Title: Observations upon the Floridas
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OBSERVATIONS



UPON



THE FLORIDAS. o
*










OBSERVATIONS


UPON

















BY
CHARLES VIGNOLES,
CIYIL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEER.








NEW- ORK:

PUBLISHED BY B BLISS k E. WHITE, 128 BBOADWAY.


1822.






















Souerer t mrict of etw-Yotrk, m.
BE IT RF.MESBERED, that on the firtday of Mrch, in the forty-eventh
yer of the nhr ependeaee ofthe United States of Ameria, CuAnLba VioroLs,
of the aid Distriot, hath deported in this offie the title of a book, the right hereof
he elsima m preiewr, in the words hMowinr, wit:r
Observaton pon the Florida. By Chadle Vinoles, Ciil and Topographical
Engineer."
l oonfealiw tn th act of the Congreu of the United States, entitled, An act
for the eneoragemeat of learning, by hearing the coplel of mape, iebrts and books
to the authors and proprietors of meh couples, during the times therein mentioned ;"
and alwto an act, entitled." An aet supplemenlary lo an act, entitled, an act for the
eneourgem ent of leo ing, by eeurinag the eope of maps, sehrts, and books, to the
author. and propdrino n eof h copies, durmI the time therein mentioned, and es-
teudink the be t r o the atot si ofldesging, engraving, and etching hitorial
and other pwiuts.
JAMBS DILL,
Clerk of the Souhern Distric of New-York.


a. L Bh, Printer, S9 Fnlton-street, Brooklyn.














CONTENTS.
PAGE
Introductory Observations, 7
Historical Observations, 17
Topographical Observations, 35
Observations upon the Soil and its natural
growth, 86
Observations upon the appropriate articles
of culture, 95
Observations upon the temperature and climate, 109
Observations upon the Florida Keys and
Wreckers, 117
Observations upon the Indians, 129
Observations upon the Land Titles, .- 138
Appendix, 155













INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.


THn newly acquired territory of Florida has ad-
vanced the soil of the Union to the very verge of the
tropics, and by placing the ports from the mouths of
the Mississippi round to Amelia island, under the
American flag, has hermetically closed all approaches
to our interior. The various political advantages
arising from the cession have been often set forth, and
are too well appreciated to require enumeration in a
pamphlet of topographical details. The country has
singularities and advantages in various points of view,
which, at a remoter period, may be estimated with
impartiality, and found to be of importance.
The following observations upon the Floridas have
been collected, during a residence in the country; in






INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.


which period several extensive journeys were made,
with a view of obtaining materials for the construction
ol a new map, and for the purpose now brought forward.
Some reports sent to the Indian department, at the
seat ofgovernment, copies of which appeared in one of
the Boston papers, contain a few of the results of the
author's personal observations, and make the basis of
these notes, though now modified, and in several parts
changed, from the acquisition of better information.
Those who may peruse these pages must not expect
the glowing narrative of an agreeable excursion,
through regions comparable to a paradise. The sub-
sequent relation has only truth to recommend it, and
from the very nature of the work, must appear dry and
tedious to all not immediately interested in the re-
sources of the territory. It will be observed that a
fuller account is given of the Atlantic border than of
the Mexican shore; its evident pre-importance, on
some accounts, led naturally to the earliest examina-
tion, and the many excellencies it possesses encoura-
ged investigation, which the nature of the coast, and
its nearer vicinity to recourses, rendered more practi
cable; added to which the author's domicile at St
Augustine, and the total ignorance of a country so
comparatively near the capital, induced him to ex
plore and remark personally; and in consequence it
may be noted, that on the map almost the whole sen






INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONz.


coast from St. Mary's river to cape Florida, is from
his own actual survey; the names of places are set down
as best known to the very few residents in the vicini-
ty, and the traveller or shipwrecked mariner may rely
upon the general accuracy of the detail. The fabu-
lous reports of the inland bays, lakes and waters,
which have heretofore existed, respecting the south-
ern part of the Florida peninsula, will be readily ac-
counted for, on a view of the map, and a glance at
tflllescription of what is there actually to be found.
It is:lamented that no account sufficiently satisfac-
tory could be procured upon West Florida; the com-
plete separation of the two divisions of the territory
from all communication with each other, and the total
impracticability of the author's extending his enquiries
to that portion of the country, have been the occasion
of this defect. Enough, however, is to be gleaned
from former accounts to infer, that the soil and climate
is not materially different from the adjacent lands in
the Mississippi and Alabama territories. The able
editor of the paper published at Pensacola, laments
himself the dearth of topographical and statistical in-
formation, and has made his appeal to the few scat-
tered inhabitants to supply the defect; but it has
not been ascertained whether if wiith any and what
success, the appeal has been answered. Called by
hi&:professional duties, it was not in the author's pow-
C)






10 INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.

er to make an actual inspection of all the points he
attempts to describe ; but he is under the conviction
that his authorities are respectable, and he has not
relied, except upon concurrent testimony, from more
than one creditable source.
In sketching the civil history of the province for the
few years preceding the cession to the United States,
the author is almost wholly indebted to the valua.
ble manuscripts of George I. F. Clarke, Esq. surveyor
general of East Florida, and lieutenant-governor
of the northern district of that province, while under
the dominion of Spain. This gentleman, whose in-
formation on this and every other subject connected
with the country, is very extensive, furnished with a
peculiar urbanity every assistance; and likewise some
of the remarks on the Indians. The friendly assistance
and judicious hints afforded by N. A. Ware, Esq. one
of the commissioners of land claims, call for especial
acknowledgments; indeed the present map and pam-
phlet were first put into a train of publication at his
suggestion, and by his striking out the general ideas
upon it. In -the Pbservations on the keys and reefs
of the Florida ppint, the information of the resident
pilots at the, cape, have been .chiefly relied on, as
they were corroborated lay the accounts of several
masters of vessels, particularly Captain Snyder of
New-York, who have navigated among them, and do
not differ from the directions of Romans, De Brahm






INTRODL'CTORY OBSERVATIONS.


and their co-temporaries, who have been fully consult-
ed and abstracted, as far as they were considered
useful.
It bad always been a particular wish of the author
to have given a list of all the grants upon record, but
not having been able to obtain permission to search
the archives, after the departure to Pensacola of the
honourable Edmund Law, who had previous to that
period the charge of them, he must confine himself to
general accounts. He has located upon the map as
anoy of the large grants as have come within his
knowledge, but as-he has no. official information on
the subject.of any of them, they must be understood
as having beep &Iid down, solely with- a view of grati-
fying the general existing desire of knowing, where
"theJl*r concessions lay, .md their relative position
4. each other,
In' constructing the map of Florida, the author has
availed himself of all the existing charts and maps,
both domestic and foreign of all nations, as well as of
various manuscript draughts. Among those consulted,
were Romuanta chart of Florida, the British nautical
survey of West Florida, from the mouths of the Mis-
sissippi-to the embouchure of the Suwanee, the roy-
ml'Spanish chart of the gulf of*Mexico, from the ma-
rine depot at Madrid, and various other Spanish maps,
Ellicott's map attached to his journal, while running







INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.


the Florida line, Gault's survey of the Florida keys,
and a variety of other charts of the coast. Among
the manuscripts made use of were ; Sketches of the ri,
ver Saint John, partly from the author's own drawing,
and the rest furnished by Peter Mitchels Esq. correct-
ed by a sight ofCapt. Le Conte's accurate survey ofthe
whole of that interesting river from its mouth up to the
the very head lake, and a very correct British manu-
script chart SfSt. John's river, from the bar to the Cow-
ford; the author's own survey of the coast from St. Au-
gustine to cape Florida, extending to the heads of all
the waters on the Atlantic border; but his best assist-
ance more particularly for the interior of West Florida,
was from the manuscript map drawn by the late Jos.
Purcell, Esq. formerly of S. Carolina, which is now in
the topographical bureau at Washington, to which, with
a liberality and attention never to be forgotten, the au-
thor was allowed access for the purposes of his map;
this document contained the results of all that was
known to the British government up to the time of the
re-cession of the Floridas by Great Britain to Spain.
The boundary line as lately run by Georgia, was fur-
nished me by the politeness of the Surveyor General
of that state ; Saint Mary's River, from the manuscript
survey of Zephaniah Kingsley, Esq. an enlightened
and valuable citizen of Florida; Nassau river and
Dunn's lake, from surveys made under the direction






INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.


of Mr. Turnbull, a great proprietor in the Territory.
* The author's journeys in the.interior, assisted by the
valuable notes and information of Peter Mitchell, Esq.
enabled him to f11 up the. detail from the old path to
fort St. Marks, to the head waters of Tampa bay and
across, along that parallel to the Atlantic.. The re-
mainder is filled in by the information derived from
Lewis, Hegan and Pent, respectable pilots at cape
Florida, who mentioned the names of various persons,
stiR itng in the Bahamas, who had travelled there-
*4radfiad by the unanimb6s testimony of every indian
and indian negro consulted on the subject Mr. Lew-
is, his father and family, lived for many years on va-
rious parts of the western coast, from the mouth of the
Buwanee, down to Cape Romano, and he afforded me
much loae informatin.
After all, I am aware.the map is not perfect, but it
concentrates all'that is at present known of the terri-
tory; and if, where information was wholly unattain-
able, no directions can be given to the traveller or
new settler, yet he may be assured that where the
detail is laid down, that it is accurate and will not
mislead him. Sensible of all possible respect for the
opinions of an enlightened public, the work is offered
to them, with all its imperfections on its head; but
conscious that some account was desirable of Florida,
the author has in the following pages, and upon the





INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.


map, used his humble endeavors to collect facts and
describe realities. Should his attempt to afford a bet-
ter knowledge of this new country fail, he hopes the
candor of his judges will attribute it to any thing but
want of exertions, and pardon a futile essay, which
was at least founded on good intentions.



Since the manuscript of this work was completed,
the accounts from East Florida, respecting the sugar,
cane, have been uncommonly favorable: several
large establishments are about to be erected, and
considerable investments are making for the ex-
press purpose of raising the cane. It is a matter of
infinite satisfaction, that the certainly of sugar beco-
ming the staple of Florida is already established : let
us hope that the success in this article, will induce
other not less certain sources of wealth to be explo-
red. The olive, the grape, the silk-worm, and many
more which are detailed under their proper head,
are equally worthy the attention of the agriculturist.
On the subject of the territorial government we
have reason to believe, that by the exertions of the de-
legate from Florida, Joseph M. Hernandez, Esq. tlie
east and west divisions will be placed under separate
administrations and a separate board of commission-






INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS. 15
ers, appointed for each province; by which means
all existing difficulties will be smoothed and the hold-
ers of titles enabled without difficulty or expense to
establish their claims, and settlers will pour in from all
parts of the union to enjoy the advantages so liberal-
ly bestowed by nature upon Florida.





"if
*, '., -.



















The map of Florida which is published at the same
time with this book, by the author, will for the accom-
modation of the public, be sold, either bound up with
it, or separately in sheets, done up in cases or mount-
ed and varnished, with roller, colored or uncolored
as required.















HISTORICAL OBSERVATIONS.


S.-.. ,,

PLOlIDA was discovered in the year 1497, by Cabot; but it does
iot appear that the country was either named or explored until
ifteen years afterwards, when Don Juan Ponce de Leon landed,
ia April, 161k, fading the earth covered with a luxuriant
vetation, i ~ styled the new region Florida, or Florida
iitUI, wj fEIt d a few years afterwards by Narvaez, and
mipy other adventurers ; and in 1638, Ferdinand de Soto, so cele-
brate in antient books of travels, disembarked an army in Spirito
Santo Bay, and marched through the interior, fighting the Indians
and destroying his troops, without gaining a single point ; and after
traversing round to the Missisippi, died at the end of three or four
yJaw, sear the mouth of the Red river. His narrative throws but
lii:light on the real state of the country, and at present is looked
upan.ag~mere historical romance ; for though he doubtless actually
pa.ed through the places he describes, yet with a view to palliate
hie la~isbwast of life to the Spanish government, he has interwo-
TD tab, q accounts of gold, pearls and treasures, which never
exuted. The frst colony in Florida was planted in 1562, by
ibq~i a Frenchman, near the mouth of the river Saint John;






OBSERVATIONS UPON


but the unfortunate Protestants, who had fled from persecution in
Europe, found the vindictive spirit of bigotry follow, and in 1564,
Menendez exterminated them with a demoniac malignity, unequal-
led by the horrors of the fatal festival of Saint Bartholomew in their
own country. Dominique de Gorgues, in 1568, took ample re-
venge, and hung the murderers on the same branches from which
depended the bleached skeletons of his compatriots.
Saint Augustine appears to have been built about 1565, and is
undoubtedly the oldest town on the continent of North America,
except the Mexican settlements. At the time this town was eva-
cuated in 1763, by the Spaniards, one at least of the original houses
remained, with the date of 1571 upon the front, and all were with-
out chimnies or glass windows. Sir Francis Drake, in 1586, pilla-
ged the town; a ceremony repeated by the Indians in 1611 : and
in 1666 Captain Davis, in the piratical spirit of the times, once
more desolated the place, which, from these checks, and other
causes, does not appear to have much advanced in size or popula-
tion. Governor Moore of South Carolina, made a fruitless attack
upon the fort at Saint Augustine in 1702; and in 1725, Colonel
Palmer of Georgia, was equally unsuccessful. General Ogelthorpe,
with a large force from Savannah, was completely repulsed in 1740,
and retreated in disorder. At length the peace of 1763 gave the
Floridas to Great Britain, and for the subsequent twenty years
Saint Augustine appears greatly to have improved. The author
has conversed with many persons who were tLere in June 1784,
when it again reverted to Spain, and has beard them speak highly
of the beauty of the gardens, the neatness of the houses, and the
air of cheerfulness and comfort that seemed, during that preceding
period, to have been thrown over the town. Neglect and conse-
quent decay, attended this interesting town during its occupancy by
the Spaniards; where time or equinoctial storms damaged any
buildings, public or private, the hand of repair never came, and at








THE FLORIDAS.


the period of the cession, this once elegant place appeared ruinous,
.dirty, and unprepossessing.
Pensacola appears to have been founded some time previous to
1696; it was in that year taken from the French by Riola, and in
1G99, Monsieur D'lberville failed in his attempt to retake it. In
1719, it was three times taken and retaken, and at length retained
by France ; but in 1722 was restored to Spain. The prosperity of
Pensacola and decay seems to have been somewhat similar to its sis-
ter city. The history ofFloridais not the subject of this publication,
and the preceding paragraphs have merely been drawn out to re-
fresh the memory of the reader, who will tind in various modern
publications more minute information but assome interest has
been excited to learn the real state of affairs as connected with East
Florida, for a few year- pre% ious, and at the time of the cession, the
author is happy in being able to gratify the public wish. Sometime in
the summer of 1811, general Mathews appears, in consequence of
an act of congress passed in the preceding session, to have been au-
thorised by the executive to proceed to the frontiers ofGeorgia, to
accept possession of East Florida from the local authorities, or to
take it against the attempt ofa foreign power to occupy it, holding
it in either case subject to future and friendly negotiation. This
act appears to have been passed in consequence of the revolution
which ha just broken out in the northern district of East Florida,
This official appearance of American interference, alarmed the go-
vernment of St. Augustine, who appear to have appealed to the Bri.
tish minister at Washington, who accordingly expostulated with Mr.
Monroe, then secretary of state. General Iathews appears in his
zeal to carry the orders ofthe executive into effect, to have exceed-
ed his powers, indeed it has been confidently asserted that the in-
surrection was fostered by his appearance. His taking possession of
Amelii Island and other parts of East Florida, was officially blamed,
and his commission revoked in April, 1812, and the governor of


. 19







OBSERVATIONS" UPON


Georgia was commissioned in his place, in consequence, as the offi-
cial letter states, of general Mathews having employed the troops
of the United States, to dispossess the Spanish authorities by force :
ordering a restoration of Amelia Island and other parts to the Spa-
nish authorities-stipulating for the protection of such inhabitants
as had joined the Americans from the anger of the Spanish govern-
ment. A later letter states, that if the troops are to be withdrawn
that governor Mitchell is not to interfere, to compel the patriots to
deliver the country to the Spanish authorities.
The following letters will carry a true idea bf the general history
of that part of the country.
[corPY.]
ST. AUGUSTIBE, 25th July, 1821.
Capt. John R. Bell, Commanding the province of Fast Florida.
Sian,
The following is intended to comply with your desire of infor.
nation on the northern division of this province ; and in order to
your comprehending the true state of that section, and the charac.
ter of its inhabitants, to whom, as the officer that presided over
them for the last five years, I feel grateful for their confidence,-
their devotion, and their support, permit me to recapitulate a part
of its history; and first to premise: that it is bounded on the
north by Camden county, Georgia, the southernmost part of the
Atlantic states; the river St. Mary, the line of demarcation, and
a very narrow one, has long been the "jumping place" of a large
portion of the bad characters who gradually sift through the whole
southwardly : wqrm climates are congenial to bad habits. Second,
that, unfortunately for Florida, the laws of both governments had the
effect of making each country the asylum of the bad men of the other ;
consequently, Florida must have received, we will suppose, twenty
of those for oneit returned to Georgia. This must be the result, on
taking only a numerical view of the population of the two countries.






THE FLORIDAS. 21

.Ol thirdly, that by the orders of the Spanish court, prohibiting
"l 6hm of the United States from being received as settlers in Flori-
i hefJlltf y part from wbhnce it was ever to expect a population
Sgdemie y lyrge, to make it respectable, the good were prevented
i~~igI:na, while the bad must come. The result of an obser-
inaedertent, made in congress long since, Florida
be our, i only from emigration, and loudly comment-
-by the Spnish minister.
.;~i rTveld tiOn, commenced in March, 1812, had spread general
Is.- |m-Samd ria over the whole province; the dust of a siege
1 4tl iL*uil* months a muffed within the walls of St. Atgustine.
i.: .j f I S. thq aMsilaatia ere withdrawn, and the town
-" ffiOS !~S~ 1itt*l to tW Spanish authorities.
SI mKl.isgh igoverumeat had published a general pardon to its
s a1 t, but, unfortunately, had limited it to three months, a time
ft&*.tfrthe abullltions of individual feelings to subside. Many,
i r.e6 ntii energetic' Wd infuential character, would
bellling .^ .jl-lithe opposite party. The time expired,
Si left ot. And in August, of. the same
i blUI[ 1-eqinmmenced; more ianguinary scenes ensued ;
i i the fli trgent aided by badds of idlers from Georgia, took and
Siitrpkohiono all the territory-lying to the west and north of St.
JIM.'s aWer. Fernandina having become too weak for bffence, and
:SIrmgaitiie not being willing tolet out all its troops, to hunt bush
eim tdhe iewlydtyled Republic of Florida, over which the ia-
.tjiiuiF ler had not been felt since March, 1812, and having
: i~alJlidhe inducement to union among its members, soon
i ,i. Wlhi t wretched state of anarchy and licentiousness ; even
i II!Qwiere compelled to knavery an their own defence, and
l1h ffiWadeuntil August, 1816-while the most rancorous feel-
"1were bandied between the Pat-Riots" of the main, and the
nMi~i~ a Spaniards" of Amelia island.








