EXILES OF FLORIDA.
FARRIS BRYANT rsr- 16C
State of Florida
Carl Sanrdburg has said: "Books say Yes to life. Or they
say No." The twelve volumes commemorating the IQuadri-
centennial of Florida say Yes. They unfold a story so
adventurous and thrilling, so colorful and dramatic, that
it would pass for fiction were the events not solidly rooted
in historical fact. Five varying cultures have shaped the
character of Florida and endowed her with the pride and
wisdom that come from full knzowled ge and abiding
understanding. Let us enjoy with deepening gratitude
Florida's magnetic natural endowments of sun and surf
and sky. Let us also recognize in her unique cultural herit-
age the pattern of energy and dedication that will spur
us to face the challenges of today and tomorrow with'
I am grateful for the privilege of sharing these volumes
EXILES OF FLORIDA:
THE CRIMES COMMITTED BT OUR GOVER1NMElNT AGAINfST THE MA~BOONS,
WHO FLED FROM BOUTH CARO~INA~ AND OTHER SLAVE STATES,
BEEKING PROTECTION UNDERB SPANISH~ LAWS.
JOSHUAU R. GIDDING8..
A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
of the 1858 EDITION
by ARTHUR W. THOMPSON
FLORIDIANA FA~CSI~MIL'E & REPRINT SERIES
University of Florida Press
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE 9 REPRINT SERIES
of the 1858 EDITION
WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION
&- INDEX ADDED
NEW MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 19I64
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
STATE INSTITUTIONS OF FLORIDA
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 64-19159
LITHOPRINTED BY DOUGLAS PRINTING COMPANY, INC.
BOUND BY UNIVERSAL-DIXIE BINDERY, INC.
Secretary of State
RAY E. GREEN
DOYLE E. CONNER
Commissioner of Agriculture
JAMES W. KYNES
J. EDWIN LARSON
THOMAS D. BAILEY
Sucperintentdenrt of Public Instruction
THE BOArLRD OF CONTROL
BAYA M1. HARRISON, JR.
CHARLES R. FORMAN, D.V.M.
WAYNE C. MCCALL, D.D.S.
JAMES LAWRENCE KING
GERT H. WJ. SCHMIDT
JOHN .C. PACE
CHESTER E. WJGHITTLE
J. B. CULPEPPER
Executive Director, Tallahassee
THE QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE 9 REPRINT SERIES
CARPETBAG RULE IN FLORIDA by John Wallace. 1888. Edited
by Allan Nevins.
THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA by
William Watson Davis. 1913. Edited by Fletcher M. Green.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA by Joshua R. Giddings. 1858. Edited
by Arthur W. Thompson.
FLORIDA FOR TOURISTS, INVALIDS, AND SETTLERS by
George M. Barbour. 1882. Edited by Emmett B. Peter, Jr.
HISTORICAL MEMOIR OF THE WSAR IN WEST FLORIDA
AND LOUISIANA IN 1814-15 by A. L. Latour. 1816. Edited
by Jane Lucas de Grummond.
HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, AND VICINITY,
1513 to 1924 by T. Frederick Davis. 1925. Edited by Richard
NOTICES OF FLORIDA AND THE CAMPAIGNS by M. M.
Cohen. 1836. Edited by O. Z. Tyler, Jr.
THE ORIGIN, PROGRESS, AND CONCLUSION OF THE
FLORIDA WAR by John T. Sprague. 1848. Edited by John
PEDRO MENENDEZ de AVILES by Gonzalo Solfs de Meris.
1567. (The Florida State Historical Society edition, edited
and translated by Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by Lyle
THE PURCHASE OF FLORIDA by Hubert Bruce Fuller. 1906.
Edited by WCeymouth T. Jordan.
SKETCHES, HISTORICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL, OF THE
FLORIDAS by James Grant Forbes. 1821. Edited by James
THE WHOLE e& TRUE DISCOUERYE OF TERRA FLORIDA
by Jean Ribaut. 1563. (The Florida State Historical Society
edition, including a biography of Ribaut by Jeannette Thurber
Connor.) Edited by David L. Dowd.
The Quadricentennial Coat-of-Arms
Surmounted by the Crest symbolizing our National
Emblem and underlined by the Scroll, the Shield -
with the Tower of spain in the Heraldic quarter of
honor, followed by the Fleur-de-lis of France, the
Lion Rampant of Britain, and the Afullets and Saltier
of the Confederacy depicts the four-hundred-year
cultural heritage of our Florida of today.
The Florida Quadricentent~nial Comm~issiont~ acknowledges its
deepest gratitude to Chase D. Sheddan,
distinguished scholar, and A. Vernon
Coale, noted Heraldic Artist, for their
conception and portrayal of the opicial
Florida Quradricentennial Coat-of-Arms.
LORIDA enjoys a unique position
among the fifty states of the
Union. Her city of St. Au gustine
antedates Jamestown, the sec-
a ond oldest European settlement
within the present boundaries
of the United States, by forty-
two years. But it was not until 1950 that Florida
entered the select circle of the ten most populouls
states of the nation. Since 1950 she has passed
Massachusetts in population and is challenging New
Jersey for ei ghth place. Within the South only Texas
with more than four and one-hal f times the area of
Florida has a larger population.
Neither number nor age is necessarily a distinc-
tion, but most Americans are impressed by the
former and revere the latter. Floridians view the
recent and rapid increase in their state's population
as an indication of youthful vi gor. In 1860 eleven
states of the Union had a million or more inhabit-
ants, a status symbol not attained by Florida until
the mid-1920's. At the turn of the century Florida
ranked thirty-third in a nation of forty-six common-
wealths; today she is ninth in population among the
fifty states. In contrast to the national increase of
less than 20 per cent from 1950 to 1960, Florida's
population increased by more than 78 per cent. The
number of people living in the state in 1964 is more
than twice that of 1950.
While boasting of their state's recent sur ge, Flo-
ridians are also proud of their four-hundred-year-old
ori gin. In 1957 the Florida Quladricentennial Com-
mission was established. With the approval of its
members local or ganizations have celebrated the
quladricentennials of several historic events. The at-
tempt of Tristain de Luna to found a colony on the
western tip of Santa Rosa Island in 1559 was ob-
served in Pensacola by reconstructing the Spanish
village settlement. In 1962 Jacksonville noted the
Quradricentennial of Jean Ribaullt's explorations
with a colorful drama. Even before this tribute to
the French explorer, a museum was built near the
spot where in 1564 another Frenchman, Rede de
Lauldonniire, brought the first Protestant colonists
to an area within the present-day United States.
These and other quradricentennial celebrations will
cullminate in 1965 with state, national, and interna-
tional observance of the founding of St. Au gustine.
There are many ways to celebrate quladricenten-
nials---parades, speeches, pageants, the re-creation of
villages and forts, and the restoration of buildings.
Some of these are spectacular but fleeting; others,
including the restoration of building gs, will remain
for our descendants to see and feel. More enduring
than any of these are ideas. For this reason the Gou-
ernor, the Cabinet, and the Florida Qtuadricentennial
Commission gave priority to the reprinting of rare
and valuable books relating to Florida. These re pro-
ductions will endure. They will enable many Ameri-
cans to share in the state's past, and will provide
source material for the historian.
Until recently few authors or publishers were in-
terested in Florida. Englishmen brought the first
printing press to Florida in 1783 and from it came
a newspaper and two books. But for a century and a
half the books on Florida were rare and the number
of copies printed was small. In cooperation with the
University of Florida Press the Quadricentennial
Commission is reprinting twelve rare or semi-rare
books. The subject matter in these volumes covers
a period of more than three hundred years of Flor-
ida's history--the French and Spanish settlements,
the War of 1812, the purchase by the United States,
the Seminole War, the Civil War and Reconstruc-
tion, and the modern period. In addition to textual
reproductions, these facsimile editions contain in-
troductions by businessmen, journalists, and profes-
sors. The Quadricentennial Commission hopes these
twelve books will stimulate the production of other
reprints and encourage students to write original
manuscripts which describe and interpret Florida's
The Florida Quadricentennial Commission
The Florida Quladricentennial Commission
FRED H. KENT, Chairman-Jacksonville
DOYLE E. CARLTON, SR.--Tampa
JEAN ANN CONE--Tampa
CLARENCE M. GAY--Orlando
HAROLD WSC. GOFORTH-Ocala
JOHN MARSHALL GREEN-Ocala
KATHRYN ABBEY HANNA- Wintert Park
MALLORY HORNE -Tallahassee
CHARLES H. OVERMAN PenSaRCOla
JOHN D. PENNEKAMP--Miami
JOH N FITE ROB ERTSON-Sarasota
GERT H. W. SC HMIDT--Jacksonville
H. E. WOLFE--St. Augustine
THE FACT that every generation faces critical problems
and painful adjustments is a truism. Today Americans are
concerned with human rights and the dignity of man--some
upholding a caste system and others demanding equality
under law for all citizens. More than one hundred years ago
human rights were also at issue, with defenders of the status
quo relying on states' rights and interpretation of the Bible
to justify the continuation of slavery, and with abolitionists
appealing to conscience and a law higher than that of man
to end the peculiar institution.
Slavery no longer has its defenders. Modern students
study its lingering effects on institutions and ways of life,
but they honor the memory of those who wiped a blight from
the American scene. Thousands of Americans helped to end
that anachronistic institution-Southerners who voted "that
all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights," Southerners who
formed manumission societies, slaves who rebelled against
injustice, Northerners who worked for abolition, and soldiers
who gave their lives for Union and freedom.
There were also politicians, some with the courage to
lead voters. Among these was Joshua Reed Giddings, a na-
tive of Pennsylvania, who represented the Western Reserve
x1 EDITORIAL PREFACE.
of Ohio in the House of Representatives from 1838 to 1859.
Although successively a Whig, Free-Soiler, and Republican,
he was always a militant antislavery man. His diatribes in
Congress brought censure from members of his party and
his harangues aroused the ire of Southerners. Giddings was
a propagandist who mingled fact and fancy in his appeals
to the emotions of Northerners. He allowed nothing to swerve
him from his paramount purpose of gaining adherents for
the abolitionist cause. As Professor Thompson points out in
his introduction, the Exiles of Florida was the vehicle used
by Giddings to summarize his life's work.
Arthur W. Thompson specializes in the cultural and in-
tellectual history of the United States, edits the University of
Florida's Social Science Monographs, and is chairman of
that school's American Studies Program. In addition to his
critical introduction, he added the index to this volume. He
and the University of Florida Press are indebted to Director
of University Libraries, Stanley L. West, for the use of Gid-
dings' book to produce this facsimile edition.
REMBERT W. PATRICK
University of Florida General Editor of the
April, 1964 FLORIDIANA SERIES
THE PUBLICATION of the Exiles of F'lorida in 1858 cli-
maxed a twenty-year political career which had catapulted
Joshua Giddings into national prominence. The book was
in the nature of a report to his Congressional constituents,
indeed to the public at large. More epnta t a-rma-
the country. Lts central thee reaet h riences of
lhT Tv~e slaves, those who escaped from the Carolinas
and Georgi ida aswl a ohahsat n nto
efforts to recapture them--efforts culminating in the Semi-
nole arsGdi s oiiclcre and `his view -his
antislaver-y ac ground,-~ his twenty years in the House of
Representatives, his legislative speeches, public addresses,
and constitutional argument -were brought to a head in
this 1858 volume. In a very real sense it summarized his
ideas and speeches of two decades, and provided additional
ammunition for the national debate at the moment he was
leaving the Congressional arena.
Before turning to his role in the ante-bellum crusade
against slavery, a glance at Giddings' background and fam-
ily history is necessary, for not only did they reflect a major
thread in the westward expansion of American society, but
the final point of the family's settlement would be a crucial
factor in shaping his views. The initial migration started
with George Giddings who came to Massachusetts in 1635.
Three-quarters of a century later, Joshua Giddings' great-
grandfather moved to Connecticut. Then, near the end of the
eighteenth century Joshua's father moved to Pennsylvania
and it was there, in the town of Athens, that Joshua Gid-
dings was born on October 6, 1795. That same year the
peripatetic Giddings family moved to Canandaigua, New
York, and a decade later they finally came to a halt in
Ohio's Ashtabula Countyl
For the next thirty years the Western Reserve proved to
be extremely congenial to the maturing Giddings, for it pro-
vided him with the occupational and social mobility so
characteristic of the early nineteenth-century frontier. There
was, of course, the usual period of farming, interrupted at
seventeen for a few weeks of militia duty during the War of
1812. For several years after 1814 he made his contribution
to the teaching profession; he married Laura Waters, daugh-
ter of a Connecticut emigrant, in 1819; and two years later,
with his admission to the bar, he began an eminently suc-
cessful legal career which included a law partnership with
Benjamin Franklin Wade and a term in the lower house of
the state legislature between 1826 and 1828. Land specula-
tion also filled his time and, some of the time, his pockets as
The sharp break between this kind of career and that of
a crusading antislavery reformer, which gained momentum
after 1838, is still somewhat startling. The reasons for this
shift are apparent, the motives still in dispute. In 1833, with
the British abolition of West Indian slavery, the American
Anti-Slavery Society came into existence. The following year
the new organization started its national campaign for aboli-
tion. In the Old Northwest evangelistic fervor added to the
movement's expansion. Cincinnati's Lane Seminary, with
Lyman Beecher as president and Theodore Weld as its lead-
ing inspiration, became the center of western abolitionism.
When some began to draw back, the ultras--or "Lane
Rebels," as they came to be known--moved on to Oberlin
in 1835. There they ignored the economics of slavery and
focused their antislavery attack on moral grounds. Within a
year, the view of the Lane Rebels, that slavery was a sin as
well as an evil, had been adopted by the abolitionists. Reviv-
alism could then take its place in the movement; and it
did as Theodore Weld's band of crusaders was turned loose
in the Ohio Valley." Weld moved into a town, spread his
gospel, and then moved on to the next town, leaving a few
converts as the nucleus for a local organization. In the town
of Jefferson, one such convert was Joshua Giddings who,
with the aid of his partner, Benjamin Wade, organized the
local antislavery society.4
Theodore Weld was an extremely persuasive man. But
was there something about Giddings' outlook or particular
experience at the time which made him more receptive to
Weld's powers? It has been suggested that heavy losses in
land speculation and economic reverses accompanying the
panic of 1837 made it easier for Giddings "to turn his back
on orthodox Whiggery and take up with reforms." It was
a form of substitution.5
On the other hand, longer standing political and religious
views played a significant role. Clearly, Giddings' anti-
slavery stand was influenced by Christian motives, a fact
which William Lloyd Garrison has readily acknowledged.
Perhaps even more important was his long-term devotion to
the principles which stemmed from the eighteenth-century
enlightenment. Jefferson's views on human rights, especially
as given expression in the Declaration of Independence,
were close to his heart. Certainly they appeared again and
again in his speeches. Typical is the statement from one of
his Congressional addresses, "I hold to the principle on
which this government is based, that men are free and equal
and that he who attempts to interfere with God-given rights
does it at his peril.""
Elected to the United States House of Representatives in
1838, Joshua Giddings went to Washington "with instruc-
,ta to bring abolition into national focus in any way pos-
sible."7 Extremely influential in shaping the views and
sharpening the verbal thrusts of a small group of antislavery
Congressmen was Joshua Leavitt. Very quickly and for some
two decades the attack on slavery became the central issue
in their position and strategy. The little band caucused fre-
quently, planning bills and resolutions; and it wasn't long
before the Ohio representative was calling them the "Select
Committee on Slavery."s Their efforts, moreover, were aided
by the fact that they lived together at Mrs. Sprigg's board-
ing house, directly in front of the Capitol. Giddings, Leavitt,
Weld, as well as Seth Gates and William Slade, all resided
there. It was no wonder, then, that the place quickly became
known as "Abolition House." It was understandable, too,
that Mrs. Sprigg, apprehensive about the outlook of her
boarders, began using free Negroes rather than slaves
around these men.9
In the lower house of Congress, the first order of business
was the attack on the "gag rule." Renewed each session be-
tween 1836 and~ 1844, the regulation shut off all antislavery
debate and, in effect, deprived the supporters of that posi-
tion of one of their civil rights. The key leaders in the effort
to block renewal of the gag rule, as well as in the petitions
controversy, were former President John Quincy Adams,
Joshua Giddings, and Vermont's William Slade. WShenever
the gag rule fight was lost, these men would circumvent the
House ban by the presentation of an endless number of
petitions on a variety of topics, all relating, however indi-
rectly, to slavery.'o Southern Congressmen did not take
kindly to these efforts. The Whig Party even attempted "to
purge themselves of abolition influence.""' When the re-
formers launched another attack in 184~2, it led to a second
unsuccessful effort to censure Adams. Giddings' own trial
would come only two months later in response to his so-
called Creole Resolutions. His crisis stemmed from the at-
tempted voyage of an American brig, The ~Creole, from
Virginia to New Orleans with a cargo of slaves. A mutiny
brought the ship somewhat unexpectedly to Nassau, where
the British freed all the slaves except those directly involved
in the revolt. While Secretary of State Daniel Webster pro-
tested to the British, Giddings, on March 21, 184~2, offered
a series of resolutions condemning slavery and the slave
trade. An aroused group of Representatives, led by infuri-
ated Southerners, censured the Ohioan on a second effort
two days later.l2
Giddings was hardly without friends, however. In Chi-
cago, the Liberty Party Convention strongly criticized the
censure. In Washington, the "Select Committee on Slavery"
was up in arms. Throughout-the nation, antislavery men
condemned "the slave power." In Congress, his friends of-
fered personal comfort, while Adams said to him, "I hope
we shall soon have you back again."l3 Indeed, a close rela-
tionship developed between these two men; Giddings was
almost the only House member Adams cared for. The New
Englander on one occasion even wrote a poem, "To Joshua
Giddings did not accept the censure without a fight. He
resigned from the House at once and went back to his con-
stituents for a vote of confidence. The Western Reserve, of
course, "had been thoroughly abolitionized" and there was
no question about his being returned. In a special April
election, Giddings was triumphantly re-elected with more
than 3,000 votes to spare. It gave him the largest majority
achieved by any member of the House, to which he returned
with renewed vigor?"j With the fight led by Adams, Gid-
dings, and a few other ardent spirits, the gag rule was
finally defeated in 1844.
