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Title: Historical Sketches of Colonial Florida
Author: Campbell, Richard L.
Language: English
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                           Transcriber’s Note

 Obvious spelling and punctuation errors corrected.

 Corrections noted by the printer in the ERRATA have been made to the

 Befrenings Kriege was changed to Befreiungskriege in reference “Die
   deutschen Hülfstruppen im Nordamerikanischen Befreiungskriege, 1776
   bis 1783” to match that book’s title in other sources.

 If Vol. 11 was used to refer to a second volume of Von Elking, it was
   changed to Vol. II to be consistent with the majority of references.

 Other inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation and use of space after
   d’ (e.g. d’Iberville and d’ Iberville) have been left as in the

 Italic text in the original is represented by underscores surrounding
   the _italic text_.

 Small capitals in the original have been converted to ALL CAPS in the

 Footnotes have been moved to the end of the relevant chapter.


                          HISTORICAL SKETCHES
                           Colonial Florida.


                          RICHARD L. CAMPBELL.

                            CLEVELAND, OHIO:
                      THE WILLIAMS PUBLISHING CO.


    Entered according to Act of Congress, in year 1892, by RICHARD
    L. CAMPBELL, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at



The inducement to write this book was to supply, in a slight measure,
the want of any particular history of British rule in West Florida. With
that inducement, however, the effort would not have been made but for
the sources of original information existing in the Archives of the
Dominion of Canada, as well as others, pointed out to me by Dr. William
Kingsford of Ottawa, author of the ‘History of Canada;’ to whom I take
this occasion of making my acknowledgments.

An account of British rule necessitated one of Spanish colonial annals,
both before and after it.

If any apology be necessary for the space devoted to the Creeks, it will
be found in the considerations that for twenty years the body of the
nation was within the limits of British West Florida; that their
relations with the British, formed during that period, influenced their
conduct towards the United States until after the War of 1812; and above
all, that the life of Alexander McGillivray forms a part of the history
of West Florida, both under British and Spanish rule.

The prominence given to Pensacola is due to its having been the capital
of both British and Spanish West Florida, and therefore the centre of
provincial influence.




          CHAPTER I                                          9

          The Discovery of Pensacola Bay by the Panfilo de
            Narvaez. The Visits of Maldonado, Captain of the
            Fleet of Hernando de Soto.

          CHAPTER II                                        19

          The Settlement of Don Tristram de Luna at Santa
            Maria—His Explorations—Abandonment of the
            Settlement—The First Pensacola.

          CHAPTER III                                       31

          Don Andrés de Pes—Santa Maria de Galva—Don Andrés
            d’Arriola—The Resuscitation of Pensacola—Its

          CHAPTER IV                                        36

          Iberville’s Expedition—Settlement at Biloxi and
            Mobile—Amicable Relations of the French and
            Spanish Colonies from 1700-1719.

          CHAPTER V                                         41

          War Declared by France against Spain—Bienville
            Surprises Metamoras—Metamoras Surprises
            Chateauqné—Bienville Attacks and Captures
            Pensacola—San Carlos and Pensacola Destroyed—
            Magazine Spared.

          CHAPTER VI                                        51

          Sketch of Island Town—Its Destruction—The Third
            Pensacola—The Cession of Florida by Spain to Great
            Britain—Appearance of Town in 1763—Captain Wills’
            Report—Catholic Church.

          CHAPTER VII                                       59

          British West Florida—Pensacola the Capital—
            Government Established—Johnstone first Governor—
            British Settlers—First Survey of the Town—Star
            Fort—Public Buildings—Resignation of Johnstone—His
            Successor, Monteforte Brown.

          CHAPTER VIII                                      71

          General Bouquet—General Haldimand.

          CHAPTER IX                                        78

          Governor Elliott—Social and Military Life in
            Pensacola—Gentlemen—Women—Fiddles—George Street—
            King’s Wharf on November 14, 1768.

          CHAPTER X                                         87

          Governor Peter Chester—Ft. George of the British and
            St. Michael of the Spanish—Council Chamber—Tartar
            Point—Red Cliff.

          CHAPTER XI                                        93

          Representative Government.

          CHAPTER XII                                       97

          Growth of Pensacola—Panton, Leslie & Co.—A King and
            the Beaver—Governor Chester’s Palace and Chariot—
            The White House of the British and Casa Blanca of
            the Spanish—General Gage—Commerce—Earthquake.

          CHAPTER XIII                                     111

          Military Condition of West Florida in 1778—General
            John Campbell—The Waldecks—Spain at War with
            Britain—Bute, Baton Rouge and Fort Charlotte
            Capitulate to Galvez—French Town—Famine in Fort
            George—Galvez’s Expedition Against Pensacola—
            Solana’s Fleet Enters the Harbor—Spaniards Effect
            a Landing—Spanish Entrenchment Surprised—The Fall
            of Charleston Celebrated in Fort George.

          CHAPTER XIV                                      131

          Fort San Bernardo—Siege of Fort George—Explosion of
            Magazine—The Capitulation—The March Through the
            Breach—British Troops Sail from Pensacola to

          CHAPTER XV                                       142

          Political Aspect of the Capitulation—Treaty of
            Versailles—English Exodus—Widow of the White

          CHAPTER XVI                                      150

          Boundary Lines—William Panton and Spain—Indian
            Trade—Indian Ponies and Traders—Business of
            Panton, Leslie & Co.

          CHAPTER XVII                                     158

          Lineage of Alexander McGillivray—His Education—Made
            Grand Chief—His Connection with Milfort—His
            Relations with William Panton—His Administration
            of Creek Affairs—Appointed Colonel by the British—
            Treaty with Spain—Commissioned Colonel by the
            Spanish—Invited to New York by Washington—Treaty—
            Commissioned a Brigadier-General by the United
            States—His Sister, Sophia Durant—His Trials—His
            Death at Pensacola.

          CHAPTER XVIII                                    200

          Governor Folch—Barrancas—Changes in the Plan of the
            Town—Ship Pensacola—Disputed Boundaries—Square
            Ferdinand VII.—English Names of Streets Changed
            for Spanish Names—Palafox—Saragossa—Reding—Baylen

          CHAPTER XIX                                      217

          Folch Leaves West Florida—His Successors—War of
            1812—Tecumseh’s Visit to the Seminoles and Creeks—
            Consequences—Fort Mims—Percy and Nicholls’

          CHAPTER XX                                       227

          Attack on Fort Boyer by Percy and Nicholls—Jackson’s
            March on Pensacola in 1814—The Town Captured—Percy
            and Nicholls Driven Out—Consequences of the War to
            the Creeks—Don Manuel Gonzalez.

          CHAPTER XXI                                      243

          Seminole War, 1818—Jackson Invades East Florida—
            Defeats the Seminoles—Captures St. Marks—Arbuthnot
            and Ambrister—Prophet Francis—His Daughter.

          CHAPTER XXII                                     252

          Jackson’s Invasion of West Florida in 1818—Masot’s
            Protest—Capture of Pensacola—Capitulation of San
            Carlos—Provisional Government Established by
            Jackson—Pensacola Restored to Spain—Governor
            Callava—Treaty of Cession—Congressional Criticism
            of Jackson’s Conduct.

          CHAPTER XXIII                                    267

          Treaty Ratified—Jackson Appointed Provisional
            Governor—Goes to Pensacola—Mrs. Jackson in
            Pensacola—Change of Flags—Callava Imprisoned—
            Territorial Government—Governor Duval—First
            Legislature Meets at Pensacola.



               Page    10. _Sixteenth_ for Eighteenth.
                 “     61. _Distant_ for District.
                 “    113. _Journal_ for Journey.
                 “    117. _1779_ for 1789.
                 “    225. _Barrataria_ for Banataria.
                 “    276. _Domingo_ for Doningo.
                 “    233. _During_ for Doing.


                               CHAPTER I.

The Discovery of Pensacola Bay by Panfilo de Narvaez—The Visits of
    Maldonado, Captain of the Fleet of Hernando de Soto.

On one of the early days of October, 1528, there could have been seen,
coasting westward along and afterwards landing on the south shore of
Santa Rosa Island, five small, rudely-constructed vessels, having for
sails a grotesque patchwork of masculine under and over-wear. That fleet
was the fruit of the first effort at naval construction within the
present limits of the United States. It was built of yellow pine and
caulked with palmetto fibre and pitch. Horses’ tails and manes furnished
the cordage, as did their hides its water vessels. Its freightage
consisted of two hundred and forty human bodies, wasted and worn by
fatigue and exposure, and as many hearts heavy and racked with
disappointment. It was commanded by His Excellency Panfilo de Narvaez,
Captain-general and Adelantado of Florida, a tall, big-limbed,
red-haired, one-eyed man, “with a voice deep and sonorous as though it
came from a cavern.”

These were the first white men to make footprints on the shores of
Pensacola Bay and to look out upon its waters. Although they landed on
the Island, there is no evidence that their vessels entered the harbor.

Narvaez, an Hidalgo, born at Valladolid about 1480, was a man capable of
conceiving and undertaking great enterprises, but too rash and
ill-starred for their successful execution, possessing the ambition and
avarice which impelled the Spanish adventurers to the shores of the Gulf
of Mexico during the sixteenth century, with whom Indian life was but a
trifling sacrifice for a pearl or an ounce of gold.

Five years before his Florida expedition he had been appointed, with a
large naval and land force under his command, by Velasquez, governor of
Cuba, to supersede Cortez, the conqueror of Mexico, and to send him in
chains to Havana, to answer charges of insubordination to the authority
of Velasquez. But Cortez was not the man to be thus superseded. Never
did his genius for great enterprises make a more striking display than
by the measures he adopted and executed in this emergency. By them he
converted that threatening expedition into one of succor for himself,
embracing every supply, soldiers included, he required to complete his
conquests. Of this great achievement the defeat of the incompetent
Narvaez was only an incident.

No labored comparison of conqueror and vanquished could present a more
striking contrast between them than that suggested by their first
interview. “Esteem it,” said Narvaez, “great good fortune that you have
taken me captive.” “It is the least of the things I have done in
Mexico,” replied Cortez, a sarcasm aimed at the incapacity of Narvaez,
apart from the gains of the victor.

The fruits of the expedition to Narvaez were the loss of his left eye,
shackles, imprisonment, banishment, and the humiliation of kneeling to
his conqueror and attempting to kiss his hand. To the Aztec the result
was the introduction of a scourge that no surrender could placate, no
submission, however absolute and abject, could stay, and, therefore,
more pitiless than the sword of Cortez—the small-pox.

After leaving Mexico, Narvaez appeared before the Emperor Charles V., to
accuse Cortez of treason, and to petition for a redress of his own
wrongs, but the dazzling success of Cortez, to say nothing of his large
remittances to the royal treasury, was an effectual answer to every
charge. The emperor, however, healed the wounded pride, and silenced the
complaints of the prosecutor by a commission with the aforementioned
sonorous titles to organize an expedition for a new conquest, by which
he might compensate himself for the loss of the treasures and empire of
Montezuma, which he had so disastrously failed to snatch from the iron
grasp of Cortez.

The preparations to execute this commission having been made by
providing a fleet, a land force, consisting of men-at-arms and cavalry,
as well as the necessary supplies, Narvaez, in April, 1528, sailed for
the Florida coast, and landed at or near Tampa bay.

Having resolved on a westward movement, he ordered his fleet to sail
along the coast, whilst he, by rather a circuitous march, would advance
in the same direction. This parting was at once final and fatal. He
again reached the Gulf, somewhere in the neighborhood of St. Marks, with
his command woefully wasted and diminished by toil, battle and disease;
and, as can well be imagined, with his dreams of avarice and dominion
rudely dispelled.

No tidings of the fleet from which he had so lucklessly parted being
obtainable, despair improvised that fleet with motley sails which we
have seen mooring off the island of Santa Rosa in the early days of
October, its destination being Mexico—a destination, however, which was
but another delusion that the winds and the waves were to dispel.

Narvaez found a grave in the maw of the sea, as did most of the remnant
of his followers. Famine swept off others, leaving only four to reach
Mexico after a land journey requiring years, marked by perils and
sufferings incident to such a journey through a vast forest bounded only
by the sea, intersected by great rivers, inhabited by savages, and
infested by wild beasts. One of the survivors was Cabeça de Vaca, the
treasurer and historian of the expedition.

Twelve years elapsed after Narvaez discovered Pensacola Bay before the
shadow of the white man’s sail again fell upon its waters. In January,
1540, Capitano Maldonado, who was the commander of the fleet which
brought Fernando de Soto to the Florida coast, entered the harbor, gave
it a careful examination, and bestowed upon it the name of Puerta d’
Anchusi, a name probably suggested by Ochus,[1] which it bore at the
time of his visit. In entering Ochus he ended a voyage westward, made in
search of a good harbor, under the orders of Soto, who was at that time
somewhere on the Florida coast to the westward of Apalachee.

Having returned to Soto, Maldonado made so favorable a report—the first
official report—of the advantages of Puerta d’ Anchusi that Soto
determined to make it his base of supply. He accordingly ordered
Maldonado to proceed to Havana, and after having procured the required
succors to sail to Puerta d’ Anchusi, where he intended to go himself,
and there to await Maldonado’s return before he ventured into the
interior; a prudent resolve, suggested possibly by the sight of the
bones of Narvaez’s horses, which had been slain to furnish cordage and
water-vessels for his fleet.

But the resolve was as brief as it was wise. A few days after
Maldonado’s departure a captured Indian so beguiled Soto with tales of
gold to be found far to the northeast of Apalachee, where he then was,
that banishing all thoughts of Puerta d’ Anchusi from his mind, he began
that circuitous march which carried him into South Carolina, northern
Georgia, and Alabama, where he wandered in search of treasure until
disappointment, wasted forces, and needed supplies again turned his
march southward, and his thoughts to his rendezvous with Maldonado.

That rendezvous was to be in October, 1540. Faithful to instructions,
Maldonado was at Puerta d’ Anchusi at the appointed time with a fleet
bearing all the required supplies. But Soto did not keep the tryst. He
was then at Mauvilla, or Maubila, supposed to be Choctaw Bluff, on the
Alabama river, absorbed by difficulties and engaged in conflicts such as
he had never before encountered. Through Indians they had communicated,
and intense was the satisfaction of Soto and his command at the prospect
of a relief of their wants, repose from their toils, and tidings of
their friends and loved ones.

Soto, however, still ambitious of emulating the achievements of Cortez
and Pizzaro, looked upon Puerta d’ Anchusi as only a base of supply and
refuge for temporary repose, from which again to set out in search of
his goal. But very different were the views of his followers. By
eaves-dropping on a dark night behind their tents, he learned that to
them Puerta d’ Anchusi was not to be a haven of temporary rest only, but
the first stage of their journey homeward, where Soto and his fortunes
were to be abandoned.

This information again banished Puerta d’ Anchusi from his thoughts
under the promptings of pride, which impelled him to prefer death in the
wilderness to the mockery and humiliation of failure. He at once
resolved to march deeper into the heart of the continent, and,
unconsciously, nearer to the mighty river in whose cold bosom he was to
find a grave.

As in idea we go into the camp at Mauvilla, on the morning when the word
of command was given for a westward march, we see depicted on the
war-worn visages of that iron band naught but gloom and disappointment,
as, constrained by the stern will of one man, they obediently fall into
ranks without a murmur, much less a sign of revolt.

Again, if in fancy we stand on the deck of Maldonado’s ship at Puerta d’
Anchusi, we may realize the keen watchfulness and the deep anxiety with
which day after day and night after night he scans the shore and hills
beyond to catch a glint of spear or shield, or strains his ear to hear a
bugle note announcing the approach of his brothers-in-arms. And only
after long, weary months was the vigil ended, as he weighed anchor and
sailed out of the harbor to go to other points on the Gulf shore where
happily he might yet meet and succor his commander.

To this task did he devote himself for three years, scouring the Gulf
coast from Florida to Vera Cruz, until the curtain of the drama was
lifted for him, to find that seventeen months previously his long-sought
chief had been lying in the depths of the Mississippi, and that a
wretched remnant only of that proud host, which he had last seen in
glittering armor on the coast of Florida, had reached Mexico after
undergoing indescribable perils and privations.


Footnote 1:

  So the name is given by historians; but, to be consistent with the
  termination of other Indian names in West Florida, it should be
  written Ochee or Ochusee.


                              CHAPTER II.

The Settlement of Don Tristram de Luna at Santa Maria—His Explorations—
    Abandonment of the Settlement—The First Pensacola.

Nearly twenty years passed away after Maldonado’s visit to Ochus before
Europeans again looked upon its shores.

In 1556, the viceroy of Mexico, and the bishop of Cuba united in a
memorial to the Emperor Charles V. representing Florida as an inviting
field for conquest and religious work. Imperial sanction having been
secured, an expedition was organized under the command of Don Tristram
de Luna to effect the triple objects of bringing gold into the emperor’s
treasury, extending his dominions, and enlarging the bounds of the
spiritual kingdom by winning souls to the church. For the first two
enterprises one thousand five hundred soldiers were provided, and for
the last a host of ecclesiastics, friars, and other spiritual teachers.
Puerta d’ Anchusi was selected as the place of the projected settlement,
the base from which the cross and the sword were to advance to their
respective conquests.

Accordingly, on the fourteenth day of August, 1559, de Luna’s fleet cast
anchor within the harbor, which he named Santa Maria; the same year in
which the monarch who authorized the expedition died, the month, and
nearly the day on which he, a living man, was engaged in the paradoxical
farce of participating in his own funeral ceremonies in the monastery of

The population of two thousand souls, which the fleet brought, with the
required supplies of every kind, having been landed, the work of
settlement began. Of the place where the settlement was made there
exists no historic information, and we are left to the inference that
the local advantages which afterwards induced d’ Arriola to select what
is now called Barrancas as the site of his town, governed the selection
of de Luna’s, unless tradition enables us to identify the spot, as a
future page will endeavor to do.

The destruction of the fleet by a hurricane within a week after its
arrival threw a shadow over the infant settlement, aggravating the
natural discontent incident to all colonizations, resulting from the
contrast between the stern realities of experience and of expectations
colored by the imagination of the colonist. Against that discontent,
ever on the increase, de Luna manfully and successfully struggled until
1562; and thus it was, that for two years and more there existed a town
of about two thousand inhabitants on the shores of Pensacola Bay, which
antedated by four years St. Augustine, the oldest town of the United

Don Tristram de Luna sent expeditions into the interior, and finally led
one in person. In these journeys the priest and the friar joined, and
daily in a tabernacle of tree boughs the holy offices of the Catholic
faith were performed, the morning chant and the evening hymn breaking
the silence and awakening the echoes of the primeval forest.

Where they actually went, and how far north, it is impossible to say,
owing to our inability to identify the sites of villages, rivers, and
other land marks mentioned in the narratives of their journeys. The
presumption is strong, however, that they took, and followed northward
the Indian trail, on the ridge beginning at Pensacola Bay, forming the
water shed between the Perdido and Escambia rivers, and beyond their
headwaters uniting with the elevated country which throws off its
springs and creeks eastward to the Chattahoochee and westward to the
Alabama and Tallapoosa rivers. It continued northerly to the Tennessee
river; a lateral trail diverging to where the city of Montgomery now
stands, and thence to the site of Wetumpka; and still another leading to
what is now Grey’s Ferry on the Tallapoosa.

That trail, according to tradition, was the one by which the Indians,
from the earliest times, passed between the Coosa country and the sea,
the one followed in later times by the Indian traders on their
pack-ponies, and the line of march of General Jackson in his invasion of
Florida in 1814.

That it was regarded and used as their guiding thread by de Luna’s
expeditions in penetrating the unknown country north of Santa Maria they
sought to explore, is evidenced by two facts. They came to a large river
which, instead of crossing, they followed its course, undoubtedly by the
ridge, and, therefore, not far from the trail. They also came to or
crossed the line of de Soto’s march, which he had made ten years
previously, as following the trail they would be compelled to do and
found amongst the Indians a vivid recollection of the destruction and
rapine of their people by white men, which they assigned as the cause of
the then sparsity of population, and the abandonment of clearings
formerly under cultivation.

So impressed was de Luna with the fertility and other attractive
features of the beautiful region of Central Alabama, which he explored,
that he determined to plant a colony there. But in that design he was
eventually thwarted by the discontent and insubordination of his
followers, the most of whom, from the first, seem to have had no other
object in view than to break up the settlement, and to terminate their
insupportable exile by returning to Mexico.

There were amongst those composing the expedition two elements which
proved fatal to its success. The gold-greedy soon found that the pine
barrens of Florida, and the fertile valleys of Alabama were not the
eldorado of which they had dreamed. To the friar, the spiritual outlook
was not more promising, the Indians he encountered being more ready to
scalp their would-be spiritual guide than to open their ears to his

Ostensibly, to procure supplies for the colony, two friars sailed for
Havana and thence to Vera Cruz, to make known its necessities to the
Viceroy of Mexico, and solicit the required succor. But, as soon as they
could reach his ear they endeavored to persuade him of the futility of
the expedition, and the unpromising character of the country as a field
for colonization.

At first, his heart being in the enterprise, he was loathe to listen to
reports so inconsistent with the glowing accounts which had prompted the
expedition and enlisted his zealous support; but, at last, an impression
was made upon him, and an inquiry resolved upon.

But the viceroyal investigation was forestalled by the visit to Santa
Maria of Don Angel de Villafana, whom the Viceroy of Cuba had appointed
governor of that, at that time undefined region called Florida, who
permitted the dissatisfied colonists to embark in his vessels, and
abandon the, to them, hateful country in which they had passed two
miserable years.

Don Tristram de Luna, with a few followers only, remained, with the
fixed resolution to maintain the settlement, provided he could secure
the approbation and assistance of the Viceroy. But an application for
that purpose, accompanied by representations of the inviting character
of the interior for settlement, was met by a prompt recall of de Luna
and an order for the abandonment of the enterprise.

Don Tristram, against whom history makes no accusations of cruelty or
bloodshed during his expeditions into the interior, or his stay at Santa
Maria, and who, animated by the spirit of legitimate colonization,
sought only to found a new settlement, invites respect, if not
admiration, as a character distinct and apart from the gold-seeking
cut-throat adventurers that Spain sent in shoals to the Gulf shores
during the sixteenth century. Sympathy with him in his trials and regret
at his failure, induce the reflection that, perhaps, had he been
burdened with fewer gold-seekers and only one-twentieth of the
ecclesiastics who encumbered and leavened the colony with discontent,
his settlement might have proved permanent.

The local results of de Luna’s expedition were fixing, for a time, the
name of Santa Maria upon the Bay, and permanently stamping upon its
shores the name Pensacola; and here narration must be suspended to
determine the origin of the latter.

Roberts says, the name was “that of an Indian tribe inhabiting round the
bay but which was destroyed.” Mr. Fairbanks tells us it was “a name
derived from the locality having been, formerly, that of the town of a
tribe of Indians called Pencacolas, which had been entirely exterminated
in conflicts with neighboring tribes.”

The first objection to this assigned origin of the name is, that it is
evidently not Indian, such names in West Florida invariably terminating
with a double e, as for examples, Apalachee, Choctawhatchee, Uchee,
Ochusee, Escambee, Ochesee, Chattahoochee. The “cola” added to
Apalachee, and “ia” substituted in Escambia for ee, indicate the
difference between the terminations of Indian and Spanish names.

Again, amongst savages, we should expect to find in the name of a place
an indication of a natural object, the name being expressive of the
object, and hence as lasting. But, that the accident of an encampment of
savages upon a locality should stamp that locality with their tribal
name, as a designation that should survive not only the encampment, but
the very existence of the tribe, is incredible. An extinct tribe would
in a generation or two cease to have a place in the traditions of
surviving tribes, because their extinction would be only an ordinary
event amongst American savages.

The termination being Spanish, and no natural object existing suggestive
of the name, we naturally turn our search to a vocabulary of Spanish
names, historical and geographical.

Perched upon a rock springing 240 feet high from the Mediterranean shore
of Spain, connected with the mainland by a narrow strip of sand, is the
fortified little seaport of Peniscola. Substitute “a” for “i,” transpose
“s” and we have the name for the original of which we seek. The seaports
of Spain furnished the great body of Spanish adventurers to America in
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; and what more likely than that
some native of the little town crowning with its vine-clad cottages the
huge rock that looks out upon the “midland ocean,” should have sought to
honor his home by fixing its name upon a spot in the new world?

When and by whom the name was affixed to our shores is an interesting
inquiry. Neither Roberts, nor Fairbanks, nor any other authority,
informs us. It comes into history with the advent of d’ Arriola, whose
settlement will be the subject of a future page.

Three hypotheses furnish as many answers to the question: it was
original with Arriola to the extent at least of a new application of a
Spanish name; or he found the place already named in some chart or
document now lost to us; or already fixed by an Indian tradition,
according to Roberts and Fairbanks.

The first hypothesis requires no comment. The second rests upon the
existence of a fact of which we can procure no evidence. The third is a
tradition founded upon, or involving, a Spanish name.

Very extraordinary events or striking objects only are the subjects of
the traditions of savage tribes; and what event can be imagined more
extraordinary and impressive to the savage mind than to be brought
suddenly in contact, for the first time, with the white man under all
the circumstances and conditions of de Luna’s settlement? It was one not
likely to pass out of tradition in the lapse of one hundred and
thirty-three years, for two long lives only would be required for its
transmission. The settlers would be, in Indian terminology, a tribe;
their departure would be an extinction; and vanity would at last
attribute its ending to the prowess of the Red man.

A name that identifies a locality and forms a feature of a purely Indian
tradition, having no reference to or connection whatever with the white
man, must be an Indian name. Here, however, the name under discussion is
a Spanish and not an Indian name. The conclusion is, therefore,
irresistible, that as the name is Spanish the tradition relates to
Spaniards, and that the former is a Spanish designation of the locality
of the people to whom it relates.

The settlement of de Luna was the only Spanish settlement with which the
Indians could have come in contact before Arriola’s. That settlement,
therefore, must be the subject of the Indian tradition, and the Spanish
name Pensacola must have been its name.


                              CHAPTER III.

Don Andrés de Pes—Santa Maria de Galva—Don Andres d’ Arriola—The
    Resuscitation of Pensacola—Its Consequences.

In 1693, Don Andrés de Pes entered the Bay, but how long he remained, or
why he came, whether for examination of its advantages, from curiosity,
or necessity, to disturb its solitude and oblivion of one hundred and
thirty-three years, history does not say. But as a memorial of his
visit, he supplemented the name de Luna had given it with de Galva, in
honor of the Viceroy of Mexico; and thus, it comes into colonial history
with the long title of Santa Maria de Galva.

In 1696, three years after de Pes’ visit, Don Andrés d’ Arriola, with
three hundred soldiers and settlers, took formal possession of the
harbor and the surrounding country, which, to make effectual and
permanent, he built a “square fort with bastions” at what is now called
Barrancas, which he named San Carlos. As the beginning, or rather
reconstruction of a town named Pensacola, he erected some houses
adjacent to the fort. And there, too, was built a church, historically
the first ever erected on the shores of Pensacola Bay, but presumptively
the second; for it is hardly credible that the large settlement of de
Luna, embracing so many ecclesiastics, should have failed to observe the
universal custom of the Spaniards to build a church wherever they
planted a colony. Irresistible, therefore, is the inference that the
first notes of a church-bell heard within the limits of the United
States were those which rolled over the waters of Pensacola Bay and the
white hills of Santa Rosa from 1559 to 1562.

Having demonstrated that the settlement of de Luna was the original
Pensacola, that of Arriola was apparently the second, though actually
but a resuscitation of the colony of 1559; for the name, the people,
though not the same generation, and the place being one, mere lapse of
time should not be permitted to destroy the unity which may be so justly
attributed to the two settlements.

The inhabitants of the town having been largely recruited by malefactors
banished from Mexico, must be notched low in the scale of morals. But,
perhaps, in some instances at least, actions were then adjudged crimes
deserving banishment which might be deemed virtues in a more enlightened
age, and under free institutions; for under the despotic colonial
governments of Spanish America in that age to criticize the vices, or
censure the lawless edicts of a satrap, was a heinous offence, for which
transportation was but a mild punishment.

Originally, Spain’s dominion was asserted over the entire circle of the
shores of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as over all the islands which they
girdled. But upon the voyage of La Salle from the upper waters of the
Mississippi to the sea, France asserted a claim, under the name of
Louisiana, to the entire valley of the river from its spring-heads to
the Gulf, making to the extent of the southern limit of her claim, from
east to west, a huge gap in Spain’s North American empire.

But where were the eastern boundary of Louisiana, and the western limit
of Florida to be fixed? Had the French expedition under Iberville
reached Florida before Arriola’s, Pensacola would have been included in
Louisiana, and afterwards in the State of Alabama. But Arriola’s
settlement was first, in point of time; and it is to him must be
attributed the establishment of the Perdido as the boundary line between
the French and Spanish colonies, and the consequent exclusion of
Pensacola from the limits of the great State of Alabama, her political
influence, her fostering care, and, comparatively, from the vitalizing
influence of her vast mineral and agricultural resources.

The interest of history consists not in the mere knowledge or
contemplation of events as isolated facts, but in studying their
interrelations, and following their threads of connection through all
the meshes of cause and effect. It is, therefore, an interesting
reflection that the settlement of Arriola may not have been the
absolute, though it was the apparent, cause of the consequences above
pointed out. Behind it, in the shadow of a century and a third, may
perchance be discerned the ultimate and final cause of those
consequences in the settlement of de Luna. He planted the first colony,
and because he so did, Arriola settled his on that spot upon which the
lost chart and tradition probably coincided in fixing the Pensacola of

How illustrative of the truth that as one human life can have but one
beginning, so it is with that aggregate of human lives which we call a
people. “In the almighty hands of eternal God, a people’s history is
interrupted and recommenced—never.”[2]


Footnote 2:

  The last sentence of Guizot’s History of France.


                              CHAPTER IV.

Iberville’s Expedition—Settlement at Biloxi and Mobile—Amicable
    Relations of the French and Spanish Colonies from 1700-1719.

The French expedition referred to in the previous chapter, the delay of
which was so fateful to the growth and commercial future of Pensacola,
appeared off the mouth of the harbor in January, 1699. But, observing
the Spanish flag flying from the mast-head of two war vessels lying in
the Bay and from the flagstaff of Fort San Carlos, they did not enter
the harbor, but cast anchor off the Island of Santa Rosa. Thence an
application was made to the Spanish governor for permission to enter,
which was promptly refused.

After that curt refusal of the Spaniards, the fleet, consisting of three
vessels under the command of Lemoine d’ Iberville, accompanied by his
brothers, Bienvielle and Sauville, which was taking out a colony with
the necessary supplies to settle southern Louisiana, sailed westward and
took formal possession of the country west of the Perdido river.

