylor's loss.

His father (King Philip) being imprisoned at St. Augustine in 1838,
naturally felt desirous that his son should go with him to the Western
Country, where he knew he must emigrate. He sent out a confidential
friend with a message to Wild Cat, inviting him to come and see him.
General Jessup also sent assurances of his perfect safety, if he wished
to come and visit his father. The messenger found him, and faithfully
delivered the message which his father sent. There were also other
Indians and Exiles going to Fort Peyton, under the peaceful invitation
and assurance of safety which General Jessup sent them. Wild Cat left
his band; and, arrayed in his best robes, bearing a white flag, went
with them and was betrayed, through the agency of General Hernandez,
into the power of General Jessup, as we have heretofore shown. He was
imprisoned in the castle at St. Augustine with his friend Talmas-Hadjo.
Accustomed to roam in the forests at will, and enjoy the free air of
Heaven, this confinement bore down their spirits and affected their
physical health. He and his friend Talmas-Hadjo made their escape, an
account of which was given in a former chapter.

His father remained with the other prisoners--was sent to Charleston;
and subsequently died on his passage to Fort Gibson in 1837, with the
first party of emigrants under Lieut. Reynolds.

Wild Cat now became one of the most active warriors in Florida. With his
followers, he repaired to the Okefenoke Swamp, and, encamping in its
fastnesses, sallied forth, as occasion permitted, and spread death and
devastation in the southern settlements of Georgia. From thence he
returned south, and committed constant depredations both east and west
of the St. John's. In 1840, his daughter, an interesting girl of twelve
years of age, fell into the hands of our troops, in a skirmish near Fort
Mellon. This was regarded as a most fortunate circumstance, as it would
be likely to procure an interview with the father. Micco, a sub-chief
and friend of Wild Cat, was dispatched with a white flag, on which were
drawn clasped hands in token of friendship, with a pipe and tobacco. He
found Wild Cat, and delivered the message of the Commanding General,
requesting an interview. Wild Cat agreed to come in, and gave Micco a
bundle of eight sticks, denoting the days which would elapse before he
appeared in camp. Micco returned, and made his report.

On the fifth of March, Wild Cat was announced as approaching the
American camp with seven of his trusty companions. He came boldly within
the line of sentinels, dressed in the most fantastic manner. He and his
party had shortly before killed a company of strolling theatrical
performers, near St. Augustine, and, having possessed themselves of the
wardrobe which their victims had with them, he now decorated himself and
followers in the most grotesque style. He approached the tent of General
Worth, calm and self-possessed, and shook hands with the officers. He
addressed the Commanding General in fluent and dignified language,
saying, he had received the talk and white flag sent him; that, in
pursuance of the invitation, he had come to visit the American camp with
peaceful intentions; that, relying upon the good faith of the officer in
command, he had entrusted himself to their power, in order to promote
the designs of peace which had been tendered him. The dignity of his
manner, the gracefulness of his gestures, the musical intonations of his
voice, the blandness of his countenance, won the sympathy, and commanded
the attention, of all around him.

At this moment his little daughter escaped from the tent, where it was
intended she should remain until General Worth should feel that the
proper time had arrived for him to present her to her father. With the
feelings and habits of her race, she presented him musket balls and
powder, which she had by some means obtained and secreted until his
arrival. On seeing his child, he could no longer command that dignity of
bearing so much the pride of every Indian chief. His self-possession
gave way to parental emotions; the feelings of the father gushed forth;
he averted his face and wept.

Having recovered his self-possession, he addressed Colonel Worth,
saying, "The whites dealt unjustly by me. I came to them, when they
deceived me. I loved the land I was upon; my body is made of its sands.
The Great Spirit gave me legs to walk over it; eyes to see it; hands to
aid myself; a head with which I think. The sun, which shines warm and
bright, brings forth our crops; and the moon brings back the spirits of
our warriors, our fathers, our wives and children. The white man comes;
he grows pale and sickly; why can we not live in peace? They steal our
horses and cattle, cheat us, and take our lands. They may shoot us--may
chain our hands and feet; _but the red man's heart will be free_. I have
come to you in peace, and have taken you all by the hand. I will sleep
in your camp, though your soldiers stand around me thick as pine trees.
I am done: when we know each other better, I will say more."

General Worth assured him of the good faith with which he should be
treated; that the feelings which he had expressed were honorable to him
and to his people; that the emotions manifested on seeing his child,
were highly creditable to him as a father; assured him that his child
should not be separated from him; that the American officers and
soldiers highly respected the parental affection which he had exhibited.
He then entered upon a consultation with him concerning the best mode of
obtaining a peace.

Wild Cat spoke with great sincerity; frankly stated the condition and
feelings of this people; stated the friendly attachment between the
Exiles and Indians; said that they would not consent to be separated;
that nothing could be done until their annual assemblage in June, to
feast on the green corn; that, hard as the fate was, he would consent to
emigrate, and would use his influence to induce his friends to do so.

After remaining four days in camp, he and his companions left,
accompanied by his little daughter, whom he presented to her mother on
reaching his own encampment.

Prompt to his engagement with General Worth, he returned on the tenth
day after his departure. He stated that he could do nothing until June;
but expressed his desire to see General Armistead, the former commander,
who was yet at Tampa Bay. With that officer he also made arrangements to
do whatever was in his power to induce his friends to emigrate.

There appears no good evidence on which to doubt the sincerity of Wild
Cat; yet it appears that General Armistead, before leaving Florida,
ordered Colonel Childs, commanding at Fort Pearce, to seize Wild Cat, if
he should come within his power, with such followers as should attend
him, and send them to Tampa Bay for emigration. General Armistead
retired to Washington soon after issuing this order, leaving General
Worth in command.

On the twenty-first of May, Wild Cat and his brother, together with an
uncle, a brother of his father King Philip, and twelve other Indians and
three Exiles, came into Fort Pearce, where Colonel Childs was in
command. Wild Cat and his friends had reposed perfect confidence in the
honor and good faith of General Worth. He had been betrayed by General
Hernandez, acting under General Jessup's orders; had been imprisoned,
and suffered much; but from the manner and bearing of General Worth, he
had been led to repose the most implicit confidence in his sincerity.
Colonel Childs, however, punctilious in his obedience to orders, at once
seized and sent him and his companions in irons to Tampa Bay, where they
were immediately placed on board a transport and sent to New Orleans, en
route for Fort Gibson. The people of Florida heartily approved this
transaction, feeling that the Territory was now rid of one of its most
dangerous foes.

General Worth soon learned the manner in which Wild Cat had been again
seized as a prisoner, in violation of the pledged faith of Government.
Mortified and chagrined, he at once dispatched a faithful officer, with
explicit directions, to bring Wild Cat and his friends back to Florida
at the earliest moment at which he should be able. The officer found
them at New Orleans, and forthwith started with them on his return to
Tampa Bay.

This measure of General Worth, though bold, and in direct opposition to
the popular sentiment of Florida, probably tended as much to the
pacification of that Territory as any movement during the war.

General Worth set out to meet the distinguished chief, and reached Tampa
Bay on the third of July. The next day he went on board the ship, where
he met Wild Cat and his companions; they were yet in irons. As they met
upon the deck, the General took him cordially by the hand; assured him
of his sincere friendship; of the mistake by which he had been arrested;
but assured him, that so great was his renown as a warrior, and such
were the fears which the people entertained of him, that, as commanding
General, he was constrained to hold him a prisoner.

Perhaps nothing so touches the vanity of a savage as an expression of
his greatness; and the consummate policy of General Worth was never more
apparent than in the manner of his treating this savage chief. After
recounting the devastation and death which Wild Cat had scattered
throughout the Territory, he told him, with great emphasis, that he had
the power to put an end to the war. He then told him he was at liberty
to select five of his most trusty friends, and send them to his band
with such a message as would inform them of the precise state of facts,
to name the time necessary to gather his band, and have them at Fort
Brooke; that, if they failed to come in at the appointed time, he and
his followers, who should remain with him, should be _hanged_.

Wild Cat listened with emotion; most of his followers wept. After
General Worth had closed his remarks, he arose, and, with great force of
eloquence and truth, portrayed the wrongs to which he and his friends
had been subjected. He then added, that they had fought the white people
bravely, had killed many, but they were too numerous and too strong for
them to contend with; that they were compelled to submit. Then, in
conclusion, he said he would send out his friends, and do what he could
to induce his band to surrender, for emigration.

While he was speaking, the hour of twelve arrived, and an armed ship
lying in port, opened her ports and commenced firing a national salute,
in honor of the day. Wild Cat stopped, and, turning to General Worth,
inquired the cause. It was explained to him, and he readily contrasted
his own situation and that of his friends, who were sitting around him
in irons, with the condition of the freemen to whom they were prisoners.

After he had concluded his remarks, he gathered around him his friends,
and, having consulted with them, he selected his five messengers, one of
whom was taken from the Exiles, and the other four from the Indians. The
five messengers were brought together, and he addressed them in their
own language, apparently with deep emotion; but when he came to inform
them of the message they were to deliver to his wife and child, the
feelings of the husband and father again overpowered him: he turned
aside and wept; and such was the deep and thrilling interest which
pervaded those around him, that the hardy sailors who had long been
accustomed to danger, and the soldier who had become familiar with death
in its various forms, were melted to tears. The sympathy became general;
and all present seemed to acknowledge the reality of those holy
affections of the human heart which God has implanted deep down in its
core and center. Silence pervaded the whole assemblage. The order was
given by General Worth in a low and solemn voice to remove the fetters
from the limbs of the five messengers. It was done quietly, and all
looked on with interest. After the irons had been taken from their
limbs, and all was prepared for their departure, Wild Cat shook hands
with each as they passed over the side of the ship. To the last he
handed a silk handkerchief and a breast-pin, saying, "give them to my
wife and child."

The time which Wild Cat had voluntarily set for their return, was forty
days. The band was supposed to be on the Kissimee or St. John's River;
and much interest was felt by all in the result. They greatly feared
that delay might take place in finding and communicating with them.
Officers and soldiers participated in the excitement; and the messengers
were instructed by them to inform the commanding officer at that post,
if any great delay should occur.

The success of this mission was regarded as the turning point of the
Florida War, and in its perfect success all felt a deep interest; as it
was believed that his example would be followed by other chiefs of
sufficient influence to bring this long protracted war to a close.

The officers visited Wild Cat and his friends, on board the ship, daily,
and endeavored to cheer them by constantly expressing their confidence
in the fidelity of the messengers. He endeavored to surmount the anxiety
and apprehension which his situation naturally brought to his mind; but
his care-worn countenance and anxious manner showed the corroding
solicitude which he felt.

"Old Micco," the Indian chief who at first induced Wild Cat to come in
to Fort Cummings, was at Tampa Bay at the time the messengers left. He
was aged, but continued active. He had been the confidential friend of
King Philip, the father of Wild Cat, and was now the warm friend of the
son. He volunteered to accompany the messengers, assuring Wild Cat that
he would himself return in ten days with such tidings as he should be
able to gather in that time.

The old man, faithful to his engagement, on the tenth day appeared at
Tampa Bay with six warriors and a number of women and children, and
reported that others were on their way. The return of Micco with such
intelligence cheered his followers and friends, and gave to our officers
and soldiers confidence in the entire success of the plan; but the chief
continued to exhibit gloom, and at times he evinced despondency of

In the meantime, his people continued to arrive daily, and in less than
thirty days, his entire band were encamped at Tampa Bay. He had
informed General Worth of the precise number of his warriors by
delivering to him a bundle containing one stick for each warrior. On the
last day of July, it was found that the number of warriors, including
Exiles, exactly corresponded with the number of sticks.

When informed that his warriors were all in, he resumed his natural
cheerfulness; his countenance became lighted up with hope and
intelligence; his bearing was lofty and independent. Several officers
went on board to congratulate him. He was warmly greeted. He now,
turning to the officer of the guard, in a tone of confident assurance,
requested that his irons might be removed, and he permitted to address
his warriors, as he said, "like a man." His shackles were taken off; and
he then dressed himself in a manner which he deemed fitting the
occasion. His turban was of crimson silk, from which three ostrich
plumes were gracefully suspended; his breast was covered with glittering
silver ornaments; his many-colored frock was fastened around his waist
by a girdle of red silk, into which was thrust his scalping knife,
enclosed in its appropriate scabbard. Red leggins and ornamented
moccasins completed his attire. He was attended on shore by several
officers, who took seats with him in the boat. As they approached the
shore, and he saw his friends who had gathered at the landing to greet
him, his heart seemed to swell with emotion; but gathering himself for
the occasion he became dignified and haughty in his deportment, and as
he stepped on shore be waived his hand, beckoning them all to stand
back. They impulsively obeyed; and raising his form to its utmost height
he sent forth a shrill war-whoop, which reached every ear in the
vicinity, as the announcement of his freedom. A hearty response at once
came back from every warrior of the band. The crowd simultaneously
opened to the right and left, when, without noticing the presence of any
person, he at once proceeded to the head-quarters, where he met General
Worth, whom he saluted in the most respectful manner. He then turned to
his people and addressed them, stating the arrangement with General
Worth, thanking them for so cheerfully coming to him, declared they
were now at peace with the white people. He then inquired for his wife
and child, who had remained silent spectators of the whole scene. They
at once came forward, and as he saw them, the feelings of the husband
and father again overcame him for an instant; but resuming his lofty
demeanor he mingled again with those faithful and tried followers, who
had so often stood beside him in times of peril.

