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War, words, and the southern way

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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WAR, WORDS, AND THE SOUTHERN WAY THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION AND THE RHETORIC OF SOUTHERN HONOR By DENNIS MATTHEW STEVENSON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Dennis Matthew Stevenson

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page CHRONOLOGY................................................................................................................iv ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION...............................................................................13 3 THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES OF WHITE SOUTHERN HONOR................43 4 NATIONAL TACTICS FOR FLORIDA ACQUISITION........................................64 5 INTERMEDIARY AGENTS AND THE PROCESS OF ANNEXATION...............82 6 CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................100 WORKS CITED..............................................................................................................106 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................111 iii

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CHRONOLOGY TIMELINE FOR AMERICAN ANNEXATION OF FLORIDA November 1702 James Moore leads the South Carolina militia in an unsuccessful invasion of Florida. Spring 1740 James Oglethorpe with his South Carolina and Georgia volunteers, fails in the attempted siege of St. Augustine. September 23, 1810 A pro-American uprising begins in Baton Rouge, Spanish West Florida, prompting American intervention. 1811 1814 The Patriot War in Florida. 1812 1815 Jackson leads troops against Creeks and British along the southern frontier. March 17, 1812 The East Florida Patriots take possession of Fernandina and Amelia Island. March 25, 1812 The Patriot siege of St. Augustine begins. April 4-10, 1812 General George Mathews is removed as U.S. commissioner in East Florida and replaced by Governor David B. Mitchell. June 18, 1812 The United States declares war on Great Britain. June 18, 1812 The Senate refuses to endorse a military seizure of East Florida. July 26, 1812 The Government for the Territory of East Florida is established. September 12, 1812 The siege of St. Augustine is lifted. February 2, 1813 The Senate, for the second time, rejects a bill authorizing a military seizure of East Florida. August 30, 1813 Fort Mims massacre November 3-9, 1813 Jackson defeats the Red Sticks at Tallushatchee and Talladega. May 5, 1814 The final collapse of the Patriot effort. March 27, 1814 Jackson defeats Creek confederation at Horseshoe Bend. iv

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August 22, 1814 Jackson occupied Mobile. November 7, 1814 Jackson occupies Pensacola. December 1, 1814 January 8, 1815 Jackson defeats the British at the Battle of New Orleans. 1816 1818 First Seminole War. July 27, 1816 Duncan L. Clinch, under orders from Edmund P. Gaines and Jackson, destroys Negro Fort. July 8, 1817 Jackson signs a treaty with the Cherokees. March 15, 1818 Jackson again invades West Florida. April 6, 1818 Jackson occupies St. Marks, petitions the governor in Pensacola and threatens to punish any who aid the Seminoles. May 24, 1818 Jackson again occupies Pensacola. June 2, 1818 Victory is declared in the Seminole War. February 24, 1819 Adam-Onis treaty signed. July 17, 1821 The Florida territory is officially annexed to the United States. v

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts WAR, WORDS, AND THE SOUTHERN WAY: THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION AND THE RHETORIC OF SOUTHERN HONOR Dennis Matthew Stevenson August 2004 Chair: Jack Davis Major Department: History This thesis is an examination of rhetoric during the early nineteenth-century American acquisition campaigns in Florida. Specifically, I will analyze the role of southern values as demonstrated in expressions of honor and how those expressions affected the conduct of the various levels of involvement during the Florida annexation process. The goals for local citizens, national politicians, and federally appointed officials involved in Florida coincided in that they each actively sought territorial expansion and the expulsion of European and Native American influences. However, the differences in political circumstances, social perceptions, and levels of authority resulted in a variance application of honor in rhetoric. The local southern perceptions of honor and their adherence to violence as a means of maintaining that honor resulted in the aggression and brutality that would characterize the Florida acquisition. The ambitions of national politicians that supported annexation was stunted by political divisions and diplomatic pressures and thus the rhetoric of southern honor was used to encourage independent action in the South to force the vi

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territorial transfer. Government appointed officials were able to combine the authority of the federal government with the code of moral conduct of the South in order to force annexation past domestic opposition and foreign opponents to American expansionist efforts. The result of this combination of southern honor, federal ambition, and intermediary execution was the completion of the process of territorial transfer of the Florida territory from the Spanish colonial system to the United States. In addition, the manner in which the campaign was conducted resulted in years of racial hatred and bitter warfare that decimated the Florida Native American population and significantly altered the Florida territory. vii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Florida acquisition campaign of the early nineteenth century was an aggressive enterprise characterized by violence and brutality. The localized border war that took place between white southern Americans and the Spanish, Native American, and black maroon populations of Florida was conducted in a vindictive fashion that resulted in many years of bloody warfare. While national and international perceptions were muddled with idealistic justifications, the image of the Florida acquisition was quite different for those who were directly involved with the operations in Florida. News reports, personal correspondence, and petitions to the government concerning the various attempts to annex Florida often reflected dissimilarity between local and national ambitions. However, upon closer examination it is revealed that although the rhetoric often differed, the local and national aspirations for Florida were in accord. Moreover, opinions about the means necessary for annexation to be achieved (including tactics of aggression, intimidation, and brutality) were also agreed upon at all supporting levels of involvement. This thesis will examine the rhetoric of local activists, national politicians, and the governments intermediary agents that were involved with the American acquisition campaigns in Florida from roughly 1803 to 1821. The purpose will be to demonstrate that all three levels of involvement were consistent in the effort to forcefully expel all opposition to American ambitions from Florida. As historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown states in The Shaping of Southern Culture Language forms a crucial function in politics by creating shared meaning, perceptions, 1

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2 and reassurances among mass publics. In the case of the Florida acquisition, rhetoric that directly addressed matters of honor served as the common bond that united the South in its desire for expansion. An analysis of honor in rhetoric, according to Wyatt-Brown, must first begin with recognition of the function of persuasion. Second, one must understand the psychology and motives that drive men to take up their roles in the drama of revolt and military action. Third, one must view honor as it is related to liberty and the perceived threat to that liberty. Analyzing the Florida acquisition through Wyatt-Browns prism of honor gives one a unique perspective on what expansion meant to the white southern populations in Florida and Georgia. 1 Florida Patriot John Houston McIntosh, Georgia militia commander Major General John Floyd, and men such as William Craig, and George Perrymen are among the most visible local leaders of the anti-Spanish and anti-Native American forces in Georgia and Florida. Personal correspondences between them and with Washington are representative of expressions for the local sentiments. Aside from these figureheads, local news accounts and articles of the events use a language that served to capture the attention of the white southern population and stir them to action. Stories of theft, murder, and lawlessness in Florida inspired fear and hatred among southerners and encouraged citizens to take action to protect themselves and their honor. Looking even deeper than the specific events in Florida, newspapers printed on an almost daily basis articles and advertisements that reflected white southern hostility toward the Spanish and Indians of Florida. Advertisements for runaway slaves and stolen cattle used the rhetoric of honor to justify American aversion for the Spanish sanctuary policies, the existence of black maroon colonies, and Native American power in Florida.

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3 Wyatt-Browns formula for evaluating honor through rhetoric, when applied to the Florida acquisition, gives new insight into white southern societys motivation for territorial annexation. An analysis of the language used by the Florida Patriots and Georgia citizens who participated in the various campaigns for annexation is vital for understanding the escalation of violence that occurred during the Florida acquisition. The volatility of southern perceptions of honor dictated action in the face of insult. The history of Florida colonization is marked by the development of a bitter regional rivalry between the white Anglo settlers in the American South and the Spanish government and Native American settlements. For two hundred years, Florida was the colonial possession of Spain. During that time, the region was little more than a neglected military buffer between Spains valuable possessions in the Caribbean and the English colonies in North America. Over time, the white settlers in the British colonies of South Carolina and Georgia struggled against the Spanish and their Native American allies in Florida for land, trade rights, and slaves. The grievances voiced by the English colonists concerned two main issues. The first was the Spanish sanctuary policy that granted freedom to any English-owned slave that reached the capital city of St. Augustine. Second was the economic and military influence of Native Americans within the territory. These issues resulted in a number of regional battles that took place during the First Spanish Period (1540-1763), including James Moores invasion of 1702 and James Oglethorpes expedition of 1740. These conflicts left a legacy of hostility that would endure through to the later American annexation efforts. 2 The British period in Florida brought a brief respite in hostilities from 1763 to 1783. During that time, the colony underwent drastic changes that would have important

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4 implications for the future. The Florida bureaucracy was divided into separate East and West colonies. For the most part the British succeeded in expanding both trade and plantation productivity in the region. Southern farmers were able to expand their influence into Florida and begin the process of stabilization. However, rather than placating southern desires for land and markets, these developments only made the white southerners long for complete domination in Florida. The South saw these desires unfulfilled following the American Revolution when the Spanish regained possession of the Floridas. The Spanish continued with the British policies of economic expansion, as they could no longer financially maintain the expenses of an unproductive military outpost. The Spanish government sold large amounts of land at low prices to encourage Americans to settle in and help develop Florida. The publicity campaign brought many investors to the region. This strategy backfired, however, as white southerners repeatedly clashed with the Spanish and Native American populations. The regional rivalries that had developed decades earlier were renewed. Southern activists fought to remove the Spanish and Native Americans from Florida and annex the region to the United States so that it could be governed and settled for American interests. National efforts to seize the Florida territory for the United States began in earnest in 1800. Prior to this period, the bitter local enmities had remained only a provincial concern between white southerners, Native Americans, and the Spanish colonial government. With the ascension of the Democratic Republican party in Washington, a new era of American expansion began. Thomas Jefferson spearheaded this new drive with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. From this momentous event came various claims

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5 for American sovereignty in Florida. The United States attempted a number of legal, political, and diplomatic maneuvers to force Spain to relinquish its claims on West Florida. These methods ultimately proved ineffective and more aggressive measures were adopted. The federal government began to sponsor filibuster expeditions and internal revolutions in both East Florida and West Florida. The Baton Rouge filibuster of 1810 and the Patriot War (1811 to 1814) are examples of attempts to force annexation through these more direct and hostile tactics. As the Patriot War demonstrated, these efforts often resulted in terrible destruction and bloodshed. Despite setbacks like the Patriot War, the American government would not be deterred in its ambitions. Federal troops continued to operate in Florida side by side with southern militias. During and immediately following the War of 1812, new expeditions under Andrew Jackson fought to root out Indian resistance to American expansion. The Negro Fort campaign (1816) and the subsequent First Seminole War (1816-1818) broke the power of the Indians in Florida and convinced the Spanish to transfer its territory to American control. 3 The events of the Florida acquisition were executed at three distinct, yet interconnected levels of political sponsorship. At each level, the rhetoric of honor played an important part in the justification of forceful acquisition. At the lowest political level were the regional southern activists. This group consisted of the local leaders of the acquisition movements. One of the most influential and certainly the most vocal was John Houston McIntosh. The correspondence and petitions written by McIntosh and other likeminded individuals in Florida and in Georgia during this time give a good representation of the regional rhetoric of honor. National leaders formed the second

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6 group. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were among the most ardent supporters of the annexation efforts. Alongside the presidents were cabinet members and congressmen from southern states who lent their name and support to various operations in Florida. For these national figures, the rhetoric of honor would serve more as a tool of persuasion rather than as a means of justification. The third level constituted the intermediary actors who wielded the authority and trust of the federal government, yet shared the sentiments of the South. This level included federally appointed diplomats, commissioners, and commanders in the United States military that strongly supported annexation and used the authority granted them to carry out operations in Florida. For them, the rhetoric of honor served both as a personal expression and as a rallying call for annexation. Each group offered an important and unique contribution to the campaigns in Florida. The white citizens of the South were directly involved in all the Florida expeditions since before the Revolution. At every battle and skirmish in Florida there were southern soldiers, militiamen, and/or private citizens fighting for their interests. Most of the funding for the expeditions against the Spanish and Indians in Florida came from the state and territorial governments of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana and from private southern citizens. The South had more invested interests in the outcome of the Florida conflict than any other American group. Many Florida plantation owners were American citizens and many Georgia planters either owned land in Florida or sought to purchase property in the developing region. Southern traders wanted safe access to the rivers in Florida and resented Native American domination of the regional cattle and horse markets. Moreover, the South feared the military power of

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7 the Indian communities and the large black maroon population that lived among them. These elements were believed to threaten the lives and livelihoods of southerners and had to be suppressed. To gain support in the South, advocates for annexation conducted a massive propaganda campaign to accompany the military operations in Florida. These promotions were tremendously successful in convincing hundreds of white southerners to actively take part in the acquisition efforts, and many thousands more to support it. In order to encourage action, the rhetoric of the annexation period addressed both the Souths greed and fear. Above all, the language of expansion was steeped in the idioms of white southern honor. More than any other level of involvement, regional activists strictly adhered to a uniquely American southern code of honor that dictated their actions. The national government embodied the highest level of political supporters for acquisition. The Jeffersonian presidents were avid proponents of expansion. Jefferson wrote extensively on the subject and believed that the United States was destined to spread its morality and freedom across the western hemisphere. He also expressed his belief that only through expansion could Americans hope to defend their interests from the aggressive colonial nations and earn international legitimacy. As historians Frank Owsley Jr. and Gene Smith state, [Jefferson] believed that the only way to ensure the nations survival was by removing the obstacles prohibiting future growth, whether they were Spanish, or British, Native American or even African American. 4 At the national level, the presidents clearly represented the key figures for expansion. As Peter Onuf and Jan Lewis have argued, Jefferson personified the values and ambitions of the Revolutionary and Early Republic generation. Within the national

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8 expansionist rhetoric involving the Florida territory, Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe emerged as icons. The language used by these presidents to describe the Florida acquisition is a mix of personal philosophy and national ideology. Their use of honor in rhetoric was often shaped by political and diplomatic circumstances. National and international opinions had to be placated with more than the parochial white southern ambitions. Therefore, the national expressions of expansion embodied in the Jeffersonian presidents were often more practical minded and judicious than those of the local leaders of annexation. At times it seems that political circumstances forced those in Washington who advocated expansion to abandon their southern supporters. The continuation of action further suggests that the South conducted a war independent and virtually in defiance of the national government. However, federal officials were able to maintain control over the actions in Florida through the use of intermediary agents. These were men who were federally appointed to command positions, yet were particularly sensitive to local incentives for seizing Florida territory. Typically, these men were southern sympathizers who were placed in positions of influence so that the annexation process could continue without the political hindrances of national and international politics. The most visible examples are George Mathews, David B. Mitchell, and Andrew Jackson. These men were vital in bringing the acquisition campaigns to a successful conclusion both in terms of territorial gain and in the maintenance of political legitimacy. Historical treatment of American annexation efforts in Florida often begins with an examination of the Jefferson philosophy of expansion. As presented by Frank Owsely Jr. and Gene Smith, in Filibusters and Expansionst: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny 1800

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9 1821 (1997), this philosophy supported an aggressive policy of territorial acquisition to allow for national demographic and economic growth. President Thomas Jefferson and his successors James Madison and James Monroe believed they were destined to extend American civilization to the unsettled frontiers and to the neglected and oppressed Spanish colonies. The ideology of American Exceptionalism played an important part in the formation of this philosophy. The driving force was a vision for the future where the United States would inevitably spread its morality, freedom, and democracy over the North American continent and perhaps the entire western hemisphere. 5 In an attempt to better define Jeffersonian ideology, the term American Doctrine has become a popular catchall used by historians of early American expansionism. The American Doctrine describes the overarching ideology behind the policies for expansion of the Jeffersonian presidents. Wanjohi Waciuma, in Intervention in Spanish Floridas 1801-1813: A Study of Jeffersonian Foreign Policy (1976), clarifies this historiographical expression by identifying the key elements for the American Doctrine. These include the desire for peaceful yet continuous and progressive expansion, a general sentiment of anti-European colonialism, and a belief in the superiority of American democratic principles over the European monarchies. 6 While this slogan for historians of Jeffersonian expansion encompasses the ideological justifications behind early American imperialist gains, it does little to describe the actual process of territorial annexation. James Cusicks The Other War of 1812 and Robert Reminis Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars give a very detailed account of the events in Florida. These and other sources are excellent references and provide valuable insight into the nature of the Florida annexation. However, they lack substantial

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10 analysis of the role of honor in southern rhetoric and the necessity of rhetoric for motivating the southern populations. 7 Various sources are vital for understanding the unique nature of the Florida territory during this period. A particularly relevant work that relates to the Florida black communities and maroon societies of the second Spanish period is Richard Prices Maroon societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas Price offers a comprehensive examination of the societies of escaped slaves. He describes in detail the necessary factors for the establishment and success of a slave maroon colony. As a model, he uses the Brazilian Palmares community, the most successful and longest lasting slave maroon colony in the western hemisphere. He notes that North America was not conducive to the establishment of maroon colonies because of the physical, cultural, and political environment established under the English and American systems. Price then argues that Florida was the exception. The untamed landscape of vast swamps, woods, and lakes made it an ideal refuge for those who sought to hide from authority. Prices work is particularly useful for his assessment of the nature of Florida terrain and demography before and during the acquisition period. 8 None of these sources engage directly with the plethora of primary sources available on the Florida campaign in order to provide insight into the language used to justify the need for acquisition and to inspire support for the subsequent engagements. Examination of the letters of correspondence between national, state, and local officials, proclamations, and an endless supply of newspaper articles both for and against acquisition illustrate why Florida was viewed as vital to both national and local interests.

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11 The rhetoric of expansion aids us in understanding the motives of the distinct yet interrelated forces working toward the common goal of annexation. Citizens in the South, politicians in Washington, and generals on the battlefields of Florida were all struggling to achieve the same end. Neither a diplomatic triumph nor an outright military conquest of the region, the acquisition of Florida was a curious compromise between both. Each level of action served to aid, restrain, and at times obstruct each other in the process of acquisition. Notes 1 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 32. 2 For sources on Spanish Florida, British eighteenth-century incursions and the fortification program see John Jay TePaske, The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1964). Charles Arnade, The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1959). Larry E. Ivers, British Drums on the Southern Frontier: Military Colonization of Georgia 17331749 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974). 3 History of the Patriot War, Negro Fort campaign, Amelia Island expeditions, and the First Seminole War are covered in great detail in James Cusick, The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003); Frank Owsley Jr. and Gene Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 (Tuscaloosa: University Press of Alabama, 1997). 4 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionist 12 5 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionists 8-31. 6 Wanjohi Waciuma, Intervention in Spanish Floridas 1801-1813: A Study of Jeffersonian Foreign Policy (Boston: Branden Press Publishers, 1976), 11, 12. Waciuma defines the American Doctrine in detail. He states that Jefferson and Madison both believed that the United States would inevitably dominate the North American continent and so war was not necessary 7 Numerous contributions have been made to further exemplify early American imperialism, the Second Spanish period, and the Florida annexation. An overview of those border wars has received numerous scholarly contributions. Isaac Joslin Cox, The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813; a Study in American Diplomacy (Gloucester Mass: P. Smith, 1967); Robert V. Remini, The Battle of New Orleans (New York: Penguin Books, 1999); Ibid., Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (New York: Viking, 2001); Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia-Florida Borders, 1810-1815 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954). Together these provide a good basis for the events of the Florida

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12 acquisition. For more recent additions to the historiography see Cusick, The Other War of 1812 ; and James E. Lewis, The American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood: The United States and the Collapse of the Spanish Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). Sources for the policies of the Jeffersonian presidents and Jeffersonian ideology of expansion are numerous. Peter Onuf, Jeffersons Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000); Peter Onuf, Liberty, Development, and the Union: Visions of the West in the 1780s, William and Mary Quarterly 43, (Apr., 1986), 179-213. While not exclusively focused on expansion, other valuable sources scrutinize and evaluate the political theories of James Madison for a balance of power and liberty including the manipulation of Americas imperialistic impulses. Peter Onuf The Scholars Jefferson, William and Mary Quarterly 50, (Oct.,1993), 671-699. James Read, Our Complicated Systerm: James Madison on Power and Liberty, Political Theory, (Vol.23, 3, Aug 1995) 452-475. Colleen Sheehans The Politics of Public Opinion: James Madisons Notes on Government, William and Mary Quarterly 49, (Oct., 1992), 609-627. William Weeks, Building the Continental Empire (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1957), 30-58. Michael Kammen, So vereignty and Liberty: Constitutional Discourse in American Culture (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 101-136. 88 Richard Price, Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1979). Maroons are typically defined as runaway slaves who form communities independent of local authorities. The term maroon will be used in this thesis to refer specifically to the Black communities of Florida regardless of whether they were originally slaves or freedmen. Studies of Spanish Floridas economy and demographics are also very helpful for characterizing early American efforts for expansion in the Southeast. Jane Landers ed., Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000); Landers summarizes Floridas economic and cultural structures prior to American invasions. Landers also offers an analysis of the freedmen and maroon colonies of Florida in Jane Landers ed., The African American Heritage of Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995). For other sources for East and West Florida economies, government, and bureaucracy see Janice Borton Miller, Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada: Governor of Spanish East Florida, 1790-1795 (Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981); and David Hart White, Vicente Folch, Governor in Spanish Florida 1787-1811 (Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981). Each describes the tenuous position of the Spanish governors to maintain order despite American and British ambitions in Florida.

