Article Title: "Debate on the Seminole War. Two full pages of speech of Mr. Tallmadge of New York, exonerating Jackson, saying he has earned his laurels, and that Florida was not a 'neutral' territory but a base for hostile Indian operations. "
Author:
Published in: National Intelligencer
Place of Publication: Washington, DC
Publication Date: 2/25/1819




DEBATE ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
CONTINUED.
Mr. TALLMADGE, of New York. In rising to address the House at so late an hour of the day, when the attention of the House was necessarily fatigued by those who had preceded him, and its patience some what exhausted, Mr. T. said, he was aware of the dangers that awaited him ; he was aware of the perils that he must encounter in attempting to proceed. But, Mr. T. said, the resolutions under reconsideration were so important in their nature, and so replete with consequence of such magnitude, involving the interest and the honor of our country, that a sense of duty impelled him to go on.
Sir, said Mr. T. a question of war discussed in the highest deliberative assembly known, to a free people, can never fail to become a question of great individual excitementof great public interest. Its course, and its consequences, to the public happiness, presents it in an aspect almost appalling. But, said he, when the friends of the proposed resolutions tell this House, and tell this nation, that, in addition to the question of the Seminole war and its natural consequences, which we are called upon to discuss in its progress, the constitution of our country has been violated by military power, and the honor of our nation stained by base and inhuman crueltiesit is then, sir, that the question assumes an aspect of ten-fold more importance, and calculated to excite the feelings of this House and to arouse the spirit of the nation. Such, said Mr. T. is the question now presented for discussion. It was due to himself to confess to this House that his feeling were excited upon the occasion, and that he entered upon the discussion with a determination to meet it in all its bearings. But, he said, while he thus frankly avowed his feelings, he begged the indulgence to add, that, while he intended his course in debate should be marked with zeal and decision, yet he also intended to observe the decorum in debate due to the dignity of this house. He said it was his pride to say that, since he had had the honor of a seat on this floor, he never had used against any members a harsh expression or severe allusion, and that he never would. He tendered his acknowledgements to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Cobb) for the example he had set in the openingardent in debate, but temperate in expression. Mr. T. said it should be his course; he hoped others would also observe the example. His own opinion was decisively formed upon full examination of all the documentsand, while he did not doubt of the proper result, and which he should endeavor to prevail on this house to adopt; yet, he was free to declare, there was ample room for difference of opinion, and, therefore, he was not inclined to cast any imputations upon those from whom he might differ. He was disposed to proffer to them the most charitable indulgence, and he was the more desirous they should accept from him the proffer, because he solicited it for himself form them in return.
Mr. T. said a doubt had already been expressed whether this house had the power to discuss and express its opinion upon the present subject, and a hope had been intimated that those who opposed the resolutions would not put that opposition upon the want of right and power in the house, and thus prevent the enquiry. He said, as for himself, he would not. It was a point upon which he had no doubts. A great national question had arisen, connected with a recent war, and which had justly excited public feelingit was in his opinion fit and proper that the representatives of the people should investigate the subject and express their opinion. Mr. T. said, it was asserted that the major general, who had conducted the war in its progress, had violated his ordershad broken the constitution, and had, by cruelties, dishonored our national character. Yet, said he, the President, from whom those orders emanated, had not arrested him, but has approved of his proceedings, and, consequently, stands responsible for the result. Whatever doubts might have been entertained as to our powers in the question between this house and the major general, approved and adopted as the transactions had been by the President, it was now a question between him and the public; and no doubt of our powers could be reasoned entertained. Mr. T. said, he hoped the power of the house would ever be sparingly exercised, and be reserved for great occasions. But, I hold, said he, that we have the power, and that it becomes a duty to investigate and express our opinions on great public occasions, producing public excitement. It is here, on this floor, and through their representatives, that the people can only speak. Your administration may become corruptyour Executive officers may violate the laws; break the constitution; and, by violent outrages, even involve the country in war. In such an event, here, on this floor, and in this power for which I am now contending, will ever be found the only sure corrective. It is one of the dearest privileges of this house; one the most essential to the liberties of the country to be preserved and maintained; and he hoped it would be the last prerogative ever surrendered. So far, then, from wishing to avoid the present discussion, I hold, said Mr. T. that the charges made are of so deep a dye, and have produced such excitement, that it has become our duty, as the representatives of the people, to enquire, and to advise; nay, even to instruct public opinion upon the subject now under discussion. And, Mr. T. said, it afforded him a proud consolation to believe that the state which he had the honor in part to represent, would be willing to adopt as correct the opinion which this house should announce. Such, said Mr. T. has been the sensation produced by the manner and character of the accusations which have been thrown out, that he had no hesitation to say, if this house should terminate their session, and omit to enquire into, and avow their opinion upon the present subject, it would disappoint the nation, and fix upon this house an eternal stigma, as wanting spirit to pronounce between the country and the administration; or, if gentlemen would rather have it so, between the proposed resolutions and General Jackson. He said he had no unwillingness on his part. And, he hoped the house would hold fast upon the present resolutions, and insist upon a direct vote upon the accusing propositions. If the constitution has been violated; if the honor of the nation is stained by cruelties, this house should declare it to the country. If, on the contrary, the accusations are found to be incorrect, it was due to the administration; it was due to the character of Gen. Jackson, that we should so declare, and thus wipe away the unjust imputations. A vote of thanks has been talked of. Mr. T. said he should oppose any substitute for the present resolutions. The thanks of this house constitutes the best wealth of this nation; too precious to be used, unless on extraordinary occasions. Such was the affair of Orleans. But, it is sufficient that on investigation of the Seminole war, there shall be found no cause for blame. A decided rejection of the proposed resolutions of censure was all that the present occasion required.
But, said Mr. T. in addition to the proposed censure contained in the resolutions, they also contain subjects on which legislation is proposed. He said, he was not prepared to say but legislation on those points might be proper, at a proper time, and under proper circumstances; but he was prepared to say that, on this occasion, under the present public excitement, and coupled with the proposed resolutions for censure, he, for one, would not consent to legislate. The act of legislation, under existing circumstances, would necessarily imply in itself a disapprobation of this house to the proceedings approved and adopted by the President, and would include a direct censure upon Gen. Jackson. Let us, said Mr. T. reject the whole of the resolutions. If any gentleman thinks that legislation on any of these subjects is requisite for the public good; if he would bring it forward as distinct and disconnected propositions, it would undoubtedly receive the deliberate consideration of this house, and under no other circumstances ought it to be entertained. He said he was opposed to any act of this house which, by any inference, would look like censure on General Jackson; a man whose name and whose fame was identified with the history and the glory of our country; he would not say the first military captain of any country; but he thought he might say the first in ours.
In addition to the important questions involved in the present discussion, Mr. T. said the honorable Speaker, (Mr. Clay,) has also introduced the treaty signed between our country and the Creek Indians, in August, 1814; and the has expressed his indignation at the manner in which that treaty was made, and at its haughty and dictatorial terms. He has intimated that the harsh and severe exactions of that treaty were the probable causes of the present Seminole war. Mr. T. said he differed in opinion with the honorable Speaker in regard to that treaty. He did not discover in it that haughty temper, that spirit of exaction on the part of our country, which had so much offended the Speaker. The honorable Speaker had repeated, with great emphasis, " The United States demand," " The United States demand," seven times. Yes, sir, said Mr. T. the United States, by that treaty, did demand; they had melancholy cause to demand. Theirs were the wrongs; theirs were the sufferings; they were the injured party; they had, for years, endured very misery incident to Indian hostilities; the friendly tribes and the frontier settlement had been plundered of their property, and those tribes and our frontier had bled from Indian warfare, until the nation had been compelled to sustain the expence and the sacrifices for their complete subjugation. It was under such circumstances that the treaty of Fort Jackson was made. Sir, said Mr. T. the United States did demand; it was their unfortunate right to demand; it was their duty to demand; and, after seven times demanding, indemnity was not obtained for a tythe of our sufferings. Mr. T. said he found nothing in the treaty that placed our country in the wrong. It recites that the war was " unprovoked" on our part; that it was " inhuman and sanguinarywaged by the hostile Creeksinstigated by impostors, denominating themselves Prophets, and by foreign emissaries.";
Sir, said Mr. T. the honorable Speaker has also represented that, by the treaty of Fort Jackson, the United States had demanded of the Indians the surrender of their prophets; hence, he has exclaimed, with a voice that overcame me, "spare them their religion ! spare them their prophets ! spare them their superstition !"
Mr. T. said, the representation given by the honorable Speaker, of the sixth article of that treaty, was so unlike the view, which he had taken of that article, that he was compelled to conclude that, in the hurry of debate, the honorable Speaker had entirely overlooked the concluding clause of the article, and thus had totally mistaken its meaning. Mr. T. said he would read it. " The United States demand the capture and surrender of all the prophets and instigators of the war, whether foreigners or natives, who have not submitted to the arms of the United States, and become parties to these articles of capitulation, if ever they shall be found within the territory granted to the Creek nation by the second article." Sir, said Mr. T. a treaty was formed between our country and the Creek nation, in 1790. This treaty had been observed on out part, but had been broken on the part of the Creek nation, by repeated, and almost continued acts of hostility. During the late war between our country and Great Britain, one-third of the Creek nation had continued to observe the treaty, and hence were denominated the friendly Creeks: the other two-thirds, instigated by their impostors, called prophets, and foreign emissaries, had joined Great Britain in the war, and desolated our frontier; they were known as the hostile Creeks. An expedition into their country, and the destruction of their towns, induced them to make the treaty of Fort Jackson. A part of these two-thirds which had been hostile, refused to come into the treaty. They declared their intention to continue the war. They abandoned the limits of their tribe, because they would not submit to the peace. They joined the Seminole Indians on the Florida line: they have since been known as the out-lawed Red Sticks. It was the prophets and emissaries, the instigators of warof these out-lawed Creeks, which the 6th article of the treaty demanded to be surrendered; provided, they would not become parties to the treaty of peace, but, persisting in hostilities, should be found in the territories of the friendly Creeks. Such, said Mr. T. was the evident intention of the 6th article of the treaty. It was a just and necessary precaution for the safety of the country, and to render the peace permanent. The event has abundantly justified the wisdom and the justice of the measure. It is these prophets and these emissaries, and those out-lawed Creeks, who have subsequently instigated and produced the Seminole war, bringing in its consequences, upon our people distress and disasterupon our country expence and difficulties, and upon the miserable Seminole tribe ruin, perhaps even extermination. And yet is our country to be upbraidedto be covered with contumely, because in a treaty of peace she demanded the surrender of those prophets and emissaries? Not the prophets and emissaries of their religion, or of their superstition, but the hostile prophets and emissaries of the out-lawed Creeks, preaching on our frontier, among the miserable natives, war, havoc, and desolation. Sir, my country has not invaded the religion or the superstition of the Indians; it has not carried the precepts of our religion amongst them with the sword or the bayonet. But self-defence and self-preservation required us to resist the efforts of their prophets, breathing war, and kindly aided by the influence and the resources of that government with whom the honorable Speaker had pointed our the remarkable coincidence, that the very day after the treaty of Fort Jackson, we had signed a protocol of peace. Sir, the mild precepts of gospel did not require our country to submit to such wrongs. He would maintain that its conduct had been correct : it was not marked by that haughty and dictatorial spirit which had been ascribed to it. But, sir, I am wrong, and the honorable Speaker is correct, upon who is the censure to rest? The constituted authorities of your country had adopted the treaty; the Senate had ratified and approved it, and this House, said Mr. T. have carried it into effect, by appropriations for that purpose. Sir, our mouths are closed in expressive silence; it ill becomes us to cast back imputations upon the Executive of our government, for faithfully defending a bleeding frontier, and carrying into effect a treaty sanctioned by every department of legislative power. Much less, then, are we to cast a censure on the Major General whose valor and whose skill had promptly terminated a war threatening in its ravages to desolate a sister state.
But, said Mr. T. to what conclusion does the argument tend, that this Seminole war was the offspring of the severe and dictatorial demands exacted by our country in the treaty of Fort Jackson? Would gentlemen have the President sit with folded arms, an answer to the supplications of a bleeding frontier, " the arm of the Union shall not be extended for your relief," because our country was in the wrongbecause we had excited the war by our unjust exactions in the treaty of Fort Jackson? Would gentlemen on this ground censure Gen. Jackson, because he too did not pause to enquire into the justice of the war; but, when ordered by the Executive, he flew to the frontier settlement, carrying to them succor and safety?
But, said Mr. T. we have been told this war was, on the part of our country, an offensive war; and, therefore, it did not come within the powers of the Executive to carry it on; and therefore the powers of this House, and its right to pronounce on peace and war, had been invaded, and our constitution had thus been violated. I am extremely embarrassed, said Mr. T. to determine how to answer this objectionan objection presenting an aspect so tremendous. The prerogatives of this House, on peace and war, are invaded!the constitution of our country violated! The Executive of our government, upon his own responsibility, has waged an offensive war; or he has sanctioned, and subsequently approved of Gen, Jackson's making offensive war upon a defenceless Indian tribe! Is the Seminole war offensive, on our part? At the last session of this House, we specially appropriated money for the support of this war. But my excited feelings, said Mr. T. forbid me to discuss this point.
Sir, you are an American! Go! count the bleeding scalps of your murdered countrymen, of all ages and sexes, found by Gen, Jacksonand then return, and tell to this House if this Seminole war was, on the part of your country, an offensive war! Tell this House, also, if you advise a vote of censure to be passed on the conduct of either the Executive, for his just orders, or upon Gen, Jackson, for discovering upwards of three hundred dried, and fifty fresh scalps, with a red pole erected as the beacon of Indian war, and crowned with the scalp of an American citizen!
Sir, said Mr. T. if I am correct, that the Seminole Indians had waged an inhuman and destructive war upon the frontiers of Georgia, it became obligatory upon the Executive of the Union, both in the spirit and the letter of his duty, to extend the arm of government for their protectionno matter from what causes the war was produced; no matter from whence its origin. It was sufficient that a sister state was assailed, and called upon the Union for defence. Its omission by the Executive would justly have incurred the censure of this House. Sir, the President did not omit, in this respect, his duty. He called Gen. Jackson into the field, and vested him with discretionary powers, " to concentrate his force, and to adopt the necessary measures to terminate the conflict," Gen. Jackson promptly performed his duty: he did adopt the necessary measures; he has terminated the conflict; he has reported his proceedings; they have been adopted and reproved by the President. Here, then, said Mr. T. the affair with Gen. Jackson is at an end. He stands justified and discharged; whatever may have been the incidents in the progress and the conduct of that war, committed to his charge, he is exonerated from all responsibility. Good intentions and a faithful exercise of his discretion, under the circumstances as they transpired, were all that ever could be required of Gen. Jackson. This is not doubted. The responsibilities of the transaction are therefore cast upon the Executive. It is an affair between the country and the President. Mr. T. said he rejoiced that it was; for he had no idea of Executive irresponsibility. He never would consent that a military officer should be charged with discretionary powers, and then be held responsible for any thing more than good intentions, and good faith in the performance of his duties.
But, he said, let me not be misunderstood. He disclaimed any wish to prevent enquiry. He had no desire to claim for Gen. Jackson the protection of Executive responsibility. It would be doing injustice to the high character of that man. And he believed the whole tenor of his conduct would bear the strictest scrutiny. With this view, and although he thought General Jackson was sufficiently acquitted and discharged buy Executive approbation, yet he should now proceed to examine the progress of the warand he invited the fullest investigation.
Sir, said Mr. T. I hold that Gen. Jackson was vested with full and ample powers for the conduct of the Seminole war. The orders to him were discretionary; vesting in him adequate authority for every emergency that might be incident to the campaign. Under the circumstances, such discretionary orders were correct. He was about to be immersed in the wilderness, form whence he could neither communicate nor receive information from the War Department. It was therefore necessary to confide to him the whole conduct of the war; and the orders from the War Department, collectively considered, clearly vested in him ample powers for every exigency that the campaign might require. The functions of the War Department were expended in the amplitude of his orders. No additional powers could have been given, under any state of circumstances, had the War Office accompanied him into the wilderness. His ample and discretionary powers embraced every case; and covered and justified his whole conduct. Not, said Mr. T. that the orders to Gen. Jackson could justify him in doing any wrongin making an offensive war, or in violating a neutral territory; but whatever act was required to be done, whatever the events of the war justified to be done, and which the War office might have ordered, so far the orders to Gen. Jackson extended. If I am correct in this position, there is an end to all questions about violation of orders; Gen. Jackson is justified; and the question only remains between the Executive and the country.
Sir, said Mr. T. with a view to a full understanding of the orders to Gen. Jackson, it will be necessary for the House to look back to the state of things, and the orders that had been issued form the War Department, before Gen. Jackson took command. The state of Georgia had suffered by serious depredations on the property of her frontier settlements, and in the massacre of her citizens; she had called for the aid of the Union; Gen. Gaines had been assigned to the command of that district; and the general government had demanded reparation from the Indians for past aggressions. In a letter from the War Office to Gen. Gaines, 30th Oct. 1817, speaking on this subject, it says, " Should the Indians, however, persevere in their refusal to make such reparation, it is the wish of the President that you should not, on that account, pass the line and make an attack upon them within the limits of Florida, until you shall have received further instructions for this Department. In a letter to Gen. Gaines, 2d Dec. 1817, it is said, " The state of our negociations with Spain and the temper manifested by the principal European powers, make it impolitic, in the opinion of the President, to move a force at this time into the Spanish possessions, for the mere purpose of chastising the Seminoles for the depredations which have heretofore been committed by them." On the 9th of Dec. 1817, the War Department wrote to Gen. Gaines, after speaking of hostile acts, " Should the Indians, however, assemble in force on the Spanish side of the line, and persevere in committing hostilities within the limits of the United States, you will in that event, exercise a sound discretion as to the property of crossing the line for the purpose of attacking them and breaking up their towns." On the 16th Dec. 1817, another letter says, " Should the Seminole Indians still refuse to make reparation for their outrages and depredations on the citizens of the United States, it is the wish of the President that you consider yourself at liberty to march across the Florida line, and to attack them within its limits, should it be found necessary: unless they should shelter themselves under a Spanish fort. In the last event, you will notify this Department." In this situation of the orders, Mr. T. said, Gen. Gaines was directed to go to Amelia Island, and perform certain duties at that place. Shortly after this departure, such further intelligence was received, of increasing hostilities on the part of the Indians, that the War Department, on the 26th Dec. 1817, wrote to Gen. Gaines at Amelia Island, informing him, that the Seminole war had " assumed so serious an aspect," "that they could not be brought totheir reason without the actual use of force;" that Gen. Jackson had been ordered to take commandthey regretted the absence of General Gaines, and " that the service should be deprived of his well known skill and vigilance," and directed him, " if his force was sufficient, to penetrate through Florida, and cooperate in the attack on the Seminoles." On the same 26th Dec. 1817, orders were issued to Gen. Jackson to take command. This was the first order issued to him: and it recited " the increasing display of hostile intentions by the Seminole Indians;" it informed him that the regular force under his command was eight hundred; that there was supposed to be twenty-seven hundred Indians; and empowered him to call on the Executives of the adjacent states to detach such additional military force as the might deem requisite to beat the enemy." This order also informed him, that Gen. Gaines was directed " to penetrate from Amelia Island, through Florida, to the Seminole towns, if his force would justify his engaging in offensive operations. WITH THIS VIEW, you may be prepared to concentrate your force, and to adopt the necessary measures to terminate a conflict which it has ever been the desire of the President, from considerations of humanity, to avoid, but which is now made necessary by their settled hostilities."
Sir, said Mr. T. on thus reviewing the orders which have been issued from the war department, the house cannot fail to observe the cautious policy and progressive steps which have influenced and marked the conduct of the cabinet. Critically situated in regard to our foreign relations, the President was justly anxious to defend the frontier of Georgia, and yet so cautiously to measure out means of that defence, as not to involve our country in a European war. Hence the restrictive and hesitating character of the orders issued to General Gaines; gradually relaxing and acquiring progressive energy in proportion to the aspect of Indian hostilities. At first forbidding Gen. Gaines to cross the Florida linethen permitting him to cross, if necessary to resist new aggressionsand finally leaving it to the exercise of his sound discretion, and only requiring him to notify the department in case the enemy took shelter under a Spanish fort. Under affairs thus situated, the government received information which forbad all further hesitationwhich denied all further caution. The war had now assumed too deep a dye to be longer tampered withit must now be met, regardless of consequences. Sir, said Mr. T. it is a fact, recited in one of the letters, but not generally observed or known to this house, that the murder of Lieut. Scott, and his detachment of about thirty persons, which had been perpetrated on the Chatahoochie river, in October, did not come to the knowledge of the President until the morning of the 26th of December. Sir, it was on that day that Gen. Jackson was ordered to take the command. It was this new informationit was the serious aspect which the war had now assumed, which called Gen. Jackson into the fieldwhich induced the cabinet to change its cautions policy, into measures of offensive war. Sir, said Mr. T. this circumstance also gives explanation and meaning to the language of Gen. Jackson's orders. In all the orders previously issued to Gen. Gaines, some limitation had been contained; but, when Gen. Jackson was ordered to command, no restriction was suggested. The cabinet had determined upon carrying the war into the Seminole country, and hence the orders to Gen. Jackson speak of a force " to justify his engaging in offensive operations." " With this viewwith what view ? Said Mr. T." with this view of offensive operations, you are to adopt the necessary measures to terminate the conflict." Sir, said Mr. T. can language be more explicit ? Can discretionary power and general authority to an officer to conduct a war, be more clearly delegated ? But, said Mr. T. if gentlemen yet doubt the fair meaning and the true extent of Gen. Jackson's orders, let me ask them to look at the letter from the war department, to Gov. Bibb; not, said Mr. T. as giving additional powers to Gen. Jackson, but, where doubt is entertained, as giving from the war department a construction of its own orders. And what does this letter to Gov. Bibb say ? " Gen. Jackson invested with full powers to conduct the war in the manner which he may judge best."