Iberville’s first settlement was made at Biloxi on the twenty-seventh of
February, 1699, but it was afterwards abandoned, in 1702, and removed to

To the accession of Philip V., a Bourbon prince, to the Spanish crown,
whilst Louis XIV. reigned in France, must be attributed the strangely
peaceful settlement of the Perdido as the boundary line between
Louisiana and Florida. For the politic, if not natural, harmony existing
between two kings belonging to the same royal family, a grandfather and
a grandson, both the objects of jealousy and suspicion to the other
nations of Europe, necessarily inspired a like feeling in their
respective colonial officers. Hence it was that we find that the
ineffectual expedition of Governor Ravolli of Pensacola, in 1700, to
expel the French from Ship Island, was the last instance of hostility
between the Louisiana French and the Florida Spaniards for a period of
nineteen years.

Indeed, so intimate were the relations between the two colonies, that
Iberville, coming from France, in 1702, with two war ships taking succor
to the French colonists, terminated their voyage at Pensacola, and
thence sent the supplies to Mobile in small vessels. Again, in 1703, he
began a voyage to France by sailing from Pensacola.

The War of the Spanish Succession, in which England was the antagonist
of Spain and France, tightened the bonds of amity between the colonies
of the latter. In 1702, in anticipation of an English expedition against
Pensacola, Governor Martino readily procured from Bienville a needed
supply of arms and ammunition. On the other hand, in 1704, Governor
Martino promptly furnished food from his stores at Pensacola to the
famine-threatened colonists at Mobile; that kind office being a just
requital of a like humanity which had been exercised by Bienville, in
1702, towards the starving garrison of San Carlos.

In 1706-7, eighteen Englishmen from Carolina, heading a large body of
Indians, made inroads upon the Spanish settlements in Florida, and,
strange as it may seem, extended their operations as far westward as
Pensacola. In the latter year, Bienville was applied to by the Spanish
governor to aid him in defending Pensacola from an impending attack by
the Englishmen and their Indian allies. Prompt and bold in action,
Bienville at once advanced from Mobile with one hundred and twenty
Canadians to assist the Spaniards. But no conflict occurred, for after a
few days of hostile demonstrations the enemy abandoned their enterprise,
owing to the want of necessary supplies.

In other ways, too, the good feeling and intimate relations of the two
colonies were manifested. We learn, from a letter of the mean, jealous,
and growling Governor Condillac of Louisiana to Count Pontchartrain,
that, in 1713, there existed a trade between Pensacola and Mobile, in
which the former was supplied by the latter with lumber, poultry and
vegetables—a petty traffic, but not too small to excite the jealousy of
the old grumbler.

Such were the friendly relations existing between the Florida Spaniards
and the Louisiana French up to 1719, being the year after Bienville had
founded the city of New Orleans; relations which must be borne in mind
to enable us to form an enlightened judgment upon the actions of the men
engaged in the bloody drama which was ushered in by the nineteen years
of kind offices and good fellowship which have been mentioned.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    Lemoine d’ Iberville, a Canadian, esteemed the most skillful
    officer of the French navy brilliantly distinguished on many
    occasions, was selected to command the expedition to southern
    Louisiana, designed to perfect by colonization the claim France
    founded upon the voyage of La Salle. He and his brothers,
    Bienville, the founder of New Orleans, Sauville, Sevigny and
    Chateaugné presented a group of men seldom accorded to one

    During a visit to Havana, d’ Iberville died on the ninth of
    July, 1706, leaving to his brothers the task of perfecting the
    great enterprise to which the last seven years of his own life
    had been devoted.


                               CHAPTER V.

War Declared by France against Spain—Bienville Surprises Metamoras—
    Metamoras Surprises Chateaugné—Bienville Attacks and Captures
    Pensacola—San Carlos and Pensacola Destroyed—Magazine Spared.

On the thirteenth of April, 1719, two French vessels brought to the
French colony the intelligence that in the previous December, France had
declared war against Spain; an event of which Don Juan Pedro Metamoras,
governor of Pensacola, who had just succeeded Don Gregorio de Salinas,
had no information.

Bienville at once organized, with all possible secrecy, an expedition by
land and water to capture Pensacola by surprise. The land force,
consisting of four hundred Indians and a body of Canadians, was
collected at Mobile. The naval force, composed of three vessels, two of
them, the _Philippe_ and the _Toulouse_, carrying twenty-four guns each,
under the command of Sevigny, had its rendezvous at Dauphin Island.

The movement of Bienville, who marched across the country with his land
force, and that of the fleet were so well timed that on the fourteenth
of May, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, as the vessels presented their
shotted broadsides to San Carlos, Bienville, his Canadians, and Indians,
appeared on its land side. There was, of course, nothing for Metamoras
to do but to order the chamade to be beaten and to settle the terms of
capitulation. He surrendered the post and all public property within his
jurisdiction. It was stipulated that he and his garrison should march
out of the fort with the honors of war, retaining a cannon and three
charges of powder, that they should be transported to Havana in French
vessels, that the town should be protected from violence, and that the
property of the soldiers and that of the inhabitants should be

The victim of such a ruse, it was natural that Metamoras should have
directed his thoughts to retaliation; and it is probable that during the
voyage to Havana he meditated for his captors a surprise as complete and
prompt as that which he had just suffered from them.

After the French vessels, the _Toulouse_ and the _Mareschal de Villars_
had reached Cuba and landed their prisoners, they were seized by order
of the governor of Havana, who had at once, upon learning of the
disaster at Pensacola, determined upon its prompt reparation by a
recapture. He accordingly prepared a fleet, consisting of a Spanish war
ship, nine brigantines and the two French vessels. In this fleet
Metamoras and his lately captured troops, besides others, embarked for

On the sixth of August, the Spanish fleet was off the harbor. The two
French vessels, flying the French flag, first entered as decoys, to
enable them to secure favorable positions for attacking San Carlos in
the event of a refusal to surrender. Immediately after them came the
Spanish war vessel. The ruse for position succeeded, but the demand to
surrender was peremptorily refused by Chateaugné, the commander of the
fort. To an almost harmless cannonade there succeeded an armistice,
which the French sought to have extended to four, but which the
Spaniards limited to two days.

After the expiration of the armistice, another ineffectual exchange of
cannon shots was followed by the surrender of the fort; the terms being
that the garrison of one hundred and sixty men should march out with the
honors of war and be sent to Havana as prisoners. Chateaugné also was to
be sent there and thence to Spain to await exchange. They were
accordingly all taken to Havana. Chateaugné, however, instead of being
sent from there to Spain, was imprisoned in Moro Castle, where he
remained only a short time, in consequence of the energetic preparations
which his brother, Bienville, was then making for his deliverance.

Metamoras, once again in command at Pensacola, fully realized that the
stake for which he and Bienville had been playing was not to be finally
won by such strategems, as each in turn had been the other’s victim, and
that the two which had been achieved were but preludes to a trial by
battle. Appreciating, too, the bold, prompt and enterprising Bienville,
he well calculated that his time for preparation would be short, and he
accordingly improved it to the best of his abilities and resources.

He erected a battery on Point Seguenza, the western extremity of Santa
Rosa Island, which he named Principe d’ Asturias, to aid San Carlos and
the Spanish fleet in resisting an attack by sea. To guard San Carlos
from a land attack, he built a stockade in its rear. To man all his
works he had a force of six hundred men.

The Fort was captured by Metamoras early in August, and on the
eighteenth of the following September Bienville was ready to settle by
arms his right to retain it.

The celerity of Bienville’s preparations was due, however, to the
accidental arrival at Dauphin Island of a French fleet under
Champmeslin, who at once relieved him from the care and preparation of
the seaward operations of his expedition.

The naval force of the French consisted of six vessels, under the
command of Champmeslin, the _Hercules_ of sixty-four guns, the _Mars_ of
sixty, the _Triton_ of fifty, the _Union_ of thirty-six, the ---- of
thirty-six and the _Philippe_ of twenty. The land force, commanded by
Bienville in person, consisted of two hundred and fifty troops lately
arrived from France, besides a large number of Canadian volunteers,
which, when it reached Perdido, was joined by five hundred Indians under

Whilst Bienville was moving towards Pensacola, Champmeslin, having
sailed from Dauphin Island, entered the harbor on the eighteenth of
September with five of his vessels, and was soon engaged in a fierce
conflict with Principe d’ Asturias, the Spanish fleet, and San Carlos.
At the time the five vessels went into action, it was supposed that the
_Hercules_ was following them, but her commander hesitated to cross the
bar, owing to her draught of twenty-one feet, a hesitation which almost
proved fatal to her consorts, for, relying upon the support of her heavy
batteries, they now found themselves without it, whilst they were under
the concentrated fire of the Spanish fleet and the two forts.

In that conjuncture, however, they were saved by one of those
inspirations which sometimes come to a man in the supreme hour of trial,
making him for the occasion the soul of a host. A Canadian pilot, being
inspired himself, inspired the commander of the _Hercules_ with
confidence in his ability to take her over the bar and into the action.
With a cheer from her crew and all the canvas she could bear, the
gallant ship sped under the guidance of the bold Canadian to the rescue
of her consorts.

Speedily her sixty-four guns turned the tide of battle. Whilst her heavy
broadside of thirty-two guns soon battered Principe d’ Asturias into
silence, her consorts poured their fire into the Spanish fleet, which,
now short of powder, struck its colors.

After a conflict of two hours, San Carlos was the only point of defense
left to the Spaniards, and that too, threatened by a new foe. Bienville
was in its rear ready for an assault, which he soon boldly made. He was,
however, so much impeded by the stockade that he withdrew his men until
he could be better prepared for another attack. In the assault, it is
said, his Indian allies emulated the French soldiers in daring and in
their efforts to tear away the impeding stockade. But their war-whoop
was more effectual and decisive than their valor. Impressing the
Spaniards, as it did, with visions of blood-dripping scalps, it disposed
them to obviate by surrender the dire consequences of a successful
assault, for they felt that Bienville, however so disposed, would be
powerless to stay the Indian’s scalping knife when his blood was at
battle heat. Accordingly, before the assault was repeated, Metamoras
signaled for a parley, which resulted not in a capitulation on terms
which he asked for, but in a surrender at discretion.

Even after the cooling process of the time required for the parley and
arranging the surrender, the Indians were so loath to forego their
scalping pastime, the precious boon of victory, that it was necessary
for Bienville to redeem the scalps of the Spaniards by bestowing
one-half of their effects upon his allies, and reserving the other half
only for his own soldiers.

When Don Alphonso, the commander of the Spanish fleet, surrendered his
sword to Champmeslin, the latter returned it with the complimentary
assurance that the Don was worthy to wear it. But Bienville would not
even condescend to accept that of Metamoras, but directed him to deliver
it to a by-standing soldier.

But the real hero of this battle, like the real heroes of many other
fields of glory, must be unnamed, for though it is recorded that the
pilot of the _Hercules_ was rewarded with a patent of nobility for his
skill and daring, there is no accessible record of his name.

Having won a surrender at discretion, it was Bienville’s pleasure to
send Metamoras and a sufficient number of Spanish troops to Havana, in a
Spanish vessel, to be exchanged for the Frenchmen who had been sent
there in August; and thus it was that he worked the deliverance of his
brother Chateaugné from his imprisonment in Mora Castle. The rest of the
Spaniards were sent to France as prisoners of war.

It was his will and pleasure likewise to burn the town of Pensacola, and
to utterly destroy San Carlos by blowing it up with powder. The only
structure left undestroyed was the magazine which stood about half a
mile from the fort.

Upon the ruins of San Carlos there was fixed a tablet announcing: “In
the year 1718, on the eighteenth day of September, Monsieur Desnard de
Champmeslin, Commander of His Most Christian Majesty, captured this
place and the Island of Santa Rosa by force of arms.”

Thus did the Pensacola of Arriola, after having been a shuttlecock in
the cruel game of war—captured, recaptured and captured again within
four months—perish utterly in the throes of a convulsion and the glare
of a conflagration; a fate which may be traced to the intrigues of
Cardinal Alberoni, the ambitious and crafty minister of Philip V.,
resulting in a war in which Spain, without an ally, was confronted by
the united arms of France, Great Britain, Holland and Austria. “I
quickened a corpse” was the vain boast by which he expressed the change
he had effected in Spanish policy, one of the many disastrous
consequences of which was the ending in fire and blood of a little
settlement on the far-off shores of the new world.


                              CHAPTER VI.

Sketch of Island Town—Its Destruction—The Third Pensacola—The Cession of
    Florida by Spain to Great Britain—Appearance of Town in 1763—Captain
    Wills’ Report—Catholic Church.

On February 17, 1720, five months after the destruction of Pensacola, a
treaty of peace between France and Spain was signed. But it was not
until early in January, 1723, that Bienville, under orders from the
French government, formally restored Pensacola to the Spaniards, or
rather its site and surroundings.

Of the first settlement of the Island town there exists no account, but
it is probable it began immediately after the destruction of the
Pensacola of Arriola. Its origin may be accounted for by the natural
precaution of Governor Metamoras upon his recapture of that place and
preparation for a struggle with the French, to remove the non-combatants
to a place of safety, or rather the safest in the vicinity, and there
was none possessing such great advantages as Santa Rosa island. It was a
narrow, uninhabited strip of land, separated from the main land in its
western portion by three miles of water, rendering a settlement there
comparatively free from the danger of surprise by the Indians. The
deepest water for landing on the bay-side, and a supply of fresh water
obtainable by digging wells, would naturally determine the location of
the settlement; and these conditions were met by a place about two miles
from the western point of the island, not far from the present bay-wharf
of the life-saving station.

The progress the settlement made in the course of a quarter of a century
is presented by the annexed engraving, which is taken from a sketch made
in 1743. The artist, Don Serres, who was a resident during that year,
came there in the service of the Havana Company in a schooner with a
cargo for the town.




  1—The Fort. 2—The Church. 3—The Governor’s House. 4—The Commandant’s
    House. 5—A Well. 6—A Bungo.


He paid New Orleans a visit, and did some profitable trading there with
six thousand dollars which he had at his command. He also secured a
quantity of pitch and turpentine for his Company, as well as two pine
spars, each eighty-four feet long, which he sent to Havana in the
schooner. This was the beginning of the timber trade of Pensacola, its
first known business transaction with New Orleans, and the last
authenticated instance of one of its timber dealers engaging in the
elegant pastime of sketching.

In vain has information been sought of its progress during the period
between the time Don Serres made the sketch and 1754, which embraced the
last eleven years of its existence, for in that year it was destroyed,
together with many of its people, by a terrific hurricane. And thus it
was that, as the Pensacola of Arriola perished in the conflict of human
passions, its offspring was destroyed in a war of the elements.

The survivors, removing to the north shore of the Bay, settled upon a
crescent-shaped body of dry land, about the eighth of a mile wide in its
widest part, formed by the Bay and a titi swamp, which, extending from
the mouth of an estuary on the west, curved landward to a marsh just
below the outlet of another on the east. These estuaries, though
seemingly the outlets of two, were in fact those of one and the same
stream flowing through the swamp, and navigable by canoes for some
distance from the bay. The bay-shore also curved deeply, the indentation
being in fact the remnant of a cove, which, as old maps show, extended
to and beyond the northern edge of the swamp.

That settlement was but a removal of Pensacola to its present site, like
that by which it was removed to the island. Each settlement, in its
order of time, like d’ Arriola’s town, being a continuation of the
Pensacola founded by de Luna in 1559, four years before Menendez founded
St. Augustine.

Of the history of the present Pensacola, beyond its bare existence, from
1754 to 1763, we have no information further than that its
insignificance shielded it from the trials and sufferings of the seven
years war ended by the treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763.

By that treaty Florida became a British colony. On July 6 of that year
Captain Wills, in command of the third battery of Royal Artillery, then
at Havana, forming a part of the British force which had captured the
city during the late war, was ordered by General Keppel to proceed with
his command to Pensacola for the purpose of taking possession of the
place. Arriving thereon the seventh of August, Captain Wills having
presented the order of the king of Spain to the Spanish commander for
the surrender of the post, it was promptly obeyed.

It was the duty of Spain under the treaty to remove her troops from
Pensacola. Her subjects, however, were, under the Nineteenth article,
entitled to remain in the full enjoyment of their personal rights,
religion and property; but, resolving to remove to Mexico, they applied
to the Spanish government for transportation, which was promptly
promised. Accordingly, on September 2, transports for the removal of the
garrison and people arrived; and, on the third, the Spanish troops and
the entire population, to the last man, woman and child, sailed for Vera
Cruz, leaving Captain Wills and his command the only occupants of the

It is to a report written by him a few days after the Spanish exodus
that we owe all the information we possess of the character and
appearance of the town at that time.

It consisted of “40 huts, thatched with palmetto leaves, and barracks
for a small garrison, the whole surrounded by a stockade of pine posts.”

The report says: “The country, from the insuperable laziness of the
Spaniards, still remains uncultivated. The woods are still near the
village, and a few paltry gardens show the only improvements. Stock,
they have none, being entirely supplied by Mobile, which is pretty well
cultivated and produces sufficient for export.”

Of the Indians we are presented with the following glimpse: “The Indians
are numerous around. We had within a few days a visit from about two
hundred of five different nations. I was sorry not to have it in my
power of making them any presents. I only supplied them with some rum,
with which they seemed satisfied, and went off assuring me of their
peaceful intentions and promising to come down soon with some of their
principal chiefs.”

The church, which is so hallowing a feature in the sketch of the Island
Town, is suggestive of the persevering devotion of the Catholic Faith to
the spiritual welfare of her children. In 1559, when de Luna raised his
national flag upon the shores of Santa Maria, his spiritual mother
raised her cross beside it. With that sacred symbol she followed him in
his explorations through the limitless wilderness, beginning and ending
each day with her holy rites. She returned with Arriola, and, as he
built his fort, her children under her pious promptings built her
church. As the drum beat the reveille to call the soldier to the
activities of life, the notes of her bell reminded him of her presence
to admonish and console him. The engraving presents the next effort of
her zeal. Afterwards, when the wing of the hurricane and the wild fury
of the waves had swept away her island sanctuary, and left her children
houseless on a desolate shore, she followed them to that hamlet which
has just been described, where, around a rude altar, sheltered by the
frail thatch of the palmetto, they enjoyed her consoling offices. When,
in 1763, their national flag fell from the staff and her people went
into voluntary exile, her cross went with them as their guide and
solace. She returned with Galvez, and never for a day since then has she
been without her altar and her priest on these shores to perform her
rites for the living and the dead. For many years after the
establishment of American rule, that altar and that priest were the only
means by which the Protestant mother, more obedient to the Divine word
than sectarian prejudice, could obey the sacred mandate: “Suffer the
little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not.”


                              CHAPTER VII.

British West Florida—Pensacola the Capital—Government Established—
    Johnstone first Governor—British Settlers—First Survey of the Town—
    Star Fort—Public Buildings—Resignation of Johnstone—His Successor,
    Monteforte Brown.

The little settlement, mentioned in the last chapter, soon attained an
importance in striking contrast with its appearance and condition.

By the treaty of Paris, France had ceded to Great Britain Canada, and
that part of Louisiana east of a line beginning at the source of the
Mississippi river and running through its centre to the Iberville river,
thence through the middle of this river, lakes Maurepas and
Pontchartrain, to the Gulf. That acquisition, with Florida, extended the
British North American empire from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Sea,
bringing alike the Seminoles and Esquimaux under its dominion.

On the seventh of October, 1763, by a royal proclamation the limits of
the governments of East and West Florida were established; the former
extending from the Apalachicola river eastward; the latter embracing all
the territory lately acquired from France and Spain south of the
parallel of 31° from the Mississippi to the Chattahoochee river; and by
another exercise of royal authority, in February, 1764, the northern
boundary was pushed to 32°, 28´. This line was also the southern
boundary of the territory of Illinois, and it brought Mobile and Natchez
within the limits of West Florida.

Of that province, so extensive and so rich in natural resources,
Pensacola became the established capital; a natural result of the high
estimate placed by the British upon the advantages of the harbor. When
Lord Bute’s ministry was assailed in the House of Commons for having
procured Florida, by the surrender of Cuba, which Great Britain had
conquered in the war ended by the treaty of Paris, the acquisition of
the Bay of Pensacola figures as a prominent feature in the ministerial

The first step towards the establishment of civil government in West
Florida was taken upon the arrival, in February, 1764, at Pensacola, of
Commodore George Johnstone of the Royal Navy, who came as the governor
of the province; his first official act being a proclamation announcing
his presence, powers, jurisdiction, as well as the laws which were to be
in force. There came with him the Twenty-first British regiment as a
garrison for the post, and also a number of civilians in search of
fortune, or new homes; some as parasites, who are never absent where
public money is to be distributed, and others attracted by the charms of
the distant, under the delusive misrepresentations of which the
immigrant is so often the victim.

In November, 1764, Governor Johnstone, under instructions from the
British government—which from the first seems to have taken a deep
interest in the development of its late acquisitions—published a
description of the province for the purpose of attracting settlers. By
efforts like this, a tide of immigration soon began to flow into West
Florida, which, during the British dominion of nearly twenty years, it
is estimated, brought into it a population of 25,000. In this inflow
were observable a large number of Africans, imported under official
encouragement, to clear the forests and till the fields of the province;
the British conscience being, then, still enthralled by the greedy
slave-traders of Bristol, Liverpool and London, was patiently awaiting
the advent of Clarkson and Wilberforce, to quicken it into resistance to
the cruel traffic.

In the early days of Governor Johnstone’s administration, Pensacola was
surveyed and a plan established. The main street was named George, for
King George III., and the second street eastward Charlotte, for Queen
Charlotte. The area between those streets as far north as what is now
Intendencia street was not surveyed into blocks and lots, but reserved
as a public place or park. The lots south of Garden street had an area
of 80 feet front and 170 in depth. North of that street they were 192
feet square, known as arpent or Garden lots, and numbered to correspond
with those lying south of Garden street, which were, strictly speaking,
town lots. In order to furnish each family with a garden spot, each
grantee of a town lot was entitled, upon the condition of improvement,
to receive a conveyance of an arpent lot of the same number as his town

That plan, which was the work of Elias Durnford, appointed, on the
twenty-sixth of July, 1764, civil engineer of the province, is still the
plan of the old part of Pensacola, with some changes in what was the
English park, or public place; and therefore the plan of the town is,
strictly speaking, of English origin.

The park, however, though excluded from private ownership, was not
intended to be vacant, but on the contrary, was devoted to public uses.
In the centre of it was a star-shaped stockade fort, designed as a place
of refuge for the population in case of an Indian attack. Near it were
the officers’ quarters, barracks, guard house, ordnance store-house and
laboratory, two powder magazines, the King’s bake-house, cooperage
shelter, and government store-house. This park was, therefore, in the
early days of Pensacola, the liveliest and busiest part of the town.

The star-shaped fort was, from 1764 until after 1772, the only
fortification of the town, as may be inferred from the official report
of Captain Thomas Sowers, engineer, on the fifth of April of the latter

The first street pushed through the crescent-shaped swamp, was George
street, involving much labor in building a causeway and covering it with
earth. It extended to the elevation, then named Gage Hill, in honor of
General Gage, of Boston memory, and who, as the commander-in-chief of
all the royal forces in the British North American colonies, had much to
do with Pensacola in its early days. Upon the highest point of this hill
was established a lookout from which the approaches of the town landward
and seaward could be observed.

Governor Johnstone, who was a commodore in the royal navy, in the second
year of his administration, found himself in jarring relations with the
military, resulting from circumstances which, at this distance of time,
seem to be trifles, but magnified, when they occurred, into importance
by that jealous sensitiveness which appears to exist always between
those two arms of the public service. As might be expected, whisperers,
busybodies, and parasites, thronging the seat of patronage, ready to
catch any stray crumb of official favor, aggravated the conflict, which
at last became so bitter and widespread that we find it figuring in the
records of the courts-martial of a major, a lieutenant, and even an
ensign. Naturally, too, the colonists at length became partisans of the
official strife, thereby contributing to bring about a condition of
affairs rendering the governor’s further continuance in office so
uninviting to himself and so unsatisfactory to the people that, in
December, 1766, he resigned.

An incident which occurred shortly after his appointment, manifests his
impatience of criticism—a weakness which may have been the cause of his
troubles in Florida. He and Grant, governor of East Florida, were
appointed at the same time by the Bute administration, when Scotch
appointees to office were so ill-favored by the English. The
announcement were made in the _North Briton_ with a sarcastic allusion
to them as a brace of Scotchmen. At this Johnstone was so much incensed
that he sent to the publishers what was equivalent to a challenge.
Moreover, on meeting with a Mr. Brooks, who was connected with the
_North Briton_, Johnstone insisted on his stating whether he was the
author of the article. Brooks refusing to answer, Johnstone drew his
sword to use on him when by-standers interfered. Brooks instituted legal
proceedings under which the governor was bound to keep the peace.

In after years, Johnstone became a member of Parliament, and attracted
much attention by casting, in the House of Commons, one of the only two
negative votes on the Boston Harbor Bill, Edmund Burke casting the
other. His course on that memorable occasion secured him such
consideration with the Americans as to induce the British government to
select him as one of the five commissioners who were sent to America in
1778, under Lord North’s conciliatory bill, intended to concede to the
colonies all, and even more, than they had demanded at the beginning of
the controversy with the Mother country. But the sequel of his mission
proved his unfitness for the position. Besides venturing to enter into
correspondence with Robert Morris and Francis Dana, he attempted,
through a lady, to bribe General Joseph Reed of Pennsylvania by an offer
of £10,000 and the highest office within the gift of the crown in
America in the event his efforts at conciliation proving successful. To
that offer Reed made the memorable reply: “I am not worth purchasing,
but such as I am the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it.”

The other commissioners, Mr. Eden, General Clinton, and Lord Carlisle,
at least, disavowed all knowledge or connection with Johnstone’s course.
His conduct became the subject of resolutions passed by Congress, in
which it was declared: “That it is incompatible with the honor of
Congress to hold any manner of intercourse with the said George
Johnstone, especially to negotiate with him upon affairs in which the
cause of liberty is interested.”

From that reflection he sought to vindicate himself by an ill-tempered
address, which was followed by his resignation from the commission.

Though a Scotchman, he seems in this affair to have acted with more of
the impulse of a Frenchman, like Genet, than with the cool deliberation
characteristic of his race. Though he had been a commodore in the
British navy, after his appointment of governor of West Florida his
historical designation is “Governor Johnstone.”

By virtue of his being lieutenant-governor, Monteforte Brown became
Johnstone’s successor.

The troops stationed at Pensacola during Governor Johnstone’s time were
the Thirty-first regiment of infantry and the second battalion of Royal
Artillery, under General Taylor. In 1765, these troops suffered from
scurvy, as a remedy for which the governor undertook means to provide
them with fresh meat, a provision which it would seem a thoughtful and
considerate ruler would have employed as a preventive, instead of
waiting until disease required it as a remedy.

The scourge, however, proved a blessing in the end, as our ills often
do, by turning attention to the necessity of securing regular supplies
of vegetable food, the acids of which science had determined to be the
preventive of scorbutic affections. This led to the clearing, draining
and cultivation of large bodies of the Titi Swamp, a process which, once
begun, was continued throughout the period of English rule, until the
town was surrounded by smiling gardens, extending westward almost to
Bayou Chico, of which this generation has evidence in the absence of
forest from the district and its meadow-like appearance, as well as its
intersections of choked up ditches and drains.

In October, 1766, there was an exhibition in Pensacola of the cruelty
with which the British soldier was treated in the last century. For
absence without leave, James Baker Mattross of the Royal Artillery
received 100 lashes under sentence of a court-martial. Harsh as this
sentence may seem, it was mild and humane compared with what was
inflicted in other instances at other military posts. Soldiers of the
Royal American regiment, stationed at Detroit, were punished for
rioting, as follows:[3] James Wilkins, Derby McCaffny, and Sargeant Deck
1000 lashes each, whilst fortunate Corporal Saums escaped with only 500,
but who, even in his luck, was yet five times less lucky than the royal
artilleryman at Pensacola. These terrible inflictions provoke inquiry as
to the dermal texture of the backs of the British soldiery of the
eighteenth century.

With the possibility of such suffering before them, we can appreciate
the joy with which Richard Harris of the Thirty-first regiment, charged
with stealing chickens, and Lewis Crow on trial for selling liquor, who
were tried by court-martial at the same time as Mattross, received their
respective findings of not guilty.


Footnote 3:

  Canadian Archives (Haldimand Collection), B. 22, p. 262.


                             CHAPTER VIII.

                   General Bouquet—General Haldimand.

Early in 1765 General Henry Bouquet having been assigned to the command
of the southern military district of the colonies, of which Pensacola
was the headquarters, sailed from Philadelphia in a small schooner for
that place. He arrived there in the early spring, and on the following
September died.[4] Of the day and cause of his death nothing seems to be
known. Of the fact that his grave was marked by a monument, there is the
most conclusive proof.[5]

Where is that monument? That time and the elements are responsible for
its disappearance is improbable. That it is not even a subject of
tradition suggests the painful suspicion that it was willfully
destroyed; a suggestion which explains the absence of all memorials of
the people who must have died in Pensacola during the nearly twenty
years of the British dominion, and removes from their generation the
reproach of having had no respect for the memory and ashes of their
departed friends and comrades.

An exodus of the English occurred in 1783, as a future page will show,
like that of the Spaniards in 1763 already mentioned. The town was
filled by a new and strange population, whose needs for building
material were urgent, and their reverence for the dead too feeble,
perhaps, to resist the temptation of supplying their wants by plundering
tombs deserted by their natural guardians.

Nature, too, conspired with man in the work of desecration. The
necropolis of the English was at the western extremity of the town,
extending southward and embracing a slight bluff on the Bay. From 1860
to 1870 the water abraded that place, washing out human bones, and thus
compelled the earth to surrender its dead to the sport of the waves.

General Bouquet was born at Rolle, in the canton of Berne, Switzerland.
That he attained so high a rank is evidence of his merit. His masterly
campaign, in 1763, against the Ohio Indians, including the Delawares,
the Shawnees, and Mingoes, as related by the classic pen of Dr.
Kingsford, in his History of Canada,[6] is a most interesting and
striking chapter of our colonial annals. The result was the removal of a
terrible scourge from the western borders of Pennsylvania and Virginia,
and the restoration to liberty and to friends of three hundred white men
and women by a treaty, the terms of which were left to the discretion of
General Bouquet by General Gage. So highly appreciated were his skill
and courage at the time that both colonies honored him with votes of
thanks for his “great services,” which were supplemented by a
complimentary letter from the king.