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CHAPTER 2 THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION Florida was largely unsettled during the acquisition period (1800 to 1821) despite over 250 years of Spanish colonization. By 1800, the Spanish had established only two towns of significance in East Florida. Fernandina was the trade center with a population of about 600 and St. Augustine was a military port with about 1500 occupants, including 450 soldiers. The northern portions of Florida were sparsely populated by citizens of the Spanish empire (many of whom were not of Spanish origin) and dotted with small forts and plantations. The underdevelopment of Florida can be attributed to its peripheral status geographically as well as economically within the Spanish colonial empire. Florida contained no gold or silver mines and was not a key trading center. The colony initially served as a military outpost and a buffer zone to protect Spains interests in the Caribbean. The Castillo San Marcos stood in defense of St. Augustine, and housed ninety-percent of the colonys soldiers. The fort had been attacked twice during the First Spanish Period (1540-1763). It was besieged in 1702 by James Moores expeditionary force from South Carolina and again in 1740 by James Oglethorpe from Georgia. Despite British ambitions to capture Florida, the Spanish largely neglected the territory for much of the colonial period. 1 West Florida was even less developed than East Florida. Pensacola was established as the capital following the bureaucratic division of the territory in 1763. The garrison at Pensacola was about half the size of St. Augustines, and the fort was too small to be effective for defense. It was not until the American acquisition efforts began in the early 13

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14 nineteenth century that the area would need any significant military force to defend the province. The two cities Mobile and Baton Rouge were little more than trading posts that linked New Orleans with the Florida interior. Trade in the region came mostly from the Native Americans who owned large horse and cattle herds. At the end of the Seven Years War, the British obtained Florida as part of the Treaty of Paris. The British maintained possession for only 20 years (1763 to 1783) but managed to make significant changes in that short time. The British found that communication throughout the colony was poor due to undeveloped road systems and indirect sea routes around the Florida Keys. Therefore, for administrative purposes, Florida was divided into two colonies (East Florida and West Florida) with the Apalachicola River as the boundary. St. Augustine remained the capital of East Florida, and Pensacola became the new capital of West Florida. 2 The British had high expectations for their newly acquired territory. Governor Grant of East Florida (appointed in 1763 and resigned in 1771) engaged in a massive publicity campaign to promote immigration. Colonial plantation owners as well as English and Scottish lords were given sizable portions of north Florida territories. It was hoped that these grants would encourage investments in plantations and slavery to expand settlement in the area. Francis Fatio, the British deputy commissary general in North America, commented in December of 1782, East Florida produced the best naval stores in all America. Both Florida colonies experienced significant development under the British system, but particularly West Florida. Pensacola surpassed St. Augustine and Mobile as the regional trading center. By 1768, the West Florida capital was receiving close to one third of the shipping that had formerly passed through Savannah. 3

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15 Despite remarkable success, the British still experienced difficulties in development. Land distribution policies at times hindered private land speculators who were willing and able to invest capital in the region. Of 114 grants issued by 1776, only 16 families had actually settled the East and West Florida colonies. Absentee landlords in England were often uninterested in developing their lands in Florida and so many plantations remained dormant or underdeveloped. 4 In 1783, as a stipulation of the Peace of Paris that followed the American Revolution, the British returned the Florida colonies to the Spanish. When Spain regained control of the Florida colonies it received a territory that was considerably more valuable than when it was lost twenty years earlier. The demographics and economics of northern Florida had been drastically altered. The most striking example of territorial development was the growth of the free black and slave populations. Studies have estimated that in 1763, blacks and mulattoes made up about ten percent of the total population of East Florida. At the time of the transfer there were approximately 100 free persons of color; and some 550 slaves had been brought from Africa or from other colonies, equaling roughly thirty-three percent of the total population. This increase was the direct result of the British plantation expansions. 5 The Spanish, upon regaining the province, attempted to continue the British system of plantation development. The territory remained split between East and West with the Indian county of Alachua encompassing much of the interior. The Spanish began to court American land speculation to encourage economic expansion. The land grant system adopted by the Spanish brought many settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas to the region. As a result, wealthy Americans such as John Houston McIntosh, Andrew

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16 Atkinson, George Fleming, and Archibald Clarke owned much of the north Florida territory. The land-grant policies would soon turn against the Spanish as many of these American-born plantation owners in Florida took part in rebellions against the Spanish in Florida in the attempt to annex the territory to the United States. The economically friendly environment provided by the desperate Florida governors would be used to the advantage of the United States for its acquisition ambitions. 6 Despite the new efforts by the Spanish to develop Florida into a profitable territory, the population remained small. Spanish and Cuban families returned and reclaimed the homes they had lost, while British loyalists were uprooted and either relocated to Jamaica or returned to England. Many other European settlers from diverse backgrounds remained in the province. In the 1780s, East Floridas population amounted to slightly less than 2,000 persons. There were approximately 450 military personnel in the St. Augustine garrison; 216 civilians from Spain, Cuba, and other Spanish possessions; 459 settlers from the Balearics, Italy, and Greece; and 217 settlers from Western Europe and the United States. By 1811, the population had doubled in size to about 3,690 persons. 7 The small population and undersized garrison of the Florida colonies demonstrated that they were still only of marginal importance within the empire. As a result of their colony being overlooked by the mother country, the governors of Florida were forced to use the resources at hand to defend their colony against American annexation ambitions. Free blacks and at times slave troops were employed in the ranks of the Spanish militia in St. Augustine to bolster the defenses. Black militias could be found throughout the Spanish empire. Florida, however, was unique in its enlistment of runaways from American plantations in Georgia and Louisiana. The slave sanctuary policy of the

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17 Spanish governors in Florida stated that any black or mulatto slave escaping from American, French, or English territory that was willing to convert to Catholicism and aided in the defense of Florida would receive sanctuary among the Spanish in St. Augustine. Although the official sanctuary policy ended in Florida by 1790, the harboring of fugitive slaves in St. Augustine and Pensacola continued unofficially throughout the remaining years of Spanish occupation. 8 Another resource of defense was the substantial Native American population in Florida. While the Spanish and British had struggled to encourage settlement in the Florida colonies, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek tribes that had emigrated from Georgia and the Louisiana and Alabama territories had established a thriving community. The original native societies, such as the Calusa and the Ais (also know as the Costa) tribes that had inhabited Florida prior to the Spanish conquest had almost completely disappeared by the mid-eighteenth century. The Indians in Florida by the nineteenth century were mostly Hitchitee (Seminoles) and Ochese (Creek) tribes that had immigrated to Florida to escape English and American land encroachment. The Hitchitee were actually a loose confederation of the Apalachicolas, Yamasees, and Uchees, along with newer groups like the Tallahassees, Oconees, and Mikasukis. White settlers tended to lump them together as Seminoles. An overall weak presence by European settlers in Florida allowed these Native American tribes to prosper. Following the British occupation of Florida (1763-1783) until the outbreak of the First Seminole War (1816-1818), the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, and Choctaws occupied a large portion of the Florida interior. Influential leaders such as Billy Bowlegs, William McIntosh, and Chief Payne became wealthy from cattle rearing and trade with the Spanish. 9

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18 The Native Americans, like their European and American counterparts, maintained slave-owning societies. They purchased many of their slaves from English, Spanish, and American traders. A significant number of Africans in Creek society, however, had escaped from American territory or were captured during raids on Georgia and Florida plantations. At times, escaped slaves would be returned, but often they were incorporated into Indian society. It was recognized by American slaveholders that blacks preferred the less-restrictive form of slavery offered by the Creeks and Seminoles rather than the chattel slavery practiced in America. 10 Not all Africans among the Seminoles were slaves. Many lived as freedmen or as tenant farmers among the tribes. The number of Africans who lived among the Native Americans is difficult to surmise. Various accounts from both the First and Second Seminole War (1835-1842) suggest that the population ranged from 300 to 700 African combatants among the Seminoles. However, these estimates were often the products of military reconnaissance and did not include women and children; nor did they mention fugitives among the non-combatants in Florida. At times these numbers did not differentiate between slaves purchased by the natives and runaways from white settlements. 11 Historian Daniel Littlefield provides an analysis of the Carolina and Georgia runaway records in the hope of yielding a more accurate demographic assessment of the black Seminole population. His estimates show that the number of runaways never amounted to more than one percent of the entire African population of South Carolina. Of that one percent, less than five percent were able to avoid recapture (Littlefield approximates the number to be about .03 percent of the southern slave population). This

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19 small percentage meant that in the nineteenth century the South lost an average of about 1,011 slaves a year. It is impossible to determine how many of them reached Florida, however. Spanish manumission cases give some vague indication of the volume of fugitives that reached St. Augustine. No such records exist for runaways who joined up with the Creeks or Seminoles. 12 The nature of the relationship between the Spanish, the Indians, and the maroons in Florida is unclear. It is known that prior to the American acquisition, the Creeks and their free black counterparts enjoyed a mutually beneficial affiliation with the Spanish. Spains sovereignty in Florida provided diplomatic legitimacy in the eyes of foreign powers, a luxury the native societies were never granted. In return the Creek nations and maroon villages bolstered the otherwise weak Spanish military presence. Sources dealing with this relationship at times overstate the link between the neighboring societies in Florida. It has been suggested that the Creeks were allied with the Spanish crown against the British and later against the United States. This is an overstatement of the nature and the depth of the Spanish/Indian relationship. No official alliance was formed, as even the Spanish did not recognize the tribes as sovereign nations. The Spanish presence, however, was undoubtedly favorable for the Indians. By living within Spanish territory they were able to enjoy a form of diplomatic protection from American ambitions. 13 By 1808, the raging peninsular war in Europe left the Spanish government impotent to defend its colony. Therefore, the Florida governors were forced to rely upon Seminole and maroon warriors for defense. The Spanish governors maintained friendly relations with the tribal leaders by sending annual gifts. In return, the Indians and maroons fought with the Spanish to repel the American invasions of the acquisition period.

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20 American ambitions in Florida began with the countrys founding. Various independent expeditions attempted to capture the territory between 1780 and 1800. For the most part, these had little impact on the Florida territory or on the South as a whole. Florida acquisition became a national issue with the ascension of Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans to the presidency in 1800. The Jeffersonian philosophy of expansion, as described by historians Owsley and Smith, was the determination to acquire North American territory at the expense of the European colonial nations without involving the United States in costly wars. The Florida colonies were tempting targets in that the Spanish government was weak and unlikely to provide significant resistance. The United States at first attempted to exploit a legal claim for portions of West Florida. The grounds for these legal claims began with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When France temporarily claimed all Spanish territory in North America following the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, it subsequently sold the Louisiana territory to the United States. Historians have demonstrated that it was never the intentions of the Spanish government to cede parts of the West Florida territory to Napoleon and thus France could not then transfer it to the United States. At the time, James Monroe was serving as both the Minister to Great Britain and the Special Envoy to France negotiating the terms of the Louisiana Purchase. A letter to Monroe from Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, the French diplomat who negotiated the terms of the Louisiana transfer, explicitly mapped the boundary between Louisiana and West Florida. Evidence suggests that this information was readily available to both Jefferson and his secretary of states James Madison. As historian James Cusick points out, Timothy Pickering of Massachusetts embarrassed his colleagues [the Republican congressmen] by producing

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21 French documents denying that West Florida had ever been a part of the Louisiana Purchase. Regardless of the evidence to the contrary, Jefferson and various congressmen continued to argue that West Florida was in fact included in the transfer of land from Spain to France and subsequently to the United States. 14 Despite limited success, a general recognition of a link between West Florida and the Louisiana Purchase failed to materialize. When Madison took office in 1808, the issue was finally dropped and a more aggressive strategy was adopted. Madison attempted to demonstrate that Spains military weakness was a threat to American security. Americans were thus justified in demanding the territorial transfer. On September 23, 1810, a pro-American uprising took place in the Spanish city of Baton Rouge. Armed American rebels who called themselves Patriots revolted against the local government and took Governor Carlos de Lassus and the small city garrison as hostages. Three days later, the rebels declared the territory surrounding Baton Rouge the Independent Province of West Florida. The purpose of this temporary governing body was to provide a legitimate basis to petition for annexation of the territory to the United States. A month later, on October 27, Madison officially announced his intentions to occupy the area in the interest of maintaining law and order in the territory and along the American border. 15 Interpretations of the events of the Baton Rouge filibuster campaign are varied. It has been claimed that by annexing the Baton Rouge territory, Madison was not solely interested in acquiring new territory, but was more concerned with preventing a more powerful European nation from doing so. Owsley and Smith describe Madisons perspective on the rebellion of Baton Rouge:

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22 Military occupation of Spanish territory would incur the wrath of not only Spain but perhaps even England and France. Madison feared that should the government not aid West Florida, there would be danger of its passing into the hands of a third and dangerous party. . Rumors of the impending arrival of Spanish troops from Cuba or Vera Cruz, combined with fabricated accounts of a British landing at Pensacola and stories of American adventures seizing additional Spanish territory, forced Madison to take action before Congress convened. 16 In this passage, Madison is depicted as the savior of the Patriots from both British occupation and Spanish retribution, but also as the defender of law and order in a territory the Spanish could not adequately control. When the uprising occurred, Madison intervened to contain the rebellion. The president took the initiative and ordered troops from New Orleans to occupy the area and protect American interests as well as to prevent an escalation of violence. Cusick challenges this idealized image of intervention. He and other historians have suggested an alternative interpretation for the events surrounding the Baton Rouge annexation. American subversives sponsored by state officials and encouraged by Washington incited the rebels to take action against the Spanish and declare their allegiance to the United States. Governor David Holmes and Governor Charles Claiborne, of the Mississippi and New Orleans territories respectively, received instructions from Secretary of State Robert Smith to prepare the way for American occupation of West Florida many months prior to the rebellion. Governor Holmes was charged with gathering information concerning the populations loyalties to the Spanish and to spread information about Americas determination to incorporate the area into the Union. Governor Claiborne was ordered to keep the New Orleans militia in a state of readiness so as to act quickly at the first sign of an uprising. The Baton Rouge annexation was conducted to perfection. While Madison and Smith were unable to

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23 convince the West Florida government to cede the territory in its entirety, American forces occupied Baton Rouge without military or diplomatic conflict. Neither Spain nor Britain could confirm the existence of and thus offer protest for the involvement of American agents in the provocation of the rebels. 17 Whether American government agents were directly involved or not, the flawless execution of the Baton Rouge filibuster buoyed Madisons hopes for a quick and painless annexation of the remaining Florida territory. If a similar coup d'tat could be attempted in Pensacola and St. Augustine, the United States could conceivably lay claim to all Florida. General George Mathews, a Revolutionary War veteran as well as a former Georgia governor and representative to Congress, was chosen to conduct the campaign to capture East Florida. Senator William Crawford, a warhawk from Georgia who had personally selected Mathews to lead the filibuster expedition, took charge of operations from Washington. As Governor Holmes had done in Baton Rouge, Mathews was to conduct subversive operations to encourage Americans in East Florida to rebel against the Spanish in St. Augustine and declare themselves patriots of the United States. Crawford and Mathews brought the powerful regional conflict to the forefront of what had been thus far a federally controlled campaign for annexation. The result would be an escalation from diplomacy and politics to violent expeditions and invasions of Florida. 18 The transition from covert federal ambitions to a more localized struggle for the annexation of Florida is not entirely clear. There are many features that overlap. What is evident is that from the outset of Mathewss involvement the situation became much more unstable. The Patriots of East Florida, like their West Florida counterparts, were the white settlers in Florida that claimed to be citizens of the United States. They formed

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24 an alliance with the Georgia militia to oust the Spanish and establish an independent republic of East Florida. Their goal was then to cede the territory to the United States as was done in the Baton Rouge territory. Unfortunately for Madison and the Patriots of Florida, the ease with which Baton Rouge had fallen was unlikely to occur in East Florida. Of the Spanish soldiers in St. Augustine it was estimated that less than half were ready for active duty. However, the garrison was more than three times the size of that stationed in Baton Rouge. John Houston McIntosh described the Castillo de San Marcos as, that impregnable castle of St. Augustine [that] would render abortive any attempt which a handful of men, without artillery and proper resources, might make, to revolutionize the Province. Another complication for Mathews was that the political situation was much more favorable for Spain in 1811 than it had been in 1810. In December of 1810, Governor Vicente Folch of Pensacola had written to Madison expressing his willingness to surrender the entire colony to the United States. Spanish authorities of Pensacola, as in Baton Rouge, preferred annexation to the United States to becoming a British or French satellite. By 1811, with Napoleon unable to subdue the Iberian Peninsula, the colonial governments had begun holding out hope for retaining the territories. The prospect of reinstating King Ferdinand to power in Spain emboldened Governor Vicente Folch in Pensacola and the newly appointed Governor Juan Jose de Estrada in St. Augustine to resist American advances. 19 Despite these obstacles, Mathews was resolved in his course of action. Beginning in July of 1811, Mathews gathered support from local plantation owners in Florida. With promises of support from the United States government, he convinced John Houston

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25 McIntosh to lead the Americans in Florida in a rebellion. Mathews then recruited volunteers and raised a personal army with funds allotted to him by the federal government and Georgia state legislature. In less than a year, Mathews gathered 125 volunteers from the area surrounding St. Marys. He also secured a commitment from Georgias Governor David B. Mitchell to maintain the state militia in readiness along the Florida border. In addition, two lieutenants in the U.S. army, Daniel Appling and Elias Stallings, conspired to desert the service of the United States with the seventy-five men under their command and join McIntoshs Patriots at the mouth of the St. Johns River. Commodore Hugh Campbell volunteered the service of three naval gunboats to aid in patrolling the coast and preventing a Spanish counterattack. In March of 1812, Mathews organized the Georgia volunteers and launched his invasion. A combination of Mathewss infantry and cavalry recruits, a squadron of naval gunboats commanded by Campbell, and the Florida rebels under McIntosh overwhelmed the Spanish along the northeast coast of Florida. Within a week, his forces captured and occupied St. Marys, Amelia Island, and Fernandina without firing a shot. 20 McIntoshs Patriots with Mathewss filibusters quickly swept through the outlying Spanish defenses. The momentum of this initial success was not to last, however, as Governor Estrada refused to surrender the fort at St. Augustine. Both sides suffered their first casualties of the conflict upon the arrival of the rebels to the East Florida capital. The Patriots subsequently settled in for a siege. Although Madison authorized the dispatching of regular troops under Colonel Thomas Smith to aid the Patriots, the threat of an impending war with Britain meant that federal support would be limited. The

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26 Patriots could not blockade St. Augustine; thus the Spanish garrison received regular stores and supplies from the sea. The prospect of an easy victory began to dissipate. The Spanish commanders during the Patriot War required the aid of Indian and maroon warriors to repel the American invaders and quell the rebels. Madisons secret plot to annex East Florida in the same manner in which Baton Rouge had been occupied was well known to the Spanish officials in St. Augustine. Having been tipped off by McIntosh prior to his decision to turn rebel, Governor Estrada made preparations for a military response to American aggression. He consolidated his available troops and requisitioned for reinforcements from Cuba. The campaign was well under way by the time reinforcements arrived from Cuba. The Patriots had already occupied the town of St. Augustine and begun to besiege the Castillo. Even after Governor Sebastian Kindelan y ORegan arrived with a large contingent of black troops from Cuba, the Spanish still lacked the forces necessary to repel the invaders. Despite a spirited resistance, they were unable to break the siege and the battle settled into a stalemate. It was not until the Seminoles of Alachua entered the conflict and declared their allegiance to the Spanish that the Patriots were defeated in Florida. Seminole support for the Spanish proved disastrous for the Patriot cause. This unforeseen opposition and the violence that followed illustrated two important points to the American government. First, with the aid of the Alachua Indians, the Spanish were more willing and capable of defending the Florida territories than had been previously assumed. Second, much of the Spanish power in the region came from the Seminole and maroon populations. 21

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27 The Spanish did not have the military might or the desire to disturb the Indian territories of the Florida interior and had maintained friendly relations. However, the Seminoles remembered full well the policies of the American and Georgia governments that had forced them off their land and into Spanish Florida. Understanding the danger posed by American annexation, the Seminoles were prepared to defend the province from the Patriot rebels and the Georgia invaders. When the Patriot War erupted, the Seminoles initially declared themselves neutral, but they were divided in that decision. Chief Payne, a Seminole leader, advocated neutrality. He considered the Patriot War to be a confrontation between white men in which Indians should not be involved. Paynes brother Billy Bowlegs encouraged the Seminoles to enter into the conflict. Fearful of Georgian intentions for occupied Florida and insulted by Mathews when the General had warned the tribes to stay out of the conflict, Bowlegs was determined not to allow the Patriots of Florida to succeed in their attempts at annexation. 22 By July 26, 1812, when the Alachua Seminoles officially entered the fray, the Patriot War was almost entirely a localized effort. Georgia Governor David B. Mitchell replaced General Mathews as commander of the Georgia militia expeditionary forces. While small detachments of regular troops would return to fight the Seminoles, nearly all the federal military forces had been pulled out of Florida in favor of the Canadian frontier war against the British. In June of 1812 and again in February 1813, the Senate rejected the proposal for a federally supported military seizure of East Florida. The United States cut off the rebels in Florida from all financial, military, and diplomatic aid. With the private backing of wealthy Florida and Georgia planters like McIntosh and Craig, along

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28 with militia commanders such as General John Floyd, the rebels would continue fighting in Florida for nearly two more years in hopes of achieving American federal recognition and support for the war. The only aid that came to them was from Governor Mitchell and the Georgia state legislature. Georgia was essentially fighting the war on its own. Yet the conflict would continue for nearly two more years with private backing and local volunteer armies. By mid-1814, despite protests from southern politicians, Madison officially denounced all attempts to establish an East Florida Republic. With the hope of national recognition dashed, the Patriot effort finally petered out. 23 The Seminole involvement and political protests were a important factors for the failure of the Patriot effort in East Florida. While Madison and the warhawks of Congress had initially supported Mathews and the Georgia militia with U.S. regular troops, supplies, and finances, the engagements between the Patriots and the Spanish and the involvement of the Seminoles threatened to bog down into a military quagmire. The battles in East Florida had become an embarrassment to the Madison administration as northern newspapers railed against southern aggressions towards the neutral Spanish colony. 24 Along with the Seminole involvement, Floridas large free black population living among a powerful Indian society greatly altered the nature of the frontier struggle. Georgias population in 1810 was close to forty percent black slaves. South Carolinas slave population was almost equal to that of the white population. The South was in very real danger of a servile insurrection and thus whites feared a strong free black population so close to its border. As the United States went to war with Britain, the threat of an insurrection took on yet another element of danger. The sponsorship of the Florida

