• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Cover
 Title Page
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Florida's quadricentennial
 Editorial preface
 Introduction
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Book I: The parting of the...
 Book II: The civil war
 Book III: Political reconstruc...
 Book IV: Republican rule
 Bibliographical note
 Index














Group Title: Quadricentennial edition of the Floridiana facsimile & reprint series
Title: The Civil war and Reconstruction in Florida
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00103077/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Civil war and Reconstruction in Florida
Series Title: Quadricentennial edition of the Floridiana facsimile & reprint series
Physical Description: xlv, xxvi, 747, 20 p. : col. coat of arms, ports. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Davis, William Watson, 1884-1960
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Gainesville
 Subjects
Subject: Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Reconstrucción -- Florida
History -- Florida -- Civil War, 1861-1865   ( lcsh )
Politics and government -- Florida -- 1865-1950   ( lcsh )
Política y gobierno -- Florida -- 1865
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: A facsim. reproduction of the 1913 ed. with introd. by Fletcher M. Green.
Bibliography: Bibliographical references included in "Notes" (p. xliv-xlv) Bibliography: p. 739-747.
General Note: Reproduced from Studies in history, economics, and public law, vol. 53, whole no. 131.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00103077
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 02937673
lccn - 64019157

Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Front Matter
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Frontispiece
        Page vi
    Florida's quadricentennial
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Editorial preface
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Introduction
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
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        Page xxiv
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        Page xxvi
        Page xxvii
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        Page xxix
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        Page xliv
        Page xlv
        Page xlvi
    Title Page
        Page A-iii
        Page A-iv
    Dedication
        Page A-v
        Page A-vi
    Preface
        Page A-vii
        Page A-viii
        Page A-ix
        Page A-x
    Table of Contents
        Page A-xi
        Page A-xii
        Page A-xiii
        Page A-xiv
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    Book I: The parting of the ways
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
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    Book II: The civil war
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    Book III: Political reconstruction
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    Book IV: Republican rule
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    Bibliographical note
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    Index
        Index 1
        Index 2
        Index 3
        Index 4
        Index 5
        Index 6
        Index 7
        Index 8
        Index 9
        Index 10
        Index 11
        Index 12
        Index 13
        Index 14
        Index 15
        Index 16
        Index 17
        Index 18
        Index 19
        Index 20
Full Text















THE CIVIL WAR AND
RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA










FARRIS BRYANT )
Governor
of the
State of Florida

1961- 1965






Carl Sandburg has said: "Books say Yes to life. Or they
say No." The twelve volumes commemorating the Quadri-
centennial of Florida say Yes. They unfold a story so ad-
venturous 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 knowledge and abiding under-
standing. 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 heritage the pat-
tern of energy and dedication that will spur us to face the
challenges of today and tomorrow with confidence.
I am grateful for the privilege of sharing these volumes
with you.











THE CIVIL WAR AND

RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA




BY
WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, American History
University of Kansas
Sometime University Fellow in American History
Columbia University








A FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION
of the 1913 EDITION
with
INTRODUCTION
by FLETCHER M. GREEN


QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
of the
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE &- REPRINT SERIES



University of Florida Press
GAINESVILLE, 1964































QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
of the
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE & REPRINT SERIES









FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION

of the 1913 EDITION

WITH PREFATORY MATERIAL, INTRODUCTION

&- NEW INDEX ADDED

Published with assistance from the
State of Florida Library & Historical Commission

NEW MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1964
BY THE
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF
STATE INSTITUTIONS OF FLORIDA

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 64-19157



LITHOPRINTED BY DOUGLAS PRINTING COMPANY, INC.
BOUND BY UNIVERSAL-DIXIE BINDERY, INC.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA





























THE CABINET

FARRIS BRYANT
Governor
TOM ADAMS JAMES W. KYNES
Secretary of State Attorney General
RAY E. GREEN J. EDWIN LARSON
State Comptroller State Treasurer
DOYLE E. CONNER THOMAS D. BAILEY
Commissioner of Agriculture Superintendent of Public Instruction


THE BOARD OF CONTROL


BAYA M. HARRISON, JR.
Chairman
St. Petersburg
CHARLES R. FORMAN, D.V.M.
Ft. Lauderdale
WAYNE C. MCCALL, D.D.S.
Ocala
JAMES LAWRENCE KING
Miami


GERT H. W. SCHMIDT
Vice Chairman
Jacksonville
JOHN C. PACE
Pensacola
CHESTER E. WHITTLE
Orlando
J. B. CULPEPPER
Executive Director, Tallahassee













THE QUADRICENTENNIAL EDITION
of the
FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE & 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 WAR 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 A. Martin.
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 K. Mahon.
PEDRO MENENDEZ de AVILES by Gonzalo Solis de Meras. 1567. (The
Florida State Historical Society edition, edited and translated by
Jeannette Thurber Connor.) Edited by Lyle N. McAlister.
THE PURCHASE OF FLORIDA by Hubert Bruce Fuller. 1906. Edited by
Weymouth T. Jordan.
SKETCHES, HISTORICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL, OF THE FLORIDAS
by James Grant Forbes. 1821. Edited by James W. Covington.
THE WHOLE 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 Mullets
and Saltier of the Confederacy depicts the four-hundred-
year cultural heritage of our Florida of today.































The Florida Quadricentennial Commission acknowledges its deepest gratitude to
Chase D. Sheddan, distinguished scholar, and A. Vernon
Coale, noted Heraldic Artist, for their conception and
portrayal of the official Florida Quadricentennial Coat-
of-Arms.






























































.-,



.,_ ..Q~~t~
- -,, .

... ..
. . .
... - .
.~~~ 99 L ..s~~P ~~,1












.'. .. ,- ,_






FLORIDA'S QUADRICENTENNIAL


LORIDA enjoys a unique position among
the fifty states of the Union. Her city of
St. Augustine antedates Jamestown, the
second 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 populous states of
the nation. Since 1950 she has passed Massachusetts in
population and is challenging New Jersey for eighth place.
Within the South only Texas with more than four and one-
half times the area of Florida has a larger population.
Neither number nor age is necessarily a distinction, 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 vigor.
In 1860 eleven states of the Union had a million or more
inhabitants, 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 commonwealths; today
she is ninth in population among the fifty states. In con-
trast 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 surge, Floridians
are also proud of their four-hundred-year-old origin. In
1957 the Florida Quadricentennial Commission was estab-
lished. With the approval of its members local organizations
have celebrated the quadricentennials of several historic
events. The attempt of Tristan de Luna to found a colony






viii Florida's Quadricentennial
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 Quadricentennial
of Jean Ribault'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, Rene
de Laudonniere, brought the first Protestant colonists to an
area within the present-day United States. These and other
quadricentennial celebrations will culminate in 1965 with
state, national, and international observance of the founding
of St. Augustine.
There are many ways to celebrate quadricentennials -
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
buildings, will remain for our descendants to see and feel.
More enduring than any of these are ideas. For this reason
the Governor, the Cabinet, and the Florida Quadricentennial
Commission gave priority to the reprinting of rare and
valuable books relating to Florida. These reproductions
will endure. They will enable many Americans to share in
the state's past, and will provide source material for the
historian.
Until recently few authors or publishers were interested
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 Quadri-
centennial 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 Florida's his-










Florida's Quadricentennial


tory-the French and Spanish settlements, the War of 1812,
the purchase by the United States, the Seminole War, the
Civil Wqr and Reconstruction, and the modern period. In
addition to textual reproductions, these facsimile editions
contain introductions by businessmen, journalists, and pro-
fessors. 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 past.

The Florida Quadricentennial Commission



THE COMMISSION
FRED H. KENT, Chairman-Jacksonville
DOYLE E. CARLTON, SR.-Tampa
WILSON CARRAWAY-Tallahassee
JEAN ANN CONE-Tampa
CLARENCE M. GAY-Orlando
HAROLD W. GOFORTH-Ocala
HERBERT GRAY-Tampa
JOHN MARSHALL GREEN-Ocala
KATHRYN ABBEY HANNA-Winter Park
MALLORY HORNE-Tallahassee
CHARLES H. OVERMAN-Pensacola
JOHN D. PENNEKAMP-Miami
JOHN FITE ROBERTSON-Sarasota
GERT H. W. SCHMIDT-Jacksonville
H. E. WOLFE-St. Augustine


ix









EDITORIAL PREFACE


GENERAL histories of the United States have few refer-
ces to Florida during the Civil War and Reconstruction
eras. Reason, instead of prejudice, accounts for this neglect
of what in 1964 is one of the ten most populous states of the
nation. When she seceded in January, 1861, Florida was in
her sixteenth year as a member of the Union. She not only
became the least populous member of the Confederate
States of America but the number of her residents was less
than one third that of Arkansas, tenth in population among
the eleven states of the Confederacy. No major battles were
fought on Florida's soil and until her meat, fish, sugar, and
salt became important to the Confederacy in 1864, she was
considered relatively unimportant by civil and military of-
ficials in Richmond. p
Despite an almost' 00 per cent increase in population
from 1860 to 1880, Florida's 269,493 people of 1880 were
insufficient in number to command national attention.
Therefore, congressmen and northern newspaper editors
expressed little concern about the recalcitrant attitude of
white Floridians after 1865. Their praise of the discredited
institution of slavery, their rigorous Black Code, and their
reliance on lawlessness to keep Negroes in subjection went
almost unnoticed. Late in 1876 and early in the following
year the national spotlight was focused on Florida. Any one
of the state's four electoral votes would have won the dis-
puted election for Samuel J. Tilden; but after Rutherford
B. Hayes was inaugurated as President, Florida was again
neglected.
The unimportance of the state about which he wrote may
explain why national historians have almost ignored Wil-
liam Watson Davis' monumental study of Florida. One of
the most meritorious of the William Archibald Dunning











EDITORIAL PREFACE


scholars, Davis penned a thick volume whose contents de-
scribed the antebellum state and detailed the important
events and personalities from secession until conservative
white politicians won control in 1877. Although revisionist
historians discredit the Dunning students because of their
extreme bias, Professor Green finds much that is commend-
able in Davis' work. According to Dr. Green, the author of
The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida had some of
the prejudices attributed to the Dunning School of interpre-
tation, but a fair evaluation of his book clears him of most
of the charges of the revisionists. And after fifty years
Davis' study is still the standard work on Florida during
the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Keenan Professor of History at the University of North
Carolina, Fletcher M. Green is a past president of the
Southern Historical Association and the Mississippi Valley
Historical Association. No one is more qualified to evaluate
the work of Watson Davis. Among the hundreds of students
who have written theses and dissertations under the direc-
tion of Dr. Green are a considerable number who investi-
gated Florida subjects and found him familiar with the
state's history.
The University of Florida Press is indebted to the Webb
Memorial Library of St. Augustine for its generous loan of
a copy of Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida for fac-
simile reproduction. It is also grateful to the State of Flor-
ida Library and Historical Commission for a timely grant
to assist publication and to defray the costs of preparing a
new index.
REMBERT W. PATRICK
University of Florida General Editor of the
May, 1964 FLORIDIANA SERIES


xii










INTRODUCTION


WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS
WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS, author of The Civil War and
Reconstruction in Florida, was born in Pensacola, Florida,
February 12, 1884. His great-grandfather was the famous
Matthew Livingston Davis of New York City. Journalist,
businessman, politician, close friend and second to Aaron
Burr in his fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton, Matthew
Davis won an unsavory reputation when, as Grand Sachem
of Tammany Society, he was accused of fraud in municipal
contracts. He was found guilty but was finally exonerated
in a second trial in the New York City Court. Davis en-
gaged in a profitable trade with South America, was New
York correspondent of the London Times, and wrote a life
of Burr, who had left his papers in Davis' possession.1 Mat-
thew Davis' son, John Eayres Davis, upon reaching major-
ity, decided to seek his fortune in the South and moved to
Georgia. He settled near Columbus and became a successful
cotton planter and factor. He married Sarah Caroline
Cropp, daughter of a South Carolina cotton planter who
had removed to Alabama some few miles across the Chat-
tahoochee River from Columbus. Loyal to his adopted state
and region, John Davis joined the Confederate Army and
was killed in battle. He left his widow with three daughters
and two sons one of whom was named Matthew Livingston
for his grandfather. The war had dissipated the Davis
wealth, and shortly after its close Mrs. John Eayres Davis--
moved to Pensacola, where she ran a boarding house. Her
son Matthew worked as an office boy for D. F. Sullivan, a
lumberman. After Sullivan married one of Mrs. Davis'
daughters, Matthew became a partner in the Sullivan lum-
ber firm. Matthew Davis married Annie Laurie Lane of







INTRODUCTION


Virginia and to this union were born five children, the eld-
est of whom was christened William Watson Davis. In 1887
Matthew Davis moved to Oak Grove, some fifteen miles
from Mobile, Alabama, where he built a mill dam, a saw
mill, a store, quarters for white and Negro laborers, and de-
veloped a prosperous lumber industry of his own. Mrs.
Davis died when William Watson was twelve years of age.
Watson, as the boy was called, grew to be six feet tall,
roamed the woods and fields around Oak Grove, hunted and
fished, became an expert horseman, knew everybody for
miles around, and absorbed the lore and stories of the Civil
War and Reconstruction years. He attended Wright Mili-
tary Academy in Mobile from which he was graduated at
the age of sixteen. In 1899 he entered Alabama Polytechnic
Institute at Auburn (now Auburn University), where he
was a brilliant student. He studied under Professor George /
Petrie, a distinguished teacher and historian, whose in-
fluence was decisive in crystallizing Davis' early interest in
the Civil War and Reconstruction into a firm determination
to make a professional career in history. In Professor Pet-
rie's "Historical Seminary" Davis was trained in methods
of historical research, introduced to the use and criticism
of secondary and primary source documents, and wrote his-
torical papers and essays which were later published. With
his first-hand knowledge of the lumber industry he wrote a
paper for Professor Petrie on "The Yellow-Pine Lumber
Industry in the South." Stirred by the terrible disaster of
the Galveston flood of 1900 he wrote a paper on that sub-
ject. He also took an active interest in the college debating
society where the students discussed current issues, politi-
cal problems, and historical questions. On one occasion
Davis chose to defend England's position in the conflict
with the Boers of South Africa which at that time was
highly unpopular in Alabama. So well did he plead his case,
Davis won the decision and made for himself a local repu-
tation as an able speaker. He enjoyed the triumph and con-
tinued to develop his talent for speaking, and in his later
professional career he became a public speaker much sought
after by university groups and civic clubs.


xiv









Davis was graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree
in 1903. Professor Petrie was so favorably impressed with
Davis' ability that he offered the young man an assistant-
ship in the Department of History. Davis accepted the ap-
pointment and won his Master of Science degree in history
at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1904. Recommended by
Professor Petrie, Davis applied for and was awarded a
University Fellowship by Columbia University, where he
went to study under the nationally known historian William
Archibald Dunning. He was thus to become one of the
"Dunning School" of Civil War and Reconstruction his-
torians. He greatly admired Professor Dunning, but did not
form the close tie with him that many students did. Davis
worked reasonably hard but took time from his studies to
explore New York City which fascinated him. The city had
many points of interest for a rural Southern boy with
highly developed intellectual interests. Besides, Davis made
the acquaintance of some of his New York relatives for the
first time. After finishing his residence program at the Uni-
versity, Davis went to France, and spent a year at the
Sorbonne. He also read and studied at the Bibliotheque Na-
tionale. The study in France awakened in Davis an interest
in European affairs, and he, with some fellow American
students, decided to establish a journal devoted to news of,
and comments upon, the European political scene, the jour-
nal to be circulated in the United States. Unfortunately for
the venture, his father's lumber mill at Oak Grove was
burned, and the young man was forced by financial con-
ditions to abandon the project and return to the United
States. With Professor Dunning's support Davis secured an
appointment as an assistant professor of history at the Uni-
versity of Kansas in 1912. The next year he won his Doctor
of Philosophy degree from Columbia University and at
Kansas was promoted to the rank of associate professor.
Shortly after going to the University of Kansas, Davis
met Miss Roxana Gage Henderson of Cambridge, Massa-
chusetts, who was visiting friends in Lawrence, Kansas.
They married in 1915 and retained their home in Lawrence
until 1960. They had one son Edward Lane Davis, presently


IN TR ODUCTION


XU







INTRODUCTION


professor of political science at the State University of
Iowa.
When World War I came, Professor Watson Davis, hav-
ing attended a military preparatory school and served as
captain of his military company at Alabama Polytechnic
Institute, participated in the early days of the SATC pro-
gram at the University of Kansas. Desirous of more direct
participation in the war effort, Davis volunteered for serv-
ice with the Red Cross. He was accepted, commissioned, and
ordered to France where he saw duty in the front lines.
After the war he served with the Army of Occupation in
Germany. He had escaped injury during the war but had a
serious bout with influenza in Germany. He was nursed
back to health by the German family with which he was
billeted and long held them in fond remembrance.
Returning to the University of Kansas, Davis was made
professor of history in the 1920's and named chairman of
the Department of History in 1936, a post he held until
1949. He ended his teaching career in 1954. Professor Davis
offered courses in United States, Latin American, and Far
Eastern history. He had a deep interest in diplomatic his-
tory, government, and political science, but his major inter-
est was the Civil War and Reconstruction era. His courses
in this era were very popular. In a poll conducted by the
Alumni Association of the University of Kansas, Davis was
chosen among the top ten professors of the University for
the 'teens, 'twenties, and 'thirties. He was often called upon
to discuss problems in history, politics, and government by
university groups and civic clubs. Davis took a keen interest
in athletics, especially football, and served as a faculty
representative on the University of Kansas Athletic Coun-
cil. He was a member of the Kansas State Historical Asso-
ciation, occasionally read papers to that organization, and
served as a member of its Board of Directors from 1937
until his death in 1960.2
Davis' non-professional interests centered in travel and
the great outdoors-fishing, hunting, and exploring out-of-
the-way places in the South, the Rockies, Canada, and New
England. While on leave of absence from the University of


xvi









Kansas in 1934-1935, he visited the Far East and traveled
in Japan, Korea, and China. On his return he gave numer-
ous public lectures on those countries, and he read a paper,
"Japanese Viewpoints on Far Eastern Problems," before
the Kansas History Teachers Association in 1938. After re-
tirement in 1954 Davis continued to reside in Lawrence
until 1960 when he moved to Iowa City, Iowa, to be with his
son. Professor William Watson Davis died April 5, 1960,
and was buried in the family plot in the church cemetery of
Oak Grove.3
DAVIS' PUBLISHED WRITINGS
Watson Davis was an intelligent and ambitious young
man and early began a publishing career. His association
with Professor Petrie stimulated his desire to write, and,
while a student at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Davis
published three articles in reputable magazines and a his-
torical monograph which was twice reprinted. A brief analy-
sis of Davis' published works, chronologically arranged,
will give an insight into his research interests and some
understanding of his contributions to American historiog-
raphy.