Such were the fortunes, and such the character, of one of those
chieftains whom the incidents of the Florida War brought into public
notice. He is now introduced to the reader, and will continue to receive
occasional attention until the close of our narrative, and perhaps he
may again appear in the future history of the people to whose trials and
persecutions we are now directing attention.

We have felt this sketch due to the cause of truth, inasmuch as during
the war, and even up to the present day, public newspapers have spoken
of Wild Cat as a cruel and vindictive savage. His efforts in behalf of
freedom have been represented by public officers as crimes, and he has
been held up to the public as an unprincipled brigand. We would judge
him, as we would all others, by his acts.

Wild Cat's band, now convened at Tampa Bay, had been previously
diminished by emigration. It now numbered seventy-eight warriors,
sixty-four women and forty-seven children--making in all one hundred and
eighty-nine souls. We have no official statement of the number of Exiles
who surrendered with this band. We suppose, however, from the warm
interest which Wild Cat always took in behalf of the Exiles, that more
would have flocked to his standard than to those of other chiefs; but we
have no evidence that such was the fact. Probably the Exiles constituted
about one-sixth of the band--that being the proportion of Exiles who
accompanied him to Fort Cummings, and were seized with him by Colonel
Childs. Indeed, we have had no official data by which to determine the
proportion of Exiles who constituted the several parties that
surrendered after General Jessup left the army. No subsequent commander
in Florida appears to have drawn distinctions as to the color of his
prisoners. They were all reported as _Seminoles_, and the term "negro"
occurred only incidentally in their official reports, when speaking of
the class of interpreters and agents who were employed; nor do we find
that General Worth made any effort to send any of his prisoners into
slavery. So far as we are informed, like General Taylor, he treated them
all as _prisoners of war_, entitled to the same rights, the same
respect, and the same attentions, agreeably to the doctrine advanced by
General Gaines at New Orleans.

General Worth appears to have felt authorized to send every Exile who
surrendered, to the Western Country. If any of them were claimed by the
slaveholders of Florida, he directed the proofs of ownership to be taken
and the value of the negro estimated, and then, without waiting for
further contest, the negro was treated as other prisoners, and sent West
with his Seminole friends, leaving the Government to pay for the slave
or not, as the Executive and Congress should determine.[130]

It was this policy which enabled General Worth to conduct the war with
so much greater success than his predecessors. It enabled him to avail
himself of all the influence of Wild Cat, now exerted in favor of
emigration; while General Jessup, by delivering over the Exiles to
slavery, had induced the same chief to exert absolute violence to
prevent emigration.[131]

General Worth, having secured the friendship and coöperation of Wild
Cat, entered into consultation with him as to the best method of
carrying out his plan of peaceful surrender of the Indians and Exiles,
and their emigration West. Those in the eastern part of the Territory,
under Hospetarche and Tiger-tail and Sam Jones, were bitterly opposed to
emigration. They determined, in council, to kill any messenger sent to
them for the purpose of persuading them to surrender, or any one who
should attempt to leave them for the purposes of emigration.

Notwithstanding this determination, some three or four families,
numbering in all about twenty souls, made their escape (Aug. 10), and,
though closely pursued, reached the military post on Pease Creek, and
were sent to Tampa Bay, where they joined Wild Cat's band. Otulke, a
brother of Wild Cat, lived in the vicinity of those people who had
become so indignant, and it was deemed important to inform him of Wild
Cat's determination to go West. The chief had also a younger brother,
now with the band at Tampa Bay, who volunteered to perform the hazardous
duty of carrying a message to Otulke. Much solicitude was felt for his
safety, but he accomplished his mission successfully. Otulke, with some
six warriors and their families, obeyed the call, and came to Tampa Bay
and joined the party destined for emigration.

Otulke also brought a message from Hospetarche, an aged chief, the head
of a small band numbering nearly one hundred souls. He was said to be
eighty-five years of age; but was yet active, and possessed great
energy. He sent a message to Wild Cat that he, too, was coming in to see
him. He was from the "Great Cypress Swamp," whose inhabitants were
regarded as very treacherous, and altogether destitute of integrity.

A few days after Otulke arrived, Hospetarche sent a boy with a white
flag to Tampa Bay, saying, he was old and fatigued, and wanted whisky
and provisions to enable him to reach Fort Brooke. These were sent him;
but the next day another message of the same character was received, and
complied with. This practice continued for five days. And such was the
desperate character of the old chief, that none of the friendly Indians
dared go out to meet him, particularly as they learned that he was
attended only by warriors; they believed he was intent on hostility
rather than peace, and they feared him.

Wild Cat had been absent for some days. When he returned, he ascertained
the situation of Hospetarche, with whom he had long been acquainted. The
next morning he dressed himself in his gayest attire, and, taking his
rifle, mounted his favorite horse, which had been brought to Tampa Bay
by his followers.

The officers who witnessed his departure, declared that the noble animal
exhibited evidence of having recognized his master. No sooner had Wild
Cat mounted, than he began to champ his bit and paw the earth, as if
impatient to bear forth his rider to the hunting grounds. Wild Cat,
sitting upon his spirited horse, shook hands with General Worth and the
other officers, and then dashed into the forest; and before sunset,
returned with his venerable friend, Hospetarche, and eighteen warriors.

After they arrived, they were treated kindly, but placed under a strong
guard. They sent confidential friends however to their homes, who in a
few days returned, bringing with them the women and children of the
whole band. There were now at Tampa Bay nearly three hundred prisoners
ready for emigration, including Exiles, supposed to be about sixty in

While General Worth was thus successful in his efforts to induce the
Indians and their allies peacefully to emigrate, he was pained to
witness the sufferings to which his army were subjected. As an
illustration of the sacrifice which our nation made in this effort to
enslave the Exiles, we would state, that the 1st regiment of Infantry,
under Colonel Miller, came to Florida in 1838, and left in August, 1841.
It numbered some six hundred men, and during the three years of its
residence in Florida, one hundred and thirty-five soldiers and six
commissioned officers died of sickness. This we believe to be nothing
more than the average loss of the troops who served in that war, in
proportion to the time of service. The official reports for July, 1841,
showed two thousand four hundred and twenty-eight men on the sick list,
unfit for duty, being considerably more than one half of the whole army.

A few Indians and Exiles, from various bands, occasionally arrived at
Tampa Bay, and joined the emigrating party. Throughout the different
families, they appeared to believe that General Worth was acting in good
faith. The whole character of the war had undergone a change. It had
originally been commenced and prosecuted for the purpose of reënslaving
Exiles: now that object, so far as they could discover, appeared to have
been given up. Exiles and Indians were treated alike. Wild Cat, their
most active and popular chief, and the leading Exiles with him, were
acting with sincerity in favor of emigration. The war was in fact
suspended, for the adoption of a more pacific policy, which seemed to
promise success.

Tiger-tail was yet inexorable and inveterate. He was said to have
murdered his own sister for proposing to surrender; yet a small party
from his band escaped to Tampa Bay, and were protected. A few other
Indians and Exiles were captured without bloodshed; and such were the
prospects of returning peace, that by the commencement of September,
General Worth informed the War Department that the 3d regiment of
Artillery could be spared from the service in Florida; and that he
hoped, within a month, to discharge the 4th and 5th Infantry, and the 3d

[Illustration: Thlocklo Tustenuggee. (Tiger Tail.)]

Wild Cat visited Tiger-tail in his retreat, which was regarded as a most
hazardous undertaking. With six followers he started on a visit to this
barbarous chief. He reached the vicinity of his camp near nightfall, but
deemed it prudent not to approach at that late hour of the day. He and
his friends fearing discovery, bivouacked in a grove, supposing they had
not been noticed by any one. In the darkness of the night, they heard
slight movements near them. Wild Cat suspected it was the wary chief,
preparing to massacre himself and friends. He boldly called out,
announcing his own name, and telling Tiger-tail not to come upon him
like a coward, by stealth, but to speak frankly, or come up boldly to
a personal conflict. Tiger-tail, surprised and astonished at this
course, commenced conversation. Wild Cat, referring to their former
friendship, avowed his desire to renew the attachment; or, if Tiger-tail
insisted on fighting, then he would meet him in a manner becoming a bold
warrior. The ferocity of Tiger-tail gave way. They agreed to meet next
day, when a long consultation was held. The savage chief gave assurances
of his peaceful disposition, and promised to reflect upon the propriety
of emigrating. Wild Cat also sent to other chiefs messages, assuring
them of his intention to emigrate; that his band, and that of
Hospetarche, with individuals from other villages, were at Tampa Bay
with the intention of soon embarking for the Western Country.

Tiger-tail insisted on seeing Alligator, a Seminole chief, who emigrated
in 1837, saying, if Alligator would come back and advise him to go West,
he would comply with such advice. A messenger was accordingly sent West
to bring Alligator to Florida.

In the meantime, Wild Cat declared to General Worth that he desired to
see his own people on their way; and assigned as the reason for such
desire, that Indians were a restless people, and could not be long kept
inactive, with no employment for either body or mind. The advice was
received by General Worth with respect, and he at once gave orders to
prepare for the journey. Transports had been employed, and were then in
waiting. The women and children were engaged in cracking corn, to serve
as food for their journey. Amid all the cares which surrounded him,
General Worth endeavored to make both Indians and Exiles comfortable,
and render them cheerful. They were a wronged and persecuted people,
about to leave their homes, their native country, and go to a distant
region, of which they were ignorant. Driven from the graves of their
fathers, they were about to be separated from scenes which had been
familiar to them from childhood.

Of those who had come in for emigration, fifteen had died. Wild Cat
detailed from his band seven, and Hospetarche detailed ten warriors,
who, with their families, making some eighty souls in all, were to
remain with General Worth for a while in order to exert what influence
they could with their friends in favor of emigrating to the West. The
number who actually embarked was little more than two hundred and fifty,
exclusive of fourteen Mickasukies, who persisted in drawing their
rations, and in all things being separated from the others. Some fifty
Exiles are supposed to have been among those who embarked, and two of
the seventeen families who remained at Tampa Bay were of mixed blood.
The emigrants were all on board the transports, when General Worth and
staff paid them a last visit. The scene was said to be affecting.
Hospetarche, venerable for his years, sat in silence, resting his head
upon his hands, and looking back upon his native land. He appeared
disqualified for holding conversation with any one, and none appeared
willing to disturb his seeming melancholy reflections. The women--both
Exiles and Indians--were weeping and sighing, unrestrained by that
dignity so much cultivated by savages of the other sex. The
warriors--black and red--were solemn and silent. This appeared to give
Wild Cat pain. He stood upon the quarter deck with his sub-chiefs around
him. As General Worth was about to take leave, "I am looking (said Wild
Cat) at the last pine tree of my native land. I am about to leave
Florida for ever; and I can say that I have never done anything to
disgrace the land of my birth. It was my home: I loved it as I loved my
wife and child. To part from it, is like separating from my own kindred.
But I have thrown away the rifle; I have shaken hands with the white
man, and I look to him for protection." He then addressed General Worth,
thanked him for all his kindness and confidence; and on behalf of his
people he expressed a high sense of gratitude for the humanity and
friendship extended to them. Then extending his hand to the General he
bade him farewell. General Worth, in taking leave, expressed the hope
that they would have a pleasant journey, and find themselves happy in
their western homes. They parted; the anchor was hauled up, the sails
hoisted; and the unhappy emigrants soon cast their last lingering look
upon the long-loved scenes of their childhood.

They were hurried on their way as rapidly as wind and steam could propel
the ships in which they embarked. They made a short stay at New Orleans;
and in two weeks from the time they left Tampa Bay, they landed at Fort
Gibson, and were conducted to the settlement made by their brethren who
had previously emigrated. Here Wild Cat found himself in a new sphere.
Respected and beloved by his followers for his gallant bearing; his
undoubted courage; his devotion to the interests of his people; his
truth and justice--distinguished above all others of his tribe by his
warlike exploits, he was qualified and prepared to enter upon the trying
scenes which awaited his future life.



     Delegation from Emigrants return to Florida--Their efforts in favor
     of Peace--Pacific indications--Troops discharged--Indians and
     Negroes surrender--Foray of Captain Wade--Waxe Hadjo
     surrenders--Massacre at Mandarin--People of Georgia and Florida
     dissatisfied with General Worth--They insist on furnishing
     Troops--Gen. Worth refuses to employ Militia--General McDonald and
     Volunteers from Georgia take the field--Demand the withdrawal of
     the Regular Troops--They are withdrawn--Call for
     Provisions--General Worth refuses to furnish them--Militia
     disband--Tustenuggee Chapco surrenders--More Troops
     discharged--General Worth states the number of Enemy, and
     recommends cessation of Hostilities--Propositions rejected by
     Executive--Battle with Halec Tustenuggee--His character--His
     capture--He and his people sent West--President reconsiders General
     Worth's advice--Adopts the proposed policy--General Worth calls
     Council--Terms of Peace agreed upon--General Order--General Worth
     retires--War ended--Its object--Its cost--Number of lives
     sacrificed--Character of Indians and Exiles who remained in

[Sidenote: 1841.]