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29 maroons by the British military meant that what was at first a fear of rebellion was now coupled with fear of invasion. 25 In the latter period of the War of 1812, national focus would again turn towards Florida. The early stages of Americas war against Britain were fought on the Canadian frontier. By 1814, the British hoped to open a new front along the southern border as part of a new grand strategy of attack. The three-pronged assault on the United States would include coordinating an invasion from Canada against Detroit, an amphibious landing at Baltimore, and the occupation of New Orleans. The British hoped to stretch the American war effort beyond its limits and choke the United States into submission. By 1814, with the burning of Washington and the blockading of the Atlantic coast, America was facing defeat at the hands of British power liberated by Napoleons defeat in Europe. All the while Georgia citizens were watching the development of this new threat across their southern border. With the end of the Patriot War, Britain hoped to enlist the aid of the Seminole tribes and the maroons in Florida for an invasion of the South. The suspicions of a European-supported invasion by maroons and a potential slave revolt were quickly materializing into reality. These fears were not unfounded. Many British officials believed the large slave population of the South to be a potentially valuable asset for their war effort. J. P. Morier, the British charge d affaires, had commented to that effect in a letter to Lord Wellesley concerning Madisons mobilization to occupy Baton Rouge. He suggested that the British occupy New Orleans and use Spanish black regiments from Havana to inspire a slave rebellion throughout the South. A similar strategy was the basis of the southern

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30 campaign of 1815 under Vice Admiral Forrester Cochrane to be launched from Jamaica and using Pensacola as a staging point. 26 The British tactic of encouraging runaways to escape to Florida enraged the slave states. To make the danger all the more real, the British had established a fort along the Apalachicola River for the purpose of housing, arming, and training fugitive slaves and Seminole Indians to make war upon the United States. The fort was in Spanish territory but was occupied by British officials and troops. The Spanish and the British did not acknowledge the existence of the fort until the cessation of hostilities, but rumors of it spread throughout Georgia and the Louisiana territory. In addition to Negro Fort, numerous fugitive settlements were established along the Suwannee River. 27 The British efforts in Florida marked the beginning of the final phase in the Florida annexation with a new leader at its head. Andrew Jackson, major general for the Tennessee militia during the Creek War, avenger of the massacre of American civilians at Fort Mims, general of the American forces at New Orleans, and commander charged with the defense of the southern frontier, was the next to embark on an expedition to eradicate the threat posed by the Indians and maroons in Florida. Jackson successfully battled the Creek tribes for two years in southern Georgia and Alabama. He had broken the power of the Indian confederation in the region of southern Louisiana and West Florida at the battles of Talladega and Horseshoe Bend in late 1813 and early 1814 respectively and sent his enemy retreating into the interior of Florida. 28 Before the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson had repeatedly invaded Spanish territory to prevent the British from establishing a base of operations. He captured Pensacola, the Spanish West Florida capital city, and drove off the British stationed there. The

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31 correspondence between Jackson with Secretary of War John Armstrong and other Washington D.C. politicians, reveals Washingtons concern about involving the United States in another conflict with Spain by not respecting its neutrality. Jackson, however, determined that the Spanish had forfeited their neutral stance by allowing British troops to use Florida as a staging area. Jackson attacked and occupied Pensacola on November 8, 1814. Pensacola was subsequently returned to the Spanish once Jackson had determined that the British were no longer a threat in the region. 29 Following the War of 1812, the British withdrew their troops from Florida. The maroon allies they had employed, however, remained defiant. The military disposition of Samuel Jervis, a British sergeant stationed in Florida during the war under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Nicholls, gave the first accounts and acknowledgment by the British of the existence of the maroon stronghold known as Negro Fort. Jervis reported that 300 to 400 Africans populated the fort on the Apalachicola River in Spanish Florida; many were runaway slaves or had been captured by the British in Louisiana. Nicholls, a British agent to the maroons and Seminole tribes, had supplied them with four cannons and a cache of over 300 small arms. At the close of the war, the British abandoned the fort, but many of the maroons remained. Citizens of Georgia and South Carolina demanded that the American government take action to eradicate the renegades on the Apalachicola and return the fugitives to their masters. 30 Though the British abandoned them to fend for themselves, the maroons still declared themselves subjects of the English crown. Convinced that the British would return to defend them, the maroons refused to abandon the fort at Prospect Bluff. Edmund Pendleton Gaines, Adjutant General under Jacksons command, was dispatched

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32 to conduct a reconnaissance mission to assess the danger posed by the maroons to the Georgia and Louisiana borders, the trade route along the Apalachicola, and to gauge the forts defensive capability. In his letter to Jackson, Gaines reported on the topographical layout of the area as well as the most accessible means for assault. He estimated the force within the fort to be close to three hundred. 31 Like Jackson, the citizens of the South were eager for action. Southern newspapers protested the continued existence of Negro Fort as a direct threat to the nations security. Many white southerners feared that not only would the fort encourage more slaves to escape, but also that the maroons would join the Indians in raiding border towns and plantations. Crawford, now Secretary of War and more active than ever in the defense of the South, wrote a letter to Jackson to convince him of the need to petition the Spanish governor in Pensacola before taking action against Negro Fort. A demonstration of faith in the Spanish might repair some of the damage done over the past decade to the relations between the two countries. 32 However, the Spanish governors in Florida proved to be unresponsive to American pleas for action. They did what they did best when faced with a difficult decision; they stalled. When Jackson petitioned Mauricio de Zuniga, military governor of Pensacola, demanding that the Spanish act to disperse the rebels and that they intervene to prevent more escaped slaves from reaching the fort, the answer he received was that the West Florida militia could not act until the governor had received confirmation from Spain. Zuniga did, however, in a return correspondence, indicate that the rebels were of genuine concern to his government and that he feared for the safety of Pensacola and Spanish plantations in the area. Whether this was an implicit plea for action or simply

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33 meant to placate the Americans is unclear. Nevertheless, Jackson took this to mean that the Spanish were willing to allow him to move against Negro Fort, or at least they would not attempt to stop him. Without waiting for a response from Washington, Jackson ordered his subordinate Lieutenant Colonel Duncan L. Clinch to destroy the fort. 33 The operation to destroy the fort was brief. Yet the repercussions would have a lasting impact on American involvement in Florida. The reports from soldiers present at the destruction of Negro Fort indicate that the maroons had intended to resist to the last man and would not surrender. Clinchs letter to Colonel R. Butler, the Adjutant General for the division of the South, dated August 2, 1816, describes the details of the combat that took place at Negro Fort. He outlined his general strategy and the execution of the campaign from the early skirmishes with the maroons in the surrounding woodlands to the eventual bombardment and reduction of the fort. In Clinchs account, the determination of the forts occupants to resist is made clear. 34 The destruction of the fort was total. By all accounts, it was completely destroyed when a heated shot from a naval vessel involved in the assault struck the forts munitions storage facility and ignited the powder within. The result was a massive explosion that engulfed the defenders in a horrendous firestorm killing 270. An eyewitness, Private Marcus Buck, described the scene as hellish and ghastly. Sixty-four survivors were captured following the explosion, many of them wounded. 35 In less than two years, East Florida had endured a destructive rebellion, constant raids from both Americans and Indians, and the destruction of Negro Fort. As a result of the violence, the towns of Fernandina and St. Augustine had become islands of Spanish sovereignty in a sea of anarchy. The Patriot War had left the countryside in ruins. In

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34 subsequent years more than 200 families sought restitutions for damages incurred during the rebellion, practically the entire free population of the province under Spanish rule. Plantations were burned, homes were destroyed, and many settlers of East Florida were forced to emigrate from the colony or to relocate to the Spanish cities. As the garrison at St. Augustine returned to its pre-rebellion composition of mostly retirees and invalids, the East Florida colony quickly degenerated into a lawless territory, virtually free from Spanish control. East Floridas coast became an ideal target for privateers and smugglers. By 1817, Amelia Island and the city of Fernandina became a hub of illegal trade activity and piracy. 36 The two figures were prominent in East Florida during this time, Gregor MacGregor and Luis Aury. MacGregor was a Scottish nobleman turned privateer for General Francisco de Miranda of Venezuela. In early 1817, MacGregor began a campaign in the United States very similar to the one conducted years earlier by Mathews. Like Mathews, he determined to conduct a filibuster campaign and attempt to force the Spanish government to relinquish their claims to East Florida. He recruited volunteers and solicited financial backing for his campaign throughout the southern United States. Washington was now controlled by the Monroe administration in which John Q. Adams headed the state department. Adams gave little credence to MacGregors schemes, but he did not directly oppose his efforts. MacGregor launched his expedition into East Florida in June of 1817. Through a minor display of power and a more potent propaganda campaign, MacGregor captured the Spanish city of Fernandina on Amelia Island on June 28, 1817. He immediately declared an independent government of Amelia Island. While his plans included conquest and occupation of all of East Florida, he

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35 lacked both sufficient military resources and support from the locals to complete his campaign. His position quickly deteriorated as his soldiers began raiding the countryside for supplies. On 9 September of that same year, MacGregor left Amelia Island to conduct a recruiting mission throughout the West Indies in hopes of raising an army capable of overrunning East Florida and expelling the Spanish. 37 MacGregor never returned to Amelia Island, but the Spanish were still unable to retake Fernandina. Jared Irwin, placed in command during MacGregors absence, managed to maintain a defensive position protected by a superior naval force. This situation became much more unstable with the arrival of Aurys forces of black and mulatto corsairs. Aury was a mulatto who had served with the French navy before deserting and turning to piracy. Aury had joined up with the revolutionary government in Mexico and had a brief stint as military governor of Texas before seeking his fortune on the east coast of Florida. The American forces left by MacGregor stood at odds with Aurys French privateers, but in the end, Aury took control of the island without violence. Like MacGregor before him, Aury proclaimed the independent government of Amelia Island, known as The Republic of Florida, and was elected governor. By this time the remaining population consisted almost solely of American adventurers, French privateers, and English and Spanish smugglers. The local citizens had, for the most part, fled the island. 38 The presence of Aurys force, famously described as a set of desperate and bloody dogs by the New Orleans Gazette and other newspapers throughout the South, evoked fears reminiscent of the Negro Fort crisis. In many cases, this fear was justified, as Aury was first and foremost a pirate, not a liberator or a revolutionary. Aurys position at

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36 Fernandina was the ideal location to attack Spanish shipping. During his brief stay that began in September and ended abruptly in late in November of 1817, Aury amassed nearly half a million dollars worth of shipping prizes and seized commodities. 39 Aurys government epitomized the lawlessness in East Florida. The Spanish were unsuccessful in removing him by military force and unable to break the blockade of shipping he maintained on the east coast. Aurys navy had become a menace to both Spanish and American shipping. Rumors of Aury violating the U.S. ban on the foreign slave trade, and tales of raiding parties sent out from Amelia Island and crossing the Georgia border compelled the United States take action. In December of 1818, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun ordered General Gaines to occupy Fernandina and remove the piratical republic. With the arrival of American military forces under the command of Colonel Bankhead, Aury surrendered his command and was evacuated peacefully. The United States laid claim to the island and officially annexed it in the interest of maintaining stability on the border. 40 Ironically, these late filibustering expeditions, despite being denounced by both the Spanish and the American government, had achieved their initial goal of annexing territory to the United States. The Amelia Island campaigns were also significant in demonstrating that the Spanish were no longer capable of providing resistance against rebel governments or American ambitions. This would prove vital for mustering in the final stage of acquisition in which Jackson would continue his war against the Seminoles with an utter disregard to Spanish sovereignty. Jacksons attack on Negro Fort sparked the First Seminole War. An article printed in a Milledgeville newspaper referred to rumors about bands of Indian and black raiders

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37 coming from Florida to attack citizens in Alabama and Georgia. The author suspected that these bands were made up of recent runaways from Georgia as well as those who had escaped the destruction of Negro Fort, all of whom sought vengeance against the United States. Despite the decimation of the maroon population at Negro Fort, Gaines still estimated that some 400 to 600 hostile black soldiers were among the Seminoles in Florida. Gaines and his subordinate Lieutenant Colonel Duncan L. Clinch, under Jacksons command, continued to battle the Seminoles and maroons in Florida for another two years. All the while, the Spanish were helpless to stop the American campaign through their colony. When Jackson occupied Pensacola yet again in June of 1818, he made off with 110 slaves that he claimed were runaways from New Orleans. This claim was never legitimized and was vehemently protested by the Spanish. Their complaints were largely ignored as Jackson continued to battle across Florida suppressing the Indians and rounding up fugitives. 41 The First Seminole War demonstrated once and for all Spains incapacity to enforce law in Florida. Once it was made clear that the Florida governors would not directly intervene to defend their own territorial rights or their maroon allies, Jackson unreservedly ignored Spanish sovereignty. The governors themselves realized the futility of Spains claim to Florida and reluctantly relinquished the territory to the United States. The Ons-Adams Treaty of 1819 (ratified in 1821) was very much the product of Jacksons actions in Florida. What is equally important was the seemingly independent nature of his actions. Jackson was able to dominate the Washington politicians during the execution of his Florida campaign to an even greater extent than either Mathews or Mitchell had before him. Washington was forced by popular opinion to support

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38 Jacksons Seminole War through to its conclusion. Andrew Jackson was a national figure as well as a southern hero. Whereas Mathews was eventually disgraced and denounced by the Madison administration, Jacksons popularity forced the federal government to support his actions despite the danger he posed to Americas international relations. With a national figure leading the southern cause, the Florida annexation was seen through to its final conclusion. 42 As demonstrated by the various campaigns, the process of annexation was often violent and brutal. This is indicative of the regional animosities that existed during the Florida acquisition period. The white population of Georgia and the Patriots of Florida were unconcerned with diplomatic solutions or the appearance of civility toward an enemy they viewed as dishonorable and treacherous. The popular opinion was that the maroons, Indians, Spanish, and British had each challenged the Souths legal and moral rights (and by consequence their honor) by desecrating their homes and robbing them of their property. This aspect was played upon by southern advocates for annexation in order to justify the nature of their campaigns. Notes 1 Population figures for Spanish Florida are found in James Cusick, Other War of 1812, 41. For sources on Spanish Florida, British 18th century incursions and the fortification program see John Jay TePaske, The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1964); Charles Arnade, The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1959); Larry E Ivers, British Drums on the Southern Frontier: Military Colonization of Georgia 1733-1749 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974). 2 Charles Mowat, East Florida as a British Province 1763-1784 (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1943), 153-154. 3 Francis Philip Fatio to Major Morrison, December 14, 1782, Considerations on the Importance of the Province of East Florida to the British Empire, Great Britain Public Records Office, Colonial Office (papers), 5/560 December 14, 1782, London, 911-918; Mowat, East Florida as a British Province 17631784 153-160.

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39 4 A good example of the British land grant policy stunting development in Florida is the Gordon family. Adam Gordon was a British citizen who had purchased land in 1763 from the Spanish in Florida in anticipation of the British occupation. Gordons lands were subsequently confiscated by the British governor Colonel Grant and divided among established plantation owners in Florida. War broke out in America while Gordon was in England petitioning Parliament and the king. As a result, his estates in Georgia and Carolina were lost as well. This case is housed in the South Carolinian Library Adam Gordon Collection (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1793). The attempts of British Governor Grant in Florida attempting to encourage an expansion of slave settlement and plantation development is depicted in, Daniel Schafer, Settlement in War Climates Must be Formed by Negroes: Slavery in British East Florida (Jacksonville: University of North Florida, 2003), photocopied. 5 Theodore G. Corbett, The Problem of Household in the Second Spanish Period, Samuel Proctor ed. Eighteenth-Century Florida: The Impact of the American Revolution (University Press of Florida: Gainesville, 1978), 50. 6 McIntoshs estates are described in detail in Edith Duncas Johnston, The Houstons of Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1950), 21-35, 343-370. McIntosh describes his estates as well as the estates of a number of other American landowners in Florida in his letter Communication to the Editors, National Intelligencer July 2, 1823. 7 J. Barton Starr, Left as a Gewgaw, The Impact of the American Revolution on British West Florida, found in Samuel Proctor ed., Eighteenth Century Florida (University Press of Florida: Gainesville, 1978), 14; Cusick, The Other War of 1812 41. 8Ferdinand VI. Real cdula September 24, 1750, (AGI Madrid). This decree from Ferdinand VI is the first implementation of the Spanish sanctuary policy. The Audiencia in Spain ended the sanctuary policy but it did not become official policy of Florida to return fugitive slaves until the signing of Treaty b etween the United States and the Seagrove-White Accord on Fugitive Slaves, signed by Enrique White the governor of East Florida and James Seagrove, May 19, 1797. 9 For information on the Calusa tribes and their conquest by the Spanish see Kurt Griesshaber, Calusa and Spaniard (Bonita Springs Florida: Museum of Historical Research, 1970); Byron D. Voegelin, South Florida's vanished people; travels in the homeland of the ancient Calusa (Fort Myers Florida: Island Press, 1972). The best illustrations we have for Creek and Cherokee migrations southward are the military maps published by the various occupiers of the Florida territories. The maps published during the British era (1763-1783) specifically show territory claimed by the Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw Indians in what is today Southern Georgia and Alabama. They did not occupy northern Florida until towards the end of the American Revolution. The best illustration of this is Joseph Purcell, Map of the Southern Indian District of North America 1772 (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress; Division of Maps, 1932), 228. Maps published later, such as the military campaign maps of Adjutant General Thomas Sydney Jesup show the campaign against the Seminoles taking place near Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. See Joel R Poinsett, Map of the Seat of War In Florida (Washington City: National Archives Bureau of Topographical Engineers), 1838. For information on the formation of the Seminole confederation see Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars 131-132. 10The Georgia Gazette has numerous examples of slaves captured and brought to workhouses by Creek Indians, Slave Brought To Workhouse [Michael]. August 10, 1768, Slave Brought to Workhouse [Issac] June 21, 1775 and Two Slaves Brought to Workhouse [names unknown] March 28, 1770. The Native American form of slavery often was very liberal in allowing slaves to own small plots of land and raise their own crops. Slaves were generally seen as a lower social class rather than beasts of burden. Chattel slavery in the United States was conducted in a far more restrictive and brutal fashion. For sources on the transition of American slavery from freeholder to chattel slavery see M. Eugene Sirmans. The Legal Status of the Slave in South Carolina, 1670-1740. Journal of Southern History Vol. 28 (1962) 462-73, Peter H Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 to the Stono Rebellion (New York: Random House, 1974), 51-52 and William H. Simmons, Notices of East Florida.

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40 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1973). The Simmons book is a reprinting of a cultural study of the Seminole tribes of Florida written by a pioneer settler and early commissioner for the territory. 11 Edmund Pendleton Gaines to General Andrew Jackson May 14, 1816, The Papers of Andrew Jackson Vol. 4. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980), 31-31 and Edmund P. Gaines to General Andrew Jackson, Ibid, 151. Gaines estimates the number of Africans at Negro Fort to be around 300. Gaines in another letter to Jackson estimates the number of enemy natives in Florida to be close to 2000 including some 400 African warriors. War Department Council of Inquiry Inquiry: Captain E.A. Hitchcock a witness being duly sworn in was interrogated January 13, 1837, ASP: MA, vol. 7, 367-370. Captain Hitchcock testifies to an estimate of around 1,300 native warriors plus an additional 400 black auxiliary troops during the Second Seminole war. 12 See Daniel Littlefield, Rice and Slaves : Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), 128-163. The East Florida Papers collection has over 400 Spanish manumissions cases. Few mention the origin of the slaves, but rather discuss the master that claimed them. It is often the case for fugitives to be claimed by a resident of St. Augustine until they had provided satisfactory service to the Spanish militia. 13 Bruce E. Twyman, The Black Seminoles Legacy and North American Politics, 1693-1845 (Washington D.C.: Howard University Press, 1999). 14Richard R. Stenberg, The Boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase, The Hispanic American Historical Review, vol. 14, (Feb., 1934) 32-64, 32-33 (quotation). Cusick, The Other War of 1812 26. 15 Frank Owsley Jr. and Gene Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists (Tuscaloosa, Univerisity of Alabama Press, 1997). 8, 9. 16 Ibid., 8, 9. 17 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 4,5. For a more detailed account of the Baton Rouge espionage and occupation campaign see Waciuma, Intervention in Spanish Floridas, 139-148. Territorial Papers, Orleans Territory Vol. 10-11. 18 For a more detailed description of Mathews background and service in the Georgia state government see Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 29-30. 19 Th e National Intelligencer July 2, 1823; Vizente Folch to President James Madison; American State Papers: Foreign Relations December 2, 1810, Vol. 3, 98. Hereafter cited as ASP. 20 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 33-37; For details concerning those who joined the Patriots see, Ibid., 59-62, 67-69; Concerning Mathewss recruits and the Army and Navy officers who deserted to aid in operations in Florida see Ibid., 82-84. 21 Twyman. Black Seminole Legacy 44, James Monroe, The Writings of James Monroe 1807-1816 Vol. 6, AMS Press, New York, 1969. 62-79. 22 Cusick, Other Wa r of 1812 214-16. 23 While the Alachua Seminoles entered into the conflict against the Florida Patriots, many tribes still declared themselves neutral. The letter titled Tuskegee Tustunugee to Col. Benjamin Hawkins [September 18, 1812], State Papers and Publick Documents vol. 9, 181-189, hereafter cited as SPPD is a petition sent from tribal leaders among the Creeks to Benjamin Hawkins in Georgia stating their desire to remain neutral. Lieut. Col. Thomas A. Smith to Governor David B. Mitchell [September 22, 1812], ibid. 175-177.