(1) "The Yellow-Pine Lumber Industry in the South," The
American Monthly Review of Reviews: An Inter-
national Magazine, XXIX (New York, April, 1904),
443-50.
Doubtless the fact that his father was a lumberman and
that Davis himself grew up in Oak Grove, the center of his
father's milling industry, where he daily saw the backwoods
whites driving the two- and four-mule, or ox-drawn, log carts
and wagons, and the Negro workmen engaged at the mills
sawing lumber, stimulated this study. After a brief survey
of the major belts of yellow-pine timber of the United
States as they existed in 1904, the author described the
methods by which the timber was cut and the lumber sawed
and marketed in the Southern belt. He emphasized the fail-
ure of the labor unions to organize Southern labor which,
as he analyzed it, consisted of "backwoods whites in the


INTRODUCTION


xvii









logging" and "negroes4 in the manufacturing department."
He was favorably disposed toward organized labor, whereas
public opinion in the South generally was hostile in 1904.
But in discussing the white and Negro laborers he clearly
showed his acceptance of the concept of white supremacy
and Negro inferiority. He declared that the Negroes were
inclined to drift into the towns, to loaf, to shirk their work,
and "were unreliable." And, said he, "negroes as a class
lack the aggressive enterprise of the Caucasian."5 It is sur-
prising that this rural Southern youth expressed strong
support of the conservation of natural resources at a time
when the conservation movement was in its infancy. He de-
plored "the ruthless destruction and waste going on in the
Southern forests" and the "loss of new growth by carelessly
set and uncontrolled fires." He called upon the Southern
lovers of trees and native game to work in conjunction with
the United States Forestry Service to save these resources.
He concludes: "If it succeeds, not only will a great economic
problem be solved, but a thing of beauty [will] be created
for the future sons of our land."6 From whence this youth
derived these ideas one can only surmise, for he cites no
reading on the subject. But we do know that in roaming the
woods around Oak Grove he had seen ample evidence of this
destruction. And, since Alabama Polytechnic Institute was
a land-grant college, his attention had probably been called
to the need of conservation by his professors in history and
agriculture.
(2) "The Monroe Doctrine and Perry's Expedition to Ja-
pan," The Cosmopolitan: A Monthly Illustrated
Magazine, XXXVII (New York, June, 1904), 219-25.
Davis' second publication was inspired by the Russo-
Japanese War, which many Americans considered a threat
to United States interest in China. Davis took the position
that Russia had been a menace to the United States from
the day of its independence. He saw the Monroe Doctrine
stemming directly from the Russian ukase of 1821 by which
Russia proposed to extend her control southward to 510 on
the Pacific coast of North America, and in which she


xviii


IN TR ODUCTION









warned vessels of all nations against trespassing within one
hundred Italian miles of the coast. And he maintained that
the Perry expedition of 1854 was intended by the United
States to draw Japan into her commercial-economic orbit in
her conflict with Russia, particularly in support of United
States interests which had developed with China since the
Cushing Treaty with China in 1844.
(3) "Ante-Bellum Southern Commercial Conventions,"
Transactions of the Alabama Historical Society
1904, V, no. vii (Montgomery, 1906), 153-202.
Ibid., Reprint No. 34 from Transactions (Montgomery,
1906), 153-202.
Ibid., in Studies in Southern and Alabama History,
Papers by Members of the Historical Seminary, Ala-
bama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn. George Petrie,
Ph.D., Professor. Second Series (Montgomery,
1906), 53-102.
This essay was one of the first attempts by a scholar to
evaluate the significance of the commercial conventions held
from 1837 to 1859 on the development of Southern unity.
Davis maintained that the conventions worked for the de-
velopment not only of domestic but also of foreign trade.
The leaders envisioned railroad and canal construction
within the South and railroad connections between the
South and the Pacific Coast, steamship lines from Southern
ports to the Amazon River Valley and to English and con-
tinental European ports, and Southern banking houses in
England and Europe. Moreover Davis emphasized that the
Southern leaders advocated the idea of federal aid to South-
ern railroads and steamship lines. He saw sectional squab-
bles over slavery and the tariff as the basic cause of the
failure of the conventions to accomplish their goals.
(4) "How Galveston Secured Protection Against the Sea,"
The American Monthly Review of Reviews: An In-
ternational Magazine, XXXIII (New York, Febru-
ary, 1906), 200-205.
This is the story of the rebuilding of the city of Galves-


INTRODUCTION


xix









ton, Texas, after the great flood of 1900. Davis' attention
probably was drawn to this disaster because some of his
relatives had moved to Galveston after the Civil War. Davis
recounts the story of the campaign for reform of the city
government, the herculean engineering feat of building the
great sea wall and of raising the city's land surface above
sea level, and of the successful drive for financing the great
undertaking. He praised the new "Commission Form of
City Government" as a significant advance in municipal
government, and concluded that "From the conception of
the idea in the gloom of failure and destruction to the pres-
ent wonderful achievement the keynote has been-Public
Spirit. The people of Galveston, rich and poor, are bearing
the expense of these engineering feats."' The editor of the
London Review of Reviews remarked that "Among many
wonderful chapters of civic romance one of the most re-
markable is that of Galveston as told in the American Re-
view of Reviews by Mr. W. Watson Davis."8
(5) The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida. Volume
LIII of Studies in History, Economics and Public
Law. New York, 1913. Pp. xxvii, 769.
This work will be analyzed, discussed, and evaluated after
an analysis of the criticisms of the Dunning School made by
the Revisionists.
(6) "The Federal Enforcement Acts," Studies in Southern
History and Politics. Inscribed to William Archibald
Dunning, Ph.D., LL.D., Lieber Professor of History
and Political Philosophy in Columbia University, by
His Former Pupils, the Authors. New York, 1914.
Pp. 205-28.
Davis admits that the methods of the Ku Klux Klan were
"notoriously violent and bloody"; that the Southern whites
.kept the Negro from voting by methods with which the
state officials and courts could not cope; that witnesses
feared to give testimony, and grand and petit juries feared
to make presentments or return verdicts adverse to South-
ern whites; and that Southern whites did not deny such


INTRODUCTION


xx







INTRODUCTION


violence. But, said he, "the purpose of the Enforcement
Acts was not to secure the rights of the Negro but to insure
Republican victory at the polls." Implicitly, therefore, he
condoned white lawlessness. Furthermore, said he, by enact-
ing such legislation the national government had "deserted
the principles in political procedure" which had made de-
mocracy as known in the United States a practical and
working system. He concluded that the Acts "did not square
with public consciousness either North or South." Whether
correct or not in his judgment, Davis would, if living today,
observe a great shift in "public consciousness" in regard to
the Negroes' civil rights in the South as well as in the
North. And the hindsight of today would deny categori-
cally the judgment Davis made in 1913.
(7) "Flight Into Oblivion. By A. J. Hanna. A Review,"
Florida Historical Quarterly, XVII (January, 1939),
227-36.
As the record shows, Davis began his publishing career
when only twenty years of age, and in a period of ten years
published three articles in nationally known magazines, one
historical monograph that was twice reprinted, a chapter
in a book whose contributors included several nationally
recognized historians, and a book in the Columbia Uni-
versity Studies that was generally recognized as a signifi-
cant contribution to the historiography of Reconstruction.
But having gotten off to such a flying start, he published
nothing more except one book review. Since Davis' papers
and correspondence are not available to the student, one can
only speculate as to the explanation of the cessation of
Davis' publication at such an early age. Was his devotion
to his family so great that he never found time for research
and writing? We note that he was married one year after
his last publication. Did his experience in World War I have
something to do with the decline in interest? Was it that
Davis derived greater satisfaction from teaching than from
research and writing? Since Davis' major research interest
was in the South, might an explanation be found in the
scarcity of Southern sources in the University of Kansas


xxi









Library? Again, Davis enjoyed public speaking and was
often called upon to address public audiences on problems
of current interest. He was a popular speaker and he might
have found speaking more rewarding than research. All
these and other factors may have been influential, but I
surmise that most important was Davis' love of the great
outdoors and his pleasure in traveling. He himself explained
his failure to attend the national association meetings by
saying that he found a trip to Alabama at Christmas time
more important than going to the meeting. Whatever the
explanation, it is no exaggeration to say that the historical
profession lost something when William Watson Davis
called it quits in 1914 so far as research and publication
were concerned.
THE DUNNING SCHOOL
William Archibald Dunning (1857-1922) was one of the
first to make a scientific and scholarly investigation of the
Reconstruction period in United States history. A product
of John William Burgess' seminar at Columbia University,
Dunning wrote sympathetically of the South. In his first
book, The Constitution of the United States in Civil War
and Reconstruction, 1860-1865 (New York, 1885), he de-
scribed the plans of the Radicals, under the leadership of
Thaddeus Stevens, for punishing the Southern Confeder-
ates as being "passionate fancies of fanatics more extreme
than the Southern fire-eaters who had precipitated the Civil
War." In his Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction
(New York, 1897) he described the administrative and po-
litical process of Reconstruction as "one of the most re-
markable achievements in the history of government," but
he decried the goal of the Reconstruction Acts as "purely
political." His Reconstruction: Political and Economic,
1865-1877 (New York, 1907) was long accepted as the
standard treatment of the period, and it has not yet been
entirely replaced. In this book, Dunning turned to the na-
tional scene, whereas his students directed their attention
largely to the individual Southern states. As Dunning saw
the Reconstruction, the social, economic, and political forces


xxii


INTRODUCTION









that "wrought positively for progress are to be found in the
record, not of the vanquished but of the victorious section."
Furthermore, "In this record there is less that is spectacu-
lar, less that is pathetic, and more that seems inexcusably
sordid than in the record of the South." Running through
the book was the racist view that "The negro had no pride
of race and no aspirations or ideals save to be like the
whites." For this reason, said Dunning, the Negro desired
social equality, mixed schools, and equal entrance into hotels
and theaters.
Professor Dunning attracted a large number of able
students to his seminar on Reconstruction. Many of his stu-
dents, largely from the South, chose under his guidance to
investigate the process of Reconstruction in one of the se-
cession states. Listed- in order of the publication of their
works, they were: Charles Ernest Chadsey, The Struggle
Between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruc-
tion (New York, 1897) ; Edwin Clarence Woolley, The Re-
construction of Georgia (New York, 1901) ; James Wilford
Garner, Reconstruction in Mississippi (New York, 1901);
Walter Lynwood Fleming, Civil War and Reconstruction in
Alabama (New York, 1905); Charles William Ramsdell,
Reconstruction in Texas (New York, 1910) ; William Wat-
son Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida
(New York, 1913) ; Joseph Gregoire deRoulhac Hamilton,
Reconstruction in North Carolina (New York, 1914);,
Clara Mildred Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia (New
York, 1915) ; and Thomas Starling Staples, Reconstruction
in Arkansas (New York, 1923). Chadsey was a native of
Nebraska and Woolley of Illinois, all the others were South-
erners. Thompson and Staples were native Georgians, the
others were natives of the states on which they wrote. As
Woolley's title indicates, he looked upon Reconstruction as
a policy of the federal government on a state; the others
were interested primarily on conditions within the state.
All of the authors save Miss Thompson are deceased. In
addition to the books listed above, we should note that Flem-
ing was the editor of Documentary History of Reconstruc-
tion, (2 vol.; Cleveland, 1906, 1907), and The Sequel of


INTRODUCTION


xxiii









Appomattox (New Haven, 1919). We should include also
Studies in Southern History and Politics. Inscribed to Wil-
liam Archibald Dunning . by His Pupils, the Authors
(New York, 1914). There were contributors to this volume
who did not write a special study on state Reconstruction,
while some who did write special studies did not contribute
essays to the Studies. Dunning and his students, again let
me emphasize largely Southerners, who wrote on Recon-
struction came to be known generally as the "Dunning
School." Several of them established national reputations in
the field of Reconstruction history.
The writings of the Dunning School were generally
favorably received at the time of their publication, and con-
tinued in good repute until about 1940. E. Benjamin Adams
found Dunning, Reconstruction: Political and Economic, of
"extraordinary excellence" in which "the analysis of causes
and situations is keen and correct. Both subjects and men
are treated with eminent fairness and justice." Noting Dun-
ning's sympathy with the South, Adams said: "The book
cordially recognizes the patience, patriotism and, in the
main, wisdom shown by Southern people in the terrible and,
to great extent, needless sufferings through which they
were made to pass."9
Edmund G. Ross, reviewing the first of Dunning's
students' dissertations on Reconstruction, Chadsey, The
Struggle Between President Johnson and Congress over
Reconstruction, pointed out that the author painted the
Radical congressional leaders as strong-willed men who
were able to force unquestioning compliance with their
plans and thus ruled with an absolute despotism that ab-
sorbed for a time not only executive but also judicial powers
in the reorganization of the seceded states. "The winner
[the North] was imperious and too often disdainful and
revengeful." Ross described the author's concluding state-
ment that the record of "the whole period is marked by
blunders and prejudices on both sides; that the spirit of
compromise could find no place in either's plans" as "blunt
but truthful." The judgment was as "complete, fair and in-
telligent ... as is possible in the space devoted to it."1o One


xxiv


IN TR ODUCTION







INTRODUCTION


scholar jointly reviewing Woolley's and Garner's books said
that a reader could infer that one was written by a North-
erner and the other by a Southerner, but that the reader
would have to "concede to both writers the purpose to be
fair." Woolley, said the reviewer, did not "attempt a close
study of Southern conditions and Southern character, but
criticizes freely the motives of the Northern leaders in Re-
construction and the policy they adopted." On the other
hand, Garner was "extremely shy of criticizing the acts of
Congress and does not generalize about the policy," but he
"recounted dispassionately" the "humiliations of his peo-
ple" and "carefully weighed out praise and blame to North-
erners in Mississippi." And "So far as impartiality is
honesty neither [Woolley nor Garner] leaves anything to be
desired.""
William Oscar Scroggs, an economist, said that Fleming
treated Reconstruction "as something more than a political
maneuver, as a process affecting churches, schools, trades,
and professions, as well as politics and civil administration.
The author's sympathies are decidedly with the South, but
the work is free from bitterness or prejudice, and is on the
whole as impartial an account as one can expect from any
writer on this subject."12 Dunning's comparison of Fleming
and Garner is a penetrating one. Fleming, Dunning wrote,
presents "a great mass of social and economic as well as
political facts with a marked Southern bias in their inter-
pretation." Garner "deals chiefly with the legal and political
movements, in a rigidly judicial spirit."13 Ellis Paxon Ober-
holtzer said of Fleming's Sequal of Appomattox: "we have
no higher authority on this theme. . That he is a parti-
san he never tried to conceal, but none can come out of an
investigation of Southern conditions after the war, no mat-
ter how cursory, without a disgust which will be reflected
on the written page. To justify such abominations would
completely condemn one's historical instincts as well as
moral sense.. .."14
Walter Flavius McCaleb found Ramsdell, Reconstruction
in Texas, "extremely temperate" and "judicious." But when
Ramsdell dealt with "the relations between state officials


XXV







xxvi INTRODUCTION
and military commanders . [he] has shown Sheridan's
shortcomings in unmincing words."'1
An anonymous reviewer described Davis, The Civil War
and Reconstruction in Florida, as a narrative of "absorbing
interest" in which the author brought in national politics
and events so that the reader may better comprehend de-
velopments on the state scene. "The author's attitude is
usually that of a dispassionate looker-on, although now and
then he expresses clearcut conclusions. . .""1 William E.
Dodd found Davis' book in "good clear style which reads
well," and "The contentions of the writer are so cogently
presented that the reader is not likely to dissent.""7 To John
H. Russell, Davis' book showed "that the war entailed in fact
a temporary industrial revolution," but he complained that
the author was "guilty of padding" the account in striving
for "literary style.""'
William K. Boyd described Hamilton's Reconstruction in
North Carolina as a well-told story of extravagance and
corruption, the rise and violent action of the Ku Klux Klan,
Governor Holden's use of force, and his impeachment. Boyd
declared that the author's "warm sympathy with the strug-
gle for redemption from radical misrule" left the impres-
sion that he gave the Reconstructionists "no mercy" and "in
some cases" did not give "due consideration to extenuating
circumstances."19
John H. T. McPherson described Thompson's Reconstruc-
tion in Georgia as a "candid and impartial treatment" of
the subject. In her own words Miss Thompson found "the
personnel engaged in the Reconstruction administration" of
Georgia "was not entirely bad, was even quite good in some
members." She also found "the Freedmen's Bureau ... an
important constructive force towards economic adjustment
in the immediate transition from slavery to freedom," al-
though it "was badly mismanaged" and some of its "agents
taught the freedmen to mistrust the whites" so that the
agents might "manipulate the helpless black voters for their
own aggrandizement." The reviewer agreed with Miss
Thompson that "Reconstruction in Georgia meant a wider
democratization of society" for the poor whites as well as