But the royal letter and his promotion were only Dead Sea apples. Their
result was a voyage in a small vessel to the distant shores of the Gulf
of Mexico, where he was to die in a few months in a little garrison town
with his laurels yet fresh on his brow, away from the friends and that
admiring social circle he had left so recently at Philadelphia. Had he
been the son, or cousin, whether first, second or third, would have
mattered not, of a minister, he would have won a pension and obtained an
enviable appointment.

General Bouquet was not only a distinguished soldier, but he also left
behind him another claim to distinction in the thirty volumes of
manuscript in the British museum, known as the “Bouquet Collection,”
which now calendared is available to the historical student.

His monument has perished; his bones, perhaps, have been the sport of
the unpitying waves; generations have unconsciously trampled on his
dust; but, in “the Pantheon of history,” his name and his fame are as
fresh as when on these shores he drew his last breath and heaved his
last sigh.

A letter[7] from his confidential friend Ourry inspires the suspicion
that a romantic passion, nourished by exile and inaction, contributed to
his early death. He was devoted to a Miss Willing of Philadelphia, and
supposed to be her affianced. A Mr. Francis, a wealthy Londoner, wooed
and won the lady whilst the soldier was winning laurels on the western
frontier. But for vandal hands his tomb would be a shrine where
disappointed love could make its votive offerings.

General Frederick Haldimand was the successor of General Bouquet in the
command of the southern district. He, too, was a Swiss, and a native of
the Canton of Berne. He had held important commands in Canada before he
came to Florida. In 1773 he was appointed governor of New York. In the
same year, during General Gage’s absence in England, he was
commander-in-chief of the colonies. He was, from 1778 to 1784,
governor-general of Canada. To the qualities of a distinguished soldier,
he added ability for civil affairs and the statesmanlike qualities which
great crises sometimes require in a military commander, as appears from
Lord Dartmouth’s correspondence with him during Gage’s absence.[8]

There is an interesting coincidence in the lives of Bouquet and
Haldimand. Drawn to each other, doubtless, by the tie of nativity and
profession, similarity of disposition, interests and fortunes, a
life-long friendship was the natural consequence. They were associates
in land investments. Bouquet bequeathed his entire estate to his native
brother-in-arms, including the valuable collection before referred to.
More fortunate than the former, the latter lived to be made a Knight of
the Bath, and to die in his native town of Yverdun.[9]


Footnote 4:

  Kingford’s History of Canada, Vol. V., p. 110.

Footnote 5:

  A statement of the English grey bricks used in the monument exists in
  the Canadian archives at Ottawa, dated February 1, 1770. Haldimand
  Papers, K. 15, p. 84.

Footnote 6:

  Volume V., pp. 93-113.

Footnote 7:

  J’ai lu mon cher ami, et relu avec attention votre triste lettre du
  premier, et suis sensiblement touché de votre état. Je vois que votre
  esprit agité, comme la mer après une rude secousse de tremblement de
  terre, n’a pas encore repris son assiette. Je n’avois que trop bien
  prévu l’effet funeste; plût à Dieu que je l’eusse aussi bien pu
  prévenir!... Je suis attendri du récit touchant que vous me faites de
  votre situation douloureuse, et je vous conjure par ce que vous tenez
  du plus cher et de plus sacré, de ne vous pas laisser aller à la merci
  d’une passion qui vous mène, et qui vous privera bientôt, si vous n’y
  prenez garde, des moyens qui vous restent encore pour la dompter
  (Kingsford Hist. of Can., Vol. V., p. 110).

Footnote 8:

  I trust the designs of those who have apparently from self-interested
  motives endeavored to spread an alarm, and create fresh disturbances
  in consequence of the importation of tea by the East India company
  will prove abortive.... In the present state of uncertainty with
  regard to what may be the issue of this disagreeable business, I
  cannot say more to you; and, indeed, the sentiments you have expressed
  in your former dispatches in respect to the propriety or impropriety
  of employing a military force in case of civil commotion are so just,
  and your conduct in that delicate situation so temperate and prudent,
  as to render any particular instructions from me on that head
  unnecessary. Dartmouth to Haldimand—Canadian Archives, Series B., Vol.
  35, p. 64.

Footnote 9:

  Kingsford’s Hist. of Can., Vol. 4, p. 318.


                              CHAPTER IX.

Governor Elliott—Social and Military Life in Pensacola—Gentlemen—Women—
    Fiddles—George Street—King’s Wharf on November 14, 1768.

There exists evidence in the Canadian archives that, in July, 1767, Mr.
Elliot was appointed to succeed Governor Johnstone, but careful search
has failed to discover any official act upon which to rest the
conclusion that he ever came to the province.

In a note dated eighteenth of October, 1768, at Pensacola, General
Haldimand tells Governor Brown that “assistance will be given to land
Governor Elliot’s baggage, and put the garden in order,” in answer,
evidently, to a request of Governor Brown, made in expectation of the
new governor’s early arrival. But these preparations were manifestly
made in vain, for in a letter written at Pensacola, in January, 1769, by
the general to Mr. John Bradley of New Orleans, he says: “I hope that
these matters will be settled on the arrival of Governor Elliot, daily
expected.” And numerous papers in the Canadian archives, as well as
documents in the American state papers, show that from the eighteenth of
December, 1766, up to the appointment of Governor Peter Chester, in
1772, Brown was the acting governor of the province. The evidence is
therefore conclusive that though Elliot was appointed, he either died or
resigned without ever having gone to the province.

The coming of officers and others from the military posts of the
province to headquarters, as well as the frequent courts-martial held
there, especially numerous and exciting in 1766-7, enlivened military
life at Pensacola.

Of the social life of the town during Johnstone’s and Brown’s
administrations, we have but little information. If, however, the
opinion of an official high in rank is to be accepted as evidence,
gentlemen were not numerous up to 1767, as will be seen from an extract
from a letter of his to a friend: “A ship lately arrived from London,
has brought over the chief justice and the attorney-general of the
province, and _other gentlemen, who are very much wanted_.” But who are
and who are not gentlemen? Let the moralist, the sectarian, partisan,
votary of sport or fashion, dude, friend, enemy, the prejudiced, the
just, the harsh, and the charitable successively sit in judgment upon
the same man; what a very chameleon in character will he not appear, as
he is reviewed by each of his judges? Of this variety of judgments, an
occurrence, at Pensacola during this period, is illustrative.

Major Farmer of the Thirty-fourth regiment of infantry, stationed at
Fort Charlotte,[10] was by the Johnstone party accused of embezzlement
and fraud. But a court-martial which sat at Pensacola honorably
acquitted him, and upon a review of the record the finding of the court
was approved by the King.

Another letter, in 1770, gives the following uninviting picture of the
civil as well as the social condition of the place: “Pensacola has been
justly famed for vexatious law-suits. It is contrived, indeed, that if a
poor man owes but five pounds, and has not got so much ready money, or
if he disputes some dollars of imposition that may be in the account, or
if he is guilty of shaking his fist at any rascal that has abused him,
he is sure to be prosecuted, and the costs of every suit are about seven
pounds sterling.... I have known this province for a little more than
four years, yet I could name to you a set of men who may brag of one
governor resigned, one horse-whipped and one whom they led by the nose
and supported while it suited their purpose, and then betrayed him. What
the next turn of affairs will be, God knows.”

Perhaps, however, the writer owed a shopkeeper who sued him; or he had
been fined for offering violence to some other importunate creditor; and
as to the costs of litigation, it is likely, that in this year of grace
some luckless litigant, in the modern Pensacola, can be found who would
heave a sympathetic sigh on reading the complaint which comes to us from
a suitor in its early days.

Besides, the reference to the treatment received by three governors, in
a letter written in 1770, is rather puzzling, for though three governors
had been appointed for West Florida up to that time, but two, Johnstone
and Brown, administered its government. Johnstone resigned and,
therefore, Brown must have been the man, if any, who was horsewhipped
and led by the nose. As “led by the nose,” however, is a metaphor,
“horsewhipped” may, perhaps, be regarded as a figure of speech likewise.

Strange though it be, yet so it is, in the mass of Pensacola
correspondence, from 1763 to 1770, we find mention made of military
officers of every grade, governors, secretaries, surveyors, judges, male
Indians, ships, boats, bricks, lumber, shingles, wine, swords, muskets,
cheese, cannon and fiddles, but of a woman or any of her belongings,
never, with only two exceptions.

One comes to us like an attractive mirage on the far-off horizon of this
Sahara of masculinity and soulless things in the person of Mrs. Hugh
Wallace of Philadelphia, a friend of General Haldimand, in respect to
whom, in a letter to her husband, he says: “I beg my best respects may
be acceptable to Mrs. Wallace.” The other is a nameless moral wreck, of
whom the writer of a letter exclaims: “I wish I could make the mother of
my children my wife!” forcing upon the imagination the shadow of a
wronged wife, with one’s heart touched by the probable sorrows of a
blighted life.

But, though excluded from men’s letters, we do not need their
correspondence to inform us that wives, mothers, sisters and nurses
formed no inconsiderable part of the population of Pensacola in those
early days, for we know it as certainly, fully, and confidently as we
know the town must have been blessed with air, light, food, and all the
other vivifying conditions of human existence.

It has been intimated that fiddles were the subject of correspondence,
and thuswise. It appears that General Haldimand was the owner of two
fiddles. Whether fiddling was one of his accomplishments does not
appear. But as ownership of one fiddle ordinarily creates the
presumption that the owner is a performer in some one of the three
degrees of good, bad or indifferent, the ownership of two would seem to
be conclusive of the fact.

However that may be, it seems that Governor Thomas Penn of Pennsylvania
had knowledge of the instruments, and, presumably, knowing their merits,
coveted them to such a degree that the general induced him to pay $360
for them. As the bargain was made by letter, after the general and the
fiddles had been in Pensacola for several years, we may infer that their
dulcet tones must have made a deep and ineffaceable impression upon the
governor, which no other fiddles could remove. By a vessel sailing from
Pensacola to Philadelphia, the general sent a box containing the two
fiddles to Mr. Joseph Shipping of that place, agent of Governor Penn,
and also a letter to Hugh Ross, his own agent, whom he tells (evidently
with the chuckle of a trader who has made a good bargain) of the $360 he
is to collect from Shipping, closing the letter with the exclamation, “I
wish I had more fiddles to sell!”

Correspondence in 1767 shows courtesies exchanged between Pensacola and
Philadelphia. A Pensacolian sends a sea turtle, and the Philadelphian
returns a cheese.

The town was accused of being hot and inhospitable. But the letter of
complaint tells what a specific wine is for the prevention of all
climatic diseases and the other ills of life. One gentleman, to be sure
of a supply of the panacea, orders a pipe of old Madeira.

On November 14, 1768, we are walking down the east side of George street
from the gardens to the Bay. After passing two blocks we find ourselves
on the Public Square and in front of a large building. Going in and out
of that building are many people, the most of them soldiers and Indians,
and somewhere in or about it we find a Mr. Arthur Neil. Upon inquiry we
are informed the building is the king’s store-house, and Mr. Neil its
keeper. Leaving the store, a short walk brings us to the shore and
afterwards to the king’s wharf, which we see covered with troops, some
of them getting into boats, whilst others, already embarked, are going
to a ship lying at anchor. That ship is the _Pensacola_ bound for
Charleston, South Carolina. The troops are the Thirty-first regiment,
lately stationed at Mobile, whence they have just arrived, after an
overland march, for the purpose of embarking in the _Pensacola_. Whether
they shall remain at Charleston in winter quarters will, according to a
letter of General Haldimand to Colonel Chisolm, “depend upon the conduct
of the Bostonians.”[11]


Footnote 10:

  Formerly Fort Condé at Mobile.

Footnote 11:

  Can. Archives, B. 14, pp. 31, 37, 41.


                               CHAPTER X.

Governor Peter Chester—Fort George of the British and St. Michael of the
    Spanish—Tartar Point—Red Cliff.

Peter Chester, having been commissioned governor of West Florida in
1772, came to Pensacola, the capital of the province, and entered upon
the administration of the office. He was recognized and deferred to by
General Haldimand as a man of capacity and experience, a reputation
which was not impaired by his nine years’ rule in Florida.

The first days of his administration were marked by a determination to
reform the public service, and to supersede the old star fort by more
stable and efficient defenses for the town and harbor, and the spirit
which animated him was at once communicated to the military commander of
the province.

Early in his administration, after much discussion by engineers of
several plans for the defense of the town, a fort was built, under
orders from General Gage, on Gage Hill, and named Fort George for his
majesty George III.[12]

In the centre of the fortress was the council chamber of the province
and the repository of its archives, where the office duties of the
governor and the military commander were performed, where audience was
given to Indian chiefs and delegations, and where really centered the
government of West Florida, according to its English boundaries.

In that chamber on one occasion could have been seen a man in the prime
of life, partly in Indian dress, in earnest conversation with Governor
Chester and William Panton, the millionaire and merchant prince of the
Floridas. By the evident admixture of white and Indian blood in his
veins, his skin had lost several shades of the hue, his hair the
peculiar stiffness, and his cheek bones somewhat of the prominence of
those of his aboriginal ancestry. He was tall and slender; his eyes,
black and piercing, beamed with the light that belongs to those of the
cultured; the Indians said his high forehead was arched like a
horse-shoe; the fingers which hold the pen with which he is writing,
during a pause in the conversation, are long and slender; he speaks and
then reads what he has written; all is in the purest English, to which
he is capable of giving point by an apt classical quotation. On a future
occasion he will enter that chamber with the commission of a British
colonel. A few years later he will hold a like commission from the King
of Spain. A few years later still will find him a brigadier-general of
the United States. That man is Alexander McGillivray, of whom much is to
be written.

In that chamber three men were once seated at a table, attended by two
secretaries busily writing, one in English, the other in Spanish. One of
the three is Governor Chester, another is General John Campbell, a
distinguished English officer whom fortune has just deserted. The third,
a young-looking Spaniard, too young for his insignia of a Spanish
general, is Don Bernardo de Galvez, the governor and military commander
of Louisiana. Those three men are closing a drama and writing the last
paragraph of a chapter of history. The two papers the secretaries are
writing, when signed, will separate, one going to London, the other to
Madrid, to meet again at Versailles. At Versailles they will be copied
substantially into the duplicates of the treaty of 1783 between Spain
and Great Britain, and constitute its V Article.

A pigeon-hole on the side of that chamber once contained an order from
Lord Dartmouth, dated January, 1774, to the commander-in-chief of West
Florida, to forward a regiment from Pensacola to revolutionary Boston to
quell the tea-riots. This book is debtor to many documents which once
rested in other pigeon-holes of the chamber.

Fort George was a quadrangle with bastions at each corner. There were
within the fort a powder magazine and barracks for the garrison, besides
the chamber above mentioned. The woods north of it, for an eighth of a
mile, and within a curve bending around it to the bay, were felled, in
order to give play to its guns landward, whilst they could bear upon an
enemy in the bay by firing over the town. By a system of signals,
intercommunication was kept up with Tartar Point and thence with Red

Tartar Point, now the site of the Navy Yard, where a battery and
barracks were erected by the British, is the only existing name in this
part of West Florida which carries one’s thoughts back to the days of
British rule. The name of the point under the second Spanish dominion,
which lasted about forty years, was _Punta de la Asta Bandera_—the Point
of the Flagstaff. It seems strange that an English name which had been
superseded for that period by a Spanish designation, should after that
lapse of time be restored.

The locality of Red Cliff was for a time a puzzle. Such a name for a
locality at once induced a search for a suggestive aspect. No red bluff,
however, not too far eastward to serve as the site of a work for the
defense of the town or harbor, could be found, and yet, no bluff
westward of the former could be observed to suit the designation. But at
length, a letter in the Canadian archives fixed Barrancas as the
locality by stating that there was at about the distance of a half to a
quarter of a mile from Red Cliff a powder magazine, built by the
Spaniards, capable of holding 500 barrels of powder, which was then
being used as the powder depôt of the province, evidently the relic of
old San Carlos, destroyed by the French in 1719, and stood on the site
of the present Fort Redoubt.

The defenses of Red Cliff consisted of two batteries, “one on the top
and the other at the foot of the hill.” There were quarters for the
officers and barracks for the soldiers in one building, so constructed
as to be proof against musket balls and available as an ample defense
against an Indian attack.[13]


Footnote 12:

  Mr. Fairbanks, in his ‘History of Florida,’ calls the fort St.
  Michael; but that was, in fact, a name bestowed upon it after 1783,
  when Florida became a Spanish colony.

Footnote 13:

  Canadian Archives—Rept. of T. Sowers, Capt. Engineers Series B., Vol.
  XVII., page 302.


                              CHAPTER XI.

                       Representative Government.

When the governments of West and East Florida were established, as
before related, their governors were, severally, vested with authority,
their councils consenting and the condition of the provinces being
favorable, to call for the election of general assemblies by the people.

In 1773, Governor Chester concluded that the time had arrived when it
would be expedient for him to exercise this power. He, accordingly,
issued writs authorizing an election, fixing the time it was to be held,
the voting precincts, the qualifications of voters, and the number and
qualifications of assemblymen to be chosen, as well as the day of the
sitting of the general assembly at Pensacola.

But the writs, unhappily, fixed the terms of assemblymen at three years;
a provision which proved fatal, not only to this first attempt, but
likewise to all future efforts to establish representative government in
West Florida. The election was held throughout the province, and the
members of a full general assembly elected. But whilst the people went
to the polls with alacrity, and hailed with pleasure the advent of
popular government, they were opposed to the long tenure fixed by
Governor Chester; and so determined was that opposition that they
resolved that it should not receive the implied sanction of their votes.
They accordingly cast ballots which declared that they were subject to
the condition that the representative should hold for one year only. To
that condition the governor refused to consent. The people, on the other
hand, were equally unyielding in their opposition. Efforts were made,
but in vain, to induce a concession by one side or the other;
consequently, during the following years of English dominion, as before,
the province knew no other civil government than that of the governor
and his council.

It is difficult to understand the motives which prompted the people to
so stubborn an opposition. The tenure of three years might, indeed, seem
long to voters who had probably lived in colonies, where it was a third
or two-thirds less. But still, if there was any value to a people in
representative government, surely an assembly holding for three years
was better than none; especially as it would have so concentrated the
influence and power of the community as to enable it at some auspicious
conjuncture to remove the one popular objection to the system.

On the other hand, we can better appreciate the conduct of Governor
Chester. An Englishman with the Tory conservatism of that day, he would,
naturally, fear the effect of short terms and frequent elections, aside
from economical considerations. All the northern colonies were in a
state of ferment bordering on revolution, and that consideration,
doubtless, intensified his opposition to anything that savored of
opposition to the wishes of the king or his representatives. Indeed,
from his stand-point, to yield to the popular wishes in array against
his own will and judgment, was to leaven the province with a pestilent
political heresy which was seeking to substitute the power of the people
for the authority of the crown.

Governor Chester seems to have possessed superior talents for
government, the best evidence of which is found in the prosperity of the
colony during his administration, the harmony that existed between him
and the military, and the high respect and deference he received from
General Haldimand.

Such a man, conscious of his rectitude and good intentions towards the
province, evinced by his readiness to afford it the privilege of
representative government, somewhat at the expense of his own authority,
would naturally feel that the condition attached to the ballots, and
adhered to with much insistance, manifested such a want of confidence in
him as to justify his distrust of the people.

But what Governor Chester’s zealous endeavors could not accomplish in
West Florida, the reluctant efforts of Governor Tonyn achieved in the
eastern province. In 1780, the latter, against his own wishes, and
solely at the suggestion of others, called for the election of a general
assembly. The call having been promptly obeyed, the first popular
representative body in Florida met at St. Augustine in January,


Footnote 14:

  Fairbank’s Florida, p. 232.


                              CHAPTER XII.

Growth of Pensacola—Panton, Leslie & Co.—A King and the Beaver—Governor
    Chester’s Palace and Chariot—The White House of the British, and
    Casa Blanca of the Spanish—General Gage—Commerce—Earthquake.

There is evidence of great improvement in the town within a few years
from Governor Chester’s advent; a progress which was accelerated as the
revolution in the Northern Colonies advanced. That great movement, ever
widening its area, extended at last from the Gulf to Canada, leaving no
repose or peace for those who, living within it, were resolute to remain
loyal to their king.

Some entered the royal military service; multitudes left America, and
others, to nurse their loyalty in quietude, removed to Florida. Though
most of that emigration went to East Florida, yet West Florida, and
especially Pensacola, received a large share. St. Augustine, however,
was the tory paradise of the revolutionary era. She can, without
question, supplement the glory of her antiquity with the boast of having
once seen her streets lighted up by the blazing effigies of John Adams
and John Hancock.[15]

The most important commercial acquisition of Pensacola by that tory
immigration was William Panton, the senior of the firm of Panton, Leslie
& Co., a Scotch house of great wealth and extensive commercial
relations. They had an establishment in London, with branches in the
West India Islands. During the English dominion in Florida they
established themselves in St. Augustine; later, during Governor
Chester’s administration, at Pensacola, and afterwards, at Mobile. Other
merchants also came to Pensacola about the same time, attracted
principally by the heavy disbursements of the government. But these
expenditures were not the attraction to the Scotchmen. Their object was
to grasp the Indian trade of West Florida. A building which they erected
with a wharf in front of it is still standing, or at least, its solid
brick walls are now those of the hospital of Dr. James Herron, whose
dwelling house stands on the site of the Council Chamber of Fort George.

In that building was carried on a business which grew steadily from year
to year during the British dominion, and afterwards attained great
magnitude under Spanish rule, as we shall have occasion to notice in a
future page. In building up that business, Panton had a most able and
influential coadjutor in General Alexander McGillivray, whom we lately
saw in the Council Chamber of Fort George. Through him their business
comprehended not only West Florida, but extended to and even beyond the
Tennessee river. In perfect security, their long lines of pack horses
went to and fro in that great stretch of country, carrying all the
supplies the Indians needed, and bringing back skins, peltry, bees-wax,
honey, dried venison, and whatever else their savage customers would
provide for barter. Furs were a large item of that traffic, for the
beaver in those days abounded throughout West Florida, and was found
even in the vicinity of Pensacola.

One of their ponds, still existing on Carpenter’s Creek, four miles from
the town, is suggestive of an instructive comparison between the fruits
of the life-work of its humble constructors, and those of the twenty
years rule, of a mighty monarch. Of the British dominion of his Majesty
George III., in this part of Florida, the millions of treasure expended,
and the thousands of lives sacrificed to establish and maintain it,
there exists no memorial, or result, except a fast disappearing bank of
sand on the site of Fort George. From that barren outcome of such a vast
expenditure of human life and money, we turn with a blush for the vanity
and folly of man, to contemplate that little pool fringed with fairy
candles,[16] where the water lilies bloom, and the trout and perch flash
in the sunlight, as the memento of a perished race, whose humble labors
have furnished pastime and food to successive generations of anglers.

An unsuccessful effort has been made to obtain reliable information as
to the number and description of the houses Pensacola contained in its
most thriving days during Governor Chester’s administration. But the
only account we have, is that of William Bertram, who though reputed an
eminent botanist is hardly reliable, for he describes Governor Chester’s
residence as a “stone palace, with a cupola built by the Spaniards;”[17]
and yet, according to the description of the town in Captain Will’s
report, at the close of Spanish rule, it consisted of “forty huts and
barracks, surrounded by a stockade;” and he witnessed at that time, the
exodus of the entire Spanish population. Besides, persons whose memories
went back within thirty years of Governor Chester’s alleged palatial
residence, neither saw, nor even heard, of the ruins of such a

Upon the same authority rests the statement, that the Governor had a
farm to which he took morning rides in “his chariot.”[18] But a traveler
whose fancy was equal to the transformation of a hut into a palace, may
have transformed his excellency’s modest equipage into a more courtly

It is probable, however, that although Governor Chester was not the
occupant of a stone palace with a cupola, he lived in a sightly and
comfortable dwelling built of brick or wood, or perhaps of both. One
such dwelling of his time, that of William Panton, was familiar, forty
years ago to the elders of this generation. It stood near the business
house of Panton, Leslie & Co. Taking its style and solidity as a guide,
there existed several houses in the town within the last half century
that could be identified as belonging to Governor Chester’s day.

One of them was the scene of a tragedy; a husband cutting a wife’s
throat fatally, his own more cautiously, or perhaps her cervical
vertibrae had taken off the edge of the razor, for he survived.
Thereafter, none would inhabit it, and consequently it rapidly went to
ruin. It stood on the north side of Government street, a block and a
half from Palafox. A jury acquitted him. Why? No one could conjecture,
unless because she was his wife, and therefore his chattel, like the cow
or sheep of a butcher.

In Governor Chester’s time there existed a large double story suburban
residence, which was a distinguished feature in the landscape looking
southwesterly from Fort George, or from any part of the Bay. It stood on
the bluff between the now Perdido R. R. and Bayou Chico. Painted white,
it became the “white house” of the English, and “Casa Blanca” of the
Spanish dominion.

It was the home of a family of wealth and social standing, composed of
three—husband, wife, and daughter, the latter a child. Gardens belonging
to it covered much of the area of that meadow-like district already
mentioned. That home was to be the scene of a drama in three acts; the
death of a child, the death of a husband, and a struggle of strong,
martyrlike womanhood in the toils of temptation, tried to the lowest
depth of her being, but coming forth triumphant.

In examining the calendar of the Haldimand collection by Mr. Douglas
Brymner, Archivest of the Dominion of Canada, we are impressed with the
great and varied responsibility, labor, and care, attending the office
of commander in chief of the American colonies, especially after Great
Britain’s, Canada, Florida, and Louisiana acquisitions. His
administration involved not merely general superintendence of the
military department, but likewise embraced the minutest details
requiring expenditures of public money. We accordingly find General
Gage, during Governor Chester’s administration, dictating letters in
respect to carpenter’s wages[19] in Pensacola. Again we find him busy
over a controversy which had sprung up there in respect to the
employment of a Frenchman, Pierre Rochon,[20] to do carpenter’s work,
and furnish shingles, to the exclusion of Englishmen. Upon economical
grounds his excellency decided in favor of Rochon. Pierre was evidently
an active and enterprising man. Before he came to Pensacola to secure
for himself all the public carpentering and shingle business there, he
had enjoyed the like monopoly at Mobile.

Again we find the General engaged with a small matter at Red Cliff.[21]
Lieutenant Cambell, of the engineer department, had furnished some
carpenters who were employed there with candles and firewood, doubtless
because they could not otherwise be procured by the men. That act of
kindness brought the benevolent lieutenant the following scorching
reproof: “I am sorry to acquaint you that his excellency, General Gage,
is greatly displeased at your giving of the carpenters candles and
firewood; and he desires to know by what authority you assumed to give
those allowances, or by what order they were given? For his excellency
declares, that a shilling shall not be paid on that account.” New York,
16 Feb. 1773. S. Sowers, Captain of Engineers.

Even the quality of bricks used on the public works at Pensacola was a
matter of interest to the commander in chief. In 1771, a brick
manufactured by the British, and one by the Spaniards, nearly a century
before, as General Haldimand says, were sent to headquarters at New
York, for the judgment of his excellency as to their comparative merits.

These letters impress us the more with the cares of General Gage, when
we reflect they were written at the time of the troublesome tea business
at rebellious Boston; and when the flowing tide of the revolution, as
may be discerned from almost every page of the calendar, was daily
rising, and threatening to sweep away the supports of British authority
in the colonies.

In a former page mention is made of a Philadelphia lady, whose name
occurs in the Pensacola correspondence of an earlier day. It is but
fair, therefore, that we should not leave unnoticed a New York lady who
is mentioned in letters of Governor Chester’s time; the more so, because
she seems to have been one of those thrifty housewives, who do not
entirely depend upon the tin can, and green glass jar of the shop to
supply their families with preserved fruits and vegetables; besides,
there can be brought in with her extracts from letters, exemplary of the
courtly style, with which in Governor Chester’s day, a gentleman
returned, and a lady received his thanks for a small courtesy.[22]

General Haldimand, at Pensacola, writes Captain S. Sowers, the husband
of the lady, who is in New York:

“I most respectfully ask Mrs. Sowers, to permit me, through you, to
tender to her my most grateful thanks for the three jars of pickels.”

The Captain replies: “Mrs. Sowers, with pleasure, accepts your thanks
for the pickels, and when ye season comes for curing of them, she will
send you another collection which she hopes will be acceptable.”

In this stirring, short-hand, type-writing age, the form of a like
exchange of courtesies would probably be: “Pickels received. Thanks.”

Though there was no lack of lawyers and doctors, who it is said, lived
in fine style, there was a sad want of clergymen or preachers in the
province. There was but one of whom we have any account up to 1779, and
he was stationed at Mobile. Stuernagel, the Waldeck Field Preacher, on
his arrival in Pensacola, in that year, christened a boy whose parents
had been waiting eight years to make him the subject of the holy office.
He also baptized men who had been watching from their boyhood for an
opportunity to make their baptismal vows. Nor can there be found a
reference to church or chapel during the English dominion.[23]

The most prosperous and promising days Pensacola ever saw, except those
since the close of the civil war, were from 1772 to 1781. As the
American revolution advanced, additions were made to the numbers,
intelligence and wealth of its population, owing to causes already
mentioned. It was the capital of a province rich in its forests, its
agricultural and other resources. Its Bay was prized as the peerless
harbor of the Gulf, which it was proposed by the British government to
make a great naval station, a beginning in that direction having been
made by selecting a site for a navy yard adjoining the town to the
westward. Its commerce was daily on the increase; not only in
consequence of the extension of Panton, Leslie & Co.’s trade with the
Indians, but other enterprising merchants who had been added to the
population, were engaged in an export trade, comprising pine timber and
lumber, cedar, salt beef, raw hides, cattle, tallow, pitch, bear’s oil,
staves, shingles, honey, beeswax, salt fish, myrtle wax[24], deer skins,
dried venison, furs and peltry. This trade, and the £200,000 annually
extended by the British government, as well as the disbursements of the
shipping, constituted the sources of the prosperity of the town.

This period, besides being a season of growth and prosperity to
Pensacola, as well as the rest of the Province, was one of repose,
undisturbed by the march of armies, battles, and the other cruel shocks
of war that afflicted the northern colonies. But it was not to remain to
the end a quiet spectator of the drama enacting on the continent. It,
too, had an appointment with fate. Though not even a faint flash of the
northern storm was seen on its horizon, yet there had been one for long
brooding for it in the southwest.

The earthquake, too, that visited it on the night of February 6,
1780,[25] was but a presage of that which on May 8, 1781, was to shake
it to its center; and prove the signal of an exodus of the English
almost as complete as was that of the Spanish population in 1763.


Footnote 15:

  Fairbank’s History of Florida, p. 223.

Footnote 16:

  A name which the children of the neighborhood have bestowed on the
  bloom of a water plant, suggested by its wax like stem and its yellow
  point, and here mentioned to suggest to our people that it is time we
  should have popular designations for others of our beautiful wild

Footnote 17:

  Fairbanks Florida, p. 219.