22 OBSERVATIONS UPON

At that period preparations were making on the Mise for a de.
A.
scent on Fernandina, then too weak to stand even on the defensive,
and no succors were to be expected from our friends, nor was there
any thing like good quarters to be looked for from our enemies.
Governor Coppinger had lately received the command of the pro-
vince. I knew his energetic and benevolent character ; that his
discretionary powers were very great, but his want of means, deplo-
rable; and I personally knew the people of the main, and had had
in other days, influence among them. I proposed a plan of recon-
ciliation and re-establishment of order. It was patronized by the
governor, and I received orders to proceed according to circum-
stances. Messrs. Zephaniah Kingsley and Henry Yonge went with
me up St. Mary's river to Mills' ferry, and met about forty of them,
and after much debate an agreement for a general meeting at Wa-
termap's Bluff in three weeks, was concluded on.
Thp day of meeting arrived, and none others but the gentlemen I
have mentioned would leave Fernandina. We knew that nothing
short of in election of officers would subdue those people, even
should they be willing to submit to'order at all; and that was a
course opposite to the principles of the Spanish government. How-
ever, extraordinary cases require extraordinary remedies; and
circumstances authorising a long stride, I provided several copies
of a set of laws adapted to their circumstances, blank commissions,
instructions, &c. A gathering of several hundred, besides a crowd
ofspectators from Georgia, met us at the place appointed, a mere
mob without head or leader. I tendered them a distribution into
three districts of all the territory lying between St. John's river and
St. Mary's, with a magistrate's court and a company of militia in
each ; and those to be called Nassau, Upper and Lower St. Mary's;
an election officers from the mass of the people of each, without
allowing the candidates to offer themselves; that the officers to be
elected should be immediately commissioned to enter on the func.





trit FLORIDAS. 23

I. ~i their offices i hd that all the past should be buried in total
: ^I .. 'Stee were received by d general expression of satis-
l. 6s.4 a.t ihl -wea brought t ot on the green, and in a few hours
Strrit t'y containing about one half of the population of East Flo-
ilet WWft ht to order; three magistrates and nine officers of
I ttI4b etdmmissioned, instructed and provided with laws.
v 3ii i BilSfltration.df atisftaija,ensued ; they took up their offi-
e t olders,.halled~the shouts of hundreds. A plen-
~~I lh interesting scenes of friendship and mirth closed

.i..l oSe4a r.YtS of the proceedings, and tendered me a
Sgon. the Wh6le, which I admitted, on his
i iabd : that had a commandant who
'"* *ItCl;.trIse to atted to the complaints of Fernandina,
S:tl rw iaoce allowed them the election of officers in filling

I i, the emar e &la c and reiignltion of those people, that
TI: sho4l~t have gone before the supe-
;: I Fgi MtIeae Itra'referred to me fob an opi-
:a itwpuiwons bave ever been voluntarily co elusive, to
a w Mli -it. Andsuch their devotion to the government, that at the
".* 4 ui1 l6i"a, my part or tde whole force of the three districts
iM M lMt ae at the place appointed, mounted, armed and victualled,

|i9 I a tspeak voltudt' in favor of those inhabitants :-First,
I .W i-jre'atheie has not been, one appeal and but one com-
l l tha ;siuperior authorities, in St. Augustine, although the
i9ti tl oth has all the while been open. Second, that Geor-
Jti9 i il ug Floridians in that part of Florida to suing them
.j ... . third, that the credit of Floridians stands higher in
ll tal t pder it did before, from whence they get all their sup-
pBiik SBich i th'e deplorable state of human nature, that a rob








OBSERVATIONS UPON


bery or a murder will occur in the best regulated societies ; within
a fortification ; but I can venture to assert,ethat in no part of the
civilized world do fewer irregularities occur among so many inha-
bitants, than in the northern division of this province.
i would caution, that when the people of Florida are spoken of
with censure, some regard would be paid to the person speaking,
as to who he is, or from whence he gzts his information ; to the pe-
riod to which reference is had, anidthe part of Florida alluded to.
I am aware that the time has been when these were censurable, for
they were above four years in a state of anarchy ; the broadside of
their country open to the idle and vicious of Georgia ; and even af-
ter they were called to order, in 1816, some time was required for
purification, by compelling many to decamp, and others to mend
their manners. And on the other side of St. John's river, under an-
other local jurisdiction, many who were hunted out from the north-
ern division found toleration.
We knew that a practice called Lynch's law had done more good
in Georgia in a few months, before Florida was found to be an asy-
lum for the -vicious, than the civil authority could have done in as
many years in that part of the country ; and we were aware that
some such energetic measure was indispensable to accelerate our
purification. Fines, floggings and banishment, therefore, became
the penalties for all wilful injury committed on the property of an-
other, not as a law of Spain, but as a special compact bf the people.
A man who stole his neighbor's cow, was tried by a congress of from
twenty to thirty persons of his district, summoned for the purpose..
and on being clearly convicted, he was sentenced to receive, tied to
a pine tree, from ten to thirty-nine lashes ; and that was executed
on the spot, by each giving him two lashes, to the amount of his sen-
tence ; and the second offence of the same class was punished by
flogging ,and banishment from those districts. A few such examples
firmly managed, and executed under the rifes selected from a c6m-








THE FLORIDA4.


pany, drawn up for the purpose, (and but few were required) aid' us
more good than a board of lawyers, and a whole wheel-barrow
of law books could have done.
A mere remonstrance was sufficient to reduce to a smatfl amount,
on our side of St. Mary's river, the very grievous evil of parties of
Floridians and Georgians combined, going frequently to the indian
country of Florida to plunder cattle; a lucrative practice that had
been going on for years, and was carried touch excess, that large
gangs of cattle could be purchased along that river, at the low price of
from two to three dollars per head. Efforts to suppress it altogether,
we found to be in rain, without a suitable coincidence on the Geor-
gia side ; and experience had shown that the civil authority was too
heavy booted to make much impression on those moggasin boys."
I then wrote to general Floyd', who commanded a part of the Geor-
gia militia, and his prompt and efficient aid soon enabled us to put a
finishing stroke to a practice replete with the worst of evils.
When general M'Gregor got possession of Fernandina, he was in
the belief that he had conquered Florida to the walls of St. Augus-
tine, and that there was nothing more to be done, as related to these
people, but display his standard, fill up his ranks, and march to the
possession ; and under that impression he brought several sets of
officers. But neither the offers, threats nor intrigues of himselfand
his successors, Irvin, lHubbard and Aury, and their many friends in
many places, could bring one of them to his flag. Whereas, when
a call was made for volunteers to commence in advance the expe-
dition formed in St. Augustine, for the re-capture of Amelia islad,
every man turned out, a ell equipped, not excepting the superansua-
ted. We got possession ofIll Amelia island to the very town o' Fer-
nandina, and keptit for several d.aiy awaiting the troops from St. Au-
gustine. During that time twenty-seven of these men sought for,
gave battle to, drove from the field, and pursued tO with the range
ofthe guns of Fernandina, above one hundred of M'Gregor's men.
4








OBSERVATIONS UPON


with the loss of seven killed and fourteen wounded, and without ha-
ving lost one drop of blood on our side ; leaving us to bury their
dead. The reverses that afterwards attended that expedition were
wholly to be attributed to the conduct of the commanding officer
who arrived from St. Augustine.
When the constitutional government was ordered in Florida, a few
months since, some small alteration were made in the laws of those
districts. They were but small, for the laws handed them in 1lit;
were principally bottomed on the same constitutional government,
which had been in force in this province in 1813 and 14. But the
administration of St. Augustine having been pleased to form the
whole province, about fifty thousand square miles, into one parish,
making that city the centre, so far defalcated what those people
conceived their constitutional rights, that they petitioned govern-
ment ; and not getting what they expected, they had in meditation
to send a representative to the captain-general of Cuba, and further
should it be necessary, when the near approach of the surrender of
the province to the United States levelled all dissentions.
Those three districts contain about one half of the population of
East Florida, say about filteen hundred souls, and embrace three
fourths of the agricultural interest of the whole province. They
are very thinly settled, and form one of the most inferior sections of
* Florida, as relates to good lands, and indeed many other natural
advantages. The causes that have congregated so large a portion
of the industrious part of the population into one of the least delec-
table sections, are these : Its vicinity to.Georgia, a populous coun-
try, bordering on the river St. Mary, a neir and ready market for
theii produce and their supplies, and the facility of avoiding duties
of experts and imports; the occupancy or neighborhood of Indians
in bettersections ; the want of protections ; the want'of a popula-
tion suflicitnt to protect itself; and revolutionary broils with go-
vernment, forced eponus by foreigners in their over-strained assi-





THE FLORIDAS.


, f iR oar welfare, gagging w with freedom, the moat free, civili-
W p.-erlaepeI in the world, and would fain lately have put
Ids!.laWbroats with negroes' bayonets. [Vide the Jenett, the
S.~~M te Mt cGregor invasions, in 1794, 1812, and 1817.]
: i waMs literally evacuated by the British, when deliver-
'd** -Sbiig kh authorities in 1784. Perhaps no such other ge-
iS'l of1oti IB e inhabitants of country, amicably transferred
lWr, government, ever l rred. Spain allowed it many ex-
^ gpsiilihgwe. sucb d ere not enjoyed by any other part
-Wl "ldh sand' continued augmenting them ever since. In
i| smiled to a general emigration, without excep-
,neIt : Q I adit wa' rapidly progressing' to impor-
*4POpKtbef-kqeJaIhW minister I have mentioned,
lol eaiens cities, sone time about 1804,
,ll Ip- whur i o..m m-the word a to a rg population.
ei daii h df this provinop must be dated from that period, in
Aimesos -ofthe coEvulsions of Europe necessarily
..ss...i 4 as her contiguity to imperial France,
Ioall IW etidst ams resorces to objects of more
l aimitr Wmdec sa was gradted.by the nature of
i low. poredion, and we bha other fair prospects in our
lti NtH inadifthe prohibition of a population from the Uni-
i lt wi thei tronbla of 1812 spread, in one year, universal
Bh. s:sll between the United States and Great Britain, and
": Ml t McGregor, following in close succession, almost every
*i6flhwjd the means of migrating, abandoned a country so much
l 1i no aumeritedly affected.
F;?i;., : Your obedient servant,
S . GEO. I. F. CLARKE.

4: *!
t .






OBSERVATIONS UPON


[COPY.]
Circular to the officers and people of the northern division of Eass
Florida.
ST. MARy's, FLORIDA, 13th August, 1821.
John Low, Esq. Magistrate of the lower district of St. Mary'.'
DEAR SIR,
I take the earliest opportunity afforded me since my return from
St. Augustine, to communicate the following:
The authorities of the United States having received possession
of this province, onthe 10th. of last month, my functions as super-
intending officer of the northern division of East Florida, and those of
surveyor-general of the province, have ceased ; and my claims on
the Spanish government do not permit my receiving, at present, of-
ficial charges under the present government. I have tot however
taken my leave of you all, nor of my former residence : a recipro-
city of grateful feelings, happily experienced for the last five years,
forbid my doing so. I have therefore promised captain Bell, who
now commands this province, who has your welfare warmly at heart,
and with whose amiable disposition you will be well pleased, that
my every aid and assistance, ex-officio, shall be cheerfully employ-
ed for your good.
While in St. Augustine, I laid before captain Bell, a long and
candid statement of these districts ; a character of these people that
I trust will ensure them the consideration of their new government;
copies of which will be transmitted to the executive of the United
States, to general Jackson, and remain in Florida as a record of their
merit.
It was to me a pleasing task ; a tribute due to their devotion to
their country, and to the confidence and support I have all along ex-
perienced from them. Where but in this division of Florida can it .
be said, that no part of half the population of a province have, in five
years, made an appeal, or a complaint, to superior authority resi-








THE FLORIDAS. .9

ding at hand, and the high road for both always open ? Where but
in the same division can it be aaid, that foreigners prefer suing the
people of the country in their own courts, to suing them in theirs,
where they have them frequently in their power ? Where but in
this meritorious division can it be said, that any part of, or the whole
physical force of three districts, have never failed to meet, at the
earliest notice, and that cheerfully, to execute any orders given, ar-
med, mounted and victualled, each at his own expense, and without
pay ?
An active, brave, hardy, and hospitable people. A people, who
having been compromised and thrown into anarchy and confusion, by
foreign bayonets, and remained afterwards above four.years in a
state of licentiousness, all came into order in one day ; and which
government they have steadily supported with their person and pro-
perty ever since, now five.years A people, who not all the offers,
threats, or intrigues of McGregor himself, nor those of his suc-
cessors, Irvin, -Hubbard, and Aury, nor the cr4ft and influence of
many others at Fernandina and elsewhere, could bring over one of
them from their fidelity to the Spanish government. A people,
seven and twenty ofwhom sought for, gave battle to, and drove from
the field above one hundred of McGregor's men, in a body, com-
manded by Irvin, in sight of their own quarters, without losing one
drop of blood !
The representation I have banded in, 's a record in their favour,
is too long for insertion here.; but a copy remains in my hands,
and I trust will be read with general satisfaction. All papers laying
in my possession, and appertaining to individuals of these district,
willbe carefully distributed to their owners, as soon as leisure will
permit me to attend to them.
plptain Bell has authorized, according to the proclamation of ge-
neral Jackson, a continuance of all your offices and formerfunctions,
until laws are formed by higher authority for the government of the








OBSERVATIONS UPON


province. He recommends that the judiciary should be confined to
such cases and matters as do not admit of, or require appeals beyond
the exclusive jurisdiction of these magistrate courts ; that all others
should lay over until farther orders. And he says, that all heinous
invaders of the public peace will find safe keeping in the bands of
the military at Fernandina ifsent there.
Yours sincerely,
(Signed) GEORGE I. F. CLARKE.




The proceedings of the United States in West Florida having
been conducted by general Jackson, and repeatedly laid before the
public, do not need repetition here. it would be an invidious task
to detail the events that have occurred in East Florida since the ex-
change of flags. The variety of perplexing circumstances, the con-
S& fiiem-oflaws,and the embarrassments arising from the great distance
from the place whence orders emanated, which hare successielk'
been the fate of St. Augustine, will, by the wisdom of con-
gress, have entirely been removed, and forgotten before this book
issues from the press. The only circumstance of much interest
arose from the circumstance of the secretary of the province having
a day or two after the cession, found it necessary in the absolute want
of all law regulation, poice, or magistracy, to exercise his au-
thority upon the occurrence of some peculiar circumstances, re-
spectjng the carrying off of slaves, to confine for a very short ti me
one of the citizens in the fort of Saint Augustine :five months af-
terwards,upoha trial before the county court, damages were awar-
ded against captain Bell, when the inhabitants, by an unanimous re-
solution made up.the fine by subscription, and the following letters
were written to and frgm that gentleman, which having never been
made generally known, are now .laid before the public.








THE FLORIDAS. .)

T- [TRANSLTIO.]
i :.v .Jr..,A* Bei, Eoq. Captain of the United States Artillery.
Sr. AacSTI'NE, December 21, 182'2.
... B.9 "-' .40.a.
WsM.*Wel receives from its rulers the protection due to the
el.e.~l elCoperty of the individuals who compose it, when such
.ltf'Mal.kll4. tiaws to be observed, and when their actions are
*lldy.Yi t general pod, so that their fulfilment of their august
i. 4Wui M .with the duties imposed on them by society,
S A.-WtbIpetlvs at the sade time, worthy of the esteem and
1 sWt o;emoiaty over whom they have presided.
"Oi .' .. .s wIithpleasure the short but satisfacto-
'o'i~~lUnllwre united the civil and military com-
'* 4f. tbi pri .wherein we are aware you acted as 'far as
s\aiiiL esbh public welfare, in the administration of jus-
"i M i Ia.. wpe not with an ear of indifference that
I .4llLi... of MIrtof uthi county was heard, amercing
' 1i. ..i l M 4i. and seventeen dollars and four
is ich yotir sense of equity could not al-
; 'tb*l lpdlrt' risse than you did. It is not to be understood
$uwIPit.t re asrardxof thecourt is called arbitrary or unjust ; the
.: l i;pabio wdltuware of the respect due to all tribunals to at-
:.:. *IeptjtB qch.upon their preroatives : but they however know.
Ip . aedr 6l e circumstances in which you gave the order, in conse-
qJsMaM of which this fine has been laid, such a measure was
e' .j~gM y for the tranquillity of this place. In a country recently
S. -' pwlll W ion of by another government different in its laws, Ian-
'.W.s i.L outoms, wherein the new authorities have no definite
)gwliipt of its inhabitants, its necessities, in a word of any thing,
theree must naturally result in the changes from one administration to
t he fh -somea defects, which are consequences of the confusion







OBSERVATIONS UPON


reigning upon the establishment of a new system. What a east del
was there not opened for felons to commit in this state every species
of crime ; and who is there that doubts the propriety of rigorous
measures being adopted against them in the very outset ?
Under these views, the inhabitants and the proprietors of this cit
have been pleased to appoint us the subscribers to express to yoi
theirsentiments ; and we therefore, have the satisfaction of being
their organs, for the purpose of offering thejust tribute of gratitude,
to merit; and they beg that you sir, will condescend4o allow, tha
the damages be paid by them, we being authorised to deliver the
amount immediately.
This is a general wish of a people, who can duly appreciate men
who, like yourself, have gained the esteem of many adherent'
imong whom are ranked,
Sir,
SYour most obedient and affectionate servants.
(Signed] GAB. G. PERPALL,
JOSEPH M: HERNANDEZ
JOSIAH SMITH,
F. t. ARREDONDO,
BERNARDO SEGUI.
GUILLERMO TRAVERS.
'. ST. AUUOSTINE, 22d December, 1821


S. ASWER.]
GENTLEUMEN,
received your letter of this morning. The various emotions a
has excited it is impossible for me to express. The language ol
feeling is brief; and I must reply to it with the bluntness and since
rity of my profession.
I wascalled upon to exercise the undefined and dangerous pow








THE FLORIDAS. 33

JMIItB to te eby the governorbfthe Floridas. I would wil-
Ily b ave evaded thiAovidious trust; but I was commanded, and it
iwry duty stobey. f was not promised, have not expected,nor
u sbieii ty benefit for my services. I found myself called
Jl ~tpWk4ti itulOs and industrious people, from the rapacity
l slsaef 'adventurers from every part of the world who looked
i ell frogs punishment, from the absence, as they suppo-
VI Sla-l Imm d government. I was actuated by a sincere desire
illu tiq rights of the citizens of Florida, committed to my
lj pi amy regard to ittslir being Spanish or American. I
aiall t.m sryto ascertain with legal precision, whether
.1......... B d .ithe limits imposed by the old or
....ui .. .. ... b .dotealltAhe peace of the whole
p 'eit9 Wey mly rle of conduct.. I had no antipathies to
.ll mp eanenimpts to satisfy. was a stranger to all. If I
..li.. A~e I ~I o IOf a. jury of my countrymen should at
.. iught up in array against me when
........ ryIroppealrfor my acquittal
wthe wldd to proounce the
itiii fl it pressio l, who has received so unani-
lelll ti.*LS>L Enl l ppn~rbfion of his-administration, from a peo-
|l|ja*iian-saaeme of injustice, so warm hearted and so
Mie4jeBti:-I cannot therefore decline your ofer.
.The il& apot far distant, when under the favoring influence of
trldm constitution, the virtues of the antient inhabitants and
paij iton of Florida will be duly appreciated, when they will have
.in a1d will assert their right to the exercise of government,
ad. when tb base individuals, who now endeavour to set one por-
ti6s.o a t1 omunity in array against the other, will receive due
eaXpatio.
j.as"J o present my affectionate regard to the gentlemen
whoe sentiltys of approbation you have conveyed, and for roue
r








OBSERVATIONS UYPON THE FLORIDA'.


selves, receive the gratitude for the feeling language in which it hat,
been expressed.
* I remain your affectionate servant.
[Signed] JNO. R. BELL. .
To Messrs. Perpall, Hernande:, Smith, rredondo, Segui and
Travers.
On the par of the inhabitants and proprietors of the city of Sr. .i
gustine,




Now that Florida is about to be governed by the wholesome law
of republic, and that the shackles which have hitherto impede
her improvement are taken off, we may rationally look forward
read in the page of her future annals prosperity, happiness and i
dependence. When the real superiority of our territory is du
appreciated, it will be found pre-eminent in agricultural import
and when an extensive, industrious and respectable population se
their representatives to congress, Florida will be confessedly a
knowledge not wanting in intellectual endowments ; and the pri
sent humble recorder of her resources looks forward to the tina
when her future glory will be transmitted- to after times, by the elt
gant pens of native- historians.