Sir, said Mr. T. if honorable gentlemen are not yet satisfied, I will ask their attention to the message of the President, made to this house on the 25th of March last. " The enclosed documents shew that the hostilities of this tribe were unprovokedthe offspring of a spirit long cherished, and often manifested towards the United States; and that in the present instance it was extending itself to other tribes, and daily assuming a more serious aspect. As soon as the nature and object of this combination were perceived, the major general commanding the southern division was ordered to the theatre of action, charged with the management of the war, and vested with the powers necessary to give it effect." Will gentleman ask for more ?
But, sir, there is still another and a difference aspect in which the orders to Gen. Jackson ought to be viewed. He was not only by those orders charged with the management of the war, and vested with the powers necessary to give it effect, but, sir, it will be found, on reference to the documents, that he was also commissioned to " inflict speedy and merited chastisement on the deluded Seminoles." In the order from the war department of 16th January 1818, he was told" the honor of the United States requires that the war with the Seminoles should be terminated speedily, and with exemplary punishment for hostilities so unprovoked." In a letter from the war department, Feb. 2, 1818, he is told, " the confidence reposed in your skill and promptitude assures us that peace will be restored on such conditions as will make it honorable and permanent."
Sir, said Mr. T. in addition to the discretionary power and general authority vested in General Jackson, for the management of the war, he was also required, in the progress of the war, to inflict merited chastisement upon the deluded Indians, with such exemplary punishment for their unprovoked hostilities, as would be calculated to deter them from future wars, and render the peace " permanent." This is the frank and fair construction to be given to the orders of Gen. Jackson. Whatever he has done in the progress of the war comes not only within the spirit, but also within the letter of his instructions. Will gentlemen yet talk of violated orders, and propose a vote of censure for cruelties inflicted by him ? No sir, Gen. Jackson stands justified by his instructions, which he has promptly and faithfully obeyed. If there is any censure to arise from the transaction, it must rest upon the fountain from which his instructions emanated. But, said Mr. T. there is no cause for censure. The crisis called for decisive measures. It was a high and important trust. The President wisely confided its execution to the discretion, the wisdom and the valor of the commanding general, who, thank God, had failed to meet the just expectations of his country in no single instance.
[When Mr. T. had proceeded thus far in his speech, the committee, on motion of Mr. Poindexter, rose, and the House adjourned.]
(Debate continued on second page.)
DEBATE ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
CONTINUED.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESJAN. 23.
Mr. TALLMADGE resumed the floor. He recapitulated the points, which he had endeavored to establish in his remarks of yesterday. He urged some additional reasons in support of his construction of the orders and the powers to General Jackson.
But, said Mr. T. before we progress with Gen. Jackson in his conduct of the war, it is proper for this house to notice some of the circumstances which greatly tend to elucidate the motives connected with this transaction. Sir, it was the state of Georgia which called upon the Union for defence. This state had often suffered the cruelties of Indian warfare. In 1793 and 4, under the administration of Washington, a bloody Indian war was waged upon Georgia. She then called upon the Union for defence, and Gen. Washington assigned for her protection what he considered a competent military force. The state of Georgia was dissatisfied, and complained of the inadequacy of the defence. That state ordered out, upon her own responsibility, an additional military force of about 1500 men. The expences incurred for this force, were nearly one hundred and forty thousand dollars, and which sum the state of Georgia has contended, ought in justice to be assumed and refunded by the general government. Sir, they have often petitioned for the payment of this claim. Seventeen different times, and indifferent shapes, applications for these expences have been before this house. Sir, it was only at the last session of this Congress, that the subject of the Georgia militia claims was discussed on this floor. It was then that the honorable gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Cobb,) spoke so ardently in their behalf, and in the course of his remarks he took occasion to give this house a minute and feeling description of an Indian massacre, and the dangers and sufferings of a frontier settlement. I wish, said Mr. T. I was blessed with the eloquent powers of that gentleman (Mr. Cobb) I would rehearse to this house the appeal he then made. It would enable gentlemen to better to appreciate the public services of Gen. Jackson, in bringing to a speedy termination the recent war, and under such " chastisement" and merited " punishment" for unprovoked hostilities, as had rendered the peace " permanent," and, he hoped, had freed our sister state from future dangers. Sir, said Mr. T. it was my fortune, on that occasion, to oppose the Georgia claims. I opposed them on the ground that I never would permit a state to act not only independently of, but in opposition to, the determination of the general government. Sir, said Mr. T. the honorable gentleman, (Mr. Cobb) has told us that " he loved his countrythat he loved the constitution." Mr. T. said he reciprocated this sentiment, with some addition. I too love my countryI too love the constitution; and, in addition, said Mr. T. I love the Union. And whenever, and as often as the case may occur, that a state shall attempt to act separate and independent of the general government, whether such case shall occur either at the south or at the east, he, for one, would never consent to pay the expences of their separate transactions. If such a principle is once adopted, said Mr. T. farewell to the constitution, which gentlemen so much love ! Farewell to that Union which alone secures the only rational hope of future happiness to our country ! But, said Mr. T. while it was so important never to permit a state to act separate and independent from the general government, or in any manners to disregard the determinations of the constituted authorities of the Union, it followed, as a consequence equally important and necessary, that the Union should promptly and effectually perform its duties to the states. The state of Georgia had before suffered under Indian hostilities, and she had complained of injustice from the Union, by an insufficient defence.
Sir, said Mr. T. it was only last winter that I heard it said upon this floor, that gentlemen who resided on the Atlantic coast, and contiguous to the large cities, did not properly appreciate the horrors of Indian hostilities, nor sufficiently sympathise in the sufferings of a frontier war. When the Georgia claims were rejected, it was more than intimated that, under such circumstances of supposed injustice, the Union was an injury rather than a blessing. The representatives of Georgia said that the Seminole war was them raging on their frontier, and the Union had not provided them any adequate defence. Sir, said Mr. T. Gen. Gaines, who them commanded on that frontier, was, in private conversations on this floor, and he believed he might say even in public opinion, severely censured for his indolent and inefficient management of the war. It was then asked of me, said Mr. T. how Gen. Gaines, who had acquitted himself so well in the northern campaign during the late war, and had shown himself such a perfect Hotspur in battle, could so supinely waste his time on the southern frontier ? Sir, said Mr. T. so much did the character of General Gaines suffer in public opinion, one year for this time, from his inaction on the Florida line, that it was often asked it his wounds and his years had not impaired his military talents ? Georgia did not hesitate to express her dissatisfaction. The honorable gentleman, (Mr. Cobb,) was heard upon this floor, and her complaints, through the medium of the public prints, were sent forth to the country. Sir, the orders from the War Department to Gen. Gaines, have subsequently been published. Mr. T. said he rejoiced they were: it was but an act of justice to Gen. Gaines that those orders should be known to the public; and he hoped the public would cast back their recollection, and do justice to his character. Sir, those orders now shew that the inaction of the campaign was not the fault of Gen. Gains; he was limited and restricted. It was the cautious policy of the cabinet, and not the supineness of the General, which made the war so long linger on the Florida line. But when the murder of Scott's detachment, and of Mr. Garrett's family, with various other aggressions, were made known, accompanied with the recollection of the past circumstances of complaint on the part of Georgia, and with the knowledge of her dissatisfaction of the ineffectual defence afforded to her by the Union, the President could no longer hesitate. Here then, said Mr. T. you see the combined causes that called Gen. Jackson into the field. Here you observe the motives that induced the President to delegate to him discretionary power and ample authority to adopt the necessary measures to terminate the conflict with such chastisementwith such merited punishmentas would secure a speedy and permanent peace. Here too, sir, you discover the causes which, in addition to General Jackson's known promptitude of character, induced him to a firm and energetic performance of his orders. But, sir, we are now told there has been too much promptitude and too much energy used by Gen. Jackson in his management of this war. We are even told that he has usurped the power of this house, and violated the constitution, in making offensive war on the Seminoles; and that, under his instructions to chastise and punish, he has committed cruelties which have stained the honor of our country. Sir, from what source do we hear these accusations ? It is from the representatives of Georgia. It was only last winter the honorable mover of the resolutions for censure, asked and obtained from this house a law, providing for extra pay and rations to the Georgia militia, which had been detached in the Seminole war. Little could General Jackson have anticipated, when he encountered the fatigues and the perils of the campaignwhen he put his character his life on its event, that the representatives of Georgia would be the first to cast censure upon him for too much energy in their defence; rather did he expect that they, in common with his country, would look with a benignant eye upon the performance of his high and critical duties; and that, instead of a jealous scrutiny of his conduct, where good intentions were evident they would rather applaud than censure, and that where they could not justify, they would at least forgive. But, said Mr. T. if the right of this house to pronounce on peace and war, has been invaded; if the constitution has been violated, it ought to be proclaimed to the country. He rejoiced there were gentlemen who possessed sufficient spirit and firmness to announce it; and that it was announced by the honorable gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Cobb,) he did not mention as matter of accusation, but as cause for commendation. He pointed it out as a rare instance of political integrityof an excess in political virtue, which would not suffer our powers to be invadedwhich would not even wink at a violation of the constitution, although the cause of the invasion, and the subject of the violation, should be the defence of the constituents of that honorable gentleman, his home, his family.
Sir, said Mr. T. Gen. Jackson received his orders, requiring him to take command, at Nashville, on the 12th of January, 1818. This great military captain immediately commenced his operations; and such, said Mr. T. has been the rapidity of his measure, and the velocity of his movement, that the tongue of the narrator can scarcely keep pace with his march. He immediately announced an appeal to the patriotism of the Tennessee volunteers, to accompany him in his expedition; and he made a requisition for a detachment of Georgia militia. The first came forth at his call, and the second were, in process of time, detached and prepared to join him. This force, united with his regular troops ad some friendly Indians, were concentrated at Fort Scott. Without the means or the possibility of transportation, Gen. Jackson, on the 26th of March, and with only eight days' provision, having bravely determined " to subsist on the enemy," took up his line of March from Fort Scott. He entered the unexplored wilderness; he crossed the Florida line; he sought and found the Indian enemy in their fastness; he vanquished them, and destroyed their towns. In his pursuit of the embodied fugitives, he found St. Marks was the source of their supplies, and that its possession was threatened by his enemy. He occupied that place, and from thence directed his march to Pensacola, from whence he drove out the Indians who had fled there for shelter, and for new supplies. He also occupied that place, with the fortress of Barancas; and on the 29th of May terminated a war, which had, for more than eighteen months, ravaged your frontier, and we fast spreading to other Indian tribes. Sir, said Mr. T. it is the incidents of this campaign, so rapid in its progressso brilliant in its execution, and, in his opinion, so replete with important and beneficial results, that gives rise to the present discussion. In its progress, sir, a neutral territory has been entered; the posts of St. Marks and Pensacola have been taken; two Indian chiefs, and two British subjects, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, have been executed; and, said Mr. T. I rejoice at these events. I honor rather than blame the General who had firmness to determine and give effect to such measures. In avowing this opinion, said he, I am confident I do but speak the opinion of our nation.
We have been called upon, said Mr. T. to produce the laws of nations, which will justify these proceedings. I maintain, said he, that the principles upon which the laws of nations between the free governments of Europe are founded, when rightly understood, do embrace and justify all the proceedings. But, said Mr. T. I shall not undertake the labor of the argument in this point of view. It is sufficient for my purpose to say, that that system of national laws, established by common consent of mankind, as a rule of action between free, separate and independent governments, has no application to the present case. The history of Europe affords no parallel to the present circumstances, and could not be expected to have provided a rule for the present case. There is not an instance in Europe, where one nation, acting upon its own usages, and claiming to have, as a nation, the power of a making peace and war, resided within the limits and boundaries of any other sovereign and independent nation. Sir, the Floridas were not a neutral territoryit was the territory of your enemy. There he residedfrom there he issued from his fastness, crossed the boundary line, and depredated your property, and murdered your citizens; and when you pursued him, it was there he fled for safety. Sir, I repeat, Florida was not a neutral territory. It was the country of your enemy, used and occupied by him, and, as such, you had a right, and it became your duty to enter it, in the pursuit, and for the subjugation of that enemy. But if gentlemen will insist on calling this a neutral territory, I ask, what are its consequences ? In every page of those national laws, upon which so much reliance has been placed, the government of a neutral country is made responsible for the conduct of persons within its limits. If such government authorises any acts of hostile aggression, it becomes just cause of war. If unauthorized and disavowed hostile incursions are made from its territories, it is no cause of war, but is considered as sudden irruptions bursting forth upon an adjoining nation, who, from the circumstances and necessity of the case, is vested with full right and ample authority to use the requisite means and force to prevent such irruptions, and provide for their own safety and defence. As a neutral territory, therefore, we had a right to enter it in self-defence, and for out own safety. Gentlemen may not agree on what ground it was entered. It is sufficient for my purposes, to say, that on either or both these grounds we did enter this territory, and my heart approves of the result. Sir, mark the coincidence of discordant circumstances. Arbuthnot and Ambrister, two English emissaries, in a neutral Spanish territory, instigating a savage war upon a peaceful American state ! When our government complain, the British Minister answers they have not jurisdiction out of their own country, and cannot prevent the evil. The Spanish Governor says he has not the power to control Indians and English subjects, and worthy gentlemen on this floor, tell us it is a neutral country, and, therefore, we cannot help ourselves. Were ever doctrines advanced so preposterous ? Had General Jackson listened to such reasoninghad he returned with such arguments as the only result of his campaign; what would have been the language of our bleeding frontier ? And, because he did not, a vote of censure is solemnly proposed.
But, sir, St. Marks, a Spanish post, has been taken.Advert to the documents on this point, and it will clearly appear that this place was in use, and, in fact, a mere depot for Indian supplies, and was, in addition, so weak and ineffectually garrisoned, that there was just cause to apprehend the Indian enemy would take possession of it. A belligerent is clearly entitled " to seize, and temporarily to occupy and even garrison a post of a neutral country, in order to prevent the designs of his enemy in seizing the place, whenever the sovereign of the country is not able to defend it." This principle alone, said Mr. T. would justify the occupation of St. Marks. But the case is much strengthened when we consider it as post of a neutral country, between whose sovereign ourselves is a treaty, in which Spain had solemnly pledged herself to keep in subjection the Indians within its limits, and to prevent hostilities from them, upon our frontier. Every obligation of national law, as well as the faith of treaty stipulation, bound her to performance of this duty. If her imbecility prevented the observance of her obligations, or the unauthorized conduct of its Governor, allowed hostilities to be carried on against us from the territory, every principle of self-defence would justify the occupation of this post, and even the whole country, as far as it contributed to the supplies of our enemy, and his warlike occupation.
Connected with the occupation of St. Marks, was the capture of the two Indian chiefs. One of our gun boats come into the Appalachicola River, and, while there, kept up the British flag. This circumstance is said to have decoyed them on board the boat. Sir, this deception is now matter of great offence. We are told by the honorable Speaker (Mr. Clay) that your stars and your stripes should have floated there. Sir, I freely admit, that the waving of the British flag may have operated to deceive the Indian chiefs. This British flag was familiar to their observation, although in the neutral territory of friendly Spain. It was this British flag, which had waved at the Negro Fort; and at the foot of whose staff one of your American seamen tarred and burnt alive. Its friendly aspect and well-known co-operation in this neutral country, may have readily tended to deceive these Indian chiefs on board an American gun boat. Mr. T. said, they were the chiefs of our enemythey fled to that flag for shelter and supplies; and, for his part, he had no disposition to find fault with their mistake. It might, at least, teach their tribe that a British flag in a Spanish territory might not always be a sure cover for hostilities upon the American people.
But, sir, these two Indian chiefs were taken on shore and executed. The honorable Speaker (Mr. Clay) tells us that it fills him with the deepest regret. I, too, said Mr. T. am not without regret. But, sir, my regret is at the causes which rendered their execution necessary and properand not that General Jackson had firmness to perform his duty; and make an example useful to us and salutary to the Indian nation. Sir, in the person and character of Homathlemicco was found the Indian chief who presided at the inhuman murder of Lieut. Scott and his party. A deed more brutal and savage cannot be found in the annals of Indian warfare. Sir, he was not executed as an enemy only, but as a base murderer marked with every cruelty and stained with the blood of your countrymen.
Hillis Hajo, the other chief, was also hung. The honorable Speaker (Mr. Clay) said he regarded to occurrence with grief; and with great indignation he exclaimed, " Hang an Indian ! Hang an Indian !"! No, sir, said Mr. T. General Jackson did not hang an Indian. Higher destinies awaited this chief. He had ceased to be an Indian; he had recently been home to old England; he had up approached " the throne of his royal highness.:" and while there was commissioned Brigadier General. Yes, sir, he was a British Brigadier General; he wrote a red coat; and by way of special favor and pre-eminence over all others of the same rank, he was furnished with three epaulettes. Therefore, Gen. Jackson did not hang an Indian. He hung a British Brigadier General. I honor him for it, said Mr. T. ; and who is offended ? It was in the territory of Spain; but as she was a neutral power, she has no cause for complaint. And, does England complain ? Disgrace upon her, if she does not. She is bound by every tie of honor to come forward and own her favorite general, Hillis Hajo. I hope she will, said Mr. T. And whenever England does complain, if my voice can control, her complaint shall be handed over for adjustment to our naval heroes; those gallant sons who have borne your cannon upon the deep; who have held their steady march upon the mountain wave, triumphantly displayed to an admiring world banners of your country; they would gladly adjust the account.
But, sir, in the person of this same Hillis Hajo, when his name is translated, we find Francis the Prophet, a man commissioned by Great Britain; tricked off in all the trappings of military dress; furnished as a present from the Prince Regent, with a tomahawk, scalping knife and a rifle, and sent back to his tribe to inculcate, of course, that religion and that superstition which we have been so loudly called upon to " spare," because it was their religion and their superstition. Sir, this one of the order of those pious prophets, whose surrender our country demanded in the treaty of Fort Jackson. A prophet, the crucifix of whose religion is the tomahawk and the scalping knife; the librations to whose worship is the blood of the white man. Ask the mothers of your country if they consent to be surrendered with their children as the willing sacrifices to the ceremonies of such a superstition ? And, yet, our country is blamed, because, in a treaty of peace, she demanded the surrender of such prophets. Not those who would consent, in peace, to enjoy their delusions, but those only who persisted in hostilities and war upon our people.
Sir, said Mr. T. Arbuthnot and Ambrister have also been executed. Who were these men ? Two British subjects in a Spanish neutral territory; two incendiaries instigating an Indian war upon our frontier. The one found in battle and taken with arms in his hands; the other united and commingling with your enemies, acting as their agent, even by express commission, as a power of attorney executed before the neutral commandant of St. Marks, importuning for their use gunpowder and lead: and when the resources of the neutral posts of St. Marks and Pensacola were exhausted, writing letters, and making application for military and in this Indian war, to governor Cameron, and even to the Prince Regent, who Francis the Prophet said " told him, when in England, that, whenever he wanted ammunition, that your excellency would supply him with as much as he wanted," Sir, I forbear to enter into the examination of the documents on your table. It is sufficient that I state, and I state without the fear of contradiction, that Arbuthnot and Ambrister, by their acts, had identified themselves with your Indian enemy; had become allies and parties against you in this cruel Indian war. Sir, what are the just consequences of the relation which these men had voluntarily assumed ? I advance it, said Mr. T. as a proposition not to be controverted, that whatever right war gives against my principal enemy, the like it gives me against all his associates.Connected with this principle I also maintain, that whatever measures your enemy adopts against you; whatever cruelties he exercises towards you, he gives you the right to adopt those measures and to exercise those cruelties upon him in return. Sir, if gentlemen cannot find this rule in their books, it is sufficient for my purpose that its principles are engraved on the heart of man; that its practice is adopted by every nation on the habitable globe. It is the only means by which one belligerent nation can compel another to regard the rules and usages of civilized warfare. It has been adopted by our country, and its practice is recorded in every page of its military history. In all your wars with Great Britain, you have rigidly maintained this doctrine; witness the retaliatory measures resorted to in the late war. But, when the dark and benighted savages of the wilderness have warred upon you, while your right was complete to exercise upon them all the cruelties they inflicted upon you; being an humane, an enlightened, a religious people, you wisely withheld the exercise of that right which the practices of the war had given to you. Sir, you also withheld the exercise of this right upon another principle, because the character, the prejudices, the delusion, and if gentlemen please, the wild superstition of your ferocious is foe rendered all example upon him as ineffectual, as all precept was unavailing. The conclusion for which I contend is, that your right to resort to retaliatory cruelties upon your savage enemy, was complete, its exercise was alone to be regulated by a sound discretion, and by circumstances, with regard only to your own character, influenced by just principle of humanity. I also insist, not " that the white man found fighting by the side of an Indian shall be put to death," but that the white man who unites with Indians, and becomes a party in their wars; is identified with the Indians, and subject to all the rights you have against them as your principal enemy. Such is the well known relation of all allies in war; such was the situation of De Kalb, De La Fayette, and all those worthy foreigners who took part with us in our revolutionary struggle. With such principles in view, and with the murderer of Lieut. Scott's party in your possession, with the General and Prophet Francis your prisoner of war, with Arbuthnot and Ambrister, those civilized savages, instigators and procurers of this war, all in your power, who can doubt that the exercise of a should discretion for the peace and safety of our country would doom them to death ? Held by no treatybound by no tiesregardless of all faithand influenced by no mercywho would advise that such men should be turned loose to remingle with the misguided savages, exhibiting themselves at once as the pledge of your weakness and your fears; and, with their trappings, as the sample of British munificence ? Your documents remind you that your Indian enemies read no books or papershave no sources of information, but from such chiefs and such agents, by whom they have been told of your weakness till they really believed you dared not to brave the power of their warriors, countenanced by British and Spanish officers. I regret, said Mr. T. the necessity of a retaliatory example. But, sir, Gen. Jackson wisely considered the circumstances called aloud for example. Indians, Spaniards, Britons, all needed a lesson. And never did man select four more fit subjects to hang on high as an example to savage credulity, and as a warning to all adventures to beware of combining against us in Indian wars. I hope, said Mr. T. this house will justify the measure. It will give effect to the example, and proclaim to the world the policy of our country in all future Indian wars.