Footnote 18:

  Pickett, Vol. II. p. 25.

Footnote 19:

  Canadian Archives B. Vol. 15, p. 267.

Footnote 20:

  Id. 15 p. 195.

Footnote 21:

  Id. 17 p. 267.

Footnote 22:

  Canadian Archives B. Vol. 15 p. 161.

Footnote 23:

  Von Elking Vol. II p. 139.

Footnote 24:

  This is the product of the wild myrtle, obtained by putting the seed
  into hot water, when the wax liquifies and floats on the surface.

Footnote 25:

  “On the sixth of February 1780, at night, a fearful storm arose with
  repeated thunder and lightning. An earthquake was accompanied by such
  a violent shock, that in the barracks the regimentals and the arm
  racks fell from the walls in a great many places, and everything was
  moved in the rooms. The doors were sprung, chimneys were thrown
  together, and from the fires burning on the hearths, a conflagration
  threatened to burst forth. Neighboring houses clashed together, and
  those buried in the ruins cried for help. The sea foamed and raged;
  the thunder continually rolled. It was a terrible night. Only towards
  one o’clock, the raging elements in some measure again became subdued.
  Wonderful to relate, no human life was lost.”—Von Elking, Vol. II, p.


                             CHAPTER XIII.

Military Condition of West Florida in 1778—General John Campbell—The
    Waldecks—Spain at War with Britain—Bute, Baton Rouge and Fort
    Charlotte Capitulate to Galvez—French Town—Famine in Fort George—
    Galvez’s Expedition against Pensacola—Solana’s Fleet Enters the
    Harbor—Spaniards Effect a Landing—Spanish Entrenchment Surprised—The
    Fall of Charleston Celebrated in Fort George.

The military condition of West Florida was changed as the revolutionary
war progressed. There were no longer seen two or more regiments at
Pensacola, one or two at Mobile, and one at Fort Bute, Baton Rouge, and
Panmure. The call for troops for service in the northern colonies had,
by the latter part of 1778, reduced the entire effective force of the
province to five hundred men.

That such a reduction was thought prudent, was due to the peaceful
relations of the Spaniards and the British, as well as those of the
latter with the Creek and Choctaw Indians, attributable to the influence
of McGillivray, now a colonel in the British service.

In the latter part of 1778, however, the British government becoming
suspicious of Spain, and anticipating her alliance with France, ordered
General Clinton to reinforce West Florida. Accordingly, General John
Campbell, a distinguished officer, was sent to Pensacola, with a force
of 1,200 men, composed of a regiment of Waldecks, and parts of two
regiments of Provincials from Maryland and Pennsylvania. They did not
arrive, however, until the twenty-ninth of January, 1779.[26]

Early in 1789, General Campbell sent two companies of Waldecks to
reinforce Fort Bute, which brought its garrison up to about 500 men
under the command of Lt. Colonel Dickson.

At length Spain threw off the mask, and adopted a course which justified
the suspicions of the British Court as to her inimical intentions. On
June 16, the Spanish minister, the Marquis d’ Almodovar, having
delivered to Lord Weymouth a paper equivalent to a declaration of war,
immediately departed from London without taking leave. Spain thereupon
became an ally of France, but not of the United States. Nevertheless,
under the influence of the Court of Versailles, Don Bernardo de Galvez,
the Governor of Louisiana, on June 19, published, at New Orleans, the
proclamation of the Spanish King, acknowledging the independence of the
United States. The dates of these transactions furnish conclusive
evidence of a pre-arrangement, designed to enable the Spaniards to
assail the British posts in West Florida before they could be succored
by the home government.

In pursuance of that policy, Galvez at once began his preparations for
offensive operations against Forts Bute, Baton Rouge and Panmure, in the
order in which they are mentioned. The great distance of Pensacola from
them, as well as the want of facilities of communication, assured him
that with an adequate force at his command, General Campbell’s first
intimation of his operations would be the news of their capture.

In August, with a force of 2,000 men, Galvez began his advance on Fort
Bute. As soon as Dickson was informed of his movement, he resolved to
concentrate his forces at Baton Rouge, leaving at the former post a few
men to man the guns, and to make such a show of resistance as would give
him time to perfect the defenses of the latter.

On August 30, Galvez appeared before Bute. After a contest of some
hours, its handful of defenders arrested his movements by the time
consumed in an honorable capitulation. Bute having been secured, Galvez
pushed on to Baton Rouge. In his first attack, he was repulsed with the
heavy loss of 400 men killed and wounded, which was within 100 of
Dickson’s entire force. In the next attack which was made on the
following day, the Spanish loss was 150. Although the loss on his side
was in both attacks only 50 men, Dickson realizing that he was cut off
from all succor, and that he must either surrender, or see his command
gradually waste away under the repeated attacks of an overwhelming
enemy, capitulated upon the most honorable terms. The command was
pledged not to fight against Spain for eighteen months unless sooner
exchanged. With loaded guns and flags flying the garrison was to march
to the beat of the drum 500 paces from the fort and there stack arms.
The officers were to retain their swords and every one his private
property. All were to be cared for and transported to a British harbor
by the Spaniards.[27] Fort Panmure, from which the garrison had been
withdrawn for the defense of Baton Rouge, was included in the surrender.

It was not until the twentieth of October that a courier brought to
Pensacola intelligence of the fall of the Mississippi Posts, although
Baton Rouge had surrendered during the first days of September. When it
was received it was not credited, but regarded as a false report coming
from the Spaniards to entice the British commander from Pensacola in
order that it might be captured in his absence. Even the report of a
second courier coming, on the twenty-third, failed at first to work
conviction; but at last all doubt was dispelled, and every effort
directed to putting Pensacola in a defensive condition.

Why Galvez did not follow up his success at Baton Rouge by an immediate
advance on Mobile, it is difficult to conceive, except upon the
presumption of his ignorance of the weakness of the military forces
there, and at Pensacola.

In December, 1779, Clinton’s expedition against Charleston sailed from
New York; its destination veiled in such secrecy, that even General
Washington, as well as the rest of the world outside of the British
lines, was in the dark respecting it. Miralles, the Spanish agent,
feared it was intended to recover the conquests of Galvez in West
Florida, and signified so much in a letter to General Washington. By the
time the letter was received, however, the General had become convinced
“that the Carolinas were the objects,” and in reply so tells the Spanish

It was during the interval of Galvez’s inaction between the capture of
Baton Rouge, and his attack on Mobile, that Chevalier de la Luzerne had
a conference with General Washington, on the fifteenth of September,
1779, at West Point, with the view of bringing about such concert of
movement in the American forces in the Carolinas and Georgia, and the
Spanish forces in Florida, as would be a check on the British in their
movements against either.[28] But with every disposition for such
co-operation, the latter being without authority to that end, went no
further than to show his sympathy with the Spaniards, and his readiness
to afford advice and information, which he afterwards manifested in the
letter to Miralles above mentioned.

In that letter, referring to the capture of Fort Bute and Baton Rouge,
he says: “I am happy of the opportunity of congratulating you on the
important success of His Majesty’s arms.” It is hardly probable,
however, that General Washington would have been so ready to
congratulate Miralles on those successes, had he known that in
consequence of Galvez’s bad faith, their result would be to increase the
ranks of the foe he was fighting.

In the beginning of March, 1780, Galvez again began military operations,
by advancing against Fort Charlotte. On the twelfth, after his demand
for a surrender had been refused by Captain Durnford, the British
commander, the fort was assailed by six batteries.

By the fourteenth, after a conflict of ten days, a practicable breach
having been made, Durnford capitulated upon the same terms which Dickson
had exacted at Baton Rouge. Hunger had conspired with arms to make
capitulation a necessity. For several days before that event the
garrison had been comparatively without food. When the gallant Durnford
marched out of the breach at the head of a handful of hunger-smitten
men, Galvez is said to have manifested deep mortification at having
granted such favorable terms to so feeble a foe. An effort was made by
General Campbell to relieve Fort Charlotte, but it fell just as succor
was at hand. The delay in rendering it was occasioned by rain storms,
which, having flooded the country, greatly impeded the movements of the
relieving force.[29]

The gallant defense of Fort Charlotte by Durnford seems to have lead
Galvez to reflections which ended in the conclusion that he was not,
then, strong enough to attack Pensacola. He, accordingly, made no
further movement, until he had procured from Havana a supply of heavy
artillery, and a large additional force.

That it was a part of his plan to advance upon Pensacola immediately
after the capture of Mobile, is evidenced by the Spanish Admiral
Solana’s fleet appearing, and anchoring off the harbor, on March 27,
hovering about as if in expectation of a signal from the land until the
thirtieth, and then sailing away. The appearance of a scouting party of
Spaniards about the same time, on the east side of the Perdido, likewise
pointed to such a design.

Be that as it may, Galvez made no further movement in West Florida until
February, 1781, the eventful year of the great American rally; the year
that witnessed Morgan’s brilliant victory, on the seventeenth of January
at the Cowpens; and Green’s masterly strategy, culminating on the
fifteenth of March at Guildford Court House in an apparent defeat, but
in sequence, a victory, for it sent Cornwallis to Yorktown for capture
on the nineteenth of October.

As we contemplate that year, big with the fate of empire on this
continent, the imagination is captivated by the spectacle of a line of
battle extending from the northern limits of Maine to the mouth of the
Mississippi; the intense points of action being Cowpens, Guildford Court
House, Pensacola and Yorktown.

That no reinforcement was sent to General Campbell, although the fall of
Fort Charlotte was a warning that Galvez’s next effort would be against
Pensacola, manifests the strain which Britain’s contest with her
colonies and France had brought upon both her naval and military
resources. When, therefore, in February, 1781, Galvez was about to
advance against the place with a large fleet and an army of 15,000 men,
according to the lowest estimate, the British force numbered about
1,000[30] regular troops, besides some provincials.

The British looked for some aid from the Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw
Indians. It was a body of the latter which drove the Spanish scouts
across the Perdido shortly after the capture of Mobile.

The three tribes were loyal to their white allies, even when the latter
were no longer able to furnish them with their customary supplies. The
Spaniards, on the other hand, with everything to offer them, utterly
failed to shake their British loyalty. As illustrative of their
devotion, it is related when the Waldecks landed at Pensacola, the
Indians, inferring from their strange language that they were enemies,
inclined to attack them. They had the prudence, however, to call upon
Governor Chester for an explanation. After he had satisfactorily
answered the question “whether the men of strange speech were the
friends or foes of their Great White Brother on the other side of the
big water,” they manifested great joy and honored the strangers with a
salute from their rifles.

When, however, the advance on Pensacola by the Spaniards was abandoned
in the spring of 1780, and thence up to the following December General
Campbell found his savage allies rather an encumbrance than a benefit.
That time was devoted to strengthening Fort George and the defenses of
the harbor, a labor in which no reward could induce them to assist. The
exciting occupation of taking Spanish scalps, for which £3[31] were
paid, however, was one in which they could render a barbarous service to
the British.

The Indians were under the command of a Marylander, formerly an ensign
in the British army, who, whilst stationed at Pensacola, had been
cashiered for misconduct. He afterwards went to the Creek Nation, where
he married the daughter of a chief. Though vainly styling himself
General William Augustus Bowles, he was content to accept restoration to
his rank of ensign as a reward for the service, which, at the head of
his band of Creeks, Choctaws and Chickasaws, he was expected to render
to the British during Galvez’s operations in West Florida.

In the latter months of 1780, Pensacola and the garrison of Fort George
were on the point of starvation. All the resources of the British
government seem to have been required for the great struggle of 1781 on
the Atlantic coast, and Galvez’s conquest had cut off the customary
supplies from the rich country lying between Mobile Bay and the

Field-preacher Stuernagel says in his journal: “This morning we drank
water and ate a piece of bread with it. At mid-day we had just nothing
to drink but water. Our evening meal consists of a pipe of tobacco and a
glass of water. A ham was sold for seven dollars. A pound of tobacco
cost four dollars. A pound of coffee one dollar. The men have long been
without rum. From hard service, and such want, diseases were more and
more engendered.”[32]

But that state of want was suddenly changed to superabundance. A British
cruiser captured in the gulf a number of merchant vessels loaded with
supplies, embracing “rum, meal, coffee, sugar and other welcome
provisions,” and another exclusively with powder.[33] Not long
afterwards a more brilliant, although not as useful, a prize was
captured. It contained $20,000 in coin, a large collection of
silver-plate, fine wines, “all sorts of utensils for the kitchen and
things of the same kind, being General Galvez’s outfit and requirements”
for his intended campaign of 1781.[34] Fortune thus feasted and gilded
the victim for the coming sacrifice.

Having perfected the defenses of Fort George, General Campbell turned
his attention to Red Cliff, in which, on November 19, he placed a small
garrison of 50 Waldecks, under the command of Major Pentzel, at the same
time providing it with some heavy artillery, which could be spared from
Fort George.

Apparently, tired of waiting for Galvez’s attack, or presuming from his
delay in making a movement that he had abandoned the intention of
attacking Pensacola, General Campbell sent an expedition against a
Spanish post, on or near the Mississippi, called French Town by the
British. The force consisted of 100 infantry of the Sixtieth regiment,
and 60 Waldeckers, besides 300 Indians, commanded by Colonel Hanxleden,
the senior officer of the Waldecks, and next in command to General
Campbell. It was an unfortunate enterprise, resulting in the death of
the gallant Hanxleden, as well as other veteran officers and soldiers
who were soon to be greatly needed at Pensacola. In the retreat, the
body of their brave commander was borne by his men from the field of
battle to a large oak in its vicinity under the shade of which it was
buried. Gratefully did the Waldecks, on their return to Germany,
remember and record the chivalric conduct of “the gallant Spaniards who
honored fallen gallantry by enclosing the grave with a railing.”[35] On
January 9 the remnant of the expedition reached Fort George.

On the ninth of March General Campbell’s impatient waiting for Galvez
was brought to a close. On that day a preconcerted signal of seven guns
from the war-ship _Mentor_ told the British that the Spaniards were at
last approaching for the final struggle for mastery in West Florida.[36]
By 9 o’clock of the next morning, thirty-eight Spanish ships, under
Admiral Solana, were lying off the harbor, or landing troops and
artillery. During the night a British vessel glided out of the harbor
with dispatches to the commandant of Jamaica, pleading for
reinforcements, which however were not to be had, for the movements of
de Grasse on the Atlantic coast required all the attention of the
British navy, whilst Cornwallis and Clinton had drawn, or were drawing,
there every available man to meet the great American rally.

On March 11, the Spaniards opened fire upon the _Mentor_, then lying in
the harbor, from a battery on Santa Rosa island. She replied to the
attack until she had received 28 shots from twenty-four pound guns, when
she retired nearer the town.

After this affair there were no further movements by the Spaniards until
the eighteenth, when a brig and two galleons, taking advantage of a very
favorable wind, sailed past the batteries defending the mouth of the
harbor, without receiving any perceptible injury. Thinking they might
sail up to the town, and find cover from some structures on the beach,
General Campbell caused them to be burned down.

On the nineteenth, the entire Spanish fleet, excepting a few vessels,
sailed past the batteries, though subjected to a heavy fire from Red
Cliff, which lasted for two hours.

Galvez, even after he found himself in possession of the harbor with a
fleet of 38 vessels, and a large land force, consisting not only of
troops brought directly from Havana, but those also with which he had
captured the posts west of the Perdido, sent to Havana for
reinforcements; and remained inactive until they reached him on April
16. The reinforcement consisted of eighteen more ships, and an
additional land force, with heavy siege artillery.

Whilst awaiting that addition to his strength, a landing was attempted.
The attempt was resisted by a body of Indians and a part of the garrison
of Fort George with two field pieces of artillery. The Spaniards, taken
by surprise, were driven to their boats. In the attack many were killed,
and in the confusion of re-embarking others were drowned. On April 22,
however, a second and successful attempt to land was made by the
invaders, followed by the establishment of camps where batteries were to
be erected.

One of the camps, nearer the Fort and the town than the others, by its
temerity invited rebuke. Accordingly, a surprise for it, to be executed
on the twenty-third, was prepared, but defeated by a fanatic. On the
night of the twenty-second, a Waldeck private reported to his captain,
that a Waldeck corporal was missing, under circumstances which implied
desertion; that the deserter was a Catholic, the only one in the
regiment, the rest being Protestant; and that it had been suspected by
his comrades that his fanaticism would lead him, on the first
opportunity, to desert to his co-religionists. That the suspicion was
well founded was manifested by the movements of the enemy the next

The enterprise, however, though arrested, was not abandoned. The British
commander, shrewdly calculating on the improbability in the enemy’s
conception, that a surprise defeated on the twenty-third would be
attempted on the twenty fifth, actually executed the movement on the
latter day. The attacking force, composed of a part of the garrison, and
a body of Indians, was commanded by the general in person. The Spaniards
were driven from their entrenchments with considerable loss, and their
works hastily destroyed. This proved, however, the last aggressive act
of the British. By the twenty-seventh of April, batteries mounted with
heavy siege artillery completely invested Fort George.

On the twenty-fourth, the day before the attack on the Spaniards,
General Campbell learned for the first time, that Charleston had been
captured by General Clinton on the eleventh of May, 1780. We are not
informed of the channel through which the information came to him; but
as it could not have come by sea, it must have reached him through the
Indians, who obtained it, probably, from traders of the Atlantic coast.
His ignorance for nearly a year of so important an event impresses us
with his isolation, and the courage with which he bore it. The event was
duly celebrated in Fort George by an illumination and a discharge of


Footnote 26:

  It is to the presence of these Waldecks at the siege and capture of
  Pensacola, that we are indebted for the only detailed account we
  possess of those events. The Waldeck regiment was one of the many
  mercenary bodies of German troops which Great Britain hired to conquer
  her revolted colonies. On the return of the commands to Germany, after
  the close of the war, each commander was required to make to his
  government a detailed report of its experiences. In 1863, Max Von
  Elking published, at Hanover, two volumes containing the substance of
  those reports, entitled:

  [“Die deutschen Hülfstruppen im Nordamerikanischen Befreiungskriege,
  1776 bis 1783.”]

  The German Troops in the North American War of Independence, 1776 to

  Those of the Waldecks extended from the day the regiment was completed
  at Corbach, where it was reviewed by the widowed Princess of Waldeck,
  and her court ladies, on May 9, 1776, up to the return of its small
  remnant in 1783. The princess entertained them, and furnished them
  besides 100 guelden for a jollification—doubtless out of the hire she
  received for the hapless creatures. The remark of a courtier, that he
  would see “all those who came back riding in carriages,” indicates the
  delusive hopes with which it was sought to inspire them. Nevertheless,
  it was thought prudent by the Princess, that the departing mercenaries
  should, to prevent desertion, be guarded during their journey to the
  _Weser_, where they were to embark, by the Green Regiment of
  Sharpshooters. The regiment consisted of 640 men, under the command of
  Colonel Von Hanxleden. Stuernagel was the Field Preacher, or chaplain,
  to whose journey Von Elking makes many references.

Footnote 27:

  Von Elking, Vol. II, p. 142.

Footnote 28:

  Sparks, Vol. 6, p. 542.

Footnote 29:

  Von Elking, Vol. II, pp. 144-5. “It proved a horrible march. It almost
  continually rained. The men were forced to wade up to their ankles
  through the soft ground, or through mud. It was only possible to cross
  the greatly swollen streams by means of the trunks of the trees. The
  men could only pass singly on them, and the one who missed his
  footing, and stept into the water below was irretrievably lost.”

Footnote 30:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 152.

Footnote 31:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 140.

Footnote 32:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 146.

Footnote 33:

  Id. 147.

Footnote 34:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 149.

Footnote 35:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 148.

Footnote 36:

  Von Elking, Vol. II., p. 148.


                              CHAPTER XIV.

Fort San Bernardo—Siege of Fort George—Explosion of Magazine—The
    Capitulation—The March Through the Breach—British Troops Sail from
    Pensacola to Brooklyn.

The Spanish operations against Fort George were conducted with extreme
caution. What, in the beginning, was one of a circle of intrenchments,
developed into a fort as extensive and strong as the former. Like Fort
George, it was built of earth and timber. Its position was about
one-third of a mile to the northward of the latter. During its
construction it was hidden from observation by a dense pine forest and
undergrowth, which, after its completion, were cleared to give play to
its guns. It was named San Bernardo, for the patron saint of the Spanish

The magnitude of San Bernardo indicated that it must have been
constructed for exigencies besides that of assailing the British works.
Galvez probably feared an attack in his rear from the Indians coming to
the relief of their allies, or that he might have to encounter a
relieving expedition coming by sea. In either event his fortress would
be a place of security for his supplies and a rallying point in case of

The siege was a struggle between two forts, with the advantage to one of
them in being supported by intrenchments which with itself formed a
circle around its antagonist. The latter began the contest.

Among the works constructed by the British to strengthen their position,
was a redoubt, named Waldeck. On April 27, a Spanish intrenchment was
seen to be in the course of construction opposite to Waldeck, under
cover of the woods. Against that intrenchment the besieged directed a
heavy fire, but with little effect, as the work was nearly completed
when discovered. This attack upon the besiegers was the signal for all
their batteries to open fire upon Fort George and its defenses.

The firing was incessant on both sides until May 1, when that of the
British was almost entirely suspended, for the purpose of enabling the
garrison to make some indispensable repairs on their works. On the
second, however, the British guns were again in full play.

But the demand for repairs was so continuous and urgent as to impose a
heavy tax upon the limited numbers of the besieged. Short reliefs from
duty became a stern necessity, and want of rest, as well as
overexertion, so impaired their strength that men were seen falling
prostrate beside their guns from fatigue and exhaustion.

Galvez’s failure to storm the British works, during the silence of their
guns on May 1, seemed to indicate his determination to reduce the
contest to the question, how long the ammunition of the besieged would
last and their artillery remain serviceable? He may, however, have
regarded the suspension of the British firing as a strategem to invite
an assault.

There was a vital spot in the defenses for which the Spanish shot and
shell had been vainly seeking—the powder magazine. But as the gunners
were without requisite information to enable them to procure its range,
it was but a wild chance that a shell would strike it. That its position
was not drawn from the Waldeck corporal, is an impeachment of the
military sagacity of the Spanish officers, and an act of gross
negligence which would have prolonged the siege indefinitely, but for an
imprudence of the British commander equally as gross.

A provincial colonel for infamous conduct—of what character we are
uninformed—was drummed out of the Fort, instead of being, as prudence
required, carefully kept within it during the siege. The man, as should
have been expected, went to the Spaniards and informed them of the
condition of the garrison and defenses, and especially of the angle in
which the magazine was situated. That disclosure sealed the fate of Fort
George. Thenceforward, that angle became the mark of every Spanish shot
and shell. For three days and nights did those searching missiles beat
upon it, until at last on the morning of May 8, there occurred an
explosion that shook Gage Hill to its deep foundations as though once
again in the throes of an earthquake.

A yawning breach was made in the Fort. Fifty men were killed outright
and as many more wounded fatally and otherwise.

At that thunder-like signal 15,000 men are marshalled for the assault.
But there is no panic in Fort George. Calmly the British commander
orders every gun to be charged, and many to be moved so as to sweep the
breach. That work done, he hoists a white flag and sends an officer
under another to the Spanish general with a communication, which
doubtless had been prepared in anticipation of the conjuncture in which
he at last found himself. It was an offer to capitulate upon the
following terms: “The troops to march out at the breach with flying
colors and drums beating, each man with six cartridges in his cartridge
box; at the distance of 500 paces the arms were to be stacked; the
officers to retain their swords; all the troops to be shipped as soon as
possible, at the cost of the Spaniards to a British port, to be
designated by the British commander, under parole not to serve against
Spain or her _allies_, until an equal number of the same rank of
Spaniards, or the troops of her allies, were exchanged by Great Britain,
and the best care to be taken of the sick and wounded remaining behind,
who were to be forwarded as soon as they recovered.”

Knowing that those were the terms which the gallant Dickson and Durnford
had demanded and obtained at Baton Rouge and Mobile, the spirit in which
General Campbell dictated the terms of the capitulation can be readily
imagined. To submit to less than had been conceded to his inferior
officers would be dishonor.

Galvez answered, that the terms proposed could not be conceded without
modification. General Campbell replied that no modification was
permissible; adding, that in case they were not conceded he would hold
“the Fort to the last man.” That bold reply was followed by the consent
of Galvez to the capitulation proposed by the British commander.

It would be a grateful task to record humanity or chivalry as the motive
for the concession; and it would be the duty of history to assign it, in
the absence of facts, inconsistent with such a conclusion. But the
victor, by his own confession, has precluded such a presumption.[37] In
a letter of General Washington’s to Don Francisco Rendon, agent of the
Spanish government in the United States, written at “Headquarters before
Yorktown, twelfth of October, 1781,” occurs the following: “I am obliged
by the extract of General Galvez’s letter to Count de Grasse, explaining
at large _the necessity_ he was under of granting the terms of
capitulation to the garrison at Pensacola, which the commandant
_required_. I have no doubt, from General Galvez’s well known attachment
to the cause of America, that he would have refused the articles, which
have been deemed exceptionable, had there not been very powerful reasons
to induce his acceptance of them.”

What, it may be asked, were “those very powerful reasons?” He had an
army at his command only one thousand less in number than General
Washington had before Yorktown, when he wrote the letter to Rendon; he
had ample supplies of every description; he was backed by a powerful
fleet; he had selected for his expedition a time when de Grasse’s
movements on the Atlantic coast required the presence, in that quarter,
of the whole British naval force on this side of the Atlantic; and
hence, we can find no “necessity he was under of granting terms,” which
General Campbell “required,” unless we find it in his want of faith in
his ability by force of arms, to compel the British commander to modify
his requirements.

In order to fully appreciate the transaction, it should be borne in mind
that there was an understanding between Galvez and the French commanders
in America, that he should not grant to British troops that might fall
into his power during his operations in West Florida, such terms as
would enable them to become a part of the armies operating against the
United States.

This understanding Galvez violated at Baton Rouge and Mobile, and again
for the third time, in conceding the terms demanded by General Campbell;
for the articles bound the garrison not to serve against Spain and _her
allies_ only, and the United States was not her ally, but only a

To say that the “powerful reasons,” to quote from General Washington,
were not in Fort George, would be to accuse Galvez of bad faith to his
French ally, and untruth, as to the existence of any necessity for his
concession to the British.

Such being the conclusions that impartial history must draw, impressive
was the spectacle presented, on the ninth of May, 1781, upon that hill
now crowned by the monument to the Confederate dead. In a circle around
Fort George the Spanish army stands in array. The roll of a drum breaks
the stillness, followed by the sound of mustering in the Fort. Again as
it beats to the fife’s stirring military air, the British commander, in
the dress of a major-general, sword in hand, emerges from the breach,
followed by his less than eight hundred heroes. Proudly does the gallant
band step the five hundred paces; then successively come the orders to
halt, fall into line, and stack arms.

The scene would have thrilled the heart of every soldier whose memory is
consecrated by the shaft that springs from that historic hill, then the
centre of a landscape, whence, northward, the eye could rest on a
limitless expanse of verdure; eastward and westward upon the
far-sweeping curves of the shore; southward upon the glorious mirror of
the Bay, with the hills of Santa Rosa rising out of the blue waters like
snow-clad peaks above the azure of a distant horizon, and far beyond
them upon the tremulous sky-line of the heaving gulf.

The formal signing of the articles of capitulation in the Council
Chamber of Fort George, which occurred on the ninth of May, immediately
before the British marched out, was anticipated in a former page.

On June the fourth the British troops sailed for Havana, where they
arrived on the fourteenth of the same month; and thence the same vessels
transported them to Brooklyn. A further addition was made to the
strength of the British, by the garrisons of Baton Rouge and Fort
Charlotte, which after many obstacles, and several voyages from point to
point, finally reached Brooklyn about the time the Pensacola troops
arrived there. And thus, in consequence of Galvez’s breach of faith, a
force of 1,200 veterans, with their gallant officers, was added to the
British army.

It was doubtless this accession of British strength, at New York, in
that rallying year, when each side required every available man, that
caused de Grasse to complain to the Spanish government of the
capitulation at Pensacola, and called forth the apology of Galvez
referred to by General Washington in his letter to Rendon.


Footnote 37:

  Sparks, Vol. 8, p. 175.


                              CHAPTER XV.

Political Aspect of the Capitulation—Treaty of Versailles—English
    Exodus—Widow of the White House.

The terms of the surrender of Fort George, as stated in the previous
chapter, present the strictly military side of the capitulation. But
there was also a political aspect to the formal articles, signed on the
ninth of May, by General Campbell, Governor Chester, and General Galvez.
West Florida was surrendered to Spain, and it was stipulated, that “the
British inhabitants, or those who may have been subjects of the King of
Great Britain in said countries, may retire in full security, and may
sell their estates, and remove their effects as well as their persons;
the time limited for their emigration being fixed at the space of
eighteen months.”

It was that political feature of the capitulation which made Governor
Chester’s signature necessary, and to that it related exclusively. That
of General Campbell referred to the strictly military stipulations only.
In the former we may find one of General Galvez’s inducements to submit
to the British general’s “requirements.”

The object of the Spanish government in directing the invasion of West
Florida was to permanently regain the territory which Spain had
surrendered to Great Britain in 1763; and in addition, to obtain that
part of Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico which the latter had acquired
from France. Consequently, the large expedition so long in preparing
against Pensacola, and so disproportionate to the mere capture of the
place, was intended for colonization, as well as conquest. Such being
the policy of his government, Galvez necessarily subordinated all other
considerations to its achievement. Accordingly, his overwhelming numbers
designed to overawe opposition; his ponderous siege artillery intended
to batter Fort George into ruins without danger to the town; avoidance
of all movements by his fleet against it as well as all injury to it by
his artillery during the siege; and, lastly, the article above quoted
pointed to the colonization of a Spanish population, for the
accommodation of which the English homes were to be vacated, and their
inmates forced into exile. If that object could be obtained by the
capitulation, there was nothing within the lines of Spanish policy to be
gained by taking Fort George by storm, at the fearful sacrifice of human
life which it would have cost. The French might, indeed, complain that
the agreement with them respecting British troops in Florida was
violated by conceding the terms demanded by General Campbell; but
diplomacy, the science of excuses and pretexts, would be equal to the
task of satisfying them. As to the Americans, it was of little
consequence to Spain that General Clinton’s forces would be strengthened
by the reinforcement of the Florida troops, albeit at a conjuncture when
every available man was required to sustain Britain’s tottering North
American empire. For though Spain became an ally of France in order to
place herself in a position to claim a fragment of that empire when it
fell, yet her purpose was to attain that end with the least possible
inconvenience or sacrifice to herself.