On the fourteenth of October, Alligator, with two other chiefs, and one
of the leading Exiles, named James, reached Fort Brooke, on their return
from the Western Country. They came at the request of General Worth to
exert their influence with Tiger-tail and others in favor of emigration.
The next day they left for the interior, and after an absence of seven
days returned with Tiger-tail. The General held several conversations
with him, and kindly expressed his sympathy for the Indians, explaining
his own situation and duty, and advising the Indians to emigrate as
their best policy. Tiger-tail, after remaining in camp four days,
returned for his band; and friendly Indians were dispatched by General
Worth to Sam Jones and other chiefs to induce them also to come in. Some
thirty Indians deserted Halec Tustenuggee (Nov. 10), and came to Fort
Brooke. The appearance of Indians and Exiles was so pacific that the
Commanding General discharged from further service in Florida five
companies of dragoons, who were ordered to the western frontier. The
Indians and Exiles who remained at Fort Brooke when Wild Cat and his
party left for the West, were active in their endeavors to induce their
other friends to emigrate. In these efforts they were at least partially
successful. Small parties from the bands of Tiger-tail and
Nethloke-Mathla arrived occasionally, and with the apparent consent of
those chiefs; but Tiger-tail himself appeared suspicious and wary. He
would not come in then, but promised to do so at some future day. The
influence of most of the Exiles now remaining in Florida was exerted in
favor of emigration. It is believed that nearly every family of pure
Exile blood had left; that the last of that class had departed with Wild
Cat, particularly all of the descendants of those pioneers who remained
unconnected with the Indians by marriage. There were yet remaining a few
who had more recently fled from their masters in Florida and Georgia.
They dared not trust themselves within the power of our troops, lest
they should be reconsigned to slavery. They exerted a strong influence
with the Indians against emigration. There were also, in almost every
band and small village of Indians, Exiles who had intermarried with
Indian families. They could not well separate from their family
connexions, and therefore refused to surrender for emigration, until
those relatives would go with them. By the twentieth of November,
fifty-two warriors and a hundred and ten women and children--making in
all one hundred and sixty-two people--were gathered from the bands of
Tiger-tail and Nethloke-Mathla; some thirty of whom were Exiles,
intermarried with the Indians and half-breeds.

Captain Wade made a foray into the Indian Country, and captured some
sixty-five Indians and Exiles of two different bands, by surprise, and
without bloodshed. They were mostly women and children, and were at
once sent forward to Tampa Bay for emigration.

About the close of November, "Waxe-Hadjo," a young chief from the
Cypress Swamp, with seventeen warriors and more than thirty women and
children--some ten or twelve of whom were half-breeds, descendants of
Exiles and Seminoles--surrendered, and were sent to Fort Brooke for

While everything thus wore the appearance of peace, and all were
regarding the war as near its close, a small settlement of white people,
at a place called Mandarin, twenty-two miles from Jacksonville, was
assailed in open day, and five of the people murdered. This attack was
conducted by a small party of Indians, less than twenty in number, who
had come from the interior, and in a stealthy manner approached this
settlement, committed the murders, and retired before any troops could
be brought to the scene of slaughter.

Near the close of the year, the authorities of Georgia and Florida gave
evidence of their dissatisfaction of the manner in which General Worth
was conducting the war. The militia of neither Florida nor Georgia were
called on to participate in the war. No opportunities were afforded them
of seizing negroes and selling them into slavery; none but the regular
sutlers were permitted to encamp with or near the troops; in short, the
war, as then conducted, afforded them but little profit. General Worth
had encouraged the return of the people to their homes and plantations,
and very few of them now drew rations from the public stores for their
support. He had discharged citizens and their slaves from public
employment, and the war was carried on without permitting the people, or
politicians of Georgia or Florida, to interfere or dictate the manner of
its prosecution.

This proceeding of General Worth greatly excited the people and
Executive of Georgia, who insisted upon furnishing militia to carry on
the war. The Secretary of War referred the matter at once to General
Worth, and a most interesting and amusing correspondence followed
between the Executive of Georgia and the Commanding General. The latter
refusing to call for militia from that State, they were mustered without
his authority, and he was requested by Governor McDonald to withdraw the
United States forces from the Georgia frontiers.

As there was then no enemy near that State, and no danger to the
inhabitants, he removed the troops, and the Georgia militia were ordered
by the Governor to take their place. They did so with the confident
expectation that General Worth would furnish rations and hospital
supplies and arms from the United States stores. But he refused to do
this, and the gallant militia of that State immediately retired to their
homes in order to dine.

The correspondence on this subject continued until May, 1842, and shows
the skillful management of individuals to get up alarms in regard to the
supposed presence of hostile Indians, and thereby manifest the necessity
of posting troops in certain localities, where there had probably never
been an enemy. To give importance to these counterfeited alarms, letters
were written, and presentments were made by Grand Juries. The Delegate
from the Territory of Florida demanded of the Executive the employment
of militia for the protection of the frontier, and that such militia be
authorized to act independently of the Commanding General.

Hon. John C. Spencer, Secretary of War, replied, that the Department
could see no particular advantage to be derived from such a division of
the duties of the Commanding General; and, as he had no doubt General
Worth would do whatever was proper, he referred the whole matter to his

Had General Jessup, in 1836 and '37, adopted the policy which guided
General Worth; had he sent his prisoners to the Western Country without
permitting the militia, or the people of Florida, to seize and enslave
those whom he had engaged to protect and defend, there is little doubt
that the war would have been closed during the time he was employed in

During the last days of December, Tustenuggee Chopco, a sub-chief, and
about seventy followers, consisting of warriors, women and children, a
proportion of whom were Exiles and half-breeds, surrendered near the
Great Cypress Swamp, and were also sent to Fort Brooke for emigration.

[Sidenote: 1843.]

At the commencement of this year several more companies of troops were
discharged, the number of the enemy being so far diminished as to render
their presence useless.

On the fifth of February, some three hundred and fifty Indians and
Exiles were embarked at Tampa Bay for the Western Country. They in due
time reached Fort Gibson, and took up their residence with those who had
gone before them, and were still residing upon the lands of the

On the fourteenth of February, General Worth addressed the Commanding
General of our army, at Washington City, a communication, giving a
detailed statement of the number of Indians yet remaining in
Florida--amounting in all to three hundred, according to the best
information he had been able to obtain. He also stated the impossibility
of capturing these individuals, scattered as they were over a vast
extent of country, and advising that they be dealt with, henceforth, in
a peaceful manner; and that at least five-sixths of the troops then
employed in Florida be withdrawn, and an equal proportion of the
expenses of the war be curtailed. He proposed sending a portion of those
friendly Indians who remained at Fort Brooke, among the hostiles, to
continue with them, and exert what influence they could in favor of
peace and of emigration; with the assurance, that no further hostilities
would be prosecuted by the United States while the Indians remained

The proposition, however, was rejected by the Executive; and General
Worth continued to carry forward the work which he had prosecuted thus
far with such signal success. He dismissed more troops from service in
Florida; discharged employees in the various departments under his
command, and made such retrenchments as he was able to effect, without
detracting from the efficiency of the public service.

On the sixteenth of April, the troops fell in with Hallec Tustenuggee,
who, with some seventy warriors of his own and other bands, was encamped
upon an island in the Great Wahoo Swamp, and after an irregular fight of
two hours, routed them. The loss was slight on both sides. Our troops
had one man killed, and four wounded; the allies three wounded, whom
they carried from the field. This was the last battle fought in the
Florida War. The Indians scattered in various directions, and in that
way evaded pursuit.

Halec Tustenuggee was a most skillful warrior: bold and daring in his
policy, yet capable of dissimulation and treachery. He had been the
object of pursuit for two years. His unceasing vigilance had enabled him
to bid defiance to civilized troops. He was now nearly destitute of
powder and provisions, and, as an alternative, professed a desire for
peace. He came into the American camp boldly, shook hands with General
Worth, and proclaimed his pacific purpose. His professions were treated
with great apparent respect. He wanted provisions for his band. They
were encamped within three miles of General Worth's head-quarters, and
were fed at public expense. And when the whole band had come within the
lines, for the purpose of attending a feast, they were secured as
prisoners, and immediately sent to Tampa Bay for emigration; and, on the
fourteenth of July, this entire band, consisting of one hundred and
twenty persons, embarked for Fort Gibson, by way of New Orleans. They
reached their destination in safety; and most of them took up their
residence with their brethren, the Seminoles; while others joined the

The Federal Executive, having more maturely considered the suggestions
of General Worth, at length concluded to accede to his propositions for
a pacification with the remaining hostiles in Florida. That officer,
having secured Halec Tustenuggee and his band, and sent them West, now
dispatched his messengers to those small bands of hostiles which
remained, inviting them to hold a council and enter into an arrangement,
based upon the condition, that the allies should remain in the southern
portion of the Peninsula of Florida, confined to certain limits, and
abstain from all acts of aggression upon their white neighbors.

Most of these small bands sent chiefs, or sub-chiefs, to attend the
council; and terms of peace were agreed to, and the following General
Order was issued:

No. 28.} _Cedar Key, Florida_, August 14, 1843.  }

     "It is hereby announced, that hostilities with the Indians within
     this Territory have ceased. Measures are taken to pass the few
     remaining Indians within certain limits--those in the far south
     immediately; those west of the Suwanee in a few days, who,
     meantime, there is every reasonable assurance, will conduct
     inoffensively if unmolested in their haunts. The lands thus
     temporarily assigned, as their planting and hunting grounds, are
     within the following boundaries, to wit: From the mouth of
     Talockchopco, or Pease Creek, up the left bank of that stream to
     the fork of the southern branch, and, following that branch, to the
     head or northern edge of Lake Istokpoga; thence down the eastern
     margin of that lake to the stream which empties into the Kissimee
     River, following the left bank of the said stream and river to
     where the latter empties into Lake Okeechobee; thence down, due
     south, through said lake and everglades to Shark River, following
     the right bank of that river to the Gulf; thence along the Gulf
     shore (excluding all islands between Punta Rosa and the head of
     Charlotte's Harbor) to the place of beginning.

     "The foregoing arrangements are in accordance with the instructions
     of the President of the United States.

"By order of Col. WORTH:

S. COOPER, _A. A. General_."

Most of the troops were now withdrawn from Florida. General Worth
retired from the command, and the Florida War was supposed to have
ended. It had been commenced with a determination to reënslave the
Exiles. That object was, in part, attained. More than five hundred
persons were seized and enslaved, between the first of January, 1835,
and the fourteenth of August, 1843. Probably one half of them had been
born free; the others had themselves escaped from slavery. To effect
this object, forty millions of dollars were supposed to have been
expended. Eighty thousand dollars was paid from the public treasury for
the enslavement of each person, and the lives of at least three white
men were sacrificed to insure the enslavement of each black man. The
deterioration of our national morality was beyond estimate, and the
disgrace of our nation and government are matters incapable of
computation. The suffering of the Indians and Exiles amidst such
prolonged persecution, such loss of lives and property, we cannot
estimate. The friends and families who were separated, the number of
those who were made wretched for life, the broken hearts, we will not
attempt to enumerate. Nearly one half of the whole number were consigned
to the moral death of slavery, and many to that physical death which was
dreaded far less than slavery. After wandering in the wilderness thrice
forty years, they fell under the oppression, the persecution, the power
of a mighty nation, which boasts of its justice, its honor, and love of
liberty. We lament the sad fate of those who died in that struggle; but
with deeper anguish, and far keener mortification, we deplore the
unhappy lot of those who were doomed to drag out a miserable existence,
amidst chains and wretchedness, surrounded by that moral darkness which
broods over the enslaved portion of our fellow-beings in the Southern

There are yet remaining in Florida a few descendants of the pioneer
Exiles. They are intermarried with the bands of "Billy Bowlegs," and of
"Sam Jones," sometimes called Aripeka; they are now mostly half-breeds,
and are rapidly becoming amalgamated with the Indian race.

Besides these, there are a number of Spanish Refugees, or colored people
who fled from Spanish masters and took up their residence with those
called "Spanish Indians." These did not engage in the war until 1840:
nor did they then engage in any of the battles with our army; they
contented themselves with plundering ships wrecked on their coast, and
the foray upon Indian Key. They refused to send delegates to the council
summoned by General Worth, to establish terms of pacification. They live
independent of the white people, subsisting mostly on fish and the
natural products of the soil, holding very little intercourse with
either white men or other Indians. Descendants of Exile parents, they
have the complexion and appearance of pure Spaniards; but they are
rapidly blending with the Indians, and forming a mixed race.

These different bands, remaining in Florida, and aggregating into a
distinct people, have on several occasions since 1843, given evidence of
implacable hostility to the whites. And at the time of writing this
narrative, they are engaged in open war; while the Government of the
United States is endeavoring to secure peace in the same manner and upon
the same terms on which General Worth obtained it, in 1843. Their future
history may, hereafter, occupy the pen of some other historian.



     Character of Abraham--His knowledge of the Treaty of Payne's
     Landing--Its stipulations--General Jessup's assurances--Confirmed
     by other Officers of Government--Disappointment of Exiles on
     reaching Western Country--They refuse to enter Creek
     jurisdiction--Creeks disappointed--General Cass's policy of
     reuniting Tribes--Agent attempts to pacify Exiles--Hospitality of
     Cherokees--Discontent of all the Tribes--Seminoles loud in their
     complaints--Hostilities apprehended--Conduct of Executive--Agents
     selected to negotiate another Treaty--Treaty stipulations--Attempts
     to falsify history--Executive action unknown to the people.

[Sidenote: 1844.]

The Exiles were now all located on the Cherokee lands, west of the State
of Arkansas. They had been removed from Florida at great expense of
blood and treasure; but they were yet free, and the object of the
Administration had not been attained. Conscious of the designs of the
Creeks, the Seminoles and Exiles refused to trust themselves within
Creek jurisdiction. They were tenants at will of the Cherokees, whose
hospitality had furnished them with temporary homes until the Government
should fulfill its treaty stipulations, in furnishing them a territory
to their separate use.