Sir, it is now denied that the power of retaliation belongs to the commanding general. The hon. Speaker (Mr. Clay) has declared it to be an attribute of sovereignty, and that it belongs to this House, as one of its war making powers; and he denies this right to the commander of any portion of our army. In support of his argument, that the right of retaliation was a legislative power, he has read at length, the act of Congress in 1799, giving to the President the power of retaliation upon French citizens for enormities practiced upon our citizens by the French Republic. Sir, it was with some surprize, I heard this act brought into the argument; recollect its cause and its history, and this act proves the opposite conclusion. In 1778 our country made a treaty with France, in which we agreed that she should ever be considered the most favored nation, and whatever privileges we gave to any other nation should be extended to her. In 1794, we made a treaty with Great Britain, in which it was mutually agreed, that the citizens of either country, found in time of war on board an enemy's vessel, our countries being at peace, might be treated as pirates. In 1798, when the French Republic in its mad career, endeavored to involve us in their wars, the insisted that we should at that time, resist by war, the impressments of our seamen, or that they would, under construction of the treaty, execute as pirates any of our impressed seamen which they found on board a British vessel. A spirit to resist such pretensions, gave rise to the act of 1799, cited and relied upon by the Speaker, (Mr. Clay). There was then no war between our two countries; the case came not within the power of any military commander; and the act of 1799, only proves the just retaliatory policy which has ever governed our country.
But, sir, let me ask gentlemen to cast back their recollection to the events of our revolutionary war; what was the conduct and practice of our enemy? Did not the commanding general on this station ever claim and exercise during that war power of retaliation ? Did gentlemen ever hear that as often as a case occurred he sent home for new powers ? If this is a legislative power, as the Speaker (Mr. Clay) has contended, I wish they would shew acts of Parliament for the retaliation measures during that war. Who has not, said Mr. T. heard of the cruelties perpetrated in our revolutions by Delancy's corps; all, all under pretence of retaliation for acts on our part ? Did not the loyalists in New York, confine American officers with the common soldiers, and threaten to compel them to work and dig a prison under ground as retaliation for confirming some British prisoners in the Simbury mines ? I wish, said Mr. T. gentlemen would shew acts of legislative authority for all this class of transaction.
But, sir, what was the course and the conduct on the part of our own country, when Capt.Huddy was hung by the murderous Lippincot ? Was not the unfortunate Asgill set apart by order of Gen. Washington, and doomed to expiate by his death, the cruelties of his nation ? Congress upon that occasion did not legislate; but they " Did Resolve, That the commander in chief, or the commander of a separate army, is, in virtue of the power vested in them, respectively, fully authorized and empowered, whenever the enemy shall commit any act of cruelty or violence contrary to the laws or usages of war, to demand adequate satisfaction the same, and in case such satisfaction shall not be given in a reasonable or limited time, or shall be refused or evaded under any pretence whatever, to cause suitable retaliation forthwith to be made, and the United States, in Congress assembled, will support them in such measures."
When Col. Hayne was executed at Charleston, did not General Greene order retaliation ? Look at Lee's memoir of the southern campaign, and there read the retaliation exercised upon prisoners, to alone for the death of his trumpeter. Sir, it is my fortune to reside to New York, near the lines, which divide the American and British armies. If gentlemen will go with me into the district which I have the honor to represent, every man, woman, and child of that day will recount to them some deed, committed upon the pretence of retaliation. Sir, our fathers at this day point to the trees upon which your citizens have been executed, in order to impart to their children the feelings, which in those days animated their breasts.
Before I leave this subject, said Mr. T. I must beg the indulgence of this committee to permit me to cite one more case, from Gordon's History of the American Revolution, evincing both retaliation the power to which military commanders are sometimes required to resort for the preservation of their country. Sir, I also beg leave to ask the attention of my worthy friend from Maryland (Gen. Reed) to the statement which I shall make. The historian states, that an American officer in an advanced station near Stoney Point, detected a soldier in the act of desertion; that he took him, cut off his head without ceremony, and sent it to the camp of General Washington, whom, it is added, he was severely censured for his cruelty, and for which he afterwards atoned by his bravery in storming that place. Sir, with this aspect, the story proves much; but I reside near that place, and from the tradition of the country, I am enabled to say, the historian is not correct. I turn, said Mr. T. with pleasure to my honorable friend from Maryland, (Gen. Reed) and I rejoice that I am able to say, thou art the man ! Yes, sir, it is you of whom the historian speaks! Thou art the man ! Who without ceremony cut off the head of an American soldier, and sent it to the camp of your general. If I am wrong, said Mr. T. I hope the hon. gentleman will correct me. Sir, it was at a dark and eventful period of the history of your county; our enemy had possession of New York and the Hudson; an army was on the march form the North, and the plan of its campaign was to form a junction and sever this Union which now so happily binds us together. The father of your country, with his little band, was before Stoney Point, but your resources could not supply him with the means for its reduction. Our enemy had announced the intention to consider us as rebels refuse an exchange of prisoners. The groans from the Jersey prison ship echoed through your land; and a regiment then recently surprised at Paoli, on the Delaware, was refused quarter. The terror and the impulse were great; the little army before Stoney Point was first dissolving by desertion, and the fate of your country was suspended on a thread. The great soul of Washington fearlessly met the occasion; he resolved on example, and issued orders that every deserter should suffer instant death. You, sir, (Gen. Reed) had this order in your pocket. The night of your advanced command, three men, taken in the act of desertion, were brought to you. Then, that heart, which danger could not appal, for once trembled; you faultered between mercy and your duty; you comprehend with your generous feelings; you spared two and executed one; and, sir, your immediate superior officer told you it was mistaken mercy. This, and this only, was the /censure to which the historian alludes, as being pronounced upon your conduct. Sir, even this censure you shortly wiped away. Your general foresaw that the crisis on the country required the reduction of Stoney Point; its neck of land was strongly occupied, and he had not the means to approach it. It was determined to carry it by storm. A brave band of American youth undertook the exploit, and you, the bravest of the brave, marened at their head. It was at low tide, and at the midnight hour you entered into the river; under the auspices of darkness and silence you went round the sentinels, and gained the point; you scaled the rampart, and there the bayonet was made to perform its duty. Retaliation ! Nay, Revenge ! hat night drank her fill; and to stimulate your followers to give to it its keenest edge, " Remember Paoli" was the watchword of the night. Sir, you were a member on the committee who made the report now under consideration; and do you yet think that Gen. Jackson should be loaded with his country's censure ? Sir, when Gen. Washington issued that order, which you executed, and without trial, without ceremony, put to death one of your enemies, but an American citizen soldier, did you then think that he and you had served your country ? Did your country sanction his act, applaud your exploit, and blazon both in a manner best calculated to affect her enemy ? Was the public ruined poisoned against your general ? Was congress called upon at that day for a vote of censure ? Or did any man with prophetic spirit caution against military despotism, and forewarn against the coming Caesars ? No ! all was then joy and applause; and blistered be the tongue which would pronounce a censure on the acts of that day. Mute be that voice which will not join in loud applause to your valor, and to the glory or your chief.
Sir, it seemed necessary to meet gentlemen in the discussion of the subject of retaliation; but I contend the present is not a subject of the kind, only. This retaliation is where the innocent person is made to suffer for the guilty; such was the case of the unfortunate Asgill, who was about to suffer for the cruelties perpetrated by Lippencot. The case now before us has no such featuresthe innocent are not made to suffer for the guilty. Arbuthnot and Ambrister had been parties in an Indian war; they were captured in its progress; and suffered for their own conductfor atrocious deeds produced and perpetrated by their procurement. The villain and the victim were here combined. The " chastisement" and " merited punishment" which General Jackson was ordered to " inflict for hostilities so unprovoked," justly fell upon those Christian savages.
Sir, the trial of Arbuthnot and Ambrister by a court, and the rejection of its sentence as to Ambrister, by General Jackson, is the subject of much objection, and probably the great cause of public discontent. It is due to myself, said Mr. T. to confess, that the manner of the publication of the proceedings of the court martial, with the newspaper comments, before the publication of the whole documents, was not without its effect on my mind. My first impression on this point was that of disapprobation. But, Mr. T. said, since he had examined the subject, he had no remaining doubts connected with the proceedings of that court martial. A proper discrimination, said Mr. T. between the different courts or tribunals, usually incident to military proceedings, will tend to correct erroneous impressions on this subject. A court martial, said Mr. T. is a court specially created by the rules and articles of war, and limited in its jurisdiction to officer and soldier, with the single excepted case of the power conferred by statute over the case of a spy. It is a municipal regulation, confined o the discipline of your army, and limited to the police of your camp. These are its limits, and the boundary of is jurisdiction. Thus far it is a valid court, and its decisions are obligatory; and although the commanding general may disapprove, he must then order a second court. But, without its sentence, he cannot punish either officer or soldier under his command. And this, said Mr. T. is the only military tribunal having jurisdiction, that is known to our law. It has no power or jurisdiction over a citizen, an enemy, or prisoner. A citizen is only accountable to the civil tribunal; an enemy or prisoner is not liable to the jurisdiction of any court, but subject to the power commissioned to carry on the war in which his country is engaged. The commanding general has the right, and is made responsible for all proceedings against the enemy. In the progress of military events, when the right to direct is complete in the general, but attended with circumstances of doubt or difficulty, he often directs his officers to inquire and express their opinions, in order to be advised by them in the exercise of his rights. When the subject of the enquiry is concerning any circumstances connected with the movement of the army, it is usually denominated a Board of Officers: but when it regards your enemy, or any prisoner, it is called a Special Court, or Court of Enquiry. These latter courts have no jurisdiction; can pronounce no sentence; confer no right or power upon the commanding general. They are merely advisory to the general, in the exercise of the rights and powers previously vested in him. A Court Martial is bound to legal testimony, and strict rules of evidence; while those other special courts, or boards of officers, having no jurisdiction, and being only advisory, profess only to obtain information, without regard to legal proof.
Sir, said Mr. T. when the unfortunate Major Andre was taken, General Washington directed a special court to answer to him two questions1st. In what light shall the prisoner be viewed ? 2d. What is its consequence ? The court returned for answer that he should be viewed, as a spy; and the consequences, by the laws of nations, was death. General Washington then issued an order for his execution.
In the case of Col. Hayne, of Charleston, Lord Rawdon directed a like court to answer to him, " whether the prisoner, Col. Hayne, should be considered as an English subject, or an American citizen ?" The court were not swornthe witnesses produced were not swornhearsay evidence was admitted, and the court returned for answer that the prisoner should be viewed as a British subject. Lord Rawdon ordered his execution. The objection at that day on the part of this country was not as to the form of his trial and execution, but the unjust principles assumed in considering him a British subject, after he had removed from their limits, and had raised a regiment, and joined our cause.
These cases, said Mr. T. sufficiently shew the distinction in regard to the different military courts, while they demonstrate the principle, that when a country in war had resolved on a campaign, either offensive or defensive, the commanding general is charged with its detail, and bound to adopt such measures as tend to give effect to the campaign, and induce to a termination of the war. The right is complete in the general to make such orders and carry into effect such measures, as, in his opinion, would accomplish the object of the campaign. For the due exercise of this right, be is justly held responsible to his country. The right and the duty to net being in him, in cases of difficulty or importance he directs his officers to inquire and report facts and opinions, not to confer upon him additional powers, but to support his responsibilities, and to advise him in the exercise of his discretion.
Sir, the order of Gen. Jackson, detailing the court in the case of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, calls it "a special court," and, in addition to the names of the members, it details Lt. McGlasselas " recorder." This, said Mr. T. is, in the opinion of military men, a distinguishing feature in the character of a court. Military writers often give no other distinction between these courts than as having either a " recorder" or " judge advocate"; which latter officer is said to be an essential ingredient in the constitutions of a court martial, and without whom no proceedings can be had, and no sentence can be pronounced. Altho' the court in the present case, by mistake, assumed the forms of a court martial, yet it could not there by acquire any power over persons not within its jurisdiction, nor impair the original right in Gen. Jackson to act without its assistance, and independently of its sentence. He did, in the case of Ambrister, so act, and it only remains to examine into the circumstances of the case, and the motives of public policy by which he was influenced, in order to determine whether he shall stand justified, or whether he shall be censured by a vote of this house, as having, by unnecessary cruelties, stained the honor of our country.
Mr. T. said, he would ask gentlemen to review the character and the progress of Indian wars; to cast back their recollections into the history of our country, and tell him if Englishmen and Indians have not always been united in war against the prosperity and the safety of our country. When Burguoyne entered your country on the north, he was preceded by a dark and murky cloud of savage barbarians, like noxious vapors hanging round and moving with his camp. The lamented fate of Miss McCree, tells the course and the conduct of this union between our savage foes and the "Bulwark of our Religion." [Mr. T. proceeded at some length to recount events in Indians wars, and said their rule was to practice every cruelty, give no quarter, and refuse all exchange of prisoners. Our rule had been to burn and break up their towns.] But, said he, if gentlemen who feel for the sufferings and fate of Arbuthnot and Ambrister have any sympathies to spare, let them offer consolationlet them pour them into the afflicted bosom of the unfortunate Mr. Garreta wife murdered and scalped ! A child, murdered and scalped ! An helpless infant, murdered, and the cradle stained with innocent blood ! And then, to consummate the yet unfinished scene, his house was set on fire, and the flames of his house were made to announce to the absent husband and father, the extent of his calamities.
With the history of such wars, of such scenes, and such events, before you, instigated by British subjects carried on and supported by Spanish and British resources, who can doubt the wisdom and the necessity of hanging on high, some signal examples ? Cast your eye westward, over your newly acquired territory, extending to the Pacific Ocean, and inhabited by savage hordes, bounded on the north, by British territory, and on the south by Spanish possessions; can you longer doubt but the era has arrived, when you must avow and maintain the policy of your country, to prohibit the intercourse between Indians and foreign incendiaries ? When I reflect that the example before us, was upon British subjects, in a Spanish territory, it obtains the approbation of my judgment; it commands the joy of my heart. With such views, for the future good of this country, the gallant spirit of General Jackson did not pause. He ordered Arbuthnot and Ambrister to executionjustice approved the deedmerely withheld the tearand even humanity rejoiced. Yet, these men fell not unlamented. Theft, rapine, and murder, bewailed their loss. Superstition and cruelty; the one wrapped in the Spanish cloak, and inquisition's cowl, the other clad in bleeding scalps, the trophies of their friend's exploits, walked as the mourners to their tomb.
Sir, said Mr. T. I think gentlemen do not fairly understand the purport of General Jackson's correspondence, when they describe him, after the occupation of St. Marks, and before the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, as representing that the war had terminated, and from which, it si inferred, the execution of those men was an unnecessary cruelty. The evident meaning of his letters is, that the enemy were so broken and dispersed, the command of a Major General was no longer required. Sir, the war was not terminated. There is no treaty of peace to this hour. Your enemy cut off from all sources of supplies by the energetic proceedings of General Jackson, cannot any longer make war, in numbers or except by marauding parties, and are now held it subjection by a cordon of posts, established by his orders. The necessity for the example was, therefore, rather increased than diminished, from the new and predatory character which the war was expected to assume.
Sir: Pensacola and the Fort Barrancas have been taken. General Jackson, on the 20th of April, reduced his force, by dismissing the Georgia militia, and with the residue, he crossed the Appalachicola River, in pursuit of his dispersed flying enemy. He soon learned that his enemy had free access to Pensacola, was there openly supplied armed form the public stores, and that thus reinvigorated, he issued forth in marauding parties, upon the Alabama frontier. Eighteen of her citizens recently had fallen a sacrifice to one of these Indian parties, coming directly from Pensacola, and again returning to that place [Mr. T. went into an examination of the documents in relation to Pensacola, tending to show its support of the Indians; the free use they had of the place; its unfriendly conduct towards us, an its departure from all neutral conduct. When General Jackson approached the place, said Mr. T. it was filled with Indians. They were sent out of the place across the bay, in government boats, and at its final surrender, and in its capitulation, one of the hostile Alabama Chiefs was included. Perhaps it ought not to be said that this place was in danger of being taken possession of by the Indians. But, in every other respect, all had been said of the first entry across the Florida line, and the possession of St. Marks, is also applicable to this place. But, Mr. T. said, there was yet another point of view in which it ought to be considered. It should be remembered that this was the country of your enemy, and from which he issued to make irruptions upon you; and into which you had pursued him, in order for his subjection.
In the progress of this pursuit, he not only derives shelter from a place calling itself neutral, but also is there permitted to refit, and again to sally forth upon you. Consider also the character of this enemy; a savage foe, covered in the wilderness, deriving all his supplies from this neutral place, and, as often as circumstances will permit, issuing forth in marauding incursions, carrying devastation and ruin into your settlement. When a belligerent invests a place of his enemy, he is allowed to interdict all intercourse with neutrals, for the lawful purpose of carrying into effect the object of his investment. Besiegers do not hesitate to treat as prisoners, and even punish with death, all persons attempting to simply a city besieged. The principle upon which these acts are justifiable, is the lawful object of the belligerent against his enemy, and the effect the intercourse with neutrals would have in defeating those objects. Apply these principles to an army in the field. A belligerent will cut off its resources, and prevent its supplies. Who will say a neutral should be permitted to furnish them, and give them shelter when pressed by your pursuit ? And if the neutral will thus expose himself, he justifies you to resort to the means necessary to deprive your enemy of this resource, and prevent the failure of your own object. But Pensacola was not a neutral place; it was the fountain of supplies to your enemy. The entire use of the place was lent to him. Your enemy occupied it, and fled from it on your approach. If this permission was extended to him, either for partiality or from weakness to resist, you were equally entitled to enter into it temporarily, and hold it from your enemy. Its possession was essential to the success of your pursuit and the defeat of your foe; without it, he would forthwith here refit, and again assail you. In the language of Gen. Jackson, " the immutable laws of self-defence" justifies you. Its subsequent surrender by the President is not inconsistent with its just occupation by Gen. Jackson. The cause, which required its occupation, to complete the defeat of a flying enemy, was removed, and the place was correctly restored. It is upon these principles that St. Marks has been retained, and a condition required, that the Spanish government should occupy it by an adequate force, to secure safety to the adjoining country.
Sir, there are other principle involved in this case, which it was my intention to discuss. But my feeble health and exhausted strength admonish me to close. In this close, permit me to urge upon you the importance of the decision you may pronounce; a decision affecting the reputation of a faithful general; important to the character of our country, and of great influence on our pending negociations.
Sir, in casting a view over the circumstances of the transaction now under consideration, you cannot but consider as established the principal points which lead to the necessary conclusion. A war, savage and offensive, has been waged on your frontier; the constituted authorities of your nation have adopted and contributed to the defence in that war. The Executive of the government assumed the control. He directed the war to be carried across the Florida line, and commissioned one of your major generals with full power to adopt the necessary measures to give the war effect, and bring it to a speedy termination, under such circumstances of merited punishment as would secure a permanent peace. In the progress of this war, your general had occupied the posts of a power professing neutrality. He had overcome in battle your enemy, and had destroyed his towns. The foe, broken and dispersed, could no longer be found in open fight, but, divided into marauding parties, he made his irruptions upon you from the wilderness, less visible, but more destructive. It was found and ascertained that the resources and the supplies for all these hostile incursions were furnished from Spanish neutrality, and English friendship; that they were stimulated by Spanish influence, and guided by British skill. How then could your general execute his commission, and yet stop short of the occupation of those neutral posts, and that friendly influence, which would so soon refit your enemy, and invigorate his hostilities ? How could he say have secured a permanent peace, without exhibiting some instances of punishment, to remain as a warning for incendiaries for its future infraction ? The right to complete those acts was strictly vested in your general. The wisdom and the policy of their execution, can no longer be doubted. Miserable and misguided Indians; my heart sympathises in your misfortunes. But Spain, my indignation for the cold treachery of her character, is lost in my contempt for the duplicity and baseness of her conduct. But thou, England, whom form my mother's breast I have been taught to hate, I never before could fully despise. A people, justly famed for their philanthropyconspicuous for their moral and religious institutionstheir bible and missionary societies, teaching alike to the savages of Asia and America the arts of civil society and the precepts of our gospel. A government professing to us peace, and embodying those professions into a formal treaty, in which is contained an anathema against the traffic in human flesh, and a clause of mutual pledge to prohibit slave trade. And yet, this government uses its influence, advances, and commissions the savages of the wilderness to war upon your frontier.
In the progress of this debate, some of the public services of Gen. Jackson have been recounted. I am no eulogist. I have neither the will nor the power to recount the exploits of the man on whose conduct you are to pronounce. Small must be that man's pretensions to immortality in fame; meagre must be that man's glories, whose friends in debate can enumerate his act and detail the account of his services. The public services of Gen. Jackson are reduced to no ledgered account; they are not of this class; they are of an order, which break upon the imagination and dazzle by their brightness. Sir, the congregated world have compared those achievements, which form the fund of their national glories; among those of modern days, by universal consent, the names of Agincourt and Poictiers stand pre-eminent in brightness. But it is the fortune of our day ! Nay, it is the fortune of our country, to behold those bright names, serve but as the back ground upon which are emblazoned yet more brilliant names of Orleans and of Jackson.
Sir, you may pass the proposed resolution. With the pestiferous breath of censure, you may wither the laurels, which his nation has entwined about his brow. In the language of the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Cobb) " you may even bring that brow itself to the vile dust from whence it sprung;" but yet my heart is cheered with the confiding hope, that history, in justice to his valor, his fidelity, and his public services, will record, in her brightest page, the name of Jackson; while the tears of a grateful country will moisten those laurels, which were entwined around his brow, and reanimate them to bloom an evergreen upon his grave.
(DEBATE TO BE CONTINUED.)