That General Washington was satisfied with the apology of Galvez made
through de Grasse may well be doubted. His dignity, however, forbade
complaint. Besides, the promise violated was made to the French; if they
were satisfied, respect for them imposed silence upon the Americans. But
there is in the paragraph of the letter to Rendon, before quoted, a vein
of irony, the sting of which, coming from such a man, Galvez must have
keenly felt.

As already intimated, the above quoted provision of the capitulation
became substantially the Fifth Article of the treaty between Great
Britain and Spain, signed on the twenty-eighth of January, 1783, at

The condition in which that treaty placed the Florida-English was
peculiar. Spain was not opposed to foreigners living in her colonies,
provided they were Catholics; and it was well understood, that any
English who were, or should become, such would be at liberty to remain
in Florida in the full enjoyment of their liberty and property.[39]

History does not afford a more striking contrast between the conduct of
two nations under similar circumstances, to the honor of one, and the
reproach of the other, than that between Spain and Great Britain, as
they are presented by the treaties of Paris and Versailles. In the
former, Spanish subjects were secured in their persons, religion,
liberty and property. In the latter, Great Britain virtually stipulated
for the banishment of hers, and the confiscation of their estates. The
privilege of selling their property within eighteen months was but a
mockery; for purchasers were not only few, but well aware, likewise,
that a trifling consideration would in the end be preferable to a total

The British government professed to compensate the victims of her
policy; but her justice was confined to those whose claims upon it were
the slightest; to the absentees owning large tracts of land which had
been granted by the crown, and who did not see fit to go to the
provinces to attempt to effect sales. [40]But no indemnity was provided
for those who had made their homes in the provinces, under the gilded
representations and inviting promises of their governors in the name of
His Protestant Majesty, George III., Defender of the Faith.

The conduct of Spain in this matter is hardly censurable, when it is
remembered that it occurred in an age of religious intolerance. She was
a Catholic power and wanted no Protestant subjects. Her own had left
Florida in 1763, as soon as the Spanish flag was lowered. In the
articles of capitulation and the treaty of 1783 she had enforced her
traditional policy. And to her credit, be it said, that she did not
enforce banishment and confiscation after eighteen months had expired
under the former; and when that period had elapsed under the latter, she
granted an extension of four months. Great Britain, on the other hand,
in yielding to Spain’s demands was false to her faith, false to her
traditions, and false to that boasted principle of her constitution that
her ægis covers every Englishman, in every land.

Eighteen months is but a fleeting span to a people, when it is but a
respite from confiscation and exile, avoidable only by apostasy.

Of the heartaches of the exodus of the Florida-English we have an
illustration in the widow of the White House. She had lived out the
eighteen months under the capitulation, and the like period under the
treaty, when the extension came to her like a respite to the condemned.

Those four months embraced the days and nights of her struggle in the
toils of temptation, foreshadowed in a previous page. Can she leave that
home, consecrated by the graves of her husband and her child; that home
where every object, tree, vine, shrub, sea, sky, and the very wild
violets at her feet, brought up hallowed associations and sacred
memories which made them all parts of her very being? No! The surrender
would be at the cost of as many bleeding heart strings. There is,
however, an escape in apostasy. She has but to signify her wish to
renounce her faith; that faith, however, with which she had consoled a
dying husband, and in which she had buried a darling child. Home
triumphs. The governor is notified.

Time wanes to the day of sacrifice. The bell tolls the sacrificial hour.
The priest stands at the altar ready for the offering. But the victim
fails the tryst. Faith triumphs. The bonds of temptation are snapped.
Turning her back upon home, she goes forth an exile; crowned, we may
well believe, with the promise to all the true of every creed who leave
“lands” and “houses” for His name’s sake, to swell the mighty host of
woman martyrs; time’s woeful harvest of blighted lives and broken
hearts; victims of man’s ambitions, his wars, his policies, and his


Footnote 38:

  White’s Recopilacion, Vol. II., p. 298.

Footnote 39:

  White’s Recopilacion, Vol. II., p. 301.

Footnote 40:

  Id. p. 300.


                              CHAPTER XVI.

Boundary Lines—William Panton and Spain—Indian Trade—Indian Ponies and
    Traders—Business of Panton, Leslie & Co.

The treaty of Versailles re-adjusted the broken circle of Spain’s empire
on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, by restoring to it the segment
taken from it by d’Iberville’s settlement, as well as that cut from it
by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

But British West Florida was not in its entirety acquired by Spain. By
the Treaty of Paris of the third day of September, 1783, acknowledging
the independence of the United States, the 31° parallel of north
latitude was made the southern limit of the latter from the Mississippi
river to the Appalachicola. Thence the boundary line was that river up
to the Flint, thence in a straight line to the head waters of the St.
Mary’s and down that river to the Atlantic ocean. The Treaty of
Versailles, on the other hand, made that line the northern boundary of
the territory ceded to Spain. Those treaties therefore cut off a huge
slice from British West Florida.

But, even within that narrow strip of territory, Pensacola lost its
primacy; for in the establishment of the Spanish colonial governments
within it, the Perdido was made the western limit of West Florida.
Pensacola was, therefore, by that arrangement placed geographically in
reference to boundary lines as it stands to-day; the result, as before
shown, of d’Arriola having made his settlement three years before the
advent of d’Iberville to the gulf coast.

Those territorial changes dealt a withering blow to Pensacola. Instead
of being the capital of a province, bounded by the Mississippi and the
Chattahoochee, and a line from one to the other some miles north of
Montgomery, it became but the chief town of a narrow strip of wilderness
between the Perdido and the Appalachicola rivers. Lately regarded and
fostered as the future commercial base on the gulf of Britain’s North
American empire, it now became a garrison town, valued by Spain as only
an outpost to guard against encroachments by other powers on the shores
of a sea over which she sought supremacy.

Left to Spanish influences exclusively, it must have rapidly dwindled to
the condition, commercially at least, in which Captain Wills found it in
1763. But from that fate it was saved by two men who have already been
introduced to the reader.

The narrow religious prejudices of the Spanish court demanded the
banishment of all Protestant British under the Fifth Article of the
Treaty of Versailles; and they were rigidly obeyed by colonial officials
with one exception. They knew that to banish William Panton was to
insure for the town the fate above indicated, and they were equally
aware that his presence would be more effective in the preservation of
the peace of the provinces than a large military force, owing to his
influence over Alexander McGillivray, and of the latter’s over the
powerful Creek Indians. Indeed, it is unquestionable, that without those
influences, the Spanish government could not have been maintained in
West Florida. But it would have been idle to hope that a man who had
been loyal to an earthly monarch, under pain of confiscation and
banishment, would incur the guilt of apostasy from a faith that was to
him, at least, the symbol of allegiance to the King of Kings.
Accordingly, the religious test was waived as to him, and for it was
substituted an oath of allegiance to the Spanish King, whilst his
residence and influence were secured by means the most inviting to his
interest and flattering to his pride.

A treaty was entered into with him, as a quasi-sovereign, securing his
firm in all its possessions and rights, and bestowing upon its houses at
Pensacola, Mobile and Appalachee a monopoly of the Indian trade. For
these concessions the firm became the financial agent of the government
at those points, and bound to wield its influence in promoting peace and
good will between the Spaniards and the Indians.

The stipulations on both sides were faithfully fulfilled. At one time
Spain was indebted to the firm in the sum of $200,000 for advances, and
the debt was afterwards faithfully discharged. In humiliating contrast
with the honor and fidelity which marked the dealings of the Scotchmen
and Spaniards with each other, is the following advice of an American
agent, James Seagraves, [41]to his government. “I think if the Spanish
court were pushed in the business they will readily sacrifice Panton &
Co., especially as they owe the concern $200,000 for Indian supplies.”

This advice was given at a time when complications had arisen between
the Spanish government of Florida and the United States, growing out of
the energetic struggle of the Atlantic Indian traders to divert the
Creek trade from Pensacola to Charleston and Savannah. The step
suggested was, in effect, to transfer a commercial contest from the
Indian wilds to Madrid, where an American minister was expected to
perform the degrading task of attempting to induce the Spanish court to
commit a fraud upon agents who had served it so long and faithfully, as
well as to violate all its other obligations to them.

Panton, Leslie & Co. were engaged in that trade at Charleston and
Savannah long before the American revolution; a trade which, even then,
extended through the Coosa country in the heart of the Creek nation.
With a full knowledge of it, in all its details, they established
themselves at Pensacola with a view of drawing a part of it there. This
was the beginning of the commercial struggle which is continued to this
day, between the gulf and Atlantic ports for the trade of Central
Alabama. It began with the Indian ponies as a means of transportation;
it is carried on now by the steam horse; and a future generation may see
it continued by electricity.

The pony used by the trader was a strong, hardy little creature, which
with ease carried one hundred and eighty pounds and traveled twenty-five
miles a day. The rich and abundant pasturage in those times enabled him
to supply himself with sufficient food at noon and at night to meet his
requirements. There was often oddity in his load. It might be a
miniature chickenhouse, or two kegs of taffi, hung to his sides, with a
pack of merchandise on his back; or two pendant firkins of honey-comb,
with a pile of hides, skins, or beeswax towering between.

One driver for ten animals was the usual proportion of man and beast.
The companies were generally from five to ten, making a long line of
march, following the main and lateral trails mentioned in a previous
chapter. But as all the Indian settlements were visited, their movements
could not always be on the ridge. Sometimes creeks and rivers had to be
crossed. On such occasions, when the stream was not fordable with safety
to the packs, they were ferried over on rafts composed of logs or masses
of matted cane, guided where the current was strong by a grapevine rope
stretched across the stream.

Regarded by their savage customers as friends, who came periodically to
administer to their wants, and gratify their taste for taffi, the
traders made their journeys in perfect security. Like their class
everywhere, they were joyous men, full of fun and jokes, news and
gossip, to which full play was given, under the spur of a cup of taffi,
when caravans met.

Beside the trade thus carried on, there was one equally as great, if not
greater, carried on by the Indians themselves, without the intervention
of the traders. The business required Panton, Leslie & Co. to keep up a
stock of $50,000 at least, and a large corps of clerks to wait on their
savage customers.

Other business sprung up and brought population. Sawmills were erected,
brickyards opened and a tanyard established, which added leather to the
exports of the town.

Such were the fruits of William Panton’s presence in the province. Idle,
however, would have been his labor, his wealth and talents, though
backed by the Spanish Government, but for the co-operation of
McGillivray. Had the great Chief pointed his long, slender finger to
Savannah and Charleston as the sources of supply for his people, the
commercial life of Pensacola would have withered and perished like a
tree girdled by the woodman’s axe.


Footnote 41:

  American State Papers, Vol. III. p. 311.


                             CHAPTER XVII.

Lineage of Alexander McGillivray.—His Education—Made Grand Chief—His
    Connection with Milfort—His Relations with William Panton—His
    Administration of Creek Affairs—Appointed Colonel by the British—
    Treaty with Spain—Commissioned Colonel by the Spanish—Invited to New
    York by Washington—Treaty—Commissioned a Brigadier-General by the
    United States—His Sister, Sophia Durant—His Trials—His Death at

The people who have been called Creeks in previous pages, received that
name after their settlement in Alabama and Georgia; a name, it is said,
they derived from the number and beauty of the streams or creeks of the
country they inhabited. Before that they were known as Muscogees
according to English, and Othomis or Otomies, according to Castilian

Their original seat was in northern Mexico. They were a warlike and
independent tribe, which, though lacking the comparative civilization of
the Aztecs and the Tlascalans, had yet received some rays of its light.
They had been confederates of the latter in their conflicts for
existence with the former. They had afterwards aided in the defence of
Tlascala against Cortez. Surviving warriors, however, carried back to
their people such accounts of that field of slaughter, and the prowess
of the foe, who seemed to be armed with supernatural weapons, that the
tribe became panic-stricken, and in a council, resolved upon a flight
beyond the reach of the invincible invader. The determination was
promptly put into execution.

The entire tribe, bearing off its movable effects, took its line of
march in an easterly course. After a journey which consumed many months,
they found themselves on the head waters of Red river. Reaching that
river, and following it, they at length found a suitable place for a
settlement, where they felt they were sufficiently remote from the
terrible foe who had inspired their flight. There they accordingly
established themselves, and remained for several years. Abandoning that
settlement, they proceeded northward to the Missouri, thence to the
Mississippi, and from there moved to the Ohio. That progress, however,
was not by a continuous march, but by periodic advances, interrupted by
settlements more or less long, and marked by conflicts with other
tribes, in which, according to their traditions, they were always

They must have been living on the banks of the Ohio, when Soto made his
devastating march through the Creek country which was afterwards to be
their home. There they must have been likewise, when de Luna made his
explorations, and noted the sparseness of population, and abandoned
fields as before narrated; or, perhaps, they were then making one of
their intermittent advances southward, which were to bring them
eventually to the Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Chattahoochee.

Like other Mexican tribes, the Muscogees were divided into septs or
fratries, the most notable of them being those of the Ho-tal-gee, or the
Wind, the Tiger, the Bear, and the Eagle. In the first, however, resided
the primacy, or hegemony of the tribe.

The traditions of their Mexican origin and emigration, collected by Le
Clerc Milfort under the most favorable conditions, as will be seen
hereafter, are fortified by their form of government, with its dual
executive for civil and military affairs; their glimmer of civilization,
as well as their federative tendency.

Soon after their settlement in the Creek country, they are found
absorbing other tribes; not by enslavement or incorporation, but as
confederates. They had their national councils, composed of the
principal chiefs of the confederacy, and suitable buildings at fixed
places for their accommodation. The head of the confederacy for civil
affairs was the Grand Chief, as the Tustenuggee, or Great Warrior, was
for war. They also had Town Governments, the Chief of each being the
Micco, an elective officer, and not a King, as often misrepresented.
Each town had its council house, in which local affairs were

The Grand Chief of the Muscogees held the position, and exercised the
functions which recent criticism has assigned to Montezuma, as the head
of the Aztec confederacy, to whom the Spaniards erroneously gave the
title, and attributed the powers of an emperor, in accordance with their
own habits of thought, as the subjects of an emperor.

The Indian trade that existed between the Creeks and the Atlantic coast,
which has already been mentioned, was an inviting field to cupidity and
enterprise, and many were the young adventurers from the old world who
engaged in it soon after their landing at Charleston or Savannah. Some
of them, too, fascinated by the wild life of the forest, made themselves
homes in the Creek nation, and found wives amongst the Creek maidens,
who in form, feature and habits, were superior to those of other tribes.

Amongst those adventurous spirits was Lachlan McGillivray, a youth of
good Scotch family, of Dumglass, Scotland. A few years found him a
successful trader. On one of his visits to the Hickory Ground, a
prominent Creek town on the Coosa, situated near the present site of
Wetumpka, Alabama, he became acquainted with Sehoy Marchand, a young
woman whose mother was a full blood of the Ho-tal-gee, or Wind family,
and whose father was a French captain who had been murdered by mutineers
at Fort Toulouse, a few miles from Hickory Ground. That meeting resulted
in marriage. Shortly afterward, McGillivray made a home, and established
a trading house, not far from where he had first met his Indian wife.

Of that marriage, Alexander McGillivray was the first born, Sophia the
next, and Jenette the third.

The father became exceedingly prosperous, partly in consequence of his
alliance with the chief family of the Creeks, and in a few years found
himself the owner of two plantations on the Savannah river. His trading
journeys, however, still had their attractions for him. When Alexander
was fourteen years old he induced his wife to let the boy go with him to
Charleston, and remain there to be educated. After having been
instructed sufficiently for the purpose, he was placed in a
counting-house; but having acquired a taste for learning, that
occupation became intolerable to him. His father, accordingly,
determined to yield to the bent of the boy’s mind, and found him a
highly educated teacher in a clergyman of Charleston. With that
assistance, and sedulous application, he became a Greek and Latin
scholar, and besides, made rapid and extensive progress in other
departments of knowledge. He appears to have been a student up to the
age of thirty, which he reached about the year 1776. In that year he
left Charleston, an educated man, to return to his people, whom he, a
little semi-savage of fourteen, had left sixteen years before. The
impelling motive to that movement probably was, that being like his
father, a loyalist, residence in a rebel colony was no longer agreeable.
Possibly, however, he had purposely deferred his return to the Indian
nation until he had arrived at such an age as would justify him in
looking to the position of Grand Chief. But, be that as it may, the time
for his return was judiciously chosen, and consistently with that
sagacity which characterized his whole life, of acting opportunely in
all exigencies.

The white settlers of Georgia were beginning to press through what the
Creeks claimed as their frontier; and to that pressure was added the
hostility engendered by the revolution, now in its second year, against
any semblance of favor to the enemies of the patriotic cause. The West
Florida-English and their government were on the most friendly terms
with the Creeks; and that in itself was sufficient to beget hostility to
the latter on the part of the Whigs of Georgia and the Carolinas. This
was a new and complex condition of things to the Creeks, presenting
questions for solution with which their great council felt its inability
to deal. To whom could they look for guidance? They knew no
disinterested advice could come from the government at Pensacola, and it
would be folly to seek counsel from the Georgians, who regarded them as
enemies because they desired to be neutrals, living in peace between
hostile communities, engaged in a conflict in which the Indian could
feel no interest.

It was just at this juncture that Alexander McGillivray found himself
amongst his people. Long and impatiently had they awaited the advent of
the representative of the Ho-tal-gee, the grand chieftain, who for so
many years had been studying that wisdom of the white man, which made
him the Indian’s superior; that wisdom which now acquired by him, was to
be exercised for the salvation of his people. Great, therefore, was the
satisfaction produced the advent of such a disinterested counselor and

He is hardly well within the nation before a grand council is called at
Coweta, on the Chattahoochee, over which he was to preside, and formally
assume the hegemony of the Ho-tal-gee.

To a thoughtful mind there is a pathos in this scene which appeals to
every generous nature! It comes like the despairing appeal of infancy to
manhood for help! It is the ignorance of the savage stretching out its
supplicating hands to the white man’s wisdom as his only refuge.

One of the most striking powers which McGillivray possessed, was his
ability to win and retain the childlike confidence of his people, and
thereby exercise boundless control over them. He was not a soldier, or a
man of blood, in any sense of the term. He was essentially a statesman
and a diplomat. The conquests of peace only had any fascination for him.
His ambition was to save and civilize his people. That such a man should
bend to his will in the paths of peace a numerous population of warlike
savages, to whom the war-whoop was music, and scalping the most inviting
pastime, is a domination over brute instincts of which history contains
very few examples.

A remarkable instance of that influence occurred shortly after the
council at Coweta. He there made the acquaintance of Le Clerc Milfort,
mentioned in a previous page; an adventurous Frenchman, highly educated,
and possessing military qualities of no ordinary kind, as well as bodily
strength and endurance equal to any exertion. Their mental culture was a
mutual attraction.

Milfort went with him from Coweta to Hickory Ground, the home of
McGillivray’s childhood, where his mother and his sisters Sophia and
Jenette were living. He at once entered into Creek life, and united his
fortunes with McGillivray’s. The bright eyes of Jenette were not long in
winning Milfort’s heart, nor was there much delay in his winning hers.
They were married. By the marriage he acquired great consideration
amongst the Creeks.

As previously remarked, McGillivray was not a soldier himself; but as a
wise ruler, he felt the necessity of having an able commander in war,
when the exigency for it arose. Moreover, his policy as a civilized
ruler, was to have war conducted by a civilized leader, who might by his
example and influence, control the brutal instincts of his savage
forces. Milfort was the man for the place. An obstacle to his
appointment, seemingly insuperable, however, existed. The office of
Tustenuggee was an honor to which the Indian braves looked as the
highest attainable; and presumptively, they would refuse their consent
that this coveted prize should be conferred upon a stranger. But, that
stranger had married a Ho-tal-gee, and it was the wish of the Grand
Chief that he should receive it. It was, accordingly, conferred upon
Milfort with the sanction of the tribe.

McGillivray soon attracted the attention of the British government at
Pensacola, as well as that of the British officers in Georgia, with whom
he carried on an extensive correspondence. They at once saw that it
would be impossible for him to keep the Creeks in a state of neutrality,
founded, as it must be, upon good feeling for each of two bitter foes,
marked by such strict impartiality of conduct as to avoid any ground of
exception by either belligerent. McGillivray’s judgment soon led him to
the same conclusion; a conclusion which imposed upon him the necessity
of choosing one of the belligerents for the ally of his people. He,
accordingly, decided in favor of a British alliance, for which the
reasons were too obvious for hesitation.

The Americans could reach his people upon one frontier only, and even
then their attention would be distracted by their contest with the
British. The British, on the other hand, could without danger of
interference, assail the Creeks from Pensacola; and in case they
crushed, the Georgians would be at liberty to attack them from the east.
But, although he sided with the British, it was with the secret
resolution that the alliance should be maintained at the least possible
sacrifice to his people. His policy was, not to permit their spirit to
be broken, or their numbers diminished, by entering with their full
strength into a conflict with which they had no concern. Nor would he
permit them to inflict such extensive injuries upon Georgia as would be
a barrier to future reconciliation.

In order to spur the Creeks to great efforts against the Americans,
Tait, a British colonel, was stationed on the Coosa; and at the same
time McGillivray received from the British government the commission and
pay of colonel in its service. But both expedients proved ineffectual to
materially change the policy the latter had adopted. Raids, it is true,
were made upon the Georgians, necessarily attended by some blood-shed
and rapine, but they were limited in number, character, and consequence,
by the mental reservation with which McGillivray had entered into the
British alliance. With that limited exertion, however, the British were
fain to be content, as it was better for them than strict neutrality,
and still more so than the hostility of such a powerful tribe directed
against themselves.

Milfort was the commander intrusted with the expeditions against the
Georgia settlements; and, doubtless, being fully aware of the
conservative policy of the Grand Chief, he made every effort to observe
it. A Frenchman, of his ability, was the very man to make such a show of
warfare as would impose on the British, and at the same time to render
it so barren in results as to make but a transient impression upon those
against whom it was directed. That a man should have been selected so
eminently qualified to execute such a singular task, affords the highest
evidence of the capacity of the mind that made the selection. Such
ability, is, indeed, after all, the surest test of the capacity of a

Though a band of the Creeks, as already mentioned, assisted the British
at the time of Galvez’s operations against Pensacola, it is remarkable,
that neither McGillivray, who was a colonel in the British army, nor
Milfort, the Great War Chief, seem to have taken any part in the
contest. Such a force as could have been raised by the Creeks and their
confederate tribes, could have rendered great service to the British in
resisting, if not, indeed, in defeating Galvez’s invasion. But an
explanation is readily found in the Grand Chiefs policy of preventing
his people from taking any large part in the quarrels and conflicts of
the whites. Besides, he was doubtless impressed with the smallness of
the British force in West-Florida, compared with the host the Spaniards
had at their command; justifying the conclusion, that as the latter had
been able to conquer the country west, they would prove equal to the
conquest of that east of the Perdido. He, therefore, wisely refrained
from such an interference as would array the Spaniards against his
people, after they had expelled the British from the country. If the
British proved victorious, the assistance rendered by the Creeks, aided
by the Choctaws and Chickasaws, could be urged as the fulfillment of the
obligations of an ally. On the other hand, if the Spaniards were
successful, it was an easy matter to disavow the action of an adventurer
like Bowles, at the head of a handful of Creeks and other Indians, as
one in which the tribe had no concern; an explanation the more
acceptable, as the conqueror would naturally seek to cultivate the like
friendly relations with the Indians which the conquered had enjoyed.

Soon after McGillivray became Grand Chief of his tribe, he met William
Panton at Pensacola. Panton was deeply impressed with his ability. It is
probable, too, that he was acquainted with the elder McGillivray, and
sympathized with him as a fellow victim, who, like himself, had suffered
banishment and confiscation, for no other crime than loyalty to their
King. That sympathy with the parent naturally inspired good will toward
the son. But, aside from such a sentimental consideration, each soon
discovering the great advantage he could be to the other, it was not
long before they were united by the more practical bonds of mutual
interests. McGillivray likewise saw great advantages to his people in
dealing exclusively with a house of such great wealth and influence as
that of Panton, Leslie & Co., whilst Panton was as quick to see, that by
the management of the Grand Chief the firm could secure a monopoly of
the entire Indian trade. It was immediately after this understanding
between them was reached, that they had that meeting with Governor
Chester in the Council Chamber of Fort George, of which a glimpse was
had in a previous page.

The war in Georgia and South Carolina had cut off the Creek trade with
the Atlantic coast; and consequently, McGillivray had no difficulty in
directing the whole of it to Pensacola. But after peace was established,
the Atlantic traders were again ready, with their pack ponies, to take
the trails that led to western Georgia and eastern Alabama. Panton at
once saw that the monopoly of his house was in danger; and that to avert
it, he must bring about an understanding between the Spanish government,
himself, and McGillivray, like that which he had previously effected
with the British. He, accordingly, entered into the treaty with the
Spaniards, of which mention was made in the previous chapter. To be
effective, however, he knew that treaty must be supplemented by another
between the Indians and the Spaniards.

In playing his cards, Panton was looking solely to the advantage of his
house. But it was far otherwise with McGillivray. If he induced his
people to make such a treaty, it was because he saw clearly it was to
their advantage. He rejoiced, too, to find that he was about to reap the
fruit of that policy by which he had brought them through the period of
the Revolutionary War, stronger, and more numerous than they ever were
before; a condition which excited the fears of the Spaniards, and
disposed them to seek the alliance of such a powerful tribe by liberal
concessions. Accordingly, a treaty between the Creeks and the Seminoles
represented by McGillivray, and Spain by Governor Miro of New Orleans,
assisted by O’Niell, Governor of West-Florida, and Don Martin Navarro,
Intendent General of Florida, was entered into on the first of June,
1784, at Pensacola.[42] The relations created by that treaty between the
Indians and Spaniards were close and intimate, and seem to have been
observed substantially, although not always in form, up to the last day
of Spanish rule in Florida.

Its conclusion was followed by McGillivray obtaining a commission with
the pay of Colonel in the Spanish army.

By that treaty he felt, as he had reason to feel, that he had secured
for his tribe an alliance with a strong European power, one that had
just expelled the British from the Floridas; and, that thus fortified,
he was in a condition to meet the Americans on the eastern frontier in a
manner that would prevent their threatened encroachment upon the rights
of his people; not by war, however, in which the Creeks were to engage
with the United States, for such a course, his judgment told him, would
end in their destruction. His treaty with the Spaniards was but a card
which he proposed to use, to give his nation the imposing aspect of one
to be courted rather than despised. To render its attitude still more
imposing, he announced his determination to prevent any further
encroachments by the whites upon the Indian territory in Georgia.

These cards won the game, according to the calculations of the sagacious
brain which conceived it. The United States met the threatening aspect
of affairs in Georgia, by appointing commissioners in 1785, to treat
with the Indians. One of them, Andrew Pickens, addressed a letter to
McGillivray, expressing the wish of the government amicably “to adjust
matters on an equitable footing.” This was the point for the attainment
of which the treaty with the Spaniards, and the threats of hostility
against the Georgians had been made. For it was the strength of the
Creeks, which his policy had so successfully fostered in the midst of
war, backed by the Spanish alliance, that induced the United States,
exhausted by the Revolutionary struggle, to resort to peaceable means to
avoid a conflict with such a powerful tribe.

The reply of McGillivray so clearly illustrates his profound policy,
which previous pages have endeavored to unfold as the moving spring of
all his actions as Grand Chief, that it must be given in extenso,
especially as any attempt to present it by extracts would prove a
mutilation in which its force would be impaired, if not destroyed.

                                   LITTLE TALLASEE, 5th Sept., 1785.

    SIR:—I am favored with your letter by Brandon, who, after
    detaining it near a month, sent it by an Indian, a few days ago.
    He, perhaps, had some reasons for keeping himself from this

    The notification you have sent us is agreeable to our wishes, as
    the meetings intended for the desirable purpose of adjusting and
    settling matters, on an equitable footing, between the United
    States and the Indian nations. At the same time, I cannot avoid
    expressing my surprise that a measure of this nature should have
    been so long delayed, on your part. When we found that the
    American Independence was confirmed by the peace, we expected
    that the new government would soon have taken some steps to make
    up the differences that subsisted between them and the Indians
    during the war; to have taken them under their protection, and
    confirmed to them their hunting-grounds. Such a course would
    have reconciled the minds of the Indians and secured the States
    their friendship, as they considered your people their natural
    allies. The Georgians, whose particular interest it was to
    conciliate the friendship of this nation, have acted, in all
    respects, to the contrary. I am sorry to observe that violence
    and prejudice have taken the place of good policy and reason, in
    all their proceedings with us. They attempted to avail
    themselves of our supposed distressed situation. Their talks to
    us breathe nothing but vengeance, and, being entirely possessed
    with the idea, that we were wholly at their mercy, they never
    once reflected that colonies of a powerful monarch were nearly
    surrounding us, to whom, in an extremity, we might apply for
    succor and protection, and who, to answer some ends of their
    policy, might grant it to us. However, we yet deferred any such
    proceeding, still expecting that we could bring them to a true
    sense of their interest; but still finding no alteration in
    their conduct towards us, we sought the protection of Spain, and
    treaties of friendship and alliance were mutually entered into—
    they guaranteeing our hunting-grounds and territory, and
    granting us a free trade in the ports of the Floridas.

    How the boundary and limits between the Spaniards and the States
    will be determined a little time will show, as I believe that
    matter is now on foot. However, we know our limits, and the
    extent of our hunting-grounds. As a free nation, we have
    applied, as we had the right to do, for protection, and obtained
    it. We shall pay no attention to any limits that may prejudice
    our claims, that were drawn by an American and confirmed by a
    British negotiator. Yet, notwithstanding we have been obliged to
    adopt these measures for our preservation, and from real
    necessity, we sincerely wish to have it in our power to be on
    the same footing with the States as before the late unhappy war,
    to effect which is entirely in your power. We want nothing from
    you but justice. We want our hunting-grounds preserved from
    encroachments. They have been ours from the beginning of time,
    and I trust that, with the assistance of our friends, we shall
    be able to maintain them against every attempt that may be made
    to take them from us.

    Finding our representations to the State of Georgia of no
    effect, in restraining their encroachments, we thought it proper
    to call a meeting of the nation, on the subject. We then came to
    the resolution to send our parties to remove the Georgians and
    their effects from the lands in question, in the most peaceful
    manner possible.

    Agreeably to your requisition, and to convince you of my sincere
    desire to restore a good understanding between us, I have taken
    the necessary steps to prevent any future predatory excursions
    of my people against any of your settlements. I could wish the
    people of Cumberland showed an equal good disposition to do what
    is right. They were certainly the first aggressors, since the
    peace, and acknowledged it in a written certificate, left at the
    Indian camp they had plundered.