INTRODUCTION xxvii
the Negro.20 Arthur Charles Cole in his review of Recon-
struction in Georgia noted that the author "emphasized the
special contributions which Reconstruction made in political
and social equality and to education in Georgia."21 Cole was
also high in his praise of Studies in Southern History and
Politics, the cooperative work of Dunning's students. He
said "There can be no doubt that they [the authors] have
kept their minds open to the teaching of a sane and scien-
tific brand of history and with their master have rejected
rampant sectional prejudice for a broadminded tolerance,
a temperate sympathy, and a critical understanding."22
Historians generally used the term "Dunning School" to
include Dunning and his Columbia University students
whose major research interest was the Civil War and Re-
construction. Their interpretation of the Reconstruction era
was generally accepted by the historical profession and soon
permeated the school textbooks. It was later popularized by
two journalists, Claude G. Bowers in The Tragic Era: The
Revolution after Lincoln (Boston, 1929) and George Fort
Milton in The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radi-
cals (New York, 1930) and came to be almost universally
accepted by the American people as the correct interpreta-
tion of that period in United States history.
THE REVISIONISTS
Despite the general acceptance of the Dunning School
interpretation, there were, almost from the beginning, a
few scattered voices of dissent. And, since the Dunning
School displayed a strong prejudice against the Negro's role
in Reconstruction, it is not surprising that Negro historians
were among the first to criticize their interpretation. Wil-
liam Edward Burghardt Du Bois, in his article "Recon-
struction and Its Benefits," argued that Reconstruction
brought advance and progress in several areas, including
a great upsurge in Negro education. "This great multitude
rose up simultaneously and asked for intelligence.... There
is no doubt that the thirst of the black man for knowledge
. gave birth to the public free-school system of the
South."23 He also maintained that Reconstruction brought









beneficial economic legislation, and broadened the base of
political democracy in the South. Du Bois' claims were
exaggerated, but there is truth in his position.
John Lynch, a Negro Republican officeholder in Missis-
sippi during Reconstruction, told his story of those years
in Facts of Reconstruction (New York, 1913). In it he ad-
vanced the thesis that Negroes and whites collaborated in
efforts for political reform in that state, but that these ef-
forts were cut short because of the Radical program. A few
years later, the Negro historian Alrutheus Ambush Taylor
wrote three books dealing with the Negro's role in Recon-
struction in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. In
The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction
(Washington, 1925) Taylor took the Dunning School to task
for their treatment of the Negro. "Self-interest," said he,
". .. impelled them to select such facts as would establish
their view"; hence, "their books were practically worthless
in studying and teaching the history of Reconstruction."
Carl Russell Fish in a review of the book said no one could
accept "any such sweeping indictment."24 Taylor renewed
the attack in 1938, charging in "Historians of Reconstruc-
tion" that Dunning's students were "so biased and preju-
diced that they wrote with little regard to dispassionate
presentation of facts" in their effort "to prove the Negro
not capable of participating in government and to justify
the methods of intimidation and fraud used to overturn the
Reconstruction governments." Taylor admitted that Dun-
ning himself had "in the main, written dispassionately" but
insisted that "his writings were greatly influenced by his
students"; hence, Dunning "found occasion to extenuate, if
not to justify, the black codes." Taylor maintained that
Reconstruction was beneficial in that it established equality
of all men before the law, made free public education avail-
able to both races, established a greatly improved judicial
system, and provided the Negro with economic benefits
through labor contracts and land tenure.25 Horace Mann
Bond, Negro historian and educator, directed his attack at
the Dunning School's failure to recognize social and eco-
nomic reforms brought about by Reconstruction. The title


xxviii


IN TR ODUCTION









of his article, "Social and Economic Forces in Alabama
Reconstruction," indicates his approach to the problem.26
And W. E. B. Du Bois in Black Reconstruction: An Essay
Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in
the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-
1880 (New York, 1935) emphasized the accomplishments
of the Negro during Reconstruction, the social, economic,
and political benefits derived therefrom, and what he inter-
prets as Negro-poor-white political alignment. This work
was so highly prejudiced and colored by Marxian philoso-
phy that it failed to gain general acceptance. It was never-
theless an antidote to the Dunning School.
Whether Carl Lotus Becker was correct in "Every Man
His Own Historian," where he developed the idea of sub-
jective emphasis and relativism in judging the past by the
climate of opinion of the present, or as J. B. Black put it,
"every age interprets the record of the past in light of its
own ideas," United States historians were prepared by mid-
twentieth-century to reinterpret the Reconstruction period
in a much more favorable attitude toward the Negro than
that of their predecessors, and to recognize more beneficial
results from Reconstruction; a number of historians
took up their pens to attack the Dunning School interpre-
tation. In fact they conducted a veritable crusade for the
cause. Among others, Francis Butler Simkins,27 Howard
Kennedy Beale,28 T. Harry Williams,29 and John Hope
Franklin30 fired broadsides at the past generation of Recon-
struction historians.
These younger historians differ somewhat in their ap-
proach to Reconstruction historiography and emphasize
different aspects of the Dunning School interpretation, but
they agree on major points, and in fact often repeat each
other. Beale's article was more general in approach and
more comprehensive in scope than that of any of the other
writers. An analysis of his criticisms will, therefore, pro-
vide a general understanding of the views of the new
Revisionist School. Beale surveyed the literature of Re-
construction from its beginning to 1940, criticized and
evaluated its strength and weakness, and suggested new ap-


INTRODUCTION


xxix









preaches to the problem. He maintained that the Dunning
School had exaggerated the "sordid political and economic
motives of the Radicals" and overemphasized the harm done
to the South during Reconstruction. They were prejudiced
against Negroes, carpetbaggers, scalawags, and Republi-
cans and glorified ex-Confederates and Democrats. They
greatly magnified the tax burdens, the size of the Re-
construction debts, the useless expenditures of the Recon-
struction legislatures, and the fraud and corruption of the
Reconstruction state governments. Beale admitted that some
of the Dunning School saw the social and economic implica-
tions of Reconstruction, but he argued that they did not
grasp their significance. Furthermore, they greatly exag-
gerated the control which the Negro exercised in state
governments, and according to Beale they looked at Recon-
struction as a local or regional process and ignored its na-
tional significance.31
Beale noted that modification of Reconstruction histori-
ography had set in, and that a new interpretation was
under way. He declared that younger Southern scholars
were leading the way to a fuller and more accurate under-
standing of Reconstruction. Vernon Lane Wharton had
"presented facts that are revolutionary in their signifi-
cance." Horace Mann Bond "illuminated the role of business
interests" in the Reconstruction of Alabama. Comer Vann
Woodward, in his treatment of the "New Departure Demo-
crats," had "brought understanding to what has been a
veritable 'darkage' in American [political] history." Francis
Butler Simkins and Robert H. Woody "have been unusually
fair minded toward the Negro and the white Reconstruc-
tionists and have shown interest, in social and economic
forces."32 But this was only a beginning. Beale said the
time had come when historians generally should "study the
history of Reconstruction without first assuming, at least
subconsciously, that carpetbaggers and Southern white Re-
publicans were wicked, that Negroes were illiterate incom-
petents, and that the whole white South owed a debt of
gratitude to the restoration of 'White Supremacy.' Beale
sounded a clarion call for further study, new approaches,


INTRODUCTION


XXX









and a sounder and more nearly correct interpretation of
Reconstruction.33 He thus became the spearhead of the new
Revisionist School as opposed to the old Dunning School.
Following Beale's call, the Revisionists have chipped away
at what one of them called "the prejudiced version of Re-
construction laid down around the turn of the century by
Rhodes, Burgess, and Dunning, developed by Fleming and
some of the individual state historians of the period, and
widely popularized, in 1929, by Claude Bowers' zestful work
of imagination, The Tragic Era."34 The Revisionist inter-
pretation has been implemented in hundreds of articles and
scores of monographs, and has been accepted as an article
of faith by many, probably a large majority, of the profes-
sional historians. But in 1959 Bernard A. Weisberger, an
ardent Revisionist, lamented that there was "no synthesis
of this material in a good general history of Reconstruc-
tion." He noted that E. Merton Coulter, "the author of the
only full-sized treatment by an academic historian since
1940," had declared that he felt that "there can be no sensi-
ble departure from the well-known facts of the Reconstruc-
tion program as it was applied to the South. No amount of
revision can explain away the grievous mistakes made in
that abnormal period of American history."35 Weisberger
characterized this statement as an indignant rejection of
the entire notion of revision, and concluded: Coulter's book
"is no contribution to understanding. In point of fact it is
something of a setback."36
Weisberger also was unhappy because many of the text-
books still followed the Dunning School. Among those he
singled out for disapproval were those written by John D.
Hicks, Samuel E. Morison and Henry Steele Commager, and
Robert E. Riegel and David F. Long, but he was especially
severe in his condemnation of "Thomas A. Bailey's The
American Pageant, a highly popular one-volume text."
Quoting and paraphrasing two sentences from the book,
Weisberger concluded, "No doubt this is as stirring for stu-
dents as a showing of The Birth of a Nation but it is not
much more accurate."37
In 1961 a beginning was made to fill the two gaps in the


INTRODUCTION


xxxi







INTRODUCTION


Revisionist interpretation of Reconstruction with the publi-
cation of John Hope Franklin's general treatment of the
problem, Reconstruction After the Civil War (Chicago,
1961), and David Donald's revision of James G. Randall's
well-known textbook, The Civil War and Reconstruction
(Boston, 1937). Franklin treats Reconstruction as a national
rather than a sectional problem, emphasizes the short-
comings of Presidential Reconstruction, explains the cor-
ruption under the Radicals as a national malaise, extols the
virtues of the Radical program, and emphasizes the benefi-
cial social, economic, and political reforms of the period.
He has given extended and favorable coverage to the role
of the Negro. In The Civil War and Reconstruction, second
edition (Boston, 1961), Donald has, as he himself expressed
it, "taken full advantage of the important revisionist work
that has been completed in recent years and . tried to
show Negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags in a fuller and
fairer light." He has given a much fuller treatment to agri-
culture, business, and labor, but ."rejected the economic
interpretation of the Reconstruction period in favor of a
more complex pattern of intergroup rivalries." He explains
the corruption of Reconstruction in the South as a "part of
the whole tawdry age."38 Donald emphasizes the role of the
Negro, champions the carpetbagger and scalawag, and
maintains that Reconstruction brought beneficial results to
the South in the area of social, economic, and political re-
forms. Overall the tone of this edition is much less pro-
Southern than the original one of 1937.
La Wanda Cox and John H. Cox in Politics, Principle,
and Prejudice, '1865-1866: Dilemma of Reconstruction
America (Glencoe, Ill., 1963) have reinterpreted the strug-
gle between President Andrew Johnson and the Radical Re-
publicans in the Revisionist spirit. They have taken a very
favorable view of the Radicals, and under their treatment
Johnson loses some of the stature which he had obtained
with the Dunning School and all of the aura in which
Claude G. Bowers and George Fort Milton clothed him. It
is interesting to note, however, that there are differences
between the Beale, the Cox, and the Eric L. McKitrick (all


xxxii







INTRODUCTION


in the Revisionist School) assessments of Johnson's role in
Reconstruction.
Since the Revisionists were attacking a well-established
and firmly entrenched interpretation of Reconstruction, it
was only natural that they carry the battle to the enemy and
use any and all available weapons. Hence they sometimes
took positions that were vulnerable. They exaggerated the
sins of the Dunning School and magnified the benefits of
Reconstruction and the role of the Negro in bringing those
benefits to fruition. They had a tendency to write in terms
of absolutes, and their tone was often adamant and unyield-
ing. In other words, prejudice and bias are not the exclusive
possessions of the Dunning School. And if the Dunning
School position was too far to the right, the Revisionists
have moved too far to the left. The pendulum with time will
doubtless swing back and come to a position somewhere be-
tween the two schools of thought, but to the left of center.
One thing is certain, there is at present no single account of
Reconstruction that satisfies the two schools.
My own sympathy is with the Revisionists rather than
with the Dunning School. Even so, I would point out what
seem to be fallacies and weaknesses in the Revisionist inter-
pretation. They admit that the Dunning studies are "de-
tailed, thorough, and generally accurate," but condemn them
because they "show hostility to the Negro, the carpetbagger
and the scalawag" and take a regional rather than national
point of view. One would observe that the critic who admits
that he "drew heavily upon the research of the Dunning
School" should go slow in condemning their interpretation
unless he himself had researched the sources on which the
interpretation was made. And since most of the studies are
limited to a single state, they could hardly be other than
state and regional. The Revisionists have muddied the his-
torical waters by including nearly all the writing done on
Reconstruction from 1895 to 1940, and much of it there-
after, in the Dunning School, or the "Dunning Type" as
some of them prefer to call it. Thus we find Revisionists in-
cluding in the Dunning School the writings of men trained
at the Universities of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, North Caro-


xxxiii







INTRODUCTION


lina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And to correct the mis-
interpretation of these "detailed, thorough and generally
accurate" studies, the Revisionists sometimes offer a single
short article published in a local historical journal. These
articles may be excellent (indeed I hope they are for some of
them were written by my former students), but they are
highly specialized and are not broad enough to offset a
book-length study of Reconstruction in a state. And if
"Fleming's distortions [in The Civil War and Reconstruc-
tion] are corrected" in an article of seventeen pages, as the
author of one of the Revisionist books says, the distortions
were evidently neither numerous nor significant. Another
Revisionist was either careless with facts or guilty of grave
distortion when, attempting to establish youthful back-
ground sympathy for a pro-Southern attitude, he named six
authors who, he says, were over twenty-one years of age in
1901. The source he cites shows that one of the six was
born in 1900.
The Revisionists often disagree among themselves in
evaluating the works on Reconstruction. A few examples
will suffice. Weisberger condemns E. Merton Coulter, The
South During Reconstruction, as offering "no contribution
to understanding [Reconstruction]. In point of fact it is
something of a setback"; whereas Franklin says that a
"just treatment of this crowded and chaotic period [Recon-
struction] makes heavy demands upon any writer's scholar-
ship, judgment and literary skill," and concludes: "Mr.
Coulter's book ably meets most of these demands." Franklin
links James W. Patton, Unionism and Reconstruction in
Tennessee (1934), with Simkins and Woody (1932) "Among
the studies that deal with the larger social and economic
picture" of Reconstruction; whereas Donald links Patton's
work with James W. Fertig, Secession and Reconstruction
in Tennessee (1898) as "Dunning-type" works. Both Frank-
lin and Donald praise Allan Nevins, The Emergence of
Modern America, 1865-1878 (1927), for its excellent and
balanced coverage of Reconstruction; Donald places it
among "Three general works [that] stand largely outside
of this historiographical controversy." Nevins cites Flem-


xxxiv









ing's and Garner's studies of Reconstruction as "Among
those of special merit and thoroughness," and those of
Ramsdell, Davis, Hamilton, Thompson, and Staples as "ex-
cellent." Those studies are the basic works of the Dunning
School which Franklin and Donald condemned as unsound
in their treatment of Reconstruction. The wide discrepancy
in the evaluations of the Dunning School writings by the
Revisionists has some bearing on the validity of the latter
School's interpretation of the period. If they cannot agree
on the value of their sources, how can one be confident in
their interpretations? Furthermore, one should note that
the Revisionists make considerable use of the Dunning
School studies and often cite them in support of interpre-
tations in which they agree.
Two major criticisms of the Dunning School are that they
overemphasized the corruption of the Radical state govern-
ments and overlooked beneficial social, economic, and politi-
cal reforms. Actually the two schools of thought are not too
far apart on these issues and the two may be reconciled.
The Dunning School, writing on individual states, found,
exposed, and condemned corruption whenever it existed. It
loomed large in the devastated and poverty-ridden South,
and they treated it as a local problem. The Revisionists ad-
mit, generally frankly and candidly, that corruption existed
in the Southern states, but they try to relate it to the gen-
eral national picture. Carl N. Degler says: "There is no
denying the disreputable character of all too many of the
Radical state governments. Certainly the history of Louisi-
ana, South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama during this pe-
riod provides rather painful examples of what corruption
can be and what government should not be." On the other
hand, he declared that Mississippi "under Radical Republi-
can rule enjoyed a government as administratively honest
as most Democratic ones," and he cites James W. Garner,
Reconstruction in Mississippi, in his support. Georgia too
"showed a marked moderation in her government, a lesser
degree of reconstruction evils, less wanton corruption and
extravagance in public office." And Degler cites C. Mildred
Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia, in support. David


INTRODUCTION


XXXV







INTRODUCTION


Donald admits "There is a great deal of evidence to sub-
stantiate the familiar charges that these Radical govern-
ments in the South were corrupt." Both these Revisionists,
however, relate corruption in the Southern state govern-
ments to corruption in the Northern states and in the fed-
eral government. Degler says: "Though not at all excusing
the Radical frauds, the corrupt climate of the times does
make it clear that the Radical pilferings were little more
than particular instances of a general postwar phenome-
non." In similar vein, Donald writes: "With no attempt to
minimize these frauds, the historian must attempt to put
them in perspective. The entire postwar era, it must be re-
membered, was one of graft and exploitation; no political
party and no section of the country escaped the malign in-
fluence.""39 Both schools then recognize the corruption and
trace it to the abnormal conditions of Reconstruction times,
but the Dunning School studied the individual state prob-
lem, while the Revisionists were concerned with the na-
tional picture. It should be observed, however, that the
stench was no less obnoxious in the South because its cor-
ruption was less than that in the North.
In regard to social and political reforms the Revisionists
have confused the issue by generalizing about the action in
the Southern states as a group; hence they overlook the
variation from state to state. Several of the Dunning studies
recognize that various social, economic, and political re-
forms were incorporated into the state constitutions and
political practices during Reconstruction. This is particu-
larly true of James W. Garner, Reconstruction in Missis-
sippi, C. Mildred Thompson, Reconstruction in Georgia,
William W. Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in
Florida, and William L. Fleming, Civil War and Recon-
struction in Alabama. Garner devotes an entire chapter to
the economic aspects of Reconstruction and another to edu-
cational development. He notes that in 1876 "the public
school system which they [Radical Republicans] had fath-
ered had become firmly established, its efficiency increased,
and its administration made somewhat less expensive."40
Thompson emphasized the work of the Freedmen's Bureau


xxxvi









in education and its constructive role in the economic ad-
justment of the Negro. And she reported that Reconstruc-
tion in Georgia meant a wider democratization of society
for poor whites as well as Negroes. Fleming's work con-
tains a mass of data on social and economic life, and he em-
phasizes that Reconstruction in Alabama was not confined
to politics and government but was concerned with religion,
education, the professions, and trade and industry.
DAVIS AND THE REVISIONISTS
The Revisionists aimed their criticisms at the Dunning
School as a group, and did not check the individual author
against their standards. In fact they practically ignored
William Watson Davis and Civil War and Reconstruction
in Florida. Howard K. Beale does not mention Davis in "On
Rewriting Reconstruction History," nor does Bernard A.
Weisberger in "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Recon-
struction Historiography." John Hope Franklin lists Davis'
book, without comment, in Reconstruction After the Civil
War. David Donald lists Davis' study of Reconstruction
twice in the bibliographical section of Civil War and Re-
construction, 1961 edition; the first reads "On Florida the
standard work is William W. Davis, The Civil War and Re-
construction in Florida," the second, "The Dunning-type
work on Florida is William W. Davis. . ."41 Donald does
not cite Davis in the text, although James G. Randall had
cited it in the first edition (1937) of that work, and de-
scribed it as "The best work on Florida."42 E. Merton
Coulter cites Davis' work a number of times in The South
During Reconstruction, 1865-1877, as does Francis Butler
Simkins in History of the South (third edition, 1963). One
may gather, therefore, that the Revisionists have generally
discarded Davis as unsound, but that historians of the old
school still consider him trustworthy.
Let us test Davis by checking his book against the major
criticisms of the Revisionist School: first the claim that the
Dunning School let race prejudice blind them to the Negro's
role in Reconstruction. Davis certainly made no attempt to
hide his acceptance of the concept of white supremacy and