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41 24 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 4-6 The editor of the New York Evening Post was particularly vocal in his protests against American audacity and disrespect of Spains neutrality. NewYork Evening Post April 28, 1812. 25 The population figures for Georgia and South Carolina are pulled from Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 40 as well as from Littlefield. Rice and Slaves 116. 26 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 27 note # 30. Morier to Wellesley , January 12, 1811, Foreign Office 5/74 British Colonial Public Records Office The British grand strategy for ending the war against the United States is described in detail in Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans, (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 5-10, 16-18. 27 Vicente Sebastin Pintado, Florida Apalachicola River, Plan of Fort Gadsden, (Washington City: National Archives Drawer 128 Sheet 9, Intelligence Division Engineers Corps War Department, 1817). This map shows the layout for Fort Gadsden on Prospect Bluff. It includes an outline of the former Negro Fort that was destroyed at that location two years earlier. Sketch of the Indian and Negro Towns on the Suwaney (sic) River. (Washington City: National Archives Cartography Section Florida Maps RG # 77 Portfolio 247, 1818.) This map was drawn up by scouts under General Gaines marking the location of a cluster of Maroon and native settlements along the river. 28 For a full history on the Creek campaigns of the War of 1812 see, Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (New York: Viking, 2001). 29 Armstrong to Jackson June 27, 1814 The Papers of Andrew Jackson, vol. 3, 83. Jackson to Armstrong July 18, 1814 Ibid, 90. Jacksons initial Florida campaigns in and around Florida and Louisiana including the capture of Pensacola is covered in great detail in Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and Americas First Military Victory (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), 5-24. 30 Northern newspapers reprinted an account describing the British fleet poised at the Mouth of the Apalachicola River and in the Gulf. The article also describes the presence of a number of black troops among the British regulars. Events of the War, New Orleans, Niles Weekly Register January 7, 1815. Disposition of Samuel Jervais May 9, 1815 ASP: FR Vol. 4, 551. 31 Edmund Pendleton Gaines to General Andrew Jackson, May 14, 1816, The Papers of Andrew Jackson Vol. 4, 30-31. 32A number of newspapers printed articles concerning Negro Fort or the fear of maroons in Florida acting aggressively against American territory. For examples see, Proclamation by W. Craig, June 3, 1812, Georgia Argus. East Florida July 8, 1812. Ibid. Indian News, October 20, 1813. Georgia Journal East Florida June 2, 1812. Village Record of Chester and Delaware Federalist Our Relations with Spain, January 20 1819. and February 5 1819. Pensacola; Head Quarters of the South Adjutant General's Office, The Reflector May 29, 1818. 33 General Andrew Jackson to the Governor of Pensacola, April 23, 1816. ASP: FR vol. 4, 555-556. Report of Captain Vero Amelung to General Jackson, June 4, 1816, Ibid, 557. General Andrew Jackson to Governor Mauricio de Zuniga, Papers of Andrew Jackson Vol. 4, 22-23. General Andrew Jackson to Secretary of War, April 23, 1816. Ibid, 557. Mauricio de Zuniga to Andrew Jackson, May 26, 1816, Ibid, 41-43. 34 Colonel Clinch to Colonel R. Butler Adjutant General division of the South, August 2, 1816, Sketches; Historical and Topographical of the Florida's. (Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1964). 200-205. Marcus C. Buck to his Father August 2, 1836, Army and Navy Chronicle Vol. 3, (Washington D.C.: Benjamin Homans, 1836), 114-115. This letter is dated 1836 which is its publication date. The description clearly refers to Negro Fort on the Apalachicola and the commanders present at that conflict.

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42 35 Ibid; William H. Crawford to Andrew Jackson, April 24, 1816, Andrew Jackson Papers vol. 4, 25-26. 36 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 306. 37 Owsely, Fi libusters and Expansionists 125-137. 38 From Amelia Island Latest, United States Gazette for the Country October 29, 1817. 39 Owsley, Fi libusters and Expansionists 135, From Amelia Island, New Orleans Gazette October 17, 1817. The account of the prizes amassed by Aury comes from the article, From the South, St. Marys 27 Sept 1817, printed in the National Intelligencer October 11, 1817. 40John C. Calhoun to Edmund P. Gaines, December 27, 1817, ASP MA: Vol.1, 689-690. Of Amelia Island, Connecticut Courant December 16, 1817. 41 Domestic: Mobile, February 8, 1818, The Reflector April 7, 1818. page 3 column 1, (Readex Microprint Corporation, Microfilm, reel 201-K.) George Mercer Brooke to Andrew Jackson, July 2, 1818, Andrew Jackson Papers Vol. 4, 217-218. 42 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 29-37 Cusick discusses in some detail the difficulty of piecing together secret plot to annex Florida under the pretext of popular rebellion against the Spanish. He also describes the impression Mathews had of the population and their desire for annexation rather than becoming another of Napoleons acquisitions.

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CHAPTER 3 THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES OF WHITE SOUTHERN HONOR Foremost among honors supreme laws, are the requirements that we may set a value upon our fortunes, but are forbidden absolutely to set any upon our lives. Montesquieu Honor, that ancient code of conduct and social perception, was a way of life in the Old South. Since the Revolutionary era, the Souths concept of honor had developed into what historian Wyatt-Brown has described as a combination of the eighteenth-century code of the struggle for power and glory manifest by martial prescriptions and the emerging ideals of self-discipline, republican principles, and human rationality. The old and new themes of right conduct were not seen as antithetical. Rather, they often merged to create a uniquely American white southern culture of honor. 1 The economic impediments and issues of security that stemmed from Florida were linked to issues of honor in order to encourage white southerners to partake in the campaigns of annexation. Rhetoric also served to justify the means by which those campaigns were executed. Understanding the nature of the Souths perception of honor gives new insight into the importance of this link between honor and action. As Wyatt-Brown states: The following elements were crucial in the formulation of southern evaluation of conduct: 1) honor as immortalizing valor, particularly in the character of revenge against familial and community enemies; 2) opinion of others as an indispensable part of personal identity and gauge of self-worth; 3) physical appearance and ferocity of will as signs of inner merit; and 4) defense of male integrity mingled fear and love of woman. In regard to primal honor as personal bravery, southerners of the nineteenth century boasted that they stood next to no other people. 2 43

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44 Rhetoric that addressed the Souths concepts of honor was a particularly effective means to motivate southern whites. As demonstrated in the previous chapter, the Florida acquisition was carried out in a relatively quick and decisive manner. In less than four years, American operations in the region had effectively reduced Spanish opposition to mild protests. Three years more had witnessed the decimation of Indian resistance and the conclusion to the negotiations for territorial transfer. The aggressive nature of the Florida acquisition was also closely linked with the perception of honor expressed in rhetoric. From the Baton Rouge filibuster through the First Seminole War, southern soldiers, citizens, and militiamen rallied to the war cry of annexation. Southern action during the acquisition period in Florida was patently violent. Interpreting language is vital for understanding the escalation of that violence. Honor expressed itself best in actions florid oratory or bursts of violence rather than in cool terms of rational discourse. Individuals, as well the government under which they lived, were expected to act in consideration of honor. White southerners saw honor as a means of justification and as a way to demonstrate the need for forceful action. 3 The language used by those who wished to convince others of the necessity for acquisition reflects important elements about perceptions of honor in the Deep South. Three recurring and interconnected values advocated by white southerners receive the most attention in the rhetoric of the acquisition. The saliency of these values varies with the events of annexation, although there are elements of all three at each stage. The first of these tenets is the preservation of liberty. The South had maintained a strong tie with the traditions of the Revolution. Rhetoric geared toward this principle was particularly effective for campaigns such as the Patriot War or Jacksons capture of

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45 Pensacola, which specifically targeted the Spanish and British influences in Florida. The republican ideals were also widely used to mobilize support at the end of the annexation period to justify the dispersion of the pirate communities that had taken up residency on the east Florida coast. Phrases and terms that were common for describing the principles of American Republicanism are liberty, justice, freedom, and rights of the governed. The expressions used to depict the dishonorable nature of the colonial systems include tyrants, arbitrary governments, favoritism and monopolies, and insult. This claim to honor through just government was not distinctly southern. During the Revolution, the rhetorical strategies of honor found credence in both northern and southern states. John Adams and other northern statesmen had addressed the same republican principles of personal freedom and property rights that southerners voiced during the Florida acquisition. When luxury, effeminacy, and venality [have reached] a shocking pitch in England, when both electors and elected are becoming one mass of corruption; when the nation is oppressed to death with debts and taxes . what will be your condition under such a parliament? You would not only be slaves, but the most abject sort of slaves, to the worst sort of masters. 4 However, after the Revolution, northern and southern perceptions of honor diverged. Northern expressions of honor began to take on the more nineteenth-century Victorian adaptation of honor through restraint. Concepts of manliness and self-control overtook the outdated ideals of masculine expressions of violence. 5 As historian Wyatt-Brown explains: Few Yankees would feel compelled to settle ideological differences on a dueling field. In a parallel to the description of Northern ideals of dignity, the free state citizen saw defense of honor as a last resort rather than a first considerations. Consequently, in Northern political discourse one finds less frequent use of such terms of honor as fame, glory, shame, infamy, and insult than in the South. 6

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46 Ideological differences inherent between the colonial governments of Florida and the American republican system were not grounds for conflict in the North. It was, however, a potent point of contention in the South. This was especially true due to the close proximity and intermingling of the white southern society with the Florida government. While the North had developed a form of self-actualized republicanism that stemmed from developing urbanization, white southerners adherence to republican ideology was still based in the distrust of the colonial oligarchy and European monarchy. The second principle of honor was tied to the chivalrous defense of the innocents, especially non-military civilians, women, and children. Although the southern campaigns into Florida were clearly vindictive and based on racial hatreds, the South saw itself as the protectors of society. The stereotype of the savage and aggressive Native American tribes and black maroons was the common enemy that united southerners in self-defense. The legacy of the early Creek Wars had forever tainted southern images of the Indians in Florida. Following the massacre at Fort Mims, this principle of self-defense became particularly poignant and was widely used throughout the conflict, despite the defeat of the Red Stick Creeks in 1814. Rhetoric of the Florida acquisition that addressed the value of security includes descriptions of the Souths enemies as murderous wretches and bloodthirsty savages. These enemies were also associated with anarchy and the breakdown of civilized law. Honorable appeals to defend the South made claims to both justice and humanity. The honor of self-defense was directly adapted to the lifestyle of the southern frontier. As Remini points out, Violence was a way of life on the frontier. As northern society developed into a bourgeois and institutionalized society through advancements in

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47 trade and industry, personal dependencies on family and community were lessened. In the South, however, the chief aim of [their] notion of honor was to protect the individual, family group, or race. White southern society linked the suppression of Indians and blacks with satisfying honor. 7 The rhetoric of the noble defense of civilians was often linked with a third tenet, the protection of property. The white Souths unyielding adherence to its property rights was the most pervasive of their values throughout the acquisition period. It was expressed both in terms of the governments responsibility to its citizens to secure private property and (should the law fail to do so) an individuals right (and duty) to defend that property. Whether enforced by citizens or government, property rights were generally expressed in terms of law. In the early stages of acquisition, the rhetoric attacked the Spanish for being unable and unwilling to protect American plantations from raids by Indians and maroons. The infringement on property rights was linked with a violation of southern honor. Advocates of annexation stressed the need for individuals to take aggressive action in suppressing the thieving maroons and Indian tribes of Florida. The most poignant issue for southern property rights involved slaves. As Wyatt-Brown points out, no slaveholding culture could casually set aside the strictures of honor. The very debasement of the slave added much to the masters honor. Spanish sanctuary policies, the existence of maroon colonies, and the theft of slaves by Native American raiders all directly attacked one of the most important aspects of white southern society. The rhetoric of expansion would play upon the Souths perceptions of property rights and honor as a means to justify the eradication of expansionist opposition in Florida. 8

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48 Southern honor maintained a focus on ideological and social ends rather than means. Whereas northern society protested unnecessary violence and hostility, the Florida acquisition campaign demonstrated that the means to achieve the Souths desired ends were manifested in an aggressive fashion. As Florida Patriot John Houston McIntosh described: They who think that the most just and honorable government is not sometimes obliged to make use of very objectionable means to accomplish a good and a great end, know little of governments and less of mankind. McIntosh, an affluent East Florida planter who led the rebellion against the Spanish in 1811 and became one of the premier financiers of the Patriot insurgents, wrote numerous letters during and after the Patriot War to justify the means and illustrate the desired ends of that acquisition effort. He made use of all three of the ideological tropes of honor in his political manuscripts. 9 McIntosh at first saw little reason to support acquisition. His family had deep colonial roots in the settlement of the British Southeast. The Baron Patrick Houston and his wife Nancy had emigrated from Scotland to the emerging Georgia colony in 1733 after receiving a royal land grant of 500 acres along the Ogeechee River known as Stirling bluff. The family acquired an additional 500 acres in 1736 between the Vernon and the Little Ogeeche River twelve miles outside of Savannah. Their only daughter, Ann Pricilla, was wed to George McIntosh in 1772, who was also descended from a wealthy Georgia family that had emigrated from Scotland. John Houston McIntosh was born on the first of May 1773. He inherited his fathers estates in Georgia at age fifteen. Already very wealthy in land and property, particularly slave property, he continued to expand the family assets. In 1803, he purchased over 3,000 acres of relatively cheap and underdeveloped Florida landscape. The newly acquired estates included Fort George

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49 Island and the Ortega manor located on the St. Johns River. His Florida plantations became tremendously prosperous, especially in cotton and lumber production. McIntosh described his Florida income in a letter to the National Intelligencer : 10 I was at the time [1810] cutting and delivering by contract . three hundred thousand feet of lumber per month, for which I received thirty-six thousand dollars per annum; while my [N]egro women were making cotton, to the value of nearly twenty thousand dollars more. 11 When approached by General George Mathews early in 1810 with plans of rebellion, McIntosh was skeptical about the generals intentions and doubted that many Florida residents would support such action. He, like many wealthy plantation owners in Florida, had enjoyed during the embargo and non-intercourse [Acts] in the United States, many advantages in trade with Europe. Seeking political favor, he betrayed Mathewss confidence and alerted Governor Juan Jose de Estrada in St. Augustine about American intentions for a filibuster. By mid-1811, however, he switched sides and agreed to aid Mathews in his annexation efforts in East Florida. Once committed to the rebellion, he was undoubtedly the most influential of the Florida Patriots. 12 Little had changed in the political atmosphere of Florida or the United States in the six months between McIntoshs rejection of Mathewss offer and his decision to lead the Patriots in Florida. What had changed was McIntoshs perception of General Mathews as an honorable gentleman. Mathews was able to convince McIntosh that annexation, and the actions necessary to serve that cause, was a necessary step in the defense of southern honor. Mathewss ability to appeal to the commonly held notions of southern honor explains McIntoshs transformation from a loyal subject of the Spanish governors to rebel. Mathews was a Revolutionary War hero and had been a prominent figure in Georgia politics throughout much of the Early Republic period. He represented the

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50 southern ideal of the strong, militaristic, and decisive character that could achieve the desired goal of annexation. As described by McIntosh, the good old general, acted from the fairest and most patriotic motives. The veneer of honor facilitated McIntosh in developing an almost nave faith in Mathewss leadership. In all his descriptions of the Patriot War, McIntosh depicts Mathews as an admirable character, one put forth all his effort into following through with acquisition. He stated in reference to his decision to unite with Mathews: 13 Finally, after frequent interviews with Gen. Mathews, I engaged to excite an insurrection, on two conditions; 1 st That the United States would supply us with 2 or 300 stand of arms; and, 2 d that he would promise to give me a copy of all letters, &c., which he wrote and received on the subject of our enterprise. This he promised, and I believe, faithfully performed. . The volunteers of the revolution were promised by the constituted authorities a certain number of acres of land. . the United States guaranties that this promise shall be performed; and also that those who have been at the expense of supporting the revolution, the United States guaranties that they shall be reimbursed from the duties which are collected in the ports of the province, and if the this should not be sufficient, pledges her faith to pay and discharge the amount due. 14 McIntoshs loyalty was based on his trust and faith in the promises made by Mathews about issues that remained unresolved. Mathews made many promises that he had not yet secured and that he did not have the authority to make. Although Mathews never achieved the full support of the federal government, McIntosh nevertheless never doubted that Mathews had taken the necessary precautions to secure the supplies and legal recognition of the Madison administration that had been promised. Wyatt-Brown offers an important explanation for this unwavering fealty: In slaveholding societies, honor may be seen as a peoples theology, a set of prescriptions endowed with an almost sacred symbolism. Under honors law those who have power to demand, and to hold, esteem and authority are able to do so because the entire social order has sanctioned their rule and called it moral. 15

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51 McIntosh undoubtedly held Mathews in the highest esteem. Mathews thus was able to justify his position of authority. McIntosh in turn persuaded numerous other Florida planters to attach themselves to the cause of acquisition. He was able to draw in men like William Craig, Andrew Atkinson, and George Fleming. These men had similar backgrounds in the Florida plantation system and also came to support annexation. In reference to these Patriots McIntosh stated: It has never been whispered or suspected that one of those gentlemen of the administration [The Established Authorities of the East Florida Republic], who wished to annex the Floridas to the United States, had the smallest private interest in view. They were governed only by the most pure and patriotic motives; and their conduct has ever met with their countrys warmest approbation. 16 Again, McIntosh demonstrated the same idealistic confidence in his supporters that he granted to his leader. In all of his correspondences and letters concerning the Patriot revolt, McIntosh continually professed the honorable nature of those who participated in the campaign. This is important to McIntosh because it maintained his personal dignity through his association with honorable individuals and it justified his actions to those who later denounced him as merely a marauder. 17 In a letter McIntosh wrote to President James Madison, the significance of each southern honor tenet is evident. McIntosh expressed the desire to bring a republican system into Florida. Choosing his words carefully, his language is steeped in the idioms of the honorable republic: Being elected to the office of director by the freemen of East Florida, who engaged in the revolution . .After suffering for a long time, under the oppression of a government, corrupt in itself, and free from the control of the parent country. . Upon the principles of justice and of humanity, we call for the protection of the United States; with it we become free and happy; without it we become . tenants . .of cruel and inexorable tyrants. [Emphasis mine] 18

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52 McIntosh added his plea to the justice and humanity of the United States to free the American citizens in Florida from the tyrants of a corrupt colonial government. This classic republican rhetoric had near universal appeal throughout the United States and was especially salient within the South. McIntosh noticeably spoke of the same ideal republican principles upon which the United States was founded. The letter was undoubtedly meant to justify the rebellion to politicians in Washington and to stir the southern-born president to immediate action. McIntosh continues with an impassionate plea to honor: Some of us have been accustomed to the sweets of affluence, and most of us to the enjoyments of plenty. We, in common with other citizens, would willingly have sacrificed all we have, had it been in defense of the United States; but to be beggared and branded as traitors, is wretchedness indeed, to men who though they were acting as some of their forefathers had in 1776. 19 Above all, McIntosh desired that his honor remain intact. His adherence to the republican principles of the United States acting as some of the forefathers had in 1776, allowed his rebellion to maintain its claim to honor. The republican principle was used in the South specifically to turn Americans against the Europeans in Florida. It is therefore easy to recognize that closely tied to the honor of the Patriot cause was the assessment of a lack of honor in the Spanish colonial system. The rhetoric for acquisition was similar to the language of the Revolution in that it likened the ruling power to inhuman oppression. The heritage of rhetorical liberty in the South stems from the colonial struggle against representative powerlessness. Samuel Langdon spoke in terms of the British read[iness] to wage cruel war with its own children in these colonies, only to gratify the lust of power, and the demands of extravagance. In like fashion, McIntosh in 1811 described the Spanish as the corrupt government in St. Augustine . an arbitrary, jealous, and vindictive power. 20

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53 To make the danger of a domineering colonial system all the more real, it was rumored that both the French and the British sought to take possession of the Florida territory. The war on the Iberian Peninsula left Spain at the mercy of the two warring superpowers. The return of a powerful monarchial system to Florida, as well as the possibility of a destructive war with the United States that would likely result, was an unappealing prospect for the citizens of Florida. As McIntosh stated concerning the importance of timing for the success of the rebellion: At this time Bonaparte had possession of Madrid and its King, which quieted any qualms of conscience as they regarded allegiance; a report existed, very pleasing to some of the inhabitants of the Province that the British intended to occupy the country. The fair prospect held out, so delightful to others of us, of placing our property and persons under the protection of the United States, and the danger of anarchy, in consequence of this state of things, among ourselves, were circumstances so weighty, that it was impossible to resist the impulse they gave. 21 As McIntosh stated, the Spanish colonial system was free from the control of its mother country due to the circumstances on the Peninsula. Therefore, McIntosh believed that the oath of loyalty he and others had taken to the Spanish government were void and should not affect the Patriots in Florida. It was the regional governors, not the Spanish monarchy, which controlled Florida. Moreover, the corruption and incompetence of the regional governors greatly enhanced both the likelihood of the British taking control of the territory as well as the possibility of the system breaking down into anarchy. 22 McIntoshs reference to anarchy demonstrates an important aspect in Patriot rhetoric. Despite the attempts to liken the Spanish in Florida to the British colonial government, for the most part the grievances against the Spanish were quite unlike those of the Revolution era. As the British were depicted as overbearing and dictatorial in 1776, the Spanish in 1810 were described as fragile and ineffective. As the threat of a territorial transfer to either the French Emperor or the British monarchy dissipated,

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54 citizens like McIntosh voiced concerns about a potential collapse of the Florida government. The Patriots of 1810 had feared anarchy in the same way the Patriots of 1776 had feared monarchy. In the eyes of the Florida Patriots, a government that could not protect the economic interests of its citizens was as tyrannical as a system that attempted to control the wealth and livelihood of its population. The weakness of Spanish authority was believed to be a significant danger to the economic stability and the individual safety of Florida citizens. McIntosh ardently believed that the government had a responsibility to its citizens to guarantee the rights of property. Therefore, despite the tremendous success McIntosh had experienced under Spanish rule, he always maintained mixed feelings about the stability of the Florida government. There was a constant concern over the issue of security under a government that could not conceivably defend the plantation owners property interests. This was coupled with the fear that the Florida territory would succumb to pirates and marauders. During the Patriot War and First Seminole War, this fear was typically associated with the Native Americans and the black maroons in Florida. An overall weak presence of white settlers in this region allowed the Indian tribes to thrive. Joseph Hernandez, a Spanish soldier who remained loyal to the governors during the Patriot War, gave a vivid depiction of the wars effects on the Florida tribes: Those Indians, for many years, were the principle persons, who supplied St. Augustine with Cattle & Horses, until the [the outbreak of the Patriot War] when they were forced from their Settlement; they could at one time have been considered, as having arrived at the first Stage of Civilization. 23 This description is a lamentation for the decimation of the Native American economy as a result of the Patriot War. It nevertheless demonstrates the important role the Indians had played in Florida trade. The Patriots viewed the military potential and the