4 lB






T OPOGRAPHICAL OBSERVATIONS.
; :.. ^E- .% ; '. .








;-: .:., .
~,lEri~ilpillyy, which is part of the northern boundary ol'
~ .sfri~ ir rly supposedto have originated in the Oke-fin-o-cau
Iw hI:ii t .hisi. appears to be an error, as there is a high pine
S a.:i tmllli thee source of the stream and the swamp. This cir-
:;1 hsr-.:sW"I- mli =it located to the author several years since
i. Whohad himself ascertained the fact.
N iijthifs river partake very touch of the charac-
:p d'io ofthe idisto and Combahee rivers, in South Carolina.
#b s rn4 few saw mills erected there, and more probably might
S: it with advantage'; lower down the lands may be made capa-
S.leaf thbt cultivation of rice. The bar of Saint Mary's river has
from g Otoa 8 feet water. There are two entrances bold and safe ;
ihbelkthhouse is on the northerwside of the entrance on Cumberland
*jls 4 .,Amelia island at the mouth of St. Mary's river, is well set-
W .,it camiderable quantities of fine live oak have been obtained from
thsliWtid pt' various periods, but it is now almost gone, at least all
jlbtipbuhfit for large vessels ofwar. At the north end of Amelia
:'jqsed is the small town of Fernandina, which sprung up during the
*~lhrge i 1808, and the subsequent war. At present it droops;






OBSERVATIONS UPON


but the excellence of the anchorage opposite the place, will doubt
less in due time make it more resorted to, and the town will agair
flourish.
An inland navigation exists through the narrows between Ame-
lia island and the main land. After passing the straits, Nassau
river discharges itself between Amelia and Talbot islands. This
river is supplied by many branches, and is navigable a considerabk
distance p ; the lands are rich, but subject to inundations. Rice
plantations may certainly be established here, and made profitable
Talbot and Fort George islands are separated from the main by na-
vigable creeks, and are fine cotton islands. These passed, the
mouth of the river St. John presents itself. Passing it by for the
present, we may proceed up Pablo creek, immediately opposite thL
mouth of the branch separating Fort George island from the main
The lands in the vicinity of Pablo are excellent, and in cultivation
The sugar has been successfully tried for two years back by Major
Chairs. Pablo creek heads in Diego plains, as does also the Nortl
river, which leads down to the harbor of Saint Augustine. A short
canal of a few miles in length would complete the inland navigation
from hence to Charleston. There is no inlet between the entrance
to Saint John's river, and Saint Augustine. The latter harbour is
good, but only affording 12 or 13 feet water, is very detrimental to
its increase as a commercial town. Leaving a description of the
town for another place, we shall at present follow the outline of the
*coast.
The navigation from the harbour of St. Augustine to the bar of
Matanzas, along what is termed Matanzas river, though intricate, af
fords water for such vessels as can pa:s the latter entrance. The
St. Sebastian river, which forms the southern and western bounda-
ries ofthe city, is of some width at its junction with Matanzas river;
but owes its size chiefly to the influence of tide water : the head of
navigation, including all the winding of the stream, is scarcely tel







THE FLORIDAS. 37

S. r tiGs its mouth, and merely serves to bring a little fire wood
hdi town : 't heads in two or three prongs, one of which, called
Ril. s Rld use.brancb, is a narrow but deep and rapid creek, afford-
~i es forw msw-miils, to be erected at some future time : Moultrie
ka. l its *owth covered with several islands, and a long reefof
|.V u f eM tmid mud flats extend for some distance, forming a se-
`-# Ihbdls, at which the tides from the respective inlets of St.
p'u ie ed Matanzas meet: Moses's creek fall into the river a
| ilOP en north ofthe latter bar, joining it where the marsh on the
O11W d is wide aAl intersected by a labyrinth of small channels,
IVetty drygt low water. Matanzas river in its whole extent is only
SfIaltda m the Atlantic by Anastatia or Fish's island, which, at
Ihslsslmru irt sremiy, is vbry narrow, being little more than a sand
IgpRl pft a suall island formed by 'the Matanzas' entrance on the
I ithL d a ereek nafigable ibr bqats on the north, and terminating
AllMtiaUisl4nd, stands the old tower of Matanzas: the marshes here
Me rI ,ltbitShe water course very narrow, particularly in pro-
iiqtow eW.wla btt w n cealed.the little bar.; the only access to
41 Il 1 41l seft imsbtlwardly, is through an artificial vent
p ,si| l ,the Spapish soldiers and Havada negroes by permis-
i M df the late'goverqment, a, voluntary subscription having been,
Sin1 by three or four planters to pay them : on the site of this
*tSme short time back a natural creek.. but a violent gale, com-
lting the gradual accumulation of sand at the mouth of the little
Slir,(Oarae hica), filled that entrance at last and stopped the passage
mite watOn toward' the great Bar also : although the canal affords
a i. i ll unication, yet it is insufficient to carry off the great body
Ift *4i er coming down from two large swamps, and the marsh-
ii millt side are completely overflown at present, more particu-
t .ot account of the heavy rains during the preceding season:
S"" ter in its efforts to escape has already traced a channel to-
ile nat-ow sand bank which rises from the beach, and it is pro-






OBSERVATIONS UPON


able that ih a few years the Barra Chica will be again opened near
the outlet The planters have also resolved to dig across the beach
and complete the opening of the inlet, the fresh waters having de-
stroyed their oyster banks and prevented the sea fish from comn.
ing up. Passing the narrows the course of the creek or channel
meanders through the extensive marshes to the junction of Hernan-
dez's and Pellicer's creeks, about six or 'seven miles from the bar
of Matanzas and two miles less from the "13rra Chica. The former
stream twelve miles further south heads in Graham's swamp: the
latter is navigable some miles beyond Pellicer's house to where the
King's road formerly crossed it on a bridge, long since destroyed, and
heads far back in the pine lands : in $awmill swamp, three or four
miles from Pellicer's point it receives a large addition from the drain
ofCawcaw swamp, wherein Moses's creek lately mentioned also
takesits rise. The character of almost all the' laud between St.
Augustine and Pellicer's is indifferent : narrow skirts of hammock
fringe the borders of the creeks, and every spot of good land is co-
vered by some title or other, many tracts having been successively
owned and abandoned by the unlucky and ignorant attempters at cul-
tivation. The plantations of Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Perpall, and
1r. P]llicer are good, and the marsh and savanna lands in their vi-
cinity when banked and drained would produce fine crops ofsugar if
their vicinity to St. Augustine should tempt any one to undertake the
great labour. The grounds planted by Mr. *Hernandez, are
the northern poiit of a long narrow hammock called Graham's
swamp, extending as far as the Tomoca ferry (about thirty miles :)
its average breadth is scarcely three fourths of a mile. Colonel Bu.
low, a rich planter of South Carolina has made extensive purchases
upon this swamp, and is preparing with a large force to establish
considerable sigar plantations. On its east side scrub lands and
saw palmettos extend to the Atlantic : On its west immense
tracts of pine land spread to the river St. John : parallel and







THE FLORIDAS.


at a short distance therefrom runs the main road iouthwardly
which is in general good, and has been lately cleared out and made
passable for a waggon, being one of the only three roads in the pro-
vince which affords practicable travelling for any mode of conveyance
but horses: Eight miles beyond Pellicer's creek is a considerable
run of water, with the remains of a stupenduoau mill-dam, construct-
Sed formerly by a Mr. Bernardino Sanchez 2 approaching Tomoca
one or two other creeks'intervene, being the head waters of Smith's
and Ormond's creeks. All the good land with one or two excep-
tions has already been taken up. Upon Tomoca river was former-
ly an old ferry and the roadto the town of New Smyrna proceeded on:
it is now quite grown up. Haul-over creek and Tomoca river form
the head of Halifax river or Mosquito north lagoon: The junction
of the two latter forms an acute promotory called Mount Oswald:
Haul-over creek proceeds northerly, its western branch or Smnith's
creek heads in Graham's awamp, near which it receives Ormond's
creek, and another tributary water : the eastern branch skirts the
sea and near its head is scarce a furlong from it across which boats
are hauled by the fishermen : this haul-over is only fifteen miles from
the bar of Matinzas.
From Mount Oswald, Halifax river runs straight for upwards of
sixteen miles two points to the eastward of south : its average
breadth is about three quarters of a mile as far as Snake island and
Orange grove: here a low marshy projection denominated the isl-
and encroaches from the main upon the uniformity of the river's
width reducing it to less than half a mile at this northern ponta of a
bay I within which is a stone house, being the last permanent inhab-
ited building on the coast between St. Augustine and cape Florida :
it is occupied by a poor couple who seem to live in much poverty :
Mr. Anderson an enterprising planter from South Carolina has 40 or
50 hands employed in raising cotton at the Orange Grove plantation.
four miles south of this are the Pelican islands, from whence the ri-
ver loses its open character, and winds among an innumerable clus-






OBSERVATIONS UPON


ter of mangftve islands down to the bar of Mosquito, hugging the At-
lantic shore : next the main are a variety of intricate passages con-
necting with each other and indenting the land : three separate
creeks penetrate the interior a little way, all being in some
measure connected with Spruce creek : some considerable quantity
ofgood lad lad ies scattered about these waters, but too low for cul-
tivation without much labour. The whole of the land fit for
agriculture, from Tomoca to Spruce creek, has been granted away .
the main body of it consists in a hammock which appears to be a
continuation of Grahams swamp, running parallel to Halifax river
a mile or two back, and one or two eligible tracts on the river above
the Pelican islands: the narrow skirt of land between the river and
the ocean is totally useless.
Mosquito or New Smyrna entrance is narrow, but affords water
for vessels drawing ten feet : the anchorage is good inside and on
the south shore a vessel may lay alongside and make fast to the man-
groves within a mile of the bar. The scite of the abandoned town
of New Smyrna is five miles from tihe inlet, but presents no bluff or
elevation on the river, and is shut out from the sea breeze by the
cluster of mangrove 'islands in front. These islands are thickly
spread between the narrow beach and the main land over a space
from two to five miles in width: one channel on the west keeps
nextthemain : the eastern one after a very crooked course conducts
to Turtle Mount or Mount Tucker, the summit of which is about 80
feet above the level of Hillsborough river, as the channel is called.
It is a vast collection ofshells chiefly oysters which appear to be the
work of Indians of other days. Three miles further south is a beau-
tiful body of hammock land called the Cigerns, which is perhaps un-
equalled by any in Florida I there appears to be about one thousand
acres in a body. A few miles further south conduct to the entrance
of Mosquito south lagoon, where the western passage also enters.
This piece of water appears to average eight orten miles in width,







THE FLORIDAS.


and nearly thirty in length: with the exception of a few scattering
mangrove islands on the Atlantic side itis quite open: half way down
on the western side it is separated from Indian river by a narrow
isthmus which is only 1980 feet wide, called the Haulover. across
which canoes and boats are continually hauled. A canal could be
made here at an expense not exceeding one thousand dollars, which
would thereby complete a good inland navigation for upwards of
two hundred miles. Nearly all the good lands between this place
and Spruce creek northerly have been granted away, but the loca-
tion of them is not so certain : from the nature of the ground the
tracts lie in two parallel lines ; the front on -lillsborough river and
Mosquito Lagoon lfrming one range, and Turnbull's back swamp
the other : this latter is situated back ax few miles, extending from
Spruce creek and gradually shaping its course to the head of Indian
river. The main stream of the last water has one of its sources in
this swamp; the other one called the North-west branch comes
from the N. N. W. and has a large body of good land about it, upon
which claims by grants exist, but the location is very doubtful.
There appears but little doubt that the head of this N. W. branch
of Indian river and the head lake of St. John's river, approach each
other very near heading in the same savanna or marsh : there has
always been.a tradition of an existing communication between
these two, which an inspection of the app will explain. From the
union of this branch with the main river along the western shore, as
far down as eight miles, below the Haulover the land is rich, but
encumbered with grants of some kind, many of which however there
is reason to believe are unlocated.
Indian river is a beautiful sheet of water: at the Haulover, it is
three or four miles wide, and so continues a long distance north-
ward : in a southern direction it expands on the eastern side, and a
collection ol mangrove islands skirt the shores as far as cape Cana-
veral. Filleen miles from the Haulover is the north end of Meritt's








OBSERVATIONS UPON


island, which standd in the centre of the Lagoon parallel to theshores,
v;ith abroad stream each side. For more than forty miles it divides
theriver, which averages three miles in breadth. On the main or
western side is the proper channel: the eastern branch is shallow
and its upper end spread with flats and mangrove islands, confusing
the navigator and impeding the passage of all but small canoes. The
Average extent across Meritt's island is two miles at least, which
gives upwards of 50,000 acres ; this is said to have been granted to
Illr. MAclntssh of Georgia, and now belongs to Colonel Clinch of the
united States army. The quality of the land on the main is various
but in general good and improving as progress is made towards the
south ; the shores beginning to present an elevated appearance:
bluffs of shell rock rear themselves close on the river ; the flatness
visible over all the preceding country begins to disappear : the
foundation is rock under vegetable mould; upon the surface is.
shell stone ; limestone and slate is found in detached spots, and all
the geological signs indicate an approach to a higher and more
healthy region. Indeed after arriving at Mlernit's island, there can
Sbe but little doubt that the country is upon the river free from
those causes which produce bilious and intermittent complaints.
The grants here are less close to each other: the principal one is
to a Mr. Delespine, which was regularly made previous to the pe-
riod stipulated in the treaty in return for supplies furnished the gar-
rison at various periods : it has been regularly located and the
lines distinctly marked out by blazed trees. It is upon the back of
this and the adjoining tracts that was discovered an immense savan-
na through which the waters supplying the source of the river St.
John apparently flow. At a perpendicular distance of something
less than three miles from the bank of Indian river, its eastern side
is struck, and it presents a breadth of at least twelve miles. From
the top of the high pine trees on the margin, the course of waters
may le traced apparently a few miles distant, nearest the west








THE FLORIDAS.


boundaries of the great prairie, beyond which the pine woods raise
their heads. On Indian river some of the best hammocks in the
Floridas are to be met with, healthy and elevated : the occasioned
breaks of pine bluff are rather advantageous than otherwise as pre-
senting better scites for settlements. During the last twenty miles
of the extent of Meritt's island, the west branch of Indian river is
not more than from one and a half to two miles wide, being at the
northern end six or seven: immediately opposite the south of tI
island which is a narrow point of rock and mangroves, is St. Anto-
nio river or Elbow creek : a low rocky shore on each side orna-
mented with tufts of hammocks and a large entrance core give it an
handsome appearance: but immediately behind the hammock and
pine lands, the stream is only to be navigated bdck two or three
miles when it heads in a swamp, beyond which is a savanna.
The south entrance to the eastchannel of Indian river is scarce-
ly 400 3 yards wide ; the banks a mile up however recede towards
the beach, and it afterwards becomes near three miles across, to
within ten miles ofcape Canaveral, where it is but a trifling distance
over the beach to the sea. Somewhat beyond,a promontory divides the
water into two prongs ; the westward continues on till the channel is
lost in the archipelago of mangrove keys at the north end of Me-
ritt's island ;.the other comes immediately behind the cape, between
which and the south side of the Mosquito lagoon is a large lake of
fresh water. The navigation on this east side ofthe island, is ex-
tremely confused, and many shipwrecked persons attempting with
their crafts to find an inland passage have lost their course, and be-
'ing compelled to abandon their boats, have endeavored to travel
along the beach, upon which they have.been known to expire in
the agonies of thirst, while the pond just alluded to was near them,
and when a hole scratched on the sands but a few inches above the
reach of the waves would have produced them excellent fresh wp-
ter ; which may be also thus procured along every part of the Flo-