The Ohioan continued his personal crusade against
slavery, in Congress until his last term ended in 1859, and
out of Congress until his death in 18642. He spoke before
large and small groups from Massachusetts to Illinois and
up and down the East Coast.ls He fought for his position
through a succession of political parties. He went to Con-
gress as a Whig and remained a staunch defender of that
party down through the 1844 Presidential canvass. The
Liberty Party had tried to woo him and Seward that year,
but to no avail." Four years later he joined the Free-Soil
ranks and his view, that the federal government had no
constitutional authority to protect slavery, was read into the
party's national platform.
In 1852 he repudiated the Whigs again and, along with
Chase, Sumner, Horace Mann, and others, Giddings became
a power in the Free-Soil National Convention.lx This de-
cision undoubtedly cost him a seat in the United States
Senate, for the Ohio Whigs adamantly refused to join the
Free-Soilers in Giddings' behalf.l9 Two years later, the
Kansas-Nebraska Bill provoked still another political shift.
A small group of antislavery men drafted an "Appeal of the
Independent Democrats in Congress to the People of the
United States." Giddings provided the rough draft, Salmon
P. Chase wrote the text, and Charles Sumner contributed
the final literary revision. Attacking Stephen A. Douglas, the
Appeal denounced the bill as a violation of a sacred pledge,
a betrayal, and a plot to exclude free men from the West.20
By July, 1854, the Ohio Whigs came to the end of their
political existence when a group of ex-Democrats under
Chase joined with a group of ex-Whigs under Giddings.21
The last political change, into the ranks of the Republi-
can Party, was consummated by the mid-fifties. Indeed, for
his remaining years in Congress, the veteran Giddings be-
came a key Republican House leader.22 In Chicago, at the
Republican National Convention of 1860, Giddings emerged
as a significant speaker with a large and friendly following.
When the platform committee did not include an exposition
of his favorite set of principles from the Declaration of
Independence, Giddings led a strong fight from the floor.
He insisted that Jefferson's words be restored to the platform
and when it was voted down, he stalked from the convention
floor. Only an impassioned plea by New York's George
William Curtis saved the day. Another vote did pass the
Giddings amendment and its author returned contentedly
to his seat. The antislavery forces had insisted that the
Republican Party take a clear stand on the fundamental
point that all men had certain inalienable rights, among
them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
Joshua Giddings' stand on slavery has been the subject
of much controversy and disagreement. One historian calls
him a radical, politically and temperamentally, adding that
"his radicalism coincided with the collapse of his fortune"
in the late thirties.24 Others suggest that he was a mod-
erate.25 In the last analysis, much depends on the time
period under consideration, as well as whether one is deal-
ing with slavery, the free Negro, or the rights of life, liberty,
and property of any human being. Further complications
arise depending upon whether one considers these varied
problems from a political, moral, or constitutional perspec-
When Joshua Giddings first arrived in Congress in 1839,
he was no radical. True, he was one of the first politicos
to "inherit the antislavery crusade." But essentially, he was,
at this point, a moderate. Indeed, one of his early votes was
recorded for a resolution which said that the government
had no power to regulate slavery in the states.26 The gag
rule, however, was an affront to his belief in political rights,
and the petitions controversy emboldened his attack on
slavery. By the early forties, Giddings was denouncing "the
slave power" and its influence in the affairs of government.27
He cited ten examples as proof of the existence and influ-
ence of this insidious force: (1) the 1793 fugitive slave law;
(2) Indian and Negro problems in Florida in 1815; (3) the
Seminole W~ar; (4~) slavery in the District of Columbia; (5)
the non-recognition of Haiti; (6) the attempts to recapture
fugitive slaves in Canada; (7) the House gag rule against
petitions; (8) attacks on free speech and press; (9) the
extension of slavery into the Southwest; (10) the efforts to
reopen the slave trade.
Even by the late 1840's, men such as Henry~ Clay still
separated Giddings and John Quincy Adar aj from those they
called the "ultra Abolitionists." Giddings opposed the an-
nexation of Texas and the war with Mexico as extensions
of the "slave power," but made it quite clear that he auld
not agitate against slavery where it existed in the South.28
True, he opposed slavery; it was politically unljust and
morally wrong. But as a lawyer he could see no way to end
its southern existence and he was not yet ready to talk of
a "higher law." Instead, Giddings developed a line of con-
stitutional reasoning which, though not completely original,
did become exceedingly popular. The free states and the
slave states were separate and the federal government could
in no way relate them. Moreover, since the federal govern-
ment had jurisdiction in the capital city and the territories,
it could take no action in behalf of slavery in either of those
The Compromise of 1850 proved to be another turning
point for Giddings, as it did for so many. Infuriated by the
Fugitive Slave Law which upset his constitutional position
by involving the national government in the protection of
slavery--and in the free states, too--Giddings finally
reached beyond the Constitution. In a speech to the House
of Representatives, he roared, "Let no man tell you that
there is no higher law than this fugitive slave bill. Wle feel
that there is a law of right, of justice, of freedom, implanted
in the breasts of every intelligent human being, that bids
him look with scorn upon this libel on all that is called the
law."so Moreover, Giddings went on to practice what he
preached, aiding the underground railroad, engaging in the
legal defense of runaway slaves, and even spearheading, in
May, 1859, a group which freed a captured slave in Oberlin,
Ohio. He announced to his startled colleagues in the House,
"I have seen as many as nine fugitives dining at one time
in my own house. .. I fed them, I clothed them, gave them
money for their journey and sent them on their way re-
By the time the campaign of 1856 rolled across the
American scene, Giddings had reached the point of repudi-
ating slavery even in the South. "I look forward," he said,
"to the day when there shall be a servile insurrection in the
South; when the black man .. shall assert his freedom,
and wage a war of extermination against his master." Such
would be the millennium."" "
Over the two decades of his Congressional career, Gid-
dings had become increasingly ardent in his defense of
Negro rights. He condemned the policy 'of limiting land
grants to white settlers only. Was it not merely one of the
"groveling prejudices which govern the American Con-
gress?""3 But his colleagues had no stomach for co-exist-
ence. On the other hand, he was reluctant to grant the Negro
suffrage, "however just such a position may be."34 Still,
Giddings' interpretation of Jefferson's Declaration of '76
was sufficiently inclusive to cover certain basic rights for
Negroes, especially those that pertained to personal liberty
and the right to hold property.
And what about the Union ? The Garrison ian abolitionists
were willing to accept disunion to free the North from
slavery. Not so with Giddings and Charles Francis Adams,
the Tappans, and John Pierpont. On this phase of the
question, they were "moderate abolitionists" still who "held
to the Union as it stood."35 On the eve of secession, the
Garrisonians continued to favor the end of the Union. By
now, even Joshua Giddings, along with abolitionists such as
Sumner, Gerrit Smith, and Henry Ward Beecher, had moved
toward the position which would occasionally acquiesce in
"the peaceful dissolution" of the Union."" By 1861 he had
gone all the way. He opposed the proposed compromise and
came to view the entire situation as an "irrepressible con-
flict." There would be no yielding on principle at all; there
had been too many political shifts during more than two
decades of political frustration and now his goal was in
Like most men in and out of public life, Joshua Giddings
had clung to a few political fundamentals, but had altered
his tactics, political affiliations, and position in the ideologi-
cal spectrum with the change in problems and rush of
events. There were, on the other hand, important aspects
of his character which remained fixed. He was a sincere
man, able and eloquent, conscientious, diligent, and hard-
working. There were some personal qualms. In the forties,
he wrote to Theodore Weld, "I was never qualified nor pre-
pared for the station in which by a train of circumstances
I have found myself." And then he added, "My education
is not equal to it." Still, driven by a sense of duty, he be-
came widely known as a "determined fighter." Whatever
his position, he was always an aggressive and fully prepared
orator. The prominent Indiana political figure, George W.
Julian, who was also his son-in-law and biographer, remem-
bered Giddings as a man with "broad shoulders," "giant
frame," and an "unquenchable love of freedom.""8
He did not, however, always loom so large to his oppo-
nents. For the more tolerant, he was merely an inept politi-
cal party leader. To the defenders of slavery, he was a dema-
gogue and they taunted, rebuked, and insulted him. On the
eve of the war, one Virginia paper even offered $b10,000 for
his seizure and shipment to Richmond, or $f5,000 for the
transmission of his head alone."" He suffered all forms of
condemnation except the beating to which Charles Sumner
was subjected at the hands of South Carolina's Representa-
tive Brooks. This was something of an irony, for in the
forties Joshua Giddings had become the "closest of all Sum-
ner's new political friends." The Ohio Representative wrote
frequently to Sumner, providing a steady flow of Congres-
sional antislavery news to him and his friends in Massachu-
setts. Indeed, Giddings became a significant source for the
antislavery ideology of the Massachusetts leader who would
one day be caned into insensibility by Brooks on the floor
of the United States Senate.40 Another political figure who
absorbed some of Giddings antislavery enthusiasm was the
young Whig Congressman from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.
He, too, at a later date, would suffer at the hands of
a Southern fanatic.
The antislavery crusade of Joshua Giddings had other
ramifications. One of the more important directed his at-
tention to Florida and the Seminole Wars. When he entered
Congress in 1839, the national government was actively in-
volved in a war against the Seminole Indians in Florida.
"(Our army," he wrote later, "was actively employed in
capturing and returning fugitive slaves to their owners;
and I then learned that hostilities had been commenced for
that purpose; while the principal expense was expected to
be borne by the people of the free states."41 The people, he
was convinced, were not informed of the "true facts," and
he tried to demonstrate through a series of House speeches
that Northern freemen "were involved in the expense, the
crimes, and disgrace of southern slavery."42 MOTBOVer, it
would give him an opportunity to try to Circumvent the gag
rule and "to test the extent to which they would be
permitted to discuss subjects collaterally involving the
institution of slavery." On this issue he did not have the
enthusiastic support of John Quincy Adams. As Secretary of
State, Adams had after all endorsed Andrew Jackson's
march into Florida--ostensibly against the Indians. For the
logical mind, with a full knowledge of the past, to do other-
wise now would have been embarrassing.4*
But Giddings explored the issue at length. He related the
eighteenth-century exodus of Negro slaves to Florida; he
criticized the $6250,000 appropriation of 1821 to compensate
Georgia slaveholders; and he reminded those who cared to
listen that half of the allotment of a quarter of a million
dollars was finally used as "compensation for the offspring
which they would have borne their masters, had they re-
mained in servitude." He berated the use of federal funds
to purchase runaway slaves from the Indians, he condemned
the use of officers and men as "slave catchers," and he as-
sailed the purchase of bloodhounds from Cuba to track down
fugitives. He invariably concluded with a variation of the
theme so succinctly stated in 1841: "I regard this
interposition of the federal power to sustain slavery as
unwarranted by the Constitution. This war is, therefore,
unconstitutional, unjust, and an outrage upon the people of
the free States." The whole affair simply did not conform to
his interpretation of the fundamental law vis-a-vis slavery."4
He kept up a running attack all during the decade of the
forties. In 1846 he opposed an Indian appropriation bill,
insisting again that the national treasury should not be used
either to uphold or abolish slavery; neither should it be used
to buy Negroes back from the Seminoles.45 Two years later,
Giddings protested against the use of public money to com-
pensate owners for departed slaves.""
The revival of the Seminole controversy in Florida in
1855 provided Giddings with an incentive to review the en-
tire history of the problem--of the relationship among the
escaped Negro slave, the Florida Indian, and the federal
government--to bring together many of the technical details
incorporated in his earlier speeches and, with additional
research, to publish in 1858 one of his two major works,
Exiles of Florid~a.
Giddings' publications were not extensive; certainly they
were restricted as to theme. Professor Dumond's recent anti-
slavery bibliography lists nineteen items under Giddings'
name, covering the period between 1841 and 1859. With a
few exceptions, however, they are mainly pamphlets con-
taining speeches given in the House of Representatives."
Many of these were collected and appeared in 1853 as
Speeches in. Congress. In 1843 Giddings began a series of
articles under the name "Pacificus," which first appeared
in the WPestern Reserve Chronicle. Once again his major
theme was the proper relationship between the federal
government and slavery."" He also produced a number of
annual reports for his constituents which were published in
the Ashtabula Sentinel.
His second major work, The History of the Rebellion
(1864~), wass written during the time he was Consul-General
in Canada. He served at this post, to which Lincoln had ap-
pointed him, until his death on May 27, 1864.
The Exiles of Florida was in many respects his most sig-
nificant literary endeavor. Moreover, his fundamental thesis
has stood the test of time, as well as the scrutiny of recent
historians. One author, with specific reference to Giddings'
Exiles, says the Seminole Wars were, "indeed, to a consider-
able extent inspired by a desire to seize the Negroes who
had taken refuge among the Florida Indians."4* Another
states unequivocally: "The weight of historical evidence
seems to indicate that a peaceful migration of the Seminoles
might have been secured and the War avoided if the slavery
question had not been injected into the handling of the
Indian problem in Florida. And the War itself was pro-
longed by efforts on the part of the whites to seize Negroes
living with the Indians every time there was a suspension
Essentially, the volume starts as a history of the slaves
who fled from Georgia and the Carolinas to Florida, begin-
ning in the second third of the eighteenth century. Later,
the emphasis shifts to the efforts of the American govern-
ment, through successive periods, to block the continued
exodus and to restore the "exiles" to their owners against
Spanish and then Indian opposition. Giddings refers to the
fugitive slaves as exiles or maroons. Actually, the first
American exiles to the Florida peninsula were the Indians
whom the planters wanted to enslave. Subsequently, the
Negro escaped from the reality of slavery, only to meet a
varied response from those who had made the trip earlier
to Flori~da. Many Negroes remained free, working and inter-
marrying with the Indians; some found themselves as slaves
to new masters; and a few were even captured and returned
to their old masters for a fee.51 In any event, the efforts of
the Southern states to capture these exiles did not prove
entirely rewarding. Then when the national government
entered the fray, the Seminole wars followed. Giddings notes
very perceptively that the removal of the Indian did not
really solve the problem at all. Now, planters of the South-
west protested and mourned their escaping slaves, as a new
generation of exiles sought refuge among the Indians and
even escaped with them to Mexico.
The tendency of many mid-twentieth-century American
historians to look with especial favor on monographs pub-
lished in the immediate past has tarnished Mr. Giddings'
efforts somewhat. Nothing could be more unjust. To begin
with, the Indian is treated with dignity and accorded a
measure of respect all too rare in nineteenth-century litera-
ture. Giddings' sources are excellent and even praised, di-
rectly or indirectly, by a number of present-day historians.
Prior to 1821, his data came not only from entirely repu-
table American historians, but also from official papers of
the United States government. If there were any shortcom-
ings here, it was the author's failure (and probably his
inability) to use Spanish materials.52 For the Seminole War
itself, Giddings made extensive use of what has unanimously
been viewed as the standard account: John T. Sprague's The
Origin, Progress, and Conclusionz of the Florida WFar.53 In
general, Giddings' sources are varied, extensive, and relia-
ble. Aside from George Bancroft, Richard Hildreth, and
Henry Schoolcraft, he makes heavy use of archival ma-
terials: the American State Papers, executive documents of
Congress, committee reports, correspondence on file in the
War Department and in the Indian Bureau, and various
treaties. Because of his position in public life, there were
valuable personal contacts, observations, and verbal reports
from key individuals.
On the other hand, the history has certain shortcomings,
some of them rather obvious. Specifically, occasional reser-
vations must be made about the accuracy of some comments
relating to the Indians. The author's account of certain
Seminole exploits has been questioned." John R. Swanton,
a prominent anthropologist, has expressed some reservations
about both Sprague's and Giddings' handling of the Semi-
noles. More general, and perhaps more serious, is the
author's willingness to draw conclusions which are often
unwarranted. His omission of relevant facts, as for example
his failure to include more on the character of the ante-
bellum Florida frontier, is unfortunate. Equally so is his
omission of, or unfamiliarity with, the fact that the yeoman
farmer, who though he opposed the large planter in the
1840's, also had his quarrel with the Indian.66
Most obvious is the fact that Giddings had an axe to
grind. He was not, in short, always the epitome of objec-
tivity. He is, for example, critical of Robert Raymond Reid,
a Democrat, and sympathetic to Richard Keith Call, a Whig.
This is perhaps understandable, but as territorial governors,
both led the effort of the national government against the
In any event it must be remembered that Joshua Giddings
was not a historian by profession. That the Exiles of Florida
was a propaganda piece need not be denied. Neither should
that fact detract from its merits. For despite its purpose and
its varied shortcomings, it has considerable value. It deals
with a phase of the American past--a phase with ethnic,
constitutional, military, and international ramifications--
which is usually ignored.
ARTHUR W. THOMPSON
1. Byron E. Long, "Joshua Reed Giddings: A Champion of Politi-
cal Freedom," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications,
XXVIII (1919), 5-7; Dictionary of American Biography (New York,
1931), VII, 261.
2. Long, "Joshua Reed Giddings," pp. 17-18; R. P. Ludlum,
"Joshua Giddings: Radical," Mississippi Valley Historical Review,
XXIII (1937), 50.
3. Gilbert H. Barnes, The Antislavery Impulse, 1830-1844 (New
York, 1933), 103; R. Carlyle Buley, The Old Northwest (Blooming-
ton, Ind., 1951), II, 618-20.
4. Barnes, Antislavery Impulse, p. 82; Dwight L. Dumond, The
Antislavery Origins of the Civil WPar in the United States (Ann Ar-
bor, Mich., 1959), pp. 99, 104.
5. Ludlum, "Joshua Giddings: Radical," p. 50; Merle Curti,
Growth of American Thought (New York, 1943), p. 389.