    I have only to add, that we shall meet the commissioners of
    Congress whenever we shall receive notice, in expectation that
    every matter of difference will be settled, with that liberality
    and justice worthy the men who have so gloriously asserted the
    cause of liberty and independence, and that we shall, in future,
    consider them as brethren, and defenders of the land.[43]

                     I am, with much respect, sir,
                         Your obedient servant,
                             ALEXANDER MCGILLIVRAY.


How politic and graceful the allusion to American independence! Could
the alliance with Spain have been touched more artfully? How firm is the
insistance of the rights of his people! How striking is the regulation
of the force exerted in the removal of trespassers from the Indian
domain! How worthy of the spring days of republican America is the
closing paragraph!

The reader must be induced to read another letter, not merely as
illustrative of the style and springs of action of the Grand Chief, but
as a narrative of events bearing upon his life, which no pen can so well
narrate as his own. It is in reply to a letter of James White,
superintendent of the Creek Indians.

                                   LITTLE TALLASEE, 8th April, 1787.

    SIR:—It is with real satisfaction, that I learn of your being
    appointed by Congress, for the laudable purpose of inquiring
    into and settling the differences that, at present subsist
    between our nation and the Georgians. It may be necessary for
    you to know the cause of these differences, and our discontents,
    which, perhaps, have never come to the knowledge of the
    honorable body that sent you to our country.

    There are Chiefs of two towns in this nation, who, during the
    late war, were friendly to the State of Georgia, and had gone,
    at different times, among those people, and once, after the
    general peace, to Augusta. They there demanded of them a grant
    of lands, belonging to and enjoyed as hunting-grounds by the
    Indians of this nation, in common, on the east of the Oconee
    river. The Chiefs rejected the demand, on the plea, that these
    lands were the hunting-grounds of the nation, and could not be
    granted by two individuals; but, after a few days, a promise was
    extorted from them, that, on their return to our country, they
    would use their influence to get a grant confirmed. Upon their
    return, a general convention was held at Tookabatcha, when these
    two Chiefs were severely censured, and the Chiefs of
    ninety-eight towns agreed upon a talk, to be sent to Savannah,
    disapproving, in the strongest manner, of the demand made upon
    their nation, and denying the right of any two of their country
    to make cession of land, which could only be valid by the
    unanimous voice of the whole, as joint proprietors in common.
    Yet these two Chiefs, regardless of the voice of the nation,
    continued to go to Augusta, and other places within the State.
    They received presents and made promises; but our customs did
    not permit us to punish them for the crime. We warned the
    Georgians of the dangerous consequences that would certainly
    attend the settling of the lands in question. Our just
    remonstrances were treated with contempt, and these lands were
    soon filled with settlers. The nation, justly alarmed at the
    encroachments, resolved to use force to maintain their rights,
    yet, being averse to the shedding of the blood of a people whom
    we would rather consider as friends, we made another effort to
    awaken in them a sense of justice and equity. But we found, from
    experience, that entreaty could not prevail, and parties of
    warriors were sent, to drive off the intruders, but were
    instructed to shed blood, only, where self-preservation made it

    This was in May, 1786. In October following we were invited by
    commissioners, of the State of Georgia, to meet them in
    conference, at the Oconee, professing a sincere desire for an
    amicable adjustment of our disputes, and pledging their sacred
    honors for the safety and good treatment of all those who should
    attend and meet them. It not being convenient for many of us to
    go to the proposed conference, a few, from motives of curiosity,
    attended. They were surprised to find an armed body of men,
    prepared for and professing hostile intentions. Apprehensions
    for personal safety induced those Chiefs to subscribe to every
    demand that was asked by the army and its commissioners. Lands
    were again demanded, and the lives of some of our Chiefs were
    required, as well as those of some innocent traders, as a
    sacrifice to appease their anger. Assassins have been employed
    to effect some part of their atrocious purpose. If I fall by the
    hand of such, I shall fall the victim of the noblest of causes,
    that of maintaining the just rights of my country. I aspire to
    the honest ambition of meriting the appellation of the preserver
    of my country, equally with the Chiefs among you, whom, from
    acting on such principles, you have exalted to the highest pitch
    of glory. And if, after every peaceable mode of obtaining
    redress of grievances proved fruitless, a recourse to arms to
    obtain it be a mark of the savage, and not of the soldier, what
    savages must the Americans be, and how much undeserved applause
    has your Cincinnatus, your Fabius, obtained. If a war name had
    been necessary to distinguish that Chief, in such a case, the
    Man-Killer, the Great Destroyer, would have been the proper

    I had appointed the Cussetas, for all the Chiefs of the Lower
    Creeks to meet in convention. I shall be down in a few days,
    when, from your timely arrival, you will meet the Chiefs, and
    learn their sentiments, and I sincerely hope that the
    propositions which you shall offer us will be such as we can
    safely accede to. The talks of the former commissioners, at
    Galphinton, were much approved of, and your coming from the
    White Town (seat of Congress) has raised great expectations,
    that you will remove the principal and almost only cause of our
    dispute, that is, by securing to us our hunting-grounds and
    possessions, free from all encroachments. When we meet, we shall
    talk these matters over.

                      Meantime, I remain,
                  With regard, your obedient servant,
                          ALEXANDER MCGILLIVRAY.[44]


The foregoing letter illustrates the troubles the Georgians were giving
the Creeks, and the call they made upon McGillivray’s abilities and
influence over his people, in order to avoid a state of war. No result
was reached by the Cussetas talk. Matters remained in the same
unsatisfactory condition after as before it, and so continued until
after General Washington became President of the United States in 1789.

He appointed a new set of commissioners to effect a settlement, but
these, like the others, failed to reach a favorable result. On the other
hand, their reports were so alarming that he at first regarded war as
the only remedy for the troubles existing between the Georgians and the
Creeks. But, wisely concluding that the country was not then able to
bear the burden of such a costly corrective, he determined to make
another effort at conciliation. In this frame of mind the happy thought
occurred to him, that a personal interview between him and McGillivray
might be attended by results which commissioners had failed to reach.
Acting upon it, he sent an agent to the Creek nation, in the person of
Colonel Marius Willet, to induce McGillivray to visit New York. The
mission was successful. McGillivray in June, 1790, at the head of thirty
of the principal chiefs of the confederacy, set out on their long
journey mounted on horses.

A stage of the journey brought them to Guildford Court House, where they
were honored by a large assembly of the neighborhood. Suddenly the
throng around the Great Chief opens to a woman, who rushes up to him,
her face bathed in tears, and then, with blessings upon him, expresses
her gratitude for a good deed done by him years before, of which she and
her children were the beneficiaries. In an Indian raid her husband had
been killed, and she and her children carried into captivity. Her
benefactor hearing of their melancholy fate redeemed them, and gave them
a home in his own house, until an opportunity was afforded of sending
them to their friends. He was received with distinguished consideration
at Richmond and Fredericksburg. Philadelphia honored him and his company
with a three days’ entertainment. Colonel Willet, who accompanied them,
tells us that upon their landing in New York, the Tammany Society, in
full regalia, received them, attended them to Congress Hall, and thence
to the residence of General Washington. And then and there, were brought
face to face, the most remarkable white man, and the most remarkable red
man the western hemisphere had then produced.

Whilst the chiefs of the two confederacies are settling their relations,
an interesting event calls our thoughts from New York to Alabama. The
impressive influence of the Great Chiefs presence was no sooner
withdrawn, than a large number of the restless Creeks conceived the
purpose of destroying the white settlements on the Tensas, which had
been increasing rapidly under his protection. The plan, and the time for
its execution were at last fixed. But, fortunately, they were revealed
to Mrs. Sophia Durant, the sister of McGillivray.

She possessed remarkable command of the Muscogee language, coupled with
the gift of oratory. She often addressed councils at the instance of her
brother, who, owing to his long absence from his people in his youth, as
well as the study of other tongues, had lost the full command of his

At the time she was informed of the bloody scheme, she was at her farm
on Little river. Although far under the shadow of maternity she
determines, at every risk to herself, by prompt action, to save an
unsuspecting population from the terrible fate hanging over them. She
orders two horses to be saddled on the instant. She mounts one and her
trusty negress the other. More than twice two score human lives depend
upon her reaching Hickory Ground in time, and that required a ride of
sixty miles. Night and day those two women ride on that errand of mercy.
The only pause was when an opportunity offered to summon a chief to the
Hickory Ground Council House. The notice flies from chief to chief, that
the sister of the Grand Chief has called a council, to tell them,
doubtless, what he had said to her on “talking paper.” From all
quarters, prompted by interest and curiosity, there is a rush for the
Hickory Ground. By that device, worthy the genius of her brother, the
council is promptly assembled. She addresses them with a tone of mingled
authority and persuasion. She tells them of the scheme that had been
disclosed to her; upbraids them for ingratitude to her brother, then
with the Great White Chief, who might exact from him and his thirty
companions the lives of the murdered whites; warns them, too, of the
vengeance which he would be compelled, with the assistance of the
whites, to visit upon the murderers; adding all those appeals which in
such an exigency would come swelling up from the heart of a noble woman.
From all sides of the assembly come pledges that the ringleaders shall
be seized, and the enterprise crushed; and promptly and efficiently it
was done. History, story and art have commemorated the saving of a
single life by Pocahontas; but how insignificant was that act compared
with the one just described! The action is further glorified by the
fact, that within two weeks after the noble woman had saved so many
human beings, she added another life to the long roll of the living.[45]

A treaty was speedily negotiated between the Creeks and the United
States, by which the Oconee lands referred to in the foregoing letter
were ceded for an annual payment of fifteen hundred dollars, and a
distribution of merchandise. Questions of boundary were settled; the
Indian territory was guaranteed against farther encroachment; a
permanent peace was provided for; the Creeks and Seminoles placed
themselves under the jurisdiction of the United States, and renounced
their rights to make treaties with any other nation. All the Indian
Chiefs besides McGillivray participated in the negotiation and execution
of the treaty.

But besides that open one, there was a secret treaty to which the Grand
Chief and the United States only, were parties. It contained a
stipulation, that after two years the Indian trade should be turned to
points in the United States. It provided for annual stipends to be paid
to designated chiefs. McGillivray himself was appointed Indian agent of
the United States, with the rank of a Brigadier-General, and the yearly
pay of twelve hundred dollars.[46]

These treaties were the grounds of severe criticism upon McGillivray. By
the open treaty, it was said, he made a surrender of the Oconee county
for an inadequate consideration. But the obvious answer to that
objection was, that he had exhausted every expedient that his clear and
fertile mind could command, to stay the encroachments of the Georgians
without a war, an alternative which would have eventually ended in
crushing his people. Besides, the plighted faith of the United States,
that no farther encroachments should be made upon them, was to them a
consideration far exceeding every other; for history had not then
declared, as it has since, how frail a barrier against encroachments
upon Indian territory is the plighted faith of the nation.

Whatever personal advantages he derived from the secret treaty, whether
pecuniary or in dignity, inured to the benefit of his people. To honor
him was to give consideration to them; and they regarded the tributes
which his abilities drew from the British, the Spaniards, and the
Americans, as so many offerings made to the power of the nation. That
each of those tributaries complained that he was not their dupe, is
alike a proof of his ability, and his fidelity to his people.

For a short time after the New York Treaty he seemed to be losing the
confidence of his people, through the machinations of the self-styled
General Bowles, who, it will be remembered, assisted with a body of
Choctaws, Chickasaws and Creeks, in the defense of Pensacola against
Galvez. He was a bold, unprincipled mischief-maker, who would stop at
nothing that could be turned to his own advantage; one of those
characters who breed suspicion and create confusion for their own profit
and consideration. To sap the confidence of the Creeks in their Grand
Chief, was to bring about an unsettled condition of things in which he
would find himself in his element; and for that purpose he availed
himself of the New York Treaty. It would have been an easy matter for
McGillivray to have him driven out of the nation, or by the judgment of
a council to have taken his life; but neither of these courses suiting
his policy, he resolved upon one more subtle and yet as effectual. He
visited New Orleans, where it was conjectured he held a consultation
with Governor Carondolet, on the subject of ridding the nation of the
mischief-maker. Shortly afterwards, Bowles was seized by the Spaniards
and sent to Spain. Of the end of his exile we are informed by a letter
of General Washington’s dated at Mount Vernon, fifth of August,
1793.[47] “On my way to this place I saw Captain Barney at Baltimore,
who had just arrived from Havana. He says, the day before he left that
place, advice had been received, and generally believed, that Bowles,
who was sent to Spain, had been hanged.” Thus ended a chequered life,
full of adventures, strange phases, and bad deeds, which it would be
interesting to follow were this the proper place.

The New York Treaty was an object of suspicion both to Panton and the
Spaniards, although they knew nothing of its secret feature; but they
naturally inferred that some other considerations, besides those made
public, must have induced the United States to honor McGillivray with
the commission and pay of Brigadier-General.

The suspicion, however, resulted profitably to McGillivray. Before he
went to New York he complained to Panton of the parsimonious conduct of
the Spanish government to him, from whom it expected, and obtained, so
much care and labor. Believing this supposed slight on their part was
the cause of the favor he manifested for the Americans, that government
at once took steps to remove it. He was appointed the Spanish
Superintendent-General of the Creek nation, with a salary of two
thousand dollars, to which fifteen hundred more were shortly afterwards

Soon after McGillivray received that appointment, the Spanish government
sent to the Hickory Ground, as its resident agent, Captain Pedro
Olivier, accompanied by an interpreter. This man soon became engaged in
intrigues to prevent the running of the boundary lines provided for by
the New York Treaty; and in this matter he was assisted by William
Panton, who visited the Creek nation for that purpose.

This state of things naturally excited the suspicion of the United
States, that McGillivray was co-operating with Panton and Olivier. Of
any active co-operation by him, however, there is no evidence, as there
is none of his active opposition to their machinations. He was too
sagacious a man, and had the good of his people too much at heart to
engage in the latter. The boundary line fixed by the treaty, had from
the first, been exceedingly objectionable to the Creeks, so much so,
that even the influence of their Grand Chief had failed to reconcile
them to it. Indeed, he himself feared that such a reconciliation was
beyond his ability. In self-vindication, in the midst of Olivier’s
intrigues, he writes to General Knox, Secretary of War: “You recollect,
sir, that I had great objection to making the south fork of the Oconee
the limit; and when you insisted so much, I candidly told you that it
might be made an article, but I would not pledge myself to get it
confirmed.” It was against the running of that boundary line, that the
intrigues of Olivier and Panton were ostensibly directed; but their real
object was to keep the Creeks in a ferment in order to exclude their
trade from the Atlantic cities, and confine it to Pensacola; the
question of boundary being seized upon as a means of accomplishing that
end. McGillivray’s position was one of great delicacy and
responsibility. For him to resist by active opposition those who opposed
the running of the boundary line, was not only to do something he had
never undertaken to do, but to take a stand that might divide his people
into two hostile camps, the most calamitous condition that could befall

In the midst of these trials, death came to his relief on the
seventeenth of February, 1793, at Pensacola, whilst on a visit to
William Panton. He was buried with masonic honors, and, it is said, in
Panton’s garden. Unfortunately the identity of the spot has defied
diligent investigation, and generations have unconsciously desecrated
his dust, as they have that of another distinguished man already
mentioned. But the suspicion arises that to a different cause must be
attributed the oblivion that has befallen the last resting place of the
Great Chief, from that which has been assigned in the case of General
Bouquet’s. Had Panton erected a respectable brick monument even, over
the remains of one for whom he professed so much friendship, and who had
done so much to increase his fortune, reverently protecting it up to the
time he left Florida, this generation might be able to direct the
footsteps of the stranger to the tomb of the most remarkable man to whom
Alabama ever gave birth, and the most extraordinary man to whom Florida
has furnished a grave.

He has been accused of deceit and duplicity in his dealings with the
British, the Spaniards and Americans. But truth and candor, if not
exotics, are not virile growths in the domain of state craft, while
necessity is the ever ready plea on which adepts in the art, or their
apologists, rest their vindication. When, therefore, the Great Indian
stands condemned at the Bar of Eternal Truth, well may other statesmen
and diplomatists whose achievements history delights to record, shrink
from the Judgment Seat.

The Grand Chief watched without interference the struggle of the Spanish
and British for supremacy in West-Florida, because the true interests of
his people pointed to neutrality. Cavour, the ablest and purest
statesman of recent times, from a like patriotic motive stood ready, in
case of failure, to disavow the invasion of Naples by Garibaldi, which
he had, nevertheless, secretly promoted. If the New York treaty was a
gross violation of the Pensacola treaty of 1784, Washington and his
cabinet invited, and encouraged, whatever of bad faith there was in the

The defense of such characters must rest at last upon the final judgment
of their own nation upon their life work. So judged, McGillivray is
entitled to no low place on the roll of patriotic statesmen.

For seventeen years, dating from the Creek troubles in 1776, up to his
death, he had been the guide and shield of his people. For them those
were years of comparative peace, growth, and preparation for the white
man’s civilization, by the example afforded in his own person of its
benefits and attractions. With war raging around them, under his
guidance, they reached a condition which caused him to be honored, and
their alliance sought by two monarchs and a Great Republic. He moved
amongst them enjoying the reverence and honor of a patriarchal sheik.
Intrigue and detraction brought him under a transient cloud. But when
they learned his life was closed in death, their hearts were smitten as
those of a family when it loses its head. There went up from the Creek
land an universal wail; and again, like a sinister prophecy of evil,
there came over it the shadow it was under before the council of Coweta.

Bitter, too, to his people, was the thought, that he slept in the “sands
of the Seminoles,” and not on the banks of the beautiful Coosa, which he
loved so well; where he was born, where he had presided over councils,
and made “paper talk” for their good, and where his hospitality was ever
ready, alike for the distinguished stranger and the humble wayfarer.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    The fate of Milfort may interest the reader. After the death of
    McGillivray he returned to France, where in 1802 he published
    the “Memoire De Mon Sejour Dans La Nation Crëck,” to which we
    owe the preservation of the traditions of that people. But sad
    to relate, forgetting his Indian wife, he married a French
    woman. He was made General of Brigade by the Emperor Napoleon.
    He died in 1814. His French wife was burned to death at an
    advanced age at Rheims.


Footnote 42:

  American State Papers, Vol. 10, pp. 223-227.

Footnote 43:

  Indian Affairs, Vol. I., pp. 17-18.

Footnote 44:

  Indian Affairs, Vol. I., pp. 18-23.

Footnote 45:

  Pickett’s History of Alabama, Vol. II. p. 127.

Footnote 46:

  2 Pickett’s History of Alabama, Vol. II. pp. 110-11.

Footnote 47:

  The same letter speaks of the death of “our friend McGillivray,”
  Sparks, Vol. 10, p. 335.


                             CHAPTER XVIII.

Governor Folch—Barrancas—Changes in the Plan of the Town—Ship Pensacola—
    Disputed Boundaries—Square Ferdinand VII.—English Names of Streets
    Changed for Spanish Names—Palafox—Saragossa—Reding—Baylen Romana—

Galvez remained but a short time in Pensacola after the surrender of the
British. On their departure, he returned to New Orleans, the capital of
his province of Louisiana.

In May, 1781, Don Arturo O’Niell was appointed Governor of Spanish
West-Florida, and continued to hold the office until 1792. His successor
was Enrique White, who was succeeded by Francisco de Paula Gelabert,
whose _ad interim_ tenure expired in 1796, by the appointment of Vicente
Folch y Juan.

The events of any interest which occurred before that year, have been
already mentioned in previous chapters. Folch signalized the early part
of his administration by causing a town to be laid out, “between a
quarter and half a mile” from San Carlos, that fort having been
reconstructed between 1781 and 1796.[48] This town was officially known
as San Carlos de Barrancas, that being the original application to the
locality of the Spanish word _barranca_, signifying broken, in the sense
in which the term is applied to a landscape.

Folch’s purpose in laying out the town was, to substitute it for
Pensacola, as the chief town and capital of the province. Of the real
motives which prompted the design no information can be obtained. His
scheme was defeated, however, by his inability to procure for it the
royal approval; the probable result of an appeal to the King by the
inhabitants of Pensacola.

He afterwards attempted an important change in the English plan, by
laying off into blocks and lots, so much of the park, or public place as
is now embraced in the area between Intendencia and Government streets.
He also sold many of the lots, which the purchasers proceeded to
improve. But, when Intendant Morales visited the town in 1806, he
utterly disapproved of Folch’s proceedings, and refused to confirm the
titles of the vendees. Morales’ subsequent conduct in the matter,
however, shows that in refusing his confirmation he was influenced more
by inimical feeling against the governor, than any just sense of public
duty, for he himself afterwards granted the lots. This was the beginning
of the mutilation of the great public place according to the English
plan; a mutilation which was continued from time to time, until there
was nothing left but the two small plats of ground known as Seville
Square, and that of Ferdinand VII.

His administration in one of its earlier years was marked by one event
for which his generation is entitled to credit. A ship of 800 tons was
built at _Caranaro_, as the cove in which the Marine Railway is now
situated was then known. Her name was Pensacola, and during the decade
from 1870, she was still in existence, making voyages to and from
Spanish ports. This was the first, and thus far, the last private
enterprise of the kind by Pensacolians.

In 1804, the firm of William Panton & Co., was dissolved by the death of
William Panton, who had been, as we have seen, so prominent a figure in
the history of Pensacola, both under the British and Spanish rule. The
business of the firm was thenceforward carried on under the style of
John Forbes & Co.

In October, 1800, Bonaparte compelled Spain by the treaty of San
Ildefonso to cede Louisiana to France; and France, in 1803, sold and
ceded it to the United States. The United States, from the time of the
purchase, claimed that it extended eastward to the Perdido, which was
the eastern boundary of Louisiana in the days of d’Arriola and
Iberville, and so remained until the cession, in 1763, to Great Britain
of Florida by Spain, and of that portion of Louisiana south of the 31
parallel of N. latitude, east of the Mississippi, by France. The
British, after that cession, in creating the province of West-Florida,
extended it from the Chattahoochee to the Mississippi. Spain, on the
other hand, after the treaty of Versailles, restricted West-Florida to
the Perdido, she being at that time the owner of the whole of Louisiana.
When, therefore, she ceded Louisiana to France, it was, as claimed by
the United States, Louisiana beginning westward of the Perdido; for by
contracting the West-Florida of the British, she, to that extent,
extended Louisiana to its original limit, and left Pensacola within the
boundary line tacitly established by the expeditions of Arriola and
Iberville. Spain did not, however, consent to that construction. She
claimed that British West-Florida was not embraced in Louisiana; and the
question was not finally settled until 1819, when Florida was ceded to
the United States. It was, from 1803, up to that cession, a cause of ill
feeling and secret hostility on the part of Spanish officials at
Pensacola, towards the American settlers in the disputed district.

Folch’s official term extended to 1809, and in the number of sovereign
masters to whom he was subject during one year of his administration,
his official life was remarkable. He was commissioned by Charles IV.,
who abdicated the throne of Spain in March, 1808. Upon his abdication,
his eldest son, the Prince of Asturias, was proclaimed King, under the
title of Ferdinand VII. On May 10, Bonaparte, having insidiously enticed
Ferdinand to Bayonne, compelled him, by threats against his life, to
resign his crown. On June sixth, of the same year, Joseph Bonaparte was
proclaimed King of Spain, by no other real authority than the will of
his imperial brother.

Never did any event arouse the patriotic resentment of a people, as
Spain’s was aroused, by the ignominy of witnessing her lawful King
deposed, to enable an adventurer to assume his crown. The French Emperor
marched army after army into the country, to establish the new dynasty
by overawing the people into submission. But army corps led by marshals,
whose names had theretofore been the synonyms of victory, only
intensified the spirit of resistance. As one man, from the shore of the
Mediterranean to the Bay of Biscay, the population flew to arms.
Mountain and plain, hill and valley, rang with their battle cry as they
hastened to their cities, towns, and villages, to be organized into
military commands. The patriotic passion that fired every heart in the
Kingdom, was shared by Spaniards in every quarter of the globe. Of the
sympathy of Pensacola with the great patriotic movement in the mother
country, there exists memorials in the names of some of its streets, and
its chief public square.

It was in the fervor of that sympathy that the square received the name
of the exiled monarch; a token of loyalty, of which, however, he proved
himself unworthy by his conduct after his restoration to the throne.
Never had a monarch a better opportunity of making his reign happy and
illustrious, and never did one under such conditions make it a source of
greater shame to himself, and misery to his people. He was not by nature
a cruel, or a bad man; but he was neither firm nor truthful; two
weaknesses in a ruler which may prove as fruitful a source of political
crimes as a natural inclination to evil actions. In his first
proclamation after re-ascending the throne, amid the enthusiastic joy of
his people, he said, “I detest, I abhor despotism;” yet he, afterwards,
lent himself to schemes which deprived Spain of constitutional
government, restored the inquisition, and led to proscriptions involving
the lives of some of the patriots who had contributed so largely to the
restoration of his crown. The cruel and despotic policy of his advisers,
at length, drove the liberal party into a widespread revolt, which would
have resulted in his permanent dethronement, but for the intervention of
the French, who, in 1823, enabled him by their arms to keep on his head
the crown they had snatched from it in 1808.

But, if in the chief square of the town there be a reminder of a
perfidious monarch, there are in some of its streets memorials of
Spanish glory.

The English names of those streets were changed to the names they bear,
at the time when the events with which the latter are associated
occurred, and were designed to be commemorative monuments of the glory
shed upon old Spain by the illustrious deeds of her sons. Upon their
being monumental, must rest the apology for a slight retracing of their
legends, which would otherwise be out of place in this book.

Palafox and Saragossa, or Zaragoza, are the first to arrest attention,
as they are likewise suggestive one of the other.

José de Palafox y Melzi, whose ancestral seat was near the city of
Zaragoza, was in 1808, a young officer of the King’s guards. He
accompanied Ferdinand on his visit to Bayonne, which ended in the King’s
abdication. It was by him the captive King sent the instructions to the
Junta which was to exercise the sovereignty of the Spanish people during
the exile of their monarch. Having performed that duty, Palafox went to
Zaragoza, to join in the uprising of Aragon, of which it was the
capital. Despite his lack of years and experience, his commanding
presence led the Aragonese, full of patriotic ardor and warlike impulse,
to choose him as their leader, and proclaim him Captain General of
Aragon. In a short time he found himself at the head of ten thousand
infantry, two hundred horse, and eight pieces of artillery.

Zaragoza, situated on the right bank of the Ebro, was, in 1808, a city
of fifty thousand inhabitants. It stood in the midst of an alluvial
plain, rich in its olive trees, its vineyards, and agricultural
products. Its fortifications consisted of a brick wall not above ten
feet high and three in thickness, pierced for guns, but few were in the
embrasures. At intervals, however, there were convents, castles, and
other solid stone structures. The universal uprising of the Aragonese,
and the proximity of the city to the French frontiers, suggested it as
one of the most important points for the French to occupy, in the
execution of their designs to subjugate Spain. It was, accordingly, one
of the first places against which a military force was sent.

In June 1808, Napoleon ordered Lefebvre to advance against it from the
Pyrenian frontier. His advance was interrupted by three battles, in
which the raw and undisciplined Aragonese peasants did not hesitate to
attack the French column, but were in each instance driven back.
Lefebvre at last presented himself before Zaragoza, with a demand for
its submission. To that demand Palafox made the memorable reply, “War to
the knife;” a reply that foreshadowed the terrific struggle by which
those old brick walls were to be won by the enemy. In every attack the
French made upon the gates and walls, between the twelfth of June and
August fifteenth, they were repulsed with fearful loss. Lefebvre,
discouraged by his successive failures to carry the place by storm, drew
off his army to await the arrival of heavy artillery, to enable him to
undertake a regular siege.

The second attempt on Zaragoza began in December, 1808. In the interval
between this and the first attack the defences had been greatly
strengthened, and a large supply of arms procured. As the French columns
advanced towards the city there was presented a spectacle not often
witnessed by one doomed to a siege. The entire population, men, women
and children, were engaged in the work of preparing for resistance. None
left the walls, but on the contrary the peasantry of the surrounding
country rushed within them to share in the perilous defence. By the time
the French took their position around the city, it had within it fifty
thousand defenders, the most of them undisciplined and uninured to arms,
yet animated with the spirit of their leader’s reply to Lefebvre’s
demand of surrender.

The French force consisted of two army corps of fifty thousand men,
commanded by Marshals Moncey and Montier, with all the necessary
artillery and appliances for a siege. For fifty days after the French
artillery began to play upon the city the conflict between the besieged
and the besiegers was incessant. In that time, thirty-three thousand
cannon shot, and sixteen thousand bombs had been hurled against the
place. When a breach was made in the wall, immediately and under the
terrific fire of the enemy it was closed up with sand bags. If at any
point an entry was made within them by the besiegers, the stone houses
became citadels for the besieged. If the defenders were driven from a
room, a stand was made in the next one. Women and children shared in the
labors and the perils of the fight. As a gunner fell at the feet of his
wife, stricken down by a cannon shot, she promptly took his place at the
gun. Napoleon, dissatisfied with the slow progress made by Moncey and
Montier towards a reduction of the place, sent Junot to take the
command. Becoming dissatisfied with him, he sent Lannes to bring the
operations to a close. Pestilence, too, came to his aid as well as
additional forces sent by the Emperor. At last Palafox was confined to
his bed with the prevailing epidemic. The French soldiers were at the
same time depressed by the fierce and uninterrupted conflict. “Scarce a
fourth of the town is won,” said one of them, “and we are already
exhausted. We shall all perish amongst these ruins, which will become
our own tombs, before we can force the last of these fanatics from the
last of their dens.” With the assailants thus depressed, and the
besieged deprived of the presence and encouragement of their leader,
besides the havoc of pestilence, a favorable capitulation was accepted
by Marshal Lannes. The regular troops marched out of the walls with the
honors of war, and were sent as prisoners into France, each soldier
retaining his knapsack, the officers their horses and side arms. The
peasants were dismissed, and private property was respected. Fifty
thousand human beings perished during the siege, all, except six
thousand, from pestilence. Palafox remained a prisoner in France until
1814, when he returned to Spain. He was afterwards created Duke of
Zaragoza, and died in 1847.

Of this siege a British historian has said: “Modern Europe has not such
a memorable siege to recount; and to the end of the world, even after
Spain and France have sunk before the waves of time, and all the glories
of modern Europe have passed away, it will stand forth in undecaying
lustre; a monument of heroic devotion, which will thrill the hearts of
the brave and generous throughout every succeeding age.”[49]

Baylen, a parallel street with Palafox, next invites notice. Baylen is a
small town at the foot of the Sierra Morena, on the road leading from
Cadiz to Cordova and Seville. There, on July nineteenth, 1808, the
French General Dupont, after his recent plunder of Cordova, with
excesses more in keeping with the days of Alaric, than the nineteenth
century, was, with 20,000 men, and all their plunder, compelled to
surrender, after a series of battles to a Spanish army, largely made up
of irregular Spanish troops.