Abraham was, perhaps, the most influential man among the Exiles. He had
been a witness and interpreter in making the treaty of Payne's Landing,
and had dictated the important provision in the supplemental treaty; he
had exerted his influence in favor of emigration; to him, therefore, his
people looked with more confidence than to any other individual. In all
his intercourse with our officers, he had been assured of the intention
to fulfill those treaties; and when he found the Government hesitating
on that point, he became indignant, and so did others of his band. But
he could only express his indignation to the Agent appointed to
superintend their affairs and supply their wants. These complaints were
made known to the Indian Bureau, at Washington; but they were unheeded,
and the Exiles and their friends lived on in the vain hope that the
Administration would at some day redeem the pledged faith of the nation,
and assign them a territory for their separate use, where they could
live independent of the Creeks, as they had done for nearly a century

Nor is it easy for men at this day to appreciate that feeling which so
stubbornly sought their enslavement; we can only account for this
unyielding purpose, from the long-established practice of so wielding
the power and influence of the nation as best to promote the interests
of slavery. It is certain, that it would have cost the United States no
more to set off to the Exiles and Seminole Indians a separate territory,
on which they could live free and independent, than it would to
constrain them to settle on the Creek lands, and subject them to Creek
laws, and Creek despotism, and Creek servitude.

General Jackson, in 1816, had ordered Blount's Fort to be destroyed and
the negroes returned to those who owned them. To effect this latter
object, in 1822, he proposed to compel the Seminole Indians to return
and reunite with the Creeks. If at any time there were other reasons for
the frauds committed upon the Exiles and Indians--for the violations of
the pledged faith of the nation--it is hoped that some of the officers
who acted a prominent part in those scenes of treachery and turpitude,
or their biographers, will yet inform the public of their existence.

Settled, as the Seminoles and Exiles now were on the Cherokee lands, all
parties concerned were necessarily dissatisfied. The Creeks were
disappointed, and greatly dissatisfied at not having the Exiles in their
power, and charged our Government with bad faith in not delivering that
extraordinary people into their hands. The Cherokees had assured the
Seminoles and Exiles that our Government would deal honorably with them,
and would faithfully carry out the treaty of Payne's Landing, with the
proviso contained in the supplemental treaty; and they were now greatly
dissatisfied at the refusal of the Executive to observe this solemn
stipulation; while the Seminoles and Exiles were indignant at the
deception, fraud and perfidy practiced upon them.

Complaints against the Government now became general among all these
tribes. All had been deceived; all had been wronged; and all became loud
in their denunciations of the Government. This feeling became more
intense as time passed away. It was in vain that our Indian agents and
military officers at the West endeavored to quiet this state of general
discontent. The newspapers of that day gave intimations of difficulties
among the Indians at the West; they stated, in general terms, the danger
of hostilities, but omitted all allusion to the cause of this

The Executive appeared to be paralyzed with the difficulties now thrown
in his way. He urged upon the Indian agents and military officers to use
all possible efforts to suppress these feelings of hostility, which now
appeared ready to burst forth upon the first occasion; coolly insisting
that, at some future day, the Seminoles and Exiles would consent to
remove on to the Creek territory.

At length the danger of hostilities became so imminent, that the
Executive deemed it necessary to enter upon further negotiation in order
to effect the long cherished purpose of subjecting the Exiles to Creek
jurisdiction and consequent slavery. To effect this object it was
necessary to select suitable instruments. Four Indian Agents, holding
their offices by the Executive favor, were appointed to hold a Council
with their discontented tribes, and if possible to negotiate a new
treaty with them. It is somewhat singular that no statesman, no person
favorably known to the public, or possessing public confidence, was
selected for so important a service.

[Sidenote: 1845.]

Of course any treaty formed under such circumstances and by such agents
would conform to the Executive will. The treaty bears date on the
twenty-fifth of January; and we insert the preamble and those articles
which have particular relation to the subject matter of which we are
speaking. They are as follows:

     "Articles of a Treaty made by Wm. Armstrong, P. M. Butler, James
     Segan and Thomas S. Judge, Commissioners in behalf of the United
     States, of the first part; the Creek Tribe of Indians of the second
     part, and the Seminole Indians of the third part:"

     "WHEREAS, It was stipulated in the fourth article of the Creek
     Treaty of 1833, that the Seminoles should thence forward be
     considered a constituent part of the Creek nation, and that a
     permanent and comfortable home should be secured for them on the
     lands set apart in said treaty as the country of the Creeks; and
     whereas, many of the Seminoles have settled and are now living in
     the Creek Country, while others, constituting a large portion of
     the tribe, have refused to make their homes in any part thereof,
     assigning, as a reason, that _they are unwilling to submit to Creek
     laws and Government, and that they are apprehensive of being
     deprived by the Creek authorities of their property_; and whereas,
     repeated complaints have been made to the United States Government,
     that those of the Seminoles who refuse to go into the Creek Country
     have, without authority or right, settled upon lands secured to
     other tribes, and that they have committed numerous and extensive
     depredations upon the property of those upon whose lands they have

     "Now, therefore, in order to reconcile all difficulties respecting
     location and jurisdiction; to settle all disputed questions which
     have arisen, or may hereafter arise, in regard to rights of
     property; and, especially, to preserve the peace of the frontier,
     seriously endangered by the restless and warlike spirit of the
     intruding Seminoles, the parties to this treaty have agreed to the
     following stipulations:"

     "ARTICLE 1. The Creeks agree that the Seminoles shall be entitled
     to settle in a body, or separately, as they please, in any part of
     the Creek Country; that they shall make their own town regulations,
     subject, however, to the general control of the Creek Council in
     which they shall be represented; and, in short, that no distinction
     shall be made between the two tribes in any respect, except in the
     management of their pecuniary affairs; in which neither shall
     interfere with the _other_."

     "ART 2. The Seminoles agree that those of their tribe who have not
     done so before the ratification of this treaty, shall immediately
     thereafter remove to, and permanently settle in, the Creek

     "ART. 3. It is mutually agreed by the Creeks and Seminoles that all
     contested cases between the two tribes, concerning the right of
     property growing out of sales or transactions that may have
     occurred previous to the ratification of this treaty, shall be
     subject to the decision of the President of the United States."

The leading feature of this treaty, is a studied effort to make no
allusion to the Exiles, or to recognize their existence in any way.
General Jessup, in the articles of capitulation, had expressly
stipulated for the protection of the persons and property of the
"allies" of the Seminoles; but for half a century efforts had been made
to exclude them from the page of our national history, and never was
that policy more strikingly illustrated than in this treaty.

As heretofore stated, the Seminoles were said to own some forty slaves;
but the Author has been unable to find any hint or intimation that any
one of those slaves was claimed by the Creeks: yet efforts were made to
falsify the truth of history by representing the four or five hundred
Exiles now living with the Seminoles to be slaves to their friends and

The next extraordinary feature of the treaty, is the recital of the
_Creek_ treaty as binding upon the Seminoles, when they had been no
party to it, nor even had knowledge of its existence.

But the third article is that on which both Exiles and Seminoles appear
to have relied. Thinking the President would do justice; feeling
themselves subject to the power of the Executive, and pressed on all
sides to accede to terms of pacification, they signed the treaty as the
best alternative that lay before them.

In accordance with the past policy of the Administration, this treaty
was withheld from publication. It was of course submitted to the Senate
in secret session for approval. It was then amended, and still kept from
the public for nearly two years after its negotiation.

     NOTE.--At the session of Congress, 1845-6, a bill containing, among
     many other things, an appropriation to carry out this treaty, was
     reported by the committee on Ways and Means, of the House of
     Representatives. The treaty itself yet lay concealed in the office
     of the Secretary of the Senate, where it had been ratified in
     secret session, and not a member of the House of Representatives
     had seen it, unless it was the Chairman of the committee of Ways
     and Means, or other confidential friends of the Executive, to whom
     it was given for personal examination.

     The bill was printed, and the Author seeing this provision,
     determined to know something of the treaty, before voting money to
     carry it into effect. For this purpose, he called on one of the
     Senators from Ohio (Hon. Thomas Corwin), to get a copy of the
     treaty. Mr. Corwin went with him to the office of the Secretary of
     the Senate, and after much inquiry, and passing from one clerk to
     another, a copy was obtained.

     When the bill came up for discussion, inquiry was made as to the
     treaty, its character and object. No member appeared to have any
     knowledge of it, save the Chairman of the committee of Ways and
     Means, (Mr. McKay of North Carolina). The Author of this work
     endeavored to give the House some idea of its origin, and, in the
     course of his remarks, referred to the manner in which the State of
     Georgia had been implicated in the persecution of the Exiles. This
     reference to the State of Georgia awakened the ire of Mr. Black, a
     Representative from that State, who advanced toward the Author with
     uplifted cane, as if to inflict personal chastisement, and quite a
     _scène_ followed, which at the time created some sensation in the



     Difficulties in effecting a reunion of Tribes--Its objects--Exiles
     and Seminoles move on to Creek Lands--They settle in separate
     Villages--Creeks demand Exiles as Slaves--Exiles arm
     themselves--They flee to Fort Gibson--Demand protection of the
     United States--General Arbuckle protects them--Reports facts to
     Department--Administration embarrassed--Call on General Jessup for
     facts--He writes General Arbuckle--Reports facts to the
     President--President hesitates--Refers question to Attorney
     General--Extraordinary opinion of that Officer--Manner in which Mr.
     Mason was placed in office--Exiles return to their
     Village--Slaveholders dissatisfied--Slave-dealer among the
     Creeks--His offer--They capture near one hundred Exiles--They are
     delivered to the Slave-dealer--Habeas Corpus in Arkansas--Decision
     of Judge--Exiles hurried to New Orleans and sold as Slaves--Events
     of 1850--Exiles depart for Mexico--Are pursued by
     Creeks--Battle--The Exiles continue their journey--They settle near
     Santa Rosa--The fate which different portions of the Exiles
     met--Incidents which occurred after their settlement in

[Sidenote: 1846.]

The Creeks and Seminoles had been separated for nearly a century. They
had most of that time lived under separate governments. Each Tribe had
been controlled by their own laws; and each had been independent of the
other. They had often been at war with each other; and the most deadly
feuds had been engendered and still subsisted among them. To unite them
with the Creeks, and blot the name of "Seminole" from the page of their
future history, in order to involve the Exiles in slavery, had long been
a cherished object with the administration of our Government. It was now
fondly hoped, that that object would be accomplished without further

But at no period had the Seminole Indians regarded the Exiles with
greater favor than they did when removing on to the territory assigned
to the Creeks. Although many of them had intermarried with the
Seminoles, and half-breeds were now common among the Indians; yet most
of the descendants of the pioneers who fled from South Carolina and
Georgia maintained their identity of character, living by themselves,
and maintaining the purity of the African race. They yet cherished this
love of their own kindred and color; and when they removed on to the
Creek lands, they settled in separate villages: and the Seminole Indians
appeared generally to coincide with the Exiles in the propriety of each
maintaining their distinctive character.

During the summer and autumn both Indians and Exiles became residents
within Creek jurisdiction; and the Executive seemed to regard the trust
held under the assignment made at Indian Spring, twenty-four years
previously, as now fulfilled. Regarding the Creeks as holding the
equitable or beneficial interest in the bodies of the Exiles, under the
assignment from their owners to the United States, and they being now
brought under Creek jurisdiction, subject to Creek laws, the Executive
felt that his obligations were discharged, and the whole matter left
with the Creeks.

This opinion appears also to have been entertained by the Creek Indians;
for no sooner had the Exiles and Seminoles located themselves within
Creek jurisdiction, than the Exiles were claimed as the legitimate
slaves of the Creeks. To these demands the Exiles and Seminoles replied,
that the President, under the treaty of 1845, was bound to hear and
determine all questions arising between them. The demands were,
therefore, certified to the proper department for decision. But this
setting in judgment upon the heaven-endowed right of man to his liberty,
seemed to involve more personal and moral responsibility than was
desirable for the Executive to assume, and the claims remained

The Creeks became impatient at delay; they were a slaveholding people,
as well as their more civilized but more infidel brethren, of the slave
States. The Exiles, living in their own villages in the enjoyment of
perfect freedom, had already excited discontent among the slaves of the
Creek and Choctaw Tribes, and those of Arkansas. The Creeks appeared to
feel that it had been far better for them to have kept the Exiles in
Florida, than to bring them to the Western Country to live in freedom.
Yet their claims under the treaty of 1845, thus far, appeared to have
been disregarded by the President; they had been unable to obtain a
decision on them; and they now threatened violence for the purpose of
enslaving the Exiles, unless their demands were peacefully conceded.

The Exiles, yet confident that the Government would fulfill its
stipulations to protect them and their property, repaired in a body to
Fort Gibson, and demanded protection of General Arbuckle, the officer in
command. He had no doubt of the obligation of the United States to lend
them protection, according to the express language of the articles of
capitulation entered into with General Jessup, in March, 1837. He,
therefore, directed the whole body of Exiles to encamp and remain upon
the lands reserved by the United States, near the fort, and under their
exclusive jurisdiction, assuring them that no Creek would dare set foot
upon that reservation with intentions of violence towards any person.
Accordingly the Exiles, who yet remained free, now encamped around Fort
Gibson, and were supported by rations dealt out from the public stores.

Soon as he could ascertain all the facts, General Arbuckle made report
to the War Department relative to their situation, and the claims which
they made to protection under the articles of capitulation, together
with the rights which the Creeks set up to reënslave them.