6. Long, "Joshua Reed Giddings," pp. 15, 40-41.
7. Buley, The Old Northwest, II, 621; Russel B. Nye, Fettered
Freedom: Civil Liberties and the Slavery Controversy, 1830-1860
(East Lansing, Mich., 1949), p. 40.
8. Barnes, Antislavery Impulse, pp. 178-79.
9. Ibid., pp. 182-83.
10. Nye, Fettered Freedom, p. 40.
11. Dumond, Antislavery Origins of the Civil Wa~r, p. 85.
12. Nye, Fettered Freedom, pp. 41-42; Allan Nevins (ed.), The
Diary of John Quincy Adams (New York, 1951), p. 539.
13. Nevins, John Quincy Adams, p. 539; Hermann R. Muelder,
Fighters for Freedom: The History of Antislavery Activities of Men
and W~omen Associated with Knox College (New York, 1959) pp.
14. Barnes, Antislavery Impulse, pp. 181, 284.
15. Ibid., pp. 187-90; Dumond, Antislavery Origins of the Civil
W~ar, p. 86.
16. Muelder, Fighters for Freedom, pp. 342, 357; David Donald,
Charles Sumner and the Coming of tlhe Civil War (New York,
1960), pp. 165-66.
17. Dwight L. Dumond, Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in
America (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1961), p. 302.
18. Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union (New York, 1947), II,
19. A. G. Riddle, The Life of Benjamin F. WVade (Cleveland,
1886), p. 166.
20. Donald, Charles Sumner, pp. 251-52.
21. Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, II, 318-19.
22. Louis Filler, The Crusade Against Slavery (New York, 1960),
p. 247; Allan Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln (New York, 1950),
I, 4~27. According to one account, Giddings was not renominated in
1858 because of ill-health; a more recent view suggests he was be-
coming too radical for his district; see DAB, VII, 261, and Filler,
Crusade Against Slavery, p. 264.
23. Filler, Crusade Against Slavery, p. 247; Kenneth M. Stampp,
"The Republican National Convention of 1860," in J. Jeffery Auer
(ed.) Antislavery and Disunion, 1858-1861: Studies in the Rhetoric
of Compromise and Conflict (New York, 1963), pp. 200, 205;
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, II, 254.
24. Ludlum, "Joshua Giddings: Radical," pp. 50-52.
25. Filler, Crusade Against Slavery, p. 103.
27. [ Joshua Giddings], The Rights of the Free States Subverted,
or, An Enumeration of the Most Prominent Instances in W~hich the
Federal Constitution Has Been Violated by Our National Govern-
ment, for the Benefit of Slavery. By a Member of Congress (n.p.,
28. Long, "Joshua Reed Giddings," p. 11.
29. Ludlum, "Joshua Giddings: Radical," pp. 51-52.
30. Congressional Globe, 31st Congress, 2d Session, pp. 15-16.
31. Nye, Fettered Freedom, p. 213; Dumond, Antislavery: The
Crusade for Freedom in America, p. 339; Larry Gara, The Liberty
Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad (Lexington, Ky.,
1961), pp. 103, 134, 139; Nevins, Emergence of Lincoln, II, 28.
32. Philip S. Klein, President James Buchanan: A Biography
(University Park, Pa., 1962), p. 257.
33. Leon F. Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free
States, 1790-1860 (Chicago, 1961) p. 49.
34. Ibid., pp. 270-71.
35. Filler, Crusade Against Slavery, pp. 258, 261.
36. Kenneth M. Stampp, And War Came: The North and the
Secession Crisis, 1860-1861 (Baton Rouge, La., 1950), p. 247.
37. Ibid., pp. 14~9, 187.
38. The only published biography of Giddings to date is George
W. Julian, The Life of Joshua R. Giddings (Chicago, 1892). For a
more recent account, see Richard W. Solberg, "Joshua Giddings,
Politician and Idealist" (dissertation, University of Chicago, 1952) .
39. Long, "Joshua Reed Giddings," p. 13; Joshua Giddings to
Theodore Weld, Feb. 21, 1843 (Weld Papers, Library of Congress) ;
Barnes, Antislavery Impulse, p. 181; Samuel S. Cox, Three Decades
of Federal Legislation, 1855-1885 (Providence, R. I., 1888), p. 75;
George W. Julian, Political Reflections, 1840 to 1872 (Chicago,
1884) pp. 73, 173.
40. Donald, Charles Sumner, pp. 156, 233.
41. Joshua R. Giddings, Speeches in Congress (Boston, 1853),
43. Filler, Crusade Against Slavery, p. 104.
44. Giddings, Speeches in Congress, pp. 1-20; Dumond, Anti-
slavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America, p. 368.
45. Giddings, Speeches in Congress, pp. 164-76.
46. Payment for Slaves. Speech of Mr. J. R. Giddings, of Ohio,
on the Bill to Pay the Heirs of Antonio Pacheco for a Slave Sent
W~est of the Mississippi with the Seminole Indians in 1838. Made in
the House of Representatives, Dec. 28, 1848, and lan. 6, 1849
(Washington, 1849); Giddings, Speeches in Congress, pp. 289-318.
47. Dwight L. Dumond, A Bibliography of Antislavery in America
(Ann Arbor, Mich., 1961), pp. 58-59.
48. Julian, Political Recollections, p. 31.
49. Kenneth W. Porter, "The Episode of Osceola's Wife: Fact or
Fiction?" Florida Historical Quarterly, XXVI (July, 1947), 93.
50. Edwin L. Williams, Jr., "Negro Slavery in Florida," FHQ,
XXVIII (Oct., 1949), 104; Edwin L. Williams, Jr., "Florida in the
Union, 1845-1861" (dissertation, University of North Carolina, 1951),
p. 116. John K. Mahon, whose definitive study of the Seminole War
is soon to be published, is also in agreement on the basic validity
of Giddings' thesis.
51. Caroline Mays Brevard, A History of Florida (DeLand, Fla.,
1924), I, 42-43.
52. Ray E. Held, "Spanish Florida in American Historiography,
1821-1921" (dissertation, University of Florida, 1955), p. 129.
53. (New York, 1848). Herbert J. Doherty, Jr., "Writings in
Florida History on the Period 1821-1860," FHQ, XXXVII (Oct.,
1958), 165; Brevard, History of Florida, I, 291; Kenneth W. Porter,
"The Founder of the 'Seminole Nation,"' "FHQ, XXVII (April
54. Kenneth W. Porter, "Seminole Flight from Fort Marion,"
FHQ, XXII (Jan., 1944), 113, and "The Negro Abraham," FHQ,
XXV (July, 1946), 33.
55. Arthur W. Thompson, Jacksonian Democracy on the Florida
Frontier (Gainesrville, Fla., 1961), p. 34.
Death of Wazne-badjo.
EXILES OF FLORII)A:
THE CRIMES COMMITTED BT OUR GOVERNMENT IAGAINST THE MABOONS,
WHO FLEtD FROM SOUTH CAROLINA AND OTHER SLAVE ESTATES,
BEEKING PROTECTION UNDER 8PANISBR LAWS.
J O SH~UA R. GI D DI N G .
'' I, as conunander of the army, pledged the national faith that they
should remain under the protection of the United States."
PUBLISHED BY FOLLIETT, FOSTER AND COMPANY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858,
BY FOLLETT, FOSTER & CO.,
In the Clerk's Ofhee of the District Court of the United Statess, for the Southern District
THE PEO PLE WHO HAVE SO LONG HO NORED ME
WITH THEIR CONFIDENCE,
THIS WVORKt IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.
J. R. GIDDINGS.
INTROD UCTIO N.
DISCARDING that COde Of morals Which teaches the Sup-
pression of truth, for the purpose of upholding the honor,
either of the Government, or of the individuals who wield
its administration, the Author of the following work has
endeavored to give a faithful record of those interesting
events which appear directly connected with the Exiles of
Torn from their native land, their friends and homes, they
were sold in the markets of Carolina and Georgia. Feeling
the hand of oppression bearing heavily upon them, they fled
to Florida, and, under Spanish laws, became free. Holding
lands of the Spanish Crown, they became citizens of that
Territory, entitled to protection. To regain possession of
their truant bondmen, Georgia made war upon Florida, but
failed to obtain her object.
At a time of profound peace, our army, acting under the
direction of the Executive, invaded Florida, murdered many
of these free men, and brought others to the United States
and consigned them to slavery. An expensive and bloody
war followb~d; but failing to capture more of the Exiles, our
army was withdrawn.
This war was followed by diplomatic efforts. Florida
was purchased; treaties with the Florida Indians were made
and violated; gross frauds were perpetrated; dishonorable
expedients were resorted to, and another war provoked.
During its protracted continuance of seven years, bribery
and treachery were practiced towards the Exiles and their
allies, the Seminole Indians; flags of truce were violated;
the pledged faith of the nation was disregarded. By these
means the removal of the Exiles from Florida was effected.
After they had settled in the Western Country, most of
these iniquities were repeated, until they were driven from
our nation and compelled to seek an asylum in Mexico.
Men who wielded the influence of G~overnment for the
consummation of these crimes, assiduously labored to sup-
press all knowledge of their guilt; to keep facts from the
popular mind; to falsify the history of current events, and
prevent an exposure of our national turpitude.
The object of this work is to meet that state of circum-
stances; to expose fraud, falsehood, treachery, and other
crimes of public men, who have prostituted the powers of
Government to the perpetration of murders, at the contem-
plation of which our humanity revolts.
The Author has designed to place before the public a,
faithful record of events appropriately falling within the
purview of the proposed history; he has endeavored, as far
as possible, to do justice to all concerned. Where the action
of individuals is concerned, he has endeavored to make them
speak for themselves, through official reports, orders, letters,
or written evidences from their own hands; and he flatters
himself that he has done no injustice to any person.
Circumstances attending the Early History of Slavery in the Colo-
nies. Exiles: efforts to restore them ................... ...... 1
Further efforts to restore Exiles ..........,,....... ............. 16
Hostilities maintained by Georgia; First Seminole War commenced 28
General Hostilities .,................... ...........,... ...... 46
Further efforts of the Government to restore Exiles to servitude... 57
Further efforts to enslave the Exiles ................... ......... 69
Commencement of the Second Seminole War ............,........ 97
Hostilities continued........,........... ................... .... 116
Hostilities continued...........,......... ................... ... 125
The War continued -Peace declared General Jessup assumes
command of the Army ................... .................. 135
CHAPTER XI I P~ae
General Jessup overthrows his own efforts in favor of Peace....... 142
The renewal land prosecution of the W~ar ...............,,.,...... 156
Vigorous prosecution of the War.....,...,.......... ....,...... 172
Great dif~oulties interrupt the progress of the War............... 189
DifBculties in enslaving Exiles continued..................... ... 214
Further difficulties in the workr of enslaving the Exiles . .. . .. 224
Total failure of all efforts to enslave the Exiles ................. 233
Further difficulties in prosecuting the War ......................, 251
Hostilities continued............................,.... ..., 274
Hostilities continued.....,.......,. ,..,,...................... 284
Close of the War .................,........................ 308
History of Exiles continued ................... ................ 317
The re-anion and final 1Expodus ....................,............. 3as
EXILES OF FLORIDA.
CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING~ THIE -EARLY HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN THIE
Settlement of Florida Boundaries of Carolina Enslaving: Indians They flee from their
~asters Africans follow the example Spanish policy in regard to Fugitive Slaves -
Carolina demands the surrender of Exiles Florida refuses Colony of Georgia establish-
ed Its object Exiles called Seminoles Slavery introduced into Georgia Seminole
Indians separate from Creeks Slaves escarpe from Georgia Report of Committee of
Safety Report of General Lee Treaty of' Augusta Treaty of Gtalphinton Sing~ularu
conduct of Georgia WVar between Creeks and Georgia Resolution of Congres --
Treaty of Shouldetrbone H~ostilities continue Georgia calls on United States for
assistance Commissioners sent to negotiate Treaty Failure Col. Willett's mission
-- Chiefs, head men and Warriors repair to N'ew York Treaty formed Secret article
FILORTDA WRS Originally settled by Spaniards, in 1558. They
were the first people to engage in the African Slave trade, and
sought to supply other nations with servants from the coast of
Guinea. The Colonists held many slaves, expecting to accumulate
wealth by the unrequited toil of their fellow-man.
Carolina by her first and second charters claimed a vast
extent of country, embracing St. Augustine and most of
Florida. Tlus conflict of jurisdiction soon involved the Colonists
in hostilities. The Carolinians also held many slaves. .
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
e--nce in the early slave codes of that colony we find
reference to negro and other slaves."
When the boundaries of F~lorida and South Carolina became
established, the Colonists found themselves separated by the terri-
tory now constituting the State of G-eorgia, at that time mostly
occupied by the Creek Indians.
The efforts of the Carolinians to cenlave the Indians, brought
with them the natural and appropriate penalties. The Indians soon
began to make their escape from service to the Indian country.
This example was soon followed by the African slaves, who also fled
to the Indian country, and, in order to secure themselves f~rom p~ur-
suit, continued their journey into Florida.
WVe are unable to fix the precise time when the persons thus ex-
iled constituted a separate community. Their numbers had become
so great in 1736, that they were formed into companies, and relied
on by the Floridians as allies to aid in the defense of that territory.
They were also permitted to occupy lands upon the same terms that
were granted to the citizens of Spain; indeed, they in all respects
became free subjects of the Spanish crown. Probably to this
early and steady policy of the Spanish Government, we may attri-
bute the establishment and continuance of this community of Exiles
in that territory.'
1738.]A messenger was sent by the Colonial Government of
South Carolina to demand the return of those fugitive
slaves who had found an asylum in F'lorida. The demand was
made upon the Governor of St. Augustine, but was promptly
rejected. This was the commencement of a controversy which has
continued for more than a century, involving our nation in a vast
expenditure of blood and treasure, and it yet remains undetermined.
- The co~nstant escape of slaves, and the difficulties resulting there-
from, constituted the principal object for establishing a free colony
between South Carolina and Florida, which was called Georgia I
(1) Vide Bsncnerfs and Huldreth's Bisntorie of the United Stateas.
(2) Vid~e both RistoLris above cited.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
It was thought that this colony, being free, would afford the
planters of Carolina protection against the further escape of their
slaves from service.
****These Exiles were by the Creek Indians called "' Seminoles,"
which in their dialect signifies runaways," and the term being
frequently used while conversing with the Indians, came into almost
constant practice among the whites; and although it has now come
to be applied to a certain tribe of Indians, yet it was originally
used in reference to these Exiles long before the Seminole Indians
had separated from the Creeks.
Somne eight years after the Colony of Georgia was first establish-
ed, efforts were made to introduce Slavery among its people. The
ordinary argument, that it would extend the Christian religion, was
brought to bear upon Whbitfiel and Iaabersham, and the Saltzber-
gers and Moravians, until they consented to try the experiment, and
Georgia became thenceforth a Slaveholding Colony, whose frontier
bordered directly upon Florida; bringing the slaves of her planters
into the very neighborhood of those Exiles who had long been fr~ee
under Spanish laws.
170] A difficulty arose among the Greek Indians, which event-
nally becoming irreconcilable, a chief named Seacoffee,
with a large number of followers, left that tribe--at that time resid-
ing within the present limits of Georgia and Alabama--and con-
tinuing their journey south entered the Territory of Florida, and,
under the Spanish colonial policy, were incorporated with the Span-
ish population, entitled to lands wherever they could find them un-
occupied, and to the protection of Spanish laws.'
From the year 1750), Seacoffeje and his followers rejected alt-
Oreek authority, refused to be represented in Greek councils, held
themselves independent of Greek laws, elected their own chiefs~, and
in all respects became a separate Tribe, embracing the Mickasukies,
with whom they united. They settled in the vicinity of the hxiles,
associated with them, and a mutual sympathy and respect existing,
(1) Vide Schoolerah's Hi~story of Indian Tribes.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
some of their people intermarried, thereby strengthening the ties of
friendship, and the Indians having fled from oppression and taken
refuge under Spanish Ilaws, were also called Seminoles, or run-
After Georgia became a Slaveholding Colony, we are led to
believe the practice of slaves leaving their masters, which existedl
in South Carolina, became frequent in Georgaia. But we hav\e no
definite information on thiis sub~ject until about the cormmencement
of the Revolutionary War (177~5r), when thle Council of Safety for
that colony sent to Congre~ss a communication setting forth, th-at a
large force of Continental troops was necessary to prevent their
slaves fromz deserting their masterss' It was about the first com-
munication sent to Congre~ss after it met, in 1776, andl shows that
her people then sought to make thle nation bear the b~urthens of
their slavery, by furnishing a military force sufficient to hold hier
bondmen in fear; andl if she adheres to that policy now-, it merecly
illustrates thne consistency of her people in relying upon thne freemnen
of the North to uphold her system of oppression.
General ZLee, commanding the military forces in that
1776.] colony, called the particular attention of Congress to the
fact, that slaves belonging to the planters, fled from servitude and
sought freedom among the "' E~xiles of F'lorida."
There also yet remained in Georgia many descendants of those
who, at the establishment of that colony andl since that time, ha~d
opposed the institution of Slavery. Thcee people diesirecd to testify
their abhorrence of human servitude. They assembledl in large
numbers, in the district of Darien, andl publicly resolved as followsu:
" To show the world\ that we are not influenced by any contracted
"( or interested motives, but by a general philanthropy for all man-
" kind, of whatever climate, languagec or comp3lexrion, we thereby
" declare our dlisapprobation and abhorrence of slavery in America."
The public avowsl of these doctrines, naturally encouraged slaves
to seek their freedom by such means as they possessed. One day's
(1) Vide American Archives, Vol. I. Fifth Serles : 1852.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
travel would place some of them among friends, and in the enjoy-
ment of liberty; and they were sure to be kindly received and
respectfully treated, soon as they could reach their brethren in
Florida. Of course many availed themselves of this opportunity
to escape from service.
The Exiles remained in the undisturbed enjoyment of liberty
during the war of the Revolution. The Creeks were a powerful
and warlike people, whose friendship was courted during the san-
g~uinary struggle that secured our National Independence. During
those turbulent times it would not have been prudent for a master
to pursue his slave through the Creek country, or to have brought
himt back to Georgnia if once arrested.