OBSERVATIONS UPON


rida coast, both on the sea beach and the Lagoon banks; but in ma-
Dy unfortunate cases it has been unknown.
Two miles south of St. Antonio river is Crane creek, of which
none of the persons who have previously navigated Indian river
were aware ; its mouth is almost covered by a point of land, lap-
ping over, leaving a small narrow entrance on the south, not twen-
ty yards across. Crane creek for half a mile up is wide, but it is
pon confined in a narrow run, through a strip of marsh bordered by
pine lands and heading in a piece of swamp ; the sloping banks how-
ever in general are high, with fine tall pitch pine trees at large dis-
tances, the undergrowth grass with scattering shrubs, presenting in
sailing up a handsome appearance resembling a European park.
Game of all kinds is abundant, and as in all the other waters there
appears great plenty of fish. This remark upon the pine lands here
is applicable to many spots.
Two miles south St. Andre's river or Turkey creek empties into
the lagoon ; its right bank is altogether pine ; on the left for a
very abort way some hammock scrub and spruce is to be found; it
is but a small distance up that it separates into two springs, soon
terminating in little swamps, having passed through high pine land.
Immediately beyond the mouth of this areek are th Turkey
bluffs, of rich yellow sand and forty feet in height, extending a mile
in length ; this terminates the general low rocky shore which was
predominant from within about twenty miles of the Haulover ; a
trifling distance further on the bluff is of shells with a scrub ham-
mock, the northern sand bluff being covered with pines, and having
a luxuriant under brush of oak and hickory scrub. The Turkey
bluffs present one of the most healthy and beautiful spots to be met
with on the eastern coast of Florida for houses ; they are supposed
to be the same as the hills marked in most of the charts, Las Tor-
tolas." Pelican island is a small mangrove key eight miles south of
Turkey creek, nearest the west shore ; the beach from Meritt's








THE PLORIDAS.


island is bare of tall growth with only one tuft of tall pines, and
one of cabbage trees, and no mangrove trees or bushes until thus
far when they recommence. Five miles below isthe mouth of St.
Sebastian river, distant altogether eighteen miles from the south
end of Merill's island, and distinguished by a high red sand bluff on
the south point of entrance. This stream like the three preceding
ones has pine lands alone on its banks, which are in general very
high bluffs of light colored sand. It comes from the S. S. E. in a
very serpentine course, having its head among the flats, savannas
and ponds which lie parallel to the Indian river narrows, there ex-
tending southwardly.
The whole western'shore from some miles north of Elbow creek,
past St Sebastian river, and down to the vicinity of the narrows which
are eleven miles beyond St. Sebastian, is in general pine land, but
elevated and healthy with the opposite beach free from mangrove.
bushes, and therefore'receiving the full action of the breeze from
the sea, the shore of which is in general four miles distant, three of
which are occupied by the breadth of Indian river.
Passing the narrows which are three miles through, and solhething
more than a quarter wide, the pine lands recede from the west front
of the Lagoon which is covered by fine marshes half a mile wide,
beyond which is a low hammock of rich growth, and the character is
retained as far as opposite to the bar of the river, a distance of thir-
teen miles: upon the beach side near the narrows are occasional
pieces of good hammock, but the east bank of the river thence is
fringed with mangroves and a line of islands of the same to the out-
let, which is approached through a narrow channel two miles through
among thick mangrove keys. The marshes are covered with the
plant called pursley, and contain almost a solid body of clay: they
are several feet above the surface of the water. The whole ofthis
pim. extent may contain about eight thousand acres, being one of
the largest bodies of good soil to be met with. Fine hammocks with








OBSERVATIONS UPON


in general elevated scites, are found along from Indian river bar to
the mouth of St. Lucie river ; but like all the others observed on or
near the water courses of East Florida, their breadth seems limited
to half a mile. The bay is several miles wide in this extent, with
occasionally on the beach' patches of good hammock land, among
some of which are to be traced old fields and other indications of
former settlements: the Gap sixteen miles from the bar is remarka-
ble, giving at sea the appearance of an inlet: on the sea shore are
the rocks of St. Lucie directly fronting the mouth of that river, indi-
cating its position, and chiefly to be noted from the adjoining strand
being called the'money bank : a vessel wi!h dollars having been lost
here, coin has occasionally beer found on the beach, and the tradi-
tion has sent man'y to search this mine. which however like many
similar expeditions seems only to end in disappointment.
-The majestic appearance of St. Lucie rimer affords at first sight
the greatest expectations : diseiiinbageing, by a month nearly a mile
in width, its volume of waters into a nide and extensive bay, it gives
the idea of its hang traversed a long region from the west, perhaps
originating in the much talked of lake Mayaco, which h like the foun-
tain ofyouth has never yet begn found. The view of the first few
miles of ascent is imposing ; on the north, a high rocky hill binding
a rich vegetable soil, extending some distance back from the shore
and six or seven miles along it; a fine hammock growth of heavy
timber presenting a beautiful appearance ; on the opposite side the
bank is equally high, but covered nith pine gFowth mixed, ith oak
and hickory scrub ; between them a ri er whose breadth admitting a
free circulation of sea air, at once convinces the traveller that on such
a place health must reside.
At the forks ten miles fromthe mouth, the perspective is remarkably
striking ; from the points of land three large sheets of water spread to-
wards different points, and though pine is the prevalent growth of the
riyer banks, yet it is of a good quality and aflords a variety of places







THE FLORIDAS.


where fruit culture would succeed; a fact which may no doubt hereaf-
ter populate this country with a race of industrious whites whom the
healthiness of the spot may allure hither. The south branch of St.
Lucie extends only about four miles when it stops suddenly and a
narrow creek covered with a green mantle of water plants alone re-
mains, heading in a small swamp ; the northern branch may continue
ten or twelve miles in a N.W. direction, when it also suddenly, con-
tracts in a similar manner and heads in a swamp beyond which sa-
vannas and ponds run parallel to the sea shore towards the head of
St. Sebastian river. The banks every where except the large ham-
mocks at the mouth are covered with pines: two or three miles S.
W. of the forks is a body of hammock, and pine lands beyond that
again to the borders of a flat savanna country.
Proceeding to trace the inland navigation southwardly, some miles
beyond St. Lucie river are found Jupiter narrows, connecting the
sound or bay of Indian river with that of Jupiter or Hobe ; they
are eight or ten milds in length, with several narrow channels
through a body of mangrove islands lying between the sea beach and
the main land, on which latter are to be found small pieces of low
hammock well adapted for sugar.
The western shore of Jupiter sound presents a series of ve-
ry high sand hills with undulating tops covered with forests of low
spruce pines ; one swell of high ground rising above the rest is call-
ed on marine charts the Bleach-yard, from the large spotsof land un-
covered by vegetation, presenting to the coasting mariner the ap-
pearance of linen spread out on the hills upon the side next the beach;
a beautiful piece of land reaches from the mouth of the narrows four
miles, with a low rocky bluff generally on the river; itmay contain
about 1000acres of first rate hammock, a part of whichwas cultivated
many years since by an old Spaniard named Padre Torre, and more re-
cently was planted by one Hutchinson, .with cocoa nuts, limes, plan-
tains, banana., oranges, &c. which ate said by the pilots to be still in








OBSERVATIONS UPON


good bearing, though the place has been many years quite abanidoncet
nnd grown up in thick buch. From this hammock is four miles to Jupi-
ter inlet which is now closed.
Three large rivers coming altogether through a pine country,
discharge into Grenville sound immediately at the south end of
Jupiter bay, but the large body of water has too sluggish a current
to force open the inlet which is closed by the sand, though opened
occasionally by accidental circumstances. The three streams are
distinguished as Grenville river on the north, Middle river, and Ju-
piter creek on the south ; the latter as well as Fresh-water creek
near the bar, have some connexion with-the fresh water lake
which approaches within four miles of Jupiter, by means of la-
goons and marshes, through which a channel might easily be dug;
thereby with another sjort out on the south, making a complete
though intricate communication practicable at least for boats, from
cape Florida and the ke.,s to within' forty miles of St. Augustine ; as
will appear by the subseiluent parts of this report, and a reference
to the map now publishing..
This lake is thirty-five or.forty miles in length, with marshes at
its south end, which contain a body of such fine sugar land, ihat it will
not be long ere it is brought into cultivation, and the canal that is
made to drain it will finish the only remaining part of the inland navi-
gation, connecting the south end of fresh water lake with the north
end of Rio Seco; which spot is indicated by an orange grove near
the beach, to which from Jupiter inlet the present mode of access, is
by hauling the boat or canoe across at both places, the intermediate
distance of forty-five. miles being run along the coast at sea.
The Rio Seco winds in a very serpentine course though a body
of marsh at first, and latterly mangrove islands to its mouth, which
is closed at present like that of Jupiter; the place where the outlet
was is also called Boca Ratone and Dry inlet ; patches of hammock
are occasionally to be found on the main side, but the chief growth








THE FLORIDAS.


is pine; a mile or two west in the woods is the large lake which
gives rise to Jupiter creek.
SBoca Ratone sound receives also from the south another creek,
heading in large marsh flats, but with deep water; the whole of
which together with that from the Rio Seco, unable to discharge
itself over the dry inlet, has forced itself by d natural canal through
'a neck of high land into the Middle river at the place where
a stream called the Potomac runs into it; the rush of the wa-
ter through this narrow channel is very great, the current driving
with a velocity capable ofgivingmotion tothe largest wheels,and upon
it several saw-mills might work with .advantage, should the Florida
pitch pine which is abundantly supplied by the adjacent woods, ever
become in sufficient demand as lumber. The Potomac river, as the
few occasional visitors here have named it, is merely the head of
Middle river, its course is through a pine country of good quality,
heading in swamps and savannas, and connected with the Great Glade
which will be described. .
The outlet of Middle river is now better known as Hillsborough,
and a precisely similarcommunication exists from hence to New ri-
ver, as the north route to Boca Ratone. New river and all the
branches discharging through its bar originate in the Great Glade,
running through pine lands and heading in cypress swamps, which
have previously been inundated from the Glade : the inland com-
munic.tion from New river to cape Florida, is from the head of New
river to the head of the Rio Ratones through the Glade. On the form-
er are some occasional spots of good land. 'with elevated pine lands,
healthy and of good quality. The Ratones discharge into the head
of thle Bay of Key ~iscayne, somewhat as delineated in the latest
charts of the Florida coast, but no good land is to be found except
immediately behind Cape Florida, where a small piece of hammock
exists on the high rocky front generally, as upon Key Biscayne Bank:
a little further south, strips ofsimilar growth are occasionally to be
7








OBSERVATIONS UPON


fIatnd, but beyond all are pine lands and mangroves, as far as the
vicinity of cape Sable, and even there but in very small quantities.
From cape Sable to cape Romano, the land is low with mangrove
bushes,.-leioM the banks of small streams draining from the Great
Glade, with small pieces of hammock and long necks of pine land
intermixed. Forests of pine are known to extend on tle, coast from
cape Romano to- Charlotte harbour, intermixed with excellent pie-
ces of hammock, but beyond that it is not pretended to make any
statement in this report.
The Glade, or as it is emphatically termed the Never Glade, appears
to occupy almost the whole interior from about the parallel of Jupi-
ter inlet to cupe Florida, thence round to cape Sableto, which
point it approaches very near, and northwardly as far as the Dela-
ware river discharging into Charlotte bay ; its general appearance
is a fl.it sandy surface mixed in the large stones and rocks, with from
six inches to two feet of water lying upon it, in which is a growth of
saw, and other water grasses, so thick as to impede the passage of
boats n here there is no current. Over this are a'uumber of islands
and promontories, many of which are altogether of hammoc.k growth,
nith mixtures of pine and cabbage tree land, each spot doubtless,
capable in some degree of cultivation ; butdeteriorated by being pla-
ced in a situation so difficult of access, and exhibiting so forbidding an
aspect, that for the present the attempts to penetrate across have
been repelled, and the dissatisfied traveller has been sent back una-
ble to complete the object of his mission, and confused in his effort to
tread the mazes of this labyrinth of morasses. Towards its northern
end however it contracts considerably, and then changes somewhat
Sotits character by assuming the appearance of an open cypress
pond, which extends to the great swamp and savanna at the head of
the river St. John and Ocklawaha, and here i6 a passage across ; for
it is a well ascertained fact, corroborated particularly in the author's
last voyage undertaken on the Peninsula, that the crossing place of







TiE FLORIDAS.


the Indians is made in a direction west of Jupiter inlet, and in their
travels from the nation, by crossing the Haffia or Manatee river,
and journeying in a S. E. course along the edge of the savanna
swamp or morass to the narrowest spot, the passage over which oc-
cupies three days continued travel in water.
The determination of the circumstance of this immense body. of
low lhnd occupying the whole southern interior of East Florida, easi-,
ly Iffords an explanation of those delineations upon ancient maps, re-
presenting it as cut up by rivers and lagoons, communicating with
each other and the sea; and it is by no means improbable that the
knowledge of its existence, prevented the late government from com-
mencing settlements in a country of so little promise, for had the re-
gions boasted of as equal to Cuba existed here, there is enough of
speculation in that island, to have improved the land of promise long
before this period;.
On looking back over the preceding pages the render must be
struck with the reflection, that the sources from whence the various
water courses of the Eastern coast of Florida originate, are not the
pure springs of a hilly region, but a series of. connected reservoirs,
from whence exude in languid streams their vast collections of wa-
ters, a circumstance which under the almost tropical sun of this
country might produce eternal diseases, had not the provident hand
of nature raised a border of high lands nearly all around upon the
sea coast of considerable breadth, and sent the never failing eastern
wind to drive back the miasmm to the interior : this belt appears to
average five or six miles across including varieties of soil; and while
the future settlers upon the east coast of Florida, may be assured of
no sickness assailing them from the marsh behind, they are protect-
ed from the encroachments of, and inconveniences attendant on a
direct exposure to the ocean, by a narrow strip of land intervening
between the sea and the long lagoons, that rue in a parallel direction







OBSERVATIONS UPON


to the coast,on its whole extent nearly, affording an inland navigatiol
almost uninterrupted and which cannot but soon be fully perfected.
The Florida reef and chain of keys commence at Key Bisc;yne or
cape Florida. They are sufficiently interesting to be made the
subject of a separate section, and therefore we goat once to cape
Sable, the southern promontory on the side of the gulf of Mexico.
The advantages on this western side are notso equal, as in general
from cape Sable to punta Largo, the land is low and covered with man-
groves; north of the latter promontory the belt around the central
marsh is wider, and a succession of high pine lands with rich ham-
mocks thickly intermixed, and a similar coast to that Upon the Atlan-
tic, make the extent as far as'Tampa bay on a level with it in most
point..
Immediately off cape Sable within musket shot of the shore, is a
safe anchorage at all times in nine feet water. At Cape Sable
or punta Tancha there are actually three. capes, at the middle one
ofwhich are fresh water wels : these wells are distinguished by a
tuft of button trees or white mangroves, being the only trees on
the point.
The land at these capes and for some miles eastwardly is very
good senting an even surface like a meadow, without a bush c this was
called iany years ago the Yamasee old field, but there appears
every reason to suppose it a natural prairie. Behind this strip of
land which is but narrow, rise hammocks of the usual width,,
and beyond a boundless savanna, the soil of which is richly alluyial
and perfectly d-y for a great distance; but mingling at length With
the Ever Glades. Among the numerous tropical productions in the
hammocks are a few trees called Hiarav, of the palm family, from
the leaves of which the fine straw Havana hats are made: some
live oaks and vines of an amazing size. If coffee can be produced







THE FLORIDAS.


at all in Florida, this is the spot where it may be expected to suc-
ceed.:
Cape Sable creek, immediately north of punta Tancha runs up in
about an E. N. E. course through mangrove islands, marsh and
clusters of hammocks, among the growth of which are cedar and
small mahogany ; it spreads occasionally into lakes, and heads like
all the other streams in the EVernal Glads. '
The bright between cape Sable and punta Largo, or cape Romano.
is called the bay pf Juan Ponce de Leon, the upper or northern
part being known as Chatham bay : here the Delaware or Gallivan's
river discharges itself ov er'a bar of eight feet water. This is a beau-
tiful stream, and its high banks present most eligible sciles for a town;
the lands on each side are represented as rich and luxuriant ; it
hIads in lake Macaco, or at all events in large lagoons in the re-
cesses of the Ever Glade morass.
Immediately under cape Ronmano is anchorage for ve-sels of ten
feet: from the cape to bay Carlos the coast'is low, witli forests of
pine coming almost down to the edge ol the sea. The river Coo-
lasahatchie is the only stream of importance between these places.
Charlotte harbour has four inlet.~ formed by a chain of islands;
upon the bar of the largest entrance issixteen feet water. The bay
within isspacious ,ind .sheltered ; it receives the wafers of Charlotue
river a large and powerful stream with several large branches, and
heading in lake Macado. Although this lake ii laid down on the
map,'yet its existence does not appear to havebeen actually ascer-
tained by recent observations: so many former accounts liouever
speak of it, giving it a location, that it has not been thought proper
to omit it altogether, for there must be various collections of water
in the Ever Glades, which to the eye ofa hasty traveller might well
appear as lakes and lagoons. Between Charlotie harbour< and
Tampa bay the land is double, that is, an inladd navigation is afforded
between the ocean and the main land by a chain of islands : this is








OBSERVATIONS UPON


not quite complete, but the coast partakes more of the character
of the Atlantic seaboard than it has hitherto done.
Spirito Santo or Tampa bay is a spacious harbour, admitting vessels
of twenty-four feet draught of water : it penetrates the coast in
nearly an easterly direction, being some miles in widlh ; at its upper
end it divides; the north-western is called Tampa bny proper, the
north-eastern takes !be designation of Hillsborough bay. Tampa
bay proper is only a shallow lagoon which receives no tributary
waters ; two or three rivers discharge into Hillsborough bay. The
various contradictory names given to them at different times, render
it difficult to determine what are their respective true appellatLons.
The lands upon Spirito Santo bay aie low, hut immediately back to
the north-east they rise into beautiful undulations to the east aid
south-east. The plains of tlie Haffin are fertile, extensive and pleas-
ing. There appears but little doubt that the savannas and low
grounds at the head of this river extend to and connect with those,
whence emanate the Ocdwanlia and Sf. John's rivers, circlum
stance that will be more apparent when the interior of the country
is described. ,
From Tanpa bay to the mouli of the Amisura river the coast is
low, ahd the entrance to that stream is very shallow and extremely
diiiicult to find :it is much to be Limented that so fine a Iwater
should have so shallow an outlet; It foi ks a few miles up, the .; E.
branch heading up the near skirts of what is known as the Alachua
country; the S. E. branches receive the waters from the large
l.odlies ofhanmmock and other rich land, lying near the present Indian
towns, meandering through a beautiful region. A very wide and
shallow bay extends from the mouth of the Amisuira to that of the
Suwanee the coast is low and broken, and clusters ofsmall keys
are spread along. Several minor streams fall into the northern part
of this large indentation, which receives the particular denomina-
tion of Vacasassy bay,from an antient Indian village in that vicinity,








THE FLORIDAS.