This state of circumstances appears to have been unexpected by the
Executive. Indeed, he appears from the commencement to have under-rated
the difficulties which beset the enslavement of a people who were
determined upon the enjoyment of freedom; he seems to have expected the
negroes, when once placed within Creek jurisdiction, would have yielded
without further effort. But he was now placed in a position which
constrained him either to repudiate the pledged faith of the nation, or
to protect the Exiles in their _persons and property_, according to the
solemn covenants which General Jessup had entered into with them.

Yet the President was disposed to make farther efforts to avoid the
responsibility of deciding the question before him. General Jessup had
entered into the articles of capitulation, and the President appeared to
think he was competent to give construction to them; he therefore
referred the subject to that officer, stating the circumstances, and
demanding of him the substance of _his undertaking_ in regard to the
articles of capitulation with the Exiles.

General Jessup appears to have now felt a desire to do justice to that
friendless and persecuted people. Without waiting to answer the
President, he at once wrote General Arbuckle, saying, "The case of the
Seminole negroes is now before the President. By my proclamation and the
convention made with them, when they separated from the Indians and
surrendered, _they are free_. The question is, whether they shall be
separated from the Seminoles and removed to another country; or be
allowed to occupy, as they did in Florida, separate villages in the
Seminole Country, west of Arkansas? The latter is what _I promised
them_. I hope, General, you will prevent any interference with them at
Fort Gibson, until the President determines whether they shall remain in
the Seminole Country, or be allowed to remove to some other."

General Arbuckle, faithful to the honor of his Government, continued to
protect the Exiles. He fed them from the public stores, not doubting
that the Executive would redeem the pledge of the nation given by
General Jessup, its authorized agent. But the President (Mr. Polk)
himself a slaveholder, with his prejudices and sympathies in favor of
the institution, did not understand the articles of capitulation
according to the construction put upon them by General Jessup; he
appears, therefore, to have called on the General for a more explicit
report of facts. In reply to this call, he reported, saying, "At a
meeting with the three Indian chiefs, and the negro chiefs, Auguste and
Carollo, I stipulated to recommend to the President to grant the Indians
a small tract of country in the south-eastern part of the Peninsula; but
it was distinctly understood that the negroes were to be separated from
them at once, and sent West, whether the Indians were permitted to
remain in Florida or not. With the negroes, it was stipulated that they
should be sent West, as a part of the Seminole nation, and be _settled
in a separate village, under the_ PROTECTION OF THE UNITED STATES." In
another letter, addressed to the Secretary of War, he says: "A very
_small portion_ of the Seminole negroes who went to the West, were
brought in and surrendered by their owners, under the capitulation of
Fort Dade. Over these negroes the Indians have all the rights of
masters; but all the other negroes, making more than _nine-tenths of the
whole number_, either separated from the Indians and surrendered to me,
or were captured by the troops under my command. I, as commander of the
army, and in the capacity of representative of my country, _solemnly
pledged the national faith that they should not be separated, nor any of
them sold to white men or others_, but be allowed to settle and remain

But even with these explicit statements before him, the President
appears to have been unable to form an opinion; and he referred the
matter to the Attorney General, Hon. John Y. Mason, of Virginia, who had
been bred a slaveholder, and fully sympathized with the slave power. He,
having examined the whole subject, delivered a very elaborate opinion,
embracing seven documentary pages;[132] but concluding with the opinion,
that although the Exiles were entitled to their freedom, the Executive
_could not interfere in any manner to protect them_, as stipulated by
General Jessup, but must leave them to retire to their Towns in the
Indian Territory, where _they had a right to remain_.

[Sidenote: 1848.]

We should be unfaithful to our pledged purpose, were we to omit certain
important facts connected with this opinion of the Attorney General.
Nathan Clifford, of Maine, was appointed Attorney General of the United
States in 1846, soon after the report of General Arbuckle concerning the
situation of the Exiles reached Washington. The subject was before the
President more than two years. This delay we cannot account for, unless
it were to save Mr. Clifford (being a Northern man) from the
responsibility of deciding this question, involving important interests
of the slaveholding portion of our Union. In 1848 Mr. Clifford was
appointed Minister to Mexico, and Hon. Isaac Toucey, of Connecticut, was
appointed Attorney General. But he, too, was from a free State, and it
would throw upon him great responsibility were he constrained to act
upon this subject. Were he to decide in favor of the Exiles, it might
ruin his popularity at the South; and if against them, it would have an
equally fatal effect at the North.

Under these circumstances, recourse was had to an expedient. Before Mr.
Toucey entered upon the discharge of his official duties, Mr. Mason,
himself a slaveholder, was appointed to discharge the duties _ad
interim_. He entered the office, wrote out the opinion referred to, and
then resigned the office and emoluments to Mr. Toucey; having decided no
other question, nor discharged any other duty, than this exercise of
official influence for the enslavement of the Exiles.

The President affirmed the principles decided by the Attorney General,
and the Exiles were informed that they _had the right to remain in their
villages, free from all interference, or interruption from the Creeks_.
They had no other lands, no other country, no other homes. Many of their
families were connected by marriage with the Seminoles. They and the
Seminole Indians had, through several generations, been acquainted with
each other; they had stood beside each other on many a battle field.
Seminoles and Exiles had fallen beside each other, and were buried in
the same grave; they had often sat in council together, and the Exiles
were unwilling to separate from their friends. Wild Cat and Abraham and
Louis, and many leading men and warriors of the Exiles and Seminoles,
having deliberated upon the subject, united in the opinion, that the
Exiles should return to their villages and reside upon the lands to
which they were entitled.

In accordance with this decision, they returned to their new homes,
resumed their habits of agriculture, and for a time all was quiet and
peaceful; but their example was soon felt among the slaves of Arkansas,
and of the surrounding Indian tribes. Nor is it to be supposed that the
holders of slaves in any State of the Union, would be willing to admit
that so large a body of servants could, by any effort, separate from
their masters, for a century and a half maintain their liberty, and
after so much effort to reënslave them, be permitted to enjoy liberty in

Hundreds of them had been seized in Florida and enslaved. The laws of
slave States presumed every black person to be a slave; and it was
evident, that if they could once be subjected to the will of some white
man, the laws of Arkansas would enable him to hold them in bondage.[133]

An individual, a slave-dealer, appeared among the Creeks and offered to
pay them one hundred dollars for each Exile they would seize and deliver
to him; he stipulating to take all risk of title.[134]

[Sidenote: 1849.]

This temptation was too great for the integrity of the Creeks, who were
smarting under their disappointment, and the defeat of their long
cherished schemes, of reënslaving the Exiles. Some two hundred Creek
warriors collected together, armed themselves, and, making a sudden
descent upon the Exiles, seized such as they could lay their hands upon.
The men and most of the women and children fled; but those who had arms
collected, and presenting themselves between their brethren and the
Creeks who were pursuing them, prepared to defend themselves and
friends.[135] The Creeks, unwilling to encounter the danger which
threatened them, ceased from further pursuit, but, turning back, dragged
their frightened victims, who had been already captured, to the Creek
villages, and delivered them over to the slave-dealer, who paid them the
stipulated price.

[Sidenote: 1850.]

The Seminole Agent, learning the outrage, at once repaired to the
nearest Judge in Arkansas, and obtained a writ of habeas corpus. The
Exiles were brought before him in obedience to the command of the writ,
and a hearing was had. The Agent showed the action of General Jessup;
the sanction of the capitulation of March, 1837, by the Executive; the
opinion of the Attorney General, and action of the President, deciding
the Exiles to be free, and in all respects entitled to their liberty.
But the Judge decided that the Creeks had obtained title by virtue of
their contract with General Jessup; that neither General Jessup, nor the
President, had power to emancipate the Exiles, even in time of war; that
the Attorney General had misunderstood the law; that the title of the
Creek Indians was legal and perfect; and they, having sold them to the
claimant, his title must be good and perfect.[136]

No sooner was the decision announced, than the manacled victims were
hurried from their friends and the scenes of such transcendent crimes
and guilt. They were placed on board a steamboat, and carried to New
Orleans. There they were sold to different purchasers, taken to
different estates, and mingling with the tide of human victims who are
septennially murdered upon the cotton and sugar plantations of that
State, they now rest in their quiet graves, or perhaps have shared the
more unhappy fate of living and suffering tortures incomparably worse
than death.

The year 1850 was distinguished by a succession of triumphs on the part
of the slave power. While the President and his Cabinet, and members of
the Senate and of the House of Representatives, were seeking the passage
of the Fugitive Slave Law; while slaveholders and their northern allies
appeared to be aroused in favor of oppression within the States of our
Union, their savage coadjutors of the Indian territory were equally

There yet remained some hundreds of Exiles in that far-distant territory
unsubdued, and enjoying liberty. They had witnessed the duplicity, the
treachery of our Government often repeated, toward themselves and their
friends--they had, most of them, been born in freedom--they had grown to
manhood, had become aged amidst persecutions, dangers and death--they
had experienced the constant and repeated violations of our national
faith: its perfidy was no longer disguised; if they remained, death or
slavery would constitute their only alternative. One, and only one, mode
of avoiding such a fate remained--that was, to leave the territory, the
jurisdiction of the United States, and flee beyond its power and

Mexico was _free_! No slave clanked his chains under its government.
Could they reach the Rio Grande? Could they place themselves safely on
Mexican soil, they might hope yet to be free. A Council was held. Some
were connected with Seminoles of influence. Those who were intimately
connected with Indian families of influence, and most of the
half-breeds, feeling they could safely remain in the Indian territory,
preferred to stay with their friends and companions. Of the precise
number who thus continued in the Indian Country, we have no certain
information;[137] but some three hundred are supposed to have determined
on going to Mexico, and perhaps from one to two hundred concluded to
remain with their connexions in the Indian Country.

Abraham had reached a mature age; had great experience, and retained
influence with his people. Louis Pacheco, of whom we spoke in a former
chapter, with his learning, his shrewdness and tact, was still with
them, and so were many able and experienced warriors. Wild Cat, the most
active and energetic chief of the Seminole Tribe, declared his
unalterable purpose to accompany the Exiles; to assist them in their
journey, and defend them, if assailed. Other Seminoles volunteered to go
with them. Their arrangements were speedily made. Such property as they
had was collected together, and packed for transportation. They owned a
few Western ponies. Their blankets, which constituted their beds, and
some few cooking utensils and agricultural implements, were placed upon
their ponies, or carried by the females and children; while the
warriors, carrying only their weapons and ammunition, marched,
unencumbered even by any unnecessary article of clothing, prepared for
battle at every step of their journey.

After the sun had gone down (Sept. 10), their spies and patrols, who had
been sent out for that purpose, returned, and reported that all was
quiet; that no slave-hunters were to be seen. As the darkness of night
was closing around them, they commenced their journey westwardly. Amid
the gloom of the evening, silent and sad they took leave of their
western homes, and fled from the jurisdiction of a people who had
centuries previously kidnapped their ancestors in their native homes,
brought them to this country, enslaved them, and during many generations
had persecuted them. Many of their friends and relatives had been
murdered for their love of liberty by our Government; others had been
doomed to suffer and languish in slavery--a fate far more dreaded than
death. At the period of this exodus, their number was probably less than
at the close of the Revolution.

When the slaveholding Creeks learned that the Exiles had left, they
collected together and sent a war party in pursuit, for the purpose of
capturing as many as they could, in order to sell them to the
slave-dealers from Louisiana and Arkansas, who were then present among
the Creeks, encouraging them to make another piratical descent upon the
Exiles for the capture of slaves.

This war party came up with the emigrants on the third day after leaving
their homes. But Wild Cat and Abraham, and their experienced warriors,
were not to be surprised. They were prepared and ready for the conflict.
With them it was death or victory. They boldly faced their foes. Their
wives and children were looking on with emotions not to be described.
With the coolness of desperation, they firmly resolved on dying, or on
driving back the slave-catching Creeks from the field of conflict. Their
nerves were steady, and their aim fatal. Their enemies soon learned the
danger and folly of attempting to capture armed men who were fighting
for freedom. They fled, leaving their dead upon the field; which is
always regarded by savages as dishonorable defeat.[138]

The Exiles resumed their journey, still maintaining their warlike
arrangement. Directing their course south-westerly, they crossed the Rio
Grande, and continuing nearly in the same direction, they proceeded into
Mexico, until they reached the vicinity of the ancient but now deserted
town of Santa Rosa.[139] In that beautiful climate, they found a rich,
productive soil. Here they halted, examined the country, and finally
determined to locate their new homes in this most romantic portion of
Mexico. Here they erected their cabins, planted their gardens, commenced
plantations, and resumed their former habits of agricultural life. There
they yet remain. Forcibly torn from their native land, oppressed,
wronged, and degraded, they became voluntary Exiles from South Carolina
and Georgia. More recently exiled from Florida and from the territory of
the United States--they are yet _free_! After the struggles and
persecutions of a hundred and fifty years, they repose in comparative
quiet under a government which repudiates slavery. To the pen of some
future historian we consign their subsequent history.

Before taking leave of the reader, we would call his attention to a
review of the fate which attended different portions of the Exiles, and
to a few further incidents, for some of which we have only newspaper
authority; but from all the circumstances we have no doubt they actually

Of the Exiles and their descendants, twelve were delivered up at the
treaty of Colerain in 1796, and consigned to slavery; two hundred and
seventy were massacred at Blount's Fort in 1816; thirty were taken
prisoners--these all died of wounds or were enslaved. At the different
battles in the first Seminole War in 1818, it is believed that at least
four hundred were slain, including those who fell at Blount's Fort.