The Exiles being thus free from annoyance, cultivated the friend-
ship of their savage neighbors; rendered themselves useful to the
Indians, both as laborers and in council. They also manifested
much judgment in the selection of their lands for cultiva~tion--loca-
ting their principal settlements on the rich bottoms lying along the
Appalachicola alnd the Suwanee Rivers. Here they opened plante
nations, and many of them became wealthy in flocks and herds.
Immediately after the close of the war, the authorities
of Georgia are said to have entered into a treaty with the
Creekr Indlians, at Augusta, in which it is alleged that the Creeks
agreed to grlant~ to that State a large tract of land, and to restore
such slaves as were then resident among; the Creekzs. But we find
no copy of this treaty in print, or in manuscript. As early as
1789, only six years after it was said to have been negotiated,
Hugh K~nox, Secretary of Wtar, in a communication to Congress,
declared that no copy of this treaty was then in the possession of
Congress; and it has not been since reprinted. Indeed, it is
believed never to have been printed.
The difficulty between Georgia and the Creeks becoming
more serious, the aid of the Continental Congress was
invoked, for the purpose of securing that State in the enjoyment of
what her people declared to be their rights. Congress appointed
THEC EXILES OF FLORIDA.
three commissioners to examine the existing causes of diffculty, and
if possible to negotiate a treaty with the Creeks that should secure
justice to all the people of the United States.
SCommunities, like individuals, often exhibit in early life those
characteristics which distinguish their mature age, and become
ruling passions when senility marks the downhill of life. Thus
Georgia, in her very infancy, exhibited that desire for controlling
our National Government which subsequently marked her manhood.
Possessing no power under the Constitution to enter into any treaty
except by consent of Congress, her Executive appointed three
Commissioners to attend and supervise the action of those appointed
by the F~ederal ILegislature. The time and place for holding the
treaty had been, arranged with the Indlians by the Governor of
G~eorgia. At Galphinton,' the place appointed, the Commissioners
of the United States met those of Georgia, who presented them with
the form of a treaty fully drawn out and ready for signatures, and
demanded of the Commissioners of the United States its adoption.
This extraordinary proceeding was treated by the Fiederal Commis-
sioners in a dignified and appropriate manner, in their report to
Congress. One important provision of this inchoate treaty stip-
ulated for the return to the people of Georgia of such fugitive
negroes as were then in the Indian country, and of such as might
thereafter flee from bondage.
... The Commissioners appointed by Congress waited at Galphinton
(1) This was the residence of G~eorge Galphin, an Indian trader, who, In 177~3, aided in
obtaining a treaty by which the Creek Indians ceded a large tract of land to the British
Government. Georgia succeeded the British Government in its title to these lands, by the
treaty of peace in 1783 Some fifty years afterwardsa, the descendants of Galphin petitioned
the State of Georgia for compensation, on account of the services rendered by Galphin in
obtaining the treaty of 1778. But the Legislature repudiated the claim. The heirs, or
rather descendants of GalphiD, then applied to Congress, who never had either legal or
beneselal interest in the lands obtained by the treaty. The Re~presentatives from Georgia
and from the South generally supported the claim. Northern men yielded their objections
to this absurd demand, and in 1848 a bill passed both H~ouses of Congress by which the
descendants of Galphin, and their attorneys and agents, obtained from our National Treas-t
ury $8248,871 86. and the term "' Galphin has since become sy-nonymous with '' pecula-
tion n upon the pubtle Treasury.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
several days, and finding only two of the one hundred towns com-
posing the Creekr tribe represented in the council about to be held,
they refused to regard them as authorized to act for the Crecek
nation, and would not consent to enter upon any negotiation with
them as representatives of that tribe. This course was not in ae-
cordfance with the ideas of the Commissioners appointed by Georgia.
After those of the Ujnitedl States had left, they proceeded to enter
into a treaty with the representatives from the two towns, who
professed to act for the whole Creek nation.
This pretended treaty gave the State of Georgia a largo territory;
and the eighth article provided, that the Indiains shall restore all
" the negroes, horses alnd other property, that are or may hereaft~er
" be among them, belonging to the citizens of thlis State, or to any
" other person whatever, to such person as the governor shall
" appoint." 1
This attempt to make a treaty by the State of Georgia, in direct
violation of the articles of Confederat~ion, and to bind the Creek
nation by an act of the representatives of only two of their towns,
constitutes the first official transaction of which we have document-
ary evidence, in that long train of events which has for seventy
years involved our nation in dilliculty, and the Exiles of Floridas
in persecutions and cruelties unequaled under Republican govern-
The Commissioners of the United States made report of their
proceedings to Congress; and those of Georgia reported to the
governor of that State.2 Their report was transmitted to the
Legislature, andi that body, with an arrogance that commands our
admiration, passed strong resolutions denouncing the action of the
Federal Commissioners, commending the action of those of Georgia,
and assertingr her State sovereignty in language somewhat boml-
(1) Tide R~eport of H~ugh Knox, Secretary of War, to the President, dated July 6, 1789.
American State Papers, Vol. V. page 15, where the Treaty is recited in full.
(2) Vide papers accompanying the R~eport of the Secretary of War, above referred to,
marked A, and numbered 1, 2 and 8.
THE EXILES OF FLOR1IDA.
1786.] Soon after the making of this pretended treaty, the
Creeks commenced hostilities, murdering the people on t~he
frontiers of Georgia, and burning their dwellings. The Spanish
authorities of F~lorida were charged with fomenting these difficul-
ties, and the Congress of the United States felt constrained to
interfered The Commissioners previously appointed to form a
treaty with the Creeks, were, by a resolution of the Continental
18. Congress, adopted Oct. 26, instructed to obtain a treaty
1771with thelndians m ~sET ,
ones, of wha~tever age, sex or complexion, and to restore all fug~it~ivei
sl bies Belongingt tom itiz'eiiis~~i o~~i~~fari~~ctae
This resolution was the firstact on--the ~~the Continentaln
Congress in favor of restoring fugitive slaves. It was adopted
under the articles of Confederation, before the adoption of our
present constitution, and of course constitutes no pr~ecedent under
our present government; yet it introduced a practice that has long
agitated the nation, and may yet lead to important and even san-
178. Without awaiting the action of Congress, the authorities
of Georgia, by her age~nts, entered~ into another t~n~rouy a) a
place called Shoulderbone," by which the Creeks appear to have
acknowledgred the violation of the Treaty of Galphinton, and again
st~ipula~tedl to observe its covenan~ts.3
We have no reliable information as to thle number of the Creek
towns representedl at thle making* of this third treaty by Geonrgia.
The whole transaction was by the State, in her own name, by her
own authority, without consent of Congress, and all paper~s relating
to it, if any exist, would of course be among the manuscript fles
of that State. It is believed that Georgia never printed any of
these treaties; and we can only state their contents from recitals
(1) Vilde letter of James W~hite to Maijor General Knox, of the 24th Miay, 178s7. Amer-
lean State Papers, Vol. II, Indian Affairs.
(2) American State Papers, Vol. V, page 25.
(3) Vide Documents accompanying the Treaty of New York; Am. State Papers, Vol. I,
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
which we find amongr the State papers of the Federal Government.
It is however certain, that the Creek~s denied that any such treaty
had been entered into; and they continuedl hostilities, as though no
such treaty had been thought of by them. This pretendecd Treaty
of Shiouldercibone exerted nio more moral influence amlong the Creeks
than didi that of Galphinton. The war continued betwoon the
people of Geor~giar and the Creeks. The savages appeared to be
arousedl to indlignaltion by w~hat they regardecd as palpalble fi-aluds.
Exicitedl at such efforts to impose upon them stipulations degrading
to their character, thecy pr~osecuted~ the: war withl increased bitterness.
The natural res~ults of such turpIitudec, indluc~ed Georgia to be
one of thle first in thle sisterhood of Staltes to a~dop~t the
Federal Constitution (Alug. 28). Hecr statesmen expected
it to relieve their State fr~om the b~urthens of the war which then
devastatedl her border.
S oon as thle Fedecral Gov-ernment was orga~nized under
Sthe constitution, thle authlorities of Georgria invoked its aid,
to protect her people from11 the ind~ignaltionl of the Crueek Indians.
Generanl WTas~hingrton, Precsidecnt of thle U'nited States, at once
alppointedl Comnmissioners to repair to the Indcian country, ascertain
the real difficulty, and if able, they wvere directed to negotiate a
suitable treaty, in thle name of the Unitedl States. The State of
GeorgiaL claimedc title to thle territolry coded by the treaties of Gal-
phlinton and Shoulderbone; while the Creeks entirely repudiated
them, dcClaring9 thlem fraudlulent, denying their validity, and refus-
ing to abide by their stipulations. The governor of Georgia placed
in the hands of the Commiissioners of the U1nited States, a list of
property whlich had~c been lost since the close of the Revolution by
tle! people of Georgia, for whlichl they demanded indemnity of the
Creecks. This list contained the names of one hundred andc ten a
negroes, who were said to have left their masters du1rin~g thle
Revolution, and found an asylum among the Creeks. The Treaty
of Galphinton contained a stipulation on the part of the Creeks, to
return all prisoners, of whatever age, sex or color, and all negroes
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
belongings to the citizens of Georgia, thenz residing with the
'Arrangoements had already been made with the chiefs, warriors
and principal men of the Creek; nation, to meet the Commissioners
of the United States at Rock Lalndingr, on the Oconee River. The
Commissioners were received by the Indians with great respect
and formality; but soon as they learned that the Commissioners
were not authorized to restore their lands, they broke off all nego-
tiation, promising to remain in peace, however, until an opportu-
nity should be presented for further negotiations.
'EIhe failure of this mission was followed by the appointment of
Col. Wlillett, an intrepid officer of the Revolution, who was author-
ized to proceed to the Creek nation, and, if possible, to induce its
chiefs and headmen to repair to New Yorkr, where they could nego-
tiate a new treaty, without the interference of the authorities or
people of Georgial.
""" Col. Willett was successful. He inducedl the principal chief,
MqcGillivray, the son of a. distinguished Indian trader, together with
twenty-eight other chiefs and warriors, to come on to New York, for
the purpose of forming a treaty with the United States, and settling
all difficulties previously existing between Georgia and their nation.
On their way to Now York, they were received at Philadelphia, by
the authorities of that city, with great ceremony and respect. Their
vanity was tlatteredl, and every effort made to induce them to
believe peace with th~e United States would be important to both
At New York they found Congress in session. Here they
mingled with the great men of our nation. The Columbialn
Order," or Tammany Society," was active in its attentions.
They escorted the delegation to thle city, and entertained them with
a public dinner; and made M~cGillivra7y, the principal chief, a
member of their society. In this way, the minds of the Indians
were prepared for entering into the treaty which followed.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
170] There was, among the people of the entire nation, an
intense anxiety to render every part of the Union satisfied
and pleased with the Federal Government, then just formed, as
they felt that their only hope of prosperity depended upon a con-
tinuance of the federal union. There was also a general sympathy
throughout the nation with the slavecholders of the South, who were
supposed to have suffered much, by the loss of their servants,
dluringr the war of the Revolution; few people at that time realizing
t~he moral guiilt of holdingr their fellow-men in bondage.
* hle the revorlultionary contest was going on, many slaves in
the Southern States escaped from the service of their masters, and,
under the proclamations of various British commanders, enlisted
into the service of his Britannic Marjesty; and having taken the
oath of allegiance to the crown of England, were regarded as Brit-
ish subjects. Others escaped with their families, and getting on
board British vessels, sailed to the West Indies, where they
settled as free personss.' Th Lhle one class of masters had
sust und-grs~:eaisse hvteolitatnt by laws r
class 14~u~~b the ecape of their bondmen thobrhthe aid
oT .~fish Jrsiensel while a third ju ptaine 4eqa loss by the
escape of their servants to the Seminoles in Florida. These three
different interests united in claiming the aid of government to
regain possession of their slaves, or to obtain indemnity for their
The timely arrival of MIr. Pinckney, secured the insertion of a
clauseP in ther Trea~ty of Paris, providingr that his Britannic Mlajesty
should withdraw his troops from all American forts, arsenals, ship-
yards, etc., without destroying ordinance or military stores, or
" carrying. away any negroes or other property of the inhabitants."
This provision was regarded by the slaveholders of the South as
securing a compensation to all those whose slaves had enlisted in
the British army, as well as to those whose slaves had escaped to
the British West~ India Islands by aid of English vessels; while
thoseP whose. ser1vants we~re quietly living with the Seminoles, hatd
THE EXILES OF FLOR1IDA.
not been provided for by the treaty of peace.l These circumstan-
ces rendered the owners of the Exiles more clamorous for t~he inter-
position of the State Government, inasmuch as the federal authority
had entirely omitted to notice their interests, while it was suxpposed
to have secured at compensation to the other two classes of claim-
It was under these circumstances, that General WTashington pro-
ceeded to the negotiation of the first treaty, entered into under our
present form of government. Thle chiefs, headmen and warriors of
the Creek nation were present at, New York:t Gergn~ia was also
there by her senators and representatives, who carefully watched
over her interests; and G~eneral Knox, the Secretary of War, wais
appointed commissioner to negotiate a treaty, thus to be formed,
under the personal suprrvision of the Precsidecnt.
The object of the Precsident was effected, a treaty was formed,
and bears dlate August 1, 1790. It con7stitutes the title-page of
our dliplomnatic history. This first exercise of our tr~eaty-making
power under the constitution, was p)ut fourth for thle benefit of the
Slave interests of Georgria. It suzrrendered up to thle Crook~s certain
lands, whi~chl the, author~it i~es of G!loria~ claimned to h~old~ under the
treaty of Galphinton, but retained~ sub~stantiatlly thle stipulation for
the surrender of negroes, whlich had boocn insertedl in that extraor-
1By the thirdl article of this new treaty, it was stipulated~ as fol-
-w- The Creek nation sha~ll deliver, as soon as pratcticable, to the
commanding officer of the troops of the Unitedl States sta~tioned
at Rocki Landing, on thle Oconce Rtiver, all citizens of the United
States, white inhab~itants or negroes, who are now prisoners in
any part of the said nation. And if any such pr~isoners or
negroes should not be so delivered, on or before the ir~st day of
(1) The reader need not he informed, that these demands of indemnity for slaves were
promptly rejected by the En3glish government; and Jay's Treaty of 17T94, surrendered them
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
" June ensuing, the governor of Georgia may empower three
" persons to repair to thle said nation, in order to claim and receive
" such prisoners and neg~roes."
Historians have referred to this clause as containing merely a
stipulation for the surrender of prisoners; 1 but the manner in
which the term nzegroes stands connected in the disjunctive form
with that of prisoners," would appear to justify, at least to some
extent, the? subsequent construction put upon it, so far as regarded
negroes then resident with the Creekis; but it certainly makes no
allusion to those who were residing with the Seminoles in Florida.
It is a remarkable feature of this treaty, that the Creek
chiefs, principal men and warriors should, in its first article,
profess to ac~t, not only for the Upper and Lower Creekr Towns, but
for the Seminoles who were in F~lorida, protected by Spanish laws.
They had not been invited to attend the negotiation, had sent no
delegate, were wholly unrepresented in the Council; indeed, so far
as we are informed, were wholly ignorant of the objects which had
called such a council, and of the fact even that a council was held,
or a treatyI negotiated.
Our fathers had just passed through seven years of war and;--
bloodshed, rather than esumit to taxationz w~ihoult reporesenta-
tioz; but this attempt to bind the Seminole Indians to surrender
up thle Exiles, who were their friends and neighbors, and who now
stood connected with them b~y marriage, and in aill the relations of
domestic life, without their consent or kinowRledge, constitutes an
inconsistency which canl only be accounted for by the desire then
prevalent, to gratify and please those who wielded the slaveholding
influence of our nation.
Another extraordinary feature of this treaty may be found in the
secret article, by which ,~the United States stipulated to pay the
Crockls fifteen hundred dollars annually, in all coming time. The
reason for makings this stipulation secret is not to be learned from
any documentary authority before the public, and cannot now be
(1) H~ildreth, in his H~istory of the United States, spe~aks of in that light.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
accounted for, except from the delicacy which the authorities of our
nation then felt in taxing the people of the free States, to pay
southern Indians for the return of those Exiles. And it is inter-
esting at this day to look back and reflect, that for nearly seventy
years the people of the nation have contributed their funds to sus-
tain th~e authority of those slaveholders of Georgia over their bondt-
men, while Northern statesmen have constantly assured their
constituents, they have nothing to do with that institution.
It would be uncharitable to believe, that General Washington
was at that time conscious that he was thus precipitating our nation
upon a policy destined to involve its government in difficulties,
whose termination would be uncertain.
After the treaty had been agreed to by the parties making it,
General W7ashingrton met the chiefs, headmen and warriors, as-
sembled in the Hall of Representatives, in the presence of members
of Congress and a large concourse of spectators. The treaty was
publicly read, and to each article the Indians expressed their assent,
and signed it in the presence of the people, each receiving from the
President a string of wampum. The President then shook hands
ith each, which concluded the ceremonies of the day.
The treaty was transmitted on the following day to the Senate,
accompanied by a Message from the President, saying : I flatter
myself that this treaty will be productive of present peace and
"I prosperity to our Southern frontier. It is to be expected, also, that
it will be the means of firmly attaching the Creeks and neighboring
tribes to the interests of the United States." The President also
alluded in his message to the treaty of Galphinton, as containing a
stipulation to cede to Georgia certain other lands, which it was
believed would be detrimental to the interests of the Indians, and,
therefore, that covenant had been disregardedi in the treaty of
New Yor~k." In another Mlessage to the Senate, on the eleventh
of A~uust, the President says: This treaty may be regarded as
"1 the main foundation of the future peace and prosperity of the
(( Southwestern frontier of the United States."