INTRODUCTION


xxxvii







INTRODUCTION


Negro inferiority. The United States Supreme Court had
long since declared the Civil Rights Acts unconstitutional
and had upheld state laws requiring separation of the races,
and the nation as a whole had accepted and applied the con-
cept of racial inferiority in dealing with racial groups in
newly acquired territory. Within this frame of reference
Davis was able to deal with the Negro sympathetically and
understandingly. He approved the application of antebellum
laws restricting free Negroes to the freedmen in the Black
Code of 1866, but declared that "The negro was in need of
protection when dealing with unscrupulous whites, North-
ern or Southern. He was also in need of some aid in earn-
ing a living under the new regime of freedom."43 Davis
believed the Freedmen's Bureau was founded on a false as-
sumption, namely "that the Southern black unaided would
not obtain justice from the Southern white," and that its
operation was "arbitrary [and] bureaucratic." Neverthe-
less, he praised its work in many fields, including distri-
bution of food to the destitute, maintaining an orphanage,
insane asylum, hospitals and distributing free medicine to
Negroes, aiding Negroes to locate homesteads on federal
lands, instituting written contracts for labor between white
employer and Negro laborer, and in organizing and super-
intending schools for Negroes.44
In another connection Davis noted with satisfaction that
ex-Senator Stephen D. Mallory, J. D. Wolf an ex-Federal
Army officer, and Hayes Satterlee an aged Negro, repre-
senting three social groups-Southern white, Northern
white, and Southern Negro-addressed a mass meeting
and urged amicable cooperation of the races. He later ex-
pressed regret that the movement had failed.
Davis never attempted to hide his belief that Negroes
generally were ill prepared for participation in politics and
government, and he often castigated them for shiftlessness
and venality. But he found some individual Negroes able,
honest, and well prepared, and gave them a full meed of
praise. For instance in discussing the personnel of the Con-
stitutional Convention of 1868 he pointed out that "two or
three [of eighteen Negro members] .. had evil reputations,


xxxviii








INTRODUCTION


and would have done better in jails than in legislative
halls"; but "The most cultured member of the Convention
[composed of eighteen Negroes, sixteen carpetbaggers,
twelve scalawags, and two Conservative Southerners], prob-
ably, was Jonathan Gibbs, a negro." He characterized
Robert Meacham, a mulatto, as "an intelligent though
troublesome man," and William U. Saunders, "a 'Baltimore
negro,' an ex-barber proved to be the most prominent negro
politician in the convention as well as one of the shrewdest
. men there."45
Davis devotes two chapters in his book to lawlessness in
Florida. He admits that most of the offenders were native
whites, and he is forthright in his condemnation of individ-
ual and group action. Southern whites "deliberately de-
termined to get rid of local political [Republican] leaders
and negroes"; their criminal action was "systematic and
organized"; they were guilty of "cold blooded murder and
assassination"; they deliberately killed an upstanding Jew-
ish merchant because he "expressed opinions derogatory to
'white supremacy' "; their whippings were "disgustingly
brutal"; and the "criminal demoralization [among the
Southern whites] . was frightful." Recognizing the evils
inherent in people taking the law into their own hands,
Davis permits his racial prejudice to justify such action.
He_ cowpcudes: "Men formed the habit of defying the law
and resorting to violence to attain their ends. The South-
erner was certainly face to face with negro domination
foisted on him by Federal law. He arose to protect his own
unwritten laws in order that his property, his self-respect,
and his family might not be injured or destroyed. He re-
sorted to physical violence under cover, in one of the most
sinister and interesting contests of modern times. And in
this contest for a very necessary supremacy a foul crime
was committed by white against black. Innocent people suf-
fered. There is no mercy and scant justice in social ad-
justment."46
Turning now to the Revisionist charge that the Dunning
School exaggerated and overemphasized the political cor-
ruption, high taxes, and excessive debts of the Radical Re-


xxxix







INTRODUCTION


publican state governments, we note that Davis devoted
relatively little space to the question of political frauds. In
most cases which he discussed, he concluded that the Con-
servatives had overstated their case, at least they were
unable to prove their charges against the Radicals. For
example, the Conservatives charged fraud in the election of
delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1868. They
had sworn testimony that "crowds of negroes from Ala-
bama" had been brought into Florida and voted, and Gen-
eral George G. Meade admitted that there was "prima facie
evidence . that . the Reconstruction laws" were not
"strictly adhered to." In spite of such evidence, Davis con-
cluded "no good documentary evidence is extant demon-
strating that fraud was resorted to."47 He reached a similar
judgment in the charges of fraud in the state elections of
1868.48 He dismissed the charge that Governor Reed had
knowingly signed illegal bonds, with the statement that "the
trial did not develop any substantial proof of the allega-
tions."49 And he balanced the Conservative claims that the
Radicals resorted to chicanery and extreme execution of
federal law to control the election of 1872 with the state-
ment that the "Conservatives resorted to threats of lawless
violence to keep the negroes from the polls."50 In the election
of 1876 he found both parties tarred with the same corrupt
brush.
Only in the matter of state bonds did Davis find the Radi-
cals guilty as charged. He declared that "the state officials
had either been fools or knaves, or both." "Bribery was open
and shameless," but it was not the certainty of "partisan
politics, but rather the amount and shameless nature in
handling public funds or performing a public trust" that
impressed Davis. Even so he noted that "antebellum quar-
rels between Democrats and Whigs, or even between fac-
tions of the Democratic party, had produced ugly charges
of dishonesty, of a deliberate seeking after monopolistic
control of the state's credit for individual and partisan
ends." And "Some of these charges were based on truth.""'
Such positive pronouncements certainly clear Davis of the
Revisionist charge that blind partisanship prevented the


xl









Dunning School from seeing corruption in the Democratic
ranks.
Discussing the state debt, Davis noted that it had in-
creased under the Radical Republican administration from
$523,856.95 in 1868 to $5,620,809.55 in 1874, nearly 900 per
cent, but he remarked that "a public debt might be a 'public
blessing' and is not in itself necessarily indicative of bad
government." He found that schools had been liberally sup-
ported and that the state prison had been reorganized. On
the other hand he rang the changes on misuse of public
funds. Consequently, the people had not received adequate
returns for the money spent on public roads, buildings, jails,
and railroads, and no colleges, normal schools, or seminaries
had been built. Furthermore there had been much graft and
corruption. Even so, Davis found that the legislature had
passed "many measures [which] were meant honestly and
were wise." These included school laws, regulation of in-
surance companies, and fees of officials which were "cer-
tainly a step toward a sound reform."52 Davis' evaluation
of the Radical fiscal policy was not overly critical, nor did
he overemphasize the problems of finance.
Davis' treatment of carpetbaggers and scalawags differs
in some particulars from the views of the Revisionist
School. Davis found that both terms as used during Recon-
struction were loaded with opprobrium and contempt. He
noted that the Conservative native white Floridian had
little regard for either group. From the first they received
the carpetbaggers somewhat coldly, and they deliberately
ostracized the carpetbaggers after they joined the Negro
in politics. The Conservatives considered the "Yankee car-
petbagger a meddlesome interloper who spread the perni-
cious doctrine of social equality and sought selfish gain in
politics." Davis quotes a personal interview with a Con-
servative who said the carpetbaggers he had known were a
"dirty set-unscrupulous and pandered to the negroes. They
mixed with the blacks on terms of social equality."53 Davis
observed that the Conservatives did not look upon the car-
petbagger as a new neighbor who needed help to get estab-
lished and hoped to find white friends in his new home.


INTRODUCTION


xli







INTRODUCTION


The Florida Conservative detested the scalawag-the na-
tive white Radical Republican-almost as much as he did
the carpetbagger. As one Radical put it: The Conservatives
"make no distinction about men who have joined the Re-
publican party. A Northern man is 'a damn Yankee' who
came here to rule and a Southern man who joined the
Republican party is 'a damn scalawag' and there was no
honesty about him; he was a traitor to his country and to
his race."54 Davis observed that the Conservative looked
upon the scalawag not as an old neighbor who honestly dif-
fered from the Conservative white on political issues, as
Democrats and Whigs had differed before the Civil War,
but as a turncoat, a recreant to his race who sought politi-
cal advancement at any cost.55
Davis himself saw carpetbaggers-he estimated their
maximum number at about three hundred-as divided into
at least two classes. First, there were the "birds of passage"
whom the press characterized as unprincipled selfish North-
erners who ignored the welfare of the state and sought poli-
tical office so they might prey upon the people, after which
they would move on to greener pastures. The second class,
an honest group, some of whom had come to Florida during
the war as army or governmental officials, now sought to
become planters, merchants, or professional men. They
sought primarily neither temporary jobs nor political office
but rather to make homes where business and professional
opportunities were promising. But, said he, "some of these
became as bad as birds of passage."56 Davis recognized
among carpetbag leaders some men of intelligence, educa-
tion, honesty, and strength of character who made real con-
tributions to the state.
Davis also saw at least two groups among the scalawags
-he estimated their number at about two thousand. First
was the majority, "men of no particular reputation-good
or bad-and of mediocre enlightenment.""7 These men came
from the poor whites, small farmers, and laboring men-the
yeoman class-and were largely former Democrats. The
second, a much smaller class, included representatives of the
upper, well-to-do educated class-planters, professional


xlii














men, and political leaders. This group contained both
former Whigs and Democrats.
Davis and the Revisionists do not agree on the character
and distribution of the scalawags. W. E. B. Du Bois says
that some of them were unquestionably self-seeking adven-
turers, renegades, men who "sold themselves for office";
others were poor white trash.58 David Donald maintains
that "In most of the Southern states . these 'scalawags'
come from the planter, mercantile, and industrial classes,"
and that they were almost entirely former Whigs.59 Davis
shows that most of the Florida scalawags came from the
lower and middle class and that their leaders were divided
between former Whigs and Democrats.
There has been no general Revisionist study of Recon-
struction in Florida as there has been of some of the South-
ern states. John Edwin Johns, Florida During the Civil War
(Gainesville, 1963), brings a fresh view to the wartime
problems, but has not greatly modified Davis' interpreta-
tion. Several excellent articles published in the Florida His-
torical Quarterly, some of which have been characterized as
"Revisionist in spirit," have tended to change Davis' inter-
pretation about special points, but they do not materially
alter his general interpretation. One is, therefore, safe in
saying, as did James Garfield Randall in 1937, that William
Watson Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida,
is still the best work on that subject.
FLETCHER M. GREEN
University of North Carolina


INTRODUCTION


xliii








NOTES


1. George Harvey Genzmer, "Matthew Livingston Davis," Dic-
tionary of American Biography, ed. Allen Johnson and Dumas
Malone (22 vols.; New York, 1928-36), V, 138.
2. Kansas Historical Quarterly, VII (Feb., 1938), 223; XXVII
(Spring, 1961), 124.
3. I am deeply indebted to Professor Lane Davis of the State
University of Iowa and to Miss Margaret F. Davis (sister of William
Watson Davis) of "Return," Oak Grove, Mobile, Ala., for much of
the data in this biographical sketch. Miss Margaret F. Davis to
Fletcher M. Green, Feb. 26, 1964; Professor Lane Davis to Fletcher
M. Green, Feb. 28, 1964; letters in possession of the author.
4. Davis followed a practice generally accepted in his day of
lower-casing "Negro."
5. P. 449. 6. P. 450. 7. P. 205.
8. The Review of Reviews (London), XXXIII (1906), 171.
9. American Historical Review, XIII (Jan., 1908), 371-73.
10. AHR, III (Oct., 1897), 159-61.
11. William Garrott Brown, AHR, VII (April, 1902), 582-84.
12. AHR, XI (July, 1906), 943-44.
13. Reconstruction: Political and Economic, p. 353.
14. AHR, XXV (April, 1920), 520.
15. AHR, XVI (Jan., 1911), 368-69.
16. AHR, XIX (Jan., 1914), 404-5.
17. Journal of Political Economy, XXI (Nov., 1913), 871-72.
18. American Political Science Review, VIII (Feb., 1914), 137-38.
19. AHR, XX (July, 1915), 869-71.
20. AHR, XXI (Oct., 1915), 162-64.
21. Mississippi Valley Historical Review, III (June, 1916), 113-15.
22. Ibid., pp. 108-12. 23. AHR, XV (July, 1910), 781-97.
24. AHR, XXX (April, 1925), 653.
25. Journal of Negro History, XXIII (Jan., 1938), 16-34.
26. JNH, XXIII (July, 1938), 290-348.
27. "New Viewpoints of Southern Reconstruction," Journal of
Southern History, V (Feb., 1939), 49-61.
28. "On Rewriting Reconstruction History," AHR, XLV (July,
1940), 807-28.
29. "An Analysis of Some Reconstruction Attitudes," JSH, XII
(Nov., 1946), 469-86.
30. "Whither Reconstruction Historiography?" Journal of Negro
Education, XVII (Fall, 1948), 446-61; "Reconstruction," in Problems
of American History, 2d ed., ed. Richard W. Leopold and Arthur
Stanley Link (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1957), pp. 329-63.
31. P. 808. 32. P. 809. 33. P. 810.
34. Bernard A. Weisberger, "The Dark and Bloody Ground of
Reconstruction Historiography," JSH, XXV (Nov., 1959), 428.
xliv



















35. See Coulter, The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877
(Baton Rouge, La., 1947), p. xi.
36. Weisberger, "Dark and Bloody Ground," p. 434.
37. Ibid., p. 436. 38. Pp. vi-vii.
39. Degler, Out of Our Past: The Forces That Shaped Modern
America (New York, 1959), pp. 226-27; Donald and Randall, Civil
War and Reconstruction, p. 624.
40. P. 370. 41. Pp. 758, 780. 42. P. 867.
43. P. 378.
44. Pp. 380-86. Davis gives about as much credit to the Bureau
for its good work in these and other areas as does Joe M. Richardson,
"An Evaluation of the Freedmen's Bureau in Florida," Florida His-
torical Quarterly, XLI (Jan., 1963), 223-38. See also George R.
Bentley, "The Political Activity of the Freedmen's Bureau in
Florida," FHQ, XXVIII (July, 1949), 28-37.
45. Pp. 494, 496.
46. The closing quotation is taken from p. 586; the italics are
the editor's. For a new treatment of this lawlessness see Ralph L.
Peek, "Lawlessness in Florida, 1868-1871," FHQ, XL (Oct., 1961),
164-85.
47. Pp. 497-98. 48. Pp. 526-27. 49. P. 631.
50. Pp. 526-27. 51. Pp. 663-64. 52. Pp. 679-83.
53. P. 481. 54. P. 609. 55. P. 479.
56. Pp. 476-77. For a Revisionist view of the carpetbagger in
Florida see George Winston Smith, "Carpetbag Imperialism in Flo-
rida, 1862-1868," FHQ, XXVII (Oct., 1948), 99-130; XXVIII (Jan.,
1949), 260-99.
57. P. 494.
58. Black Reconstruction, p. 347.
59. Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 627.


xlv


NOTES







STUDIES IN HISTORY, ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC LAW
EDITED BY THE FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY


Volume LIII


Whole Number 131


THE CIVIL WAR AND

RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA



BY
WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, American History
University of Kansas
Sometime University Fellow in American History
Columbia University


tNew pork
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
LONGMANS, GREEN & CO., AGENTS
LONDON: P. S. KING & SON
1913



































COPYRIGHT, 1913
BY

WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS































TO

MY FATHER

MATTHEW LIVINGSTON DAVIS
OF ALABAMA










PREFACE


BEFORE this monograph on Florida was begun Ameri-
can historians had presented with admirable clearness
and breadth the essential facts and principles involved in
the momentous issues which confronted the nation for
more than a decade after 1861. The field had been fairly
explored. Little that was both broadly significant and
new remained unexploited. The present work is there-
fore something like a small section of a long appendix.
It belongs logically to that body of monographic litera-
ture which usually follows the stimulating analysis of a
period or of an extended institution. The crop of Civil
War and Reconstruction monographs is steadily increas-
ing and today at least exhibits evidences of good inten-
tion and industry on the part of the monographists.
Maybe from these detailed studies a wiser and juster in-
terpretation of the period will be produced for some
later generation, although nothing, not even mono-
graphs, can save a generation from seeking what it de-
sires, which in matters historical seems to be history that
is proven ("authentic" is the word usually heard) and
interesting ("just like a romance" is the phrase)-re-
gardless of the facts in the case. People seem to want
their opinions on past politics ready-made, and there is
a successful effort to supply the small demand. This is
evidently not a phenomenon of our utilitarian age.
Montaigne referred to it more than three centuries ago.
"The middle sort of historians (of which the most are),"
he concluded sadly, "spoil it all; they will chew our
vii







viii PREEACE
meat for us . they pass judgment and consequently
twist history to suit their fancy."
The object of this particular monograph can be suc-
cinctly stated because the object is simple; namely, to
present the course of political events in Florida through
a limited period, to show how national policies affected
local politics there, to supplement in a small way what is
already well known concerning the history of the nation
at large. No facts or conclusions of very broad signifi-
cance are presented here for the first time. No claim is
made to revolutionary, original, or particularly new
explanation of what took place in Florida or out. It is
probably just as well that the striking and original
features of this book are left out, for it is thick enough
as it is-which is a sign of literary youth, I am told.
I undertook the writing of this monograph on the sug-
gestion of Professor William A. Dunning, in whose semi-
nar at Columbia University I was a student when the
suggestion was made to me. The work has slowly
reached completion under the eye of Professor Dunning.
To him I am sincerely grateful for what I believe to be
the best help that a student of the Civil War and Recon-
struction can receive on the subject.
In writing this book I have encountered the diffi-
culties and disappointments incident to historical investi-
gation. I have found surviving testimony very thin on
some subjects. I have found many clear gaps in the
surviving records. The historical material which is
available is in reality scattered and scant. Hence there
are gaps and thin places in this study, These short-
comings can best be appreciated by reading the mono-
graph. It does not become me to point them out. I
have written too much already about the book. "The
author who speaks about his own book," wrote Benja-









min Disraeli, with the insight of one who had many
books but no children to his credit, "is almost as bad as
the mother who talks about her own children."
It has been my object to supplement as much as pos-
sible scientific use of documents by conversations with
some of those men and women who personally experi-
enced the Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida. I
am much indebted to many of them for advice and in-
formation, particularly to Mr. Daniel Brent and the late
Mr. Edward Anderson of Pensacola, to Mr. William
Trimmer of Molino, to Judge P. W. White of Quincy,
to Mrs. Chapman, and Mr. Thomas Barnes of Marianna,
to ex-Governor Bloxham, Judge Hocker, Judge Taylor,
Judge Bernard, Judge Raney and the late Colonel Fred.
L. Robertson of Tallahassee. I have been greatly aided
through advice and documentary material presented by
other friends and acquaintances -younger men and
women than the foregoing. My uncle, Philip Keyes
Yonge of Pensacola, put his valuable library at my dis-
posal. My cousin, Julien C. Yonge of Pensacola, through
his scholarly insight aided me greatly in obtaining his-
torical material. For various helpful suggestions and
kindnesses I am indebted to Mr. and Mrs. William Mil-
ton, Judge Carter, and Mr. Thomas Walker of Marianna,
Mr. F. F. Bingham of Pensacola, Mr. W. L. Cawthon of
De Funiak Springs, Judge Parkhill of Tallahassee, Col-
onel Choate of Tallahassee, Miss Maggie Williams of
Tallahassee and Miss Gamble of Virginia.
In the preparation of the manuscript for the printer I
was faithfully and efficiently aided by Mr. F. W. Charles-
worth, Mr. Earle Moore and Mr. R. E. L. Gunning,
students in the University of Kansas, and by Mr. F. I.
Carter of Lawrence, Kansas.
The proof was read by Professor Dunning, whose sug-


PRE1A CE


ix















PREFACE


gestions and corrections proved invaluable to me. I am
indebted to Professor Edwin R. A. Seligman for his
kindly interest in getting the work into press. In the
revision of the proof my sister, Sarah Caroline Davis,
helped me greatly by her careful, patient work. For
sound criticism and never-failing encouragement I am
deeply indebted to two very dear kinswomen: Mrs.
Malcolm C. Anderson and Miss M. Louise Sullivan of
New York.
Finally I wish to acknowledge the substantial help and
steady encouragement rendered by my father, to whom
this volume is dedicated. He has shown deep interest in
the work in spite of his many pressing business cares. He
has sympathized intelligently with me in those inevitable
difficulties that are apt to come, I am told, to young
writers. He has backed me up consistently from first
to last. His aid made the publication of this history
possible.
WILLIAM WATSON DAVIS.
THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS,
LAWRENCE, KANSAS, December I, 1912.