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55 economic prosperity of the Creek and Seminole Indians as a danger to American interests. The Spanish inability (and unwillingness) to restrain the tribes in Florida threatened the successful development of plantations in Florida. Consequently, an important aspect of the Patriot war was to break the Florida populations dependence on Native American trade. Florida and Georgia planters vilified the Native Americans and maroons as a threat to the white southern way of life. American Florida and Georgia planters attempted to create the perception that the Creeks and Seminoles were the hired bandits of both the Spanish governors and British agents. As historian Robert Remini states, in the minds of most frontiersmen, the Indians were pawns to be used by any foreign power seeking to gain dominance in North America. A gentleman of St. Marys, in a letter published in a number of Georgia newspapers, decried the Spanish practice of encouraging the Native Americans and black slaves to make war with the United States: 24 The Spanish Commandant at St. Marks has been endeavoring to stir up the Indians against us, and every exertion is made by Governor Kindelan to excite disaffection among our slaves. It is high time the eyes of the people were opened to their situation. Under existing circumstances, the reduction of Augustine, as we have before repeatedly stated, is essential to our safety. . We ought to look to ourselves for protection. The energies of this state must be exerted to ward off the blow which impends over us, be the consequences what they may [emphasis mine]. 25 To whites on the Georgia side of the border, the Spanish practice of employing black troops was appalling. Exaggerated tales of atrocities committed by the Spanish black regiments served to rally citizens against the Spanish. Major General John Floyd of the Georgia Militia stated in a report of the attacks on Florida: [The] public feeling was burning with indignation of the nefarious conduct of the Spanish authority in employing savages of different shades. This outrage had to be met with an immediate

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56 reaction. The statement, The reduction of St. Augustine is essential to our safety, reflects the distinctly southern perception of an appropriate response. 26 As the Patriot War came to a close and a more nationally organized acquisition effort advanced, the focus for propaganda turned away from the Spanish and began to specifically target the Indians and maroons in Florida. The rhetorical expression of protecting the innocent reached its peak as stories about Natives Americans and maroons on the Florida and Georgia border perpetrating murder and mayhem filled the columns of various southern newspapers. The Negro Fort campaign and the First Seminole War were accompanied by a massive propaganda movement that succeeded in turning much of the white South, the United States government, and even the Spanish against the Seminoles (and to a lesser extent the Creeks) in Florida. For example, as General Andrew Jackson mobilized to attack the Florida maroons at Negro Fort, he kept a close correspondence with the Spanish governor in Pensacola, Mauricio De Zuniga. In a letter to Jackson, Zuniga declared the maroons along the Apalachicola to be rebels against the Spanish government. He stated: that the Negroes, although in part belonging to inhabitants of this province . are deemed by me insurgents or rebels against the authority. 27 Following the destruction of Negro Fort, propaganda campaigns continued to encourage action in Florida. George Perryman, a Florida Patriot during the rebellion, gave a chilling account of the maroons and Indians in Florida. There was a friend of mine not long since in the Fowltown, on Flint, and he saw many horses, cattle, and hogs, that had come immediately from the State of Georgia; and they are bringing them away continually. They speak in the most contemptuous manner of the Americans and threaten to have satisfaction for what has been done meaning the destruction of the [N]egro fort. There is another of my acquaintances returned immediately from the Seminole towns, and saw the

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57 Negroes on parade there: he counted about six hundred that bore arms. They have chosen officers of every description, and endeavor to keep up a regular discipline, and are very strict in punishing violators of their military rules. There is said to be about the same number of Indians belonging to their party; and there are both Negroes and Indians daily going to their standard. They say they are in complete fix for fighting, and wish an engagement with the Americans, or [William] McIntoshs troops; they would let them know they had something more to do than they had at Apalachicola. 28 The description of horses, cattle, and hogs that had come immediately from the State of Georgia is a reference to property stolen during Indian raids along the border. Perryman also described the military potential of the maroons and Indians. The publication of such accounts was intended to mobilize popular opinion toward war in Florida. The proliferation of this image was a vital component for encouraging direct and immediate action for acquisition and settlement of the Florida territory. Southern men petitioned the local militias and military officials to mobilize in their defense. As Archibald Clarke, the Intendant of St. Marys, states in his letter to General Gaines: The inhabitants on the frontier, as well as others, through me appeal for some protection. A small detachment of troops upon the head of St. Marys would answer to a most valuable purpose, by at once checking the inroads of the savages. 29 The perception of the maroons and Indians as a menace to the security and well being of the American borderlands was not always enough. Many accounts of Indian raids and violence depicted murder and injustice against innocent civilians and women. Adjutant General Edmund Pendleton Gaines often portrayed Indian atrocities against non-military persons. [They] massacre our frontier citizens, often the unoffending and helpless mother and babes. This report was made after Gaines had received Clarkes letter, which described the murder of an unfortunate white woman and her two infant children, by which the defenseless inhabitants on our frontier have been thrown into a distressing state of alarm. American soldiers were then portrayed as noble saviors

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58 protecting the innocent and punishing the savages. Gaines, whose letters were repeatedly published in southern newspapers, specifically used a language that addressed the white Souths demand for action. 30 The Indians have been required to deliver up the murderers of our citizens and the stolen property; but they refused to deliver either. They have had a council at Mickasukee, in which they have determined upon war. They have been at war against helpless women and children. Let them now calculate upon fighting men. 31 The depiction of a well-organized and vindictive force of black and Native American warriors arrayed in Florida was an embellishment. While there were strong Seminole leaders, the Creek War of 1813 had broken apart the anti-American confederations and the tribes remained divided in their enthusiasms for war. There were instances in which the Seminole leaders defended themselves against these negative representations. In a letter to the Spanish governor in Pensacola, Billy Bowlegs, an influential Alachua Seminole leader, contradicted the hurtful image that had been placed upon his people. Now, sir, we know of no reason the Americans can have to attack us, an inoffensive an unoffending people. We have none of their slaves. We have taken none of their property since the Americans made peace with our good father, King George. . The Spanish subjects in the Floridas are too much in the interests of the Americans to be our friends. For the Governors, I shall always entertain the greatest regard; but for the people, they do not act so as to merit any esteem and protection. You desire I would chase those marauders who steal my cattle. My people have lately driven some Americans from Lahheway, and I have no doubt the Americans will lay hold of this as a pretext to make war on us, as they have before done, in stating that we harbor their runaway slaves. 32 This letter alludes to one of the key elements in the rhetoric of acquisition. The existence of maroon colonies and rumors of Indian tribes harboring American runaway slaves was very effective in convincing white southerners of the need for action. Many runaway slave advertisements printed in various Georgia and South Carolina newspapers accused the Native Americans of stealing slaves, blamed the Spanish for being

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59 indifferent, and typically ended with such phrases as, I forwarn all persons from harboring said [N]egroes, as the law will be put in full force against any such offenders. 33 Bowlegss efforts to diminish the accusations against his tribesmen ultimately proved futile. The Spanish were unable to militarily resist and were unwilling to diplomatically protest American operations in Florida. The result of Jacksons campaigns during the First Seminole War was the effective destruction of one of the last Native Americans opposition forces in Florida. The Americans subsequently established themselves as the only effective military force in the region. With the threat of European supremacy dissolved and the power of the Indian tribes and maroon colonies broken, the last obstacle that remained to American settlement of Florida was the rampant smuggling and piracy that characterized Florida between 1815 and 1821. By this time, the filibuster expeditions launched against Amelia Island had become little more than raiding parties by marauding adventurers who were more interested in personal gain than annexation. The propaganda campaign against The Republic of Florida established on Amelia Island was crucial for gaining public support to remove the set of desperate and bloody dogs of Gregor MacGregor and Luis Aurys pirate community. The independent government of Amelia Island used the regional anarchy to carry out illegal trading practices, the most despised of which was an illegal slave trade. During the Patriot War, McIntosh had commented that the only white men of Florida who would not support annexation were gentleman who had been Negro factor[s] in Africa, and who had brought a number of Negroes into the province for sale. The traffic

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60 of illegal slave trading in Florida had been a constant annoyance to the Spanish and Americans since the United States banned the practice in 1808. By 1815, it had become epidemic due to the general disarray of the East Florida territory. 34 In late 1817 and early 1818, newspapers throughout the United States reported on the events of the Amelia Island filibusters on an almost daily basis. Each article ended with a plea for the United States government to put an end to the pirate republic. The rhetoric played upon the fear that the pirates were plundering Spanish and American shipping and smuggling their prizes through American ports. These expressions condemned the Amelia Island filibusters as lawless criminals, portrayed the Spanish as helpless victims, and depicted the American military as the necessary hand of righteousness. A gentleman who left Fernandina on the 16 th inst. Informs us that the Florida Patriots had been in a state of great confusion for some days before he left the Island and it was not expected that matters would be settled immediately The French party under commander Aury with his black troops on one side; and Governour sheriff Hubard, with all the Americans and the greatest part of the seamen on the other are at open war; and it was the general expectation that blood would be shed before the commotion ended. . A detachment of the patriots of Amelia have landed in Georgia, and plundered a church. 35 The King of Spain has filed a Libel in the Admiralty Court of Georgia against the Schr. Camilla and her cargo, now at Savannah, forcibly and piratically taken on the high seas, by persons having no authority to make prizes of war, or capture the property of Spanish subjects; A libel has also been filed in the same court by J.H. Elton, commander of the U.S. brig. Saranae. . against the Schr. Iris now lying in the river of St. Marys. . on suspicion that she was to be employed in cruising or committing hostilities against the subject or the property of his majesty the king of Spain or against the subjects, citizens or property . with whom the United States is at peace. 36 A company of United States troops sailed yesterday for St. Marys to form part of the expedition against the piratical republic of Amelia. . The Republic of the Floridas is unquestionably doomed to a short life; but Governor Aury means to support his mock majesty to the last. 37

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61 Again the southern desire for immediate and decisive action is witnessed in these news reports. The Spanish were unable to act decisively; therefore Americans believed it was their duty to intervene. If Spain could not control its periphery, the United States would exercise its authority and put an end to the piratical republic. The employment of rhetoric of honor during the Florida acquisition campaign yielded two important results. The southern perception of honor motivated the public quickly and allowed for the campaigns of acquisition to be conducted with unwavering fealty. However, the unforgiving nature of southern honor meant that those campaigns would be marked with violence and brutality. Honor required that the necessary response to a threat be immediate and decisive action to suppress that threat. The result was often a military quagmire. White southerners in Florida were merciless in their drive to overcome all obstacles to their ambitions. The next chapter will examine how the federal government responded to the independent southern actions. The Jeffersonian presidents not only supported the actions of southerners, they used them to silence the opposition to their ambitions in Florida. James Madison was particularly effective at using the ardor of southern honor as a means to achieve his objectives for acquisition. The decision-making processes of Congress were unpredictable. Political animosities and personal hatreds muddled government processes. Southern reactions in matters of honor, however, were predictable. In this way, the South was consistent in its response to the rhetoric of honor. Rather than fight the long and tedious battles on the Senate floor, federal supporters of acquisition encouraged southern activists to speed the process of annexation with an acceptable cost in money and lives.

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62 Notes 1 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 31. 2 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 27. 3 Ibid,, 31. 4 Ibid., 39. 5 Ibid, 191-192; Historical developments in American perceptions of Manliness versus Masculinity are illustrated in Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). 6 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 192. 7 Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars 7; Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South viii. 8 Ibid, ix. 9 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 32; McIntosh, Communication,. 10 For more information on John Houston McIntoshs family background see Edith Duncas Johnston, The Houstons of Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1950), 21-35, 343-370. 11 McIntosh, Communication, Column 1. 12 Ibid. Cusick, The Other War of 1812 68-69. 13 Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia Florida Border 1810-1815 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), 301. 14 McIntosh, Communication, Column 2, 3. 15 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South vii. 16 Ibid, Column 3. 17 McIntosh directly addresses his accusers following the Patriot war and justifies his actions in his letter to the National Intelligencer McIntosh, Communication to the Editors, Column 1. 18 McIntosh, Documents on the Subject of East Florida, SPPD 155. 19 Ibid, 157. 20Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 37; McIntosh, Documents on the Subject of East Florida Accompanying Presidents Message, SPPD v.9, (Washington D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1817), 156. 21 McIntosh, Communication to the Editors, Column 2.

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63 22 In order to conduct business or to live within a Spanish province, McIntosh and others had to take an oath of loyalty to Spain. With the Spanish King in exile, McIntosh believed that his oath no longer applied. Cusick, The Other War of 1812 62-63, 67-68. 23 Delegate Hernandez to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, 11 March 1823, The Territorial Papers of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1956), 22. 24 Remini, Jackson and His Indian Wars 17. 25 East Florida News, Georgia Journal Oct. 7, 1812. 26 General John Floyd, Our Southern Frontier, Sept. 26, 1812, National Intelligencer October 29, 1812. 27 Governor Zuniga to General Jackson, May 26, 1818, ASP: FR vol. 4, 556. 28 Extract of a letter from George Perryman to Lieutenant Sands, dated Feb. 24, 1817, ASP: IA 2, 155. 29 Archibald Clarke, Intendant of St. Marys Georgia, to General Gaines dated, Feb. 26, 1817, ASP: IA vol. 2, 155. 30 Extract of letter from General Gaines to the Secretary of War, dated, Jan. 9, 1818,; Copy of a letter from Archibald Clarke, Intendant of St. Marys Georgia, to General Gaines dated, Feb. 26, 1817, ASP: IA vol. 2, 155. 31 General Edmund P. Gaines, Talk to Indian Chiefs and Warriors, found in James Monroe, Presidential Message: Seminole War (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1818), 9. 32 Supposed to be from Bowlegs to the Governor of St. Augustine, ASP: Military Affairs vol. 1, 727. 33 Runaway Negroes, Georgia Journal September 30, 1812. There are numerous examples of these advertisements that threaten to use the law to enforce property rights between 1790 and 1818 found in Georgia Argus Georgia Gazette and South Carolina Gazette 34 McIntosh, Communication to the Editors, Column 3. The results of the devastation of the Florida campaigns is covered in Cusick, The Other War of 1812 304-307. 35 From Amelia Island Latest, Charleston Oct. 20, U.S. Gazette for the Country October 29, 1817; Of Amelia Island, Charleston, Nov. 27, 1817, Connecticut Courant December 16, 1817. 36 The Patriots Libeled, Charleston Oct. 2 Natio nal Intelligencer October 11, 1817. 37 Of Amelia Island, Charleston, Nov. 27, 1817, Connecticut Courant December 16, 1817.

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CHAPTER 4 NATIONAL TACTICS FOR FLORIDA ACQUISITION Independent measures taken by southerners to force the Florida acquisition were not beyond the control of the federal government. The efforts of the presidential and congressional supporters of acquisition demonstrate that these officials viewed the rhetoric of honor as a means to speed the process of territorial transfer. This is particularly true of the James Madison and James Monroe administrations. Relying on southern activists to perform the deeds that they as president could not, Madison and Monroe effectively bypassed the internal and external political opposition. Madison undoubtedly was in favor of the Patriot cause for acquisition, yet he was careful in keeping himself and his administration free of direct association. As historian James Cusick suggests, He rarely committed his opinions about the conflict to paper . retaining the option of disavowal as a reserve card in case things went badly. The implication is that Madison, and later Monroe, allowed those participating in the battles of Florida to have a free hand to conduct operations that would enable territorial transfer without tainting the respective administrations. From Jefferson to Madison and finally to Monroe, the trend began in which involvement shifted from the presidents direct association with expansionist efforts to the employment of intermediaries to take independent action. 1 The presidents were not the sole national authorities sympathetic to the cause of acquisition. A number of southern and western Congressmen such as Henry Clay of Kentucky, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, and George Troup of Georgia also 64

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65 supported annexation in the name of southern honor. Their claims are similar to the southern constituencies of which they represented. They blamed Spains lack of control in Florida for encouraging Indian raids and slave desertion. They shared the fears of the American inhabitants of Florida and favored annexation in order to stabilize the region. Support by such influential government officials as well as a sympathetic presidential administration gave Mathews and McIntosh hope for national recognition of their interim Florida government. 2 Direct involvement on the part of the federal government to instigate new territorial acquisitions at the expense of colonial Europe began in earnest with President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was an expert at using nonmilitary tactics to expand the boundaries of the United States. He employed a number of clandestine activities including diplomacy, negotiation, bribery, and filibustering in his attempt to coerce Spain to relinquish their colonial territories to the United States. In Louisiana, for example, Jeffersons trade policies saw to it that over half of the Spanish commerce at New Orleans came from U.S. agents. Jefferson commented to that effect in reference to France taking possession of the Louisiana territory. Although he was fearful that he would not be able to continue his operations should France gain control, Jefferson nevertheless revealed his contempt for the weak Spanish colonial system. 3 It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eights of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants. Spain might have retained it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce her to increase our facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be hardly felt by us, and it would not perhaps be very long before some circumstance might arise which might make the cession of it to us the price of something of more worth to her. 4

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66 Aside from direct involvement, Jefferson also provided the ideological basis for national expansion. Jeffersonian philosophy defined the American people by the nations enemies, both foreign and domestic. He was a self-conscience nationalist, ever vigilant in the face of pervasive threats to the new nations integrity and security. As historians Owsley and Smith state, [Jefferson] believed that the only way to ensure the nations survival was by removing the obstacles prohibiting future growth, whether they were Spanish, or British, Native American or even African American. This us versus them dichotomy often led Jefferson to act beyond the law in the interest of national advantage. 5 A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means. . the unwritten laws of necessity, of self-preservation, and of the public safety, control the written laws of meum and tuum. 6 Jeffersonian philosophy laid the foundation for the American annexation campaigns in Florida. His legacy set the stage for future federal involvement as well as the regional conflict that would evolve between the white southerners and the Spanish and Native Americans. As he had done in Louisiana, Jefferson used Spains ambitions for development in the Florida colonies to encourage Americans to relocate to the territory. The Florida governors actively encouraged plantation expansion and solicited for Americans with sufficient capital to invest in the region. Jefferson viewed this as an opportunity to increase the pro-American population in Florida in anticipation that popular sovereignty would eventually work in favor of the United States. 7 Our confederacy must be viewed as the nest from which all America, North & South is to be peopled. We should take care too, not to think it for the interest of that great continent to press to soon on the Spaniards. Those countries cannot be in better hands. My fear is that they are too feeble to hold them till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece. 8 r

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67 Jeffersons policies created a legacy of expansion that was adapted for the subsequent administrations. Jefferson was the architect of the Florida acquisition. Presidents James Madison and James Monroe were the laborers who completed the tasks of annexation. The actions of the latter two presidents correlated with the ambitions expressed by the former, yet the rationality of those actions and the methods employed demonstrate a significant shift in the philosophy of expansion. This was largely due to the changing political environment in which acquisition was taking place. At the national and international level, Madison more so than Jefferson, was forced to contend with numerous opinions and interpretations of the Florida annexation. Federal ambitions in Florida had to be concerned not only with the end result of their operations, but also with the means by which those ends were reached. Public perception and international opinion had to be placated in order to achieve success. Flowery rhetoric and impulsive action would not validate the need for a federal campaign. The effort to convince the opposition in Congress of the necessity of annexation was a constant struggle. The rhetoric of honor proved to be unconvincing in the plea for action. During the Patriot War, Madisons attempts to win support for the Patriots in Florida were to no avail. The Senate initially refused to endorse a federally sponsored military seizure of the East Florida territory on June 19, 1812, the day after war was declared against Britain. The explanation for the refusal is that a continuation of federal involvement in Florida would have almost certainly led to war with Spain. At the time, this was unacceptable. Therefore, the Senate had opted to abandon the rebels in Florida in hopes that Spain would remain neutral in Americas conflict with England.

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68 A more spirited attempt to gain recognition for the rebels in Florida and force annexation came in December of 1812. As the Patriot War reached its peak, Madison convinced Congress to again considered the issue of Florida annexation. Rumors that Britain had been using Spanish territory as a staging area for its operations in the region had once again brought the Florida issue to national consideration. The new argument put forth by Madison and his supporters was that Spain had forfeited its rights as a neutral nation by allowing Britain access to its territory. 9 While the issue was being considered, a resolution of Congress formally requested President James Madison to lay before the Senate any information which he may have of the intention of the enemy [Britain] to take possession of East Florida, and of the disposition of the people of that territory to be received under the protection of the government of the United States. Among the documents presented by Madison to the Senate was a letter dated January 4, 1813, from John Houston McIntosh. McIntosh had hoped that by petitioning Madison, he could help gain recognition for the Government of the Established Authorities of East Florida of which he was a representative. The rhetorical strategies employed by McIntosh demonstrate an effort to appeal to Madisons sense of honor as an American and as a white southerner. McIntosh himself had been swayed to support the cause of annexation by similar allegorical allusions that he in turn utilized in his letter to Madison. Madison and McIntosh both had a heritage in southern plantations. Therefore, it was assumed that the same ideological references that encouraged McIntosh to collaborate with the Patriots in Florida were likely to have a similar effect upon the president.