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA. 15
On the ninth of August, a motion was made in the Senate to
refer the treatyt to a select committee, which was rejected by a vote
of ten nays to eight yeas; and on the twelfth, it was approved by
a vote of fifteen yeas to four nays; but we have no report of any
discussion upon the subject, nor do we krnow at this day the objee-
tions which dictated the votes given against its ratificationn'
(1) Vide Annals of Con~grtess, Vol. I, pages 1068-7i0-74.
FURTHER EFFORTS TO RESTORE EXILES.
Seminoles repudiate Treaty of New York Attempts to induce Spanish authorities to
deliver up the Exiles -Their refusal-Low~Fer Creeks hostile to Treaty -Mc~fillivray -
Hiis parentage and character Georgia hostile to Treaty Mlakes war upon Creeks -
General W~ashington announces failure to maintain Peace General Knox's recommen-
dation Decision of United States Court Exertions Combination of various classes
of Cla~imants Washington finds his influence powverless Appoints Judge Jay Fail-
ure of claims on England Condition and habits of Exiles Effect on Slaves of Georgis
Treaty of Colerain Commissioners of Georgia leave Council in disgust Election of
the elder Adams Hlis Administration Election of Jefferson H~is Administration.
Tolz long pending difficulties between Georgia and the neighbor-
trilrbes of Indians were nows (1791) believed to be permanently
settled, and it was thought the new government would proceed in the
discharge of its duties without further perplexity. But it was soon
found impossible for the Creeks to comply with their stipulations.
~The Seminoles refused to recognize the treaty, insisting that they
were not bound by any compact, arrangement or agreement, made
by the United States and the Creeks, to which they were not a
party, and of which they had no notice; that they were a separate,
independent tribe; that this fact was well known to both Crecks
and the United States; and that the attempt of those parties to
declare what the Seminoles should do, or should not do, was insult-
ing to their dignity, to their self-respect, and only worthy of their
contempt. They therefore wholly discarded the treaty, and repu-
diated all its provisions. ~hey resided in Florida, under the
jurisdiction of Spanish laws, subject only to the crown of Spai~
THEC EXILES OF FLORIDA.
There they enjoyed that liberty so congenial to savages, as well as
civilized men. The Creeks dared not attempt to bring back the
hxiles by force, and the Government of the United States was
unwilling to invade a Spanish colony for the purpose of recapturing
those who had escaped from the bonds of oppression, and had
become legally free.
1792.] IIn this state of affairs~ agent by the name of Seagrove
was sent to Florida for th~e purpose of negotiating with the
Spanish authorities for the return of the Exile~s. He had been agent
to the Creek Indians, and well understood tfrviews in regard to
the treaty. WJhen he reached Filorida, he found the authorities of
that Province entirely opposed to the surrender of any subjects of
the Spanish crown to slavery. Th~e Exiles were regarded as holding
the same rights which the white citizens held; and it was evident,
that the representatives of the King of Spain encouraged both the
Seminole Indians and Exiles, to refuse compliance with the treaty
of New York.x
Nor was the Creek nation united upon this subject. The "lower
Creeks," or those who resided on the southern frontier of Georgia,
were not zealous in their support of the treaty; and it was said that
McGillivra nthe princi al chief of the Creeks, was himself becom-
ing unfriendly to the United States, and rather disposed to unite
with the Spanish authorities. This man exerted great influence
with the Indians. He was the son of an Indian trader, a Scotchman,
by a Creek woman, the daughter of a distinguished chief. He had
received a good English education; but his father had joined the
English during the Revolution, and he, having been offended by
some leading men of Georgia, had taken up his residence with the
Indians and become their principal chief, in whom they reposed
Amid these difficulties, the people of Georgia manifested an
equal hostility to the treaty, inasmuch as it surrendered a large ter-
(1) Vide Correspondence on this subjebetwenSarv n h a eatet
American State Papers, Vol. V, pages 804-6, # @SSt,~;~~~~~h 887 and 892.n
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
ritory to that State, which the authorities of Georgia pretended to
have obtained by the treaty of Galphinton. The general feeling in
that State was far from being satisfied with the action of the Fed-
eral Governmecnt. Seagrove, writing to the Secretary of Wtlar on
this subject, declared, that to such lengths have matters gone,
" that they (the Georgians) now consider the troops and servants
" of the United States who are placed among them, nearly as great
" enemies as they do the Indians." I
Under these circumstances, the Governor of Georgia was addcress-
ed, by order of the President; but he evidently participated in the
popular feeling of his State. While the Spanish authorities and
Seminoles, both Indians and Exiles, repudiated the treaty of New
York, Governor Tellfa~ir, of Georgia, declared that the people of
his State would recognize no treaty iZ which h~er comml~issionzers
were not consulted. Instead of observing its stipulations of peace,
he proceeded to raise an army ; invaded the Croek country, attacked
one of? their towns said to be friendly to Georgia, skilled some of
their people, took others prisoners, burned their dwellings, and
destroyed their crops.
The Creeks declared their inalbilityr to return thle Exiles *
and, on the thirtieth of January, General Washington, in
a Special Mecssage to Congress, announced the failure of all efforts
to maintain tranquillity between the people of Georgia and the
Creek Indians. Such were the difficulties surroundings the subject
of regaining the Exiles, that General Knox, Secretary of War1, in a
written communication addressed to the President, recommlrended
that Congress should make an appropriation to their owners, fikom
the public treasury, as the only practicable manner in which that
matter could be settled.3 This communications was transmitted to
Congress by the President, accompanied by a special message,
recommending it to the consideration of that bo ly; but thle memn-
(1) American State Papers, "L Indian Affairs." Vol. II[, p. 30)5.
(2) Videt talk of principal Chief at TreatyS of Colerain.
(3) V'idet Annals of COr~gre~SS Of that, date.
THIE EXILES O F LORIDA4.
bers appeared unwilling to adopt the policy thus suggested. They
seem to have entertained doubts as to the propriety of appropria~-
ting the money of the people to pay for fugitive slaves. They
respectfully laid the M~essagae, and the recommendation of the See-
retary of W'iar, upon the table, and ordered them to be printed.'
The claimants of the Exiles were again encouraged and strength-
ened in their expectations by the excitement prevailing in the
~southern portion of the Ul~nion, arising from a decision of the Circuit
Court of the United States, held at R~ichmond, Virginia. At the
commencement of the war, the States prohibited the collection of
debts due British subjects from citizens of the Colonies. These
debts had remnainedl unpaid for some sixteen years; and although
the debtors entertained an expectation of paying them at some
future period, many intended meetingr those demands by the funds
which they supposed would be awarded them as indemnity for
slaves carried away in British vessels diuringr the Revolution, and
for those enlisted into the BUritish army.
These laws, enacted at the commencement of the RevFolution,
were declared by the Court to have been superseded by the
treaty of peace, in 1783; and the debtors in the several States
thus became liable to the payment of those debts, while their
demands of indemnity for slaves were pending, and the British
Government had thus far refused to acknowledge their validity.
These claimants became impatient of delay, and demandedf that
another treaty be formed with Engrland, by which they could obtairE
indemnity for the loss of their slaves. These uniting with these
who claimed a return of the Exiles in Florida, coustitut~ed an influ-
ential portion of the "people- of the Southern States, whose joint
influence was exerted to involve the Government in the support of
Notwithstanding these clamors, the Government was powerless
as to obtaining relief for either class. The British MhiSjitry
(1) Vide papers accompan~ying; the Treaty of Colerain. American State Papers, Vol. I,
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
refused indemnity, and the Seminoles, supported and encouraged
by the Spanish authorities, were inexorable in their refusal to sur-
render the Exiles.
At that early period of our history, the subject of slavery greatly
perplexed the Fiederal Administration; nor was the genius, or the
influence of W~ashington, sufficiently powerful to silence the mal-
contents. He was fortunate in selecting Judge Jay, of New York,
as a Minister Plenipotentiary, for negotiating a treaty with Great
Britain. This illustrious patriot possessed great purity of character;
had long been distinguished for his devotion to the welfare of the
nation; and, although a Northern man, Southern slave claimants
could raise no objection to him.
But every step towards the adjustment of the claims arising
for slaves carried away by the English ships, or enlisted into
the British army, had the effect to render the owners of Exiles
more importunate. There was only one recourse, however, left for
the Administration; they could do no more than to call on the
Creeks for a new treaty, in order to adjust these claims.
175] As the President was about to take measures for obtatin-
ing another treaty with the Creeks, news arrived from
England that Judge Jay, in forming a new treaty with the British
Crown, had been constrained to surrender all claims of our citizens
for slaves carried from the United States in British vessels during
the war, or for those who had enlisted into the British service.
This news created much excitement amongr the slaveholders of the
Southern States. The treaty was denounced by the public Press,
and a strong effort was made to defeat its approval by the Senate
But filling in that, the slave power was rallied in opposition to
making any appropriation, by the House of Representatives, for
carrying the treaty into effect,, and perhaps at no time since the
Union was formed, has it been in greater danger of disruption; but
the friends of the treaty prevailed in both Houses of Congress, and
it became a paramount law of the nation.
While these incidents were -transpiring, the Exiles were engaged
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
in cultivating their lands, extending their plantations and increasing
their flocks and herds, and consolidating their friendships with the
Indians around them.` Of all these facts the bondmen of Georgia
had full knowledge. It were impossible for them to contemplate
their friends, in the enjoyment of these rights and privileges, with-
out a strong desire to share in those blessings of freedom. The
example of the Exiles was thus constantly exerting an influence
upon those who remained in bondage. Many of them sought
opportunities to flee into F~lorida, where they, in like manner,
became free subjects of Spain.
This condition of things induced General Washington to make
another effort to remedy existing evils, and prevent their recurrence
in future. H~e took measures to obtain the attendance of the Chiefs,
head men and warriors of the C'reek nation, at a place called Cole-
rain, for the purpose of forming another treaty. He again ap-
176]pointed Benjamin Hawkins, George Clymer and Andrew
Pickens, Commissioners, to meet the Indians in Clouncil,
and agree upon the proper adjustment of pending difficulties.
These men were interested in the institution of Slavery, and were
supposed to be perfectly acceptable to the claimants, as well as to
the authorities of Georgia.
The parties met at the place appointed, and proceeded to
the consideration of the proposed treaty. The Creeks were not
disposed to make further grants of territory; nor were they able to
give any better assurance for the return of the Exiles than had
been given at New York. They insisted that, by the treaty of
N~ew York, they were only bound to return those negroes who had
been captured since the treaty of peace between the United States
and Great Britain; these they had delivered up, so far as they
were able to 'surrender them. They admitted there were more
negroes among them, whom they might probably obtain at some
future day, and expressed a willingness to do so. It is however
.evident, from the talk of the various Chiefs, that they had no idea
of returning those Exiles who were residing in F'lorida---no allusion
THIE EXILFS OF FLORIDA.
being made to them by either of the Commissioners, on the part of
the United States, nor by thle Indians. The Council was also
attended by Commissioners on the part of Georgia, who attempted
to dictate the manner of transacting the business, and, even in
offensive language, charged the Commissioners of the United States
with improper conduct; but in no instance didl they name the
Seminoles, nor allude to any obligation, on the part of the Creeks,
to return the Exiles resident among the Seminoles. It should
however be borne in mind, that these Commissioners on behalf of
Georgia left the council in disgust, before the close of the negotia-
tion. In the treaty itself, however, there is a stipulation that the
treaty of New York shall remain in force, except such parts as
were expressly changed by that entered into at Colerain; and that
portion of the treaty of New York by which the Creeks assumed to
bind the Seminoles, was not chlang;ed.
The seventh article of the Treaty of Colerain reads as follows:--
" The Creek nation shall deliver, as soon as practicable, to the
" Superintendent of Indian Affirs, at such place as he may direct,
" all the citizens of the United States, white inhabitants and negroes,
" who are now prisoners in any part of the said nation, agreeably to
" the treaty at New York; and also all citizens, white inhabitants,
" negroes and property, taken since the signing of that treat~y. And
" if any such prisoners, negaroes, or property, should not be delivered
" on or before the first day of January next, the Governor of Georgia
" may empower three persons to repair to the said nation, in order to
" claim and receive such prisoners, negroes and property, under the
"' direction of the President of the United States." This stipulation
was understood by the Creeks, and they were willing to perform it;
but it is very obvious, from all the circumstances, that they had no
idea of binding the Seminoles to return the Exiles resident in
(1) Vide the papers accompanying this Treaty when submitted to the Senate. They are
collected in the second volume of American State Papers, entitled Indian Affairs." They
will afford much interesting matter as to the doctrines of "L State Rights and Nullliica-
tion, which it is unnecessary to embrace in this work.,
THE EXILES OF IrLORIDA.
The State of Georgia obtained very little territory by this treaty,
and no further indemnity for the loss of their fugitive bondmen.
The people of that State, therefore, were greatly dissatisfied with it.
But the extraordinary feature of this treaty, consists in the sub-
sequent construction placed upon it by the authorities of Georgia,
who, twenty-five years subsequently, insisted that the Seminoles
were in fact a part of the Creek tribe, bound by the Creek treaties,
and that the Creek nation were under obligation to compel the
Seminoles to observe treaties made by the Creeks.
In each of the treaties made between the State of Georgia and
the Creeks, as well as in that made at New York, between the
United States and the Creek nation, attempts had been made to
bind the Seminoles, although that t~ribe'had steadily and uniformly
denied the authority of the Creeks to bind them; and being suns-
tained by the Spanish authorities, it became evident that all further
efforts to induce them to submit to the government of the Creeks
would be useless. This independence they had maintained for
nearly half a century. They had in no instance acknowledged the
authority of the Creeks since they left Georgia, in 1750; nor is it
reasonable to suppose the authorities of that State, or those of the
United States, were ignorant of that important circumstance.
The flagrant injustice of holding the Creeks responsible for fugri- /
tive slaves resident in Florida, and under protection of the Spanish"
crown, must be obvious to every reader; and the inquiry will at
once arise, WVhy PF1,J;~:..eek hies t New York consent to
such a stipulation ? The answer ypehops mays be Tfoulid hri the
- Sbe~-t i:i cle of that treaty, giving to the Creeks Titileh. 1Tundred
dolh~ir annually, forever, and to McGillivray twaelve hundred dollars
n;ec5~r~ssTv*;: or k tg this article secret from the Indians general~jly,"
acff37 mthe people of the United States, is very apparent; as the
prgo?~e~~~ xo ~Ft~';sth aking money,J~rawn from the free States to bribe
IndliiiE chiefs to obligate their nation to seize and return fugitive
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
slaves, would have been doubted by savages as well as civilized
men. But the duty of the Creeks to seize and return the Exiles
was~ legally recognized by the treaty of Colerain, which admitted
treaty of New York to be in force. This was regarded as a
continuance of the claims of Georgia, although the Creeks appear to
have had no idea of entering into such stipulations
177] Many circumstances now combined to quiet the appre-
hensions of the fugitive bondmen in F~lorida. The elder
Adams had been elected President in the autumn of 1796, and
assumed the duties of his office on the fourth of March following.
A descendant of the Pilgrims, he had been reared and educated
among the lovers of liberty; he had long served in Congress; he
had reported upon the rights of the: people of the Colonies in 1774,
and was chairman of the committee who reported the Declaration
of fadependence, in 1776, and to its doctrines he had ever exhib-
ited an unfaltering; devotion. F'rom such an Administration the
,claimants in Georgia could expect but little aid.
Another consideration, cheering to the friends of F'reedom, was
the total failure of the claims on Great Britain, for slaves lost
during the War of the Revolution. The influence of those claim-
ants was no longer felt in the Government. The public indignation
was also somewhat excited against the institution of Slavery by
incidents of a barbarous character, which had then recently trans-
pired in North Carolina. After the promulgation of the Declara-
tion of Independence, the Quakers of that State, conscious of its
momentous truths, proceeded in good faith to emancipate their
slaves; believing that the only mode in which they could evince
their adherence to its doctrines.
The advocates of oppression were offended at this practical recog-
nition of the equal right of all men to liberty," and, to manifest
their abhorrence of such doctrines, arrested the slaves so emancipa-
ted as fugitives from labor. The Quakzers, ever true to their
convictions of justice, lent their influence, and contributed their
funds, to test the legal rights of the persons thus set at liberty,
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
Doefore the proper tribunals of the State; and the qluestion was
carried to the Court of Appeals, where a final judgmenlt was rend-
ered in favor of their freedom. This decision appea-rs to have
disappointed general expectation among the advocates of slavery,
and created much excitement throughout the State.
At the next session of the Legislature, an act was passed author-
izingr persons possessing landed property to seize and reenslave the
people thus emancipated. But the planters of that State were
usually possessed of wealth and intelligence, and, holding prin-
ciples of honor, they refused to perform so degrading a service;
and the liberated negroes continued to enjoy their freedom.
But the opponents of liberty became so clamorous against the
example thus set in favor of freedom, that the Legislature passed
an amendatory act, authorizing any person to seize, imprison and
sell, as slaves, any negro who had been emancipated in said State,
extcepot those who had served in the arm11y of the Un~ited States
during the war of the Revolution.
Persons of desperate character, gamblers, slave-dealers and horse
thieves, were now authorized to gratify their cupidity, by seizing
and selling persons who had for years enjoyed their liberty; and
the scenes which followed, were in no respect creditable to the
State, to the civilization or Christianity of the age. Emancipatedj
families wereo broken up and separated for ever. In some instance
the wife escaped, while the husband was captured. Parents were
seized, and their children escaped. Bloodhounds were employed
to chase down those who fled to the forests and swamps, in order to
avoid men more cruel than bloodhounds.
The Quakers, so far as able, assisted these persecuted people to
escape to other States. Some left North Carolina on board ships;
others fled north by land; and many reached the free States, where
their descendants yet live. But even our free States did not afford
a safe retreat from the cruelty of inexorable slave-catchers. Those
free persons were seized in Philadelphia, and, under the fugitive
slave law of 1793, were imprisoned in that city; and, what excites
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
till greater wonder, were delivered up and carried back to
Some of these people, while in Pennsylvania, sent petitions to
Congress, praying protection against such barbarity; andi great
excitement was aroused among Southern members by the presenta-
tion of such petitions. The Quakers of that State, and of New
Jersey, also sent petitions to Congress, praying that these people
may be protected against such piratical persecution. The popular
feeling of the nation was shocked at these things, and great indig-
nation against the institution, generally, was aroused.