TABLE OF CONTENTS


BOOK I

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS

CHAPTER I

THE EVOLUTION OF A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH
PAGE
Historical background. Colonial Florida ..................... 3
The civilized population of Spanish Florida .................. 9
The coming of the Americans ............................... 1
The sale of the public land .................................. 13
The beginning of Territorial politics ...................... 15
The rise of the planter class ................. ............... 17
The poor whites ............................ ........... 20
The bank question in Territorial Florida ......................
The Union Bank ..................... ................. 23
" Flush Times "-boom towns .................................. 24
The panic of 1837 ............................................. 25
The defeat in politics of the large planters. Revolt against capi-
talism ........... ...... ..................... ............ 26

CHAPTER II
THE LAST YEARS OF THE ANTE-BELLUM REGIME
The Seminole war and the panic. Depression ................. 3o
Economic development during the fifties ...................... 32
Growing hostility to the North. The political crisis of 1850 .... 35
Southern-rights Democrats of Florida ........................ 36
Sectional animosity ............................... ....... 37
The rise of the Constitutional Union party .................... 38
Florida and the Charleston Convention. The divided Democracy. 39
The campaign of 1860 in Florida ............................ 41
Lawlessness. Evidences of physical coercion ................... 42
The portentous signs of the times ........ ................... 44
The election of I86o in Florida .............................. 45
xi








TABLE OF CONTENTS


PAGE
CHAPTER III

SECESSION
Protest against the election of Lincoln. The call to arms ........ 47
Efforts to stem the tide of secession .......................... 49
Why the people of the South opposed the North ................ 50
The views of Senator Mallory and President Buchanan ......... 51
The number and location of farms and slave-holders in Florida .. 52
Popular opinion throughout Florida. Impending revolution ...... 53
The convening of the Secession Convention, January 3d, 1861 .... 56
Two ways of seceding. The Convention chooses the quicker .... 58
iRadical advice from other states. A commissioner from the Re-
public of South Carolina ..................... .............. 59
Efforts of conservatives to delay action ...................... 61
Passage of the Ordinance of Secession, January Ioth, 1861 ...... 63
Florida "a Nation." Enthusiasm. The question of Northern debts. 65
Completing the process of secession ........................... 67
The spirit of the revolution ................. ................. 68

CHAPTER IV

THE SEIZURE OF FEDERAL PROPERTY AND THE RAISING OF TROOPS
Secession leaders plan to seize Federal fortifications in Florida.. 69
The Federal War Department is informed of the danger ........ 70
The seizure of forts and arsenals by state troops ................ 71
The situation on Pensacola bay: peaceable surrender or hazardous
defense? ............................................... 74
Discord and indecision among Federal officers in West Florida.. 76
Slemmer's move across the channel. Barrancas and McRee aban-
doned ......................... ......................... 77
State militia prepares to seize the navy-yard and forts .......... 79
The surrender of the (Pensacola navy-yard ...................... 81
The conservative course of Wm. Chase. No effort to take Pickens. 83
Executive radicalism in accord with the times ................. 85
The severing of actual administrative and political relations with
the Union ............................. ................ 86
Florida's ante-bellum militia. Militia elections. Reorganization.. 87
The first troops. The origin of Florida's war militia ........... 88
The organization of the Confederate Army. First requisitions .. 90
The arming, mobilizing and maintenance of troops .............. 91
Popular response to the alarm. Troops raised in Florida during
the first year of war ........................................ 94
The Confederate military system absorbs that of the states ...... 95


Xll1








TALLE OF CONTENTS


PAGE
CHAPTER V

THE FORT PICKENS TRUCE
The policy of President Buchanan: constitutional conservatism .. 97
The forts in Florida and South Carolina. Impending war ...... 99
The origin of the Fort Pickens Truce. Buchanan consistent ...... ioo
Fort Pickens at the mercy of state troops ..................... 102
Lincoln and the Fort Pickens Truce. A change of policy ....... 104
The Pickens relief expedition ................................. 105
The mobilization of a Confederate army on Pensacola bay. The
Truce utilized ................ ....... ................. 107
The misdirected orders to break the Truce. Pickens not rein-
forced ....................................................... 1o8
Special despatches through Confederate lines. Pickens rein-
forced ...................... ........................ 1o8
Lincoln's policy of reinforcement known in the Confederate war
department ................ ......... ................ III
Efforts to bribe members of the Pickens garrison .............. 112
The Southern volunteers on Pensacola bay .................... 114
Confederate fortifications and troops. Russell's testimony ...... 117
The interior of Fort Pickens ................................. 12
Continuation of the armed truce in the "Sebastopol of America".. 121
The significance of mobilizing the Army of Pensacola .......... 122


BOOK II

THE CIVIL WAR

CHAPTER VI

THE BEGINNING OF HOSTILITIES IN FLORIDA
The burning of the dry dock and the attack on the Judah ........ 125
Confederate preparations for reprisal ......................... 127
The engagement before dawn on Santa Rosa island ............. 129
The results of the engagement ................................ 132
The first duel of the forts .................................... 133
Results of the bombardment ................................... 135
The development of the conflict. A far-flung frontier .......... 138
The aggressive movement in the West and the depletion of sea-
board armies .......... ......... ................. ...... .. 139
Military weakness in Florida. Causes ......................... 14e
The "One Year Men" and the disbanding of the state militia .... 143


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PAGE
The Confederate war department's defensive policy on the Flor-
ida coast ............................. .................. 144
The transmission of the pressure to Florida. Troops ordered to
Tennessee .............................. ................... 146
Preparations to abandon the seaboard. Public opinion ........... 148

CHAPTER VII

FEDERAL INVASION
The origin of the Federal invasion of East Florida .............. I5
The raid upon Cedar Keys, Gulf railway terminus ............. 51
The sailing of the Florida expedition of invasion from Port Royal. 153
The arrival of the Federal squadron. Flight from Fernandina .. 155
The Federal descent upon Jacksonville and the burnings by Con-
federate irregulars .......................................... 156
The occupation of Jacksonville by Federal troops. Public senti-
m ent there ............................. .................... 157
The peaceful conquest of St. Augustine ........................ 159
The military situation in East Florida. The promising outlook
of Unionists ................. ...................... 16o
The Gulf coast. Garrison duty ............................... 161
The Federal visit at Apalachicola. Awful destitution ............ 162
Pensacola after a year of war. Weeds and desolation .......... 164
Preparations to abandon Pensacola. Destruction of property by
Confederate military ................. ......... .............. 165
Evacuation. The destruction of the navy-yard by Confederate
orders ........ ......... ..................................... 166
The occupation of Pensacola by Federal troops ................. 68
The abandonment of Jacksonville by Federal troops and its reoc-
cupation ................... ...................... 169
The second abandonment of Jacksonville and its reoccupation a
second time ................................................ 171
The third abandonment. The burning of Jacksonville. Vandalism. 173

CHAPTER VIII

ECONOMIC ADJUSTMENT TO THE WAR
The effect of secession on the state constitution .................. 175
Secession measures and war measures .......................... 176
State financial measures to meet the crisis. Bonds and notes .... 177
The depreciation of securities. Efforts to uphold values ....... 179
War-time currency. Recapitulation of conditions in Florida .... 181


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PAGE
Speculation in currency and supplies. Legislative efforts to con-
trol speculation ..................... ..................... 183
Increased public expenditure: state troops, war supplies, Confed-
erate tax, indigent ......................................... 185
The operation and incidence of the Confederate Impressment Act
and Direct Tax Act ....................................... 186
State aid to the indigent and starving families of soldiers ........ 188
Conflict in the enforcement of Confederate and state laws ....... 190
The Yulee sugar case. Conflict between private owner and Con-
federate agent ..................... ......................... 192
The Florida railroad-iron case. Serious controversy over impress-
m ent .................. ................. .. . .......... 193
Public opinion in the railroad-iron case. Conflict between civil
and military authorities ..................................... 194
War-time business. Blockade-running in Florida ............. 96
The evil effects of blockade trade .............................. Ig9f
Did the blockade trade pay? ................................... 201
War-time industry: salt-making in Florida. Confederate and
private works .......................................... 203
The destruction of salt works by the Federal navy .............. 205
Agriculture, industry and state law. Speculation ............... 2o
The overseer and substitute question. Policy of the unwarlike .. 211
Exemptions from military service. Bonded agriculturists ...... 213
A synthetic view of war-time economy in Florida ............... 215

CHAPTER IX

THE NEGRO AND THE WAR

Black faithfulness and the commendation of one-time slaveholders. 218
The patrol laws of i860. Stricter control of the blacks. Fear .... 220
The negro as a vital economic factor. Overseers ................ 221
The impressment of ,slaves for the Confederate Army .......... 223
Negro recruits from Florida in the Federal Army. The Corps
d'Afrique" ....................................... ...... 224
The question of black troops for the Confederate service ........ 225
The Confederate congress provides for negro recruitment. Flor-
ida's quota ............................. ............. 226
Black invaders. Fear of servile insurrection .................. 228
The invasion of East Florida by Higginson's negro brigade ...... 230.
Raiding by negro troops .................................. 232
The negro's efficiency as a soldier in Florida ................... 234
Social experimentation. Negro schools within Federal lines ..... 235


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PAGE
Political experimentation. Negro political meetings and patriotic
parades ................................................... 236
The legal status of the negro in Florida within Federal lines .... 238
Early efforts to emancipate by military order. Hunter, Morgan
and Terry ............................................... 240
Emancipation by military order at Key West ................... 24

CHAPTER X

INTERNAL OPPOSITION TO THE CONFEDERACY: UNIONISTS AND DESERTERS
The term Union Man." Northern traditions .................. 243
Native Southern Unionists. Approximate number of Union sym-
pathizers in Florida .......................................... 245
Union sentiment in Key West. Military coercion .............. 247
Sequestration and confiscation ................................. 249
The rise of the Unionist politicians. Protest against the Confed-
eracy ................................................. 250
Co-operation of the military with East Florida reorganizers .... 251
The abandonment of Jacksonville and the flight of Union men .... 252
The National Administration takes a hand in East Florida poli-
tics. Disaster .......................................... 254
The plan of Eli Thayer: economic reconstruction in Florida .... 255
Efforts to suppress Union sentiment. Confederate irregulars. A
reign of terror .............................................. 257
The deserter and conscript question. Organization among those
disloyal to the Confederacy ................................. 258
The serious aggression of deserters and bandits. Efforts to sup-
press them ........ ......................................... 2 9
The epistle of Strickland and the "Florida Royals" in the "United
States of Taylor" ......................................... 262
The policy of the Confederate Government toward Deserters in
Florida .............................................. 263
The causes of desertion. Gov. Milton's opinion. Conscription and
poverty ............................................... 264
Recapitulation. The problem for the state created by Union men
and deserters ......................................... ... 26

CHAPTER XI

THE OLUSTEE CAMPAIGN
The failure of the Confederates' food supply. The importance
of Florida .............................. ... .......... 268
Maj. White's circular encourages Federal invasion for plunder .. 27o


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PAGE
Political motives. Lincoln's reconstruction policy. Stickney's in-
trigues ...................................................... 272
The invasion of Florida suggested. Political demonstrations .... 274
Military and naval preparation for the invasion of Florida ...... 276
The arrival of the Federal army. Florida open to invasion ...... 277
The Henry raid. The interior penetrated for fifty miles. Desti-
tution and destruction ................................ 277
The cautious movement of the main Federal army. Confederate
outlook ......... ......................... ................... 280
Confederate preparations at Olustee. Federal forward movement. 282
The morning march to the fatal battlefield .......... ........ 286
The opening of the battle of Olustee. Confederate troops advance. 287
Deployment under fire. The Federal column crushed ............ 288
The defeat. iRapid retreat of the Federal army toward Jackson-
ville ...................... ............................. 29
The battle of Olustee checks political plans. Northern press
opinion ..... ......................... ................. 293
The result of the Olustee campaign. Cabinet opinion ........... 294

CHAPTER XII

THE LAST YEAR'S FIGHTING

The Confederate defenses in Northwest Florida ................ 296
The closing phase of the war ..... .......................... 297
The war in East Florida. Skirmishers and torpedoes on the St.
Johns ................................... ....... ............ 29
Raids into South Florida. Smyrna and Tampa ................ 300
Fighting on the St. Johns. The Columbine" and Dickison ..... 301/
Federal raiding expeditions from Jacksonville. Burning and plun-
dering ......................... .......................... 303
Central and West Florida. Asboth at Barrancas. Neighborhood
skirmishing ............................ ................... 307
Efforts to penetrate the interior. Cedar Keys raids. The Mari-
anna tragedy .................. ......... ............ 309
Raiding and skirmishing in West Florida. Dickison at Station
No. 4 ........ ..................................... ........ 312
The struggle at Natural Bridge, 1865. Defeat of the invaders .... 314


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PAGE
BOOK III

POLITICAL RECONSTRUCTION

CHAPTER XIII

THE END OF THE WAR
The end of the South's struggle for independence. The cost .... 319
Florida's part in the struggle ................................. 322
The official surrender of General Jones (C. S. A.) to General
McCook ..................... ............... . ..... 325
The restraints of law removed. Demoralization ............... 329
The Federal military supplants the civil authority .............. 331
The state government abolished by military orders .............. 332
Federal policy toward political leaders ......................... 334
Arbitrary restraints on free speech. Obstreperous pastors ...... 336
Federal garrisons. Negro soldiers take the place of white soldiers. 337
The Federal military attempts to protect the negro's interests .... 339
The negroes test their freedom ............................... 341
The Tribune's summary of conditions in Florida ............... 344

CHAPTER XIV
POLITICAL REORGANIZATION
The new period. Retrospect and prejudice ..................... 346
The central theme of Reconstruction ......................... 349
Judge Chase and Federal patronage in Florida .................. 350
Reed's letter to Blair ........................ ............ ..... 351
The provisional governorship ................................... 353
The appointment of Judge Marvin provisional governor of Florida. 354
The policy of Marvin, provisional governor ..................... 357
The governor calls a convention ................................ 359
The election of delegates to a convention. Ex-Confederates control. 360
Critical questions: The war-debt and the civil status of the negro. 361
The extent and character of the convention's work .............. 364
The further progress of civil reorganization. Opposition to Con-
gress .......................... .. ....... ............ 365
Conservative opinions on the temper of Florida ................. 367
Tranquility in Florida. The press and Confederate veterans .... 368
Disturbing factors, social and political ......................... 370
Evidences of economic recuperation. Business picks up ........ 372
The appearance of secret organization among the negroes ....... 374
The conservative Southern white and negro secret societies .... 375








TABLE OF CONTENTS


PAGB
CHAPTER XV

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU AND PUBLIC OPINION

The object of the Bureau and its establishment in Florida ....... 377
The local organization of the Bureau .......................... 378
The restoration of abandoned and confiscated property ......... 380
The scope of the Bureau ...................................... 382
Charitable assistance. Food and medical attention .............. 383
The establishment of free schools for negroes ................. 385
State and Federal negro schools ............................... 387
Northern and Southern opinion on negro education .............. 389
The Freedman's Savings-Bank in Florida ...................... 390
The supervision of written labor contracts by the Bureau ........ 393
The working out of the contract system ......................... 395
The judgment of the native whites: Conservative opinion ...... 398
The Southern planter's judgment .............................. 399
The professed policy of the Bureau and its political tendency .... 400
Conflict of prejudices .......................................... 4 2
Evidences of graft in Bureau administration ................... 403
The clash of authority between the Freedmen's Bureau and local
governm ent ............................ ...................... 405
The fundamental reasons for condemnation of the Bureau by Con-
servatives ............... ............................ 407

CHAPTER XVI

THE PROBLEM OF CONSERVATIVE RULE

The task before the Conservative state government ............. 408
The looming up of negro suffrage as an issue ........... .....
The origin and necessity of the Black Codes .................... x
The "Free Negro" in Florida under the old regime ............ 413
The proposal of different laws for different races ............... 415
The enactment of the Black Code ............................. 417
The object of the Black Code ................................. 421
The effect of the Black Code .................................. 422
The spirit of Conservative legislation on the race question, 1865-6. 424
Evidences of social disorder ................................... 426
Congressional condemnation of the Florida government ......... 428
The supremacy of military authority .......................... 430
The Federal Civil Rights Act and its effect in Florida .......... 432
Preliminary organization of Radical and Conservative ........... 433
The unanimous repudiation of the proposed I4th Amendment .... 435


xix










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PAGE
CHAPTER XVII

THE BEGINNING OF RADICAL RECONSTRUCTION

The political object of Radicals in reconstructing Southern gov-
ernm ents ....................... ............................. 438
The Reconstruction Committee in Washington. Floridians tes-
tify before it ................................... ..... 44o
Radicals in Florida condemn Southern whites .................... 441
Adverse reports from army officers on Southern loyalty .......... 443
Impending Reconstruction. Would the Supreme Court intervene? 444
Passage of the Reconstruction Laws; public opinion in Florida .. 445
Ready submission to Congress advised by Southern leaders ...... 448
Did conditions in Florida necessitate such drastic laws? ......... 450
The application of the Reconstruction laws; military rule begin. 454
The Blacks experiment in politics .............................. 455
A Negro political picnic. Parading and speaking ............... 456
Conservative whites essay to lead the negroes. Results .......... 459