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Article Title: "Debate on the Seminole War. Two full pages of speech of Mr. Tallmadge of New York,
exonerating Jackson, saying he has earned his laurels, and that Florida was not a 'neutral' territory
but a base for hostile Indian operations."
Author:
Published in: National Intelligencer
Place of Publication: Washington, DC
Publication Date: 2/25/1819




DEBATE ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
CONTINUED.
Mr. TALLMADGE, of New York. In rising to address the House at so late an hour of the day, when the
attention of the House was necessarily fatigued by those who had preceded him, and its patience
some what exhausted, Mr. T said, he was aware of the dangers that awaited him ; he was aware of
the perils that he must encounter in attempting to proceed. But, Mr. T said, the resolutions under
reconsideration were so important in their nature, and so replete with consequence of such
magnitude, involving the interest and the honor of our country, that a sense of duty impelled him to go
on.
Sir, said Mr. T a question of war discussed in the highest deliberative assembly known, to a free
people, can never fail to become a question of great individual excitementof great public interest. Its
course, and its consequences, to the public happiness, presents it in an aspect almost appalling. But,
said he, when the friends of the proposed resolutions tell this House, and tell this nation, that, in
addition to the question of the Seminole war and its natural consequences, which we are called upon
to discuss in its progress, the constitution of our country has been violated by military power, and the
honor of our nation stained by base and inhuman crueltiesit is then, sir, that the question assumes an
aspect of ten-fold more importance, and calculated to excite the feelings of this House and to arouse
the spirit of the nation. Such, said Mr. T is the question now presented for discussion. It was due to
himself to confess to this House that his feeling were excited upon the occasion, and that he entered
upon the discussion with a determination to meet it in all its bearings. But, he said, while he thus
frankly avowed his feelings, he begged the indulgence to add, that, while he intended his course in
debate should be marked with zeal and decision, yet he also intended to observe the decorum in
debate due to the dignity of this house. He said it was his pride to say that, since he had had the
honor of a seat on this floor, he never had used against any members a harsh expression or severe
allusion, and that he never would. He tendered his acknowledgements to the gentleman from Georgia
(Mr. Cobb) for the example he had set in the openingardent in debate, but temperate in expression.
Mr. T said it should be his course; he hoped others would also observe the example. His own opinion
was decisively formed upon full examination of all the documentsand, while he did not doubt of the
proper result, and which he should endeavor to prevail on this house to adopt; yet, he was free to
declare, there was ample room for difference of opinion, and, therefore, he was not inclined to cast
any imputations upon those from whom he might differ. He was disposed to proffer to them the most
charitable indulgence, and he was the more desirous they should accept from him the proffer,
because he solicited it for himself form them in return.
Mr. T said a doubt had already been expressed whether this house had the power to discuss and
express its opinion upon the present subject, and a hope had been intimated that those who opposed
the resolutions would not put that opposition upon the want of right and power in the house, and thus
prevent the enquiry. He said, as for himself, he would not. It was a point upon which he had no
doubts. A great national question had arisen, connected with a recent war, and which had justly
excited public feelingit was in his opinion fit and proper that the representatives of the people should
investigate the subject and express their opinion. Mr. T said, it was asserted that the major general,
who had conducted the war in its progress, had violated his ordershad broken the constitution, and