The Suwanee, formerly called the San Juan, and.corrupted by the
tidian negroes to its present appellation, is a magnificent river
by the quantity of mud and sand from the fresh water brought
down, a large bar has been formed at the mouth, and the land ap-
pears like the Missisippi, by the alluvial depositions, to have eh-
croached upon the sea. A low coast covered with cabbage trees*
intervenes to the entrance of the Chattahatchie or Saint Pedro river,
which comes from the northward, heading about the Georgia lines,
near the place where antient Spanish settlements once existed.
Some miles further west the Ausilly, a handsome stream, falls into
the bay of Appalachtie; its source is in the western parts of Georgia
Heavy inundations in the rainy seasons cover the banks .oflhbee wa-
ters for many miles, and render a circuitous route to fort St. Marks*
absolutely necessary.
The estuary at the head of the Bay of Appalachie receives two
small rivers, at the junction of which is placed, the small fortifica-
tion of St. Marks : this post has never increased beyond a military
position, to which the troops were generally confined : a trading house
for the Indians has generally been established here. St. Mark's ri-
ver heads some few miles to the N. E. at the Mickasukee towns, and
the Wackhulla or Tagabona at the Talahassie hammocks near the
scite of the old settlements of St. Loais'. The Ocklckkonne Bay re-
ceives the waters of the river of that name and of several smaller
streams ; and there is an inland navigation to New river which is
continued along St. George's sound to themouth of the Appalachico-.
la river, which is tthe'true boundary of-East and West Florida.
The lower parts of the rivers are, subject to very deep and an-
nual inundations, but the whole country from the Georgia line, many
Smiles, south from the bluff on the Appalachicola to the banks of the
Suwanee is covered with fine rich hammocks, which have a great
reputation for fertility. At is upon all the ungranted lands between
these two latter rivers, that a project has been made, and probably








OBSERVATIONS UPON


will be executed for the purpose of concentrating all the Indiann of
both Floridas.- "
,t. Joseph's bay and inlet is the first harbour in West Florida
after doubling cape St. Bias; it may be used as a shelter from hur-
ritanes or violent gales with mudh advantage for small vessels, as
may also St. Andrew's bay, which is a deep estuary with several
arms .receiving the waters of Ekanfinna river.
Santa Rosa inlet, thirty miles further to the westward, conducts
to the bay of that name, which is of very great extent. The Choc-
tawhatchie river, and all its tributary streams discharge into the east-
erm end of this bay; and near the western end a number of small
boggy creeks drain the allies 6f the adjacent pine lands.
An inland navigation behind Sania Rosa Island conducts to the ce-
lebraited harbour of, Pensacola, which spreading two large arms
deep into the interior collects the Yellow water river, Middle ri-
ver and its numerous branches; the Escanbbia and its labyrinth of
nijacent. waters, and several smaller and less important streams.
Upon a dry healthy point of land and fronting the ocean is built
the town of Pensacola, which only wants the hand of protection ap-
plied, and the spirit of enterprise diffused over it to cause its in-
crease and prosperity : possessing a deep entrance and notwith-
standing its recent severe affliction, havingevery assurance of health,
it might become the depot for all those productions which are now
placed at Mobile a very small canal would unite the two bays,
"and thus open the channel for the tide of commerce: but this can
only be expected by the union of both towns under the same state
government. ;
Before proceeding to a description ofthe interior of Ihe provinces,
the author claims the privilege of introducing a few remarks on the
political connexion between E: t and West Florid?, which have
arisen from a review of the attendant cirtimstances, and as it con-
tains the concurrent opinion' nf many wellH wihers to hoth provin-
ces, he offers it respectfully to the public.








THE FLORIDAS.


West Florida has heen gradually pared down to (he present rem
bant.: the large portions of country which have successively fallen
to the share of Louisiana, Missisppi and Alabama have left but a
narrow strip of land between the Perdido and Appalachicola rivers:
and deprived of its original ports of New-Orleans and Mobile, West
Florida must, like Poland, be distributed among the adjoining states:
it will disappear from the map of America, by the ultimate annexa-
tion of Pensacola and the remaining portion of territory to Alabama,
a step called for by reason and polity.
That such a course must be highly desirable for East Florida,
will be readily acknowledged on a consideration of the subject: and
it can easily be, conceded, that it will not in anywise interfere
with the national question of the entrance of another state into the
Union.
From their more geographical justa-position. East and West Flo-
rida have been perhaps considered by those at a distance as integral-
ly united : that this is by no means the case is but too well known to
their inhabitants ; for so dissimilar are their opinions, that even in this
early stage of their independent existence, dissensions and discor-
dance have sprung up, which a separate administration instead .of
conciliating appears rather to have tended to foster, and the dispute
as to the ,eat of territorial government has already assumed a deci-.
ded shape.
The eligible intended -location of the Florida Indians between
Sthe Appalachicola atd, Suwanee rivers, will in addition to the present.
obstructed communication, place an Indian country between East
and West'Florida, and thus consummate the separation, which will
then only want the fiat of Congress to render politically permanent.
The annexation of West Florida to Al.ibama will not addanother
representative in Congress to the latter commonwealth, nor will it
prevent Florida from assuming its place in the Federal Union in
due time, by abstracting so much population ; for it is towards East
8






OBSERVATIONS UPON


Florida alone that the great mass of emigration will roll; the warm-
er latitudes of the peninsula hold out anticipations of more lucrative
productions than West Florida: that country not extending beyond
the parallel already tried by our citizens, cauiot present attractions
superior to the region between lake Borgne and Mobile, where is
found a soil at all events equal to any in West Florida.
Why should the Federal Government be burthened at present
with a double set of officers ? Or why should the members of the
territorial legislature, be alternately condemned to emigrate as it
were to each extreme of the country. At present while the popula-
tion of West Florida is but few, it can be but a matter of indifference
to any but the residents of Pensacola, whether they obey the laws
of Alabamaor Florida ; their rights are in either case equal; and the
views of those who look for the aggrandizement of Pensacola, by the
diUAnisb of the trade of the interior from the bay of Mobile to that
of the former place, can only be realized by an annexation to Ala-
bama. Pensacola can never be the seat of government; and while
its citizens claim an imaginary honor, by seeking to keep it under its
antient rules, they prevent the very advantages they sigh for.
On casting a view over the map of the United States, the most-un-
reflecting observer must be struck with the mere geographical pro-
.priety of the annexation ; a step that would relieve the general go-
vernment of a contribution, accelerate the organization of West Flo-
rida, diminish the coming taxes, and take a dead weight from off the
remaining part of the territory.
As a matter of general interest to both provinces, it maybe re-
marked that under the present organization, the governor cannotgive
his attention to one section without detriment to the other, and where
the laws of Congress require certain oaths and formalities to be made
before him by the territorial officers, months may elapse and the
public interests suffer ere it can be done.
In thus hastily marking a few of the principle reasons for the an-








THE FLORIDAS.


nationn, the author deprecates the idea of being supposed to ad-
vocate the interests of East, at the expense ofthose of West Florida :
he is perfectly convinced that it would be to their mutual advantage
in every respect, and appeals to their own good sense to confirm that
such is the case.
Having in the preceding pages briefly sketched an outline of the
coast, we may proceed to examine the interior by counties, into
which it- has, lately been divided by the legislative council of
Florida.
Escambia County comprehendi all that part of West Florida lying
between the Perdido andlni l rivers, with Pensacola as the
seat of justice. Jn the'immediate neighbourhood of this city the
character of the land is dry and sandy, its scite having been chosen
for health. The good lands on the Coenecuh and Escambia rivers
do not begin until their forks at miller'ss, the lower parts being sub-
ject to be overblown ; the same holds good of the other waters dis-
charging into thebbay of Pensacola. Immense ridges of pine lands
ill up the space from the banks of the Yellow Water to-the Choc-
tawhatchie, but.on the head branches of both these rivers, near the
northern line of the province, good lands are to be found, which will
doubtless repay the labour of the industrious planter.
There are many Indian paths through this county, one particu-
larly leading from near the mouths of the Choctawhatchie, all along
the sea beach to the Signal tower at the entrance of Pensacola
harbour: another traverses the pine ridges from the Coosada old
town to the east point opposite the city of Pensacola: another leads
from the same place, going round the heads of the branches of the
Yellow-water, Middle and Coenecuh rivers. This, latter river is
navigable for small craft to the northward of the dividing line of the
31st degree of north latitude between Florida and Alabama, though
the tide flows up but a few miles. The Choctawhatchie and its








OBSERVATIONS UPON


principal tributary branches are likewise navigable as fir up as the
Coosada old town neatly, and the produce will readily find its way
to Pensacola, by way of Santa Rosa sound.
The former harbour abounds with fine scale and shell fish, but a
vessel lying in its waters not coppered would be ruined in two
months by the worms : craft obliged to remain there ought to be
hove down, cleaned and payed once in five or six weeks.
It is more than probable that the northern parts of this and the
adjacent counties of Jackson and Dural, are subject in the autumn
to those bilious intermittent disorders known commonly at the south
as the country fevers. So entirely continental is their situation
that it cannot be expected they are different ; but the deep indenta-
tion of the salt waters of 'ensacola and Santa Rosa bays, with the
high sandy ridges in their vicinities, induce an expectation of health.
The last summer has most unfortunately desolated the town of Pen-
lacola, but this is the first time such a calamity has been known
there, and without attempting to enter into the doctrine of importa-
tion or local generation of yellow fever, we may naturally infer that
the origin of that fatal disorder was in this instance far from being
local. .
Respecting the culture most favourable for the soil of Escambia
county, the trials in the neighbourhood of Mobile will best decide :
it is certainly a fact that there is a greater degree of cold in this
part of Florida than on the same parallel on the Atlantic coast,
though not so much more as to prevent the cultivation of the sugar
cane on favourable spots; but it appears undoubted that the varie-
ties of the grape may be introduced, and by' a judicious culture be
made much more profitable than can be expected from cotton, whose
daily declining price forcibly tells us that the growth is far beyond
the demand, and no alteration is apparently to take place for some
time: It cannot however be disguised that fertility is by no means









THE FLORIDAS.


the general characteristic of Escambia county, although many spots
are to be found equal to the most favoured situations in the southern
countries.
Jackson County comprehends the remainder of West Florida, to
which in order as it were to amalgamate the two provinces, a large
section from East Florida has been annexed, extending as far as the
Suwanee.
The characteristics of the seaboard of this county are similar to
those of Escambia, as far at least as cape St. Bias: the line ofdis-
tinction between the upper and lower parts of the district thus far is
distinctly traced by a chain of hilly lands of a romantic character.
Over the Ekanfinna river is a natural bridge of rocks, a singularity
which distinguishes several parts of Florida.
North of the Weemico and in the forks between the Ghemiooly
and Appilachicola rivers, are extensive tracts of fertile land: over
W,' ih'e Gh4mirees is another natural bridge, and a series of small Indian
towns, one built.on the right bank of the latter as far up almost as
the Alabama line ; this region is extremely well watered, but from
its geographical position must be subject to the annual endemics of
the adjacent territories. .
The Appalachicola river has'near its mnuth, many channels to
discharge the vast volumes of water brought down ; upon these
islands rich crops of rice and sugar may doubtless be raised, as well
as upon the adjacent banks. The town of Colinton is laid off on
Prospect bluff, where fort Gadeden, better known as the Negro fort
once stood : it was here that a large body of refugee slaves look .a
desperate stand, and were almost wholly annihilated by the blowing
up of their magazine when attacked by the troops of the United
States. This town will probably become a commercial place,
though the bar here having but twelve feet water, will prove as in
some other parts of Florida, a serious drawback.
The large region between the Appalachicola and St. Mark's rivers,









62 OBSERVATIONS UPON

bounded northwardly by the old Indian path from the Spanish bluft
to that fort, is the purchase made by the house of Panton, Leslie
and Co. which is ow no own under the firm of John Forbes & Co.
of Matanzas in the island ofCuba; it is commonly called Forbes's pur-
chase, having been bought by that house from the Indians under the
sanction of the Spanish government, for vast debts due by the va-
rious Indians at the respective trading houses of the firm in Florida,
of which they had an exclusive monopoly ; the northern parts of this
purchase are very fine lands, which character extends to the Geor-
gia boundary. There are of course large tracts of pine, but these
are by no means of the worst quality. A variety of rich grounds
stretch in a N. E. direction from this tract to the Mikasukie towns,
and at the banks of the Ocklockonoe commence that series of old
settlements, which extend along the main path to St, John's river.
The traditions concerning these places are that they were peopled
by small colonies ofSpaniards, but when, is lost in the lapse of ages;
)et the numerous Spanish names which still exist, though corrupt-
ed, seem to corroborate the assertion. The.period of this coloniza-
tion must have been some time in the seventeenth century : Romans
states that there was in his time a church bell lying in the old fields
near the Santafe, or as it is now called the Santaffy river.
Two principal paths lead through Jackson county ; one running
parallel with the seacoast from the White Kings town on the Suwa,
nee to fort St. Marks, often impassable by inundations ; thence tra-
versing Forbes's purchase, crossing the Appalachicola at the Span-
ish bluffs, and after traversing the Ekanfinna over the natural bridge,
proceeds to the head of Santa Rosa bay. The other roadleaves the
Suawanee many miles higher up, and passing through Mikasukie and
by fort Scott on the frontiers of Georgia, crosses Chattahootchie and
Flint rivers above their junction. Here the road branches, one pass-
Sing the Ghamieolyover a natural bridge, and joining the southern
road near the head of St. Andrew's bay.; the other continues near-









THE FLORIDAS.


ly parallel to the Alabama line to the Coosada old town. In commu-
nicating between Pensacola and St. Augustine neither of these roads
are used, as the fords and ferries are scarcely ever practicable, and
there are no accommodations, and scarcely inhabitants. The jour-
ney is performed by a circuitous route through Georgia and Alaba-
ma; nor is this great inconvenience likely to be soon remedied, as
the travelling will be long too limited to induce persons to establish
regular places ofrrest along so solitary a route ; and even should the
Indians not be concentrated 'here as has been proposed, several
years must elapse before United States' sales can be effected, and
population come in ; and except Forbes's purchase, it is believed
that no concessions have been made in this section.
The Suwanee river divides Jacksoi and Dural counties, and as
well as some ol its chief tributary waters take rise in Georgia. The
Outhlacuchy has long ramifications and comes from the N. W.
The Alapapaha to which name the title Suwanee gives place above
its junction with the Little Suwanee, has two equal branches which
come from the north, after waterfug a large extent of land in Geor-
gia. The little Suwanee or little St. John's river heads in the cele-
brated Oke-tin-o-cau swamp, and is almost the only drain that large
tract oflow land has. The recent surveys of the new counties of
Georgia have demonstrated the size of the Oke-fin-o-cau to be very
much less than was originally supposed : some of the earlier maps
have represented it as occupying half the distance to the Flint and
Chattahootchie rivers.
Too little is known of the general interior of Jackson county to
give such minute topographical detail as is desirable, and unable to
speak decidedly on many points, the author has judged it more adri-
sable to be silent, than to swell his pages with mere speculative ob-
servations on an unexplored territory.
Dwval county lies north of a line, drawn from the Cowford upon
St. John's river to the mouth of Suwanee, and is naturally subdivi,








OBSERVATIONS UPON


ded into two districts of different sizes : which Brandy creek fAlling
into the St. Mary's, seems to separate the western subdivision : be-
tween the Georgia boundary and the head branches of the north
arm of the Santafy river, are pine lands which are mostly low : on
the left bank of the Suwanee, and on New river, as well as the little
St. John's, fertile lands are to be met with : but the general appear.
ance is unprepossessing, although in the centre a ridge of more ele-
vated country spreads along, dividing the waters that fow into the
opposite seas. But around the Santaffy and all its streams, an undu-
lating pleasing landscape and rich productive lands commence, giving
indications of a material change being about to be observed, and we
enter a region which will be more minutely described presently.
We pause an instant here to mention the singular circumstances
of the S.mt.lffy river, some considerable distance from itsjunction
with the Suwanee, sinking into the earth and rising gain at a distance
of three miles : this space is called the Natural bridge, and here an
Indian path crosses: it is staled that in times of high freshets, the
space above the subterraneous channel is inundated, and that on those
occasions a parallel current runs over it: Weecbatomoka creek,
a branch of the Santaffy, has a similar singularity,sinking precisely
in the same manner for half a mile. A few miles below the White
Kings old town on the Suwanee, upon the left bank, is the spring
mentioned by the younger Bartram in his travels, wherein the mana-
tee or sea-cow is often seen and sometimes caught.
The easternor maritime district of Duval -ounty contains Nassau
river and its numerous prongs, and little St. Mary's river : the lands
upon all these waters are in general very fine and peculiarly well
adapted for the cultivation of sea-island cotton. A large body of
population are concentrated here, which was the northern district o'
East Florida alluded to in a former part of these observations.
Deep marshes fringe the lower part of St. M.iarY' and Nassau.
rivers, and the connecting inland navigation. A large road, formerly







THE FLORIDAI.


kept in excellent repair leads from the Cowford on St. John's river,
to Coleraine and camp Pinckney on the St. Mary's : it is part of
what was once called the King's road, and is the only direct outlet
by land from St. Augustine. After passing the head swamps of Nas-
sau river, a path leads down to Waterman's bluff, on Belle river,
nearly opposite the town of St. Mary's : near Coleraine another path
diverges southwardly leading to the Alachua country, and an old
trail exists from the Cowford ferry, crossing the high hills that di-
vide the waters of Black creek from those of St. Mary's river, and
leading round the head branches of the Santaffy to Suwanee river.
It is along the King's road that the mail should come to St. Augis-
tine: Jefferson in Georgia being made the distributing post office,
instead of St. Mary's; whence at present it is sent by water as fur as
Pablo creek at the mouth of the St. John's river; much time, di-
tance and inconvenience would be saved by this arrangement, and
asemi-weekly instead of a weekly post, be established to the capital
of EaSt Florida.
Probably Duval county will receive the first impressions of an in-
flux of population, which must speedily be spread over theoountry :
it presents many attractions, and its vicinity to Georgia may induce
the inhabitants of that state, who are already very favorably impres-
sed with Florida, to make it their abode. Not many grants are in
the western district, though probably the maritime portion is nearly
all covered with larger or smaller concessions.
Sdint John's county includes the remainder of the peninsula of
East Florida, south of the line drawn from the Cowford ferry, on St.
John's rivei, to the mouth of the Suwanee. It is from this division
of the new territory, that greater expectations are formed on account
of its extending into tropical regions : in order to treat ofit more sys-
tematically, it will, be adviseable to distribute the country into cer-
tain subdivisions : making all to the eastward of St. John'sriver the
subject of one, and all to the westward of another ; the twenty-eighth
9