CHAPTER XVIII

REGISTRATION AND THE ORGANIZATION OF LOCAL PARTIES

Military rule. Little public disturbance or injustice ............. 463
Preparation for registration. Registers and their duty .......... 465
The process of registration ..................................... 466
Preparation for the election. Districting Florida. The gerrymander. 468
The result of registration. 30 per cent of the whites not registered. 469
The evolution of Republican factions, 1867 ...................... 470
The first Radical state convention-negroes, carpet-baggers, and
scalawags ..................... .................. 474
Carpet-baggers vs. scalawags ............. ............. 475
" The birds of passage" ........................................ 476
The attitude of Conservative white toward carpet-bagger and scal-
awag ....................................... ................. 479
Prospective strength of Radical and Conservative parties in Florida. 482
The Union-Conservative movement ............................ 483
The Conservative Southerner's advice to the negro ............... 484
Apathy among the whites in organizing and registering ......... 487
The aggressive Radical campaign. Religion and politics ........ 489


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PAGE
CHAPTER XIX
THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF I868

The election of delegates. Overwhelming Radical victory ...... 491
The character of the body chosen to make a new constitution .... 493
Conservative charges of fraud. Attempted obstruction .......... 497
Radical and Conservative opinions on election results ............ 499
Radical white leaders organize negro delegates before the conven-
tion opens .................... ................... ..... 499
The assembling-" Education, Equal Rights and the Ballot Box".. 500
Radical legislation: stay laws and release of prisoners ....... 501
Discord among Radicals .................................. 502
Threatened expulsion of Radical leaders-dead-lock ........... 503
The Radical faction in the convention ......................... 504
The secession of moderate Republicans ....................... 506
The work of the Radical Rump Convention" in Tallahassee .... 507
The midnight return of seceders to Tallahassee. Threatened riot. 509
The moderate constitution. The question of white control ....... 50o
The relations of moderate Republicans and Southern Conservatives. 512
The intervention of the Federal military. Moderates triumph .... 513


BOOK IV

REPUBLICAN RULE

CHAPTER XX

THE INAUGURATION OF A REPUBLICAN STATE GOVERNMENT
The revival of the Democratic party South ..................... 519
The Conservative state convention. Opposition to the Constitution. 522
Radicals divided. Two Republican state tickets ................. 522
The question of further proscribing Conservatives .............. 525
The election. The Constitution ratified. Republican victory .... 526
The inauguration. Governor Harrison Reed ................... 528
The character of the new legislature .......................... 529
The Federal military still retains control of the state government. 530
Florida again represented in the Federal congress, I868 ......... 531
The end of military rule, July 4th, 1868 ......................... 532
The establishment of local Republican government by executive
appointment .................. ....... ................. 533
The difficulty of obtaining good men for local office ............. 535


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PAGE
Florida and the national nominations .......................... 536
The Presidential campaign of 1868. Aggressive tactics of Demo-
crats ......................................................... 537
Arbitrary tactics. A Republican legislature chooses Presidential
electors ......................................... 540

CHAPTER XXI

CONFLICT AMONG IRADICALS-TWO GOVERNORS OF FLORIDA
The origin of discord: Government jobs and contracts ........... 542
Federal and state patronage ........................ ....... 543
Governor Reed offends both Radical and Conservative ......... 544
Graft proposals. The Governor further antagonizes Radical leaders. 546
The impeachment of Governor Reed ........................... 546
The Governor's position ....................................... 548
The treachery of the Secretary of State, late of Massachusetts... 551
The conspiracy. Gleason's government in McGuffin's Hotel" .. 551
Threatened violence. The picket line. Planned assassination .. 553
Judicial interposition. The Supreme Court supports Reed ...... 553
Lieutenant-Governor Gleason driven from office through quo war-
ranto .............................................. 555

CHAPTER XXII
THE OUTBREAK OF LAWLESSNESS
Toleration of violence ........................................ 557
Rumors and reports concerning the Ku Klux Klan ............... 558
The Young Men's Democratic club-secret political organization.. 561
The origin of the Democratic club. Was it similar to the Ku Klux
Klan? ................ ................. .. ...... .... . 562
Increase in violence. The Republican government seeks Federal
aid ............................................ ....... 564
Conservative vs. Radical. The beginning of the "Reign of Terror"
in Jackson County .................................... 565
The Regulators "-night-riders. Whippings and killings ........ 566
The death of Finlayson. The threatened sack of Marianna ...... 568
The course of lawlessness. Conservative violence and Radical
tyranny ............................................... 569
Tragedy in Jackson County. Death of Miss McClellan at the hands
of negroes ........................................... 571
Fear of general conflict between races in Jackson County ....... 573
Retaliation and revenge. The case of Fleishman. The authorities
helpless ...................... .. ...................... 575


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PAGE
Republicans urge martial law and troops in Jackson County. Reed's
position ............. ...... .......... .............. ...... 577
Shootings, murders, and whippings throughout the state ........ 579
The actual extent of violence in Florida ....................... 581
The end of the Jackson County trouble. Dickinson's death ...... 583
The decline of lawlessness. Federal interference. Weakening of
Radicals .............. ........................... 584

CHAPTER XXIII

AN INQUIRY INTO THE CAUSES OF LAWLESSNESS

The basis of the conflict ................ ....................... 587
The prejudice of the Southerner on the race question ........... 588
Neighborhood quarrels the heritage of the war ............... 590
Negroes seek farms. Disputes over land titles .................. 592
The slaughtering of stock, the stealing of cotton, and methods of
punishment ....................... ................. 594
Labor contracts as a source of social irritation. Dishonesty and
ignorance .................. ..................... 595
The expensiveness of radical rule ............................. 597
Dissatisfaction among property-owners ......................... 599
Lawlessness by the vicious in times of revolution ................ 601
Conservative contempt of local officials ........................ 602
Terrorism, secrecy, and the breakdown of the jury system ...... 603
Did the negro obtain justice in the courts? ..................... 604
Criminal suggestion and bad advice from the Radical leaders .... 606
Rule or ruin-contemporary opinions ......................... 607

CHAPTER XXIV

PARTY POLITICS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE REPUBLICAN DECLINE AND
AFTER

Dissension among Radicals. The secession of Saunders ........ 6Io
The second attempt to impeach the Governor. The lobbyists .... 612
The ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Federal Constitu-
tion .............................................. .... 615
Charges and counter-charges of conspiracy and bribery ........ 615
Evidences of conflict among Radicals ......................... 617
The opening of the campaign of 1870. Negroes oppose carpet-
baggers .......................... ...................... 618
"The Reform Conservative party of Florida," 1870. The nomi-
nations .............. ..................... .............. 619


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PAGE
"The Swing Round the Circle" with shot-guns and reasonable
arguments ..................... ........ .............. 620
The election of 1870. Lawlessness ............................ 621
The result at the polls. Republican defeat. The Board of State
Canvassers ................ ....................... ..... 623
The episode of restraining the Board by injunction .............. 625
Republicans resort to the Federal Enforcement Act to dissolve the
injunction ............... .. ................ ........... 626
Bloxham applies for a writ of mandamus. Delay. Sharp prac-
tice of the Radical legislature ................................ 628
The beginning of Republican decline, 187o ..................... 629
Governor Reed in conflict with local bosses ..................... 630
Desperate efforts to remove the executive. The House presents
articles of impeachment ................................... 631
The Senate adjourns sine die. Was Reed suspended from office? 632
The discharge of Reed "from arrest" and the end of impeachment. 635
The campaign of 1872. The Liberal Republican movement ...... 637
The boisterous Republican state convention. Hart and the negroes
prevail ................... ................... 638
The %Radical victory of 1872 .................................... 639
Election tactics. Federal troops and Federal deputy marshals
police the state ......................................... 640
The development of Conservative strength. The "Tidal Wave of
'74" .............................. ...................... 643
The Democrats win a place in the United States Senate. Jones .. 644

CHAPTER XXV
THE RECORD OF REPUBLICAN RULE
The basis of Republican administration. Centralized rule ........ 647
The expansion of government ............................... 648
Proposed reform of 1868. The government must increase its
income ....................... ..... .................. 650
Railroad reorganization by state aid. Proposed land grants ..... 652
Initial financial difficulties. The increase of state indebtedness... 653
Soliciting financial support in the North. Disagreement among Re-
publicans ............................ ............. ... 655
The beginning of the J. P. and M. scandal. Sale of bankrupt roads. 657
The purchase of railroads from the state. Embezzled cash" and
a "worthless check" ........................................ 658
The new corporation. Bribery. State aid ........ ...... 659
The issuing of $4,ooo,ooo in state bonds for the railroad. The dis-
sipation of the proceeds ................................... 661


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The outcome of the railroad deal. Increased indebtedness ...... 663
Legislative corruption. Bribery ................................. 663
Selling offices. Campaign contributions ........................ 666
The courts under Republican rule. The judiciary opposes Re-
trenchment. Partisan tactics .................................. 667
The trustees of the public domain. Reckless and unfair transfers
of trust land .................................................. 669
The rise in state indebtedness and government expenditure ...... 672
The tax rate increases enormously. Measures to enforce collections. 673
The Tax-Payers Convention. Shrinkage of personal property .... 676
Evidences of peculation in handling the public income ......... 678
The funded debt. The bond issues ............................ 679
The miserable character of public works. Dilapidation .......... 680
Public education. Creditable development of the school system .. 682
The cause of Republican maladministration ...................... 684

CHAPTER XXVI
THE ELECTION OF 1876
The campaign opens. The Conservative groundswell ............ 687
The Republican machine crushes Republican reformers .......... 689
The Conservative convention. The formal arraignment of Radi-
cal rule ................ ............ .............. 691
Republican declarations of principles ........................... 693
Campaign methods. Rough tactics ............................. 694
Conservative whites threaten blacks with economic coercion ...... 696
Republican policy: organization of negroes and preparation to
commit fraud ......................... ................ 698
Impending disorder. The distribution of Federal troops ......... 699
The spirit and object of the Conservative campaign ............. 703
At the polls, November 7th ................................... 705
Evidences of discord in the election .............. .......... .. 706
Was the election fair and peaceful? ............................ 709
The legal plan for canvassing the state vote .................... 710
The announcement of the precinct vote ........................ 711

CHAPTER XXVII

THE RESULT OF THE ELECTION OF 1876
A crisis. Call for money, lawyers, and Federal troops ........... 713
The electoral situation in Florida ............................... 715
Democrats and Republicans prepare to contest returns ......... 715
The state board that must decide the count .................... 716


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xxvi TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE
The case of Archer Precinct in Alachua County .................. 717
Republican assault on the Jackson County returns ............... 721
Republican assault on the returns from Hamilton, Monroe, and
Manatee Counties .......................................... 722
The three returns from Baker County ....................... 723
The decision of the Board of State Canvassers .................. 726
Partisanship and political rewards to partisans ................. 729
The later admission of one member of the Board ............... 732
Democrats resort to the courts and win the governorship ........ 733
The inauguration of Drew. Impending violence ................ 735
The new canvassing board and the Democratic electors ......... 736
The close of the Reconstruction period ........................ 737
























BOOK I

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS

Florida came into the Union fifteen years ago upon an equality
with the original States, and their rights in the Confederacy are
equally her rights. . From the Union, governed by the Constitution
as our fathers made it, there breathes not a secessionist upon her
soil; but a deep sense of injustice, inequality and insecurity produced
by the causes to which I have adverted, is brought home to the reason
and patriotism of her people; and to secure and maintain these rights
which the Constitution no longer accords them, they have placed the
State of Florida out of the Confederacy."-Stephen R. Mallory before
the United States Senate, Jan. 21, 1861, Cong. Globe, 36th C., 2nd S.,
p. 485.










CHAPTER I


THE EVOLUTION OF A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH
FLORIDA was the last Federal territory to become a slave
state. At the outbreak of the Civil War it had fewer fac-
tories, fewer towns, less wealth, and less population than
any other slave state. Every other commonwealth created
during the Middle Period quickly surpassed Florida in
population and wealth, although along its coasts had
been established the first permanent European colonies
within the present bounds of the Union. Mr. Rhodes
points out, with great truth, that at the outbreak of
the Civil War the Southern states were "but a farm,
dependent on Europe and the North for everything
but bread and meat, and before the war for much of
these ". This characteristic of the South was probably
most accentuated in Florida. The history of the Civil War
and Reconstruction there is essentially a history of pro-
found revolution in a sparsely settled and distinctly rural
region. Therefore, at the outset, the obvious facts con-
cerning the comparative retardation of Florida in material
development are worthy of some notice. They indicate
the fundamental characteristic of the state under the old
regime.
The land rests serenely amid opalescent Southern seas.
No other state has so much seacoast. For more than a
thousand miles stretch its gleaming seaward confines-a
well-marked dividing line between the expanse of the ocean
and the mysteries of the woods. Long ago Spanish voy-
agers in search of what Sir Walter Raleigh termed a mi-







4 RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA
raculous fountain of youth reached this coast. In the
same year, 1512 ",' records Samuel Purchas,

John Ponce of Leon, which had been governor of the Ile of
Saint John, armed two ships and went to seek the Ile of Ba-
yuca, where the naturals of the country reported to be a wel
which maketh olde men young. Whereupon he laboured to
find it out, and was in searching of it the space of sixe
months, but could finde no such thing. Hee entered into the
Ile of Bimini, and discovered a point of firm land, standing 29.
degrees toward the North upon Easter-day, and therefore he
named it Florida.8

Mr. Lowery has conceived the country that Ponce and
his crew saw. "Beyond the shallowing green waters,"
he writes,

the waves rolled their white crests of foam up the long, hard,
shell-paved beaches, which formed a silver bar between the
sea and the dense verdure of the islands along which he was
coasting. A thick forest of gray cypress, tulip, ash, and mag-
nolia, with knarled live oaks that reminded the strangers of
their native land, clad the low sand dunes aid marshes of the
islands and cut the horizon with its dark canopy, above which
floated the plumes of towering palm groves and the light tufts
of the broom-pine. Between the islands the eye rested upon
the glistening surface of lagoons with brilliant borders of rush
and sedge extending up to the very edge of the mysterious
forest on the mainland. It was the season of flowers. The
perfumed breath of the white lily was wafted out to them
from its humid haunts in the shady nooks of the islands. . .
Upon the dark foliage like flights of gaudy butterflies lay
spread the masses of blue, crimson, and white, the blue flowers

1 English Voyages in Hakluyt (Maclehose Edit.), v. 12, p. 12.
Mr. Shea and Mr. Lowery conclude that the year should be 1513,
not 1512.
Purchas, His Pilgrim, v. 10, p. 33.







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


and coral berries of the licium salsium, the andromeda, and the
azalea; along the inner shore, between the water's edge and the
forest, the royal palmetto, crested with pyramids of silver
white blossom, thrust forth its sword-shaped leaves. Loons
and Spanish curlew whirled overhead; in the woods strutted
the wild turkey, saluting the dawn with noisy call from his
perch on the lofty cypress or the magnolia, and many hued
humming-birds fluttered from flower to flower.1

The virgin splendor of this most Southern state has not
entirely faded. It possesses still a haunting melancholy
beauty, all its own and not easily forgotten by those who
have felt its spell. I recall in this case," once wrote
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the faintest sensation of
our voyage, as Ponce de Leon may have recalled those of
his wandering search in the same soft zone for the secret of
the mysterious fountain." 2
Placid expanse; sinuous, graceful curves; and gentle un-
dulation characterize the lay of the land-they are in fact
the essential qualities in Florida's peculiar beauty. The
highest point in the state is less than 300 feet above the sea.
Its streams move slumberously to the ocean. Its low sand
coast is beaten by tropical hurricane and ocean wave into
contour of elusive grace. Its innumerable lakes give to the
interior often the suggested spaciousness of the sea. No
other state of the .Union has within its borders so much
lake surface or so many lakes without visible outlet.
Sidney Lanier once wrote from Tampa of
Pale inshore greens and distant blue delights,
White visionary sails, long reaches fair
By moon-horn'd strands that film the far-off air."
He saw the glory of the Southern sea, which is, in part, the
glory of Florida.
1 Lowery, Spanish Settlements, v. I, p. 138.
SArmy Life in a Black Regiment, p. 139.






RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


As you journey across the peninsula the charm created
by the coast and the ocean is not necessarily dissolved.
You see many blue lakes as clear and limpid as woodland
springs, which most of them are. You cross winding
streams overhung by trees festooned in gray Spanish moss
that vibrates faintly in the occasional breeze. You skirt
far-flung green savannahs dense with red and yellow alli-
gator bonnets. You penetrate deep, cool hammocks where
strange brilliant flowers flash in the day and where the
chuck-will-the-widow calls at night amid the jessamine, the
magnolia, the sweet bay tree, the pine, the oak, and the
hickory. You pass out upon desolate pine barrens some-
times as silent as the grave and sometimes filled with the
sighing and moaning of the wind from the distant sea.
You look over broad, rich fields that are green or snow
white, and from them rise countless lark, whose whistle is
a merry contrast to the sound of the wind in the pines.
You pass often between tangles of wild roses, honeysuckle,
and scuppernong, and you hear a remarkable variety of
sweet calls from a remarkably fine lot of little birds,-wood
thrush, swamp sparrow, joe reet, wren, mocking bird, red
bird, blue bird, chick-a-dee, chee-chee, pop-eyed-molly, and
even blue jay. You find yourself now and then in the midst
of woodpeckers. About you among the pines, if the day
be sunny, scramble and chirrup the speckled sap-sucker ",
the "yaller-hammer ", the white and black red head, and
the little mottled gray worm-chaser ". All are drumming
away as they push themselves up the trees with their tails.
You catch occasionally the strident whooping of the swoop-
ing, red-headed Lawd Gawd "-the biggest woodpecker
that flies in America. You frighten fragile blue heron,
gray crane, brown die-dappers, and tufted kingfishers from
slumberous creek side and stagnant pool. In the sky above
no longer sail the gull and cormorant of the sea. Their
place is taken by the broad-winged turkey buzzard-that


6







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


denizen of the upper air in the far South. He sometimes
drops from more than a thousand feet, and his passage
through the air makes a sucking, whistling sound-his only
note, some say.
You pass on through the shadows of evening. The
"varmints" begin to creep from their holes. You
will probably not see them, but they are a host yet in
Florida, these timid creatures of the shadows,-'possum,
coon, catamount, mink, fox, weasel. In the deeper wood
small Virginia deer timidly emerge from the titi thickets
when evening falls. In the more remote and desolate
swamps panther still cry plaintively beneath the moon.
Along the banks of the more remote streams otter still slide
in the night. In the denser huckleberry patches and pal-
metto jungles small black bear still amble about. Along
the bayous and lakes of Florida thousands of turtles sun
themselves in the day and alligators roar at night. And, as
you pass beneath the moss-draped trees, you will occasion-
ally catch the beat of unseen wings as the great hoot owl
passes. His insane though melodious calling suggested
once to some negro necromancer the following: Red, top,
shoe-boot; chicken, foot, so good! ha! ha'a!" Lanier's
poetic conception of some aspects of the land is a fairly
descriptive one. He saw there
Robins and mocking birds that all day long
Athwart straight sunshine weave cross-threads of song,
Shuttles of music-clouds of mosses gray
That rain me rains of pleasant thoughts always
From a low sky of leaves-faint yearning psalms
Of endless metre breathing through the palms
That crowd and lean and gaze from off the shore
Ever for one that cometh nevermore-
Palmettos ranked, with childish spearpoints set
Against no enemy-rich cones that fret
High roofs of temples shafted tall with pines-
Green, grateful mangroves where the sand-beach shines-
Long lissome coast that in and outward swerves,
The grace of God made manifest in curves."