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69 In many ways, Madisons views were distinctly different from McIntoshs. Madison was born March 16, 1751, in Port Conway, Virginia. Whereas McIntosh had received little formal education, at age twelve Madison attended the Donald Robertsons school in King and Queen County. He continued his education at New Jersey University (now Princeton university) until 1774. His public career as a lawyer and elected official for the most part kept him away from the family plantation at Mount Pleasant until his retirement from national politics in 1817. 10 As a result of his limited experience with plantation life, Madison had very different views on the property rights concerning slaves. Like McIntosh, Madison was born and raised on a southern plantation, but there the similarities end. Whereas McIntosh was fifteen when he took over his fathers plantations, Madison was fifty years old when he finally inherited the family estate at Mount Pleasant. The Virginia slave tradition, even in the Early Republic period, was also significantly different from the Deep South. Madison commented in 1819 on the conditions of slaves in Virginia: In reference to the actual condition of slaves in Virginia, it may be confidently stated as better, beyond comparison. . .They are better fed, better clad, better lodged, and better treated in every respect . As the two great causes of the melioration of the lot of the slaves since the establishment of our independence, I should set down: 1. The sensibility of human rights, and sympathy with human sufferings, excited and cherished by the discussions proceeding, and the spirit of the Institutions growing out of that event. 2. The decreasing proportion which the slaves bear to the individual holders of them; a consequence of the abolition of entails and the rule of primogeniture; and of the equalizing tendency of parental affection unfettered from all prejudices, as well as from restriction of law. 11 Madison noticeably identified the two causes for the improvements in the treatment of Virginia slaves. The first was the sensibility of human rights. He did not speak of slaves in terms of property, but rather as a subjugated race of men with whom white men in Virginia had become sympathetic. Although this was an idealistic view of the slave

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70 conditions in Virginia, it nevertheless provides a basis for contrast with the chattel slavery developing in the Carolinas, Georgia, and on McIntoshs plantations in Florida. The second reason given by Madison for the progress toward better slave treatment was the decreasing proportion which the slaves bear to the individual holders of them. At the time of his fathers death in 1801, Madisons plantation inventory listed 108 slaves. This was a large number by Virginia standards. However, it still was substantially less than McIntoshs plantations that housed over 250 slaves. 12 Given the contrasting southern traditions, it is understandable that McIntosh and Madison differed in their dispositions toward slavery. Madison feared the countrys dependency on slave labor. He believed that reliance on slavery would stunt the growth of diversified industry. To Madison, slavery was: . .the great evil under which the nation labors . an evil, moral, political, and economic, a sad blot on our free country. . A general emancipation of slaves ought to be 1. Gradual. 2. Equitable, and satisfactory to the individual immediately concerned. 3. Consistent with the existing durable prejudices of the nation. 13 Since much of the southern expression for property rights involved escaped slaves and fugitives in Florida, Madison remained unmoved by McIntoshs outrage over the Spanish sanctuary policies and the existence of maroon colonies. Madisons personal views on slavery led him to favor the remove blacks from prejudicial white society with such action as African colonization. To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the United States, the freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region occupied by, or allotted to, a white population. The objections to a thorough incorporation of the two people, are, with most of the whites, insuperable; and are admitted by all of them to be very powerful. 14 Due to Madisons personal views on slavery, it is doubtful that he lamented the removal of slaves to Spanish territory. Spanish sanctuary policies reduced an element of

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71 society that Madison viewed as unwanted. However, it is equally unlikely that Madison looked favorably on the theft of American property or Spanish contempt for American laws. Emancipation and African colonization differed greatly from runaways receiving sanctuary with a foreign power, especially when those slaves were then militarily used against the United States. Despite dissimilarities in their backgrounds, McIntosh and Madison adhered to a number of common ideals. Many of the arguments put forth by McIntosh spoke directly to beliefs held by Madison. McIntosh found that the most fertile common ground he had with Madison was in his devotion to Republicanism. Madison was the leading figure for the creation of Americanized Republicanism. In Madisons statement on the need for a declaration of war against Britain in 1812, he used similar honor related rhetorical strategies to muster support. I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States, as they love their country; as they value the precious heritage derived from the virtue and valor of their fathers; as they fell the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations; and as they consult the best means, under the blessing of Divine Providence, of abridging its calamities, that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and the efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted by the constituted authorities, for obtaining a speedy, a just, and an honorable peace. 15 Madisons personal views on expansion were expressed in his Notes on Government The language employed by Madison concerning Florida annexation was very similar to McIntosh in many respects. An examination of the notes reveals a concern for safety, a concern for liberty, and ultimately a concern for happiness. This movement represents a deliberate progression from the lowest political end to the highest. In philosophical terms he still adhered to Jeffersons belief in the destiny of the United States to spread freedom throughout the western hemisphere. Madison adopted a

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72 firm even arrogant attitude toward the weak and declining giant of the new world. He never doubted that all of Florida would some day be part of the United States, and he never doubted that despotic, corrupt Spain was unfit to possess it. 16 Regardless of some basic ideological differences, McIntoshs pleas found a willing audience with Madison. Madison was an ardent supporter of acquisition during his stint as Secretary of State under Jefferson and remained so during his presidency. He had successfully achieved the annexation of the Baton Rouge territory and had been personally involved in the sponsorship of the filibuster expedition under George Mathews that led to the Patriot War. These actions were executed for the most part without consulting congress. With the escalation of the violence and the likelihood of a prolonged military quagmire, Madison realized that he would need Congressional approval to continue supporting the Florida Patriots. However, using the same rhetorical strategies employed by McIntosh, Madison would be unable to sway Congress to maintain federal involvement in Georgias border war with Spanish Florida. Madison and his cabinet likely understood the perceptions of southern honor. However, national determination for acquisition was forced to seek validation in more universally acceptable terms. Therefore, the federal government had to consider factors beyond personal honor when determining to take action against a foreign government. As a result, Madisons concerns for Florida were expressed in more practical terms. Florida, in the hands of a foreign power, was a threat militarily. During Jeffersons administration, the United States was on amicable terms with Britain and Spain and thus could afford to wait for opportunities to arise. Relations with both nations had deteriorated during Madisons first term and Florida became a potential gateway from

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73 which hostile powers could invade. It was this change in the international arena that was likely to influence those who opposed annexation. Madison hoped that the publics practical concerns for the war would shift political alliances in favor of acquisition. As there are cases where the public opinion must be obeyed by the Government, so there are cases, where, not being fixed, it may be influenced by the Government. This distinction, if kept in view, would prevent or decide many debates on the respect due from the Government to the sentiments of the people. 17 To sway public perception of those who did not subscribe to the southern prescriptions for honor Madison adhered to a more practical language that expressed issues of security and demonstrated violence. We hear from Georgia that that State is threatened with a dangerous war with the Creek Indians. The alarm is of so serious a nature, that law-martial has been proclaimed, and they are proceeding to fortify even the Town of Savannah. The idea there, is that the Indians derive their motives as well as their means from their Spanish neighbors. Individuals complain also that their fugitive slaves are encouraged by east Florida. The policy of this is explained by supposing that it is considered as a discouragement to the Georgians to form settlements near the Spanish boundaries. 18 In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain toward the United States our attention is necessarily drawn to the warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our extensive frontiers a warfare which is known to spare neither age nor sex and to be distinguished by features peculiarly shocking to humanity. It is difficult to account for the activity and combinations which have for some time been developing themselves among tribes in constant intercourse with British traders and garrisons without connecting their hostility with that influence . 19 In conformity with the articles in the treaty of Ghent relating to the Indians. . The Indian tribes within and bordering on the southern frontier, whom a cruel war on their part had compelled us to chastise into peace, have latterly shown a restlessness which has called for preparatory measures for repressing it, and for protecting the commissioners engaged in carrying the terms of the peace into execution. 20 Madisons language during the early Creek Wars, the War of 1812, and the subsequent Indian Wars in Florida all use a very similar language. The idiom by which he addresses annexation speaks almost exclusively to issues of security. In some cases,

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74 Madisons language is similar to the southern expressions of honor; however, he describes the Indian tribes and their European supporters a direct threat to national (rather than private) security. This subtle difference is important for mobilizing portions of the country that were not so easily encouraged to action. As a result of the need for more practical rationalization, McIntoshs letter did not succeed in its intention. Despite Madisons apparent desire for annexation and his support of General Mathews and the Florida Patriots, he was unable to make any headway against Congressional opposition. On February 2, the Senate yet again rejected the measure for a military occupation of East Florida. Unfortunately for the Patriot cause, McIntoshs letter came at a time in which the southern need to satisfy their honor seemed infantile and was of little concern in the formation of federal policy. 21 This instance reveals important information about the nature of federal involvement in the Florida acquisition. At the regional level, justification and inspiration for the removal of the Spanish, British, Native Americans, and maroons from Florida was based in the idioms of honor. At the national level, however, perspectives on annexation were forced to maintain a more judicious approach. While the white South was clamoring for immediate satisfaction in the name of honor, the federal government stalled in their support of the pro-American uprisings that took place within the territory. The Souths interpretation was that its efforts for annexation were hindered by a national government that was not ready for the decisiveness of southern action. Yet the ambitions of many federal officials suggest an alternative explanation. Southern aspirations and the objectives of the Jeffersonian presidents for annexation were in agreement. What differed was that Madison was hindered by his politically sensitive position. The

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75 principals of southern honor could not so decisively dictate Madisons actions as they could with Mathews or McIntosh. 22 At the time of the Patriot War, national support for acquisition had not yet reached a point from which ambitions for annexing Florida were uncontested. Opposition to Madisons goals came from the remnants of the Federalist Party and dissidents within Madisons own Republican Party. Owsley and Smith depict the federalist opposition: Not all agreed with this vision of growth. The Northeast, especially New England, wanted no territorial expansion. Federalist opposition had manifested itself during the debates over the Louisiana Purchase as well as during attempts to acquire Canada and the Floridas. Generally, this group feared that each new southern or western state that entered into the Union diminished the influence and political power of the Northeast while enhancing the largely Republican South and West. 23 The Federalists were stronger and had more influence during Jeffersons administration than under Madison. In reference to the possibility of gaining Florida from France in 1806 Jefferson stated: In this treaty, whatever it shall be, our old enemies the federalists, and their new friends, will find enough to carp at. This is a thing of course, and I should suspect error where they found no fault. The Federalists often protested on the basis of law. The Constitution did not leave provisions for the president to purchase land without congressional approval. Jeffersons was unambiguous in his response. Law was of secondary consideration to national gain. 24 Suppose it had been made known to the Executive of the Union in the autumn of 1805, that we might have the Floridas for a reasonable sum, that that sum had not indeed been so appropriated by law. . .Ought he, for so great an advantage of his country, to have risked himself by transcending the law and making the purchase? The public advantage offered, in this supposed case, was indeed immense. . .Ought the Executive, in that case, and with that foreknowledge, to have secured the good to his country, and to have trusted to their justice for the transgression of the law. 25 The Federalists had weakened during Jeffersons administration and had lost much of its authority by the time Madison was elected. However, their influence was still felt

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76 in the Senate as Madison attempted to execute his plans for expansion. When Congress voted on the first resolution for the military seizure of East Florida in June of 1812, political rivalries played a vital role in its eventual defeat. The most ardent opposition came foremost from the remaining Federalists in the Senate. Mostly representatives from the northeast, the Federalist senators were embittered that their protests against war with England had been largely ignored. They were equally appalled by the prospect of war with Spain. 26 In addition to Federalist opposition, a number of Democratic Republican senators defected and swung the majority vote against the resolution. As historian James Cusick demonstrates, Personal animosities played a role in the balloting. . By voting with the Federalists, [the Republican dissidents] were instrumental in tipping the balance against the administration. The dissension in the Republican vote was symptomatic of a growing rift in Party loyalties. Madison was unable to maintain the level of unity the Jefferson administration had achieved. The result was a political power struggle between Madison and a number of prominent individuals within the Party. As historian J. C. A. Stagg described in his essay Madison and the Malcontents: 27 No doubt the rejection of Thomas Jeffersons foreign policies was a gradual process as Americans came to see the need for change at different times from 1808 to 1812 . from economic coercion to war. . Politics during Madisons first administration were shaped by . the need for a new foreign policy to replace Jeffersons discredited embargo, and the fact that Madison had not been the unanimous choice of the Republican party in 1808. Both problems caused considerable dissension within the party, and the election of 1808 defined a relationship between diplomatic and political issues that thereafter dominated Madisons presidency. 28 While here Stagg is describing the political motivations for Americas decision for war against Britain in 1812, he also provides an accurate depiction of the changing nature of all American foreign policy and the Florida annexation. The Democratic Republican

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77 party of 1808 was in a state of disunion following Madisons ascension to office. As a result: Many prominent Republican politicians, especially in the middle states, came to resent the domination of Virginia in national politics. The impact of their disaffection . hampered American diplomacy, threatened the future of the Republican Party, and thus undermined the political stability of the nation in a period of crisis. . Unless the president acted to resolve the disputes over men and measures in his administration, everything must go to disorder, the Republican [P]arty must go to destruction and Mr. Madison will be thrown out at the next election. 29 Madisons political concerns far outweighed any ties he had to the southern claims of honor expressed by leaders of the Patriot rebellion in Florida. Therefore, he had to maintain a level of discretion in his support of the regional acquisition movement that was taking place on the Georgia and Florida border. Along with domestic political obstacles, Madison had to be concerned with international opinions for diplomatic issues. The difficulty of applying southern ideology to international diplomacy is that the American representations of honor were not universally accepted. As historian Wyatt-Brown has noted, Europeans viewed Americas determination for defiance as a presumption to honor and power totally undeserved, unearned, and childish. In the interest of international legitimacy, President Madison walked a fine line in choosing to support the Florida Patriots. In the latter stages of the acquisition campaigns, Madisons concerns for foreign relations were not a significant part of his policy making. The international community was already significantly hostile during Madisons second term. Americas war with Britain had little to do with Florida; therefore, English perception of the Florida acquisition had only a modest effect upon the presidents actions. While Spain was hardly a military threat by 1812, most of Madisons concerns for international diplomacy

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78 revolved around maintaining Spanish neutrality. Apprehension over Spain would not endure as it was quickly revealed that the Spanish were aiding the British in Florida by allowing them military access to the territory. 30 After the signing of the Treaty of Ghent and the accession of James Monroe to the presidency, international opinion became virtually irrelevant. Following the War of 1812, the British removed their troops from Florida and abandoned their Spanish, Seminole, and maroon allies. American policies changed significantly as the young republic sought to assert its authority in the western hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine would not be issued until 1823; however, the principals that it would come to represent were put into place during Monroes first term in office. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace and safety. With existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But, with the Governments who have declared their independence, and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration, and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, in any other manner, their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States. 31 This expression of hemispheric sovereignty put into words the American sentiment that existed at the beginning of the Monroe administration. This implied that European governments would have no right to interfere with American actions within Florida should popular opinion in Florida were to declare itself in favor of annexation with the United States. Although the Patriot War had ended in the defeat of the Americans in Florida, the political implications of this new international development paved the way for new pro-American movements.

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79 Monroe would have a much more amicable political environment in which to carry out his ambitions for Florida. Like his predecessor, Monroe supported acquisition. His concerns, like Madison, were limited to maintaining a level of deniability within the domestic sphere so as not to be associated directly with the violence of the campaign. To an even greater extent than Madison, Monroe was able to manipulate the rhetoric of honor through intermediaries in order to force acquisition past those in the federal government that opposed it. The Federalist resistance had become virtually defunct and the divisions within the Republican Party could be better controlled than they had during Madisons administration. Likewise, the disposition of the Spanish was of little consequence to Monroe. As demonstrated by the diplomatic efforts during the Negro Fort campaign and the First Seminole War, President Monroe generally allowed regional leaders David B. Mitchell, William Crawford, and Andrew Jackson to deal directly with the Florida governors. 32 Despite these advantages, Monroe, like Madison before him, could not directly adhere to the unforgiving nature of southern honor and still maintain favor outside of the South. However, southern honor, through the use of intermediaries, was an extremely potent tool for speeding the process of annexation. Monroe perfected the strategy put in place by Madisons and was able to finally complete the process of acquisition. The leaders employed by the presidents shared in the vision of annexation, would be able to motivate the South in support of the cause, and could take the blame in the event of failure. Notes 1 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 33; Cusick, The Other War of 1812 294-295.

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80 2 Ibid., 13-37. Cusick deals with this initial stage of preparation and support by the federal Government of General George Mathews and his campaign that led to the outbreak of the Patriot War. Other general sources for the Federal involvement in the Florida annexation see Twyman. The Black Seminole Legacy and Joseph Burkholder Smith, The Plot to Steal Florida: James Madisons Phony War. 3 Owlsey and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionist 12; Cusick, The Other War of 1812 10. 4 The Affair of Louisiana, To the U.S. Minister of France (Robert R. Livingston), Washington, April 18, 1802, found in, Merrill D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1984), 1105. 5 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 10; Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionist 11-12; A brief overview of Jeffersons involvement is offered in William Earl Weeks, Building the Continental Empire: American Expansion from the Revolution to the Civil War 34-36; Peter S. Onuf, Jeffersons Empire: The Language of American Nationhood 13. 6 A Law Beyond the Constitution, To John B. Colvin, September 20, 1810, found in Merril D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings 1231, 1232. 7 Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists 12. 8 Thomas Jefferson, Our Confederacy . The Nest, To Archibald Stuart, Paris, Jan. 25, 1786, found in Merrill D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings 844. 9 Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans 7; SPPD Extract of the confidential Proceedings of the Senate of the United States, December 22, 1812. 154-155. 10 For details on James Madisons life and his Presidency see, Joseph Nathan Kane, Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of biographical and Historical Information (New York: H.W. Wilson, 2001), 49-59. 11 James Madison to Robert Walsh, Montpellier, Mar. 2d, 1819, found in James Madisons Attitude Toward the Negro, The Journal of Negro History 6 (Jan. 1921), 77, 78. 12 Andrew Washburn, James Madisons Montpelier History the enslaved population (Montpelier: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1988), 1; John Houston McIntosh, Communication to Editors, column 3. 13 James Madison James Madisons Attitude Toward the Negro, The Journal of Negro History 6 (Jan 1921), 74; James Madison to Robert J. Evans, Montpellier, June 15, 1819, Ibid, 79. 14 Ibid, 79. 15 The President of the United States of America. A Proclamation, June 22, 1812, ASP: FR. vol. 4, 489-490. 16 Colleen A. Sheehan, The Politics of Public Opinion: James Madisons Notes on Government, William and Mary Quarterly 49 (Oct., 1992), 614; Cusick, 294. 17 Colleen Sheehan, Notes on Government 620. 18 James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 24, 1787, found in Jack N. Rakove, James Madison: Writings (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999), 158.

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81 19 James Madison, War Message to Congress, June 1, 1812, Found in, Ibid, 690. 20 James Madison, Seventh Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 15., 1815, Found in, Ibid, 711. 21 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 252, 253. 22 McIntosh expresses the frustration he felt and the federal governments inaction during the latter part of the Patriot War in a letter, John Houston McIntosh, Communication to Editors, column 3. 23 Owsley, Fi libusters and Expansionists 11. 24 Schism and the Majority Leadership, To Barnabas Bidwell, Washington July 5, 1806, found in Merril D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings 1164. 25 A Law Beyond the Constitution, To John B. Colvin, September 20, 1810, found in Merril D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings 1232. 26 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 190 27 Ibid, 190-192. 28 J. C. A. Stagg, Madison and the Malcontents: The Political Origins of the War of 1812, William and Mary Quarterly 33 (Oct. 1976). 558, 560. 29 Ibid, 566. 30 Madisons overall lack of international concern is demonstrated in Cusick, The Other War of 1812 13-28. 31 Kane, Facts about the Presidents 68. 32 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 295.

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CHAPTER 5 INTERMEDIARY AGENTS AND THE PROCESS OF ANNEXATION The cries and lamentations of the wounded, compelled the soldier to pause in the midst of victory, to drop a tear for the sufferings of his fellow beings, and to acknowledge that the great Ruler of the Universe must have used us as an instrument in chastising the blood-thirsty and murderous wretches . 1 Lt. Col. Duncan L. Clinch, Commander of U.S. forces at Negro Fort Southern activists and their supporters in the national government were never at odds in their goals for the Florida acquisition. It was only the necessity for federal politicians to maintain favorable political appearances that differed. Southern honor was not an obstacle to federal ambitions for annexation; nor was it viewed as a force beyond control. On the contrary, it served as a tool, which if properly managed, could accomplish acquisition quickly and with little political repercussions. Despite the appearance of southern domination of the Florida annexation, Madison and Monroe always gave tacit approval from behind the scenes. Consequently, interpretation of the Florida acquisition takes on new meaning when one considers southern honor not as the driving force behind the annexation campaign, but rather as a powerful entity unleashed upon Spanish Florida to forcibly speed the process of territorial transfer. Madison and Monroe quickly came to understand the usefulness of white southern societys volatility. Rather than restrain the Souths impulse for immediate satisfaction of their honor, the respective administrations sought to accommodate and enhance the desires of white southerners for direct action. Thus the presidents appointed southern sympathizers to conduct operations in Florida. These men were chosen based on their 82

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83 ability to identify with the southern ideology. The result was the powerful combination of southern drive and federal authority embodied in such men as George Mathews, David Mitchell, and Andrew Jackson. Two important aspects define these men as intermediaries rather than simply federal agents or southern activists. First, they were granted federal power so that they might take the appropriate action to force annexation. Independent authority was given so that their federal supporters would be blameless in case of failure and yet could still claim victory in the case of success. Second, these men communicated regularly with the opposition in Florida, be it the British, Spanish, or Native Americans. They took it upon themselves to conduct their own diplomatic proceedings thus circumventing the need for direct federal involvement. The use of intermediary agents to do the federal governments dirty work for territorial acquisition was a common occurrence during the administrations of all three of the Jeffersonian presidents. Thomas Jefferson took advantage of the French conquest of Spain to bypass the Spanish protests and negotiate the purchase of the Louisiana territory. His ministers to France, Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe, negotiated for the purchase of New Orleans. When Napoleon offered the entire Louisiana territory, these agents acted decisively. In this way, Jefferson was able to succeed before the naysayers in Congress could act. While the negotiations were taking place, Jefferson dispatched his agents Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the lands west of the Mississippi. The purpose of this expedition had implications beyond mere exploration. As historians Owsley Jr. and Smith suggest, the mission was publicly extolled for its scientific purposes. Yet Jefferson also desired a military reconnaissance to appraise the strength of

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84 Native Americans within the territory, to determine the regions commercial value, and, more importantly, to indicate the areas suitability for future American expansion. In his instructions to Captain Lewis, Jefferson specifically mentioned the importance of assessing the capabilities of the Native Americans for the purposes illustrated above. 2 The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting the line you will pursue, renders a knolege [sic] of these people important. You will therefore endeavor to make yourself acquainted, as far as a diligent pursuit of your journey shall admit; with the names of the nations & their numbers; the extend & limits of their possessions; their relations with other tribes or nations; their language, traditions, monuments; their ordinary occupations in agriculture, fishing, hunting, war, arts, & the implements for these; their food, clothing, & domestic accommodations; the diseases prevalent among them, & the remedies they use; moral and physical circumstance which distinguish them from the tribes they know; peculiarities in their laws, customs & dispositions; and articles of commerce they may need or furnish & to what extent. 3 r The Madison and Monroe administrations were far more active in the employment of territorial spies to assess conditions for expansion. The practice of stationing American agents in various Spanish colonies to assess nationalist sentiments toward the United States was widely used. William Shaler in Cuba and Joel R. Poinsett in Chile, Peru, and Buenos Aires served much the same purpose as James Claiborne in West Florida and George Mathews in East Florida. The purpose of each mission was to spread Anti-Spanish sentiments and assess the likelihood of a pro-American rebellion. 4 In Florida, the nature of the federal agents involvement was significantly altered. Madison expanded upon Jeffersons practice of employing spies for espionage, by encouraging insurgents within the territory. This was a significant step in the escalation of federal involvement. When this occurred, a group of intermediaries became vital as representatives of American ambitions within Florida and as leaders of the Souths acquisition efforts.