We have no record of further attempts on the part of the claim-
ants to obtain a return of the Exiles, after the Treaty of Colerain,
until the close of Mr. Adams's administration. During that
period, the fugitives remained quietly in their homes, undisturbed
by their former masters. Their numbers were often increased by
new arrivals, as well as by the natural laws of population, and they
began to assume the appearance of an established community.
In 1801, Mr. Jefferson entered upon the duties of President.
He had himself penned the Declaration of Independence, and
manifested a deep devotion to its doctrines. Nor do we find that
any attempt was made by him for th~e return of the Exiles; nor
were there any measures adopted to obtain indemnity for the loss of
the claimants during the eight years of his Administration.
In 1802, a new law regulating intercourse with the Indian
tribes was enacted, by which the holders of slaves were secured for
the price or value of any bondmen who should leave his master and
take up his residence with any Indian tribe resident in the United
States, or Territories thereof at least such was the construction
given to this statute.
The Creek~s, Cherokees, and other Southern tribes, had gradu-
ally adopted the institution of Slavery, so long practiced by their
(1) Vide Annals of IVth Congress, 2(1 Session.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA. 2
more civilized neighbors, and thus became interested in every effort
to extinguish the hope cherished among their own bondmen, of
regaining freedom by fleeing from their masters. And many cir-
cumstances now appeared to favor the idea, that no more attempts
would be made to compel a return of the Exiles to bondage.
HIOSTILIITES MUAINTAINED BY GEORGIA.
Mr. Ifadison's election H~is character -Desire of people of Georgia to enslave Exiles -
They demand annexation of Florida Congress passes a law for taking possession of
that Territory General Mathews appointed Commlissionler De~clares insurrection -
Takes possea~-ion of Amelia Island Spanish Government demlandsu explanation The
President dtisavowts acts of Mathews Governor Mitchell succeeds Mlathewfs Georgia
raises an Army Florida invaded Troops surrounded by salvage foes Their danger -
Their retreat Stealing Slaves Lower Creekse join Seminoles Georgia demands their
surrender Chiefs refuse Georgia complains President refuses to interfere -Another
invasion of Florida-- Towns burned; Cattle fitolen Troops withdrawn from Amelia
Island Public attention directed toward our N'orthern frontier Lord c~ockrane enters
Chesapeakre Bay Issues Proclamation to Slaves Dismay of Slarveholders Slaves go
on board British ships Several vessels enter Appalachicola Bay C'ol. Nichols lands
there with Troops Gathers around him Exiles and Indians Builds a Fort, arms it,
and places Military Stores in its Magatzines Treaty of Peace with England Provision
in regard to Slaves taken away during War Claimants of thle Exiles encouraged Col.
Nichols delivers Fort to the Exiles Their plantations, wealth; and social condition -
Our Army General Gaines represetnts3 Fort as in possession of Outlaws Plans for its
destruction Correspondence General Jackson a order Col. Clinch s Expedition -
Met by Salling-Mlaster Loomis and two gun-bortat-Fort blown up -Ltstructjpn ot
human life -Nhegroes captured and enslaved Property taken Claimed by Governor
of Florida First Seminole War commenced.
WHEN Mr. Madison assumed the duties of President (MIarch 4,
1809), the. ExIileR were quietly enjoying their freedom; each sitting
under his own vine and fig-tree, without molestation or fear. Many
had been born in the Seminole country, and now saw around them
children and grand-children, in the enjoyment of all the necessaries
of life. Many, even of those who fled from Georgia after the for-
mation of that colony, had departed to their final rest; but their
children and friends had been comparatively free from persecutions
THE EXILES OF FLORID.
since the Treaty of Colerain, in 1796. Discarding all connection
with the CIreeksn and living under protection of Spain, and feeling
their right to liberty wals self-evident," they believed the United
States to have tacitly admitted their claims to freedom. With these
impressc~ions, t~hey dlwelt in consciouls security, be~lievingr no further
attempts would be made to retinslave them. M~r. Madison had
penned the memorable Address of Congress to the people of the
United States, published near the close of the old Confederation,
in which was reiterated, in glowing language, the doctrines of tbo
Declaration of Independonee; and in the Convention that framed
the Constitution, he had declared it would be wrong to admit, in
that instrument, that man can hold property i'n man."
11. 'The people of Georgia were not satisfied with the existing ady
state of things. They were greatly excited at seeing those
who had once been slaves, in South Carolina and in Georgia, now
live quietly and happily in the enjoyment of liberty, with their
flockrs and their herds, their wives and their little ones, around
them; but they were on Spanish soil, protected by Spanish laws.
T~he only modec of e~nslaving them w~as, firstly, to obtain jurisdiction
of the Territory; and the annexation of Florida to the United
States was, accordingly, urged upon the F~ederal Government.
Spain had acquired her American territories by conquest, and
was too proud to part with them. An excitement, however, was
raised in favor of its annexation; and this anxiety to secure the
slave interests of the South, soon extended to Congress,
and infused itself into the Executive policy of the nation.
A law was passed by the two Houses, in secret session, and apoe
by the President, for taking possession of E,-a
a sl;v'ravftoterirnf~~~Geoga a appointed Commissioner for that
Tprde. e~w malcontents were found in the northeastern pa~rt~
of the Territory; their numbers wer if anl by men of deere
fOiiles frm Georgia and an insurrection was proclaimed b the
citing General. Mathewvs, c0mmanding the insurgents, took ot
session of Amelia Island, and of the country opposite to it s the_ _
THE EXLILES OP FLORIDA.
i~min and Th SpaishGovrnmnt, on learning the outrage,
remonstrated with our Executive _who ~disavowedi the acts of Matth-
ews, whom he recsd poee to a pint Genea eRc
the Governor of Georgia, to act as Commissioner, in place of
Micel however, continued to hold military possession of the
island and part of the main land, and, in fact, continued to carry
forward the policy which Mathews had inaugurated. These things
occurred while our nation was professedly at peace with Spain, and
constituted a most flagrant violation of our national faith.
182] The Executive of Georgia, apparently entertaining the
idea that his State wlas competent to declare war and
make peace, raised an army, which, under the command of the
Adjutant General, entered F'lorida with the avowed intention of
Exterminating the Seminoles, who had so long refused to surrender
the Exiles; while the real object was the recapture and retinslave-
Inent of the refugees. The Creeks of the Lower Towns, however,
took sides with the Seminoles, in opposing this piratical foray of
slave-catchers. The army having penetrated a hundred miles or
more into F'lorida, found itself surrounded with hostile savages.
Their supplies were cut off; the men, reduced almost to a state of
starvation, were compelled to retrace their steps; and with great
loss the survivors reached Georgia. But they robbed those Spanish
inhabitants who fell in their way of all their provisions, and left
them to suffer for the want of food. Nor were the Georgians satis-
fled with taking such provisions as were necessary to support life;
they also took with them a large number of slaves, owned by
Spanish masters, with whom they resided
(1) The clainIis of these ancient Spanish inhabitants for indemnity against those robber-
les, have been pressed upon the consideration of Congress for the last twenty-five years, and
were recently pending before the Court of Claims. When the bill for their relief was under
discussion before the House of Representatives, In 1843, Hon. John Quincy Adams pre-
sented la list of some ninety slaves, for the loss of whom the owners claimed compensate
tlon fkom the United States. But the discussions which arose on private bills were not at
that time reported; and neither this exhibit, nor the speech of Mr. Adams, are to be
found in the Congressional Debates of that day.
THIE EXILES OF FLOR'IDA.
The people, and the authorities of Georgia, were greatly incensed
at the Creek; Indialns, who had assisted the Seminoles in defending
themselves; and thle Governor of that State demaznded of the chiefs
a surrenderC1 of those indliv-iduals who had thus offended against the
sovreligrnty of tha3t coL117lnunnealthl. The chiefs refused to deliver
up thcir brcthrlen, anld the Gover~nor complained to the President
of this dlis1ereard~ of sla~veholdingr comuity by the Creek~s.
The Fedelrall authorities appear to hav-e felt very little interest in
the matter, andl Georg~ial deter~minedl to redress her own grievances.
Th eiltr eothtStdemn their interests neglected by
the Feder~al G~overnmlent, passed resolutions declaring the occupa-
tion of ~loriida essential to thle safety and welfare of their people,
whether Congres~s authorizedl it or not; and they passed an act for
raising a force to redulce St. Aucgustine an~d punlish th~e Inldians."
U~nde~r this~ clara:1i~tion o~f war11 by ther so~verei~n power of G~eorgia,
another armuy was ra~isedl. Hunters, trapplers, vagabonds, and men
of dlesperaute forItunes, wer'e collected fr'om tha;t State, from East
Tennessee, andt fromn other Southern' 1 States, to the number of five
hundreds; andl Flor~ida was again invadcedt. This expedition was
mor~e succe~ssfull, in somet respects, t~han thle first. They burned two
or three of the smal~ler~ Semlnojle townls, destroyed several cornfields
that hlad been plantedl by thle Exles, and drove balck to Georgia
large" herdsl. of cattle, whichl thecy hadl stolen f~rom the negr~oes; yet
the principal ob~ject of the Expt~edlition failed : They were unable to
calptur~e anl indlividlual, or felnlily, of thle Exiles. There were no
Spanlish inhab~li~~tant in that par~t of Flor~ida, from whom they could
calpturec slaves~, an~d they wer~e compelled to return without human
victims, but with the loss of several individuals of their own party.
ThuIs, alfterl a~ sillctrule of miore thatn two years (ending Mlay, 1813),
the State of Geor~gia founlcd itself unable to conquer Florida or the
Semninoles, or to capture the Exiles. Further prosecution of the
war was given up, the troops were writhdlrawn fromn Amelia Island,
and peace was reLstor'ed.
This extraordina.,ryproeedin, on the part of Georgia, appears
THE: EXIL~S OF FLORIDA.
to have excited v~ery little attention at the time; probably in con-
sequence of the more important operations that were then being
carried forward, upon our Northern and Northwestern frontiers.
H~arrison at fTippecanoe, and at Maumnee; and Scott and Van Rens.
selaer at Queenston, and along the Niag~ara frontier, were gallantly
confronting the British army, aided by powerful allies from the
various neighboring tribes of savages; and so greatly was the
attention of the people of the Northern States absorbed in these
operations, that they were scarcely conscious of the slave-catching
forays carriedr on by the Starte of Geo~rga.n Indeed, during these
operations, the public men of that State were among the most
vehement advocates for a strict construction of the Federal Cfon-
stitution, abd for maintaining the American Union.
These transactions upon our Southern frontiercle
1841 attention of British Miitr oteRminoles and the
Exiles. ~A hostile fleet entered Chesapeake Bay, under Lord
Cochrane, who issued a prcaaininii' l er's(enn
slaves), who desired to emigrate from the United S~tates, to come
wit tei fmiie o bardhi Bitnnc ajst's shipof war;
assurin ah Majesty'seg f nteih~_M(e~t_) naval
sevcor of settling with their families, as ~freewannasini either,
of the British W~est India _Islands. This proclamation was widely
circulated, and spread very general consternation along our South-
ern seaboard : it gave the slaveholders of Georgia occasion to look
to their own protection, and to secure the fidelity of those bondmen
who yet remained in the service of their masters.'
Two British sloops of war and some smaller vesselsadely~
appeared in Appalachi ofa Bay, where they landed a body of troops,
(1) Many slaves actually St friom their masters and found an asylum on board British
vessels. Some sixty. belonging to a planter named Forbes, who resided in Georg~ia, left his
plantation and took shelter on board the ship commanded by Lord Cochrane. They were
transported to Jamaica, where they settled and lived as other free people. After the resto-
ration of peace, Forbes sued his Lordship, before the British courts, for damages sustained
by the loss of these slaves. The case elicited much learning in regard to the law of Slavery,
and, next to that of Sommerset, may be regarded as the most important on that subject
ever lidigated before an English court.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
under Lieut. Colonel Nichols, of the British Army, for the purpose
allies. He opened communications with them, furnished them wt
arms and ammunition, and soon drewf around him acnia
frce fuiasa ell as negrroes. His encampment was on the east
side of t nnlcio3 tvr m tit ies above its monh
In November, he completed a strong fort on the bank of that stream.
Some weight pieces of heavy ordnance were mounted upon its walls,
and its magazine was well stored with the material of war.' It was
evidently intended as a defense against the forays of slalve-catchers,
who were not expected to bring with them heavy artillery. The
plan was well conceived2. Even the plundering expeditions au-
thorized by the State of Georgia, would have been unable to make
any impression on this fortification. But neither Nichols, nor the
Exiles, appear to have anticipated the employment of the United
Statesvy i a piratical work, discarded ~by mo~tcrst Chritian ation
and -peopTe, aTai~;Z-~ l lowed to be carried on only upon the African
The British fleet withdrew from the coast of Georgria, and the
slaveholders of that State were relieved, for a time, from those
apprehensions of slave insurrection which had been excited by the
proclamation of Lord Cochrane.
In the meantime the Treaty of Ghent was ratified, and peace
restored to the country. In that treaty the interests of Slavery
(1) Monette," in his H~istory of the Valley of the Mississippi," says WFoodbine erected
this fort in the summer of 1816; and such were the representations made before the C'om-
mittee appointed in 1819, to investigate the conduct of General Jackson, in taking posfsess-
ion of Florida. B~ut the reader will n~t~ice the Letter of Qeneral G;aines, hereafter quoted,
which bears date on the 14th Mlay, 1815, and officially informed the Secretary of War that
nrgroes and ouctlau~s hat~e taken possession of a FoKr on usl A~PPALACHICOLA RIVsa."
This was more than a year before the time of erecting the fort, according to M~onette."
The parapet of the fort wasrc said to be dfifeen feet high and eighteen thick, situated
upon a gentle cliff, with a fine stream emptying into th~e river near its basfe, and a swamp
in the rear. which protected it from the approach of artillery by land. On its wallP were
mounted one thirty-two pounder, three twenty-four pounders, two nine pounders, two six
pounderrs, and one bnras five and a half inch howitzer. Vide Oftl~cal Report of Saliling.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDAb.
had not been forgotten; and the same stipulations were inserted,
in regard to the withdrawal of his Majesty's troops and navy,
" without taking or caspying away any negroes or other property
"of the citizens," which characterized the treaty of 17182. The
owners of slaves wRho had fled from service under the proclamation
of Lord Coebrane, now determined to obtain compensation for their
loss. This general feeling again aroused the cupidity of those whose
fathers had once claimed to own those Exiles, who fled from Gieor-
gia some thirty or forty years previously.
J t~he spring of 1815, Colonel Nichols and 14@ troops withdrew
from Florida, leaving the fort, with its entire mmntndmg
"ti~'b~T~ilrit lltas stores, in the pyvn fteFio h eie
i1"ec Their plantations extended along the river several
miles, above and below the fort.' Many of them possessed large
herds of cattle and horses, which roamed in the forests, gathering
their food, both in summer and winter, without expense or trouble
to their owners.
The Pioneer Exiles from South Carolina had settled here long
before the Colony of G~eorgia existed. Several generations had
lived to anahbood and died\ in those forest-homes. To their descend-
ants it had become conrrecrated by "' many an oft told tale of early
adventure, of hardship and sufferinga; the recollection of which had
been retained in tradition, told in story, and sung ib their rude
lays. Here were the graves of their ancestors, around whose
memories were clustered the fondest recollections of thle human
mind. The eimate was genial. They were surrounded by exten-
sive forests, and fadr removed from the habitations of those enemies
of freedom who sought to enslave them; and they regarded them-
selves as secure in the enjoyment of liberty. Shut out from the
cares and strifes of more civilized men, they were happy in their
own social solitude. So far from seeking to injure the people of
(1) This in the omdal account of Salling-Master Lomis, who commanded the naval ex-
pedittn subsequently sent to reduce this fortres.
" Monette," to his History of the Valley of the Missisippl, says, Neanr the Fort t~jts a
wars)5me, and extended along the river nearly flfty( miles."
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
the United States, they were only anxious to be exempt, and en-
tirely free from all contact with our population or Government';
while they faithfully maintained their allegiance to the Spanish
Peace with Great Britain, however, had leAt our army
without active employment. A portion of it was stationed.
along our Southern frontier of Georgia, to maintain peace with the
Indians. The authorities and people of Georgia maintained social
and friendly relations with the officers and men of the army. By
means of Indian spies, the real condition of the E~xiles was also.
ascertained and well understood. What means were used to excite
the feelings or prejudices of the military officers against these un-
offending Exiles, is not known at this day. Most of the o~icers
commanding in the South were, however, slaveholders, and groba-
bl s!r;u~';;;-sm~tymah with the people fof G~eoriaiter
in~d~o rainst them, for obtaining and _e gyng liberty without
pirin~cission of their masters.
General Gaines, commagndinn on the Southern frontier of Geor-
gia mki Pr ct ibedures wrote the Secretary of
War (Ma~y 1), saying, certain negroe~s and outlaws have taken
"( possession of a fort on the Appalachicola River, in the Terrtr
" ofFlooridia He assured the Secretary, that he should keep
watch of thern. He charged them with no cr~imeiuted to te
no hostile acts. He was conscious that they had taken possession
of the fort solely for their own protection; but he styled them
negroes, which, in the language of that day among slaveholders,
was regarded as an imputation of guilt; and outlazo was supposed
to be a proper term with which to characterize those who had fled
from bondage and sworn allegiance to another government.'