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


About four hundred years ago European explorers first
sailed along this coast. More than 350 years ago settlers
from Spain gained a permanent foothold on the mainland
in the building of St. Augustine. Spanish occupation, with
slight interruption, endured almost two and a half centuries
without developing extended or very prosperous settlement.
Civilized population was restricted to the neighborhood of
three or four little towns: Pensacola and St. Marks on the
Gulf, and St. Augustine and Fernandina on the Atlantic.
The eastern and the western settlements faced different seas
and were without connection by land. Each consisted of a
fringe of farms, trading posts, and forts lying between the
sea and that tremendous wilderness which Ponce de Leon
and Hernando de Soto had penetrated in vain search of a
better land. The Indians are exceedingly ready with
their weapons," wrote a gentlemen of Elvas who accom-
panied De Soto into Florida. In many places are high
and dense forests and extensive bogs. . Toward the
west was a place called Cale, the inhabitants of which were
at war with those of territories where the greater part of
the year was summer, and where there was so much gold
that when the people came to make war upon those. of Cale
they wore golden hats like casques." 1 No one has ever
discovered the rich neighbors of the people of Cale. The
chronicler of much gold in the neighborhood of Florida
was either the victim or the perpetrator of the first re-
corded lie on that subject.
Florida passed into the hands of the British in 1763.2
For twenty years England held it, and the change brought
a short-lived prosperity. Trade thrived as never before

1 True Relation of . A Fidalgo of Elvas( Buckingham. Smith's
translation.
SFairbanks, G. R., History of Florida, pp. 149, 162. Treaty of Paris,
Art. 20, MacDonald, Select Documents, v. I.







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


with Indian and half-breed trappers. Loyalists, driven out
of the Southern English colonies by the Whig revolution-
ists, poured into Florida.1 Along the St. Johns and St.
Marys rivers, new plantations were cleared; more negro
slaves were brought in to labor; fields were better tilled; new
roads were cut through swamp, glade, and barren; and the
English colonist, here as elsewhere, demonstrated his ability
to win and transform and hold, after a certain homely
fashion, a wild region.
Spanish control was resumed in I783.2 Most of the
British settlers left the colony. Some went to Great Britain;
some, to the Bahamas; and some, probably, to the United
States.3 Plantations were deserted, trade decreased, and
in a few years Florida had lapsed back into its condition
before British occupation. Therefore the permanent and
lasting results of Anglo-Saxon control in colonial Florida
were very meagre.
Spanish government in Florida from earliest times was
mild and paternal and restricted to the narrow limits of
civilized settlement. The Indians were not tractable and
made poor slaves. Taxation seems to have been light and
for local purposes only. When in 1821 the territory was
transferred to the United States, the civilized population
of the region now embracing Florida was not more than
8,ooo. More than half of this population was in East
Florida. St. Augustine contained maybe 2,ooo souls-one-
half whites and the other half negro slaves or free negroes.
Fernandina had a population of less than 500. The plan-
tation settlements along the St. Marys and St. Johns rivers
contained probably 2,000 more-including slaves. In West
1 Fuller in his Purchase of Florida, p. 18, states that during the year
1778 nearly 7,000 loyalists emigrated to Florida.
SFairbanks, G. oR., op. cit., p. 162.
SFuller, op. cit., p. 19.


9







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


Florida (or Gulf Coast Florida) population amounting to
two or three thousand was confined to Pensacola and St.
Marks and the immediate vicinities of these two hamlets.
Economically the country was not self-supporting. Im-
ports usually far exceeded exports in value and variety.
Most of the citizens were Spanish officials, farmers, and fur
traders. Salaries paid by the Spanish government consti-
tuted the main source of wealth. The white population
was preponderantly Spanish. In East Florida a consider-
able element of Minorcans and Italians had drifted in,1 and
a few English, Irish, and Greeks. In the West population
was more purely Spanish.
Life was simple because the people were too poor to make
it complex. Customs were those of the Spanish Creole, who
never lost touch with the home country and managed some-
how to transfuse the crudities of colonial America with
some of the native grace and urbanity of Spain. The
" patgo ", the masquerade ", the carnival ", the chi-
veree", the "bazoo ", the "fandango ", cock-fighting,
card-playing, and going to mass were the more usual social
distractions. This primitive Latin, Catholic, Creole, slave-
holding society, more than two centuries old in 1821-and
therefore ancient for civilized America-was soon swal-
lowed up by the influx of newcomers from the North,-
the unwelcome and grasping Americans.2

1 Fairbanks, op. cit., chap. 25, for account of Dr. Turnbull's colony
(1763-70) of Greeks and Minorcans. The descendants of these people
live in East Florida to-day. Also Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, v. i,
pp. 86-87; Dewhurst, St. Augustine.
2 The foregoing references to colonial Florida are based upon the
following works: Garcillasso de la Vega, Histoire de la Floride, Rich-
elet, French translation, 1735; Lowery, Spanish Settlements, 2 vols.;
the accounts of De Soto's expedition by De Beidma, Ranjel, and Elvas;
Irving, Conquest of Florida; Averette, Unwritten History of Old St.
Augustine, Copied from the Spanish Archives in Seville, covering


IO








A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


As settlers moved into southwestern Georgia and Ala-
bama Territory, Florida became more and more the place
of retreat for runaway negro slaves, hostile Indians, and
lawless white men. Its forests were dense and its swamps,
almost trackless; and for those fleeing from Americans it
afforded protection as foreign territory. The failure of
Spain adequately to govern this region which became an
asylum for the lawless was the occasion for the American
invasion under Andrew Jackson.' Florida was in truth
not an important part of Spain's colonial empire. Acqui-
sition by the United States was the resultant of Spanish ad-
ministrative feebleness, the geographical situation of the
peninsula, and the expansion to natural boundaries of the
robust and aggressive Northern power.
The purchase of Florida from Spain was consummated
during the first great sectional controversy over slavery in
the territories.2 The location of the new territory made it
logically future slave soil. Historically it was slave soil at

period from 1565 to 1786, Libr. Fla. Hist. Soc.; Bartram, Travels in
Florida, London, 1792; Dewhurst, St. Augustine, 1881, a brief secondary
work; Fairbanks, Hist. of St. Augustine, 1881, a valuable monograph by
an authority; Fairbanks, Hist. of Florida; Rerick, Memoirs of Florida,
v. i; Brinton, Notes on the Florida Peninsula, a valuable work, 1859;
Campbell, Hist. Sketches of Colonial Fla., 1892; Darby, Memoir on
Geog., etc. . of Fla., 1821; Libr. Fla. Hist. Soc.; Forbes, Sketches
of the Floridas, 1821, Libr. Fla. Hist. Soc.; Brevard and Bennett,
Hist. and Govt. of Fla., a valuable little book; Williams, Hist. of Fla.,
1821.
1 Fuller, op. cit., chaps. 6-8. Corresp. between Gen. A. Jackson and
Jno. C. Calhoun" on Seminole War; a pamphlet (Washington, 1831)
in Libr. Fla. Hist. Soc., Jacksonville. Sen. Docs., I5th C., 2 S., No.
Ioo, No. 102, for the official history of Jackson's invasion. H. Docs.,
15th C., 2nd S., No. 119, for Jackson's destruction of Negro Fort.
Also Ex. Docs., I5th C., 2nd S., No. 82.
2 Fuller, op. cit., passim, is the best study of the Florida Treaty.
For important sources, see Ex. Papers, I6th C., Ist S., No. 96 (819) ;
Ex. Docs., I6th C., Ist S., No. 120 (Mess. and papers of Pres. Monroe,


II







12 RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA

that time. Into Florida came ultimately a part of that vast
host of planters and speculators which, till late in the
Middle Period, was steadily moving southWestward. The
splendid Kingdom of Cotton was then in the making.
However, the first Americans to settle in Florida were not
cotton planters, but poor squatters-" kasions ", crack-
ers ", etc.-an ignorant, shiftless, hardy lot of people who
began to drift over the borders of Florida before the region
passed into the hands of the United States. These poor
whites were little interested in slavery or cotton or even
government.
In 1822 the military rule of General Jackson was super-
seded by the civil rule of the territorial council and gov-
ernor. Florida was divided into counties, laws were
adopted to regulate civil and criminal practice, and inferior
courts were established. A Federal commission was ap-
pointed to examine all land claims originating prior to
American occupation. It took several years to adjust this
matter, and in the meantime no public land was sold.1
The territorial council met for the first time in Pensa-
cola-on the western edge of the territory. Its second
meeting was in St. Augustine-on the eastern edge of the
territory." Distances were great and wilderness trails bad.
Therefore the council sought a site for a capital midway
between the two inhabited sections.3

1819); Ex. Papers, i8th C., Ist S., No. 55 (Mess. of Monroe). See,
also, J. L. M. Curry's "Acquisition of Florida," Am. Hist. Mag., v.
xix, p. 286.
1 The adjustment of claims proved perplexing. The more important
documents bearing on the subject are: Ex. Papers, i8th C., Ist S., No.
156 (1824-Report of Land Commissioners); No. 158; Ex. Papers,
i8th C., 2nd S., No. III; 19th C., Ist S., No. 115; Ex. Docs., I8th C.,
2nd S., No. 47.
' Rerick, op. cit., v. I.
S "History of the Location of Tallahassee," from House Journal,
pamphlet, Libr. Fla. Hist. Soc., Jacksonville.







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


In North Central Florida clear lakes and broad savan-
nahs divide many ranges of low loam hills. These uplands,
rich in humus, were then lying fallow, covered with hick-
ory and oak and pine and myriads of flowers. People in
search of new homes and good lands had already pros-
pected ", by 1823, this fair, virgin region. Here in an old
Indian field the Territorial Council chose a site for a capital
which became known as Tallahassee.' The governor and
council met there in 1824.
The building in which they met was humble and roughly
constructed. The wilderness stretched away on all sides.
" The assembling and adjournment of the council are the
events of the year in this territory from which citizens
date," wrote Mrs. Long. The interval does not count." 2
The second wave of immigration into Florida from the
United States was more speculative and transitory than
permanent. Prospectors were seeking good lands at a low
price, many expecting to sell out when the increase of popu-
lation should inevitably send up the values of cotton land.
They were a vigorous, hard-headed, adventurous lot of
men. The country was filled with strangers," one man
writes who experienced this beginning,

who spread themselves over the country with compass in hand,

1 "Hist. of Location of Tallahassee," H. Journal. Rerick, op. cit.,
v. i, p. 152. Gulf States Hist. Mag., v. i, p. i99, Selection of Talla-
hassee."
2 Florida Breezes, Mrs. Ellen Call Long. Mrs. Long was the grand-
daughter of Rich. Keith Call who became Governor of Florida in
1835. Her book is rambling and occasionally confused but replete
with interesting observations and discussions of society in ante-bellum
Florida. Beyond her own experiences her sources were evidently the
recollections and miscellaneous memoirs of her grandfather and her
many friends. The work is out of print and now very difficult to
find. The author consulted the copy in the British Museum, London,
published after the Civil War.


13







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


according to the marked lines, examining the lands, taking
notes, keeping profound silence, and avoiding one another.
Perhaps some of them have bought from a surveyor the sup-
posed secret of an excellent and unknown section. Little
portable plans, mysteriously figured, circulate privately. Noth-
ing is talked of but lands, their qualities, probable prices, etc.
Intrigue and knavery the most unblushing display themselves
in all their lustre.1

The newcomers came from all parts of the Union. Most
of them can, with safety, be denominated slave-holders.
Radical free-soilism did not touch Florida. The territory
was spared that conflict of ethical ideas and material inter-
ests which was then surely dividing the nation and which
produced bloody Kansas and the great war a generation
later.
The Eedera- Iand-office was opened at Tallahassee in
1825. This land sale was an event of significance for this
unformed commonwealth whose wealth was based pros-
pectively upon extensive agriculture. "Land speculators
anticipating the influx of immigration 'had flocked' to the
territory and bought land of the Indian for a trifle, sup-
posing the title good; and those who came to make perma-
nent homes were disappointed to find locations occupied
and held by large grants." 2/The Federal authorities prob-
ably put an end to such hastily acquired titles.
When the day arrived for the first sale of public lands, a

x Murat, America and the Americans, p. 59. Chas. Louis Napoleon
Achille Murat, son of Napoleon's sister Caroline and Marshal Murat
who became King of Naples, came to Florida early in the 2o's, made
the territory his home, married a Floridian (Miss Willis), and lived
many years near Tallahassee. His book on America devotes some
space to society in an American territory". Obviously, he wrote
about Florida, which was the part of the Union best known to him.
See Rerick, op. cit., v. i, p. 153.
2 Long, op. cit., p. 45.


14







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


heterogeneous crowd of speculating land sharks, planters,
small farmers, squatters, kasions ", country lawyers and
confidence men had come together in Tallahassee. Prince
Achille Murat, recalling this incident probably-for he
was in Florida at the time-wrote from Italy as follows:
The hour approaches. The poor squatter runs about town.
He has been laboring all the year that he may buy the land on
which his house is situated. Perhaps for want of a dollar or
two it will be taken from him by the greedy speculators.
Anxiety and trouble are depicted on his honest and wild coun-
tenance. A jobber accosts him, pities him, and offers to with-
draw his pretentions for the sum of $3.00. The poor simpleton
gives it to him not doubting that the jobber cannot now bid
against him. This is what is called "hush money". The
cryer puts up the land by eights, beginning by a section and
township in regular order. The prices are different but the
sale always opens at $1.25 per acre. . An old Indian vil-
lage, a situation for a mill, the plantation of a squatter, a place
to which a road or river leads, or which seems likely to become
the seat of a city or entrepot,-are so many circumstances
which augment the value of land tenfold or more.1

The sale of the choicer public land meant the advent of
more settled economic and social conditions. Immigrants
continued to come into the territory. Most of them pushed
on past the old towns of entry-Pensacola, St. Augustine,
Fernandina-and sought the richer uplands of the interior.
The census of 1834 showed a total population of 34,739,
of whom full 20,000 lived in those new counties between
the Chipola and Suwanee rivers-North Central Florida.
The settlers came from practically every section of the
Union. The majority hailed from Virginia, Tennessee, the
Carolinas, and Georgia. The town of Jacksonville on the
St. Johns river was laid out in 1822. It was destined within
1 Murat, op. cit., p. 60.