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85 The practice of sponsoring rebels within the Spanish colonial system was not limited to Florida. Madison covertly supported the Hidalgo Revolution of 1810 in Mexico in order to strengthen the claims the United States had on Texas. He provided financial assistance and military supplies to the rebels in the hopes of annexing the territory in a fashion similar to the Baton Rouge filibuster. American troops would not become involved in Texas as they did in Florida until much later. However, as Owsley and Smith point out, [the Hidalgo Revolution] indicated the administrations position on local revolutions and the desire to bring those likeminded movements into the American fold. 5 The East Florida filibuster under Mathews was the first instance of a warlike campaign involving American troops, erupting out of these surreptitious activities. The Patriot War was an intense lesson in the use of southern activists for the pursuit of federal ambitions. Cusick argues that only Mathewss overt invasion of East Florida did not correspond with Madisons plans. From that moment on, Madison was reacting to events rather than directing them. While evidence demonstrates that Mathewss actions were independent of Madisons direct control, there is no substantiation for the suggestion that it was against his wishes. Madison came to realize that the problem with Mathewss expedition was not too little federal control; it was too much direct association on the part of the administration. Madison was closely involved with the formation of Mathewss plans and the execution of his filibuster and so the administration risked possible repercussions. The general would not have been able to conduct the operations that led to the Patriot rebellion had they been in outright defiance of his federal supporter. Mathewss actions were too drastic and came dangerously close

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86 to marring the administration. Madison commented to that effect when he wrote to Jefferson, stating Mathews has been playing a strange comedy in the face of common sense, as well as of his instructions. . .His extravagances place us in the most distressing dilemma. Mathews had succeeded in his goal to stir up the rebels in Florida, but the domestic and international protesters were not fooled into believing that the rebels under McIntosh were independent of Mathewss influence. Madison ultimately dismissed Mathews in early April of 1812 in order to prevent further political injury. As Cusick states: 6 Armed with disavowal, the secretary of state [Monroe] prepared to confront foreign diplomats. . [H]e assured him [the Spanish ambassador Luis de Onis] that the president had never authorized an attack on Spanish East Florida. . These assurances masked the governments true intentions. 7 What can be interpreted from the East Florida quagmire is that Madison did not fear the use of aggressive southern activists, only public disgrace. When vehement protests reached the president that threatened to link his administration directly with the inspiration of insurgents, Madison offered up Mathews as a sacrifice. Mathews was thus removed from his position as U.S. commissioner to East Florida in an effort to placate the domestic, British, and Spanish protesters. In his place, Madison appointed Georgia Governor David B. Mitchell, an equally ardent, yet somewhat more tactful representative of the southern cause. 8 The whirlwind of events that had taken place under Mathews had left Madison a bit gun shy and withdrawn in his support of the acquisition. Madison still desired to move forward with the operations in Florida. However, he was careful to avoid further linkages between his administration and the Florida Patriots. The remedy was not to exercise more control in order to prevent future violence or illegal activities. Rather the solution

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87 was less direct association. This would allow the Patriots and Georgia filibusters more power to conduct their operations while Madison would remain personally unaffiliated. As Madison began to pull his support from the Patriots in Florida, Mitchell found himself in a very precarious position. Shortly after Mathewss dismissal, the president threatened to discontinue all federal funding and military aid to the Patriots. In a letter to the State Department, Mitchell pleaded with Madisons Secretary of State James Monroe not to abandon the Patriots annexation efforts. In my letter of the 17 th of July written at St. Marys two days prior to the receipt of your dispatch . I gave you in a few words my opinion of what would be the situation of our Southern frontier, if the United States troops were immediately withdrawn from Florida, and every days observation and experience since has confirmed me in the opinion therein entertained. . The Governor of St. Augustine has sufficient influence with these Indians (a part of the Creeks) residing in Florida called the Seminoles, to induce them to fall upon the defenseless settlers on the St. Johns and on our side of the St. Marys. On the St. Johns they have killed and scalped one and wounded two more besides driving off from both places a large number of Negroes and stock of every description. The same Governor has proclaimed freedom to every Negro who will join his standard, and has sent a party of them to unite . with the Indians in their murderous excursions. Indeed the principal strength of the garrison of St. Augustine consists of Negroes, there being but a few Militia of the Province in the place who adhered to the Royal Government when the Revolution broke out and about one hundred effective men, the remains of an old Battalion of Regular Troops, whom it was understood would surrender without firing a shot. 9 Noticeably, Mitchells letter is similar to the language used by Florida residents in their expression of honor. The three precepts concerning Republicanism, the protection of property, and defense of the innocent are present in his letter. Mitchell expresses his disgust over the Seminoles stealing livestock as well as the Spanish emancipation and arming of fugitive slaves. He fears the Indians murderous excursions, and the resulting anarchy that is likely to result if federal troops are withdrawn from Florida. Mitchells viewpoint is directly associated with the code of white southern honor; it is therefore not surprising to see those tenets reflected in his writing.

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88 Of the three tenets, however, Mitchell was more focused on security. Like Madison, Mitchell describes the territory as being engulfed in war and in the midst of chaos. Seminole and maroon marauders, sponsored by the Spanish, threaten the safety of the white Florida and Georgia citizens along the St. Johns River and in St. Mary. Constant raids had resulted in the loss of property and the loss of life. Rather than encourage the federal government to make war upon the Spanish, Mitchell called for a war against the savage elements of Florida that he saw as the cause for the perpetuation of violence. Mitchell understood that these practical concerns for American lives and property are more likely to have an immediate impact upon national government officials than abstract and ideological rhetoric. Mitchell continued to conduct operations from Georgia while soliciting support from the president and the State Department. In June when the Senate first refused the endorsement of the Patriot War, Mitchell was shocked by the decision. He again petitioned the State Department in protest pleading with Madison and Monroe not to abandon the Patriots to the whims of the Spanish and their black regiments: By letters which I have received from members of the State Delegation in Congress, I have been induced to believe, that an act would be passed as soon as war was declared authorizing the President to take possession of the posts yet occupied by the Spaniards in the two Floridas and by some expression in your communications these expectations were confirmed. Under these impressions I have remained here making every preparation for that event; you may therefore judge of my surprise and mortification at the information I have received by this evenings mail that the Senate had rejected a bill which had been passed by the House of Representatives for the purpose of authorizing the immediately occupancy of the entire province. . I have carefully avoided making any proposition for withdrawing the Troops, under the fullest conviction that such a step was not intended; and I feel that it is a duty I own to the United States and Georgia in particular to assure you, that the situation of the Garrison of St. Augustine will not admit of the troops being withdrawn. They have armed every able bodied Negro within their power, and they have also received from the Havanna [sic], reinforcement of nearly two companies of black troops. 10

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89 These protests received little response from Washington. While Madison continued to lobby in support of the Patriots in Florida, he maintained a safe distance. He made no further promises to Mitchell for federal support. In response to this, Mitchell did exactly what Madison hoped for; he took matters into his own hands and conducted the campaign in Florida independent, yet still not in defiance, of federal authority. An important aspect of the developing independence of a southern war against Spanish Florida was the diplomatic actions taken on the part of the intermediary leaders. As demonstrated repeatedly in his writing, the use of black troops was particularly appalling to Mitchell. Not only were these troops, who comprised virtually the entire garrison at St. Augustine, an abomination in the eyes of many white southerners, but also the fear for slave insurrection was a genuine concern in the South. Mitchell began his personal correspondence with the Spanish government by condemning the use of black troops. Another subject, which the candor that characterized the government of the United States required me to present to your consideration; I mean the black troops which you have in your service. Your certain knowledge of the peculiar situation of the southern section of the Union in regard to that description of people, one might have supposed, would have induced you to abstain from introducing them into the province, or of organizing such as were already in it. The contrary I am well assured is, however, the fact; and I may venture to assure you that the United States will never tolerate their remaining in the province. It will readily occur to you, also that the war now existing between this country and Great Britain imposes upon the United States the necessity of a more vigilant regard and attention to what passes in a neighboring province, and more especially the fact to which I have called your attention. Neither will it escape your observation, that for the use made of those troops you alone will be responsible. 11 Two components of this letter to Spanish Governor Sebastian Kindelan are worthy of particular note. First, by the statement; The United States will never tolerate their remaining in the province, Mitchell identified himself and his opinions as representations of sentiments in the United States, not just Georgia or the South. He took

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90 it upon himself to speak for the government of the United States in voicing opinions about the danger of black troops. Second, he discussed the war with Great Britain in relation to the Patriot rebellion in Florida. This is an acknowledgement to the Spanish that the American forces in Florida are directly linked to the Patriots insurgents. No doubt officials in St. Augustine had already made this connection. However, Mitchell asserted himself as the representative of American interests for the rebellion, not Madison. Although the Patriot War ended in defeat, the nature of Mitchells involvement set a precedent for future acquisition operations in Florida. The use of southern commanders who shared Madisons vision, but were not hindered by the politics of Washington, became the standard practice in the period following the Patriot War. With the ascension of Andrew Jackson to the forefront, the final campaigns of annexation were taken completely out of the presidents hands. No individual took more personal initiative or had more influence on these final campaigns than did Andrew Jackson. Jackson was a Tennessee lawyer and militia commander commissioned by the United States army in May of 1813 to command the American forces on the southern frontier. Jacksons involvement in the Florida campaigns was the height of the intermediary influence upon southern and national efforts for annexation. He was renowned as an Indian fighter and passionately adhered to the southern precepts of honor. More importantly, Jackson was an ardent expansionist and the perfect candidate for conducting the operations in Florida. Jackson was persistent, direct, and fully confident in his own capabilities. This combination assured the federal supporters of annexation that the Florida campaign would be carried through to a quick and decisive conclusion.

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91 Madison and Monroe would allow Jackson a free hand in deciding the fate of the acquisition effort while maintaining the political and diplomatic appearance of ignorance. His prejudice (even outright hatred) toward the Native Americans stems from his frontier background. Jackson was born March 15, 1767. He was raised by his mother (his father died shortly before he was born) in the Piedmont territory in the uplands of the South Carolina colony known as the Waxhaws. The region had a brief, yet tumultuous history of white settlement. In the early stages of colonization, the native Yamasee, Catawabas, and Tuscarora tribes violently resisted white settlement. Before the Jackson family migrated to the region in 1765, the Yamasee tribe had been effectively dispersed following the Yamasee War of 1715 and several devastating smallpox outbreaks. The Catawbas tribe had likewise entered into a period of decline after the Cherokee War and the French and Indian war (1754-1763). At the time of Jacksons birth, as a result of white plantations and cattle rearing, the native Indians had been reduced to small hunting reservations that barely sustained them. Danger from Cherokee, Iroquois, and Shawnee raiding parties, however, continued to plague the white settlers in the region. Jackson grew up amidst constant violence and brutality perpetrated by both the whites and Indians in the region. The nature of Jacksons hatred for the Native Americans became deep rooted in his personality. Jacksons mother had what was described as a dreadful enmity with the Indians, which was passed down to her sons. 12 Jacksons background made him sympathetic to the southern cause. But more than that, he embodied the southern ideals of honor in his words and his actions. As historian Robert Remini describes, Jacksons mother had taught him the field of honor was the place to settle personal quarrels. Jackson was famous for his participation in fights and

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92 duels in defense of his honor. This personal adherence to violence as a means of resolving issues of honor was directly related to his being raised in a particularly violent society. As Remini points out, Violence was a way of life on the frontier, and he absorbed it as a matter of course. Fierce retaliatory responses over crimes such as horse stealing were not considered excessive. Constant clashes between whites and Indians over land, money, and property disputes left an indelible mark upon Jacksons personality that would characterize his actions during the Florida acquisition campaigns. 13 Jackson became involved in Florida through his service on the southern frontier during the Creek War of 1813 and the latter stages of the War of 1812. Prior to that he had been a North Carolina prosecutor until relocating to Nashville in 1788. From 1789 to 1796 he served in the Tennessee state militia and participated in a number of expeditions against the Native Americans. His reputation as an Indian fighter grew and he was elected major general of the militia in 1802. His first involvement in Florida came when the Tennessee militia was dispatched following the massacre at Fort Mims, to confront the Red Stick Creeks along with their Spanish and British supporters. His call to arms reflected his deep resentment and excited the sentiments of the South for an all out war against the Native Americans. 14 Your Frontier is threatened with invasion by a savage foe! Already do they advance towards your frontier, with their scalping knives unsheathed, to butcher your wives, your children, and your helpless babes. Time is not to be lost! We must hasten to the frontier, or we will find it drenched in the blood of our fellow-citizens. 15 Jackson became famous for his victories at Tallushatchee, Talladega, and Horseshoe Bend. As a result, in May of 1814 he received a commission as major general in the U.S. Army. Within three months of his appointment, he began his campaign into Spanish Florida to remove the British. In October of 1814, Jackson invaded West Florida

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93 and occupied Pensacola. The justification for these actions was that the Spanish were harboring British Indian agents and was potentially a staging point for an attack against New Orleans. The West Florida capital was subsequently returned to the Spanish after Jackson was satisfied that the British were not longer a threat to the region. While his actions during the latter portion of the War of 1812 were momentous for Americas war effort and for future Indian wars in Florida, Jackson was not independently significant for acquisition until after the Treaty of Ghent. During the war, Jackson was acting under the auspices of the federal government for the war effort. After the war, however, Madison allowed Jackson to maintain his commission as commander of the southern district and continue his campaign against the renegade Indian tribes. It was then that Jackson became the true arbiter of annexation. Jacksons independent operations were reminiscent of the Patriot War in that the presidents would maintain their distance while lobbying separately for annexation. Madison and Monroe avoided becoming directly involved with the wars in Florida and allowed Jackson to conduct operations as he saw fit. However, there were two men in the federal government who willing lent their name to Jacksons cause. William Crawford and John C. Calhoun, senators from Georgia and South Carolina respectively, advised Jackson on his actions and gave him more direct federal support than the presidents. Both men would serve as Secretary of War, yet despite being his superior, their role was limited to directing Jacksons wrath, not dictating his actions. Almost immediately following the war, Jackson found opportunity to exercise his authority. The Negro Fort campaign of June 1816 was the first instance in which Jackson took independent responsibility for his actions and acted without expressed authorization

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94 from Washington. In accordance with Crawfords suggestion, Jackson took it upon himself to petition the Spanish government on behalf of the United States. Just as many southern activists before him, Jackson wrote in the language of honor. I am charged by my Government to make known to you that a [N]egro fort, erected during our late war with Great Britain. . has been strengthened since that period, and is now occupied by upwards of two hundred and fifty [N]egroes, many of whom have been enticed away from the service of their masters, citizens of the United States. . This is a state of things which cannot fail to produce much injury to the neighboring settlements, and excite irritations which eventually may endanger the peace of the nation and interrupt that good understanding which so happily exists between our Governments. . .The principles of good faith, which always insure good neighborhood between nations, require the immediate and prompt interference of the Spanish authority to destroy or remove from our frontier this banditti, put an end to an evil of so serious a nature, and return to our citizens and friendly Indians inhabiting our territory those Negroes now in the said fort, and which have been stolen and enticed from them. I cannot permit myself to indulge a belief that the Governor of Pensacola, or the military commander of that place, will hesitate a moment in giving orders for this banditti to be dispersed, and the property of the citizens of the United States forthwith restored to them, and our friendly Indians particularly, when I reflect that the conduct of this banditti is such as will not be tolerated by our Government, and, if not put down by Spanish authority, will compel us, in self-defense, to destroy them. 16 In this letter to Governor Mauricio de Zuniga in Pensacola, all three southern values of honor are present. Jackson expressed southerners fears for their property, their safety, and the anarchy of savages. The South was outraged over the property lost to the Native American and maroon raiders taking refuge at the Fort. Jackson insisted that many of the blacks at the fort were enticed away from the service of their masters. Jackson also made note of the potential danger to the citizenry, both Spanish and American, by the banditti at Negro Fort whose presence cannot fail to produce much injury . and excite irritations which eventually may endanger the peace of the nation. These petitions did not produce the results Jackson wanted, but it was what he expected. The Spanish declared their incapacity to destroy Negro Fort without aid from Cuba or Spain. Jacksons subordinate Captain Vero Amelung insisted that Zunigas

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95 response was a tacit approval for Jackson to take measures to disperse the maroons. Captain Vero Amelung, Jacksons emissary to Pensacola, illustrated what he believed was Spanish sentiment that favored action on the part of the United States. 17 Pensacola itself is, I can assure you, entirely defenseless. The garrison consists of from 80 to 100 effective men, exclusive of a battalion of colored troops, say about 150 men, of whom the inhabitants themselves stand in constant dread. They have . not enough gunpowder to fire a salute. . To this is to be added the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants, and even of a number of the officers of Government, and the desire of a majority to see a change effected. The governor also, on my mentioning in conversation that I was persuaded you would willingly assist in destroying the fort, said, if the object was of sufficient importance to require the presence of General Jackson, he would be proud to be commanded by you; and that, if the Captain General of Cuba could not furnish him with the necessary means, he might perhaps apply to you for assistance. 18 Jackson undoubtedly used Amelungs assessment of Pensacolas defenses and the West Florida populations sentiments toward the maroons and Indians as justification for trespassing on Spanish territory. However, he was unsure of the true sentiments of the Spanish governors. Therefore, he prepared his subordinates to meet any resistance with a forceful response. His orders to Colonel Thomas Sydney Jesup, a fellow Indian fighter who would have an increasingly important role in later Indian wars in Florida, left little room for doubt that issues of sovereignty did not hinder Jackson in his mission. Any act of aggression committed by Spain . must be met by correspondent hostilities on our part, and from that moment she can be viewed in no other light than as an open enemy You will be cautious however & by no means provoke offensive movements. Spain must be the assailant. 19 This order to prepare for Spanish hostility demonstrated Jacksons unwillingness to yield once he was set upon his course. His honor would not allow him to acquiesce in the face of resistance despite the circumstances. However, while defending his personal honor, he was also careful not to project an overtly aggressive image. That Spain must

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96 be the assailant was vital for maintaining the legitimacy of his mission, his country, and his command. The First Seminole War erupted shortly after (and partly as a result of) the Negro Fort campaign. Jacksons actions during the Seminole War were no less audacious. Precipitated by the destruction of the Seminole settlement at Fowltown by Jacksons subordinate Edmund P. Gaines, the First Seminole War was nothing short of an all out invasion of Florida by Jackson and his southern troops. A letter from the new West Florida Governor Jose Masot protested Jacksons actions and held him personally responsible for the invasion of Spanish territory. Having been informed of Your Excellency with the troops under your command passing the frontiers & entering the territory of West Florida under my charge, against which proceedings I protest, as an infringement and insult offered to his king and master, obliges me in his name to declair [sic] to your excellency to leave the boundaries, and if you will proceed contrary to my expectations I will repulse you force to force. The results in this case will be an effusion of blood & will also disturb the present harmony existing betwixt our nations but as I will only oppose the insult of your approach I shall not consider myself the aggressor. You will therefore be responsible before God & men for the consequences & results of the same. 20 Masot stated clearly that Jackson will be responsible before God & men for his actions in Florida. This demonstrates the successful projection of the blame for the war on Jackson and not the United States government or the Monroe administration. Jacksons response was, as one would expect, vehement in the justification of his actions. He maintained that the Seminoles were a constant threat to the Georgia border and that the Spanish were their willing accomplices. He accused the Spanish of harboring Seminole leaders and purchasing property knowingly stolen from American citizens. Sir The Southern Frontier of the U.States has for more than twelve months been exposed to all the horrors of a cruel and savage war a party of outlaws and refugees from the Creek nation, [N]egroes who have fled from their masters,

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97 citizens of the U. States and sought an asylum in Florida; and the Seminole Indians inhabiting the Territory of Spain all uniting have raised the Tomahawk & in the character of savage warfare have neither regarded sex or age helpless women have been massacred and the cradle crimsoned with the blood of innocence The U. States true to their own engagements & confiding in the faith of Spain to enforce existing treaties never entertained a doubt but that these atrocities would early attract the attention of the Spanish Government & that speedy & effectual measures would have been adopted for their suppression under this persuasion a cordon of military posts were established to give immediate protection to such of our Frontier settlers as were peculiarly exposed and strict injunctions issued to the American officers to respect the Territory of Spain, and not to attempt operations within its limits These Instructions were most scrupulously observed, and not withstanding the inactivity of the American Troops had encouraged the Indians to the more daring & outrageous acts of violence against out citizens. . That councils of war had been permitted to be held within his own Quarters b the ciefs of warriors, That the Spanish store houses had been appropriated to the use & were then filled with good belonging to the hostile party That cattle knowingly plundered from the citizens of the U. States has been contracted for & purchased by officers of the Garrison from the Spanish thieves that foreign agents had free access within the walls of St. Marks. 21 The Negro Fort campaign and the First Seminole War brought about a stark realization for the Spanish, and Native Americans in Florida. The South was relentless in its desire for annexation and would settle for nothing less than the total suppression of their enemies. Although an isolated operation, Negro Fort demonstrated that Jackson intended to carry out these southern ambitions to a bloody conclusion. Moreover, the Madison administration would (or could) do little to restrain Jackson in his actions and offered little protests to his methods. Likewise, Monroes policies during the First Seminole War were similar to those of Madison. Jackson continued to execute his operations in the same manner of unrestrained brutality. Monroe allowed Jackson to run rampant over those who opposed annexation. Elected in 1816, Monroe shared the belief of his predecessor that Jacksons personal war against the Indians in Florida would effectively suppress the renegade tribes and demonstrate Spains incompetence in governing the region. Both of these were vital for

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98 the eventual annexation and settlement of the territory by the United States. In the meantime, the state department could point to the chaos in Florida during their negotiations with the Spanish government as justification for a territorial transfer. Monroe was able to use Jacksons operations to the nations full advantage. His state department, headed by Secretary of State John Q. Adams, pointed to the chaos of Florida as reason for Spain to consider territorial transfer. Jacksons campaigns were presented as the natural response, rather than as the cause of Spains decline in Florida. The Spanish realized that they could not hope to gain from maintaining their claims on Florida while the American South was continually making war upon their territory unchecked. Jacksons wars had essentially exhausted the Spanish into submission. Spain agreed to the transfer with the signing of the Adam-Onis treaty in 1819. The South, under Jacksons command, had accomplished the federal goals and forced annexation through all opposition. 22 Notes 1 General Duncan L. Clinch, Communications, Camp Crawford, 2nd August, 1816, Army and Navy Chronicle Vol. 3, (Washington D.C.: Benjamin Homans, 1836), 115. 2 Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists 12. 3 Expedition to the Pacific, Instructions to Captain Lewis, June 20, 1803, Merrill D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings 1128. 4 Cusick, The Other War of 1812 295. 5 Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists 13. 6 Madison to Jefferson April 24, 1812. A depiction of Mathews as a threat to the Madison administration is given in Cusick 137-139.