To Reding, a Swiss in the service of Spain, was due the glory of the
event, which excited profound attention throughout Europe, and made a
deep and sinister impression on the French.

Of the “catastrophe” Napoleon, who was at Bordeaux when he heard of it,
said: “That an army should be beaten, is nothing; it is the daily fate
of war and is easily repaired; but that an army should submit to a
dishonorable capitulation is a stain upon the glory of our arms which
can never be effaced. Wounds inflicted on honor are incurable. The moral
effect of this catastrophe will be terrible.” Baylen was doubtless the
first link in the chain of events which drew from him the reflection in
which he indulged at St. Helena: “It was that unhappy war in Spain which
ruined me.”

Romana street bears the name of the most illustrious General Spain
produced during her great Peninsula war—the Marquis de Romana. He was
one of those great and generous characters who are too great and
generous to be moved by selfishness or envy, and was in consequence the
bond of union between the English and Spanish armies. He was marching to
the relief of Badajoz, when he was seized with heart disease at Cartaxo,
where he died suddenly January 22, 1811. It is enough for his fame for
him to have been the subject of the following dispatch by the Duke of
Wellington: “In the Marquis de Romana, the Spanish army has lost its
brightest ornament, his country its most upright patriot, and the world
the most strenuous and zealous defender in the cause in which we are
engaged; and I shall always acknowledge with gratitude the assistance
which I received from him, as well by his operation, as by his counsel,
since he has been joined with the army.”

Alcaniz is a reminder of another field of Spanish glory. It is the name
of a town in Aragon, on the right bank of the Guadalupe, sixty miles
south-east of Zaragoza. It was, on May twenty-third, 1809, the scene of
the defeat of a French army under Suchet by the Spanish forces under
General Blake.

Tarragona street commemorates one of those sieges like that of
Saragossa, which signalize the Spanish race above all others, for the
tenacity and devotion with which in all ages it has defended its homes.
The city of that name, situated on the Mediterranean shore of Spain, was
besieged by Suchet, and defended by General Cortinas, from May 4, to
June 29, 1811. The defense was conducted with the same fierce obstinacy
and courage which marked that of Saragossa, and with even greater
mortality, if allowance is made for the ravages of pestilence in the
latter. But there was a vast difference in the finality of the two
sieges. Tarragona was taken by assault; and never did American savages
exercise more demon-like fury upon unresisting and powerless humanity
than the French troops visited upon the Tarragonese. Above six thousand
human beings comprising all ages, and both sexes, were massacred whilst
appealing for mercy. “The blood of the Spaniards inundated the streets
and the houses. Armed and unarmed, men and women, gray hairs and infant
innocence, attractive youth and wrinkled age, were alike butchered by
the infuriated troops.”[50]


Footnote 48:

  American State Papers, Public Lands, Vol. IV., p. 136.

Footnote 49:

  Allison’s Modern Europe, Vol. III., p. 301.

Footnote 50:

  Allison’s History of Modern Europe, Vol. III., p. 422.


                              CHAPTER XIX.

Folch Leaves West Florida—His Successors—War of 1812—Tecumseh’s Visit to
    the Seminoles and Creeks—Consequences—Fort Mims—Percy and Nicholls’

In October, 1809, Folch left Pensacola to fill the appointment of
Governor of the country west of the Perdido, the capital of which was
Mobile. The uneventful period, for Pensacola at least, between that year
and 1813, was marked only by the incoming and outgoing of governors.
Folch’s successor was his son-in-law, Don Francisco Maximiliano de Saint
Maxent, under an _ad interim_ appointment. In July 1812, he was
succeeded by Mauricio Zuniga, who in May, 1813, gave place to Mateo
Gurzalez Maurique, whose administration covered the period of the war
between the United States and Great Britain, which was declared by the
former, on June 18, 1812.

That Pensacola should have been involved in that struggle would seem to
be out of the natural order of events, when it is remembered that Spain
and the United States were at peace. But, as before intimated, there
existed a covert hostility on the part of the Spanish officials at
Pensacola against the Americans, growing out of the dispute as to the
limits of West Florida; and now intensified by the capture of Mobile on
April 13, 1813, by an expedition from New Orleans, under the command of
General Wilkinson. Spain herself was too much absorbed by her struggle
for existence to take any active interest in a question of boundary in
the new world. But the British, who were her allies in her war with the
French, availed themselves of that official hostility to induce the
Spaniards at Pensacola to permit them to make that place a base from
which the Indians could be furnished with supplies to wage war on the
United States.

After the capture of Detroit, in August, 1812, the British formed the
scheme of combining the Indians on the western frontier of the United
States in a line of warfare extending from the Lakes to the Gulf of
Mexico. As their chief emissary to accomplish that end, they employed
Tecumseh, the great Shawnee Chief, who in the fall of that year made his
appearance amongst the Seminoles and Creeks. He at once began the work
of exciting their hostility against the Americans, by every argument,
art, and device which his own savage shrewdness could suggest, or the
deliberate calculations of his British allies prompt. He addressed the
Creek assemblies with the burning words of an impassioned oratory, to
which his stately form and commanding presence gave additional force. He
upbraided their disposition to adopt the speech, the dress, and habits
of the white man, instead of cleaving to those of their forefathers. He
persuaded them that it was degrading to an Indian warrior to follow the
plow, or to rely upon cattle and the fruits of the field for sustenance;
that it was decreed by the Great Spirit that the country should go back
to the forest, and that the Indian should depend upon the chase for his
food, as his forefathers had done. An invidious contrast was drawn
between the disinterested friendship of the British, who had no occasion
or use for their lands, and the cupidity of the Americans who were
annually restricting their hunting grounds by their ever extending
settlements. Superstition, and necromancy, too, were successfully
employed to enforce his teachings. Some of the wavering, like Francis,
afterwards known as the prophet, were induced to submit to days of
seclusion and fasting, in houses from which the light was excluded,
until darkness, spells, and incantations, acting upon bodies enfeebled
by hunger, inspired faith in the mission of the great Shawnee. A comet,
which appeared in the last days of September of that year, was pointed
to as a sign placed in the heavens by the Great Spirit, as a presage of
wrath and destruction to the white man, and a promise of redemption to
the Indian.

He had the temerity, even, to foretell a great natural phenomenon of
which he was to be the proximate cause, as an evidence his mission was
inspired. “When I reach Detroit I shall stamp my foot, and the earth
will tremble and rock.” And strange to relate, at about the lapse of
time the journey would consume, an earthquake was felt throughout the
Creek country, when from all sides came the cry of the awe-stricken
Indians: “Tecumseh has reached Detroit and stamped his foot.”[51]

His mission divided the Creeks into two parties, of which by far the
most numerous and warlike, was that which yielded to his seductions. To
each of his converts he gave a red stick as an emblem of war, and hence
the hostile Creeks became known as “Red Sticks.”

He had hardly returned to Detroit, when there came to Pensacola British
agents, bringing with them military supplies for distribution amongst
the Red Sticks, to whose bloody instincts was applied the stimulus of a
bounty of five dollars for every American scalp.

That Pensacola should be the Creek base of supply, was in accordance
with the plan of warfare designed by the British at Detroit, and a
fulfillment of Tecumseh’s promised assistance to their savage allies.
After the arrival there of the British agents and their stores, the Red
Sticks lost no time in procuring from them the needed supplies for the
war to which they had pledged themselves. From all parts of the Creek
country the hostiles were seen hurrying to Pensacola, and returning with
arms and ammunition, without hindrance from the Spanish officials.

The first startling result of the alliance between the British and
Indians, was the massacre of Fort Mims, which occurred in August, 1813,
an event that sent a thrill of horror through every American heart.

The fort was situated on Lake Tensas, a mile east of the Alabama river.
It consisted of a stockade enclosing about an acre, with a blockhouse in
one of its angles. In the center of it stood the residence of Samuel
Mims, for whom it was named. It had been hastily constructed, as a
refuge for the people of the neighborhood, in anticipation of an
extended war, rendered imminent by encounters that had taken place
between small parties of Indians and whites. In July, there entered the
stockade five hundred and fifty-three souls, composed of soldiers, other
men, women and children. Owing to the ill chosen site, situated as it
was in a hammock, and the negligence of those in command, the place was
surprised at midday on August 30, by one thousand Creek Indians under
William Weatherford and Francis, who rushed in at the open gate, which
had been heedlessly left unclosed. But few of those in the Fort escaped.
All the dead were scalped, except those who were saved from that
outrage, by undergoing the process of cremation in the buildings in
which they had taken refuge, and which were fired by the enemy to
overcome their defenders. Their bloody work finished, the Indians rested
and feasted, at the scene of the massacre, smoking their pipes, and
trimming and drying the scalps they had taken. Afterwards, these horrid
trophies of victory, strung on sticks, were taken to the British agents
at Pensacola, who paid for them the promised bounty.

It is due to William Weatherford, who was a son of a half-sister of
Alexander McGillivray, that, it should be mentioned, at the peril of his
own life, he interfered to save the women and children. Failing in his
merciful efforts, he refused to witness their massacre, and left the
bloody scene.

Not content with making Pensacola a base for inciting the Indians to
hostilities against the United States, in 1814, there came into the
harbor a British fleet, with a body of marines, the former under the
command of Captain William Henry Percy, and the later under that of
Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Nicholls, for the purpose of taking possession
of its fortifications. This the imbecile Maurique permitted them to do.
Fort George, which had been named St. Michael by the Spaniards, resumed
its English name, and received a British garrison, whilst the flag of
St. George once again floated from its ramparts. Fort San Carlos and the
battery on Santa Rosa Island were also turned over to the British. And
at the same time, the Governor’s house was made the headquarters of
Percy and Nicholls.

The fleet consisted of two ships, each of twenty-four guns, and two
brigs, each of eighteen guns, with three tenders. The marines numbered
two to three hundred men.

Nicholls at once began to increase his force by enlisting Indians, whom
he supplied with British uniforms, and drilled in the streets of

Thus reads his order of the day, twenty-sixth of August 1814. “The noble
Spanish nation has grieved to see her territories insulted, having been
robbed and despoiled of a portion of them while she was overwhelmed with
distress, and held down by the chains which a tyrant had imposed on her
gloriously struggling for the greatest of all blessings (true liberty).
The treacherous Americans, who call themselves free, have attacked her
like assassins while she was fallen. But the day of retribution is fast
approaching.... As to the Indians, you are to exhibit to them the most
exact discipline, being patterns to these children of nature. You will
teach and instruct them, in doing which you will manifest the utmost
patience, and you will correct them when they deserve it.”

Percy in a communication to Lafitte, the commander of the Barrataria
pirates, says: “As France and England are now friends, I call on you
with your brave followers to enter into the service of Great Britain, in
which you shall have the rank of Captain.”

Nicholls likewise issued a proclamation to the people of Louisiana and
Kentucky, inviting them to join the British. To the latter he addressed
himself specially as follows: “Inhabitants of Kentucky, you have too
long borne with grievous impositions. The whole brunt of the war has
fallen on your brave sons. Be imposed upon no more. Either range
yourselves under the standard of your forefathers, or observe a strict

And as an additional stimulus to the activity and zeal of the Indians,
the bounty on American scalps was raised from five to ten dollars.[53]


Footnote 51:

  Pickett’s History of Alabama, Vol. II., p. 246.

Footnote 52:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., pp. 134-135.

Footnote 53:

  Pickett’s History of Alabama, Vol. II., p. 357.


                              CHAPTER XX.

Attack on Fort Boyer by Percy and Nicholls—Jackson’s March on Pensacola
    in 1814—The Town Captured—Percy and Nicholls Driven Out—Consequences
    of the War to the Creeks—Don Manuel Gonzalez.

The first aggressive operation of Percy and Nicholls against the
Americans after they had established themselves at Pensacola was an
attack on Fort Boyer on Mobile Point, preparatory to an advance on
Mobile. But General Jackson’s great victory of the Horse Shoe over the
Creeks on the twenty-seventh of March had effectually crushed them, and
the treaty with them which followed enabled him to direct his attention
exclusively to the movements of the British at Pensacola.

His first step was to put Fort Boyer in condition to resist an attack,
by repairing it, mounting additional guns and placing an ample garrison
in it. This preparation had hardly been accomplished, when, early in
September, 1814, the British commanders made a combined attack upon it
by land and water. The former was repulsed, and the latter resulted in
the destruction of the _Hermes_, Percy’s flag ship, and the drawing off
of the other vessels in a crippled condition. After the inglorious
expedition, the British fleet and land forces retired to Pensacola—a
result hardly in keeping with the vaunts of Percy and Nicholls in their
several proclamations issued in August.

Pensacola having lost all claim to neutrality, as well by being under
the British flag, as by becoming a refuge for the hostile Indians who
declined to bring themselves within the terms of the treaty which
General Jackson had made with the Creeks after the victory at the Horse
Shoe, he resolved to advance upon it. He had previously written Maurique
a letter reminding him of the peaceful relations between Spain and the
United States, expostulating with him upon his permitting the British to
make Pensacola the base of their operations, and allowing it to be an
asylum for the hostile Creeks, naming two of them especially, McQueen
and Francis, whose strange adventures will be mentioned in a future
page. To this mild expostulation the governor made an ambiguous and
insulting reply, ending with the threat “that Jackson should hear from
him shortly.”[54] The correspondence occurred just before the Percy and
Nicholls’ attack on Fort Boyer, and doubtless it was their bombastic
prediction of success which prompted old Maurique to send Jackson so
defiant reply.

General Jackson, however, did not wait longer than the last days of
October, 1814, for the execution of the Spanish governor’s threat.
Having collected his forces at Fort Montgomery, on the twenty-seventh he
took up his line of march for Pensacola, the Indian trail referred to in
an early chapter being its guiding thread. The troops consisted of the
Third, Thirty-ninth and Forty-fourth infantry, Coffee’s brigade, a
company of Mississippi dragoons and part of a West Tennessee regiment,
numbering three thousand effective men, besides a band of friendly

He reached the vicinity of the town on the evening of the sixth of
November. He first appeared on its western side, and there, having
halted, he says, in the dispatch containing an account of the
expedition, “On my approach I sent Major Pierre with a flag to
communicate the object of my visit. He approached the Fort St. George
with his flag displayed, and was fired on by the cannon from the
fort.”[55] Immediately afterwards, with the adjutant and a small party,
he himself made a reconnoissance. He found the fort manned by Spanish as
well as English troops. He likewise observed that there were in the
harbor seven English war vessels, which it was necessary for him to
consider in his future movements. His plans were at once formed. A force
under Captain Denkins, with several pieces of artillery, occupied the
site of Fort St. Barnardo, which was once again to be pitted against its
old antagonist, Fort George.[56] Inferring that the enemy would expect
his attack from the west, General Jackson, on the night of the sixth,
caused the main body of his army to make a circuitous march, so that the
morning would find it on the eastern extremity of the town.[57] This
movement shielded him from the guns of St. George or St. Michael, whilst
by entering the town at the eastern end of Government street he would,
in a measure, be protected from the guns of the English vessels. But he
encountered a battery of two guns as he entered the street, which fired
upon the centre column with ball and grape, whilst there opened upon the
troops a shower of musketry from houses, fences and gardens.[58] The
battery was soon silenced, however, by a storming party led by Captain
Laval, who lost a leg at the last fire of the guns. All the Spanish
forces at the battery fled as Laval’s command rushed upon it except a
gallant Spanish officer, who, refusing to fly, was taken prisoner. But
tradition says, instead of laurels, he won from his own people the
imputation of “fool” for his rashness—a rashness, however, which, had it
been crowned with success, would probably have secured him the praise of
a hero.

When the command had well advanced into the town it was met by the
governor in person, with a white flag, and an offer of surrender at
discretion. The offer was accepted, but solely for the purpose of
enabling General Jackson to accomplish the declared object of the
expedition—which was not conquest—but to expel the British, whose
presence was due to the imbecility of Maurique, as well as the small
Spanish force at his command, consisting, as it did, of two or three
companies of the regiment of Tarragona. In order to attain that object,
possession of Forts Barrancas and St. Michael by the Americans was
indispensable, and, to the extent of his ability, the governor made the
surrender. But when Captain Denkins and his command were about to
proceed to take possession of St. Michael, Captain Soto, the Spanish
officer in command, refused to obey the governor’s instructions to make
the surrender. Preparations that were immediately made to take it by
storm, however, induced Soto to reconsider his refusal and to admit the
American command. The demand was made at six o’clock on the evening of
the seventh, and the surrender occurred at midnight. The purpose of
Soto’s delay cannot be divined, for Nicholls having on the night of the
sixth withdrawn his men to the shipping, there remained in the fort but
a small band of Spaniards.

As General Jackson withdrew his forces from the town, which he did on
the evening of the same day of its capture, they were fired upon by the
British vessels, but without inflicting any injury.

Whilst, on the morning of the eighth, a detachment was preparing to
march on Barrancas, with the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the
British fleet, there was heard a great explosion, which it was at once
concluded was occasioned by the blowing up of San Carlos. General
Jackson nevertheless sent the detachment there to verify the fact. On
its return in the night it reported the fort blown up, everything
combustible burned, and cannon spiked by the British, who had taken to
their ships, and sailed out of the harbor.

The only casualties which occurred during these operations on the part
of the Americans were seven killed and eleven wounded, including Captain
Laval; and on the part of the Spaniards four killed and six wounded.

Captain William Laval was a South Carolinian, the son of a French
officer of the Legion of Lauzun, belonging to the French forces in the
Revolutionary war. In 1808 he received the commission of ensign in the
American army. In 1812, he became a first lieutenant. The breaking out
of the Creek war found him a captain. He was with the third regiment, to
which his company belonged, at the battle of Holy Ground. For the
service of charging the Spanish battery at Pensacola he was specially
selected by General Jackson. The loss of his leg prevented his sharing
with his regiment in the glorious victory of New Orleans, and ended his
military career as well. His aptitude for civil as well as military life
was manifested by his filling the offices of Secretary of State,
Comptroller General, and Treasurer of South Carolina, as well as
Assistant Treasurer of the United States under Polk’s administration.

That the presence of the British was enforced, and by no means agreeable
to the Spaniards, was promptly manifested by the good feeling exhibited
by the latter towards the Americans, as soon as Percy and Nicholls had
taken their departure. The inhabitants were much impressed by the kind
and generous conduct of General Jackson; who seems fully, to have
appreciated the peculiar position in which the town was placed, by the
pretentious audacity of Percy and Nicholls, the feebleness of its
garrison, and above all the imbecility of Maurique. In the dispatch
before referred to he says: “The good order and conduct of my troops,
whilst in Pensacola, have convinced the Spaniards of our friendship and
our prowess; and have drawn from the citizens an expression, that ‘The
Choctaws are more civilized than the British.’” In letters written from
Pensacola to Havana, in relation to the capture of the place, the
comparison is thus expressed: “the American Choctaws were more civilized
than the religious English.” These letters teem with the praises of the
considerate conduct of General Jackson and his army.

When the first account of the invasion reached Havana, American vessels
were seized as a retaliatory measure; but when all the particulars of
the expedition were learned they were promptly released.

Having blown up St. Michael, General Jackson left Pensacola, on November
9, to go to the defence of New Orleans, which from all indications was
threatened with an attack by the British. There he arrived with his
army, on December 2, to begin those preparations which were to end on
January 8, in the grand and glorious land victory of the War of 1812.

When Percy and Nicholls left Pensacola, they took with them, not only
their Indian allies, but also about one hundred negro slaves belonging
to the inhabitants of the town. Sailing to Appalachicola, they there
landed the Indians and negroes. Still bent on instigating a savage
warfare against the American settlements, a fort under their directions
was built on the Appalachicola river, which they supplied with guns and
ammunition. It was designed to serve as a refuge for fugitive slaves,
and a resort for hostile Indians, as well as a salient point from which
to carry on an exterminating warfare against the white settlements in
southern Georgia and Alabama.

Such were the inglorious results of the Percy-Nicholls expedition to
Florida, beginning, as we have seen, with stilted proclamations to the
people of Louisiana and Kentucky, coupled with an invitation to a nest
of pirates to become their allies; and ending with the robbing and
destruction of the property of a community to which they had come under
the guise of friendship, and as its shield from wrongs which existed in
their own imaginations only.

Aside from the barbarity which marked the warfare instigated by Britain
against the Americans in Florida and Alabama during the years 1812-1814,
history has cause to lament its fatal consequences to the people who
were the cruel instruments by which it was waged.

At the time of Tecumseh’s mission to the Creeks, about twenty years had
elapsed since the death of their Great Chief, McGillivray. In that
interval, under the impulse of his teachings and example, continued and
increased by the fostering care of the United States, they had made
considerable advance in civilization. Large numbers of them had learned
to rely more upon tillage and their herds for a livelihood, than on the
chase. It was no uncommon thing to see in the nation, well-built houses
standing in the midst of considerable farms. They owned slaves and large
herds of cattle. The hum of the spinning wheel, and the noise of the
shuttle, moved by the deft hands of Indian matrons, were common sounds
throughout the Creek country; whilst an Indian maiden with her milk
pail, or at her churn, was no unusual sight. The schools established
amongst them were gradually shedding upon them the light and mellowing
influence of knowledge.[59]

The large infusion of white blood into the tribe, owing to the
attractions of the Creek women, which have already been noticed,
likewise, added the hope of a civilization resting upon the strongest
instincts of human nature. Of the possibility of this civilizing and
ennobling influence, gradually permeating and elevating the Creeks as a
people, we have the evidence in some of their descendants, who at this
day, are amongst the most respectable citizens in several communities in
Alabama and Florida.

Such was the state of the Creek nation, when the British at Detroit sent
Tecumseh, like another Prince of Evil, into that fair garden of a
nascent civilization, to convert its peaceful scenes into fields of
slaughter, with all the woes that follow in the footsteps of war.

The first fruit of that cruel scheme, as we have seen, was the tragedy
of Fort Mims. Then followed in rapid succession the avenging battles of
Tallasehatchee, Talladega, Auttose, and Holy Ground. To those succeeded
the last great heroic struggle at the Horse Shoe, in which, of one
thousand Red Sticks engaged, two hundred only survived. Afterwards came
the surrender of Weatherford with that speech[60] which comes to us as
the dirge-like epilogue of the woeful drama; and a memorial of that
prophetic shadow which fell on his people when they learned their Grand
Chief was lying in the “sands of the Seminoles.”

The Spaniards criticised General Jackson’s Florida campaign, because he
did not, instead of advancing on Pensacola, proceed at once to
Barrancas, to capture San Carlos, and thereby prevent the escape of the
British vessels. But the answer to the criticism is, that he was not
aware, perhaps, of all the conditions known to the Spaniards, which in
their judgment, would have facilitated a surprise, or contributed to a
successful assault. Besides, such a movement would have been
inconsistent with the purpose of his invasion, which was to procure the
exclusion of the British from Florida, by the action of the Spaniards
themselves; a consideration which was due to the amicable relations
existing between Spain and the United States. Entertaining these views,
General Jackson did not deem it proper to seize the Spanish forts in the
first instance without communicating with the Governor. This he
attempted to do, and it was only after the outrage of firing on his
flag, he resolved, without further parley or remonstrance, by his own
arms to drive out the British.

That, however, he had considered a movement on Barrancas, before or at
the time of his advance on Pensacola, is evidenced by an interview which
he had with Don Manuel Gonzalez, who was an officer in the Spanish
commissary department, and who had a cattle ranch at a place then known
as Vacaria Baja, now as Oakfield, one mile from the trail the American
army was following. Don Manuel, with his family, was at the ranch, when
the General rode up to the house, and accosted him. There was with the
Don at the time, his son, Celestino, then a young man. Through an
interpreter, the General made known, that the purpose of his visit was
to require the Don, or his son, to guide the army to Barrancas. The Don
boldly refusing, the General became insistent, to the degree of
threatening the use of force to secure compliance. Roused by the threat,
with a mien as dauntless as Jackson’s, Don Manuel replied: “General, my
life and my property are in your power; you can take both; but my honor
is in my own keeping. As to my son, I would rather plunge a sword into
his bosom than see him a traitor to his king.” The General replied by
extending his hand with the exclamation, “I honor a brave man,” and
thenceforth became his friend.


Footnote 54:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., p. 11.

Footnote 55:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., p. 281.

Footnote 56:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., p. 281.

Footnote 57:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., p. 281.

Footnote 58:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. VII., p. 281.

Footnote 59:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. 6, p. 370.

Footnote 60:

  Weatherford having boldly ridden up to General Jackson’s tent, was met
  by the threatening question: “How dare you, sir, ride up to my tent
  after having murdered the women and children at Fort Mims?”
  Weatherford replied: “General Jackson, I am not afraid of you. I fear
  no man, for I am a Creek warrior. I have nothing to request in behalf
  of myself; you can kill me if you wish. I come to beg you to send for
  the women and children of the war party who are now starving in the
  woods. Their fields and cribs have been destroyed by your people, who
  have driven them to the woods without one ear of corn. I hope you will
  send out parties to safely bring them here in order that they may be
  fed. I exerted myself in vain to prevent the massacre of the women and
  children at Fort Mims. I am now done fighting. The Red Sticks are
  nearly all killed. If I could fight you any longer I would most
  heartily do so. Send for the women and children; they never did you
  any harm. But kill me if the white people want it done.”—Pickett’s
  History of Alabama, Vol. II., p. 349.


                              CHAPTER XXI.

Seminole War, 1818—Jackson Invades East Florida—Defeats the Seminoles—
    Captures St. Marks—Arbuthnot and Ambrister—Prophet Francis—His

At the close of the war between the United States and Great Britain, the
British troops were withdrawn from the fort on the Appalachicola river
built under the auspices of Nicholls and Percy.

The Seminoles were, as their name signifies, outlaws and runaways from
the Creek confederacy, or their descendants. Hence it was, that those of
the Red Sticks who refused to submit to the terms of the treaty between
the United States and the Creeks, either fled to the British at
Pensacola, or to the Seminole nation. It was in a district inhabited by
Seminoles, that the fort built by Nicholls on the Appalachicola river
was situated. The spirit and objects which prompted its construction
continued to animate its motley garrison long after Nicholls’ departure.
At length it proved such an interruption to navigation, besides being an
asylum for runaway negroes, as to bring against it, in 1816, an
expedition by land and water under Colonel Duncan L. Clinch. A shot from
a gunboat exploded the magazines and destroyed the larger part of the
garrison. The destruction of this nest of rapine, however, did not for
long give peace and security to the district.

In the fall of 1817, a feeling of unrest and suspicion mutually seized
upon the white settlers and Indians, induced by causes for which both
were responsible. The first act of war, however, was the capture on
November 21 of Fowlton, a Seminole village above the Georgia line, by an
American force, under Colonel Twiggs. This proved the signal for Indian
massacres, the most shocking of which was that of Lieutenant Scott and
his command. Whilst going up the Appalachicola river in a barge they
were attacked from a dense swamp on the bank. There were in the barge
forty men besides Scott, seven soldiers’ wives, and five children. All
were killed except one woman spared by the Indians, and four men who
swam to the opposite bank.

In March 1818, General Jackson was ordered to the seat of war. He
invaded East Florida, and in a campaign of six weeks crushed the
Indians. In one of their towns, were found three hundred scalps of men,
women and children, fifty still fresh hanging from a red war pole. He
also captured the Spanish Post of Saint Marks.

For the last act, investigation can find no adequate reason. It was not,
however, an irremediable wrong, for restitution furnished a remedy. Two
irreparable wrongs, however, marked that short campaign.

Alexander Arbuthnot, being found at St. Marks, was brought before a
court-martial. He was a man of seventy years of age, a Scotchman, an
Indian trader, and a friend of the Indians, but a counsellor of peace
between them and the whites; a man of education, who used his pen to
represent Indian wrongs to both Spanish and American officials; and who,
when Jackson was about to invade their country, advised the Seminoles to
fly and not to fight. On his trial, the plainest rules of evidence were
disregarded, and without proof he was found guilty of the charges of
inciting the Creeks to war on the United States and, likewise, of
“aiding and abetting the enemy, and supplying them with the means of
war.” Under that baseless judgment the old man was hanged; his waving
white locks protesting his innocence.[61]

Robert C. Ambrister, who had formerly belonged to Nicholls’ command,
being found in the Indian nation, was also seized and tried by a
court-martial. He confessed that he had counselled and aided the
Indians. The court at first sentenced him to be shot, but before closing
the trial, upon a reconsideration it set aside that judgment, and
substituted for death the punishment of fifty stripes, and confinement
“with a ball and chain at hard labor for twelve months.” Nevertheless,
General Jackson disregarding the last, executed the first judgment.[62]

Jackson having early in May closed his campaign against the East Florida
Seminoles, and obtained evidence satisfactory to himself, that the
Spanish officials at Pensacola were in sympathy with them, resolved to
march upon that town, and repeat the lesson which he had taught it in
1814. Before following him in that expedition, however, mention will be
made of the adventures, fate and daughter of Francis, the Indian
prophet, who left Pensacola, it will be remembered, with Nicholls on the
approach of the Americans in 1814.

Francis had been one of Tecumseh’s most notable and zealous disciples,
as well as one of the most sedulous in making Red Stick converts. A
leader in the massacre of Fort Mims, he had revelled in deeds of blood
in that human slaughter pen. When Nicholls left Florida with his troops,
Francis accompanied him, and finally made his way to London. There in a
gorgeous dress he was presented to the Prince Regent, who in recognition
of his military services to the crown, bestowed upon him a gilded
tomahawk, with a dazzling belt, a gold snuffbox, and a commission of
brigadier-general in the British service. Well would it have been for
the prophet had he remained in a land where his deeds were so highly
appreciated. But the instinct of the savage brought him back to Florida,
where he was captured by the decoy of an American vessel lying in the
St. Marks river, flying a British flag. He went off to her in a canoe,
to meet allies, but found enemies, who seized and delivered him to
Jackson. He was summarily hanged, with his brigadier’s commission on his

It is a pleasing change to turn from deeds of blood to instances of
humanity, especially when they come to us in the form of attractive
youth. A young Georgian, named Duncan McRimmon, captured by the Indians
whilst he was fishing, was doomed to death. The stake was fixed, the
victim bound, the faggots and torch were ready when a deliverer came in
the person of Milly or Malee, a girl of sixteen years, the daughter of
Francis. Her intercessions induced her father to spare McRimmon and send
him to St. Marks to insure his safety. Not thinking himself secure
there, McRimmon went aboard the decoy vessel, and by a singular fatality
was there when Francis also came.

Malee, bewitching in face, slender and graceful in form, a Red Stick in
blood and courage, an expert with the rifle, a fearless rider who
required no other help than one of her small hands to mount, was the
ideal of an Indian heroine. She was likewise sprightly in mind, and
spoke English and Spanish as well as Indian.