15







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


a few years to become the chief town of East Florida. Pen-
sacola, the old town in the extreme west, was gaining popu-
lation and trade. More than 2,000 bales of cotton and a
quarter of a million feet of sawed lumber were exported
from there in 1824. Between the Chipola and Suwanee,
settlements expanded into towns which some of the opti-
mistic inhabitants would have told you were the finest in the
Union. Quincy, Monticello, Marianna, and Tallahassee
were hamlets in size, but each was the metropolis for its
section. They were situated along the St. Augustine road,
a rough wilderness way cleared through the forest from
Pensacola on the Gulf to St. Augustine on the Atlantic.
The first general election was held in 1825 to choose a
delegate to the Federal Congress. It was hotly contested
and definitely marks the beginning of election politics in
Florida. The methods employed then were essentially the
same as those of later generations. For some months
previous the candidates and their friends have been in mo-
tion, making calls from habitation to habitation, trying to
persuade, excuse, explain," writes Achille Murat.
In general the friends take more trouble than the candidates
themselves. The Governor by proclamation fixes the day and
divides the country into precincts, in each of which he chooses
a central house and appoints three election judges. These
dignitaries meet in the morning and swear, kissing the Bible,
to conduct themselves with integrity. They seat themselves
around a table at a window. An old cigar box patched up with
a hole in the lid, a sheet of paper and a writing desk form the
materials of the establishment. Everyone presents himself
outside the window, gives his name, which is registered upon a
paper, deposits his ballot in a box presented to him and with-
draws; if the judges doubt his qualifications as to residence or
age they administer the oath to him. Within the room every-
thing passes in an orderly manner, but it is not the same out-
side. The roads are soon filled with horses and carts. The







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


electors arrive in troops, laughing and singing, often half-
tipsy since the morning and exciting one another to support
their favorite candidate. They or their friends present them-
selves to the electors as they arrive with ballots ready pre-
pared, often printed, and expose themselves to their jokes and
coarseness. Every newcomer is questioned about his vote and
is received with applause or hisses. An influential man pre-
sents himself to vote, declares his opinions and reasons in a
short speech; the tumult ceases for a moment and he draws
away many people after him. Nobody offers to molest him.
Meanwhile whiskey circulates. Toward evening everybody
is more or less tipsy, and it is not often that the sovereign peo-
ple abdicate their power without general battle in which
nobody knows what he is about, and in which all those who
have managed to retain their carriage take good care not to
embroil themselves. Everybody goes home to sleep. The
judges scrutinize the suffrage and send the result to the capital.
The next day beaten and beat are as good friends as if nothing
had happened.1

This is a rather lurid account of a territorial election, but it
probably reflects well enough the rough-and-tumble spirit
and the inebriety of the frontier. Conduct was more dis-
graceful a generation after Florida had ceased to be fron-
tier country.
Politics kept pace with material development in Florida.
The middle counties, containing most of the prosperous
planter class, had become by 1830 the dominant section of
the territory. The counties of Jackson, Gadsden, Leon,
Jefferson, and Madison-all organized between 1822 and
1827-contained about two-thirds of the population in
1830. Spreading over the gently rolling uplands, planta-
tions flanked lake and savannah with a misty expanse of
white when the cotton opened. Fields of cotton and corn

1 Murat, op. cit., p. 68; also account in Long, op. cit., passim.


17







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


replaced immense areas of forest. Splendid homes were
being built by the more prosperous-built sometimes of
brick and stone where ten years before an unbroken wil-
derness had stood. Such development indicates tre-
mendous optimism and the extravagance which goes with
it. But such evidences of prosperity were not entirely vul-
gar. The severe and simple lintels; the tall white col-
umns; the spacious and simple interiors; the general ab-
sence of cheap attempts at ornate architecture; the substan-
tial beauty and quaint harmony of tables, chairs, beds, and
cupboards,-reflect an aspiration at least after the best
of the past. The Latin and Greek works upon the book-
shelves of many homes indicate the same thing. The
few hundred aristocracy of Central Florida were a moder-
ately cultured and eminently forceful lot of people.
By the advent of the thirties weekly newspapers were
published in the various towns of this section, setting forth
the opinions and doings of the planter class. Local, na-
tional, and foreign questions were discussed with a gravity
and dryness which suggest the conservative English jour-
nals. Reviews and magazines, literary journals and
novelties of every sort came to us from New York, Phila-
delphia, and England at a moderate price and a month or
two after their publication over the Atlantic," writes a citi-
zen. I had read, I have no doubt, the last romance of Sir
Walter Scott before it had reached Vienna." Some of the
works offered for sale in a Tallahassee book-store in 183I
were as follows: Blake's Botany, Good's Study of Medi-
cine, Murphy's Tacitus, Benson's Sermons, Homer's Iliad,
Robertson's America, Scotland, Charles V, Jefferson's
Notes on Virginia, Herodotus' History, Rollin's Ancient
History, Moore's Poems, Scott's Prose Works, Fielding's
Tom Jones, Byron's Works, Irving's Columbus, Memoirs
of Napoleon, The Arabian Nights, and a host of other


18







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


books of as varied a quality.1 All this is indicative of a
certain urbanity and culture, though not of a demand for
the latest and liveliest books.
Life was not over refined with the upper class. There
was considerable gambling, drinking, horse-racing, and bet-
ting. Each town soon had its own jockey club. Fatal
duels were often fought in formal fashion. Fast horses and
bright colors were in evidence.2 Yet the whites-rich and
poor-were a religious people. Religion afforded both con-
solation and amusement. Most of the planters were Metho-
dists or Episcopalians. The year of the founding of Talla-
hassee witnessed the organization of the Methodist Church
of the District of Tallahassee with a minister in charges
The following year Tallahassee became an Episcopal mis-
sion station.' Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians,
and Baptists all established churches in Florida before the
end of its first decade as American territory. The Roman
Catholic church had been established in Florida for more
than two centuries. There is no church building here"
(in Tallahassee), writes Mrs. Long of the early days,

but there is a Tyng, which is a good name and true-synony-
mous with sound teaching, present usefulness and ancestral
claims. The place of worship is the arena of many purposes;
sometimes a court room in trial and pleadings; again for politi-
cal discussions; at night, a dance hall; and sometimes there
players lived their mimic life. The congregation was well

1 Floridian and Advocate, Jan. 20, 1831.
2 See Jockey Club notices in Florida papers in Congressional Library,
Washington. For examples, Floridian, Jan. 5 and Feb. 2, 1839. Also,
Long, Florida Breezes, p. 99.
3 Smith, History of Wesleyan Methodism, p. 228.
Within fifteen years Episcopal parishes were established in Key
West, St. Augustine, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, St. Joseph,
Marianna and Quincy. Daniels, Episcopal Church in Florida, passim.


19







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


dressed; gentlemen in fine blue cloth, brass buttons, high black
stocks and stiff sharp-cornered collars and ruffled bosoms,
though a little out of date gave none the less an air of marked
elegance in their appearance.1

Cotton fields were spreading out and planters were be-
coming prosperous because cotton was paying. The abun-
dant yield of the earth gave stability to society. Early
dwelling places became old homes. Those who had come
to the new land remained. The ivy crept over walls. Men
and women had about them children who had known no
home but Florida.2 There are a thousand nameless ties,
kindred thoughts and deep sympathies that make a chain of
friendships for these country people," writes Mrs. Long.
On through the town we passed, welcomed by a chorus of
barking dogs accompanied or varied by the whooping or whist-
ling of boys. Lights from the unshuttered or thinly-draped
windows speak of home life, but the streets had no illumina-
tion save a shower of moonlight that poured a wealth of beauty
upon the scene, its effulgence streaming in through the dark
green of centenary oaks which lined the streets.3

The nativizing of population did not produce complete
homogeneity. People came into Florida with sectional idio-
syncrasies developed, and these characteristics were handed
down to the second and third generation. There were com-
munities of Virginians, and communities of South Caro-
linians, and communities of Georgians, etc. West Florida's
population differed from East Florida's; and Central Flor-
ida's, from both.
The planter was generally enlightened and prosperous.
Within his class should be included the merchants and pro-
x Long, op. cit., p. 72.
SSee Murat, op. cit., pp. 66, 74 et seq.
3 Long, op. cit., pp. 55 and 72.


20







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


fessional men. Prosperity was not enjoyed by all classes
of whites. The little farmers and squatters in the sparsely
settled counties led lives which in material appointments
were only slightly above the savage. Corn pone, clabber,
youpon tea, dried beef, venison, and occasionally wild
honey constituted their fare until civilization brought
nearer their habitations salt pork, razor-backs, and coffee.
Their houses were rude log huts with dirt floors, unglazed
windows, and mud chimneys.' They were neighbors to
the Seminole and Creek Indians, and when the final struggle
came with the Seminoles the poor whites suffered most.
Mild-mannered, kindly, and indolent, they were as hos-
pitable as they were poor. A few of the more prosperous
owned a negro slave of two. Occasionally a cracker accu-
mulated property and became a planter. Mrs. Long de-
scribes meeting a family of poor whites in Florida.

The residence of Mr. Smith consists of two log rooms on sills
connected by an open passage upon the floor of which reposed
a white man who used a reversed hide-bottom chair as a
pillow. Peeping from the door was a slouchy white woman
who wore a dirty sun-bonnet, who upon our halting before the
gate called Alik Smith! Alik Smith! I keep on telling you
to git up! Git up, Alik Smith; thar's folks a' calling' on you at
the gate! Finally the intelligence of Mr. Smith was aroused,
and yawning and stretching he came out to greet us: An' I
declar, its you, Mister Maclean, to be sure. I hearn as how you
had gone down below. Light, gentlemen, hitch yer critters-
that damn lazy scoundrel is nary time about when he's wanted
-but thar's the rascal now. Horcules, see how you give feed
to them horses! Wal, strangers, you must know as how nig-
gers is moughty high an' gittin' higher. It took my level best
with five crops on this poor piney land to git done payin for

1 See reference to these people in Smith, op. cit., pp. 265, 306; Murat,
op. cit., passim; De Bow's Review, etc.


21







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


Horcules. As we got under the roof of the building, for it
can scarcely be called entering a house, he called aloud to the
woman no longer seen,-" Ole Sweet, push up the pot for the
gentlemen will be agying hungry "; and with the diffuse man-
ners of a grand chamberlain he offered us seats which he
called "cheers ", adding, "make yourselves at home, gentle-
men ". Then he placed part of his body on a chair while his
legs were extended up and down, resting on the rough paling
that partially empaled the passage. A quid of tobacco com-
pleted his ease, and he was ready for the enjoyment of society.
"Wal, gentlemen, what's the news ?" 1

As the territory grew the usual phenomena of economic
and political organization were manifest. The principal
issue in territorial Florida for political controversy was
but the local phase of a great national question, namely,
to what extent should government aid and control banks.
In Florida the controversy began at an early date. The
governor vetoed bills of the territorial council in 1824 for
the incorporation of certain banks because he believed that
such banks would prove to be "unsuited to the genius and
spirit of our free institutions ".2 With the advent of An-
drew Jackson as President the entire nation became more
or less disturbed over the national aspect of this question.
The heavy cotton planters of interior Florida were the
exponents and local apostles of banks. In 1828 the Bank
of Florida was incorporated. Within the next five years
the craze of the times for financial organization showed
itself in Florida. Numerous insurance companies and
banks with large capital stock and broad powers were in-
corporated-such, for instance, as the Central Bank of
Tallahassee, the Union Bank of Tallahassee, and the South-

1 Long, op. cit., p. 52.
2 Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, v. I, p. 157.


22







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


ern Life and Insurance Company of St. Augustine. The
most important of all was the Union Bank of Tallahassee.
Its charter was fashioned after that of the Union Bank of
Louisiana.1 Its initial capital, $3,000,000, was obtained
from the sale of Territorial bonds. The property of the
stockholders to the amount of the shares was mortgaged
to the territory as security for the bonds issued." This
bank was not the only financial institution aided by the ter-
ritory. The Bank of Pensacola received $500,000 in bonds
in guarantee of its securities, and the Southern Life In-
surance and Trust Company, $395,000.
The Union Bank thrived from the first. It was a brilliant
and advanced scheme. Yes, it started with a capital of
$1,ooo,ooo and that is increased to $3,000,000 by exchang-
ing the certificates of subscribers for territorial bonds
which were sold in Europe. They found purchasers in
London-a wonderful success, considering the resources
of the territory, and could have been accomplished only by
men so well known," writes Mrs. Long in discussing the
bank.

General Mercer represented Virginia in Congress for thirty
years, besides, he was President of the Colonization Society
which gave him eclat in England, and Col. Gamble is also
known abroad. You want to know how it operates? Well,

1 Reply of the Board of Directors of the Union Bank, p. 4. A very
full discussion of the policy and record of the Union Bank, British
Museum, London.
2 Reply of Board of Directors, pp. 4, 10, 95. In 1840 the Directors
stated that to secure the bonds issued (to the amount of $2,917,800)
246,419 acres of land were mortgaged to the territory, valued at $I,-
968,800; 2,680 slaves, valued at $938,000. The average value of the
land mortgaged per acre was $8.oo, while at the time farming land in
Leon Co. sold for from $15.00 to $30.00 per acre. The slaves were
mortgaged at $350 each, while their average market value was over
$6oo.oo.


23







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


you see a man can mortgage his land and negroes; draw from
the bank two-thirds (in money) of the value, which will be
reinvested in more land and negroes. One or two crops of
cotton will redeem all obligations-so you see it is the best
thing afloat; a man can just go to sleep and wake up rich.
" Go to sleep," remarked one, is a good suggestion, but un-
fortunately too many are wide awake, spending money in dis-
play when their very shovel and tongs in the kitchen belong
to the bank." 1

The increase of cotton fields and population in Florida,
Georgia, and Alabama produced a noticeable effect on Gulf
Coast shipping. Mobile absorbed most of the cotton which
territorially belonged to Pensacola, and many cargoes of
cotton by 1835 went annually from St. Marks.! St. Marks
was the point of shipment for the planters of Leon, Jef-
ferson, and Madison counties.3 The first railway of Flor-
ida was built from Tallahassee to St. Marks in 1834.
Near the mouth of the Apalachicola river the town of
Apalachicola was incorporated in 1831. Its trade with the
interior was soon flourishing. River steamers for the
Chattahoochee and Flint valleys loaded and unloaded along
its water front. Ocean-going ships carried -its cotton and
timber to Europe and the North. The channel was dredged
to admit bigger ships. Brick business blocks and spacious
warehouses were built. By 1836 it was the third cotton
port in the Gulf. Three years later its weekly newspaper
became a daily.4
Within twenty-five miles of Apalachicola a land and im-
provement company established the town of St. Joseph on
a deep and well-sheltered bay. In 1839 its backers claimed
for it a population of more than 4,000 and a commerce in

1 Long, op. cit., p. 84. 2 Smith, op. cit., p. 265.
* Ibid., p. 305. Rerick, op. cit., v. I, p. 167.


24







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


cotton of more than Ioo,ooo bales annually. A railroad,
churches, newspapers, docks, banks, warehouses, shops,
bar-rooms, cheap hotels, and rough gambling places gave
this new town the reputation and air of a metropolis, and
with some of the more Godly the notoriety of being a
" wicked city ", that would come to no good end. It be-
came an intense business rival of Apalachicola. The ter-
ritorial constitutional convention met in St. Joseph during
1838-9.
The end of the town was swift and tragic. Yellow fever
of the most malignant type fairly wiped it out in 1841.
The people there died like flies ". Many fled the town.
The living who remained could hardly bury the dead. "My
Pa saved me because he was a horse-doctor and believed in
ile and bleedin' ," one aged survivor said to me. To-day
two graveyards and vine-covered ruins are all that remain
of the wicked city of St. Joseph. About it stand the
enigmatical solitudes of Florida-the haunt to-day of the
owl, the alligator, and the whip-poor-will. Verily the
Godly of territorial Florida have had their prophecy come
true.1
But ere the end of St. Joseph, that national wave of opti-
mism which had been instrumental in creating it had reached
its height. Apalachicola, Jacksonville, and the whole line
of interior towns along the St. Augustine Road were partly
products of flush times ". Like the sea waves that eter-
nally roll in on more than a thousand miles of Florida
coast, the wave of optimism and speculation broke. The
dreadful panic of 1837-the worst in our history-found
Florida still a sparsely-settled territory built up mainly on
future hopes and sufficiently dependent upon outside capital
to share the disaster of the financial shock. The years


1 Rerick, op. cit., v. I, p. 167.


25







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


1835-36 were flush over the whole South. Cotton was
high. The banks seemed prosperous. People were extra-
vagant. "Those pictures you see of Napoleon's battles,"
remarked a Florida planter before the panic, "cost me a
whole crop of cotton." Speculation was wild. Paper
promises were abundant. Good land was cheap. "To make
more cotton, to buy more negroes, to make more cotton and
so on in a vicious circle was the rule of the planter." 2
The panic, the contraction of credit, the public distrust
of banks, and the consequent business depression which
followed the year 1837 hurt the reputation and prestige of
the banking party in Florida. It constituted by this time a
fairly well-defined political group which included some of
the wealthiest planters and slave-holders-the moneyed
aristocracy.
Governor Call, in discussing the disastrous effects of the
panic, declared that

the incorporation of banking companies without capital and
with the extraordinary privilege of raising millions of money
on the faith and responsibility of the Territory, the expanded
issues of these institutions beyond their capacity to redeem the
paper thrown by them into circulation, the great facilities af-
forded to individuals for procuring money and extending their
credit, gave to every species of property a ficticious value and
seduced even the most prudent and cautious into wild and
hazardous speculation. . The records of our courts present
a frightful picture of the indebtedness of our people, and dur-
ing the past summer some instances occurred of immense sac-
rifice of property sold under execution.3

In the struggle for the formation of a state constitution

1 Long, op. cit., p. 139.
2 Smith, op. cit., p. 321.
Rerick, op. cit., v. I, p. 165, message of Gov. iR. K. Call.


26







A SLAVE-HOLDING COMMONWEALTH


at St. Joseph in 1839 the principal points of controversy
were: i, What powers should be extended to banks? 2,
What aid should be given banks by the government ?
When the constitution was finally submitted to the people
for ratification, the contest was, primarily, between those
who favored the incorporation of banks with liberal char-
ters and who would continue government endorsement of
certain banks' securities, and those who would limit strictly
the business of banks and who would discontinue the prac-
tice of government endorsement.2 So bitter became the
contest between Democrats and Whigs that riot was threat-
ened in Tallahassee.3 The Democrats supported the pro-
posed constitution and opposed the renewal of the bank
charters.4 They declared that the capital of the Union
Bank, for instance, was insecure; that the stock had been
unevenly distributed over the territory; that its loans had
been dictated by rank favoritism; that its administration
had not been honest.5 The Whigs opposed the adoption of
the constitution and championed the banks. They were
stigmatized by their opponents as the "Federal Whig
Bankocracy who desire a division of the territory, abolition,
and faith bonds." The campaign of 1840 resulted in the
ratification of the constitution by a narrow margin, the
election of a Democratic delegate to Congress, and the
sending of a heavy Democratic majority to the territorial
legislature.7 The Whigs were beaten.

: See debate, Floridian, Jan. 5, 1839.
2 Floridian, March 9, 1839.
3 Rerick, op. cit., v. I.
4 Floridian, Aug. 3, 1839.
6 Reply of Directors, pp. 5-6.
Floridian, Apr. 4, 1840.
SFloridian, Oct. 3, I840; Rerick, op. cit., v. I, pp. 168-172. Seventeen
of the 27 delegates to the territorial legislature were Democrats. Es-


27







RECONSTRUCTION IN FLORIDA


The constitution expressly stipulated that the general
assembly shall not pledge the faith and credit of the State
to raise funds in aid of any corporation whatsoever."
Furthermore, the legislature was forbidden to pass an act
of incorporation unless with the assent of at least two-
thirds of each house," and no banking corporation could
exist composed of less than twenty individuals, a majority
of whom shall be residents of the State." No bank charter
should be granted for a longer period than twenty years
and no bank charter should be extended or renewed."
The charters of banks granted by the legislature should
" restrict such banks to the business of exchange, discount,
and deposit; and they shall not speculate or deal in real-
estate or the stock of other corporations or associations or
the merchandise or chattels or be concerned in insurance,
manufacturing, exportation or importation except of bullion
or specie." Finally, the constitution stipulated that the
capital stock of any bank should be created only by the
actual payment of specie, that no dividends of profits ex-
ceeding io per cent per annum on the capital stock paid
in should be made; that all profits above o1 per cent should
be set apart and retained as a safety fund "; and that no
president, cashier or other officer of any banking com-
pany 1 should be eligible for any state office until twelve
months after he had severed his official connection with all
banks. In regard to state control of banks this constitu-
tion was the most drastic produced in the Union before the
Civil War.
The approval of this constitution by the people meant

cambia, Walton, Jackson, Gadsden, and Madison counties went solidly
Whig and for banks. Three out of four delegates from Leon county,
the most populous in Florida, were anti-bank or Democratic.
1 H. Docs. (U. S.), 59th C., 2nd S., No. 357, v. ii (Thorpe's Constir
tutions), Const. 1838, Arts. 6 and 13.


28




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