(1) The reader will at once see, that these people were as much under the proteetraea at
Spain, as the fogitive slaves now in Canada are under the protection of British laws. They
were as clearly Spanish sabjects as the latter are British subjects. By the law of nationsr,
Spain had the same right to permit her black saltjects to occupy Bloant's Fort," that the
Queen of Eingland has to permit Fort Mablden to be occupied by her black soldeots. The
only distinction between the two cases is, Spain was weakr and anable to maintain her asr
tional honor, and national rights; while England has the power to do both.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
r. For more than a year subsequentlyt to the date of this letter,
IGeneral Gaines made the Exiles a subject of frequent communica
tion to the War Department. In this official correspondence, he
at all times spoke of them as runaways," outlaws," pirates,"
murderers," ete.; but in no instance did he charge them with
any act hostile to the United States, or to any other people or
Of these communications the Exiles were ignorant. They con-
tinued in peaceful retirement, cultivating the earth, and gaining a
support for themselves annd famlilies. In the autumn of 1815i,
they gathered their crops, provided for the support of the aged and
infirm, as well as for their children. They carefully nursed the
sick;; they buried their dead; they lived in peace, and enjoyed the
fruits of their labor. The following springs and summer found them
in this enviable condition.
While the Exiles living on the Appalachicola were thus
pursuing the even tenor of their ways, plans were ripening
among the slaveholders and military officers of our army for their
destruction. A correspondence was opened by the Secretary of'
'War with General Jackson, who commanded the Southwestern
1Hilitary District of the United States, holding his head-quarters at
Nashville, Tennessee. Various letters and communications passed
between those officers in regard to this Negro Fort," as they
Power is never more dangerous than when wielded by military
men. They usually feel ambitious to display their own prowess,
and that of the troops under their command; and no person can
read the communications of General Gaines, in regard to the Exiles
who hadl gathered in and around this fort, without feeling conscious
that he greatly desired to give to the people of the United States
an example of the science and power by which they could destroy
(1) Vide the voluminous Correspondence on this subject contained in Ex. Doo. 119, 26
Session, XVth Congress.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
At length, on the sixteenth of May, General Jackson wrote
GenrlGiesyn, aeltl ob of the fact, that this
" fort has been established by some villains for the purpose of
" rapine and plunder, and that it ought to be blown up, regardless
" of the ground on which it stands; and if your mind shall have
"( formed the same conclusion, destroy it and return the stolen
" nregroes and property to their rightful owners." 1
Without attempting to criticise this order of General Jackson,
we must regard a fort thus situated, at least sixty miles from th~e
border of the United States, as a most singular instrument for the
purpose of rapine," or plundering our citizens. Nor could Gen-
eral Jackson have entertained any apprehensions from those who
occupied the fort. The entire correspondence showed them to be
refugees, seeking only to avoid our pole; inded his very order
negroes to heir rigrhtful owners." The use of opprobrious epithets
is not often resorted to by men in high official stations: pis
difficult to believe, thatt General Jackson supposed these neroest
have been stolen ; for, neither in the official correspondn o h
iii~ji- nor in the papers accompanyingr itebai~ r hn a
uac documentary pa es is there a _hint that theneawr
stVVUV I IU he~lphad committed violence upon any person, or
upon the property of anly person whaever. They ha~d sought their
own ;bry n h hr themselves, was used like
the other epithets of outlaws," pirates and murderers,"l to
cast opprobrium upon the character of men who, if judged by their
(1) Perhaps no portion of our national history exhibits such disregard of international
law, as this unprovoked invasion of Florida. For thirty years, the slaves of our Southern
States have been in the habit of fiecing to the British P'rovinces. Here they are admitted
to all the rights of citizenship, in the same manner as they were in Florida. They vote
and hold offce under British laws; and when our Government demanded that the English
Ministry should disregard the rights of these people and return them to slavery, the British
Minister contemptuously refused even to hold correspondence with our Secretary of State
on a subject so abhorrent to every principle of national law and self-respect. Our Govern-
ment coolly submitted to the scornful arrrogance of England; but did not hesitate to invade
Florida with an armed force, and to seize the faithful subjects of Spain, and enslave them-
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
love of liberty or their patriotism, would now occupy a position not
less honorable in the history of our country than is assigned to the
patriots of 1'776.
Nor is it easy to discover the rule of international law, which
authorized the Executive of the United States, or the officers of our
army, to dictate to the crown of Spain in what part of his ter-
ritory he should, or should not, erect fortresses; or the constitu-
tional power which they held for~invading the territory of a nation
at peace with the United States, destroy a fort, and consign its
occupants to slavery. But those were days of official arrogance on
the one hand, and popular submission on the other. The Exiles,
or their ancestors, had once been slaves. They now were cultiva-
ting the rfehest lands in Floridat, and possessed wealth; they were
occupying a strong fortress. Many slaves during the recent war
had escaped from their masters, in Geor~gia, and some were sup-
posed to be free subjects of Spain, living in Florida; and if the
Exiles were permitted to enjoy their plantations and property in
peace, it was evident that the institution in adjoining States would
oe in danger of a total overthrow. These facts were apparent to
General Jackson, as well as to General Gaines and the slarveholders
General Gaines only awaited permission from his superior to
carry out the designs of the slaveholders, who had become alarmed
at the dangers to which their peculiar institution was subjected.
Upon the receipt of the order above quoted, he detailed Lieut. Col.
Clinch,' of the regular troops, with his regiment and five hundred
friendly Creek Indians, under McIntosh, their principal chief, to
carry out the directions of General Jackson. Colonel Clinch was
directed to take with him two pieces of artillery, for the purpose of
cannonading the fort if necessary.2
This commencement of the first Seminole war was, at the time,
(1) Hon. Duncan L. Clinch. Hie left the service in 1841, and was subsequently a Mem
ber of Congress for several years, and died in 185j2.
(2) War was thus waged against Spain, by Executive authority, without consulting
Congress; and no member of that body uttered a protest, or denunciation of the act.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
unknown to the people of the United States. It was undertaken
for the purposes stated in General Jackson's order, to blow up
the fort, and return the negroes to their rightful ownerss" His-
torians have failed to expose the cause of hostilities, or the barbar-
otis foray which plunged the nation into that bloody contest which
cost the people millions of treasure and the sazcrifice of hundreds of
It was July before the arrangements were fully made by Colonel
Clinch and his savage allies for descending the river, with suitable
artillery and supplies, to accomplish the object of their mission
The Creeks, having entered into the treaties of New York and
Colerain, by which they bound themselves, twenty years previously,
to return those Exiles who fled from Gecorgia, and having failed to
perform those stipulations, now cheerfully united with thet American
army in this first slave-catching expedition undertaken by the Fed-
Of these movements the Exiles had bjeen informed by their
neighbors, the friendly Creeks; for, among the Lower Creeks,
werec individuals who at all times sympathized with them, and kept
them informed of the measures adopted for their destruction. All
the families living on the river and in the vicinity of the fort, fled
to it for protection. They had no idea of the advantages arising
from scientific warfare; they believed their fortification impregnable.
Colonel Nuichols had erected it for the purpose of affording them
protection, and they had no doubt of its efficiency for that pur-
Such were the delays attending the journey, in consequence of'
difficulties in transporting heavy guns and provisions, that the
(1) In Ex. Doc. No. 119, 2d session. Xt~th Congressr, may be found the ometcal corres-
ponden~ce between the WVar Department and General Jackson; also that between General
Jackson and General GaineP, together with the orders of each, a~s well asc the correspond-
ence between the Scecretary of the Navy and Commodo~re Patterson; anld the order of the
latter off~eer to Sailing-MCaster Loomis; and the final report of Sailing-Mastter Loomia and
General C:linch. In none of these papers is there any act of hostility mentioned or refe~r-
red to as having been committed by the Exiles, or the Seminote Indians, prior to their
reaching the vicinity of the Fort.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
troops did not reach the vicinity of the fort until the twenty-fourth
of July. In the meantime, Commodore Patterson, in pursuance of
orders from the naval department, had dleta~iled Sailing-Master
Loomis, with two gun-boats, to assist in carrying out the order of
On the twenty-fourth of July, Colonel Clinch commenced a
reconnoisance of the fort. On the twenty-fifth, he cleared away the
brush and erected a battery, and placed upon it two longr eighlteen-
jpounders, and commencd a cannonade of the fortress. At the
Time of this investment, there were about three hundred Exiles in
the fort, including women and children, besides thirty-four Seminole
Indians :" yet in the official report of Colonel Clinch, he makes no
mention of his fire being returned; nor does he say that any of his
men were killed or wounded by the occupants of the fort.
On the twenty-sixth of July, Sailing-Master Loomis, with his
command, reached a point on the river some tw~o miles below the
fort. Colonel Clinch met him at that place, for consultation, and
informed him that his fire had thus far proved ineffectual, and that
a nearer approach of artillery by'land w~ouldl be difficult
SJudgilng from the lang~uagre used in his official dispatch, Sailing-
Master Loomis must have entertained some feelings of distrust;
towards Colonel Clinch, as they evidently separated in bad temper :
yet no officer in the service of the United States ever exhibited
greater prudence in his prepa~rations, or more firmness in battle, than
Colonel Clinch. He was, however, a man of kind and humane
feelings, and high notions of honor. It hans been supposed by
ht~any of his friends, that he shrarnk from the perpetration of the
butrager which he hadZ been detailed to commit.4
(1) H~ildreth states that thrree gun-boats were detailed on that ooorsion; but the report
of Sailing-Malster Loomis spyeakrs only of twco.
(2) H~ildlreth states the number to have been about three hundred, partly Indians and
(3) Mlonette says this expedition was undertaken by Col. Clinch upon his own respponsi-
bility, to enable some boats hladen with provisions to pass up the river. A strange muisaip-
prehension of factrs, as shown by offcial documents.
(4) At this conference, Sailing-Ma~ster Loomnis informed Colonel Clinch that, on the day
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
On the morning of the twenty-seventh, Loomis, with his boats,
ascended the river and cast anchor opposite the fort, while Colonel
Clinch and the Creek Indians took positions so as to cut off retreat
by land. The cannoundo was resumecd, and the land and naval:
forces of the United States were engragedl in throwing shot and
sheclls for the purpose of murdering those friendless Exiles, those
women a~nd children, who hadl committed no other offense than that
of having been born of parents who, a century previouslyr, had
been held in bondagre. Mothers and children now shrieked with
terror as the roar of eannon, hewistlingf~~! ofbls h
of shells, the war-whlop o h nae t gas il uded
andcl ifortold the saLd fate whlich awaited them. Thec stout-
th tr w
The si~grliggh l ho ver, F8 o rta The cannon balls
not taking effect upon the embankments of earth, they prepared
their furnaces and commenced the fire of hot shot, directed at the
principal magazines. This mode proved more successful. yL~~
fully heated, reached the powder in the magazine. The small size
of the fort grd-~eat number orf people in it, renderett.h
explosion unusually fatal. Marny were entirely buried in the ruins,
otIcsfr killed by facing timbers, while many bodies were torn
in pi nbs were separated"T~te from bodies to which they had
been attached, and death, in all its horri fbrms, was visible wihi
that doomed fortress.
-"'~~i~ce unded and thirty-four souls within the fort, two hun-
previous, while a party of his men were on shore, they were fired on by Indians and one
man killed. This was the first and only act of hostility against our troops. It was com-
mitted by Indians, not by Exiles; but it was subseqluently seized upon and published as a
justification for carrying out General Jackson's order, bearing date more than two months
prior to the occurrence, directing General Gaines to destroy the fort and return the negroes
(1) Monette sayvs, The scene in the fort was horrible beyond description. Nearly the
whole of the inmates were involv~ed in indiscriminate destruction ; not one-sixth of the whole
escaped. The cries of the wounded, the groans of the dying, with the shouts and1 yells of
the Indians, rendered the scene horrible beyond description."
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
dred and seventy were instantly skilled; while of the sixty who
remained, only three escaped without injury? Two of the survi-
vors-one negro and one Indian-were selected as supposed chiefs
of the allied forces within the fort. They were delivered over to
the Indians who accompazniedl Colonel Clinch, and were massacred
within the fort, in the presence of our tr~oops;2 but no report on
record shows the extent of torture to which they were subjected.
W~e have no reliable information as to the number who died of
their wounds. They were placed on board the gun-boats, and their
wounds were dressed by the surgeons; and those who recovered
were afterwards delivered over to claimants in Georgia. Those
who were slightly wounded, but able to travel, were taken backr
with Colonel Clinch to Georgria and delivered over to mlen who
claimed to have descended from pla~nter~s who, some three or four
generations previously, owned the ancestors of the prisoners. There
could be no proof of identity, nor was there any court authorized to
take testimony, or enter decree in such case; but they were deliv-
ered over upon claimn, taken to the interior, and sold to different
planters. There they mingled with that mass of chattelized human-
ity which characterizes our Southern States, and wer~e swallowed up
Sin that tide of oppression which is now bearings three millions of
human beings to untimerly graves.
Sailing-M1aster Loomis informed the Naval Department, through
Commodlore Pattterson, that the value of the property captured in
the fort was not less than two hundred thousand dollars." He
also stated that a portion of this property was delivered over by
Colonel Clinch to the Indlians who had accompanied him, on the
"' express agreement tha~t thecy should share in the plunderr"
Another portion of property was holdl by Colonel Clinch, ats neces-
sary for the use of the troops. A list of the articles thus taken is
(1) Vide Official Report of Sajilig-M~ster L~oomlis, Exr. Doc. 119: 2d Seps. X~th Cong.
(2) Some years Pince, th~e aulthOr wrote a short Ske'tch of the ge~neral Ma3Psscre, but omitted
this point as too revolting to the feelings of hlumanity, and too disgraceful to the American
arms, to be laid before the popular mind in such an article; and he would most gladly
have omitted it in this work, could he have done so consistently with his duty to the public.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
given in the report: it embraces spades, shovels, pickaxes, swords,
sword-belts, pistols and muskets. The remainder of the prop-
erty was taken on board the gun-boats, and held subject to the
order of the Secretary of the Navy.'
The Governor of Florida demanded, in the name of his M~ost
Christian Majesty the k~ing of Spain," possession of the property
thus captured in the fort; denyinga the right of either our army or
navy to invade the territory of Spain, and take and carry away
property from its fortifications.
To this claim Sailing-M~aster Loomis replied, that the property
did not belong to the Spanish crown, but to the Exiles, who were
in possession of it, from whom it was taken by conzquest. This
correspondence between his Excellency the Governor of Florida and
the Commander of the two gun-boats, was duly transmitted to our
Government at Washington, and may now be found in our National
Some twenty-two years subsequent to the capture of this proper-
ty, and the massacre of tose n~who~ wer m osesio
was ~re ported in the Hous of Reprsentativs,3 gralntin fi~ve tho
sand dollars to the officers, marines an~d sailors who constituted the
crews of those gun-boats, as compensation for ~their g~alla servics.
Wk~hther the honorab~le Chaiman _L o h aal & ao
reported thle billor any member of the House who voted for it,
was aware of the true character of the services rendered, is a matter
othk fits bu dthe bill~t~c passe wthout boppositon, b~teame aaw, nd
(1) 1\lonette says that three thousand stands of arms and six hundred barrels of powder
were destroyed by the explosion. This is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. WYe
have no fact to warrant the assertion, that there was any addition made to the stores left
by Col. h'ichols, when he delivered the fort to the ~Exiles. The same author statues, that
one magazine, containing one hundred and sixty barrels of powder, was left unharmed by
the exrplosion ; but no mention of such factr is found in the Official R~eport, by Sailing.
(2) Vide Documents before the Committee of Congress appointed to investigate the cause
of General Jackson's invasion of Florida: XVth Congress, 2d Session.
(3) This bill was reported by Mr. Ingham of Connecticut, Chairman of the Committee
on Naval Affairs.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.:
of one of the darkest crimes which stains ~the histoy il
called for by resolution, adopted in the House of Representatives,
and was communicated to that body at the second session of the
fifteenth Congaress. But no action appears to have been proposed
In regard to it; nor does it appear that public attention was at that
time particularly called to this most wanton sacrifice of human life.
Inthis massacre, nearly eve Ei rsdn pon the Appa-
lachcolaRive, inlud ~ n ad children ,;perishedd o- was~
first obtained possession of them. Probably one third of all the
Exiles at that time resident in F'lorida, perished in this massacre,
or were retiinslaved by Colonel Clinch; yet the atrocious character
of the transaction appears to have attracted very little attention at
the time. General Jackson was popular as a military officer, and
the Administration of Mlr. Madison was regarded with general
favor. No member of Congrress protested against the transaction,
or made known its barbarity to the people; while the ablest mem-
bers taxed their ingenuity, and brought all their rhetoric to bear,
in vindication of those concerned in the outrag;e.2
While Mlr. Clay and others severely condemn h ehia
invasion of F~lorida, as an act of hostility ar fSin
they omitted all reference to this wanton massacre of the Exiles:
nor h'ive we beabetlearn that any member even intimated
aoT~ u oen-~~'t~uti h interests of Slavery; or that
our tro ps wr Phaglsd Iomre one~ 3h~e
their ancestors had once been held in bondage, and to seize and
(1) Vide Statutes enacted at 24 Session, XXVIth Congress. The author was then a
member of the Hiouse of R~epresentatives, but had not learned to watch the movements of
slavehold~ers and their allies," so closely as subsequent experience taught him would be
(2) Vide Speeches of Ilon. George Poindexter and others on the Seminole W~ar, in 1819.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA. 45
carry back to toil and suffering those who esca ed death in that
babrumasce The cers of Government, and bi torians
of that day, appear to have avoided all reference to the fact,
that the people thus murdered had beenl far longer in the wilder
ness than were the children of Israel; that they were contending
for that Liberty which is the rightful inheritance of every human
being. Indeed, more than twenty years elapsed after this massacre,
before a distinguished Philanthropist gave to the public the first
intimation that such a people as the Exiles had existed.'
(1) Hon. William Jay, of N'ew York, published his Views of the action of the Federal
Government in 1837.