OBSERVATIONS UPON


degree of latitude being the southern line of these two : and again
below that parallel, considering the chain of low lands as a division
between the Atlantic and Mexican districts of the rest of Florida.
The tirst of these subdivisions is the extent upon which almost all
the previous effortsofits European possessorawere lavished, to bring
it forward in civilization and agricultural improvement : within
this.narrow neck of land, with the exception of the maritime part of
Duval county, all the white population of East Florida has been
concentrated, and in the Spanish regime absolutely confined, for
few if any ventured to cross the river St. John above Black creek,
deterred by the hostile attitude of the Indians.
The general characteristic of this portion of Florida is flat, and
unprepossessing: but there are upon it many fertile tracts which
will, when the hand of industry,is judicially applied yield profitable
returns. It is remarkable that this part of the new country, which
had once made large advances in the pith of civilization, should have
so retrograted and have become in many parts as great a wilderness
as in its primitive state : the withering influence of the old system
of Spanish government perhaps occasioned this, by hitherto casting
its blight around, and for forty years impeding the natural advantages
of the country from being improved, by those willing and capable of
the task.
In all the accounts which have appeared respecting the peninsula
of East Florida, it has been a customary and primary remark that
the river St. John was the most prominent feature ; the observation
must be reiterated ; that majestic flow of water occupying so remark-
able a place on the map, the appearance of the channel of its course
being so varied, and the magnificent growth of timber clothing its
banks, give it at once to the eye of a traveller the importance assign-
ed to it by all writers. Hitherto its source has been considered as
undetermined; but the late exploring and surveying expedition of
captain Le Conte of the United States' Topographical Engineers has









THE FLORIDAS.


set that question at rest: indeed the elder Bartram fifty years
since, pursued the same route and arrived ;t the identical head lake,
which terminated captain Le Conte's expedition.
Tracing it back from its mouth, we find that lying in latitude 300
18' N. with twelve feet water on the bar at ordinary tides: the dis-
tance between the nearest points of land is'about one mile ; the first
remarkable place afterpassing the mouth of Pablo creek is Kingsley's
bluff, six or seven miles from the entrance on the right b.nk ; it is
about twenty-five feet high, with a table land of some extent, pre-
senting an eligible site for a town, which it is the intention of the
proprietor to lay out. The ship-yard on the same bluff, is well
adapted for the purposes which its name indicates.
The Con-ford or pass St. Nicholas, twenty eight miles from the
bar, is distinguished by its narrowness, being scarcely one thousand
yards across, contrasting w ith the other reaches of the stream which
are very wide. The high road laid out by the British and kept up
by them and still called the King's road, crosses here.
The line of the river which thus far has been perpendicular to
the trend of the sea coast, here suddenly forms a right ingle beco-
mingparallel thereto, and for the next thirty or forty miles dilates
into succession of lakes or deep bays, never less than three and some-
times exceeding six miles in breadth. At one of the widest parts,
a few miles above the Cowftrd, is the mouth of Bluck creek, naviga-
ble fifteen miles for large vessels to the forks. A few miles above
the mouth of Black creek stands the old block house of Picolati : no-
thing remains of it except two of the shattered walls, through which
loop holes and ,eturricres are pierced : it stands on a low bluff and
half concealed by the luxuriant branches of surrounding trees, it
reminds the visitor who views it from the river, of the deserted cis-
tellated residence of some antiont feudal lord. On the opposite
or west side of the St. John's was fort Poppa, of which scarce a ves-
tage remains.







OBSERVATIONS UPON


At the old Buena Vista station the river begins to wind in reach-
es, its general direction being still parallel to the ocean. The Ala-
churferry is only one mile across. The stream after passing the
Devil's Elbow widens again, and receives by several mouths the wa-
ters of Dunn's lake : passing Buffalo bluff, a beautiful and fertile
spot, its character is slightly varied by a chain of swamp islands, of
which Bartram makes mention and accurately describes in the third
chapter of his travels : At the mouth of the Ocklawaba, the river es-
pands into a little lake and continues in that character to lake George
whose entrance is covered by Drayton's island. After crossing this
beautiful piece of water, which is abbut eighteen miles ip length and
eight or nine in breadth, the St. John's may be rightly designated as
r river.
The western banks of lake George are almost wholly pine : two
beautiful streams called the Salt and Silver springs empty on this
side : behind the pine sidges, extensive tracts of scrub land occupy
almost the 'whole neck between lake George and the Ocklawaha
river, extending southwardly in long prongs for many miles. The
eastern banks have several orange groves, but the hammocks are
not deep; indeed the isthmus between lake George and Dunn's
lake is chiefly pine lands.
A bar at the south ward of lake George, prevents the passage of
vessels drawing more than five feet water, up the river: a few miles
beyond is the Folusia settlement, on the east side of the St. John's, a
flourishing and well settled plantation, where the sugar cane has this
last year been raised with the most flattering prospects, having ri-
pened nearly six feet by the middle of November. Hope hill esta-
blishment, a little higher up, is also a good tract of land, and settling
with much enterprise.
Spring-garden branch comes through a tract of rich land, and aug.
ments the volume of the St. John's, which here begins to wind and
pursue a tortuous course, driving almost in a S. E. direction : Alex-






THE FLORIDAS. 69

ander's creek comes in near a small lake, on the banks of which is
en old settlement called Beresford's cowpen: beyond this the
stream grows narrow, and at length heads in a lake of about ten
miles in perimeter, beyond which there is no visible progress. The
latitude of this place is about 28" 40' N. according to captain Le
Conte's observations.
From Alexander's creek upwards the St. John's meanders through
extensive fresh marshes, dotted with islets of orange and live oak
growth. At the head lake the water is several feet deep, and flows
through the thick saw grass, flags and rushes, with some considera-
ble current; and as far as the eye can reach the marsh or savanna
appears to be interminable: its extent cannot be accurately defined,
but from the circumstance ofthe impracticability of even Indians tra-
velling in certain directions, it would appear that it has several
branches, one of ihich undoubtedly connects with the head of the
N. W. branch of Indian river ; another continues parallel to the
coast, and is the same which has been found only three miles back
from Indian river at the parallel of cape Canaveral : a third prong
joins the marshes from whence the Ocklawaha river takes its rise,
while the main branch loses itself in the deep cypress swamps and
lagoons that extend to the Ever-Glade morass, an arm leading most
undoubtedly to the source of the Haffia or Manatee river, which
originates also in a similar marsh, and flows into Spirito Santo bay.
The lands immediately on the borders of Dunrs lake are not of
the first quality, but Haw creek and its numerous ramifications
which are the chief supply of the lake, come through extensive
savannas, which promise to be future sugar fields, and appear ca-
pable of being brought into cultivation when properly drained.
The number of settlements that once adorned the banks of St.
John's river have disappeared, in consequence of the Indian wars
and other causes before alluded to; and in sailing up that majestic







OBSERVATIONS UPON


stream an air of stillness impresses the beholder with the idea that
he is navigating the waters of an uninhabited and new country.
The future prospects we may consider as more battering; for
in estimating the value of our new territory, we have accounted up-
on what it will be when fully settled, rather than what it now is.
Above lake George the lands though in general low, may be ion-'
sidered as capable of producing various lucrative articles, for the
rise of the river is not of that sudden or great nature as to inundate
and destroy ; and it may by trifling embankments be easily alto-
gether prevented from flowing on the soil.
The lands on the margin of St. John's river below lake George,
are hammock and swamp of all qualities, seldom more than half a
mile wide ; behind this all are pine lands, both between the river
and the hammocks and swamps, that run parallel to and at a small
distance from the Atlantic ocean. The Twelve-mile swamp, and a
few veins of good land on the large tributary creeks on each side of
the river are exceptions.
The Diego plains, the hammocks and swamps of Pablo creek,
North river and Guana creek, are very good lands and convenient
to market. To the southward of St. Augustine, rich lfrtile ham-
mocks and swamps are found on the margin of Matanzas, Halifax,
Mosquito, and Indian rivers or lagoons, and upon the creeks that
empty into them.
Great quantities of live oak of the largest size were once to be
found, but the limber fit for the first rate vessels of watis already
scarce, and so far back from navigable waters as to render its trans-
portation nearly impracticable. It is no longer to be found to any
considerable extent on the St. John's river or its tributary creeks.
Some smIll portions yet remain on the banks of the North river, and
on Diego plains, but it is feared that until a canal is made that the
wood is scarcely accessible iat the latter place. On Dunn's lake
there is but very little ; the present supply is obtained only from the







THE FLORIDAS.


hammocks on Pablo creek and Halifax river. At the head of Indian
river and its branches, there is some live oak timber, but it is too,
remote. Cedar is very scarce and but little to be fund, except
upon one or two creeks on the west side of St. John's river.
Much false expectation has been raised respecting the quantity of
live oak and cedar in Florida, and these observations are thrown
out, more with a view.of guarding the unexperienced from indulging
in this supposition, than pretending to state with precision the real
extent of resources in this respect.
There are many roads or paths through this eastern subdivision
of St. John's county, but only two or three practicable for wheel
carriages. The King's road from the Cowford to St. Augustine.
and thence southwardly to the Tomoca settlements at the head of
Halifax river, is now reopened by the exertions of the inhabitants
residing in the neighbourhood; and the road to the mouth of Pablo
creek is at present the mail route, and generally used by visitors to
St. Augustine. A carriage road also leads from the town to a land-
ing upon the Six-mile creek, whose mouth is at Picolati, and from
which landing a short canal might be made to the head of navigation
on St. Sebastian's river, which flows into the harbour of St. Augus-
tine. Were this done, which is perfectly practicable, the waters
of the St. John's being thus connected with an established port.
much produce would be transported to St. Augustine, whose bar at
least equals that of St. John's, and a dangerous boat navigation
through lake Valdez and the bay of Black creek, as well as the other
wideparts of the river, would be avoided.
Roads diverge from St. Augustine to various points of the St.
John's, particularly Kingsley's bluff, Julington creek, Picolati, Buena
Vista old and new, Rollestown, Dunn's lake, Bnffalo bluff, Volusia
Spring Garden and Beresford's; and to the settlements at Matan-
zas, and on the creeks discharging there : these however at present
are only bridle paths; obscure trails lead from the Tomoca and








OBSERVATIONS UPON


Volupia settlements over the head of the N. W. branch of.Indian
river, and thence in a southwardly course parallel to that stream.
A road also goes along the sea beach from opposite to St. Augus-
tine to the mouth of St. John's.
The Twelve-mile swamp near St. Augustine is equal to any body
of land in the southern states for fertility : it appears to have been
first cultivated in 1770, but since the occupancy of Florida by the
Spaniards scarcely any agricultural operation there was attended to.
Graham's swamp, between Matanzas inlet and Tomoca, is also a rich
soil, and the fresh marshes adjacent thereto are very eligible for
sugar, &c. Colonel Bulow of South Carolina and some other enter-
prising planters are forming settlements in -and near this place,
which will doubtless give a tone to the undertakings in the country.
Thechain of good lands extends parallel to Halifax river and Mo-
squito south lagoon down to the bead of Indian river. At Ross' old
settlement on Mosquito lagoon sugar was formerly raised in large
quantities: as also at the town of New-Smyrna ; to which a body of
redemptioners from the islands of the Mediterranean were almost kid-
napped ; and forced to labour until the impositions exercised upon
them, compelled the unhappy bondsmen to rise on their oppressors.
and they settled in St. Augustine ; where their descendants form a
numerous, industrious and virtuous'body of people, distinct alike
from the indolent character of the Spaniard and the rapacious habits
of some of the strangers who have visited that city since the ex-
change of flags. In their duties as small farmers, hunters, fisher-
men, and other laborious but useful occupations, they contribute
more to the real stability of society than any other class of people :
generally temperate in their mode of life, and strict in their moral in-
tegrity, they do not yield the palm to the denizens of the land of
steady habits : crime is almost unknown among them; speaking
their native tongue, they move about distinguished by a primitive
simplicity and honesty, as remarkable as their speech.






THE FLORIDAS.


,. OfRollestown, once an equally important settlement, pot a vestige
is left except a few pits which once were the fbondations of large
buildings, and along avenue yet distinctly to be traced through the
forests, the commenicemeutf a grand highway to StP Austine :
the object of the founder was singular, in one respect, which con-
templated the practicability of reforming the morals of a certain
class of unhappy femalei,-by transplanting them from the parlieus
of Drury-lane to the solitude of Florida.
The planters upon Tomoca river and its vicinity e almost whol-
ly English settlers from the Bahamas, who quitting those. sterile
rocks, came hither to avail themselves of a better oil : ail of them
have prospered, and several have become very rich by raising sea-
island' cotvn which ior some years previous to this period well re-
paid their labouri.
SAr the river St. John inclines considerably to the Atlantic shore,
thecountry to the westward of it ismuch wider than the eastern
subdivision which has. been treated of, amd is perhaps under all cir-
cumatances th mi intemueting part of Florida. The Ocklawaba
river, which b the pjicipal branch oftheSt. John's, the Amasura
discharging into the Gulof Mexico, most of the streaks that empty
into Spirito Santo bay, Black creek a'lnrge tributary'of St. John's
river, all water this district, as plso the eastern branches of the
4antaffy.
The dividing ridge of the waters of the Atlantic ocean and the
gulf of Mexico, is very irregular in its elevation 4 at some places it
scarcely rises into small undulations, in others it swells to cooliera-
ble hills: it may perhaps more correctly be designatedas a plateau
of laRd ; one spur leading from the old Sawanee town, qo the rivet
of that name, runs parallel to the coast close on the west of the great
Alachua savanna, where it meets another arm coming from the
north-east, running between the sources ofASnfilasky and Tslachlio.
saw creeks, and stretching towards the St. John's; these united
10






OBSERVATIONS UPON


proceed in a sduth-eastcouse, and dividethe Ocklawaha and Am,
surn rivers, and expamling very considerably have a series of In-
dian villages planted, -on them, until as they approach the vast sa-
innas in the south they'gradually binki b -their level : branch-
es pf this ridge lie-on both sides of theAmisra river, and on the
north west of Spirito Santp bay. A very hilly region i also found
on the neck which separates the St. Johii's from theOcklawaha,
and bordering close on the latter river.
SThe extent, from the waters of the Santaffy in the direction of the
ridge, and extending on each side, including the Alacboa territory,
down to the head of Spirito Santo bay ; and on the forks of the Ami-
aura, and other rivers,. is a beautiful'undulating fertile country
containing large bodies of hammock and oak and hickory4lnd, with
, pine lands of a rich soil based on limestone : over this peitioe of the
country as in many parts of West Florida uature has scattered a
number alil, holes and ponds of all sizes and various depths,
many of them auffdient wijt the protecting shade of the surround-
ing trees or bushes, to resist the exbaumting evapofations produced
by the. fervid glow of the summer sun-; becoming reservoirs of wa-
ter, cool in the warmest day. Spme oi these have their'banks of
such a slope'as to allow cattle to descend to the water : others are
of so p peidicular a descent as to require the use of a rope and
bucket, and all are distinguished by a tufiVf hammock trees grow-.
ing around even the smallest, giving a pleasing variety to the mono-
tony f the pine woods.
itlsome streams of water are found in almost all the hammocks
which oh the plhdeau generally discharge into some pond or lake
many of these rivulets afford for two thirds of the year sufficient
water to drive mills.
Besides the smaller ponds, a larger kind are often met with, some
of which are even romantic in their appearance, particularly lake
Ware, a beautiful sheet of water three miles -wide and about five ii






THERE LORIDAS.


ligth. In this lake is a beautiful island abounding with groves of
the bittersweet or Seville orange: this was the fiwourite retreat
of one of the antient chiefs of thelabroriginal inlsbitants. Lake
Pithlachucco and Ora.nge .J are in many parts deep; most of
these large waters are in tempestuous weather agitated like fsea.
The great Msvamines are also remarkable : after periods of heavy
falls of rain, they are inundated to the depth of several feet; but
when the warm seasons have evaporated this jleoge, they often be-
come so entirely dry that the frerun woter them, and sweeps down
the tall grass which has sprung up over thee to a grent height
The great Ahchua' savanna is the most considerable, being but
I seldem entirely free from mnter: Many curious stories are circula-
ted am6the'lndians respecting a whirlpool, wherq a subterraneous
discharge of water is said to take place; bmtthe authorhas not been
able to ascertain the fact. A communication exists by a narrow
cypress swamp, from the Alachua savanna to the hea. of Orange
lake: this latter terminates at its eastern ixtremity in a thick
swamp, throughthiqh' i water gradually oozing, form at length a
creek, mAid and deep lut narrow dud very:circuitous, a a bound-
ing wiA logs and sand bWrs : this water course proceeding in a
north-east direction, joins the Ocklawaha river. Ockawilla and
Cficuchary savannas are very considerable, particularly the latter.
In speaking of the hammocks it should be observed, that they
in general surround the large lakes and savannas, though also
found .scattered over the whole face.of the country like isletq:
within them however a pond or lake is generally found, andoften
their size is regulated by the extent of this watery riaclews.
On the exterior of the hammocks the black oak and.hickory land is
disposed and gradually spreads to the pine ridges, on which the hick-
ory is often found. The pine lands however are not all of the same
elevated character: many of them being flat and covered with gall
berry and chuckle berry bushes : and sometimes interspersed with






OtSERVATIOS1 UVPON


cypress ponds and bqy galls: these however are always in the s icin-
ity of the sources of the streams, and are-bot rarely found on the
plateau; but nevertheless like all the pine ranges, they afford excellent
pasturage for cattle, and if sown with tbr erlticial grasses would pro-
cure abundant crops., .
It may be here remarked of the pine lands in general of Florida,
that they are fertile ; a character strictly applicable, although they
seem to the superficial view unfit for agriculture, particularly to the
eye of a northern farmer who from early association 6f-ideas, oonsid-
Grs pine lands and barrenness' as terms synonymous. Luxuriant
pasture ranges are found every where, and.millions of horned cattle
may be raised with no other trouble than herding and periodically
burning the grass, which quickly grows agaiq, the tender shoots im-
parting by their succulency and fragrance, a flavour to the lesh not
always found ,ia.th stall-fed beeves of a city. The chief sup-
port of the antient Indian population was derived fromttheir countless
herds of castle, which a succession ofiprasions from hostile tribes
and lawless borderers blive now almost wholly exterminated.
The Amanina river is a beautiful stream, and flows through a tract
equal to any in these parts; and but for the impediment of the shal-
lows at its mouth, would afford a great outlet for produce; as it is,
small craftwill convey the exports to thegreat emporium of Spirite
Santo bay.
The Ocklawaba river takes its rise in lake Eustis, which like the
head lagoon of St. John's river, is formed by the accumulation of
waters from bte great southern marshes. Its course is parallel to
the St. John's, and it occasionally expands into lakes as flowing
through the alluvial soil on its banks. As its course diverges to the
east to fall into the St. Johns, the vast volumes of water brought with
rapidity down its narrow channel overflow the low lands, and a la-
byrinth of islands intervene, from where the Orange lake creek
Joins it, to its junction with the principal stream some miles below