had, by cruelties, dishonored our national character. Yet, said he, the President, from whom those
orders emanated, had not arrested him, but has approved of his proceedings, and, consequently,
stands responsible for the result. Whatever doubts might have been entertained as to our powers in
the question between this house and the major general, approved and adopted as the transactions
had been by the President, it was now a question between him and the public; and no doubt of our
powers could be reasoned entertained. Mr. T. said, he hoped the power of the house would ever be
sparingly exercised, and be reserved for great occasions. But, I hold, said he, that we have the
power, and that it becomes a duty to investigate and express our opinions on great public occasions,
producing public excitement. It is here, on this floor, and through their representatives, that the people
can only speak. Your administration may become corruptyour Executive officers may violate the
laws; break the constitution; and, by violent outrages, even involve the country in war. In such an
event, here, on this floor, and in this power for which I am now contending, will ever be found the only
sure corrective. It is one of the dearest privileges of this house; one the most essential to the liberties
of the country to be preserved and maintained; and he hoped it would be the last prerogative ever
surrendered. So far, then, from wishing to avoid the present discussion, I hold, said Mr. T. that the
charges made are of so deep a dye, and have produced such excitement, that it has become our
duty, as the representatives of the people, to enquire, and to advise; nay, even to instruct public
opinion upon the subject now under discussion. And, Mr. T. said, it afforded him a proud consolation
to believe that the state which he had the honor in part to represent, would be willing to adopt as
correct the opinion which this house should announce. Such, said Mr. T. has been the sensation
produced by the manner and character of the accusations which have been thrown out, that he had
no hesitation to say, if this house should terminate their session, and omit to enquire into, and avow
their opinion upon the present subject, it would disappoint the nation, and fix upon this house an
eternal stigma, as wanting spirit to pronounce between the country and the administration; or, if
gentlemen would rather have it so, between the proposed resolutions and General Jackson. He said
he had no unwillingness on his part. And, he hoped the house would hold fast upon the present
resolutions, and insist upon a direct vote upon the accusing propositions. If the constitution has been
violated; if the honor of the nation is stained by cruelties, this house should declare it to the country.
If, on the contrary, the accusations are found to be incorrect, it was due to the administration; it was
due to the character of Gen. Jackson, that we should so declare, and thus wipe away the unjust
imputations. A vote of thanks has been talked of. Mr. T. said he should oppose any substitute for the
present resolutions. The thanks of this house constitutes the best wealth of this nation; too precious to
be used, unless on extraordinary occasions. Such was the affair of Orleans. But, it is sufficient that
on investigation of the Seminole war, there shall be found no cause for blame. A decided rejection of
the proposed resolutions of censure was all that the present occasion required.
But, said Mr. T. in addition to the proposed censure contained in the resolutions, they also contain
subjects on which legislation is proposed. He said, he was not prepared to say but legislation on
those points might be proper, at a proper time, and under proper circumstances; but he was prepared
to say that, on this occasion, under the present public excitement, and coupled with the proposed
resolutions for censure, he, for one, would not consent to legislate. The act of legislation, under
existing circumstances, would necessarily imply in itself a disapprobation of this house to the
proceedings approved and adopted by the President, and would include a direct censure upon Gen.
Jackson. Let us, said Mr. T. reject the whole of the resolutions. If any gentleman thinks that
legislation on any of these subjects is requisite for the public good; if he would bring it forward as
distinct and disconnected propositions, it would undoubtedly receive the deliberate consideration of
this house, and under no other circumstances ought it to be entertained. He said he was opposed to
any act of this house which, by any inference, would look like censure on General Jackson; a man
whose name and whose fame was identified with the history and the glory of our country; he would
not say the first military captain of any country; but he thought he might say the first in ours.
In addition to the important questions involved in the present discussion, Mr. T said the honorable
Speaker, (Mr. Clay,) has also introduced the treaty signed between our country and the Creek Indians,
in August, 1814; and the has expressed his indignation at the manner in which that treaty was made,






and at its haughty and dictatorial terms. He has intimated that the harsh and severe exactions of that
treaty were the probable causes of the present Seminole war. Mr. T. said he differed in opinion with
the honorable Speaker in regard to that treaty. He did not discover in it that haughty temper, that spirit
of exaction on the part of our country, which had so much offended the Speaker. The honorable
Speaker had repeated, with great emphasis, " The United States demand," " The United States
demand," seven times. Yes, sir, said Mr. T the United States, by that treaty, did demand; they had
melancholy cause to demand. Theirs were the wrongs; theirs were the sufferings; they were the
injured party; they had, for years, endured very misery incident to Indian hostilities; the friendly tribes
and the frontier settlement had been plundered of their property, and those tribes and our frontier had
bled from Indian warfare, until the nation had been compelled to sustain the expence and the
sacrifices for their complete subjugation. It was under such circumstances that the treaty of Fort
Jackson was made. Sir, said Mr. T. the United States did demand; it was their unfortunate right to
demand; it was their duty to demand; and, after seven times demanding, indemnity was not obtained
for a tythe of our sufferings. Mr. T said he found nothing in the treaty that placed our country in the
wrong. It recites that the war was " unprovoked" on our part; that it was " inhuman and
sanguinarywaged by the hostile Creeksinstigated by impostors, denominating themselves Prophets,
and by foreign emissaries.";
Sir, said Mr. T. the honorable Speaker has also represented that, by the treaty of Fort Jackson, the
United States had demanded of the Indians the surrender of their prophets; hence, he has exclaimed,
with a voice that overcame me, "spare them their religion ! spare them their prophets ! spare them
their superstition !"
Mr. T. said, the representation given by the honorable Speaker, of the sixth article of that treaty, was
so unlike the view, which he had taken of that article, that he was compelled to conclude that, in the
hurry of debate, the honorable Speaker had entirely overlooked the concluding clause of the article,
and thus had totally mistaken its meaning. Mr. T said he would read it. " The United States demand
the capture and surrender of all the prophets and instigators of the war, whether foreigners or natives,
who have not submitted to the arms of the United States, and become parties to these articles of
capitulation, if ever they shall be found within the territory granted to the Creek nation by the second
article." Sir, said Mr. T a treaty was formed between our country and the Creek nation, in 1790. This
treaty had been observed on out part, but had been broken on the part of the Creek nation, by
repeated, and almost continued acts of hostility. During the late war between our country and Great
Britain, one-third of the Creek nation had continued to observe the treaty, and hence were
denominated the friendly Creeks: the other two-thirds, instigated by their impostors, called prophets,
and foreign emissaries, had joined Great Britain in the war, and desolated our frontier; they were
known as the hostile Creeks. An expedition into their country, and the destruction of their towns,
induced them to make the treaty of Fort Jackson. A part of these two-thirds which had been hostile,
refused to come into the treaty. They declared their intention to continue the war. They abandoned
the limits of their tribe, because they would not submit to the peace. They joined the Seminole
Indians on the Florida line: they have since been known as the out-lawed Red Sticks. It was the
prophets and emissaries, the instigators of warof these out-lawed Creeks, which the 6th article of the
treaty demanded to be surrendered; provided, they would not become parties to the treaty of peace,
but, persisting in hostilities, should be found in the territories of the friendly Creeks. Such, said Mr. T.
was the evident intention of the 6th article of the treaty. It was a just and necessary precaution for the
safety of the country, and to render the peace permanent. The event has abundantly justified the
wisdom and the justice of the measure. It is these prophets and these emissaries, and those
out-lawed Creeks, who have subsequently instigated and produced the Seminole war, bringing in its
consequences, upon our people distress and disasterupon our country expence and difficulties, and
upon the miserable Seminole tribe ruin, perhaps even extermination. And yet is our country to be
upbraidedto be covered with contumely, because in a treaty of peace she demanded the surrender of
those prophets and emissaries? Not the prophets and emissaries of their religion, or of their
superstition, but the hostile prophets and emissaries of the out-lawed Creeks, preaching on our
frontier, among the miserable natives, war, havoc, and desolation. Sir, my country has not invaded






the religion or the superstition of the Indians; it has not carried the precepts of our religion amongst
them with the sword or the bayonet. But self-defence and self-preservation required us to resist the
efforts of their prophets, breathing war, and kindly aided by the influence and the resources of that
government with whom the honorable Speaker had pointed our the remarkable coincidence, that the
very day after the treaty of Fort Jackson, we had signed a protocol of peace. Sir, the mild precepts of
gospel did not require our country to submit to such wrongs. He would maintain that its conduct had
been correct : it was not marked by that haughty and dictatorial spirit which had been ascribed to it.
But, sir, I am wrong, and the honorable Speaker is correct, upon who is the censure to rest? The
constituted authorities of your country had adopted the treaty; the Senate had ratified and approved it,
and this House, said Mr. T. have carried it into effect, by appropriations for that purpose. Sir, our
mouths are closed in expressive silence; it ill becomes us to cast back imputations upon the
Executive of our government, for faithfully defending a bleeding frontier, and carrying into effect a
treaty sanctioned by every department of legislative power. Much less, then, are we to cast a censure
on the Major General whose valor and whose skill had promptly terminated a war threatening in its
ravages to desolate a sister state.
But, said Mr. T. to what conclusion does the argument tend, that this Seminole war was the offspring
of the severe and dictatorial demands exacted by our country in the treaty of Fort Jackson? Would
gentlemen have the President sit with folded arms, an answer to the supplications of a bleeding
frontier, " the arm of the Union shall not be extended for your relief," because our country was in the
wrongbecause we had excited the war by our unjust exactions in the treaty of Fort Jackson? Would
gentlemen on this ground censure Gen. Jackson, because he too did not pause to enquire into the
justice of the war; but, when ordered by the Executive, he flew to the frontier settlement, carrying to
them succor and safety?
But, said Mr. T. we have been told this war was, on the part of our country, an offensive war; and,
therefore, it did not come within the powers of the Executive to carry it on; and therefore the powers of
this House, and its right to pronounce on peace and war, had been invaded, and our constitution had
thus been violated. I am extremely embarrassed, said Mr. T. to determine how to answer this
objectionan objection presenting an aspect so tremendous. The prerogatives of this House, on peace
and war, are invaded!the constitution of our country violated! The Executive of our government, upon
his own responsibility, has waged an offensive war; or he has sanctioned, and subsequently
approved of Gen, Jackson's making offensive war upon a defenceless Indian tribe! Is the Seminole
war offensive, on our part? At the last session of this House, we specially appropriated money for the
support of this war. But my excited feelings, said Mr. T. forbid me to discuss this point.
Sir, you are an American! Go! count the bleeding scalps of your murdered countrymen, of all ages
and sexes, found by Gen, Jacksonand then return, and tell to this House if this Seminole war was, on
the part of your country, an offensive war! Tell this House, also, if you advise a vote of censure to be
passed on the conduct of either the Executive, for his just orders, or upon Gen, Jackson, for
discovering upwards of three hundred dried, and fifty fresh scalps, with a red pole erected as the
beacon of Indian war, and crowned with the scalp of an American citizen!
Sir, said Mr. T if I am correct, that the Seminole Indians had waged an inhuman and destructive war
upon the frontiers of Georgia, it became obligatory upon the Executive of the Union, both in the spirit
and the letter of his duty, to extend the arm of government for their protectionno matter from what
causes the war was produced; no matter from whence its origin. It was sufficient that a sister state
was assailed, and called upon the Union for defence. Its omission by the Executive would justly have
incurred the censure of this House. Sir, the President did not omit, in this respect, his duty. He called
Gen. Jackson into the field, and vested him with discretionary powers, " to concentrate his force, and
to adopt the necessary measures to terminate the conflict," Gen. Jackson promptly performed his
duty: he did adopt the necessary measures; he has terminated the conflict; he has reported his
proceedings; they have been adopted and reproved by the President. Here, then, said Mr. T. the
affair with Gen. Jackson is at an end. He stands justified and discharged; whatever may have been
the incidents in the progress and the conduct of that war, committed to his charge, he is exonerated
from all responsibility. Good intentions and a faithful exercise of his discretion, under the






circumstances as they transpired, were all that ever could be required of Gen. Jackson. This is not
doubted. The responsibilities of the transaction are therefore cast upon the Executive. It is an affair
between the country and the President. Mr. T said he rejoiced that it was; for he had no idea of
Executive irresponsibility. He never would consent that a military officer should be charged with
discretionary powers, and then be held responsible for any thing more than good intentions, and good
faith in the performance of his duties.
But, he said, let me not be misunderstood. He disclaimed any wish to prevent enquiry. He had no
desire to claim for Gen. Jackson the protection of Executive responsibility. It would be doing injustice
to the high character of that man. And he believed the whole tenor of his conduct would bear the
strictest scrutiny. With this view, and although he thought General Jackson was sufficiently acquitted
and discharged buy Executive approbation, yet he should now proceed to examine the progress of
the warand he invited the fullest investigation.
Sir, said Mr. T. I hold that Gen. Jackson was vested with full and ample powers for the conduct of the
Seminole war. The orders to him were discretionary; vesting in him adequate authority for every
emergency that might be incident to the campaign. Under the circumstances, such discretionary
orders were correct. He was about to be immersed in the wilderness, form whence he could neither
communicate nor receive information from the War Department. It was therefore necessary to
confide to him the whole conduct of the war; and the orders from the War Department, collectively
considered, clearly vested in him ample powers for every exigency that the campaign might require.
The functions of the War Department were expended in the amplitude of his orders. No additional
powers could have been given, under any state of circumstances, had the War Office accompanied
him into the wilderness. His ample and discretionary powers embraced every case; and covered and
justified his whole conduct. Not, said Mr. T that the orders to Gen. Jackson could justify him in doing
any wrongin making an offensive war, or in violating a neutral territory; but whatever act was required
to be done, whatever the events of the war justified to be done, and which the War office might have
ordered, so far the orders to Gen. Jackson extended. If I am correct in this position, there is an end to
all questions about violation of orders; Gen. Jackson is justified; and the question only remains
between the Executive and the country.
Sir, said Mr. T with a view to a full understanding of the orders to Gen. Jackson, it will be necessary
for the House to look back to the state of things, and the orders that had been issued form the War
Department, before Gen. Jackson took command. The state of Georgia had suffered by serious
depredations on the property of her frontier settlements, and in the massacre of her citizens; she had
called for the aid of the Union; Gen. Gaines had been assigned to the command of that district; and
the general government had demanded reparation from the Indians for past aggressions. In a letter
from the War Office to Gen. Gaines, 30th Oct. 1817, speaking on this subject, it says, " Should the
Indians, however, persevere in their refusal to make such reparation, it is the wish of the President
that you should not, on that account, pass the line and make an attack upon them within the limits of
Florida, until you shall have received further instructions for this Department. In a letter to Gen.
Gaines, 2d Dec. 1817, it is said, " The state of our negotiations with Spain and the temper manifested
by the principal European powers, make it impolitic, in the opinion of the President, to move a force at
this time into the Spanish possessions, for the mere purpose of chastising the Seminoles for the
depredations which have heretofore been committed by them." On the 9th of Dec. 1817, the War
Department wrote to Gen. Gaines, after speaking of hostile acts, " Should the Indians, however,
assemble in force on the Spanish side of the line, and persevere in committing hostilities within the
limits of the United States, you will in that event, exercise a sound discretion as to the property of
crossing the line for the purpose of attacking them and breaking up their towns." On the 16th Dec.
1817, another letter says, " Should the Seminole Indians still refuse to make reparation for their
outrages and depredations on the citizens of the United States, it is the wish of the President that you
consider yourself at liberty to march across the Florida line, and to attack them within its limits, should
it be found necessary: unless they should shelter themselves under a Spanish fort. In the last event,
you will notify this Department." In this situation of the orders, Mr. T said, Gen. Gaines was directed
to go to Amelia Island, and perform certain duties at that place. Shortly after this departure, such