In the Second Seminole War, probably seventy-five were slain in battle,
and five hundred were enslaved; and at least seventy-five were seized by
the Creek Indians, in 1850, and enslaved. Probably a hundred and fifty
connected with the Seminoles now reside in the Western Country, and will
soon become amalgamated with the Indians; while three hundred have found
their way to Mexico, and are free.[140] Making, in all, thirteen
hundred and fifty souls; being some hundreds less than was reported by
the Officers of Government, in 1836. This discrepancy is accounted for
by the fact, that the Exiles captured by individual enterprise, and by
the Georgia and Florida militia, were never officially reported to the
War Department, and we have no reliable data on which we can fix an
estimate of the number thus piratically enslaved. There are also a few
yet in Florida, not included in the above estimate.

[Sidenote: 1852.]

As to their present situation, we can give the reader but little further
information. In the summer of 1852, Wild Cat suddenly appeared among his
friends, the Seminoles, who yet remained in the Indian Country. His
appearance excited surprise among the Creeks. They at that time
maintained a guard, composed of mounted men: these were at once put in
motion for the purpose of arresting this extraordinary chieftain. But
while they were engaged in looking for him, he and a company of
Seminoles, attended by a number of Exiles and black persons, previously
held in bondage by the Creeks, were rapidly wending their way towards
their new settlement.[141]

This visit of Wild Cat to the Western Country occasioned much excitement
in that region, as well as astonishment at Washington, and constituted
the occasion of a protracted correspondence between the War Department
and our Military Officers and Indian Agents of that country. Wild Cat
was denounced as a "pirate"--"_robber_"--"OUTLAW;" and nearly all the
opprobrious epithets known to our language were heaped upon him, for
thus aiding his fellow men to regain those rights to life and liberty
with which the God of Nature had originally endowed them.

During the year 1852, while our commissioners, appointed to establish
the boundary between the United States and Mexico, were engaged in the
discharge of their official duties, a small party of armed men was in
attendance for their protection. Some eight of these were said to have
been engaged in patroling the country, when they fell in with Wild Cat
and a portion of this band of Exiles, who were at all times prepared for
friends or foes. The whites were made prisoners without bloodshed, and
taken to their village. A council was called. Abraham was yet living,
and the white men declared that he was regarded as a ruling prince by
his people. They were evidently suspicious of the intentions of our men;
but upon inquiry and consideration, they became satisfied that no
hostile intentions had brought our friends to that country; they were
accordingly treated with becoming hospitality, and dismissed. These
brief statements appeared in some of the newspapers of that day, which
constitutes our only authority for stating them.

[Sidenote: 1853.]

Complaints were subsequently made through the Texan newspapers, that
slaves escaped from that region of country and found an asylum in
Mexico, on the other side of the Rio Grande; and intimations were thrown
out that a party of volunteers, without authority from the United
States, were about to visit the settlement, which thus encouraged slaves
to seek their freedom. The suggestion was so much in character with the
slaveholders of Texas, that it excited attention among those who were
aware of the settlement of Exiles in the region indicated. It was
believed that those men who were about to visit Wild Cat and Abraham and
Louis and their companions, for the purpose of seizing and enslaving
men, would find an entertainment for which they were not prepared.

Some few months subsequently, a brief reference was made in the
newspapers of Texas to this expedition, giving their readers to
understand that it had failed of accomplishing the object intended, and
had returned with its numbers _somewhat diminished_ by their conflict
with the blacks.

As was naturally expected, after the lapse of some six months, great
complaint was heard through the public press of Indian depredations
upon the frontier of Texas. Plantations were said to be destroyed;
buildings burned; people murdered, and slaves carried away. This foray
was said to have been made by Camanche Indians, led on by Wild Cat. He
appears yet ready to make war upon all who fight for slavery; and many
of the scenes which were enacted in Florida, will most likely be again
presented on our south-western frontier, where the same causes exist
which formerly existed in Florida, and the same effects will be likely
to follow.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

General Call at Talahasse=> General Call at Tallahasse {pg 125}

visited Fort Mellen=> visited Fort Mellon {pg 141}

Any inteference with the negroes=> Any interference with the negroes {pg

Members of familes=> Members of families {pg 174}

prefering to have them=> preferring to have them {pg 195}

arrrangements were privately making=> arrangements were privately making
{pg 237}

Acting Commmissioner=> Acting Commissioner {pg 241}

to those gentleman to enable them=> to those gentlemen to enable them
{pg 241}

he was in Forida at the time=> he was in Florida at the time {pg 245}

all prisoner captured in war=> all prisoners captured in war {pg 246}

This feelng was=> This feeling was {pg 252}

betrayed, treachererously=> betrayed, treacherously {pg 255}

This Message was=> This message was {pg 263}

that Territoy=> that Territory {pg 282}

outnumbered the asssailants=> outnumbered the assailants {pg 289}

disppointment and chagrin=> disappointment and chagrin {pg 289}

died of sicknes=> died of sickness {pg 303}

sense of gatitude=> sense of gratitude {pg 306}

were sacrified=> were sacrificed {pg 315}

Blount's Fourt=> Blount's Fort {pg 318}

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] Vide Bancroft's and Hildreth's Histories of the United States.

[2] Vide both Histories above cited.

[3] Vide Schoolcraft's History of Indian Tribes.

[4] Vide American Archives, Vol. I. Fifth Series: 1852.

[5] This was the residence of George Galphin, an Indian trader, who, in
1773, aided in obtaining a treaty by which the Creek Indians ceded a
large tract of land to the British Government. Georgia succeeded the
British Government in its title to these lands, by the treaty of peace
in 1783. Some fifty years afterwards, the descendants of Galphin
petitioned the State of Georgia for compensation, on account of the
services rendered by Galphin in obtaining the treaty of 1773. But the
Legislature repudiated the claim. The heirs, or rather descendants of
Galphin, then applied to Congress, who never had either legal or
beneficial interest, in the lands obtained by the treaty. The
Representatives from Georgia and from the South generally supported the
claim. Northern men yielded their objections to this absurd demand, and
in 1848 a bill passed both Houses of Congress by which the descendants
of Galphin, and their attorneys and agents, obtained from our National
Treasury $243,871 86, and the term "Galphin" has since become synonymous
with "peculation" upon the public Treasury.

[6] Vide Report of Hugh Knox, Secretary of War, to the President, dated
July 6, 1789. American State Papers. Vol. V. page 15, where the Treaty
is recited in full.

[7] Vide papers accompanying the Report of the Secretary of War, above
referred to, marked A, and numbered 1, 2 and 3.

[8] Vide letter of James White to Major General Knox, of the 24th May,
1787. American State Papers, Vol II, Indian Affairs.

[9] American State Papers, Vol. V, page 25.

[10] Vide Documents accompanying the Treaty of New York; Am. State
Papers, Vol. I, Indian Affairs.

[11] The reader need not be informed, that these demands of indemnity
for slaves were promptly rejected by the English government; and Jay's
Treaty of 1794, surrendered them forever.

[12] Hildreth, in his History of the United States, speaks of in that

[13] Vide Annals of Congress, Vol. I, pages 1068-70-74.

[14] Vide Correspondence on this subject between Seagrove and the War
Department. American State Papers, Vol. V, pages 304-5, 320, 336, 387,
and 392.

[15] American State Papers, "Indian Affairs." Vol. II, p. 306.

[16] Vide talk of principal Chief at Treaty of Colerain.

[17] Vide Annals of Congress of that date.

[18] Vide papers accompanying the Treaty of Colerain. American State
Papers, Vol. I, "Indian Affairs."

[19] Vide the papers accompanying this Treaty when submitted to the
Senate. They are collected in the second volume of American State
Papers, entitled "Indian Affairs." They will afford much interesting
matter as to the doctrines of "State Rights" and Nullification, which it
is unnecessary to embrace in this work.

[20] Vide Annals of IVth Congress, 2d Session

[21] The claims of these ancient Spanish inhabitants for indemnity
against these robberies, have been pressed upon the consideration of
Congress for the last twenty-five years, and were recently pending
before the Court of Claims. When the bill for their relief was under
discussion before the House of Representatives, In 1843, Hon. John
Quincy Adams presented a list of some ninety slaves, for the loss of
whom the owners claimed compensation from the United States. But the
discussions which arose on private bills were not at that time reported;
and neither this exhibit, nor the speech of Mr. Adams, are to be found
in the Congressional Debates of that day.

[22] Many slaves actually fled from their masters and found an asylum on
board British vessels. Some sixty, belonging to a planter named Forbes,
who resided in Georgia, left his plantation and took shelter on board
the ship commanded by Lord Cochrane. They were transported to Jamaica,
where they settled and lived as other free people. After the restoration
of peace, Forbes sued his Lordship, before the British courts, for
damages sustained by the loss of these slaves. The case elicited much
learning in regard to the law of Slavery and, next to that of Sommerset,
may be regarded as the most important on that subject ever litigated
before an English court.

[23] "Monette," In his "History of the Valley of the Mississippi," says
Woodbine erected this fort in the summer of 1816; and such were the
representations made before the Committee appointed in 1819, to
investigate the conduct of General Jackson, in taking possession of
Florida. But the reader will notice the Letter of General Gaines,
hereafter quoted, which bears date on the 14th May, 1815, and
_officially_ informed the Secretary of War that "_negroes and outlaws
have taken possession of a_ FORT ON THE APPALACHICOLA RIVER." This was
more than a year before the time of erecting the fort, according to

The parapet of the fort was said to be fifteen feet high and eighteen
thick, situated upon a gentle cliff, with a fine stream emptying into
the river near its base, and a swamp in the rear, which protected it
from the approach of artillery by land. On its walls were mounted one
thirty-two pounder, three twenty-four pounders, two nine pounders, two
six pounders, and one brass five and a half-inch howitzer. Vide Official
Report of Sailing-Master Loomis.

[24] This is the official account of Sailing-Master Loomis, who
commanded the naval expedition subsequently sent to reduce this

"Monette," in his History of the Valley of the Mississippi, says, "_Near
the Fort the fields were fine_, and extended along the river nearly
_fifty miles_."

[25] The reader will at once see, that these people were as much under
the protection of Spain, as the fugitive slaves now in Canada are under
the protection of British laws. They were as clearly Spanish subjects as
the latter are British subjects. By the law of nations, Spain had the
same right to permit her black subjects to occupy "Blount's Fort," that
the Queen of England has to permit Fort Malden to be occupied by her
black subjects. The only distinction between the two cases is, Spain was
weak and unable to maintain her national honor, and national rights;
while England has the power to do both.

[26] Vide the voluminous Correspondence on this subject contained in Ex.
Doc. 119, 2d Session, XVth Congress.

[27] Perhaps no portion of our national history exhibits such disregard
of International law, as this unprovoked invasion of Florida. For thirty
years, the slaves of our Southern States have been in the habit of
fleeing to the British Provinces. Here they are admitted to all the
rights of citizenship, in the same manner as they were in Florida. They
vote and hold office under British laws; and when our Government
demanded that the English Ministry should disregard the rights of these
people and return them to slavery, the British Minister contemptuously
refused even to hold correspondence with our Secretary of State on a
subject so abhorrent to every principle of national law and
self-respect. Our Government coolly submitted to the scornful arrogance
of England; but did not hesitate to invade Florida with an armed force,
and to seize the faithful subjects of Spain, and enslave them.

[28] Hon. Duncan L. Clinch. He left the service in 1841, and was
subsequently a Member of Congress for several years, and died in 1852.

[29] War was thus waged against Spain, by Executive authority, without
consulting Congress; and no member of that body uttered a protest, or
denunciation of the act.

[30] In Ex. Doc. No. 119, 2d Session, XVth Congress, may be found the
official correspondence between the War Department and General Jackson;
also that between General Jackson and General Gaines, together with the
orders of each, as well as the correspondence between the Secretary of
the Navy and Commodore Patterson; and the order of the latter officer to
Sailing-Master Loomis; and the final report of Sailing-Master Loomis and
General Clinch. In none of these papers is there any act of hostility
mentioned or referred to as having been committed by the Exiles, or the
Seminole Indians, prior to their reaching the vicinity of the Fort.

[31] Hildreth states that _three_ gun-boats were detailed on that
occasion; but the report of Sailing-Master Loomis speaks only of _two_.

[32] Hildreth states the number to have been about three hundred, partly
Indians and partly negroes.

[33] Monette says this expedition was undertaken by Col. Clinch upon his
own responsibility, to enable some boats laden with provisions to pass
up the river. A strange misapprehension of facts, as shown by official

[34] At this conference, Sailing-Master Loomis informed Colonel Clinch
that, on the day previous, while a party of his men were on shore, they
were fired on by Indians and one man killed. This was the first and only
act of hostility against our troops. It was committed by _Indians_, not
by _Exiles_; but it was subsequently seized upon and published as a
justification for carrying out General Jackson's order, bearing date
more than two months prior to the occurrence, directing General Gaines
to destroy the fort and return the negroes to slavery.

[35] Monette says, "The scene in the fort was horrible beyond
description. _Nearly the whole of the inmates were involved in
indiscriminate destruction; not one-sixth of the whole escaped. The
cries of the wounded, the groans of the dying, with the shouts and yells
of the Indians, rendered the scene horrible beyond description._"

[36] Vide Official Report at Sailing-Master Loomis, Ex. Doc. 119: 2d
Sess. XVth Cong.