THE FLORIDAS. 77

Slake George. These islands are covered with a luxuriant growth
of tall swamp trees, but so entirely inundated as to make their re-.
demption for cultivation a Herculean task : but which once ef-
fectually accomplished, would B.make.them mines of wealth, uneqpal-
led perhaps by the best Misisippi7 sugar fiells.
The high lands between the.St. Joh?'s and Ocklawaha rivers, south
of the path from the VoluOis to the Indian crossing places, are of the /
same character with those oftheplateau on the western side of the lat-
ter stream. North of the above patb,large veins of scrubs extend to
lake George and chiefly fill up the neck. These scrubs and uda-
i' lbing grounds, consist of a sand of a very small and ferruginous
grain, producing, an infinite variety-of-dwarf oaks and a number of
parasitical plants ; where the labd swells to acopsiderable elevation,
there is generally to be seen a growth of small spruce pines, most of
which however seem to die, after springing up to the'height of
twenty or thirty feet. The wythes and other creeping shrubs which
,' interweave with the humble species of oaks, render/ a passage very
difficult, and the paths which are so directed is to cross the scrubs in
the narrowest part, wind so to take advantage of the intervals be-
tween the patches of bushes. Water is veiy scmre.here, .and only
found in a few sinks or ponds similar to those in the pine .lanm but
without trees around them. Another kind of land, are the ridges of
white sand covered with the small black or post oak, commonly call.
'ed black jacks. These are sometimes so thick as to exclude the
pines, and when this is the case there is scarcely any grass found on
the sand hills.
On the southwestern part of the Alachua territory, and extent-
ing between the Amasura river and the Mexican gulf is a remarka-
ble tract of country, which presents a curious appearance: the
whole of the pine lands, which are remarkably handsome from
their undulating surfaces, were burnt some thirty years since;
instead of the clear open woods generally seen, masseq.of young








OBSERVATIONS UPON


pine saplings are thickly spread over the rocky grlnmd, which
i:s strewn with half buruntlght wood logs, thai have not been destroy-
ed by the action of the air for so many years, while numerous still
more hardy pieces of timber remai etrect though dead, firm as ada-
mant pillars. Hqre and there a Solitary green pine remains that
escaped the ravages of.the' original fire. which succeeded by almost
annual ones, have kept the woods in h state of contleual undergrowth.
It is supposed that a space of nearly three hundred square miles
have been thus devastated, and nothing can be more desolate than
thi situation of a traveller who bewildered in this labyrinth, roams
without eod over mossy rocks and shaking jnorasssei, inpeded at
every step by the. black shapeless logs ; at every eminence he seet
the samescenre repeated,.and no end appears to this very remarka-
ble desert.
Here and in many other neighboring parts of the extensive
plateau, rocks are found npon the sotice, of every sift ; sometimes
loose, or disposed in curious ridges that to a fanciful imagination,
give the idea of the irregular rooting of mammoth swine.: these
rocks and stones consist of a sileceons nuclear, enveloped in baccess-
ire lamina ofdifferent formations of lime-stone: there are even occa-
sionally met with souiething resembling mill 6r boYr-stones, well
adopted for sharpening tools and grinding corn. Clay too is found
here and int'many other pdrts of these western pine lands. The
generalgoil-may be described as consisisting of a light but rich loamy
sand. :~
It may be mentioned here, being omitted inadvertently in its
Soper place, that a similar scene of devastation exists on the main
path from the old SuwanBe to the Mikasukie tdwns. though produced
by a different cause. Many years since, a tornado passed over the
lands there and prostrated for leagnes every tree : so sudden and
so universal was the effect of the ruin, that immense numbers of the
deer and other wild animals were "crushed to death, besides herds







THE FLORIDAS. di

of cattle : the Indians and Ipdian negroes state that the bones of
the beasts thus'suddenly destroyed are to 4e seen scattered in every
direction, and it has been asserted, that it is only within latter yeas M
that the trees have rotted away sufficiently, to allow horses to travel
along the paths which are thus incumbered.
It is within the subdivision of St. John's county now under descrip-
tion, that a large number of the grants and patents issued since 1812
are ordered to be located the grpat Alashua grant to Arredondo
and Sons of the Havana, and several other extensive patents are
herd: and apart of the purchase of Hackley under the Duk'e of Ala-
on is included in this more particular notice of which anhe
'taIer, will be taken in another part of the work.
SThe paths through this portion of Florida are nuwFrous: the
main routes from the Suwanee meet in the centre of the Alachua at
the town of Micanopy, on the northern bank of Taskawilta lake;
from hence which was the antient capital of the Indian nation, the
trats diverge in all directions to Black creek, Picolati, Vibrilia
and Buffalo bluff on the central parts of St. John's river: routes also
go down.to Tamp& bay through the chain of Indian villages and set-
tlements, and to the lower crossing .plaes ovy the Ocklawaha by
way of lake Ware, and hence a path leads toVolusia on the St.
John' above lake George. It is by this latter course that the'mail is
said to have been ordered to travel from Pensacola, but why it
should be sent nearly one hundred miles from the straight direction it
is ditficulto determine : after crossing the Suwanee rarer i.ought to
pass through Micanopy, and thence either to Vibrilia and new Buena
Vista on the St. John's, where there is a good ferry estlblishedjrt
on to St. Augestine : or from Micanopy to Picolati lower down the
river. The former route would at present ebeetter, as the stages
would be more regularly divided ; though in either case, three days
easy jouoey, without travelling by night, would bring the mail from
the Suwanec to St. Augustine






oU OBSERVATIONS UPON

Several roads from the eastward and northward meet at Chicucha-
ty, and thence go down to the falls on the Haa. In the northern
"'- part, paths proceed from Black creek, Pisolati, and the Cowford; di-
rect to the upper part of the Suwnee.
It is across this part of Florida that at some no distant time a com-
munication-will be established for travellers to New-Orleans. Steam
boats coming direct from the large northern cities, will enter the
St. John's and proceed up to some eligible landing, and the passen-
gers taking stages to the banks of thb Siwanee near its mouth, will
again embark in these ambulating hotels, pnd'proceed along the shores
of tfe Gulf'of Mexico to New-Orleans: by this route a voyage from
New-York to the former city maybe easily completed in ten days.
Connecting the waters of Black qreek and Santaffy rivers by a
navigable canal of thirty or forty miles a route may be opened, that
will afford many facilities for bringing the produce that comes down
to Appalachie bay, to the Atlantic. markets and ofconveying the re-
turns: independent of the fruits of the plantations for many miles
ardoud the canal.
The junction ofthe Ocklawaha and Amisura rivers would require
shorter cut, but from the high lands is impracticable in such a
..country : the former river however is navigable almost to its very
... source, and will serve as a channel of expprtatiotofall the agricul-
t'ural productions that do not find their outlet by Spirito Santo boy,

This Rpition of Florida which the author has endeavoured to de-
lineate, contains nearly all the most valuable linds in the territory,
adC may be accounted healthy in almost every spot: the general
elevation of the land and the opennesesof the w oods, allows a free
circulation of the air, set in motion by the winds from either side o6
the peninsula, and uncontaminated by the exhalations from intermin-
able swamps, and endless bodies of low land. "





THE FLORIDAS.


We now proceed to examine the remaining two subdivisions, into
which the county of St. John has been distributed in relation to our
subject, being all the lands lying below the parallel of the twenty-
eighth degree of latitude, considering as before mentioned, the chain
of low lands as a division between the Atlantic and Mexican districts,
commencing near the head of St. John's river and terminating at the
mouth of Shark river or cape Sable creek.
The western part of this descriptive subdivision is exclusively oc-
cupied by the remainder of the purchase of Fackley from the Duke
of Alagon alluded to a few pages back : included within these limits
are tile three spacious and celebrated harbors of.Tampa, Charlotte
and Chatham bays, besides a variety of rivers the mouths of y which af,
ford inlets for small coasting vessels. Tampa of more properly Spi-
rito Santo bay has been described in a former part of these topogra.
phical observations : it may be remarked.in addition here that there
are two other inlets besides the principal one, each ailording from
twelve to eighteen feet at low water. The coast generally between
Spirito Santo bay and Charlotte harbor is composed of flat islands in
front of high forests of pine, behind which there is reason to believe
I
the country is chequered with themamnl masses of hammock disposed. -
over an undulating region of fertile pine lands as are found upon the
plateau in the north and western partL of this country j the nuthsr
however has not been able with all diligent research to find any ex-
isting record of a description of thiq tract : and consequently no de-
tail is laid down of it, and but few water courses appear on the map,
but when minute information can be procured, it will undoubtedly be
found well supplied in that respect. The banks of A-lernal and
Charlotte rivers as well as those of the Coolasahatchie and Delaware
are well wooded with excellent timber.
All along this coast down to cape Romano or Punta Lnara, the tide
ebbs and flows only once in twenty four hours with a rise of but
three feet : this is increased or diminished a-cording to the preva-






OBSERVATIONS UPON


lence of the winds in the gulf of Mexico: in dry seasons the tide ri-
ses high in the fresh water rivers being perceptible at some dista nce
from the sea. In Chatham bay the tide ebbs and flows what is called
tide and half tide : that is three hours flood and three hours ebb :
then nine hours flood and nine hours ebb: the current of the tide is
very rapid, and the rise is seven feet as far as the point of cape Ro-
mano, beyond which its influence is not felt.
From the head of Chatham bay to cape Sable creek, numbers of
small islands and keys line the coast and several small streams empty.
Pavilion keys and Lostman's keys are the principal, and like the rest
as well as the generality of the land on the main, consist of drowned
mangrove swamps.
On the margin of some of the small waters, are hills of a rich.
soil which rise among these dreary mangroves, and from the tra-
ces ofantient cultivation yet visible on many ofthem, were probably
the last retreats ofthe Coloosa nation of Indians which has long been
extinct, having been gradually driven from the country by other
tribes. The pine lands behind these swamps are computed to be
at a distance of ten miles from the coast across the mangroves, and
beyond the narrow ridge they occupy, comes the great Ever-glade
morass.
Scarcely any paths through this subdivision are known except the
one leading from the falls of the Haflia or' Malnatee : these falls are
merely rapids over a bed of secondary limestone rocks, determining
the head of navigation of that river. This path inclines in a south
east direction,and traverses the great chain of low lands and the prongs
of the glades at the narrow parts, known only to a few of the most
wandering of the Indians ; after many days travelling in water, du-
ring which they carry with them prepared provisions and stakes to
raise them above the level of the inundation while resting, they find
their way to the Atlantic coast somewhere about Jupiter inlet.
The vast bodies of low lands that lie south of this trail and fill up







THE FLORIDAS.


the interior ofthe southern extremity of the Florida peninsula,appears
to have scattered over it many tracts of firm land in the form of
islands and promontories, and though at present a communication
across appears impracticable, and the accountsfrom Indians, negroes
and refugee whites, place it in the worst possible point of view, yetit
Sis by no means improbable there is a passage from island to island,over
the several branches of the morass which are not always of a breadth
to deter the attempt; nay the author is more inclined to believe, that
from the general exaggeration human nature is prone to, it may be bet-
ter than supposed, and that if the discouraging accounts do not deter
a sectional survey, it is by no means problematical but the expense
would be amply repaid by the discovery of many rich pieces of land
in detached spots: how far admitting them to be found, settlers would
be induced to purchase on supposed unhealthy situations need scarce-
ly be discussed : where the profits are proportionate every risk has
been and will continue to be hazarded, by the spirit of enterprise
which in this country is so predominant; which leads the hunter to
seek his valuable skins in the frozen mountain of the north west, and
sends the agriculturist and merchant to the remotest and most unheal-
thy places.
The Atlantic subdivision of the southern part of St. John's coun-
ty has almost wholly been described while treating on the general
outline of the Florida coast, for nothing is known of the interior ex-
cept what has been stated in that place ; the rivers along the whole
length from north to south, appearing to head in the Ever-glade mo-
rass or branches connected with it. Some difference exists between
St. Lcie as it was found by the author, and the description given by
Romans, who states thathe went up the N. W. branch that appearing
the principal, for twenty-four miles reckoning direct distance ; that
there the river became narrow and partly on account of the obstruc-
tion of the logs, partly on account of the rapidity of the stream, he
left the vessel and going up by land found the river at last to ran







OBSERVATIONS UPON


through a vast plain, the bank of the stream being fringed with a few
trees. When this account is.compared with what was observed by the
writer and stated in a former part of this work, he is tempted tocon-
sider with Sir Walter Raleigh, that if the same place and circum-
stances is viewed by different persons under such contrary aspects,
that he had better burn his book and avoid the risk of being consid-
ered the narrator of untruths. That however thereis some great
reservoir of water is certain, from the profusion of fresh water which
the river St. Lucie pours down: such is the jmmense quantity that
the whole sound is often made fresh through its vast extent and deep
indentations.
The rapid current of the gulf stream sweeping close along this part
of the Florida coast has the effect of closing the bars of the inlets,
particularly Jupiter, through which so immense a volume of water
seeks to discharge itself, that nothing but the continued throwing p
of the loose sea shells prevents the streams from forcing it open:
they even sometimes prevail: Jupiter inlet after a heavy freshet in
the spring of 1769 was opened and so remained -for three or four
years. On Indian river inlet the freshets sometimes make ten feet
water and at other periods there are not three : the general quanti-
ty found is five feet. The bar of Rio Seco is similarly closed to Ju-
piter, and also a small inlet called Indian creek near cape Florida.
Cayo Largo though ranked among the Florida keys is no more than
a promontory from the main land about half distance between capes
Florida and Sable, and connected by'a very narrow isthmus : the
whole however is rather a cluster of mangroves than solid land, ex-
cept where the gulf washes up a sandy beach on the exterior.
Sound point or Cayo Largo was formerly called cape Florida, but
that name is now applied to the eastern part of key Biscayne.
The topographical observations on the continental part of Florida.
as far as correct information has been procured, being thus conclu-
ded we should proceed to the subject of the keys and banks, known







THE FLORIDAB. 0

under the designation.of the general Florida reef, but as their capa-
bilities are conred to maritime concerns, and an interesting account
of the wrecking system and other similar points tre closely interwo-
ven with them, w'e shall defer entering on this branch of our subject.
for the present.














OBSERVATIONS ON THE SOIL AND ITS
NATURAL GROWTH.










The general character of the Florida lands is light: sands of dif-
ferent granu!.ition-, and sandy loams based upon limestone or clay
at a variety of depth, are what chiefly are found; and from this
lightness they are perhaps not capable of bearing a succession of
exhausting crops; but nevertheless the land when thrown into
oldfields soon renovates itself, from a fertilizing principle which per-
vades the air, and subsides to the earth : this principle is undoubted-
ly generated by the saline particles, which are carried from each
sea on to the lands.
The different qualities of land in the Floridas, may he divided de-
cidedly into, and known under the following names:
Flat pine lands Pine land savannas
Undulating pine lands Hammock savannas
Low hammock River swamps
High hammock Cypress swamps
Oak and hickory lands Fresh marshes
Scrub lands Salt marshes







OBSERVATIONS UPON THE FLORIDAS.


The jat pine lands are of themselves of two kinds: the one sort
covered with a thick and luxuziant growth of berry bushes, dwarf
bays and laurels, with grass only in patches, and the pine trees
sparsely scattered over the ground: the other kind has little or no
undergrowth: being thickly covered with savannasand cypress ponds
and galls, it is often overflown from them and on the least fall of rain.
becomes drowned ; the herbage however is generally plentiful. It is
with these two sorts of low piny land, that a great portion of this
space between the sea and St. John's river is covered, mixed in how-,
ever often with the other descriptions of soil, but giving on the first
view an unfavorable idea to the new comer; a great number of
branches and runs of water take their rise among these low groOlnds;
and wherever these low pine lands are found they may be consid-
ered as the head of some river or creek.
The elevated and undulating pine lands are healthy and beautiful ;
the timber is taller, straighter and of a better quality than on the
low grounds: their appearance in the western part of the
country has been already described, and wherever they are met
with partake more or less of that nature : they abound with succu-
lent herbage : the Saw palmetto bushes are very rarely found in these
high pine lands, they being confined to a middling description of
ground not to low as to be liable to frequent inundations, nor
high enough to foster a different species of undergrowth.
The low hammncks are the richest kind of lands in Florida, and
capable of producing for many successive years rich crops of
sugar, corn, hemp, or other equally exhausting productions : they
are however clothed with so heavy a growth of timber and under-
wood, that the task of clearing them is appalling, and they require
ditching and banking to guard them from extraordinary floods and
rains.
Graham's swamp, between Matanzas and Tomoco, is chiefly low
hammock. The upper parts of both sides of Indian river and







OBSERVATIONS UPON


its north- west branch are of this quality of soil, as alsot he margin
of the river St. John from Volusia to Beresford's old cowpen, though
narrow and perhaps somewhat too low. Many fine tracts of low
hammock are scattered over the western parts of the peninsula.
about the heads of the Santaffy and other rivers, and on the banks
of Alligator creek and many of the smaller tributary streams ; also
in the upper part of the region between the Suwanee and Appala-
chicola rivers.
Here and elsewhere, West Florida proper is scarcely mentioned;
for confined between the Perdido and the Appalachicola rivers, it is
so comparatively small and but little known, that it has not been
taken into consideration. It is true that to magnify its importance, a
" monstrous cantle" has been carved out of East Florida ; but in the
subsequent pages of this book, it should be understood that East
Florida comprehends all to the East of the Appalachicola river, in-
cluding in fact seven eighths of the whole territory.
The growth of timberusual on these low hammocks is principally
the cabbage tree, (of which it may be observed in passing, that ndne
are found west of the Ocklockonne river) ash, mulberry, dogwood,
Spanish oak, live oak, white oak, swamp hickory, sweet bay, sassa-
fras, cedar, magnolia, wild fig, wild orange, zantoxyhim or prickley
ash, and a vast number of other hinds, with varieties of all : in the
more southern latitudes the torch tree is found, also the gum guia-
cum, mastic, wild tamarind, red stopper, pigeon plum, cocoa plum.
sea grape, tiswood, &c. &c. A thick vegetable mould of from one
to.two feet in depth, covers the surface of the ground in these low
hammocks, below which black coarse sand is found, gradually be-
coming paler as the depth increases, until the clay or limestone i3
struck.
The high hammocks are if possible more dense in their growth
thau the others, but the coat of vegdeble matter is thin, and the
white sand lies within a foot or eighteen inches of the surface