further intelligence was received, of increasing hostilities on the part of the Indians, that the War
Department, on the 26th Dec. 1817, wrote to Gen. Gaines at Amelia Island, informing him, that the
Seminole war had " assumed so serious an aspect," "that they could not be brought totheir reason
without the actual use of force;" that Gen. Jackson had been ordered to take commandthey regretted
the absence of General Gaines, and " that the service should be deprived of his well known skill and
vigilance," and directed him, " if his force was sufficient, to penetrate through Florida, and cooperate
in the attack on the Seminoles." On the same 26th Dec. 1817, orders were issued to Gen. Jackson to
take command. This was the first order issued to him: and it recited " the increasing display of hostile
intentions by the Seminole Indians;" it informed him that the regular force under his command was
eight hundred; that there was supposed to be twenty-seven hundred Indians; and empowered him to
call on the Executives of the adjacent states to detach such additional military force as the might
deem requisite to beat the enemy." This order also informed him, that Gen. Gaines was directed " to
penetrate from Amelia Island, through Florida, to the Seminole towns, if his force would justify his
engaging in offensive operations. WITH THIS VIEW, you may be prepared to concentrate your force,
and to adopt the necessary measures to terminate a conflict which it has ever been the desire of the
President, from considerations of humanity, to avoid, but which is now made necessary by their
settled hostilities."
Sir, said Mr. T on thus reviewing the orders which have been issued from the war department, the
house cannot fail to observe the cautious policy and progressive steps which have influenced and
marked the conduct of the cabinet. Critically situated in regard to our foreign relations, the President
was justly anxious to defend the frontier of Georgia, and yet so cautiously to measure out means of
that defence, as not to involve our country in a European war. Hence the restrictive and hesitating
character of the orders issued to General Gaines; gradually relaxing and acquiring progressive
energy in proportion to the aspect of Indian hostilities. At first forbidding Gen. Gaines to cross the
Florida linethen permitting him to cross, if necessary to resist new aggressionsand finally leaving it to
the exercise of his sound discretion, and only requiring him to notify the department in case the
enemy took shelter under a Spanish fort. Under affairs thus situated, the government received
information which forbad all further hesitationwhich denied all further caution. The war had now
assumed too deep a dye to be longer tampered withit must now be met, regardless of consequences.
Sir, said Mr. T it is a fact, recited in one of the letters, but not generally observed or known to this
house, that the murder of Lieut. Scott, and his detachment of about thirty persons, which had been
perpetrated on the Chatahoochie river, in October, did not come to the knowledge of the President
until the morning of the 26th of December. Sir, it was on that day that Gen. Jackson was ordered to
take the command. It was this new informationit was the serious aspect which the war had now
assumed, which called Gen. Jackson into the fieldwhich induced the cabinet to change its cautions
policy, into measures of offensive war. Sir, said Mr. T this circumstance also gives explanation and
meaning to the language of Gen. Jackson's orders. In all the orders previously issued to Gen.
Gaines, some limitation had been contained; but, when Gen. Jackson was ordered to command, no
restriction was suggested. The cabinet had determined upon carrying the war into the Seminole
country, and hence the orders to Gen. Jackson speak of a force " to justify his engaging in offensive
operations." " With this viewwith what view ? Said Mr. T" with this view of offensive operations, you
are to adopt the necessary measures to terminate the conflict." Sir, said Mr. T can language be more
explicit ? Can discretionary power and general authority to an officer to conduct a war, be more
clearly delegated ? But, said Mr. T if gentlemen yet doubt the fair meaning and the true extent of
Gen. Jackson's orders, let me ask them to look at the letter from the war department, to Gov. Bibb;
not, said Mr. T as giving additional powers to Gen. Jackson, but, where doubt is entertained, as
giving from the war department a construction of its own orders. And what does this letter to Gov.
Bibb say ? " Gen. Jackson invested with full powers to conduct the war in the manner which he may
judge best."
Sir, said Mr. T. if honorable gentlemen are not yet satisfied, I will ask their attention to the message of
the President, made to this house on the 25th of March last. " The enclosed documents shew that
the hostilities of this tribe were unprovokedthe offspring of a spirit long cherished, and often






manifested towards the United States; and that in the present instance it was extending itself to other
tribes, and daily assuming a more serious aspect. As soon as the nature and object of this
combination were perceived, the major general commanding the southern division was ordered to the
theatre of action, charged with the management of the war, and vested with the powers necessary to
give it effect." Will gentleman ask for more ?
But, sir, there is still another and a difference aspect in which the orders to Gen. Jackson ought to be
viewed. He was not only by those orders charged with the management of the war, and vested with
the powers necessary to give it effect, but, sir, it will be found, on reference to the documents, that he
was also commissioned to " inflict speedy and merited chastisement on the deluded Seminoles." In
the order from the war department of 16th January 1818, he was told" the honor of the United States
requires that the war with the Seminoles should be terminated speedily, and with exemplary
punishment for hostilities so unprovoked." In a letter from the war department, Feb. 2, 1818, he is
told, " the confidence reposed in your skill and promptitude assures us that peace will be restored on
such conditions as will make it honorable and permanent."
Sir, said Mr. T. in addition to the discretionary power and general authority vested in General Jackson,
for the management of the war, he was also required, in the progress of the war, to inflict merited
chastisement upon the deluded Indians, with such exemplary punishment for their unprovoked
hostilities, as would be calculated to deter them from future wars, and render the peace " permanent."
This is the frank and fair construction to be given to the orders of Gen. Jackson. Whatever he has
done in the progress of the war comes not only within the spirit, but also within the letter of his
instructions. Will gentlemen yet talk of violated orders, and propose a vote of censure for cruelties
inflicted by him ? No sir, Gen. Jackson stands justified by his instructions, which he has promptly and
faithfully obeyed. If there is any censure to arise from the transaction, it must rest upon the fountain
from which his instructions emanated. But, said Mr. T. there is no cause for censure. The crisis
called for decisive measures. It was a high and important trust. The President wisely confided its
execution to the discretion, the wisdom and the valor of the commanding general, who, thank God,
had failed to meet the just expectations of his country in no single instance.
[When Mr. T had proceeded thus far in his speech, the committee, on motion of Mr. Poindexter, rose,
and the House adjourned.]
(Debate continued on second page.)
DEBATE ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
CONTINUED.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESJAN. 23.
Mr. TALLMADGE resumed the floor. He recapitulated the points, which he had endeavored to
establish in his remarks of yesterday. He urged some additional reasons in support of his
construction of the orders and the powers to General Jackson.
But, said Mr. T before we progress with Gen. Jackson in his conduct of the war, it is proper for this
house to notice some of the circumstances which greatly tend to elucidate the motives connected with
this transaction. Sir, it was the state of Georgia which called upon the Union for defence. This state
had often suffered the cruelties of Indian warfare. In 1793 and 4, under the administration of
Washington, a bloody Indian war was waged upon Georgia. She then called upon the Union for
defence, and Gen. Washington assigned for her protection what he considered a competent military
force. The state of Georgia was dissatisfied, and complained of the inadequacy of the defence. That
state ordered out, upon her own responsibility, an additional military force of about 1500 men. The
expenses incurred for this force, were nearly one hundred and forty thousand dollars, and which sum
the state of Georgia has contended, ought in justice to be assumed and refunded by the general
government. Sir, they have often petitioned for the payment of this claim. Seventeen different times,
and indifferent shapes, applications for these expenses have been before this house. Sir, it was only
at the last session of this Congress, that the subject of the Georgia militia claims was discussed on
this floor. It was then that the honorable gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Cobb,) spoke so ardently in
their behalf, and in the course of his remarks he took occasion to give this house a minute and feeling
description of an Indian massacre, and the dangers and sufferings of a frontier settlement. I wish,






said Mr. T. I was blessed with the eloquent powers of that gentleman (Mr. Cobb) I would rehearse to
this house the appeal he then made. It would enable gentlemen to better to appreciate the public
services of Gen. Jackson, in bringing to a speedy termination the recent war, and under such "
chastisement" and merited " punishment" for unprovoked hostilities, as had rendered the peace"
permanent," and, he hoped, had freed our sister state from future dangers. Sir, said Mr. T. it was my
fortune, on that occasion, to oppose the Georgia claims. I opposed them on the ground that I never
would permit a state to act not only independently of, but in opposition to, the determination of the
general government. Sir, said Mr. T. the honorable gentleman, (Mr. Cobb) has told us that" he loved
his countrythat he loved the constitution." Mr. T. said he reciprocated this sentiment, with some
addition. I too love my country too love the constitution; and, in addition, said Mr. T. I love the Union.
And whenever, and as often as the case may occur, that a state shall attempt to act separate and
independent of the general government, whether such case shall occur either at the south or at the
east, he, for one, would never consent to pay the expenses of their separate transactions. If such a
principle is once adopted, said Mr. T. farewell to the constitution, which gentlemen so much love !
Farewell to that Union which alone secures the only rational hope of future happiness to our country !
But, said Mr. T. while it was so important never to permit a state to act separate and independent
from the general government, or in any manners to disregard the determinations of the constituted
authorities of the Union, it followed, as a consequence equally important and necessary, that the
Union should promptly and effectually perform its duties to the states. The state of Georgia had
before suffered under Indian hostilities, and she had complained of injustice from the Union, by an
insufficient defence.
Sir, said Mr. T. it was only last winter that I heard it said upon this floor, that gentlemen who resided on
the Atlantic coast, and contiguous to the large cities, did not properly appreciate the horrors of Indian
hostilities, nor sufficiently sympathise in the sufferings of a frontier war. When the Georgia claims
were rejected, it was more than intimated that, under such circumstances of supposed injustice, the
Union was an injury rather than a blessing. The representatives of Georgia said that the Seminole
war was them raging on their frontier, and the Union had not provided them any adequate defence.
Sir, said Mr. T Gen. Gaines, who them commanded on that frontier, was, in private conversations on
this floor, and he believed he might say even in public opinion, severely censured for his indolent and
inefficient management of the war. It was then asked of me, said Mr. T how Gen. Gaines, who had
acquitted himself so well in the northern campaign during the late war, and had shown himself such a
perfect Hotspur in battle, could so supinely waste his time on the southern frontier ? Sir, said Mr. T
so much did the character of General Gaines suffer in public opinion, one year for this time, from his
inaction on the Florida line, that it was often asked it his wounds and his years had not impaired his
military talents ? Georgia did not hesitate to express her dissatisfaction. The honorable gentleman,
(Mr. Cobb,) was heard upon this floor, and her complaints, through the medium of the public prints,
were sent forth to the country. Sir, the orders from the War Department to Gen. Gaines, have
subsequently been published. Mr. T said he rejoiced they were: it was but an act of justice to Gen.
Gaines that those orders should be known to the public; and he hoped the public would cast back
their recollection, and do justice to his character. Sir, those orders now shew that the inaction of the
campaign was not the fault of Gen. Gains; he was limited and restricted. It was the cautious policy of
the cabinet, and not the supineness of the General, which made the war so long linger on the Florida
line. But when the murder of Scott's detachment, and of Mr. Garrett's family, with various other
aggressions, were made known, accompanied with the recollection of the past circumstances of
complaint on the part of Georgia, and with the knowledge of her dissatisfaction of the ineffectual
defence afforded to her by the Union, the President could no longer hesitate. Here then, said Mr. T
you see the combined causes that called Gen. Jackson into the field. Here you observe the motives
that induced the President to delegate to him discretionary power and ample authority to adopt the
necessary measures to terminate the conflict with such chastisementwith such merited punishmentas
would secure a speedy and permanent peace. Here too, sir, you discover the causes which, in
addition to General Jackson's known promptitude of character, induced him to a firm and energetic
performance of his orders. But, sir, we are now told there has been too much promptitude and too






much energy used by Gen. Jackson in his management of this war. We are even told that he has
usurped the power of this house, and violated the constitution, in making offensive war on the
Seminoles; and that, under his instructions to chastise and punish, he has committed cruelties which
have stained the honor of our country. Sir, from what source do we hear these accusations ? It is
from the representatives of Georgia. It was only last winter the honorable mover of the resolutions for
censure, asked and obtained from this house a law, providing for extra pay and rations to the Georgia
militia, which had been detached in the Seminole war. Little could General Jackson have anticipated,
when he encountered the fatigues and the perils of the campaignwhen he put his character his life on
its event, that the representatives of Georgia would be the first to cast censure upon him for too much
energy in their defence; rather did he expect that they, in common with his country, would look with a
benignant eye upon the performance of his high and critical duties; and that, instead of a jealous
scrutiny of his conduct, where good intentions were evident they would rather applaud than censure,
and that where they could not justify, they would at least forgive. But, said Mr. T. if the right of this
house to pronounce on peace and war, has been invaded; if the constitution has been violated, it
ought to be proclaimed to the country. He rejoiced there were gentlemen who possessed sufficient
spirit and firmness to announce it; and that it was announced by the honorable gentleman from
Georgia, (Mr. Cobb,) he did not mention as matter of accusation, but as cause for commendation. He
pointed it out as a rare instance of political integrityof an excess in political virtue, which would not
suffer our powers to be invadedwhich would not even wink at a violation of the constitution, although
the cause of the invasion, and the subject of the violation, should be the defence of the constituents of
that honorable gentleman, his home, his family.
Sir, said Mr. T. Gen. Jackson received his orders, requiring him to take command, at Nashville, on the
12th of January, 1818. This great military captain immediately commenced his operations; and such,
said Mr. T. has been the rapidity of his measure, and the velocity of his movement, that the tongue of
the narrator can scarcely keep pace with his march. He immediately announced an appeal to the
patriotism of the Tennessee volunteers, to accompany him in his expedition; and he made a
requisition for a detachment of Georgia militia. The first came forth at his call, and the second were,
in process of time, detached and prepared to join him. This force, united with his regular troops ad
some friendly Indians, were concentrated at Fort Scott. Without the means or the possibility of
transportation, Gen. Jackson, on the 26th of March, and with only eight days' provision, having
bravely determined " to subsist on the enemy," took up his line of March from Fort Scott. He entered
the unexplored wilderness; he crossed the Florida line; he sought and found the Indian enemy in their
fastness; he vanquished them, and destroyed their towns. In his pursuit of the embodied fugitives, he
found St. Marks was the source of their supplies, and that its possession was threatened by his
enemy. He occupied that place, and from thence directed his march to Pensacola, from whence he
drove out the Indians who had fled there for shelter, and for new supplies. He also occupied that
place, with the fortress of Barancas; and on the 29th of May terminated a war, which had, for more
than eighteen months, ravaged your frontier, and we fast spreading to other Indian tribes. Sir, said
Mr. T. it is the incidents of this campaign, so rapid in its progressso brilliant in its execution, and, in his
opinion, so replete with important and beneficial results, that gives rise to the present discussion. In
its progress, sir, a neutral territory has been entered; the posts of St. Marks and Pensacola have been
taken; two Indian chiefs, and two British subjects, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, have been executed;
and, said Mr. T I rejoice at these events. I honor rather than blame the General who had firmness to
determine and give effect to such measures. In avowing this opinion, said he, I am confident I do but
speak the opinion of our nation.
We have been called upon, said Mr. T to produce the laws of nations, which will justify these
proceedings. I maintain, said he, that the principles upon which the laws of nations between the free
governments of Europe are founded, when rightly understood, do embrace and justify all the
proceedings. But, said Mr. T I shall not undertake the labor of the argument in this point of view. It is
sufficient for my purpose to say, that that system of national laws, established by common consent of
mankind, as a rule of action between free, separate and independent governments, has no
application to the present case. The history of Europe affords no parallel to the present