An adventure will illustrate her heroic nature. After her father’s
capture, but in ignorance of it, she and several attendants barely
escaped the snare into which he had fallen. As they approached the
decoy, however, something occurring to excite suspicion, their canoe was
turned for the land. To arrest it, a blank shot was fired by the vessel.
That being unheeded, a charge of grape shot was sent after the
fugitives. The missiles fell around them, but the canoe neither pausing
nor changing its course, was paddled the faster for the shore. A boat
was sent in pursuit, but the chase was too late. As the heroine leaped
from the canoe to the beach, she snatched a rifle from an attendant and
fired at the pursuers. The ball having grazed several of them, and
struck the rudder-post, put an end to the chase.

After the close of the war, McRimmon sought Malee in marriage. His suit,
after repeated refusals, was crowned with success. A marriage, and a
happy plantation home on the Suwanee, were the fruits of her humanity,
and his persistent wooing. After eighteen years of married life, Malee
found herself a widow with eight children.

Among the Red Sticks, who after the disastrous battle of the Horse Shoe
fled to the Seminole nation, were a Creek mother and her orphan boy,
whose age might be twelve. The young Red Stick was destined in after
years to fill the continent with his name. Osceola was old enough at the
time of Tecumseh’s mission, and the stirring events in which it
resulted, to receive from them a deep and lasting impression. To those
impressions, doubtless, and the blood he derived from one of those
Spartan warriors, whose heroism excited the admiration of their
conquerors,[63] was due his primacy in the Seminole war; for an alien he
was without the influence of a sept to achieve it. In the career of the
Seminole chief may be discerned the far-reaching influence of the Great
Shawnee, and the abiding force of youthful impressions.


Footnote 61:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. 15, pp. 270-282.

Footnote 62:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. 15, p. 281.

Footnote 63:

  So impressed was General Jackson’s chivalric nature with the lion-like
  courage of the Red Sticks at the battle of the Horse Shoe, that he
  made an earnest, but ineffectual effort to end the conflict, and
  thereby save a remnant of that band of heroes.


                             CHAPTER XXII.

Jackson’s Invasion of West Florida in 1818—Masot’s Protest—Capture of
    Pensacola—Capitulation of San Carlos—Provisional Government
    Established by Jackson—Pensacola Restored to Spain—Governor Callava—
    Treaty of Cession—Congressional Criticism of Jackson’s Conduct.

Hitherto Jackson’s operations had been confined to the province of East
Florida. On the tenth of May, 1818, he began his invasion of West
Florida by crossing the Appalachicola river at the Indian village of
Ochesee. Thence he followed a trail which led him over the natural
bridge of the Chipola river—a bridge which it would be difficult for the
wayfarer to observe, as it is formed by the stream quietly sinking into
a lime-stone cavern, through which it again emerges within a distance of
half a mile.

Within a few hundred yards of the trail, and near the north side of the
bridge, there is a cave one-fourth of a mile in length, with many
lateral grottoes, its roof pendant with glittering stalactites and its
floor covered with lime-stones moulded in varied and eccentric forms.
Panic-stricken by Jackson’s campaign in East Florida, the Indians on the
west of the Appalachicola river, when he began his westward march, made
this cave a place of refuge, and were there quietly concealed when his
troops unconsciously marched over their subterranean retreat.

The army marched in two divisions. The one commanded by Jackson in
person followed the bridge trail, the other moved by a trail which led
to the river, northward of the place where it made its cavernous
descent. The water being high, the construction of a bridge or rafts
became necessary to enable the wagons and artillery to cross. Whilst the
northern division was thus obstructed, General Jackson, unimpeded in his
march, reached the appointed place of junction. Here he waited, in
hourly expectation of the appearance of the other column, until worked
up to a frenzy of impatience which was changed to indignation when,
after the junction, the interposition of a river—contradicted, as he
supposed, by his own immediate experience—was assigned as the cause of
the delay. At length, however, the guides, by disclosing the existence
of the bridge, solved the riddle and restored the general to good humor.

His march westward, and south of the northern boundary of the province
of West Florida, brought him to the Escambia river, which, having
crossed, he reached the road that he had opened over the old trail in
1814, when he marched to Pensacola on a similar mission to that in which
he was now engaged.

Don José Masot, who was governor of West Florida, having received
intelligence of Jackson’s westward march and his designs on Pensacola,
sent him a written protest against his invasion, as an offence against
the Spanish king, “exhorting and requiring him to retire from the
Province,” threatening if he did not, to use force for his expulsion.
This protest was delivered by a Spanish officer, on May 23, after
Jackson had crossed the Escambia river and was within a few hours’ march
of Pensacola. Notwithstanding Masot’s threat, instead of advancing to
meet the invader, he hastily retired with most of his troops to Fort San
Carlos, leaving a few only at Pensacola, under the command of
Lieutenant-colonel Don Lui Piemas, for the purpose of making a show of

Masot’s protest, instead of retarding, seems to have accelerated
Jackson’s advance. In the afternoon of the same day on which it was
received, the American army was in possession of Fort St. Michael and
encamped around it. Thence, immediately upon its occupation, Jackson
sent Masot a dispatch in reply to his protest, in which he demanded an
immediate surrender of Pensacola and Barrancas. In his answer, on May
24, to that demand, Masot, as to Pensacola, referred Jackson to Don Lui
Piemas; as to San Carlos he replied: “This fortress I am resolved to
defend to the last extremity. I shall repel force by force, and he who
resists aggression can never be considered an aggressor. God preserve
your excellency many years.” Upon the receipt of this communication,
Jackson, by arrangement with Colonel Piemas, took possession of

On the twenty-fifth, Jackson replied to Masot’s dispatch of the
twenty-fourth, in which he tells him he is aware of the Spanish force,
and hints at the folly of resistance to an overwhelming enemy. In
conclusion he says: “I applaud your feelings as a soldier in wishing to
defend your post, but when resistance is ineffectual and the opposing
force overwhelming, the sacrifice of a few brave men is an act of
wantonness, for which the commanding officer is accountable to his God.”

In the evening of the day on which Jackson’s communication was written,
and within a few hours after it was received by Masot, Fort San Carlos
was invested by the American army. On the night of the twenty-fifth,
batteries were established in favorable positions within three hundred
and eighty-five yards of the fort, though the work was interrupted by
the Spanish guns. Before the American batteries replied, Jackson, in his
anxiety to spare the effusion of blood, sent Masot, under a flag of
truce, another demand to surrender, accompanied by a representation of
the futility, if not the folly, of further resistance. The refusal of
the demand was followed by the batteries and the fort opening upon each
other. The firing continued until evening, when a flag from the fort
invited a parley, which resulted in a truce until the following day, the
twenty-seventh, when, at eight o’clock in the morning, articles of
capitulation were signed. Such was Masot’s defense to “the last
extremity,” and such the fruit of Jackson’s expostulation with his fiery
but feeble antagonist.

The military features of the capitulation were that the Spanish
surrender should be made with the honors of war, drums beating, and
flags flying, during the march from the gate of the fort to the foot of
the glacis, where the arms were to be stacked; the garrison to be
transported to Havana; and their rights of property, to the last
article, strictly respected.

But, as in the case of General Campbell’s and Governor Chester’s
surrender, in 1781, to Galvez, there was a political aspect to the
capitulation of Masot.

In Jackson’s despatch to Calhoun, Secretary of war, he says of the
capitulation: “The articles, with but one condition, amount to a
complete cession to the United States, of that portion of the Floridas
hitherto under the government of Don José Masot.” The condition alluded
to was, that the province should be held by the United States until
Spain could furnish a sufficient military force to execute the
obligations of existing treaties.

Having accepted the cession of West-Florida to the United States,
Jackson further assumed the authority of constituting a provisional
government for the conquered province. He appointed one of his officers,
Colonel King, civil and military governor; he extended the revenue laws
of the United States over the country; appointed another of his
officers, Captain Gadsden, collector of the port of Pensacola, with
authority to enforce those laws; declared what civil laws should be
enforced, and provided for the preservation of the archives, as well as
for the care and protection of what had been the property of the Spanish
crown, but now, in the General’s conception, become the property of the
United States.

Shortly after these occurrences, General Jackson, with his constitution
sorely tried by the fatigue and privations of the campaign, left
Pensacola for his home in Tennessee, to find quietude and repose, made
sweet by public applause on the one side, and interrupted by bitter
censure and criticism on the other.

The views with which Jackson began the Seminole campaign in March, and
those which he entertained at its close in May, by the capitulation of
Masot, present a strange and striking contrast. He invaded East-Florida
to crush the Seminoles, as he had crushed the Creeks of Alabama. This he
accomplished by invading the territory of a power at peace with the
United States. As an imperious necessity, the invasion was justified by
his government. During his operations, however, he acquired information
from which he concluded that there existed a sympathy between the
Spanish officials at Pensacola and the Indians. Ostensibly, to correct
that abuse he marched to Pensacola, where he ended his campaign by
procuring the cession of the province of West-Florida, followed by the
establishment of an American government, without the authority of the
United States.

The United States, without formally disavowing Jackson’s conduct,
signified its readiness to restore Pensacola and St. Marks whenever a
Spanish force presented itself to receive the surrender. In September,
1819, such a force appearing at Pensacola, the town and Barrancas were
immediately evacuated by the American troops. And thus ended the
government established by Jackson, after it had existed fourteen months,
during which it was administered to the satisfaction of the inhabitants
of the Province.

With the troops there came as governor Don José Maria Callava, knight of
the military order of Hermenegildo, who, in 1811, had won the cross of
distinction for gallant conduct in the battle of Almonacid, one of the
many fiercely fought battles of the Peninsula war.

The advent of the Spaniards seemed to be inconsistent with the fact
that, on the twenty-second of the previous February, a treaty had been
entered into between Secretary Adams and Don Louis de Onis, the Spanish
minister for the cession of the Floridas. But it was subject to the
ratification of both governments, and, though ratified by the United
States, it had not been acted upon by Spain. At first the re-occupation
might have been considered a matter of form, in which a sensitive
government consulted its dignity by placing itself in a condition to
make a voluntary surrender of territory for a consideration, instead of
appearing to submit to a conquest. But, as time rolled on without a
ratification of the treaty by Spain, the re-occupation of Pensacola
seemed to point to her determination to permanently retain the Floridas.

It was believed, at the time the treaty was negotiated, that Jackson’s
bold action had done more to bring it about than Mr. Adams’ diplomatic
skill, a belief for which there was an apparent foundation in the delay
of Spain to ratify it after the pressure of his conquest was removed.

No instance in the life of that great man more strikingly illustrates
than these transactions the beneficent working of that imperious will,
to which he made everything bend that stood in the way to the attainment
of what he conceived a patriotic end.

The necessity for the campaign of 1814, as well as that which he had
just closed, convinced him that Florida, as a Spanish colony, would be a
constant menace to the peace and security of the border settlements of
Alabama and Georgia, not so much from the hostility of the Spanish as
their inability to control the restless and war-like Seminoles. He saw,
too, the necessity of making Spain sensible of her obligation to
exercise the necessary restraint upon her savage subjects, and at the
same time to make her fully realize the large and onerous military
establishment it would be necessary to maintain in Florida to accomplish
that object. The articles of capitulation brought the United States and
Spain face to face upon this question. It impressed upon the former the
imperative necessity of securing a permanent cession, and it compelled
the latter to count the cost involved in fulfilling the condition by
which only the provisional cession could be nullified.

A study of the correspondence between Masot and Jackson, whilst the
latter was still east of the Appalachicola river, creates the impression
that the reason assigned by Jackson for his expedition to Pensacola was
but a pretext, and that the real motive was made manifest by the
articles of capitulation—a provisional cession, as the first step to a
permanent cession. He was unsustained by his government openly, at
least, he was censured by a congressional committee and denounced by the
press, but he soon found his vindication in public opinion, enlightened
by subsequent events.

Masot, the other chief actor in these transactions, had been appointed
governor of West Florida in November, 1816, and, as we have seen, his
official term ended with the capitulation of the twenty-seventh of May,
1818. Shortly afterwards he left Pensacola for Havana in the cartel
_Peggy_, one of the vessels provided by Jackson to carry the Spanish
governor to the latter place. The _Peggy_ was overhauled by an armed
vessel under the “Independent Flag,” as the ensign of Spain’s revolted
South American colonies was called. No lives were taken, nor was the
_Peggy_ made a prize, for she was an American, but the Spaniards were
robbed. Masot had with him eight thousand dollars in coin, which he had
concealed. A slight suspension by the neck, however, as a hint of a
higher and more fatal one, wrung from him the hiding-place of his
treasure, which he lost, but saved his life.[64] The _Peggy_ was
overhauled by the “Independent Flag,” during a voyage to Havana from
Campeachy, whither she had taken refuge from what was supposed to be a
piratical vessel.

During Masot’s administration there occurred a transaction which
occupied a place in the investigations of the special committee of the
senate of the United States, appointed, in 1818, to inquire into and
report upon the occurrences of the Seminole war of that year, prominent
amongst them the capture of St. Marks and Pensacola. The committee
condemned all Jackson’s proceedings and seem to have even harbored the
suspicion that a land speculation prompted him to exact a cession of the
latter place. The circumstances which induced the suspicion are detailed
in an affidavit of General John B. Eaton, afterwards secretary of war
under Jackson and governor of Florida, which appears amongst the
documents accompanying the report of the committee.[65]

It seems that, in 1817, Eaton and James Jackson of Nashville—nowise
related to General Jackson—foreseeing that Florida was to be acquired by
the United States, resolved to make a purchase of lots in Pensacola and
lands in its vicinity. To them were afterwards added six associates,
John McCrae, James Jackson, Jr., John C. McElmore, John Jackson, Thomas
Childress and John Donelson, who was a nephew of Mrs. Jackson. Donelson
and a Mr. Gordon were appointed to proceed to Pensacola to make the
purchases. As a measure of security to Donelson and Gordon, Eaton
applied to General Jackson and obtained for them a letter of
introduction to Masot. Provided with this letter, which facilitated
their operations, Donelson and Gordon went to Pensacola and fulfilled
their mission by buying a large number of unimproved town lots, sixty
acres of land adjoining the town and a tract on the bay two or three
miles to the westward.

Eaton says: General Jackson had no interest in the speculation, nor was
he consulted respecting it, his only connection with it being the letter
to Masot. As there is no allusion to the transaction in the report of
the committee, they must have concluded that the suspicion which
prompted the search for evidence respecting it was unfounded. Such at
least must be the just conclusion from the silence in respect to the
matter observed by a document so full of pointed condemnation of
Jackson’s acts, of the manner in which his army was raised and the
officers commissioned by himself, the executions of Arbuthnot and
Ambrister, the capture of St. Marks and Pensacola, the establishment of
a provisional government, the extension of the revenue laws of the
United States over the conquered province, and the appointments for it
of a governor and a collector of the customs.


Footnote 64:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. XV., p. 261.

Footnote 65:

  Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. XV., p. 88.


                             CHAPTER XXIII.

Treaty Ratified—Jackson Appointed Provisional Governor—Goes to
    Pensacola—Mrs. Jackson in Pensacola—Change of Flags—Callava
    Imprisoned—Territorial Government—Governor Duval—First Legislature
    Meets at Pensacola.

Although the United States was unremitting in its efforts to induce
Spain to ratify the treaty of cession, her ratification was postponed
from time to time under various pretexts. Prominent English journals
having declared, that if Florida was ceded to the United States, Great
Britain, in order to maintain her influence in the Gulf of Mexico,
should insist upon a surrender to her of the Island of Cuba, public
opinion in the United States settled down to the conclusion that the
delay of the ratification was due to British intrigue. But, that this
opinion was ill founded, is evident from President Monroe’s message of
the seventh of December, 1819, in which he says: “In the course which
the Spanish government has on this occasion thought proper to pursue, it
is satisfactory to know that they have not been countenanced by any
European power. On the contrary, the opinion and wishes of both France
and Great Britain have not been withheld either from the United States
or Spain, and have been unequivocal in favor of ratification.”

The procrastination of Spain was the occasion of intense public feeling
in the United States; which at length formally manifested itself on
March 8, 1820, in a resolution reported by the committee of Foreign
Relations of the House of Representatives, to authorize the President to
take possession of West Florida. Patience, however, prevailed, and on
February 19, 1821, the ratification took place.

General Jackson was shortly afterwards appointed Provisional Governor of
Florida, and instructed to proceed to Pensacola with a small military
force, to receive from the Spanish authorities a formal surrender of
West Florida. On April 18, he left the Hermitage, with Mrs. Jackson and
his adopted son, Andrew Jackson Donelson, to enter upon the long,
tedious journey to Pensacola, via New Orleans.

A stage of the journey in Southern Alabama, brought him to a military
post, in the neighborhood of which, William Weatherford, the Creek hero,
resided. At the suggestion of General Jackson, Colonel Brooke, the
commandant of the Post, and his host, invited Weatherford to dine with
his conqueror. The invitation was accepted. When the Great Chief
appeared, Jackson cordially met him, and taking him by the hand,
presented him to Mrs. Jackson as “the bravest man in his tribe.”

Coming into Florida early in July, on reaching what was then known as
the Fifteen Mile House, now as Gonzalia, where Mr. Manuel Gonzalez then
had his cattle ranch, the General spent several days with him. Whilst
there, hearing of the approach of his troops, accompanied by Mr.
Gonzalez, he went up the road to meet them. Coming to a creek, they saw
the wagons of several up-country traders stuck in the mud, which the
latter, for lack of sufficient force, were making ineffectual attempts
to move. On the other side of the branch were several men lying on the
ground, and horses grazing near them. Accosting the men who were tugging
at the wheels of a wagon, Jackson said, “Why don’t you get those men
across the branch to help you?” “Oh! they say they are General Jackson’s
staff.” “Well,” said he, “I am General Jackson himself, and by the
eternal, I will help you!” And with those words, dismounting from his
horse, and throwing off his coat, he lustily put his shoulder to the

Upon the arrival of the troops at the Fifteen Mile House, headquarters
were established, and remained there until all the arrangements were
made for a formal change of government.

Mrs. Jackson, however, took up her residence at Pensacola two or three
weeks before July 17, when the change of flags was to take place. During
the Sundays which preceded the change, Mrs. Jackson, who was an
eminently pious woman, cherishing great reverence for the Sabbath, was
greatly scandalized by the manner in which it was dishonored. Shops did
more business on that day than any other. It was a day of public
gambling, fiddling, dancing, and boisterous conduct. When the last
Sunday of Spanish rule came, seemingly because the last, the fiddling,
dancing, noise and confusion, exceeded that of any preceding one. Unable
to restrain her pious indignation, Mrs. Jackson vented it in a protest
against the Sabattic Saturnalia, made through Major Staunton, with the
emphatic announcement that the next Sunday should be differently spent.

In anticipation of the change of government, there was a large influx of
people from the States, induced by the great expectations entertained of
the future of Pensacola; a future in which it was confidently predicted,
it was to be the rival of New Orleans. Many persons also came expecting
official appointments from the new Governor, but who, greatly to his
chagrin, as we learn from Mrs. Jackson’s letters, were disappointed, in
consequence of the President himself making the appointments.

At length the sun arose upon the day when its beams were for the last
time to bathe in light the ancient banner of Castile and Aragon, as the
emblem of the sovereignty of these shores. In the early morning appeared
in the Public Square the Spanish Governor’s guards, handsomely dressed
and equipped, consisting of a full company of dismounted dragoons of the
regiment of Tarragona. After a parade, they fell into line south of the
flag staff, extending from east to west in front of the Government
House, which stood on the north-east corner of Jefferson and Sargossa
streets. At eight o’clock there marched down Palafox street a battalion
of the Fourth Infantry, and a company of the Fourth United States
Artillery, coming from their camp at Galvez Springs, which filing into
the Square, formed a line opposite the Spanish guards, and north of the
flag staff. Precisely at ten o’clock, General Jackson and his staff,
entering the Square, passed amid salutes from the Spanish and American
troops, between their lines to the Government House, where Governor
Callava awaited him for the purpose of executing the documentary
formalities of the cession. As the first sign that this act was
performed, the Spanish sergeant guard at the gate was relieved by an
American sentinel. General Jackson and Governor Callava then left the
house, and passed between the double line of troops. As they reached the
flag staff the Spanish flag came down, and the stars and stripes went
up, saluted by the Fourth Artillery and the sloop-of-war _Hornet_,
whilst her band, assisting at the ceremony, played the Star Spangled

At Barrancas the ceremony was slightly different. The flags of both
nations appeared at the same time at half-mast. In that position they
were saluted by the Spaniards. As the flags were separated, one
ascending and the other descending, both were honored with a salute by
the Americans.

The day was naturally one of rejoicing to the Americans, but as
naturally one of sadness and in some instances of heart aches to the
Spanish population. The advantages of being under the United States
government were too great not to be appreciated by owners of real estate
and business men generally. But there was a sentimental side to the
change. Some of the Spanish garrison had married in Pensacola, and with
others the inhabitants had formed social ties, induced by a common
language, habits and tastes. To them it can well be imagined that the
change of flags was but the presage of bitter separations. In 1763 all
the Spanish left the country, and in a common exile mutual consolation
was found; but, in 1821, the sorrow was that a part went and a part
remained to mingle with a strange people. Mrs. Jackson, in a letter,
thus expresses the emotions of the occasion: “Oh! how they burst into
tears to see the last ray of hope depart from their devoted city and
country—delivering up the keys of the archives—the vessels lying in the
harbor in full view to waft them to their distant port.... How did the
city sit solitary and mourn. Never did my heart feel more for a people.
Being present, I entered immediately into their feelings.”

The Sunday following the change was, according to Mrs. Jackson’s
prediction, one of quietude and freedom from the license of previous
ones, which had so shocked her religious sensibilities. She thus
expresses the change: “Yesterday I had the happiness of witnessing the
truth of what I had said. Great order was observed, the doors kept shut,
the gambling houses demolished, fiddling and dancing not heard any more
on the Lord’s day, cursing not to be heard.” For the change the lovers
of Sunday quietude were doubtless indebted to Mrs. Jackson, for her
prediction is not to be taken as that of a prophetess who merely
foresees and foretells, but that of a woman with a will of her own, and
conscious of her ability to direct the stern governor in the exercise of
his authority, at least outside of politics.

The next morning after the change of flags, the Spanish officers and
garrison sailed for Havana in the transports _Anne Maria_ and _Tom
Shields_, under convoy of the United States sloop-of-war _Hornet_.

Governor Callava and staff, however, remained in Pensacola, where his
handsome person, polished manners, soldierly bearing and high character
made him a general favorite with the American officers and their
families, who extended to him every social courtesy. General and Mrs.
Jackson, however, were distant and reserved in their bearing towards
him, resulting in some measure from a prejudice against Spanish
officials induced by the general’s experience with Maurique and Masot.
Perhaps, too, there mingled with that prejudice a slight feeling of
jealousy of Callava’s social success, a weakness from which strong
characters, under the insinuation of others, are not exempt.

There soon occurred, however, a painful interruption of the gallant
Spaniard’s social enjoyment—so graceful an attendant of the change of
government—by an occurrence which must be regarded as a lasting reproach
to its authors.

The treaty required the Spanish government to surrender all documents
relating to private rights in the archives of the province. This duty
had been performed by Callava, who had caused a separation to be made
between the documents falling within the definition of the treaty and
others which did not, and had delivered the former to Alcalde H. M.
Brackenridge, an appointee of the American governor. The latter papers,
packed in boxes for transportation to Havana, were placed in the custody
of Domingo Sousa, one of Callava’s subordinates. In the separation of
the papers, one relating to the estate of Nicholas Maria Vidal,
involving a trifling sum, was by accident placed with the documents in
one of the boxes in Sousa’s possession.

A woman claiming to be an heir of Vidal complained to Brackenridge that
the paper had not been delivered to him and was about to be removed to
Havana by Sousa. Brackenridge, instead of politely calling Callava’s
attention to the woman’s complaint and asking for a surrender of the
document, at once made a preemptory demand for it upon Sousa. Sousa
properly declined compliance, alleging his want of authority to do so
without instructions from Callava, and at the same time, to relieve
himself from responsibility in the matter, sent the boxes to Callava’s
house. Brackenridge at once reported the matter to Jackson, who ordered
Sousa to be imprisoned, and at the same time Callava to be arrested and
brought before him immediately, although it was night and Callava was at
the time at a dinner party at Colonel Brooke’s. When the knightly
Castilian was brought before Jackson, he naturally proposed to enter a
protest against such astonishing proceedings. This Jackson would not
permit, but insisted that Callava should at once answer interrogatories
to be propounded to him. Callava’s persistent attempts to protest were
as persistently interrupted by Jackson, until at last the latter, in a
rage of passion, ordered him to be imprisoned, an order which was
promptly executed by committing him to the calaboose, where Sousa had
preceded him. This outrage committed, Alcalde Brackenridge, as if
determined to leave no bounds of decency unviolated, had the boxes at
Callava’s house opened that night and took from one of them the
worthless paper—worthless at least to the claimant—that had occasioned
the trouble.

For this disgraceful transaction Brackenridge is primarily responsible.
He was an intelligent lawyer, afterwards a judge, and later a member of
Congress from Pennsylvania; and therefore, presumably acquainted with
the decencies, to say nothing of the amenities of official intercourse.
He was likewise well acquainted with Jackson’s prejudices and irascible
temper, as well as what a fire-brand to his nature were the wrongs,
whether real or simulated, of a woman. In the light of these
considerations, Brackenridge must stand condemned, as either a wilful
mischief-maker, or a wily sycophant, playing from selfish motives, upon
the weaknesses of a great man.

But neither Jackson’s greatness, nor his being the dupe of Brackenridge,
can remove from him the reproach of having in this transaction violated
official courtesy, the chivalrous consideration due by one distinguished
soldier to another, as well as the laws of international comity and

A writ of Habeas Corpus was issued by Hon. Elijias Fromentin, U. S.
Judge for West Florida, to bring before him Callava and Sousa, on the
night they were committed. Obedience to the writ was refused by the
guard, who sent it to the Governor. Thereupon, His Excellency issued a
notice to the Judge to appear before him, “to show cause why he has
attempted to interfere with my authority as Governor of the Floridas,
exercising the powers of the Captain-General and Intendant of the Island
of Cuba.” The Judge prudently delayed his appearance until the next day,
in order to allow the Governor time to cool; but in the meantime
remained in momentary expectation of a guard to take him to jail. The
affair, however, ended in a stormy interview, in which to the Governor’s
question, whether the Judge “would dare to issue a writ to be served on
the Captain-General,” the latter replied, “No, but if the case should
require it, I would issue one to be served on the President of the
United States.”

After the troublesome paper was procured by Brackenridge, an order was
made for the release of Callava. A few days after his release he left
Pensacola for Washington to make his complaints to the United States

Some of the Spanish officers whom he had left in Pensacola, published
after his departure, a paper expressing their sense of the outrage to
which he had been subjected. This being regarded by Jackson as an
attempt “to disturb the harmony, peace and good order of the existing
government of the Floridas,” the protesting Spaniards were by
proclamation ordered to leave the country by the third of October,
allowing them four days for preparation, “on pain of being dealt with
according to law, for contempt and disobedience of this, my

A tragedy occurred during Jackson’s rule, which illustrates his lack of
tenderness of human life. With full knowledge of the affair, he
permitted a duel to be fought in a public place by two young officers,
Hull and Randall. When he was informed that the former had fallen, shot
through the heart, pistol in hand, with the trigger at half-cock, he
angrily exclaimed: “Damn the pistol; by G—d, to think that a brave man
should risk his life on a hair-trigger!”

Jackson’s bearing generally, and especially his summary dealings with
Callava and Sousa, had inspired the population with great fear of his
despotic temper. Of that feeling there occurred a ludicrous
illustration. An alarm of fire brought a crowd to the Public Square,
which was near the fire. General Jackson also hurried to the scene. To
stir the lookers-on to exertion, he made a yelling appeal. The crowd not
understanding English, and thinking it had heard a notice to disperse,
took to its heels, and left the General the sole occupant of the Square.

Mrs. Jackson was a domestic woman, and better satisfied to have her
husband at home, than to see him in exalted stations requiring his
absence from the Hermitage. Whilst in Pensacola, she pined for that dear
spot; and it is, evidently, with joy, that she announced in a letter to
a friend, that the General calls his coming to Florida, “a wild goose
chase,” and that he proposed an early return. In October they returned
to Tennessee.

That a man of his estate and political prospects, should have accepted,
to fill for a few months, the office of Governor of a wilderness, with a
salary of $5,000, admits of only one explanation. His recent campaign
had been so severely condemned, that he regarded the tender of the
appointment by Mr. Monroe, as having the semblance, at least, of a
national apology for the injustice which he had suffered, and
accordingly he accepted it in the spirit in which it was tendered. In a
word, he filled the office, because filling it would be a vindication of
his conduct in the campaign of 1818.

On the third of March, 1822, congress established a territorial
government for both the Floridas as one territory. The first governor
under the territorial organization was W. P. Duval of Kentucky, who had
represented a district of that state in congress, and who was the
original of Washington Irving’s Ralph Ringwood. He resided, temporarily,
in Pensacola, where the legislative council of thirteen, appointed by
the President, held its first session. It had hardly begun its work,
however, when the yellow fever breaking out compelled an adjournment to
the Fifteen-mile house, before mentioned, where the Florida statutes of
1822 were enacted. One of them illustrates the vice or virtue there may
be in a name. The title of “An Act for the Benefit of Insolvent
Debtors,” was misprinted in the laws of the session so as to read: “An
Act for the Relief of Insolent Debtors.” The error destroyed its
utility, and no man, it is said, as long as it remained on the statute
book, ever invoked the relief of its provisions.

The limit assigned to these historical sketches has now been reached.
The space that intervenes between the visit of the luckless Narvaez to
Pensacola bay and the establishment of the territorial government of
Florida embraces a period of nearly three hundred years. The changes and
shifting scenes which, during that period, marked the history of the
settlements on its shores, stand in contrast with the persistency of the
arbitrary boundary line of the Perdido, established by the mutual
consent of the Spanish and French in the early years of the eighteenth
century. Disturbed by the English dominion for twenty years, it was
restored by the Spanish, and finally confirmed in 1822 by the act of
congress establishing a territorial government for the Floridas.

In 1820 the constitutional convention of Alabama, in anticipation of the
ratification of the Spanish treaty, memorialized congress to embrace
West Florida within the boundaries of that state. The memorial enforced
the measure with all those obvious arguments which come to the mind when
it turns to the subject. But they were silenced, as if by the imperious
decree of fate that the Perdido boundary should be, and forever remain,
a monument of d’ Arriola’s diligence in reaching the Gulf coast three
years before d’ Iberville.

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