THE FLORIDAS.


they are said to be notwithstanding very productive for years, with-
out any manure, which indeed is never thought of being applied.
In addition to most of the trees found in the low hammocks, we
meet liurel, red oak, chestnut oak, chinquopine, beech, persimmon,
cinnamon-laurel, bastard-ash, myrtle, locust, and a numerous list of
other trees : great varieties of the cane and reed are in both des-
criptions of hammocks.: countless parasitical plants interweave and
fold round the trees ; the wild vine schools up to a most surprising
height, and the stalk is commonly found seven and eight inches in
diameter.
The oak and hickory hinJs produce almost exclusively those two
kinds of forest trees, with occasionally gig.miitic pine- : the under-
brush is generally composed of sucker saplings of lh' oak and
hickory ; this description of land is generally disposed on the ex-
terior edges of the high hammocks, and separate them from the pine
lands. The black oak is the species most general here ; the soil a
rich deep yellow sindy loam.
"The scrub lands have been particularly described before in page
0-. they vary but very little in their general appearance wherever
found, and are of too forbidding an a-pect to lead the farmer to ex-
pect from them any advantage, except perhaps that of raisinghogs,
for which they are |peculiarly well adapted, from the ahlindance of
acorns on the dwarf oaks, and a number of curious roots to the
sandy plants.
The pine land savannas have a very black anl rich appearance,
but notwithstanding they contain only white sandl_, though the clay
beneath is perhaps nearer the surface ; they ;re merely sinks or
drains to the higher grounds, their low situation preventing the
growth of pines. Most of the roads in the vicinity of St. Augustine
are unfortunately obliged to traverse very extensi e regions of this
sort, and consequently in wet seasons they are scarcely passab!h,.
an] gre itly disgust the transicnt visitor
12








OBSERVATIONS UPON


The hammock savannas have a more fertile soil; fossil broken
shells, are embedded in the mould which is rich and black, and of
some depth: the clay is often within a foot of the surface of the
earth. The great Alachua savanna, the savannas on the borders of
Haw creek and its prongs, and the large savannas west of and paral-
lel to Indian river, are of this description : deep ditching and high
banking will be however requisite, to guard theinm from the inunda-
tions their low position naturally exposes them to. Pasturage of
the most luxuriant kind is afforded by these savannas, -which are
valuable features in the territory.
The word swamp is, in the signification now adopted, peculiar to
America; by it is understood a tract of land lying low, but with a
sound bottom, covered in rainy seasons and high waters with that
element. Almost all forest trees, pines excepted, thrive best in
the swamps, where the soil is rich, and. when capable of being clear-
ed and drained they are proper for the growth of rice, sugar, corn,
hemp, indigo, &c. &c.
The river swamps are annually overflown, and require judicious
and indefatigable attention to their embankments when in a state of
cultivation. The growth common in these swamps are the swamp
oak, willow oak, swamp maple, tupelo, elder, willow, swamp mag-
nolia, black birch, sumac, cypress, black and white poplar, Florida
holly, sycamore, hawthorn, &c. &c. Sometimes the land immedi-
ately on the river banks is rather higher than the grounds a little
behind, which are then called back swamps; these are nearly con-
stantly full of water, and have chiefly tupelo growth, and no under-
wood.
Cypress swamps are mostly near the heads of rivers, and in a con-
tinued state of inundation ; little or no underbrush, but only crowds
of the cypress shots or knees, which point up like small pyramids.
In the river St. John many of the swamps and islands are of this
kind, as also in the lower parts of the Ocklawaha; they are like-
wise bordering on the great southern morasses in every direction.






THE FLORIDAS.


While we are on the subject of wooded low lands it may be ob-
served, that in the pine lands, the early courses of the creeks and
streams are through two sorts of channels, bay galls and cypress galls.
The bay galls are spongy, boggy, and treacherous to the foot, with
a coat of matted vegetable fibres: the loblolly bays spread their
roots, and the saw palmetto crawls on the ground, making them al-
together unpleasant and even dangerous to. cross : the water in
these bay galls is strongly impregnated with pyroligneousacid. The
cypress galls have firm sandy bottoms, and are only troublesome
from the multitude of the sprouting knees. Clay is often found in
both these kinds of galls, which are sometimes very narrow and
sometimes dilate into large morasses.
The fresh 2rater marshes are of two kinds, hard and soft ; the hard
marsh is made up of a kind of marly clay whose soil has too much
solidity for the water to disunite its particles : and therefore, being
also generally higher above the water, may be with little trouble
adapted to proper cultivation: the soft marshes lie lower and are
more subject to overflow and require in the embankments, earth
from the high land to make them substantial, and consequently are
more expensive in their redemption ; but this once accomplished
they are undoubtedly the most fruitful ; affording in the dry culture
means of raising'sugar, hemp, corn, cotton and indigo.
The salt marshes are likewise of two kinds, hard and soft, from
the same causes that effect the fresh marsh : the hard salt marshes
however are often altogether clay, and like those in Indian river are
covered with purslain : these when fully embanked and redeemed,
and freshened by the cultivation of cotton or hemp for a year or two,
would undoubtedly become the finest sugar fields : that hard kind of
salt marsh upon which fresh water occasionally flows and known com-
monly as rush land, is extremely eligible when properly prepared
for agricultural purposes.
The soft salt marshes are totally useless exceptas manure : in the







OBSERVATIONS L:I'O,


part of the peninsula south of Mlusquito, the mangr.ei likess the
place of the marsh grass and reeds, and by its inl rl.acing roots give a
grc;iter consistence to the soil: when the main stem of a mangrove
bush or tree gains a little heiht it sends down to the water a new
shoot or root, and each horizontal branch as it puts I rth, does the
same,,by iluich the parent trunk is surrounded, like the East In-
dian Banyan tree: these downward shoots as they approach the w.-
ter branch into several points,which again subdi ide almost (ad itini-
tum, until the family of roots are twice as numerous as the upper
branches, thickly set together, extending in all directions, and closely
interwoven with the similar ramifi.:.-lions from the isrroundine trees
or bushes, often causing the ;riin, up of the channel of a narrow
creek,, whose waters in times of freshets and floods ooze'through
their roots as through a thousand minialture arches.
It may be observed generally of the soil of Floridj, that there are
/ four strata: the upper of ege-ltble mould or earth belo- s:and
bei onl thai inarl or clay; and lowest fall indurations ofshell and lime-
stone rocks. Thi. ;irran-ement is however byno means constant; there
are frequent bluffs on the St. John's, particularly at Volusia, which
are high and covered deep with a rich loamy black sand thickly
over.pread ,ind minglef nitli broken fossil, and periwinkle shells in
every state of lerfec:tion, and below this is only sand: other varie-
ties from the general rule are continually found. However this
may partially be, it seems certain, that.the two harder substrata re-
tain the moisture from oozing through the sands, and thus become
another cause of firtility.
It has been a matter qo'some question whether the orange is an in-
digene of Florida, but after a due consideration of the question it
would appear it is not; for although now found in almost every
swamp and hammock, yet it is only where the wandering Indians may
have scattered the seeds : in those places where they have not been
at all seasons of the year, though far south, the orange is seldom if






THE FLORIDAb.


ever found ; where man has not penetrated with the fruit in his hand
it is unknown. The kind'oforange most common in the Florida woods
is the sour and bitter-sweet : of these latter some are almost as free
from acid as a China orange, and retain only enough of the aromatic
bitter, to make them in the taste of manysuperior tothe sweet orange
itself. A most delicious wine is made in England of the Seville
orange, which appears to be the same that is called the bitter-sweet :
the numerous groves of this fruit in Florida will one day'when the
sugar is plentiful, induce the farmer to adopt orange wine as a
pleasant, healthful and economical domestic beverage.
The wild grapes of Florida when duly trained and cultivated, will
afford another simple fermented drink : let us hope that ihe dreadful
practice of drinking ardent spirits may be checked in our new terri-
tory, and that the more sober juice of the grape and orange may su-
persede the use ofthose intoxicating draughts, which in many parts of
our union threaten almost t6 brutalize the human being and degrade
,him beyond redemption.
The myrtle wax shrub is found in every part of the Flori berries are gathered in a vessel and bruised and then boiled : the
wax is skimmed off and when cold is of a dull green: from this can-
dies are made: it may however be bleached by various simple
chemical processes; in many parts of Carolina and Georgia the
planters use lights of this wax altogether.
The gall nuts which in our druggist shops bear a high price, are
commonly found on the dwarf oaks among the scrub lands in every
part of the country.
Hops are said by Romans to be indigenous in Florida, but the au-
thor did not meet with any. In Sweden formerly a strong cj6th was
made from the stalks of hops, which required however a much lon-
ger time to be steeped in water than flax.
The starry aniseed or somo, or skimmi of Japan and China has
been found indigenous in Florida: and many other plants of that







OBSERVATIONS UIPON THE FLORWD&S.


country are also natives here: whence we may infer that others,
productive in commerce, may be profitably introduced.
Almost all the natural vegetable productions of Florida may be
advantageously turned to account by the industrious, and time will
develop the mode in which it is to be done : at present we can
only point out those more immediately prominent, and proceed to
another division of our subject, having in this one merely aimed at
giving a stranger a more distinct idea of the soil and growth of our
territory and enabling him to judge for himself. Again however it
is deemed incumbent to warn those who are unacquainted with the
subject, from condemning the vast tracts of pine lands in Florida to
neglect, for in the end they will be found to yield perhaps the most
satisfactory returns: it may be said do not visit Florida with high
raised expectations of fertility or you will be disappointed" : but it
must be added. and on the contrary, do not suppose every pine
tract a barren, or that sterility is a consequent 'attendant on our
light soils and sandy regions."















OBSERVATIONS UPON THE SEVERAL APPRO-
PRIATE ARTICLES OF CULTURE.









The great expectations which have been raised respecting Flori-
da, have included within their range a hope of introducing many if
not all of the richest of the West India productions, particularly
coffee, and it even lefd to the projected formation of a company in
Philadelphia for that purpose, who fited out an expedition in July
1821 to explore the country and select eligible spots for the future
cultivation of the coffee plant: the results of this expedition have
never been published, but reports of a nature most favorable to the
scheme were afloat twelve months since: they have however gradu-
ally died away, and if the project has not been abandoned, it waits
at least a more auspicious moment for completion, congress having
refused to grant a peremptive right of purchase to a company, of
lands stated to be eligible for the purposes intended,
SFrom the preceding pages the reader has not perhaps been im-
pressed with such sanguine expectations respecting the coffee plant,
and the author without pretending to negative the assertion of the
practicability of raising this berry, does not think it can be recom-






OBSERV'ATIONS UPOPi


mended as a safe speculation, for reasons stated in other places.
Sea Island cotton, Cuba tobacco, sugar and a numerous list of fruits,
marketable both in a green and preserved state, "surely are produc-
tions in themselves sufficiently lucrative to draw the attention of the
planter, and to these will he confined what follows on the subject of
cultures appropriate to Florida.
Respecting cotton, it has been so profitable to every Florida plan-
ter who has raised and prepared it for market, as done in the south-
ern states, that it may only be slightly mentioned. The resident
gentlemen on Amelia, Talbot and fort George islands, at Pablo, at
Matanzas and at Tomoco have cultivated it for many years, and their
brands have ever commanded the first prices in the markets of Sa-
vannah and Charleston, particularly those of our respected dele-
gate Joseph M. Hernandez, Esq. from his planlalion JAlal, Compra
at Matanzas ; of which, by the bye, it may be remarked, that the soil
high hammock) is now as white and as sandy as the beach of the
Atlantic, and yet most luxuriant crops are annually produced. Here
and at other plantations exists a practice of cutting down the old
cotton stalks and suffering the shoots therefrom to spring up, which
yield with but little trouble a cotton no ways inferior to the first
crop : this is called ratoon cotton. Many of the fields at Tomoco
are equally white and equally fertile with those of Mala Compra,
and this singular appearance is found in very many other parts of
Florida, where the original growth has been almost exclusively
live oak.
Respecting sugar, the recent successful trials that have been made
.upon it, have determined the curious fact that it will grow in almost
any of thesoils of Florada, south ol'the mouth of St. John's river:
the great length of summer, or period of absolute elevation of the
thermometer above the freezing point, allows the cane to ripen
much higher than in Louisiana: it is perhaps the fact that the ei-
hausting vegetation of this article may not allow a profitable planting






THE FLORIDAS.


of it upon the same lands more than two or three years in succes-
sion, yet as it may be raised on the pine lands, a change of fields is
easy, and attended with but little comparative trouble ; and by suffer-
ipg the lands to lie fallow, or by a judicious succession of crops, it
will not require a very extensive tract to establish a sugar plantation.
Perhaps it may be thought that Florida'presents but little to tempt
the large sugar planter: granted, but it is undoubted that if the
culture of the eane should be adopted on a small scale, by the same
proportionate number of cultivators that are in the habit of raising
cotton in Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, their labour would be
amply repaid, and a source of wealth be opened, particularly should
some public spirited and enterprising individuals establish, on cen-
tral and eligible points sugar mills to receive the small crops, pre-
cisely on the same principle that cotton gins and rice mills exist in
the southern states. This would augment the population and in-
crease Abe resources of the country sooner, and better perhaps,
than any other mode, A race of independent respectable farmers
would create society and happiness among themselves, and prove
the back-bone of the new territory.
The fruit culture of every kind will in time become general, but
although highly eligible and certainly lucrative, it will require the
success of a few capitalists to give the tone to the general opinion on
this head. The necessity of waiting four or five years before re-
turns upon the principal can be made, will deter many from attend-
ing to this important branch.
It is upon the poorest spots of land, unlit for almost any thing
else, that many of the numerous subsequent list of fruits may be
brought into cultivation : this mode is one that requires little hard
labour and exposure to noontide suns ; it can and will be adopted
by a large number of the poorer class of persons, who now inhabit
the middle country in Georgia and North and South Carolina : these
industrious people, who are obliged to toil incessantly to raise a
13


* 97





OH'NERVATIONS UPON


few stalks of cotton, the produce of which barely supplies half their
winter clothing, will find in the warmer latitudes of Florida a plela-
sant employment, that will more than triple their returns in their
present state of living.
Another concomitant advantage attendant on the raising and cul-
tivation of fruit will be the circumstance of being able to do it witk-
out shares. If this be properly fostered, we shall only find negroes
wanted by the planter of sugar, cotton and tobacco, while a genera-
tion of industrious whites will grow up whose simple manners and
virtuous habits will resemble the vine cutters and olive dressers of
France and Spain; but free as the air, their unshackled independ-
ence will render them doubly happier than those almost still feudal
peasants ; and as a body they will prevent the possibility of those
commotions which have lately threatened more than one slavehold-
ing state.
It is a well known fact that in West Florida the French govern-
ment ordered a suppression of the vineyards, lest their success might
injure those in France ; and we learn that similar restrictions as to
the olive, and perhaps the grape, were imposed by the Spaniards
over the Florida colonies. Although these decrees are antient, and
have perhaps long become dead letters, yet they must have prevent-
ed the spirit of enterprise, that in-the first instance suggested such
-establishments, which once quenched, was not easily revived.
The native grape of Florida is so very luxuriant, and circum -
stances shewing the practicability of planting vineyards with suc-
cess, let us hope an effort may be made to introduce with judgment
some of the most approved foreign grapes, which may be tried by
graft, by sucker, or by seed.
The Corinthian grape, (vitis apyrena) or the grocers' currants of
thestores, is an article of great consumption, and flourishing in
the Levant, must infallibly succeed in Florida.
The great demand for.dried raisins, both in boxes and jars, can







THE FLORIDAS.


surely be supplied from our own territory. We will not in the first
instance pretend to rival the wines of the Rhine, the Rhone, the
Loire or the Garonne ; to supersede the'produce of Oporto, Xeres,
Sicily or Madeira, but at least we can, after furnishing the deserts
for the table of the opulent, provide a pleasant beverage for those
who do not choose the products of such expensive vintages, and who
will not be dissatisfied to exchange French brandy, New-England
rum, or apple whiskey, for the less exciting but more palatable wines
of their own country : North Carolina has proved that from their
native grapes a delicious wine may be prepared, and can we doubt
our success in a still more genial climate ?
The following list of productions capable of being raised in
Florida, has been made out with some pains, and it is believed all
these stated are profitable and practicable articles.
China orange The olive
Madarin orange The Vine in all its varieties
Maltese orange Corinthian grape, or
St. Michael orange Zante currants
Myrtle orange Pine apple
Lemon Fig
Lime Plantain
Citron Banana
Shaddock Yam
Mangoe Bread fruit
Pawpaw Arrow root
Cocoa ,Gall nuts
Date Dolichos, or Soy bean
Sweet almond Jalap
Bitter almond True rhubarb
Tamarind Ginger
Pistaccio Gum gleni
Acagua Gum guiacum







OBSERVATION& UPON


Aloe Fustic
Cinnamon Braziletto
Pimento Sassafras
Sago palm Balsam tree
Red pepper Senna
Saponeka Sarsaparilla
Jesuits bark Hemp
Benne oil Turkey madder
Palma christi oil True opium poppy
Tea Camphire tree
Sugar Balm of Gilead tree
Cuba tobacco Tumerick
Rice Frankincense
Cotton Cloves, Pepper
Silk Nutmegs
Cork oak Leechee plant of China
Chesnut tree Liquid amber
These and a number of other articles particularly the gums, may
be produced in most parts of the peninsula ; and upon looking over
the list it cannot be denied that if but a little were introduced how
much should we gain and how advantageous would be our prospects.
Having spoken already of the vine and cotton, let us in turn consider
each staple article of importance.
The Cuba tobacco has already been raised in the neighborhood of
St. Augustine from seeds supplied from the Havana: the second
year it however degenerates : this appears no obstacle since the
seed can be procured with the greatest facility, it being very small
and light: and in the lower latitndes the plant may be cultivated
without such frequent renewal. If we can produce in Florida by
these means a tobacco equalto the best from Cuba, it will be a great
desideratum. To perfect the fragrance of the leaf, the vanilla
which is found indigenous all over the country lends its ready aid, and




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