circumstances, and could not be expected to have provided a rule for the present case. There is not
an instance in Europe, where one nation, acting upon its own usages, and claiming to have, as a
nation, the power of a making peace and war, resided within the limits and boundaries of any other
sovereign and independent nation. Sir, the Floridas were not a neutral territoryit was the territory of
your enemy. There he residedfrom there he issued from his fastness, crossed the boundary line, and
depredated your property, and murdered your citizens; and when you pursued him, it was there he
fled for safety. Sir, I repeat, Florida was not a neutral territory. It was the country of your enemy, used
and occupied by him, and, as such, you had a right, and it became your duty to enter it, in the
pursuit, and for the subjugation of that enemy. But if gentlemen will insist on calling this a neutral
territory, I ask, what are its consequences ? In every page of those national laws, upon which so
much reliance has been placed, the government of a neutral country is made responsible for the
conduct of persons within its limits. If such government authorises any acts of hostile aggression, it
becomes just cause of war. If unauthorized and disavowed hostile incursions are made from its
territories, it is no cause of war, but is considered as sudden irruptions bursting forth upon an
adjoining nation, who, from the circumstances and necessity of the case, is vested with full right and
ample authority to use the requisite means and force to prevent such irruptions, and provide for their
own safety and defence. As a neutral territory, therefore, we had a right to enter it in self-defence,
and for out own safety. Gentlemen may not agree on what ground it was entered. It is sufficient for
my purposes, to say, that on either or both these grounds we did enter this territory, and my heart
approves of the result. Sir, mark the coincidence of discordant circumstances. Arbuthnot and
Ambrister, two English emissaries, in a neutral Spanish territory, instigating a savage war upon a
peaceful American state ! When our government complain, the British Minister answers they have not
jurisdiction out of their own country, and cannot prevent the evil. The Spanish Governor says he has
not the power to control Indians and English subjects, and worthy gentlemen on this floor, tell us it is a
neutral country, and, therefore, we cannot help ourselves. Were ever doctrines advanced so
preposterous ? Had General Jackson listened to such reasoninghad he returned with such
arguments as the only result of his campaign; what would have been the language of our bleeding
frontier ? And, because he did not, a vote of censure is solemnly proposed.
But, sir, St. Marks, a Spanish post, has been taken.Advert to the documents on this point, and it will
clearly appear that this place was in use, and, in fact, a mere depot for Indian supplies, and was, in
addition, so weak and ineffectually garrisoned, that there was just cause to apprehend the Indian
enemy would take possession of it. A belligerent is clearly entitled " to seize, and temporarily to
occupy and even garrison a post of a neutral country, in order to prevent the designs of his enemy in
seizing the place, whenever the sovereign of the country is not able to defend it." This principle alone,
said Mr. T would justify the occupation of St. Marks. But the case is much strengthened when we
consider it as post of a neutral country, between whose sovereign ourselves is a treaty, in which
Spain had solemnly pledged herself to keep in subjection the Indians within its limits, and to prevent
hostilities from them, upon our frontier. Every obligation of national law, as well as the faith of treaty
stipulation, bound her to performance of this duty. If her imbecility prevented the observance of her
obligations, or the unauthorized conduct of its Governor, allowed hostilities to be carried on against us
from the territory, every principle of self-defence would justify the occupation of this post, and even
the whole country, as far as it contributed to the supplies of our enemy, and his warlike occupation.
Connected with the occupation of St. Marks, was the capture of the two Indian chiefs. One of our gun
boats come into the Appalachicola River, and, while there, kept up the British flag. This circumstance
is said to have decoyed them on board the boat. Sir, this deception is now matter of great offence.
We are told by the honorable Speaker (Mr. Clay) that your stars and your stripes should have floated
there. Sir, I freely admit, that the waving of the British flag may have operated to deceive the Indian
chiefs. This British flag was familiar to their observation, although in the neutral territory of friendly
Spain. It was this British flag, which had waved at the Negro Fort; and at the foot of whose staff one
of your American seamen tarred and burnt alive. Its friendly aspect and well-known co-operation in
this neutral country, may have readily tended to deceive these Indian chiefs on board an American
gun boat. Mr. T. said, they were the chiefs of our enemythey fled to that flag for shelter and supplies;






and, for his part, he had no disposition to find fault with their mistake. It might, at least, teach their
tribe that a British flag in a Spanish territory might not always be a sure cover for hostilities upon the
American people.
But, sir, these two Indian chiefs were taken on shore and executed. The honorable Speaker (Mr.
Clay) tells us that it fills him with the deepest regret. I, too, said Mr. T. am not without regret. But, sir,
my regret is at the causes which rendered their execution necessary and properand not that General
Jackson had firmness to perform his duty; and make an example useful to us and salutary to the
Indian nation. Sir, in the person and character of Homathlemicco was found the Indian chief who
presided at the inhuman murder of Lieut. Scott and his party. A deed more brutal and savage cannot
be found in the annals of Indian warfare. Sir, he was not executed as an enemy only, but as a base
murderer marked with every cruelty and stained with the blood of your countrymen.
Hillis Hajo, the other chief, was also hung. The honorable Speaker (Mr. Clay) said he regarded to
occurrence with grief; and with great indignation he exclaimed, " Hang an Indian ! Hang an Indian !"!
No, sir, said Mr. T. General Jackson did not hang an Indian. Higher destinies awaited this chief. He
had ceased to be an Indian; he had recently been home to old England; he had up approached " the
throne of his royal highness.:" and while there was commissioned Brigadier General. Yes, sir, he was
a British Brigadier General; he wrote a red coat; and by way of special favor and pre-eminence over
all others of the same rank, he was furnished with three epaulettes. Therefore, Gen. Jackson did not
hang an Indian. He hung a British Brigadier General. I honor him for it, said Mr. T ; and who is
offended ? It was in the territory of Spain; but as she was a neutral power, she has no cause for
complaint. And, does England complain ? Disgrace upon her, if she does not. She is bound by every
tie of honor to come forward and own her favorite general, Hillis Hajo. I hope she will, said Mr. T
And whenever England does complain, if my voice can control, her complaint shall be handed over for
adjustment to our naval heroes; those gallant sons who have borne your cannon upon the deep; who
have held their steady march upon the mountain wave, triumphantly displayed to an admiring world
banners of your country; they would gladly adjust the account.
But, sir, in the person of this same Hillis Hajo, when his name is translated, we find Francis the
Prophet, a man commissioned by Great Britain; tricked off in all the trappings of military dress;
furnished as a present from the Prince Regent, with a tomahawk, scalping knife and a rifle, and sent
back to his tribe to inculcate, of course, that religion and that superstition which we have been so
loudly called upon to " spare," because it was their religion and their superstition. Sir, this one of the
order of those pious prophets, whose surrender our country demanded in the treaty of Fort Jackson.
A prophet, the crucifix of whose religion is the tomahawk and the scalping knife; the librations to
whose worship is the blood of the white man. Ask the mothers of your country if they consent to be
surrendered with their children as the willing sacrifices to the ceremonies of such a superstition ?
And, yet, our country is blamed, because, in a treaty of peace, she demanded the surrender of such
prophets. Not those who would consent, in peace, to enjoy their delusions, but those only who
persisted in hostilities and war upon our people.
Sir, said Mr. T Arbuthnot and Ambrister have also been executed. Who were these men ? Two
British subjects in a Spanish neutral territory; two incendiaries instigating an Indian war upon our
frontier. The one found in battle and taken with arms in his hands; the other united and commingling
with your enemies, acting as their agent, even by express commission, as a power of attorney
executed before the neutral commandant of St. Marks, importuning for their use gunpowder and lead:
and when the resources of the neutral posts of St. Marks and Pensacola were exhausted, writing
letters, and making application for military and in this Indian war, to governor Cameron, and even to
the Prince Regent, who Francis the Prophet said " told him, when in England, that, whenever he
wanted ammunition, that your excellency would supply him with as much as he wanted," Sir, I forbear
to enter into the examination of the documents on your table. It is sufficient that I state, and I state
without the fear of contradiction, that Arbuthnot and Ambrister, by their acts, had identified themselves
with your Indian enemy; had become allies and parties against you in this cruel Indian war. Sir, what
are the just consequences of the relation which these men had voluntarily assumed ? I advance it,
said Mr. T as a proposition not to be controverted, that whatever right war gives against my principal






enemy, the like it gives me against all his associates.Connected with this principle I also maintain, that
whatever measures your enemy adopts against you; whatever cruelties he exercises towards you, he
gives you the right to adopt those measures and to exercise those cruelties upon him in return. Sir,
if gentlemen cannot find this rule in their books, it is sufficient for my purpose that its principles are
engraved on the heart of man; that its practice is adopted by every nation on the habitable globe. It is
the only means by which one belligerent nation can compel another to regard the rules and usages
of civilized warfare. It has been adopted by our country, and its practice is recorded in every page of
its military history. In all your wars with Great Britain, you have rigidly maintained this doctrine;
witness the retaliatory measures resorted to in the late war. But, when the dark and benighted
savages of the wilderness have warred upon you, while your right was complete to exercise upon
them all the cruelties they inflicted upon you; being an humane, an enlightened, a religious people,
you wisely withheld the exercise of that right which the practices of the war had given to you. Sir, you
also withheld the exercise of this right upon another principle, because the character, the prejudices,
the delusion, and if gentlemen please, the wild superstition of your ferocious is foe rendered all
example upon him as ineffectual, as all precept was unavailing. The conclusion for which I contend
is, that your right to resort to retaliatory cruelties upon your savage enemy, was complete, its exercise
was alone to be regulated by a sound discretion, and by circumstances, with regard only to your own
character, influenced by just principle of humanity. I also insist, not " that the white man found fighting
by the side of an Indian shall be put to death," but that the white man who unites with Indians, and
becomes a party in their wars; is identified with the Indians, and subject to all the rights you have
against them as your principal enemy. Such is the well known relation of all allies in war; such was
the situation of De Kalb, De La Fayette, and all those worthy foreigners who took part with us in our
revolutionary struggle. With such principles in view, and with the murderer of Lieut. Scott's party in
your possession, with the General and Prophet Francis your prisoner of war, with Arbuthnot and
Ambrister, those civilized savages, instigators and procurers of this war, all in your power, who can
doubt that the exercise of a should discretion for the peace and safety of our country would doom
them to death ? Held by no treatybound by no tiesregardless of all faithand influenced by no
mercywho would advise that such men should be turned loose to remingle with the misguided
savages, exhibiting themselves at once as the pledge of your weakness and your fears; and, with their
trappings, as the sample of British munificence ? Your documents remind you that your Indian
enemies read no books or papershave no sources of information, but from such chiefs and such
agents, by whom they have been told of your weakness till they really believed you dared not to brave
the power of their warriors, countenanced by British and Spanish officers. I regret, said Mr. T. the
necessity of a retaliatory example. But, sir, Gen. Jackson wisely considered the circumstances called
aloud for example. Indians, Spaniards, Britons, all needed a lesson. And never did man select four
more fit subjects to hang on high as an example to savage credulity, and as a warning to all
adventures to beware of combining against us in Indian wars. I hope, said Mr. T. this house will justify
the measure. It will give effect to the example, and proclaim to the world the policy of our country in
all future Indian wars.
Sir, it is now denied that the power of retaliation belongs to the commanding general. The hon.
Speaker (Mr. Clay) has declared it to be an attribute of sovereignty, and that it belongs to this House,
as one of its war making powers; and he denies this right to the commander of any portion of our
army. In support of his argument, that the right of retaliation was a legislative power, he has read at
length, the act of Congress in 1799, giving to the President the power of retaliation upon French
citizens for enormities practiced upon our citizens by the French Republic. Sir, it was with some
surprise, I heard this act brought into the argument; recollect its cause and its history, and this act
proves the opposite conclusion. In 1778 our country made a treaty with France, in which we agreed
that she should ever be considered the most favored nation, and whatever privileges we gave to any
other nation should be extended to her. In 1794, we made a treaty with Great Britain, in which it was
mutually agreed, that the citizens of either country, found in time of war on board an enemy's vessel,
our countries being at peace, might be treated as pirates. In 1798, when the French Republic in its
mad career, endeavored to involve us in their wars, the insisted that we should at that time, resist by






war, the impressments of our seamen, or that they would, under construction of the treaty, execute as
pirates any of our impressed seamen which they found on board a British vessel. A spirit to resist
such pretensions, gave rise to the act of 1799, cited and relied upon by the Speaker, (Mr. Clay).
There was then no war between our two countries; the case came not within the power of any military
commander; and the act of 1799, only proves the just retaliatory policy which has ever governed our
country.
But, sir, let me ask gentlemen to cast back their recollection to the events of our revolutionary war;
what was the conduct and practice of our enemy? Did not the commanding general on this station
ever claim and exercise during that war power of retaliation ? Did gentlemen ever hear that as often
as a case occurred he sent home for new powers ? If this is a legislative power, as the Speaker (Mr.
Clay) has contended, I wish they would shew acts of Parliament for the retaliation measures during
that war. Who has not, said Mr. T. heard of the cruelties perpetrated in our revolutions by Delancy's
corps; all, all under pretence of retaliation for acts on our part ? Did not the loyalists in New York,
confine American officers with the common soldiers, and threaten to compel them to work and dig a
prison under ground as retaliation for confirming some British prisoners in the Simbury mines ? I
wish, said Mr. T. gentlemen would shew acts of legislative authority for all this class of transaction.
But, sir, what was the course and the conduct on the part of our own country, when Capt.Huddy was
hung by the murderous Lippincot ? Was not the unfortunate Asgill set apart by order of Gen.
Washington, and doomed to expiate by his death, the cruelties of his nation ? Congress upon that
occasion did not legislate; but they " Did Resolve, That the commander in chief, or the commander of
a separate army, is, in virtue of the power vested in them, respectively, fully authorized and
empowered, whenever the enemy shall commit any act of cruelty or violence contrary to the laws or
usages of war, to demand adequate satisfaction the same, and in case such satisfaction shall not be
given in a reasonable or limited time, or shall be refused or evaded under any pretence whatever, to
cause suitable retaliation forthwith to be made, and the United States, in Congress assembled, will
support them in such measures."
When Col. Hayne was executed at Charleston, did not General Greene order retaliation ? Look at
Lee's memoir of the southern campaign, and there read the retaliation exercised upon prisoners, to
alone for the death of his trumpeter. Sir, it is my fortune to reside to New York, near the lines, which
divide the American and British armies. If gentlemen will go with me into the district which I have the
honor to represent, every man, woman, and child of that day will recount to them some deed,
committed upon the pretence of retaliation. Sir, our fathers at this day point to the trees upon which
your citizens have been executed, in order to impart to their children the feelings, which in those days
animated their breasts.
Before I leave this subject, said Mr. T. I must beg the indulgence of this committee to permit me to cite
one more case, from Gordon's History of the American Revolution, evincing both retaliation the
power to which military commanders are sometimes required to resort for the preservation of their
country. Sir, I also beg leave to ask the attention of my worthy friend from Maryland (Gen. Reed) to
the statement which I shall make. The historian states, that an American officer in an advanced
station near Stoney Point, detected a soldier in the act of desertion; that he took him, cut off his head
without ceremony, and sent it to the camp of General Washington, whom, it is added, he was severely
censured for his cruelty, and for which he afterwards atoned by his bravery in storming that place.
Sir, with this aspect, the story proves much; but I reside near that place, and from the tradition of the
country, I am enabled to say, the historian is not correct. I turn, said Mr. T with pleasure to my
honorable friend from Maryland, (Gen. Reed) and I rejoice that I am able to say, thou art the man !
Yes, sir, it is you of whom the historian speaks! Thou art the man ! Who without ceremony cut off the
head of an American soldier, and sent it to the camp of your general. If I am wrong, said Mr. T I
hope the hon. gentleman will correct me. Sir, it was at a dark and eventful period of the history of
your county; our enemy had possession of New York and the Hudson; an army was on the march
form the North, and the plan of its campaign was to form a junction and sever this Union which now
so happily binds us together. The father of your country, with his little band, was before Stoney Point,
but your resources could not supply him with the means for its reduction. Our enemy had announced