[37] Some years since, the author wrote a short sketch of the general
Massacre, but omitted this point as too revolting to the feelings of
humanity, and too disgraceful to the American arms, to be laid before
the popular mind in such an article; and he would most gladly have
omitted it in this work, could he have done so consistently with his
duty to the public.

[38] Monette says that three thousand stands of arms and six hundred
barrels of powder were destroyed by the explosion. This is probably
somewhat of an exaggeration. We have no fact to warrant the assertion,
that there was any addition made to the stores left by Col. Nichols,
when he delivered the fort to the Exiles. The same author states, that
one magazine, containing one hundred and sixty barrels of powder, was
left unharmed by the explosion; but no mention of such fact is found in
the Official Report, by Sailing-Master Loomis.

[39] Vide Documents before the Committee of Congress appointed to
investigate the cause of General Jackson's invasion of Florida: XVth
Congress, 2d Session.

[40] This bill was reported by Mr. Ingham of Connecticut, Chairman of
the Committee on Naval Affairs.

[41] Vide Statutes enacted at 2d Session, XXVIth Congress. The author
was then a member of the House of Representatives, but had not learned
to watch the movements of slaveholders and "their allies," so closely as
subsequent experience taught him would be useful.

[42] Vide Speeches of Hon. George Poindexter and others on the Seminole
War, in 1819.

[43] Hon. William Jay, of New York, published his Views of the action of
the Federal Government in 1887.

[44] Monette says Arbuthnot sent word to the Negroes and Indians,
notifying them of the approach of General Jackson; but the official
report of that Officer shows that his advance guard was daily engaged in
skirmishing with the Indians.

[45] Vide General Jackson's Official Report of this battle, Ex. Doc.
175, 2d Session XVth Congress.

[46] Williams, in his History of Florida, states that three hundred and
forty Negroes again rallied after the first retreat, and fought their
pursuers, until _eighty_ of their number, were killed on the field.
"Monetta" also states the same fact; but General Jackson, in all his
Reports, evidently avoided, as far as possible, any notice of the
Exiles, as a people. Indeed such was the policy of the Administration,
and of its officers, and of all slaveholders. They then supposed, as
they now do, that slavery must depend upon the supposed ignorance and
stupidity of the colored people; and scarcely an instance can be found,
where a slaveholder admits the slave to possess human intelligence or
human feeling; indeed, to teach a slave to read the Scriptures, is
regarded as an offense, in nearly every slave State, and punishable by
fine and imprisonment.

[47] Various names have been given this Fort. The author, having
heretofore adopted that of "Blount's Fort," prefers to continue that
name. It was equally known, however, as the "Negro Fort," and as "Fort

[48] The people of the free States should understand, that almost every
question touching slavery which has arisen between our Government and
that of England, the latter has yielded, since the formation of Jay's
Treaty in 1795.

The payment for slaves who were shipwrecked on board the Comet, the
Encomium, and the Enterprise, and found freedom by being landed on
British soil, constitute rare instances in which slaveholdlng arrogance
has proved successful in the arts of diplomacy. The case of the Creole
constitutes another admirable illustration of successful effrontery. In
this case, the slaves took possession of the ship, guided it to Nassau,
a British Island, went on shore and became free. The officers of the
slave ship demanded that the British authorities should seize the
negroes, and return them to the ship. They refused. Daniel Webster,
Secretary of State, became the voluntary Agent, Attorney and Solicitor,
for the slave dealers, who should have been hanged, instead of receiving
the encouragement of our Government. But the subject was submitted to
the umpirage of a man, said to have once lived in Boston, who,
principally upon the authority of Mr. Webster, decided that the people
of the British government should pay the slave dealers for these parents
and children; and after fifteen years of continued effort, the money was

[49] Vide Letter from the Secretary of War to Messrs. Plckens and
Flournoy, August 8, 1820. Am. State Papers, Vol. VI, p. 249.

[50] Vide Letter of the Secretary of War to Gen. Flournoy, of the 19th
of October, 1820. Ibid, 250.

[51] Vide Papers transmitted to Congress, in connection with the Treaty
of "Indian Spring." Am. State Papers, "Indian Affairs," Vol. I, No. 174.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid. Letter of Instructions contained in the papers referred to on
preceding page.

[54] Vide Report of Commissioner on this subject; also, the Report of
Wm. Wirt, Attorney General of the United States, to whom the President
referred the subject. "Opinions of the Attorney General," 1822. Mr. Wirt
states the price paid for those slaves was from two to three times their
real value.

[55] Vide Reports of Committee XVIIth Congress, 2d Session, No. 125.

[56] Vide Am. State Papers, Vol. VI, pages 411, 412. It will be observed
that General Jackson discarded the term "_maroon_," used by Penieres, as
that in Jamaica, signifies "_free negroes_ of the mountains," who once
fled from service, but have maintained their liberty so long that they
cannot be identified, and are therefore admitted to be free.

[57] It is an interesting fact, that the doctrine recently avowed by the
Supreme Court of the United States, that "_black men have no rights
which white men are bound to respect_," was recognized and practiced
upon in Florida, more than thirty years since, by the officers of

[58] Vide Executive Documents, No. 271, 2d Session XXVth Congress.

[59] Captain Sprague, of the United States Army, so states, in his
History of the War.

[60] Vide Letter of the Agent, dated sixth of March, 1827.

[61] Vide Minutes of Talk held at Seminole Agency, with Treskal, Mathla,
and other Chiefs. Ex. Doc. 271, 1st Sess. XXIVth Congress.

[62] Vide Letter of Col. Brooke to Col. Humphreys, 6 May, 1828,
contained in the above cited Document.

[63] Vide Letter of Judge Smith, May 10, 1828, contained in same

[64] Vide Statement of John Hick, 15 August, 1828. Ex. Doc. 271, before

[65] Vide Letter of Gad Humphreys, Oct. 20, 1828. It probably was the
first time the proposition was submitted to the Seminoles.

[66] Even Mr. Adams, when President, continued in office those men who
had been placed there by his predecessors.

[67] Vide Sprague's History of the Florida War.

[68] Vide Documents relating to the Florida War, 1st Session, XXIVth

[69] Vide Sprague's History of the Florida War.

[70] Vide Ex. Doc. 271, XXIVth Congress, 1st Session, pages 43 and 44.

[71] The Author, while serving in Congress in 1847-8 was, by the
Speaker, placed upon the committee of Indian Affairs. While serving on
that committee, the Creek Indians applied for the return of this money
which had belonged to them, but had been wrongfully paid over by
Congress to the slaveholders of Georgia, some fourteen years previously.
The case was referred to the Author, as sub-committee, who reported that
the money, in justice, in equity, and in law, belonged to the Indians;
that its payment to the slaveholders was unjust and wrong, and that it
ought to be paid to the Indians. The report was confirmed, and the money
paid to the Indians. The justice of the cause was so obvious that it met
with no opposition, and by the vote of both Houses it now stands
acknowledged and declared that this sum of $141,000 was taken from the
pockets of the laboring men of our Nation, and paid to those
slaveholders for _imaginary slave children who were never born_; nor
have we been able to learn that an objection was raised, or protest
uttered, by any Northern member of Congress.

[72] Vide Opinion of Judge Cameron, pages 35 and 36 of Doc. 271, last

[73] NOTE.--When the author, in 1841, denounced this transaction, in the
House of Representatives, and spoke of these slave-catchers as
_Pirates_, Hon. Mark A. Cooper, of Georgia, became indignant at the
denunciation;--said he was well acquainted with the men who seized and
enslaved these people; that they were _honorable men_, and that he took
them by the hand almost daily while at home.

[74] The statement of these facts may be found in Ex. Document, 1st
Sess. XXIVth Congress.

[75] Vide Ex. Doc., 1st Sess. XXIVth Congress, page 14.

[76] Vide his letter at length in the Document last quoted.

[77] Vide Sprague's Florida War.

[78] Lieutenant Reynolds, while conducting the first party of emigrants
West, in 1841, found among the Exiles persons who possessed so much
Spanish blood, that he offered to leave them at New Orleans, and some of
them accepted the offer. He left them in that city, and they probably
now pass for Spaniards.

[79] Vide account of this transaction by H. M. Cohen, given in the
Quarterly Anti-Slavery Magazine, vol. II, page 419. Mr. Thompson, the
Agent, in his letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, bearing date
soon after, says: "Powell used such language, that I was constrained to
order him into irons." Mr. Sprague, in his history of the Florida War,
reiterates the statement of Mr. Thompson. But neither Sprague, nor
Thompson, nor any other person who was present, it is believed, has ever
denied the relation which Mr. Cohen has given.

[80] Sprague's History of the Florida War.

[81] Vide Testimony accompanying Pacheco's Petition to Congress for

[82] Vide Statement of Tustenuggee, a Seminole Chief, who was present,
and whose account of this massacre is given in Sprague's History of the
Florida War.

[83] These Speeches may be found in the Congressional Globe, 2d Sess.
XXXth Congress.

[84] Sprague's History of the War.

[85] Osceola, though a fierce and gallant warrior, entertained high
notions of honor; and, although a savage, he was punctilious on those
points, and finally fell a victim to the treachery of those calling
themselves _civilized_ men.

[86] Francis P. Blair, who is yet living, (1868.)

[87] Vide Ex. Doc., 2d Sess. XXVth Congress, No. 78, pages 558-9.

[88] His vindication before the court was triumphant, and he was
honorably acquitted from all censure.

[89] Sprague, in his History of the Florida War, says there were _two
hundred negro warriors_ in this battle; that their women and children
were a short distance in their rear, mounted on their ponies, and ready
to flee, if their husbands, brothers and fathers had been compelled to

[90] General Jessup was undoubtedly somewhat ignorant as to the history
of the Exiles. Speaking of Abraham, that officer says: "He is married to
the wife of the former chief of the Nation; is a good soldier, and an
_intrepid leader_. He _is the negro chief_, and the most cunning and
intelligent negro we have here; _he claims to be free_."

[91] General Jessup _subsequently_ reported his determination to
_separate the negroes, or Exiles, from the Indians_. He therefore
stipulated for _their safety_, and, at the same time, agreed that the
_slaves_ of the Indians should accompany their owners, and not be
separated from them. These facts will appear as we proceed in our

[92] Vide these articles at length, Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth

[93] General Jessup at all times practiced upon this principle. When
"Louis," the guide who planned the defeat and massacre of Major Dade,
became a prisoner and Wild Cat claimed to have captured him, General
Jessup disregarded the claim of Pacheco, the owner, and sent the negro
West; and, in other instances, he kept those known to have been slaves
as guides, and, at a proper time, sent them to the Western Country, as
freemen. He even bribed negroes to act as guides to his army by
promising them liberty, and carried out such arrangement.

[94] Vide this Memorial at length, Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth

[95] All these communications may be found at length in the Fifth Vol.
Ex. Doc., 3d Session XXVth Congress. But these arrangements made with
the chiefs are supposed to have rested entirely in parole. No copy of
any such agreement has been found by the Author, who is fully of opinion
that it does not exist in any authentic form.

[96] Vide Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[97] These Letters may be found in Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth

[98] This Correspondence may be found in the 8th vol. Ex. Doc., 2d Sess.
XXVth Cong., No. 285.

[99] Of this declaration he had subsequent cause to repent, and most
eloquently he expressed his mortification, in a letter to the Secretary
of War. Vide his Letter or Jan. 2, 1839, in the Document last quoted.

[100] These facts may all be found officially recorded in Ex. Doc. 78,
2d Sess. XXVth Congress, and Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[101] The Interrogatories were embraced in a paper, of which the
following is a copy:


     "Ascertain the object of the Indians in coming in at this time.
     Also their expectations. _Are they prepared to deliver up the
     negroes taken from the citizens, at once?_ Why have they not
     surrendered them already, as promised by Co-Hadjo at Fort King?
     Have the chiefs of the nation held a Council in relation to the
     talk at Fort King? What chiefs attended that Council, and what was
     their determination? Have the chiefs sent a messenger with the
     decision of the Council? Have the principal chiefs Micanopy,
     Jumper, Cloud and Alligator sent a messenger? and if so, what is
     their message? Why have not those chiefs come themselves?

"(Signed) THOS. S. JESSUP, _Major General Commanding_.

"SAN AUGUSTINE, _August 21st, 1837_."

[102] From the first and second interrogatories, the reader will see
that General Jessup was fully conscious, that the attempt to deliver
over those negroes to slavery who were claimed by the citizens of
Florida, had been the sole cause for renewing the war. He dictated the
first and most important interrogatory propounded to Osceola--"_Are you
prepared at once to deliver up the negroes taken from the citizens?_"

But the second shows an important fact which had, so for as we have
information, been kept from the public: The words, "Why have they not
already surrendered them, as promised by _Co-Hadjo at Fort King_?" This
shows that the arrangement reported by him to have been made with the
chiefs, was made with Co-Hadjo only. It will be recollected, that after
the articles of capitulation, in March, when the people of Florida began
to demand their negroes, General Jessup said he would endeavor to make
an arrangement with the chiefs for delivering up those negroes who had
been _captured during the war_. After the protest of the people of
Florida had been addressed to the Secretary of War, against the peace,
unless they were to get their negroes, and the public meeting held at
San Augustine, which expressed the same views, he reported that _he had
made such arrangement with the chiefs_; but with how many, or with which
particular _chiefs_, was unknown until this interrogatory disclosed the
fact, that it was made with one obscure chief only. And whether he were
intoxicated, or sober, at the time he attempted to act without any
authority, to consign hundreds of his fellow-beings to slavery, without
their knowledge or consent, does not appear. But every reader at once
propounds the question, _What were the terms of that arrangement?_ If it
existed, it should have been reported verbatim to the War Department,
and made known to the public.