The Troops along the EfloridaL frontier become active -The Exiles on SuwFanee and
WVithlacoochee prepare for Wrar General Gaines's representation of their numbers
Depredartions committed during the Spring and Summer of 1817-- aassacre of
Lieute~nant Scott and his party-Its Effect upon the Country-Congress not con-
suited as to this War Generatl Gaines authorized to invade Florida General Jackson
ordered to the Field Mr. Monroe assumes the Duties of Presiident His Cabinet -
Character of Congress Public Sentiment in regard to discussion of Subjects connected
with Slavery-General Jackson concentrates his Army at Fort Scott--Proceeds to
Mickasukie Battle Destruction of the Town Mlarches to St. Marks Indian Chiefs
decoyecd on board a Vessel-H~ange~d by order of General Jackson -The Army moves
upon Suwvanee Its Situation Exiles prepare for a decisive Battle Severe Conflict
General Jacksron takes the Town -Captures Indian Women and Children -Burns
the Villages of that region Returns to Pensacola Capture and Trial of Arbut~hnot
and Ambrister Their Execution Invasion of Eloridar condemned by some of our
Statesmen, and vindicated by others.
THIE nation having been precipitated into war (1816), the
Officers of Government, alnd the army, at once became active in
carrying it on. Orders were sent to General Gaines, exhorting
him to vigilance, caution and promptitude. He was on the south-
ern frontier of Georgia, where it was naturally supposed the first
blow, in retaliation -for the massacre of Blount's F~ort, would fall.
His scouts were constantly on the alert, his outposts strengthened,
and his troops kept in readiness for action.
The Semninole Indlians had lost some thirty ~~h a .inter-
marrri wt h xl n~ were in the fort at the ~time of the
massacre. They entertain the opinion that tof their mur-
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
nor could it be supposed that the Exiles would feel no desire ~to
visit retributhve justice upon the murderers of their friends. Long
did this desire continue, in the minds of the surviving Exiles,
untrl, many years subse uentl their vengeance was satiated, their
hillid were stained, and their ga~rmnents saturate~-~~~ejo;~~
The surviving Exiles had their principal remlaining eteet
upn~l l t n~l 1210Vithlacoochee rivers, and in the Ml~ickasukie
towns. Those settlements were on fertile lands, and were now
relied2 upon to furnish provisions for their support during hostilities.
Savages are usually imlpetuous; but the Exiles were more deliberate.
Colonel Clinch had returned to Georgia.; Sailing-nlaster Loomis
was at MIobile Bay, andl no circumstances demanded immediate
action. They gathered their crops, obtained arms and ammunition
from B3ritish and Spanish merchants, and made every preparation
for hostilities. During the _sume n ntlo 1 6 G -
eral Gaines reportedly slight depredtations on the frontiers of Georwn
but in February, 1817, he reported that larger bodi-es ofIndlians
were collecting in some of their villages; _andl in one of his letters
he stated that seven hun7dred negroes were collected at Suwance,
-and werceinr~l drilled to the use of arms. This number of
watrranted bJy subsequent information.
18. During trhe Sp~ring and Summer, both parties were
in a state of preparation -of constant readiness for
war. A4 few predatory excursions to the frontier settlements,
marked the action of the Indians and Exiles, while the army,
under G-eneral Gaines, often sent parties into the Indian country,
without- any important incident or effect. The .first effective blow
was struck in November. A boat was ascending the A palchy
riveTr, w Th sup~-~plies for Er~S;t Sctdrthe esc~o~rt-ot ofaLieutenant
jInf~l5birns this fact was communicated to the Exiles and Indians
an fwaros tocehsendt
THIE EXILES OF` FLORIDA.
intercept them. They succeeded in drawing them into ambush, a
fem aelts-lw tlfe moth-n IflI-ish-R5nive-ad hii l;Feif fiE~Z ~ t,2, nd
all his men but six, and all the children, and all the women but
one, were massacred on the spt. Six solir ese
woman was spared and taken o Suanee as a prisoner. Here she
wai',e~ by, the_ Exles through the wintZii with great
kindness, residingr in their families and shlaring their hospitality.
She had thus an opportunity of learning their condition, and the
state of civilization to which they had attained, as well as their
desire to be at peace with mankind, in order to enjoy their own
rights and liberties.
This massacre was re ar d the country as a most brbrous
and at scic a ie The n`ewiis~papers blazoned it
forth as an exhibition of savage barbarity. The deep indignation
of the people was invoked against the Seminoles, who were repre-
sented as alone responsible for the murder of Lieutenant Scott,
and his men. PFrobablv ne-tenths of the Editors, thus assailing
the Seminoles, were not aware of the atro~cious sacrifice of humaxi
'Ilife at outsEot"i uylfh rvosya.Evn the
1 resident of the United tts nhs~ arh
during the previous year, declared The hostilities of ths Tri
woere an rovoke as though te record of the massacrs.a
'5 Blount'Ls Fort ad been ere from the records of th-anrxal
Universe. ';otwithstandin our army had, in a time
interior,o 0ned a cannot n Blount's Fort blown it up,
wi an unprecedented massacre, in which both Seminole Indians
a r~oes were sl 'n, an~d two of er nl mn oxL
to, aaous torture get the P resident in his Mesae as if to
Falsify the history of current events, declared tl at as-.almost the
whole of this Tribe inhabit the country within the limits of_,
oida, Spain was bound, by the 5 ait
~s~Lrom committing depredations against the United States."
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
Such were the efforts made t msersn at i lto o h
117~~l~;llola 'ar With its commencement, the people had
nothing to do; they were not consulted, nor were their Repre-
sentatives in Congress permitted to exercise any influence over the
subject. The correspondence between General Gaines and the
Secretary of WTar, in regard to the occupation of the fort by the
Exiles, had commenced on the fourteenth of May, 1815. It was
continued while Congress was in session, in 1815 and 1816, but
no facts in regard to the plan of destroying it, and entering upon a
war, for the purpose of murdering or enslaving the Exiles, had
been communicated to Congress or the public.
Ordlers were now issued to General Giii
carr@ Ee lwa~~rmt~j~o Floid for the purpose of punishmyg the Sem-
inoi-sIeneral Jackson was ordered to take the field, in
person, with power to call on the States of Tennessee and Georgia
f~or uch militia as he might dee n~~, frtedepo u-
tion of the war; and t_ ms omchoa~aeet eemd
To~--ryn anotiiis anon a large scale.
Mr M-Monroe had assumed the duties of President in March,
1817. He had appointed Hon. John Quincy Adams Secretary
of State, at the commencement of his administration; but the
office of Secretary of WVar was not filled by a permanent appoint-
ment, for some months, in consequence of Governor Shelby'rs
refusal to accept it, on account of his advanced, age. It was
finally conferred on Hon. John C. Calhoun, who, through his entire
oiecial life, was distinguished for his devotion to the institution of
Slavery; and this war having been entered upon for the support
of that institution, it may well be supposed that he exerted his
utmost energies for its vigorous prosecution.
The fifteenth Congress assembled in December, 1817. Most
of the members from the free States had not enjoyed the ad-
vantages of having served long in that body. They afterwards
showed themselves able men; but the business of legislation re-
quires experience, industry, and a perfect knowledge of the past
TH~E EXILES OF FLORIDA.
action of government. This cannot be obtained in one session,
nor inoeCnrs;i a nyb ahrdb the labors of Ian
active life. It is, therefore, not surprising that Congress granted
to the War Department whatever funds the President required to
carry on the war.
It is not our province to applaud, or condemn, public men; but
history represents no member of the fifteenth Congress as having
proclaimed the cause of this war, or the atrocious massacre which
characterized its commencement. On the contrary, those who spoke
on t~he subject, represented it as entirely owing to the Indian murders
on the frontiers of Georgia, and to the massacre of Lieutenant
Scott and his men. There was great delicacy exhibited, and had
been for many years previously, in regard to the agitation of any
question touching the institution of Slavery; anld the people of
the free and slave States appeared to feel that silence on that
subject was obligatory upon every citizen who desiredl a continuance
of the Union. These circumstances rendered it easy for the Ad-
ministration to prosecute the war, with whatever force they deemed
necessary for the speedy subjection of Indians and Exiles.
On entering the field of active service, Greneral Jackson called
on t~he S tate of Tennessee for two thousand troops. He ~:repare
to Hrod t Okuge hr f v lunte r, from
Georgia, hbadalready assembled, and organizing them Fe requested
-tim aid ~of t cC ek P;;Tri31iinirdso---The-reeadi~yvly ek
under thle command of' their chief, Mic~ntosh, reay;to~~;;~~i
tlb Fort Scott, where he was bout$~n' \~T;n~ oetousanld regular
W ~frcehe mved pon the MCickasukie towns suated
near th aeo htnmsm hrymiles south o~f the lin
of Geor lra. It wa~is .the- nearest place at whicht-Erera
settled in considerable numbers. There were several small villa as
~-......_..,,., _,. ------- --- -ge
in the vicinity of this Lake, inhabited almost eni~b cks.
THIE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
A large quantity of provisions had been stored there. There were
also several Seminole towns between Mickasukie Lakre and Talla-
hasse, on the west.
The Exiles appear to have viewed thle approach of General
Jackson with coolness and firmness. They had evidently calculated
the result with perfect accuracy. Their women and children were
removed to places of safety, and their herds of cattle were driven
beyond the reach of the invading army; and some of their Indian
allies followed the example thus set them by the Exiles; yet others
were not equally careful in calculating future events.
Neither Indians nor negroes had made these towns their general
rendezvous; nor did they expect a decisive battle to occur at that
point; yet they prepared to meet General Jackson, and his army,
in a becoming manner. Most of their forces were collected prior
to the arrival of our troops. I~n making the requisite dispositions
for battle, the Indians were formed in one body, and the negroes
in another each being under their respective chiefs.
General Jackson encountered the allied forces at some little
distance from the Mlickasukie towns, April first. The battle was
of short duration. The Indians soon fled. The Exiles fought
with greater obstinacy. Their fire was so fatal that a reinforcement
was ordered to that part of the field, and the Exiles were driven
from their position, leaving twelve of their number dead upon
In his official report of this battle, General Jackson insisted
that British o~icers ha~d drilled the negroes, and British traders
lead furnished them ammunition. He also reported that he burned
more than three hundred dwellings, and obtained a supply of
provisions and cattle for his army.
The Exiles, generally, retreated to Suwanee, and the Indians
continued to hang around the American army, watching its move-
ments. General Jackson, however, directed his course towards
St. Marks, a Spanish fort, situated on the river of that name,
some fifty miles southwest of Mickasukie Lake.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
The American army reached St. Marks on the seventh of April,
and remained there several days. One of the American vessels
lying in Appalachicola Bay, hoisted British colors, in order to decoy
some Indians who were looking at them from the shore. Two of
the Red Stick band ventured on board; they were said to be
chiefs, and in alliance with the Seminoles. General Jackison
ordered them to be hanged, without trial or ceremony, justifying
the act by charging them with having participated in the massacre
of Lieutenant Scott and his party, during the previous autumn,
apparently unconscious that, by his own orders, two hundred and
seventy people, including innocent children and women, had been
most wantonly and barbarously murdered at the fort on Appa-
lachicola, and that Lieutenant Scott and thcirtY men were murdered
in retaliation for that act, according to savage warfare. He appears
to have felt it due to offended justice, that these men should die
for being suspected of participating in that act of retaliation. I[n
all these cases, the most assiduous efforts were exerted to misrep-
resent the real state of facts.
The time occupied in the approach and capture of Fort St.
Marks, gave to the Exiles and Indians full opportunity to concen-
Strate their forces at Suwanee. It constituted the most populous
Settlement of the Exiles, after the destruction of that upon the
SAppalachicola. It was regarded as their stronghold. Surrounded
by swamps, it was approached only through narrow defiles, which
rendered it difficult for an army to reach it. H3ere many of the
Exiles had been born and reared to manhood. Here were their
homes, their firesides. Here their chief, Nero, resided; and here
they concentrated their whole force. They had removed their
women and children, their provisions and cattle, to places of safety,
and coolly awaited the approach of General Jackson's army.'
Scouting parties were, however, sent out to barrass his advance
guard, and delay his approach, and render it more dillicult; but,
(1) Monette says Arbuthnot sent word to the Negroes and Indians, notifying them of the
approach of General Jackson; but the official report of that Of8eer abows that his ad-
vanceo guard was daily engaged in skirmishing with the Indians.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
notwithstanding these obstacles, the army steadily advanced, and
on the nineteenth of April reached the Old Town of "Suwanee,"
and found the allied forces in order of battle, prepared to contest
the field. The Indians were again formed on the right, and the
Exiles constituted the left wing, bringing them in confict with the
right wing of General Jackson's forces.
WVith the Exiles, there was no alternative other than war or
slavery; and tey greatly preferred death uonhebtl il, to
chilliilfilififTHEys ell suppose they would fiht
wi some dereof desperation, under such circumstances; and
the battle of Suwanee gave evidence of their devotion to freedom.
They met the disciplined troops, who constituted General Jarckson's
army, with firmness and gallantry.' At the commencement, their
fire was so fatal that the right wing of the American army faltered,
and ceasing to advance, gave signs of falling back. But the left
wing, opposed to the! Indians, made a successful charge ; the Indlians
gave way, and the reserve was suddenly brought into action to
sustain the right wing, when a general charge was ordered, and the
Exiles were compelled to fall back."
General Jackson, in his official report of this battle, refers to
the desperation with which the negroes fought, and says they left
many dead upon the field, but does not mention their number. He
entered the town and set fire to the buildings, and burned all the
villages in the vicinity. He also captured some three hundred
Indian women and children, while those belonging to the Exiles
(1) Vide General Jackson's Of~cial Report of this battle, Ez. Doc. 1715, 2d Bession XLVth
(2) Williams. in his Hiistory of Florida, states that three hundred and forty Negroes again
rallied after the Airst retreat, and fought their pursuers, until eighty of their number, were
killed on the field. Monette also states the same fact; but General Jalckson, in all his
Reports, evidently avoided, as far as possible, any notice of the Exiles, as a people. Indeed
such was the policy of the Administration, and of its of~eers, and of all slaveholders.
They then supposed, as they now do, that slavery must depend upon the supposed Igno-
rance and stupidity of the colored people; and sca~rcely an instance can be found, where
slaveholder admits the slave to possess human intelligence or human feeling; indeed,
to teach a slave to read the Scriptures, is regarded as an otfense, in nearly every alave
State, and punishable by line and imprisonment.
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
had been carefully removed beyond the reach of the American
army. This superior caution and provide~nt care appears to mark
the character of the Exiles in all their conduct; while the Indians
appear to have practised none of these precautions.
But the allied forces, defeated, and their warriors scattered in
various directions, were pursued by Mc~ntosh and his Creek war-
riors, who had accompanied General Jackson, until fearing the
Seminoles might rally in force against them, they returned and
again united with the American army.
This battle substantially closed the war of 1818. It had been
commenced for the destruction of the Exiles; they had shared in
its dangers, and by their energy and boldness, had given intensity
to its conflicts. From the time they united in the expedition for
the destruction of Lieutenant Scott and his party, in November,
1817, until the close of the battle of Suwanee, they had been
active participants in every skirmish, and had uniformly displayed
great firmness; bearing testimony to the truth of those historians
who have awarded to the African race the merit of great physical
---General Jackson appears to have spoken as little of the Exiles
as duty would permit, when communicating with the Secretary of
War; yet he was more free to complain of them in his correspond-
ence with the Governor of Pensacola. In a letter to that officer,
dated a few days after the battle of Suwanee, he says: Negroes
"' who Ihavze fled from their masters, citizens of the United States,
" have raised the tomahawk~, and, in the character of savage war-
' fare, have spared neither age nor sex. Helpoless women have
" been massacred, and the cradle crimsoned wi'th blood."
We can, at this day, scarcely believe that this eloquent descrip-
tion of savage barbarity was from the pen of a man whose order for
the massacre of defenseless women and children, at the F~ort on
Appalachicola, bore date less than two years before writing this
letter; nor can we readily comprehend the effronteryr of him who
thus attempted to justify the invasion of Florida, by reference to
THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
acts done by the Exiles 10ng after the army under his command
had enterc~ta ertr n comitted the most atrocious out-
rages ver nerne~ttprat hy rivlivertl men upDon an unoffending people.
After the battle of Suwance, General Jackson returned to St.
Marks, being unable to follow the Indians and Exiles into the more
southern portions of Fllorida. While at St. Marks, he ordered a
court:-martial, constitution General Gaines president, in order to try
Arlbuthnot and Ambrister. The history of their trial and execution
is familiar to the reader. The first and principal charge against
Amb~rister was, that he excited the negroes and Indians to commit
mur~der upon the people of the United States; the second charge
was for supply-ing them with arms. On these charges he was con-
victed and executedl. It was also alleged, that he was present at \
the battle of Suwance; and some writers say he commanded the
Exiles on that occasion, and had previously taught them military
In Ma3y, General Jackson issued an Aiddress to his troops, de-
claringr the war at an end; and wrote the Executive, asking permis-
sion to retire to his home in Nashville, there being no further use
for his services in the field.
The E~xiles now returned to their homes. They had full leisure
to contemplate their situation. Many of their best men had fallen.
Nearly the entire population residing upon the Appalachicola River
had been massacred. Their villages at M~ickasukie and Suwanee
had been burned; and it is probable that nearly one half of their
entire population had been sacrificed, in this first war wanged by the
United States for thle murder and recapture of fugitive slaves.
The invasion of Floridat by General Jacklson was condemned by
many public men, and was approved by others with equal ability.
Even the then Secretary of State, JTohn Quincy Adams, in his
correspondence with Don Onis, the Spanish Mlinister, defended the
invasion with great ability. But in the discussions of this subject,
we find no allusion to the massacre at Blount's Fort; "' that
(1) Yarious names have been given this Fort. The author, having heretofore adopted
5i6 THE EXILES OF FLORIDA.
appears to have been regarded as a subject of too delicate a nature
for public .scrutiny. In the alcoves of our National Library, we
fmnd many volumes of documents touching this war, embracing some
thousands of pages, in which there is the strongest censure express-
ed against the Seminoles for provoking the war, and condemnation
for the barbarous manner in which they conducted it; but we
search them in vain to find any condemnation, by American states-
men, of the object for which the war was commenced, or the un-
provoked and worse than savage massacre which marked its
that of Blonnt's Fort," prefers to continue that name. It was equallly known, however,
as the "Negro Fort," rad as "Port Nichols."