the intention to consider us as rebels refuse an exchange of prisoners. The groans from the Jersey
prison ship echoed through your land; and a regiment then recently surprised at Paoli, on the
Delaware, was refused quarter. The terror and the impulse were great; the little army before Stoney
Point was first dissolving by desertion, and the fate of your country was suspended on a thread. The
great soul of Washington fearlessly met the occasion; he resolved on example, and issued orders that
every deserter should suffer instant death. You, sir, (Gen. Reed) had this order in your pocket. The
night of your advanced command, three men, taken in the act of desertion, were brought to you.
Then, that heart, which danger could not appal, for once trembled; you faultered between mercy and
your duty; you comprehend with your generous feelings; you spared two and executed one; and, sir,
your immediate superior officer told you it was mistaken mercy. This, and this only, was the /censure
to which the historian alludes, as being pronounced upon your conduct. Sir, even this censure you
shortly wiped away. Your general foresaw that the crisis on the country required the reduction of
Stoney Point; its neck of land was strongly occupied, and he had not the means to approach it. It was
determined to carry it by storm. A brave band of American youth undertook the exploit, and you, the
bravest of the brave, marened at their head. It was at low tide, and at the midnight hour you entered
into the river; under the auspices of darkness and silence you went round the sentinels, and gained
the point; you scaled the rampart, and there the bayonet was made to perform its duty. Retaliation !
Nay, Revenge ! hat night drank her fill; and to stimulate your followers to give to it its keenest edge, "
Remember Paoli" was the watchword of the night. Sir, you were a member on the committee who
made the report now under consideration; and do you yet think that Gen. Jackson should be loaded
with his country's censure ? Sir, when Gen. Washington issued that order, which you executed, and
without trial, without ceremony, put to death one of your enemies, but an American citizen soldier, did
you then think that he and you had served your country ? Did your country sanction his act, applaud
your exploit, and blazon both in a manner best calculated to affect her enemy ? Was the public ruined
poisoned against your general ? Was congress called upon at that day for a vote of censure ? Or
did any man with prophetic spirit caution against military despotism, and forewarn against the coming
Caesars ? No ! all was then joy and applause; and blistered be the tongue which would pronounce a
censure on the acts of that day. Mute be that voice which will not join in loud applause to your valor,
and to the glory or your chief.
Sir, it seemed necessary to meet gentlemen in the discussion of the subject of retaliation; but I
contend the present is not a subject of the kind, only. This retaliation is where the innocent person is
made to suffer for the guilty; such was the case of the unfortunate Asgill, who was about to suffer for
the cruelties perpetrated by Lippencot. The case now before us has no such featuresthe innocent are
not made to suffer for the guilty. Arbuthnot and Ambrister had been parties in an Indian war; they
were captured in its progress; and suffered for their own conductfor atrocious deeds produced and
perpetrated by their procurement. The villain and the victim were here combined. The "
chastisement" and " merited punishment" which General Jackson was ordered to " inflict for hostilities
so unprovoked," justly fell upon those Christian savages.
Sir, the trial of Arbuthnot and Ambrister by a court, and the rejection of its sentence as to Ambrister,
by General Jackson, is the subject of much objection, and probably the great cause of public
discontent. It is due to myself, said Mr. T to confess, that the manner of the publication of the
proceedings of the court martial, with the newspaper comments, before the publication of the whole
documents, was not without its effect on my mind. My first impression on this point was that of
disapprobation. But, Mr. T said, since he had examined the subject, he had no remaining doubts
connected with the proceedings of that court martial. A proper discrimination, said Mr. T between the
different courts or tribunals, usually incident to military proceedings, will tend to correct erroneous
impressions on this subject. A court martial, said Mr. T is a court specially created by the rules and
articles of war, and limited in its jurisdiction to officer and soldier, with the single excepted case of the
power conferred by statute over the case of a spy. It is a municipal regulation, confined o the
discipline of your army, and limited to the police of your camp. These are its limits, and the boundary
of is jurisdiction. Thus far it is a valid court, and its decisions are obligatory; and although the
commanding general may disapprove, he must then order a second court. But, without its sentence,






he cannot punish either officer or soldier under his command. And this, said Mr. T. is the only military
tribunal having jurisdiction, that is known to our law. It has no power or jurisdiction over a citizen, an
enemy, or prisoner. A citizen is only accountable to the civil tribunal; an enemy or prisoner is not
liable to the jurisdiction of any court, but subject to the power commissioned to carry on the war in
which his country is engaged. The commanding general has the right, and is made responsible for all
proceedings against the enemy. In the progress of military events, when the right to direct is
complete in the general, but attended with circumstances of doubt or difficulty, he often directs his
officers to inquire and express their opinions, in order to be advised by them in the exercise of his
rights. When the subject of the enquiry is concerning any circumstances connected with the
movement of the army, it is usually denominated a Board of Officers: but when it regards your enemy,
or any prisoner, it is called a Special Court, or Court of Enquiry. These latter courts have no
jurisdiction; can pronounce no sentence; confer no right or power upon the commanding general.
They are merely advisory to the general, in the exercise of the rights and powers previously vested in
him. A Court Martial is bound to legal testimony, and strict rules of evidence; while those other
special courts, or boards of officers, having no jurisdiction, and being only advisory, profess only to
obtain information, without regard to legal proof.
Sir, said Mr. T when the unfortunate Major Andre was taken, General Washington directed a special
court to answer to him two questionslst. In what light shall the prisoner be viewed ? 2d. What is its
consequence ? The court returned for answer that he should be viewed, as a spy; and the
consequences, by the laws of nations, was death. General Washington then issued an order for his
execution.
In the case of Col. Hayne, of Charleston, Lord Rawdon directed a like court to answer to him, "
whether the prisoner, Col. Hayne, should be considered as an English subject, or an American citizen
?" The court were not swornthe witnesses produced were not swornhearsay evidence was admitted,
and the court returned for answer that the prisoner should be viewed as a British subject. Lord
Rawdon ordered his execution. The objection at that day on the part of this country was not as to the
form of his trial and execution, but the unjust principles assumed in considering him a British subject,
after he had removed from their limits, and had raised a regiment, and joined our cause.
These cases, said Mr. T. sufficiently shew the distinction in regard to the different military courts, while
they demonstrate the principle, that when a country in war had resolved on a campaign, either
offensive or defensive, the commanding general is charged with its detail, and bound to adopt such
measures as tend to give effect to the campaign, and induce to a termination of the war. The right is
complete in the general to make such orders and carry into effect such measures, as, in his opinion,
would accomplish the object of the campaign. For the due exercise of this right, be is justly held
responsible to his country. The right and the duty to net being in him, in cases of difficulty or
importance he directs his officers to inquire and report facts and opinions, not to confer upon him
additional powers, but to support his responsibilities, and to advise him in the exercise of his
discretion.
Sir, the order of Gen. Jackson, detailing the court in the case of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, calls it "a
special court," and, in addition to the names of the members, it details Lt. McGlasselas " recorder."
This, said Mr. T. is, in the opinion of military men, a distinguishing feature in the character of a court.
Military writers often give no other distinction between these courts than as having either a " recorder"
or " judge advocate"; which latter officer is said to be an essential ingredient in the constitutions of a
court martial, and without whom no proceedings can be had, and no sentence can be pronounced.
Altho' the court in the present case, by mistake, assumed the forms of a court martial, yet it could not
there by acquire any power over persons not within its jurisdiction, nor impair the original right in Gen.
Jackson to act without its assistance, and independently of its sentence. He did, in the case of
Ambrister, so act, and it only remains to examine into the circumstances of the case, and the motives
of public policy by which he was influenced, in order to determine whether he shall stand justified, or
whether he shall be censured by a vote of this house, as having, by unnecessary cruelties, stained
the honor of our country.
Mr. T said, he would ask gentlemen to review the character and the progress of Indian wars; to cast






back their recollections into the history of our country, and tell him if Englishmen and Indians have not
always been united in war against the prosperity and the safety of our country. When Burguoyne
entered your country on the north, he was preceded by a dark and murky cloud of savage
barbarians, like noxious vapors hanging round and moving with his camp. The lamented fate of Miss
McCree, tells the course and the conduct of this union between our savage foes and the "Bulwark of
our Religion." [Mr. T. proceeded at some length to recount events in Indians wars, and said their rule
was to practice every cruelty, give no quarter, and refuse all exchange of prisoners. Our rule had
been to burn and break up their towns.] But, said he, if gentlemen who feel for the sufferings and fate
of Arbuthnot and Ambrister have any sympathies to spare, let them offer consolationlet them pour
them into the afflicted bosom of the unfortunate Mr. Garreta wife murdered and scalped ! A child,
murdered and scalped ! An helpless infant, murdered, and the cradle stained with innocent blood !
And then, to consummate the yet unfinished scene, his house was set on fire, and the flames of his
house were made to announce to the absent husband and father, the extent of his calamities.
With the history of such wars, of such scenes, and such events, before you, instigated by British
subjects carried on and supported by Spanish and British resources, who can doubt the wisdom and
the necessity of hanging on high, some signal examples ? Cast your eye westward, over your newly
acquired territory, extending to the Pacific Ocean, and inhabited by savage hordes, bounded on the
north, by British territory, and on the south by Spanish possessions; can you longer doubt but the era
has arrived, when you must avow and maintain the policy of your country, to prohibit the intercourse
between Indians and foreign incendiaries ? When I reflect that the example before us, was upon
British subjects, in a Spanish territory, it obtains the approbation of my judgment; it commands the joy
of my heart. With such views, for the future good of this country, the gallant spirit of General Jackson
did not pause. He ordered Arbuthnot and Ambrister to executionjustice approved the deedmerely
withheld the tearand even humanity rejoiced. Yet, these men fell not unlamented. Theft, rapine, and
murder, bewailed their loss. Superstition and cruelty; the one wrapped in the Spanish cloak, and
inquisition's cowl, the other clad in bleeding scalps, the trophies of their friend's exploits, walked as
the mourners to their tomb.
Sir, said Mr. T. I think gentlemen do not fairly understand the purport of General Jackson's
correspondence, when they describe him, after the occupation of St. Marks, and before the execution
of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, as representing that the war had terminated, and from which, it si
inferred, the execution of those men was an unnecessary cruelty. The evident meaning of his letters
is, that the enemy were so broken and dispersed, the command of a Major General was no longer
required. Sir, the war was not terminated. There is no treaty of peace to this hour. Your enemy cut
off from all sources of supplies by the energetic proceedings of General Jackson, cannot any longer
make war, in numbers or except by marauding parties, and are now held it subjection by a cordon of
posts, established by his orders. The necessity for the example was, therefore, rather increased than
diminished, from the new and predatory character which the war was expected to assume.
Sir: Pensacola and the Fort Barrancas have been taken. General Jackson, on the 20th of April,
reduced his force, by dismissing the Georgia militia, and with the residue, he crossed the
Appalachicola River, in pursuit of his dispersed flying enemy. He soon learned that his enemy had
free access to Pensacola, was there openly supplied armed form the public stores, and that thus
reinvigorated, he issued forth in marauding parties, upon the Alabama frontier. Eighteen of her
citizens recently had fallen a sacrifice to one of these Indian parties, coming directly from Pensacola,
and again returning to that place [Mr. T went into an examination of the documents in relation to
Pensacola, tending to show its support of the Indians; the free use they had of the place; its unfriendly
conduct towards us, an its departure from all neutral conduct. When General Jackson approached
the place, said Mr. T it was filled with Indians. They were sent out of the place across the bay, in
government boats, and at its final surrender, and in its capitulation, one of the hostile Alabama Chiefs
was included. Perhaps it ought not to be said that this place was in danger of being taken possession
of by the Indians. But, in every other respect, all had been said of the first entry across the Florida
line, and the possession of St. Marks, is also applicable to this place. But, Mr. T. said, there was yet
another point of view in which it ought to be considered. It should be remembered that this was the






country of your enemy, and from which he issued to make irruptions upon you; and into which you
had pursued him, in order for his subjection.
In the progress of this pursuit, he not only derives shelter from a place calling itself neutral, but also is
there permitted to refit, and again to sally forth upon you. Consider also the character of this enemy;
a savage foe, covered in the wilderness, deriving all his supplies from this neutral place, and, as often
as circumstances will permit, issuing forth in marauding incursions, carrying devastation and ruin into
your settlement. When a belligerent invests a place of his enemy, he is allowed to interdict all
intercourse with neutrals, for the lawful purpose of carrying into effect the object of his investment.
Besiegers do not hesitate to treat as prisoners, and even punish with death, all persons attempting to
simply a city besieged. The principle upon which these acts are justifiable, is the lawful object of the
belligerent against his enemy, and the effect the intercourse with neutrals would have in defeating
those objects. Apply these principles to an army in the field. A belligerent will cut off its resources,
and prevent its supplies. Who will say a neutral should be permitted to furnish them, and give them
shelter when pressed by your pursuit ? And if the neutral will thus expose himself, he justifies you to
resort to the means necessary to deprive your enemy of this resource, and prevent the failure of your
own object. But Pensacola was not a neutral place; it was the fountain of supplies to your enemy.
The entire use of the place was lent to him. Your enemy occupied it, and fled from it on your
approach. If this permission was extended to him, either for partiality or from weakness to resist, you
were equally entitled to enter into it temporarily, and hold it from your enemy. Its possession was
essential to the success of your pursuit and the defeat of your foe; without it, he would forthwith here
refit, and again assail you. In the language of Gen. Jackson," the immutable laws of self-defence"
justifies you. Its subsequent surrender by the President is not inconsistent with its just occupation by
Gen. Jackson. The cause, which required its occupation, to complete the defeat of a flying enemy,
was removed, and the place was correctly restored. It is upon these principles that St. Marks has
been retained, and a condition required, that the Spanish government should occupy it by an
adequate force, to secure safety to the adjoining country.
Sir, there are other principle involved in this case, which it was my intention to discuss. But my feeble
health and exhausted strength admonish me to close. In this close, permit me to urge upon you the
importance of the decision you may pronounce; a decision affecting the reputation of a faithful
general; important to the character of our country, and of great influence on our pending negotiations.

Sir, in casting a view over the circumstances of the transaction now under consideration, you cannot
but consider as established the principal points which lead to the necessary conclusion. A war,
savage and offensive, has been waged on your frontier; the constituted authorities of your nation have
adopted and contributed to the defence in that war. The Executive of the government assumed the
control. He directed the war to be carried across the Florida line, and commissioned one of your
major generals with full power to adopt the necessary measures to give the war effect, and bring it to
a speedy termination, under such circumstances of merited punishment as would secure a
permanent peace. In the progress of this war, your general had occupied the posts of a power
professing neutrality. He had overcome in battle your enemy, and had destroyed his towns. The foe,
broken and dispersed, could no longer be found in open fight, but, divided into marauding parties, he
made his irruptions upon you from the wilderness, less visible, but more destructive. It was found and
ascertained that the resources and the supplies for all these hostile incursions were furnished from
Spanish neutrality, and English friendship; that they were stimulated by Spanish influence, and guided
by British skill. How then could your general execute his commission, and yet stop short of the
occupation of those neutral posts, and that friendly influence, which would so soon refit your enemy,
and invigorate his hostilities ? How could he say have secured a permanent peace, without exhibiting
some instances of punishment, to remain as a warning for incendiaries for its future infraction ? The
right to complete those acts was strictly vested in your general. The wisdom and the policy of their
execution, can no longer be doubted. Miserable and misguided Indians; my heart sympathises in
your misfortunes. But Spain, my indignation for the cold treachery of her character, is lost in my
contempt for the duplicity and baseness of her conduct. But thou, England, whom form my mother's






breast I have been taught to hate, I never before could fully despise. A people, justly famed for their
philanthropyconspicuous for their moral and religious institutionstheir bible and missionary societies,
teaching alike to the savages of Asia and America the arts of civil society and the precepts of our
gospel. A government professing to us peace, and embodying those professions into a formal treaty,
in which is contained an anathema against the traffic in human flesh, and a clause of mutual pledge
to prohibit slave trade. And yet, this government uses its influence, advances, and commissions the
savages of the wilderness to war upon your frontier.
In the progress of this debate, some of the public services of Gen. Jackson have been recounted. I
am no eulogist. I have neither the will nor the power to recount the exploits of the man on whose
conduct you are to pronounce. Small must be that man's pretensions to immortality in fame; meagre
must be that man's glories, whose friends in debate can enumerate his act and detail the account of
his services. The public services of Gen. Jackson are reduced to no ledgered account; they are not
of this class; they are of an order, which break upon the imagination and dazzle by their brightness.
Sir, the congregated world have compared those achievements, which form the fund of their national
glories; among those of modern days, by universal consent, the names of Agincourt and Poictiers
stand pre-eminent in brightness. But it is the fortune of our day ! Nay, it is the fortune of our country,
to behold those bright names, serve but as the back ground upon which are emblazoned yet more
brilliant names of Orleans and of Jackson.
Sir, you may pass the proposed resolution. With the pestiferous breath of censure, you may wither
the laurels, which his nation has entwined about his brow. In the language of the gentleman from
Georgia, (Mr. Cobb) " you may even bring that brow itself to the vile dust from whence it sprung;" but
yet my heart is cheered with the confiding hope, that history, in justice to his valor, his fidelity, and his
public services, will record, in her brightest page, the name of Jackson; while the tears of a grateful
country will moisten those laurels, which were entwined around his brow, and reanimate them to
bloom an evergreen upon his grave.
(DEBATE TO BE CONTINUED.)




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