[103] Capt. Sprague, of the Regular service.

[104] This statement is taken entirely from the Letters of John Ross,
chief of the Cherokees, to the Secretary of War. In these letters, he
relates the whole transaction with great force and apparent candor, and,
in the name of the Cherokee Nation, boldly arraigns the War Department
for this treachery, practiced by a Christian nation towards a people
called heathens. These letters may be found at length in Ex. Doc. 327,
2d Sess. XXVth Cong., vol. 8.

[105] Vide letter of General Taylor to Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[106] Mr. Sprague says there were three hundred Indian and negro
warriors engaged in this battle, and that their loss was ten Indians and
one negro killed, and eleven wounded; showing a great disparity between
their loss and General Taylor's.

[107] In 1848, General Taylor was the Whig candidate for President of
the United States; and so little was the history of this war known to
our statesmen or politicians, that it is believed no newspaper, or stump
orator, or advocate of his election, ever related or referred to this
most gallant act of his life. He had himself, during the war, exhibited
no particular sympathy in the work of catching and enslaving negroes; on
the contrary, he had expressed his detestation of that policy. Of course
the slave power, not willing to make open war upon him, had permitted
his name to rest without connecting it with the performance of any
brilliant or humane acts. The casuist may say, that he ought not to have
served in such a war, and that no gallantry displayed in such a cause
ought to reflect credit upon any man. But General Taylor, like other
men, should be judged by the times, the customs, the morality of the age
in which he lived.

[108] Vide Ex. Doc., 2d Sess. XXVth Congress, No. 225.

[109] Vide General Jessup's letter to General Arbuckle, 8 Vol. Ex. Doc.,
2d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[110] Vide General Jessup's letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Ex. Doc. 225, above referred to.

[111] This is the view which General Jessup gives of the transaction,
Ex. Doc., 8th Vol., 3d Sess. XXVth Congress

[112] Vide Report of General Jessup to the Secretary of War, Ex. Doc.,
3d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[113] These facts may all be found in the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 11th &
12th vols. of Ex. Doc., 2d Sess. XXVth Congress; the letters of Ross and
correspondence of General Jessup, and official reports, occupying
several hundred pages.

[114] Horace Everett, who was many years a Representative in Congress,
an ardent Whig, and constant opponent of Jackson and Van Buren. After
the report of the Secretary of War in answer to his resolution had been
received, Mr. Everett made a speech on the subject, exposing the manner
in which the war had been conducted, and intimated that it was more
immediately connected with the support of slavery than it ought to be.
But while he was careful to say nothing exceptionable to the slave
interest, he certainly entitled himself to the honor of being the first
member who assailed the war, and the first to hold the Administration
responsible for the manner in which it was prosecuted. The speech may be
found at length in the Appendix to the Congressional Globe of that

[115] Vide Letter of Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Secretary of War,
9th May, 1838. Ex. Doc. 225, 2d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[116] Major Zantzinger, like many other officers, appears to have
thought that every negro must have a master, and he called these Exiles
the property of the Seminoles, although the Agent for that Tribe had
reported a few years previously, that the number of slaves owned by them
did not exceed _forty_.

[117] Vide Watson's Petition and proofs, in support of his claim,
presented to Congress--1st Sess. XXVIth Cong.--now on file in the office
of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

[118] Vide Watson's Statement of facts in this case, on file with the
above papers.

[119] Several years after this transaction, the Author happened to meet
this war-worn veteran, and as the old hero recounted this incident of
his life with warm and glowing eloquence, his eye kindled, his
countenance lighted up with pleasure, and he spoke of it with more
apparent satisfaction than he ever referred to his most brilliant
military achievement.

[120] Vide Letter of Major Isaac Clark to Commissioner of Indian
Affairs, Sept. 18, 1838. Ex. Doc. 225, 3d Sess. XXVth Congress.

[121] Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, the predecessor of Mr. Giddings, long and
ably presided over the committee on Claims. He was a man of untiring
industry; and when he found it necessary to report on a slave case, in
1835, he wrote the Register of the Treasury, inquiring if slaves had
ever been paid for by the United States as property. The reply stated
they had not; and the committee reported adversely to the case, although
it was one of the strongest character possible. Francis Larche, living
near New Orleans, owned a horse, cart and slave. The day before the
battle below that city, in 1814, they were impressed into the service;
and while thus held by the United States authorities, on the day of the
battle, the horse and slave were killed by cannon shot, and Larche
petitioned Congress for compensation for the loss of his slave. Mr.
Whittlesey drew up an able report refusing such compensation.

At the commencement of the Twenty-seventh Congress, Mr. Giddings was
placed at the head of that committee; but, being obnoxious to the
advocates of slavery, he was removed from that position at the
commencement of the Twenty-eighth Congress; yet there seemed to be an
Impression that his successor should be taken from Ohio, and Hon. Joseph
Vance was made Chairman. He was a man at that time somewhat advanced in
life, and not accustomed to legal investigations. Cases which required
research, were usually consigned to some subordinate member of the
committee. It was while he was acting as Chairman, that this case of
Watson was first reported upon favorably by the committee on Claims,
although it had never before been regarded by that committee as entitled
to any encouragement.

[122] There is little doubt that the real number of Exiles was unknown
to General Jackson, or to General Cass, at the commencement of the war.
They appear to have regarded their number far less than it was
estimated, during the first Seminole War of 1818.

[123] Captain Sprague's History of the Florida War so represents the

[124] Not having the Statutes of Florida before us, we make this
statement on the authority of Captain Sprague.

[125] We have no copy of Mr. Wise's letter, and have never seen the
letter itself; but we state the fact that he wrote the Secretary of War
by authority of that officer, who says in the letter quoted, "I have the
honor to acknowledge the receipt of _your letter of the 27th inst._,
inquiring," _etc._

[126] The Author was at that time a member of the House of
Representatives. He had then no conception of the real objects of this
war: indeed, it had long been the practice for members to say nothing on
the subject of slavery; and it was equally the practice for newspapers
to print nothing on that delicate subject, as it was called. Of course
the people knew very little concerning it.

[127] Captain Sprague, in his history of the Florida War, says, "The
truth, when made known to the Indians who remained in Florida,
constituted the strongest argument why they should not emigrate. Had
they (says that author) been kept in ignorance, better results might
have been anticipated; but what they gathered from the honest
confessions and silence of their brothers tended to make them venerate
with more fidelity and increased love the soil which they had defended
with heroic fortitude for five consecutive years."

[128] Captain Sprague, in his history, declares, that it was proven in
two instances that white men, disguised as Indians, actually committed
depredations and murdered white people.

[129] This first speech had been carefully prepared by the Author of
this work, and contained little more than a collation of facts from
public documents. It was made with the design of testing the application
of the gag rules more than for the purpose of exposing the character of
the war. Hon. John Q. Adams, Wm. Slade, and the Author, often consulted
with each other as to the best means for inducing the House to repeal
those obnoxious rules. The Author suggested the plan of alluding to
slavery while publicly discoursing matters with which it was
incidentally connected. Mr. Adams and Mr. Slade insisted that the Author
should try his plan. Aware that appropriations for this war would be
called for, he prepared this speech, showing the causes of the war; and
when the bill above referred to came before the House, he proceeded to
test his plan. He was frequently called to order, and great excitement
was produced; but he succeeded in delivering the speech. When he was
through, a southern member replied, declaring that the gag-rules may as
well be repealed as kept in force, if they permitted such discussions.
The position was evidently correct, and those disgraceful rules were
repealed by the next Congress.

[130] This statement is founded upon the authority of Captain Sprague.
It is however certain, that many of the claimants actually received
compensation from the public treasury for the loss of their slaves. The
power to pay for them was assumed by Executive officers, under the
appropriation act of March, 1841, without reference to Congress.

[131] Captain Sprague, in his history, enters into a somewhat lengthened
apology for this practice of General Worth, by saying, the negroes were
the most active and vindictive of the hostile forces; that, from the
peculiar situation of the country, ten negroes could keep it in a state
of constant alarm; that many of them had intermarried with the Seminoles
and become identified with them, had acquired their habits, and would
have been useless to their owners had they been delivered to them; that
the negro would have remained in service but a few days, when he would
have again taken to the swamps and hommocks, when he could elude
pursuit, and would have been more vindictive than before.

[132] Vide opinions of the Attorney Generals, from 1838 to 1851, page
1944, Senate Doc. 55. It is a singular fact that, in the whole of this
elaborate opinion, no allusion is made to the real condition of the
Exiles; nor would any person suspect, from reading it, that the Attorney
General had any knowledge of the claim which the Creeks preferred.
Although he quotes the clause in the articles of capitulation, which
expressly and emphatically declares that "Major General Jessup, in
behalf of the United States, agrees that the Seminoles _and their
allies, who come in and emigrate, shall be protected in their lives and
property_;" yet he appears never to have conceived the idea that such a
stipulation could impose any duties upon our Government in favor of
negroes; nor does he attempt to define the meaning of this most explicit

[133] Under this law, which is general in all slave States, free colored
citizens of nearly every free State of the Union have been seized and
enslaved, and are now toiling in chains.

[134] Hon. R. W. Johnson, a Representative from Arkansas, spoke of this
wretch as having come from Louisiana; but from manuscript letters on
file in the War Department, the Author is led to think he came from
Florida, and had previously participated in kidnapping Exiles in that

[135] The Author, being unable to obtain a publication of the documents
showing these facts, states them upon the best authority he possesses.
During the discussions upon what is called the Indian Appropriation Bill
for 1852, in the House of Representatives of the United States, the
following colloquial debate occurred, and is now cited as a part of the
evidence on which these facts are stated. It will be found in the
Congressional Globe of 1852, vol. 24, part 3d, pages 1804, 1805:

     "Mr. GIDDINGS. I rise for a different purpose than that of
     expressing my approbation of the amendment which has just been
     read. I ask the especial attention of gentlemen to some
     interrogatories which I desire to propound for the purpose of
     obtaining information; and that the information may go to the
     country, I will observe, that I desire to have the experience of
     the able Chairman of the committee on Indian Affairs (Mr. Johnson
     of Arkansas), to obtain this intelligence. According to reliable
     information which I received in the summer of 1850, these Creek
     Indians, to whom attention has been turned, with force and
     violence, seized from seventy to one hundred free persons of color
     in the Indian Territory, or at least those claiming to be free, and
     enslaved, sold and transported them to the State of Louisiana,
     where they are now in servitude as slaves. I will state that this
     was done in violation of the treaty entered into in 1845, and in
     subversion of our solemn faith, entered into with these negroes
     during the Seminole War, in 1837. The official information upon
     this subject is in the Indian Department, where it has been
     received; and from which that we have not been able to obtain any
     intelligence by resolution, although a resolution for that purpose
     has been in my desk since the first day of the session. The
     questions I desire to propound to those gentlemen are--First, Is it
     a fact that those persons of color were seized and sold into
     slavery; and, second, by what claim of right or pretended title did
     these Creek Indians enslave and sell those people?

     "Mr. JOHNSON. I have no official knowledge in the matter at all.
     Then as to the knowledge I have obtained incidentally, I do know
     that there has been a great contest in relation to a portion of
     these Creek Indian negroes; I do know that the matter has been
     looked into here in the Executive Departments; I do know that the
     matter has never been before the House at all, unless it has
     strangely escaped my notice; I know it has not been before my
     committee; I know the Attorney General of the United States has
     declared his opinion as to the title of these negroes: I think
     there were seventy of them, though it might have been more or less.
     So, then, I have no official information on the subject to which
     the gentleman alludes.

     "Some two or three years ago, I know of a contest going on about
     the title to these negroes, and that it was decided that they
     belonged to those Indians. They had established themselves in a
     free town, which they maintained with force and arms. There were
     heavy disturbances existing there in the Indian nation, amounting
     at times almost to civil war: I believe before it was done with, it
     was quite civil war. I know they were taken; but what was done with
     them, I do not know. They were taken, and carried out of the
     nation, with the design of holding them as property, when they
     could not hold them in the nation on account of the disturbance
     which they created. I know the decision of the Attorney General of
     the United States, as to the title to these negroes; and that is
     the whole statement in regard to the matter as far as I can give

[136] The Author has written many letters, and made frequent efforts, to
obtain a copy of the record of this writ, if any had been kept, and the
proceedings, together with the opinion of the Judge thereon, but has not
succeeded. The statement, therefore, rests on the verbal reports,
current at the time in the Indian Country, and communicated to the
Author by individuals who happened to be there at the time.

[137] The Author has been unable to obtain official data of the number
of Exiles who remained in the Indian Country.

[138] The Author has been compelled to rely on verbal reports received
from individuals for these facts. He also understood Mr. Johnston, the
Representative from Arkansas, in the debate referred to in a former
note, to say distinctly, that the Creeks pursued the Exiles, and that a
_battle was fought_, but he was unable to state particulars.

[139] Vide Official Report of Major Emory, in regard to the boundary
line between the United States and Mexico. He states the location of
Wild Cat and the Seminole Indians, but omits all reference to the

[140] This number has been increased by fresh arrivals from the Indian
Country, since 1850.

[141] Vide Manuscript Letters now on file in the Indian Bureau at

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Exiles of Florida - or, The crimes committed by our government against the - Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other slave - states, seeking protection under Spanish laws." ***

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