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99 7 Ibid, 138. 8 Ibid, 139. 9 David B. Mitchell to Monroe, Extracts of a letter dated executive Department Georgia, Milledgeville, 19 Sept., 1812, Territorial Papers of the United States Senate 1789-1873 Roll 9, (Washington: National Archives and Records Service, 1951), 10 David B. Mitchell to Secretary of State James Monroe, Extract of a letter dated St. Marys July 17th 1812, Ibid. 11 D.B. Mitchell to His Excellency Sebn Kindelan Governor, &c., East Florida, United States vs. Ferreira (Washington D.C.: George Bowman Printer, 1860), 86-87. 12 The early history of Andrew Jacksons life is found in Robert Remini, Jackson and His Indian Wars 8-15; Remini also explains that there may have been a death in Jacksons immediate family to explain he and his mother Elizabeth were likely to have such an enmity with the Indians. Ibid, 14. 13 Remini, Jackson and His Indian Wars 10, 13-14. 14 The massacre at Fort Mims did much to rouse the hatred and bitterness of the South against the Indians in Florida. Jackson became a national hero as the result of his vindictive campaign against the Red Sticks in Georgia and Alabama. Events and dates come from Ibid., xiii-xiv; Remini, The Battle of New Orleans 5-24. 15 Remini, Jackson and His Indian Wars 7. 16 General Jackson to the Governor of Pensacola, Head-Quarters, Division of the South April 23, 1816, ASP: FR vol. 4, 555-556. 17What Mauricio de Zuniga intended by his ambiguous response to Jacksons petition is unclear. Zuniga stated that he could not act without express orders from Spain. This may have been merely a delay tactic meant to keep Jackson at bay until the situation was resolved internally. The letter also, however expressed the governors concern for the safety of Pensacola, which may have been a tacit plea for Jackson to take action. Zunigas letter is found in, Moser ed., Papers of Andrew Jackson Vol. 4, Mauricio de Zuniga to Andrew Jackson, May 26, 1816, 41-43. 18 Report of Captain Amelung to General Jackson, New Orleans, June 4, 1816, ASP: FR vol. 4, 557. 19 Andrew Jackson to Thomas Sydney Jessup, Head Quarters Chickasaw Council House Sept 6, 1816, Moser ed., The Papers of Andrew Jackson vol. 4, 60. 20 From Jose Masot, Protest, Pensacola 22, May 1818, Moser ed., The Papers of Andrew Jackson vol. 4, 204. 21 To Jose Masot, Head Quarters Division of the South May 23rd, 1818. Moser ed., The Papers of Andrew Jackson vol. 4, 206-209. 22

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION This study set forth several assertions concerning the significance of the rhetoric of southern honor as related to the Florida acquisition period. In order of presentation, they were that the white American southern population involved in the Georgia/Florida border wars had a unique perspective on honor that dictated their actions during the annexation era; that the Jeffersonian presidents, hindered by political and diplomatic circumstances, controlled the Souths war for acquisition through the use of intermediary agents; and that those intermediaries were able to act independent of federal authority to complete the task of annexation. Southern honor had its roots in the frontier life of colonial America and was first expressed in rhetoric during the Revolution. American values were steeped in terms of freedom, security, and property. The southern aspect of honor developed in the era of the Early Republic with the constant frontier struggles and various Indian Wars. While the North was developing through trade and industry, the South continued in the rural traditions of the colonial period. Defense of honor through florid oratories and acts of violence were always the first consideration for southerners. 1 The rhetorical strategies of linking annexation with honor was vital for motivating southerners to take action against the Spanish and Native American populations in Florida. The South viewed threats to their life, liberty, and property as challenges to their honor. Immediate and decisive action was the only appropriate response to such challenges. The Florida campaigns from the Patriot War through to the First Seminole 100

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101 War demonstrated the potency of the rhetoric of honor as southerners flocked to the standard of strong leaders to carry out the task of annexation. The Florida Patriots were impatient for change. They did not wish to endure a drawn out acquisition effort that could possibly result in years of negotiations without results. John Houston McIntoshs justifications for annexation were accompanied by pleas for immediate and decisive action. Negotiation, diplomacy, and compromise had no place in his letters and correspondences. He called for southerners to take arms against their Spanish oppressors and pleaded with the federal government to mobilize in defense of their frontier. This determination for a military resolution led him and many wealthy planters in Florida to put their faith in General Mathews, a man of quick action and limited foresight. The resulted was a military engagement that destroyed a substantial portion of the Florida economic structure. Citizens of the American South were also induced to take action by the prolific and deterministic propaganda campaigns of the annexation leaders. In a very short period of time, Mathews and Mitchell persuaded hundreds of Georgia citizens to join the East Florida filibuster in support of the Patriot rebels. Likewise, Jackson was able to raise nearly 2,500 Tennessee volunteers for his Creek War, many of whom continued to serve with him throughout his Florida campaigns. Jackson was respected by the nation and beloved by the South and thus was able to draw and maintain a significant following of militia volunteers for his personal wars along the southern frontier. 2 Concerning the Jeffersonian presidents ability to control affairs of expansion, the Patriot War had demonstrated to Madison that a more indirect approach was necessary in order to preserve his tenuous position in government. Federalist opposition as well as

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102 divisions within his party threatened to remove Madison from office in 1812. The rhetoric of honor was a potent tool in the South, but was unsuccessful against the opposition in the federal government. The difficulties in persuading politicians in Washington to support a military operation against a diplomatically neutral colony forced Madison to seek alternative means for achieving his goals. Historians have argued that the Souths war in Florida raged out of control of Washington. Cusick states, It was only when Mathews mounted an invasion of East Florida, poorly concealed behind the screen of the Patriots, that the tactics of his mission became abnormal and took the president by surprise. He continues with the assertion that from that point on, Madison was reacting to events rather than directing them. 3 In examining Madisons expressions and actions concerning acquisition, I find this to be untrue. Madison did not fear the use of violent means or the volatile southern activism. His concerns were for the maintenance of favorable public opinion and in protecting his political interests. Madisons removal of Mathews demonstrated that the events of the Florida acquisition were never beyond the control of the federal government. Independent action was a privilege granted to the southern activists that could be taken away should events turn against Madisons goals. The appointment of strong and independent leaders served the purpose of perpetuating events in Florida to a swift conclusion. This was viewed to be in the best interests of the federal supporters in Washington as well as southern activists. The longer the process of acquisition continued, the more resistance it was likely to face. The success of Madisons strategy encouraged his successor to conduct similar operations. As Cusick points out, [T]he Patriot War had ended in a moral victory for the Spanish, [but] every practical benefit

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103 went to the Americans. The destructive nature of the rebellion convinced the Spanish as well as many Florida citizens that the only viable future for the territory was as part of the United States. At the same time, Madisons administration had not suffered from the Patriots defeat. Subsequently, Monroes administration employed Andrew Jackson as the final intermediary agent to bring the Florida acquisition to a close. 4 Men like George Mathews, David Mitchell, and Andrew Jackson were instrumental in uniting and leading southern activists in the acquisition efforts. Their position granted them the power to conduct offensive operations on Spanish territory and the responsibility of answering for their actions. The intermediaries were appointed specifically for their southern sympathies and their adherence to the strict code of honor that compelled them to take immediate action in the face of any challenge. The unyielding nature of the Souths adherence to honor could be unleashed through leaders and force acquisition past all opposition. Their position in government allowed them to conduct diplomatic affairs as well as military expeditions. Mitchell and Jackson were instrumental to the Florida campaigns in that they pulled attention away from their federal benefactors by directly corresponding with the Spanish officials and the Native American tribes. The rhetoric they employed reflected both their southern heritage and their position of power. Jackson in particular understood the weakness of the Spanish system in Florida and vehemently forced his will upon the governors. The lack of response from the American government to the protests of the Florida governors in turn left them with little choice but to submit. Madison and Monroes adaptation of Jeffersons expansion policies served their immediate purposes. They were able to quickly and efficiently subdue the opposition in

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104 Florida as well as bypass the domestic opponents to expansion. These presidents could claim personal victories for their part in the acquisition while still remaining unaffiliated with the brutality involved in the process. The legacy of the Souths war for the acquisition of Florida, however, endured long after the territorial transfer. The annexation removed the European influences from Florida, yet the Native American tribes remained. The violence that characterized the annexation process continued for more than thirty years. The First Seminole War was only the beginning as the Indian tribes and maroons in Florida continued to resist American encroachment. Jacksons continued his personal war with the Indians during his brief governorship of the territory (February to November 1821) and for many years after. As president, Jackson would implement the process of Indian removal that sought to relocate the Native Americans along with their maroon allies to western reservations. The Second and Third Seminole Wars (1835-1842 and 1855-1857 respectively) stemmed from the same grievances expressed on both sides. Southern adherence to violence, justified in the rhetoric of honor and manipulated by federal ambitions, resulted in a long bloody history of racial hatred and merciless bloodshed. 5 Notes 1 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture 32, 192. 2 Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars 58-61. 3 Cusick, 295. 4 Ibid., 296. 5 For information on Jacksons stint as Florida governor see Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars 206-211. For Jackson and the Second Seminole War see Ibid., 272-277. Also see John Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War 1835-1842 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1985); Edmund Flannery, Naval Operations During the Second Seminole War 1835-1842 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida,

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105 1958); Alva Wells, Osceola and the Second Seminole War (M.A. Thesis: University of Oklahoma, 1936); James Jennings, Military Operations in southwest Florida in the Third Seminole War (M.A. Thesis: California State University, 2000).

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WORKS CITED Primary Sources Francis Philip Fatio to Major Morrison, December 14, 1782, Considerations on the Importance of the Province of East Florida to the British Empire, Great Britain Public Records Office, Colonial Office (papers), 5/560 December 14, 1782, London, 911-918. Homans, Benjamin ed., Army and Navy Chronicle 2 Washington D.C.: A.B. Claxton and Co., 1836. Madison, James, James Madisons Attitude Toward the Negro, The Journal of Negro History 6 (Jan. 1921): 74-102. Moser, Harold D., David R. Hoth, and George H. Hoemann ed., The Papers of Andrew Jackson Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1994, 4. American State Papers: Foreign Relations Washington D.C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834, 4. American State Papers: Indian Affairs Washington D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1837, 1-2. American State Papers: Military Affairs. Washington D.C.: Gales and Seaton, 1832. 1. Territorial Papers of the United States Senate 1789-1873 Washington D.C.: National Archives Records Service General Service Administration, 1951. American State Papers. State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States United States War Department, From the War Department to Brevet Brig. Gen. Duncan L. Clinch, Clinch Family Papers. Box # 62. Oct. 22, 1835. Newspapers Connecticut Courant The Federal Republican and Commercial Gazette (Georgetown, MD) Georgia Argus The Georgia Gazette The Georgia Journal 106

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107 National Intelligencer (Washington D.C.) New York Spectator The Reflector (Milledgeville, GA) The Royal Georgia Gazette United States Gazette and True American (Philadephia, PA) United States Gazette for the Country (Philadelphia, PA) Maps Joel R Poinsett, Map of the Seat of War In Florida (Washington City, National Archives Bureau of Topographical Engineers), 1838. Joseph Purcell, Map of the Southern Indian District of North America 1772, (Washington D.C., Library of Congress; Division of Maps, 1932). Secondary Sources Aptheker, Herbert, Maroons Within the Present Limits of the United States, Journal of Negro History 24 (April 1939): 167-184. Arnade, Charles. The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1959. Boyd, Mark F. Events at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River, 1808-1818, The Florida Historical Quarterly 16 (Oct. 1937): 54-97. Holland-Braund, Kathryn E. The Creek Indians, Blacks and, Slavery, The Journal of Southern History 57 (Nov. 1991): 601-636. Corbett, Theodore G. The Problem of the Household in the Second Spanish Period, found in Samuel Proctor ed. Eighteenth-Century Florida: The Impact of the American Revolution Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 1978: 49-75. Cox, Isaac Joslin. The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813; a Study in American Diplomacy Gloucester Mass: P. Smith, 1967. Cusick, James. The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. Griesshaber, Kurt. Calusa and Spaniard Bonita Springs, Florida: Museum of Historical Research, 1970. Ivers, Larry, E. British Drums on the Southern Frontier: Military Colonization of Georgia 1733-1749. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974.

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108 Kammen, Michael. Sovereignty and Liberty: Constitutional Discourse in American Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988, 101-136. Landers, Jane ed. Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000. Landers, Jane G. Free Black Plantations and Economy in East Florida, 184-1821, Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida, Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 2000: 121-135. Lewis, James E. The American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood: The United States and the Collapse of the Spanish Empire. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. Lewis, Jan and Peter S. Onuf, American Synecdoche: Thomas Jefferson as Image, Icon, Character, And Self, The American Historical Review 103 (Feb, 1998): 125-136. Littlefield, Daniel. Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981. Miller, Janice Borton. Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada: Governor of Spanish East Florida, 1790-1795 Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981. Milligan, John D. Slave Rebelliousness and the Florida Maroons Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1974. Mowat, Charles. East Florida as a British Province 1763-1784 University of California Press: Los Angeles, 1943. The First Campaign of Publicity for Florida, The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 30 (Dec. 1943): 359-376. Onuf, Peter. Jeffersons Empire: The Language of American Nationhood Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000. Liberty, Development, and the Union: Visions of the West in the 1780s, William and Mary Quarterly 43 (Apr. 1986): 179-213. The Scholars Jefferson, William and Mary Quarterly 50 (Oct. 1993) 671-699. Patrick, Rembert W. Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia Florida Boarder 1810-1815 Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954. Porter, Kenneth W. The Black Seminoles: A History of Freedom Loving People. (Revised Edition). Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996. Negroes and the Seminole War, 1817-1818, The Journal of Negro History 36 (July 1951): 249-280.

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109 Notes Supplementary to Relations between Negroes and Indians, The Journal of Negro History 18 (July 1933): 282-321. Relations in the South, The Journal of Negro History 17 (July 1932): 321-350. Price, Richard. Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1979. Remini, Robert. Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars New York: Viking, 2001.------------. The Battle of New Orleans. New York: Penguin Books, 2001. Saunt, Claudio. Taking Accound of Property: Stratification among the Creek Indians in the Early Nineteenth Century, The William and Mary Quarterly 57 (Oct. 2000): 733-760. Schafer, Daniel Settlement in War Climates Must be Formed by Negroes: Slavery in British East Florida. Jacksonville: University of North Florida History Department, 2003. Photocopied. Sheehan, Colleen A.. The Politics of Public Opinion: James Madisons Notes on Government, William and Mary Quarterly 49 (Oct, 1992): 609-627. Smith, Gene and Frank Owsely Jr. Filibusters and Expansionists Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997. Starr, J. Barton. Left as a Gewgaw: The Impact of the American Revolution on British West Florida, found in Samuel Proctor ed. Eighteenth-Century Florida: The Impact of the American Revolution Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1978. 28-37. TePaske, John Jay. The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763. Durham: Duke University Press, 1964. Turner, Fredrick J. Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795-1797, The American Historical Review 10 (Apr. 1905): 574-606. Twyman, Bruce E. The Black Seminoles Legacy and North American Politics, 16931845 Washington D.C.: Howard University Press, 1999. Waciuma, Wanjohi. Intervention in Spanish Floridas 1801-1813: A Study of Jeffersonian Foreign Policy. Boston: Branden Press Publishers, 1976. Weeks, William Building the Continental Empire Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1957, 30-58.White, David Hart. Vicente Folch, Governor in Spanish Florida 1787-1811 Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981.

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110 Wright Jr, J. Leitch. A Note on the First Seminole War as Seen by the Indians, Negroes, and Their British Advisers, The Journal of Southern History 34 (Nov. 1968): 565-575. British East Florida: Loyalist Bastion, Eighteenth-Century Florida: The Impact of the American Revolution Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1978: 1-13. Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. The Shaping of Southern Culture Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Honor and Violence in the Old South New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

PAGE 118

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dennis Matthew Stevenson received his Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Florida. He is currently working toward his masters degree in history also at the University of Florida. In the near future he will continue his historical studies at the University of South Carolina in order to obtain his Doctorate degree. 111


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0006702/00001

Material Information

Title: War, words, and the southern way : the Florida acquisition and the rhetoric of southern honor
Physical Description: vii, 111 p.
Creator: Stevenson, Dennis Matthew ( Dissertant )
Davis, Jack E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: History thesis, M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- History

Notes

Abstract: This thesis is an examination of rhetoric during the early nineteenth-century American acquisition campaigns in Florida. Specifically, I will analyze the role of southern values as demonstrated in expressions of honor and how those expressions affected the conduct of the various levels of involvement during the Florida annexation process. The goals for local citizens, national politicians, and federally appointed officials involved in Florida coincided in that they each actively sought territorial expansion and the expulsion of European and Native American influences. However, the differences in political circumstances, social perceptions, and levels of authority resulted in a variance application of honor in rhetoric. The local southern perceptions of honor and their adherence to violence as a means of maintaining that honor resulted in the aggression and brutality that would characterize the Florida acquisition. The ambitions of national politicians that supported annexation was stunted by political divisions and diplomatic pressures and thus the rhetoric of southern honor was used to encourage independent action in the South to force the territorial transfer. Government appointed officials were able to combine the authority of the Federal government with the code of moral conduct of the South in order to force annexation past domestic opposition and foreign opponents to American expansionist efforts. The result of this combination of southern honor, federal ambition, and intermediary execution was the completion of the process of territorial transfer of the Florida territory from the Spanish colonial system to the United States. In addition, the manner in which the campaign was conducted resulted in years of racial hatred and bitter warfare that decimated the Florida Native American population and significantly altered the Florida territory.
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 118 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2004.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0006702/00001

Material Information

Title: War, words, and the southern way : the Florida acquisition and the rhetoric of southern honor
Physical Description: vii, 111 p.
Creator: Stevenson, Dennis Matthew ( Dissertant )
Davis, Jack E. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: History thesis, M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- History

Notes

Abstract: This thesis is an examination of rhetoric during the early nineteenth-century American acquisition campaigns in Florida. Specifically, I will analyze the role of southern values as demonstrated in expressions of honor and how those expressions affected the conduct of the various levels of involvement during the Florida annexation process. The goals for local citizens, national politicians, and federally appointed officials involved in Florida coincided in that they each actively sought territorial expansion and the expulsion of European and Native American influences. However, the differences in political circumstances, social perceptions, and levels of authority resulted in a variance application of honor in rhetoric. The local southern perceptions of honor and their adherence to violence as a means of maintaining that honor resulted in the aggression and brutality that would characterize the Florida acquisition. The ambitions of national politicians that supported annexation was stunted by political divisions and diplomatic pressures and thus the rhetoric of southern honor was used to encourage independent action in the South to force the territorial transfer. Government appointed officials were able to combine the authority of the Federal government with the code of moral conduct of the South in order to force annexation past domestic opposition and foreign opponents to American expansionist efforts. The result of this combination of southern honor, federal ambition, and intermediary execution was the completion of the process of territorial transfer of the Florida territory from the Spanish colonial system to the United States. In addition, the manner in which the campaign was conducted resulted in years of racial hatred and bitter warfare that decimated the Florida Native American population and significantly altered the Florida territory.
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 118 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2004.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0006702:00001


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WAR, WORDS, AND THE SOUTHERN WAY
THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION AND THE RHETORIC OF SOUTHERN HONOR
















By

DENNIS MATTHEW STEVENSON


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Dennis Matthew Stevenson
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

CHRONOLOGY............... .............. iv

ABSTRACT.................. ................. vi

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ................... ............................ ......... .. .......... 1

2 THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION ........................................................ 13

3 THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES OF WHITE SOUTHERN HONOR.............43

4 NATIONAL TACTICS FOR FLORIDA ACQUISITION ........................................64

5 INTERMEDIARY AGENTS AND THE PROCESS OF ANNEXATION ...............82

6 C O N CLU SIO N ............................................. 100

W ORK S CITED ............................................................106

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................................................ ... .....111















CHRONOLOGY

TIMELINE FOR AMERICAN ANNEXATION OF FLORIDA

November 1702 James Moore leads the South Carolina militia in an unsuccessful
invasion of Florida.

Spring 1740 James Oglethorpe with his South Carolina and Georgia volunteers, fails in
the attempted siege of St. Augustine.

September 23, 1810 A pro-American uprising begins in Baton Rouge, Spanish West
Florida, prompting American intervention.

1811 1814 The Patriot War in Florida.

1812 1815 Jackson leads troops against Creeks and British along the southern frontier.

March 17, 1812 The East Florida Patriots take possession of Femandina and Amelia
Island.

March 25, 1812 The Patriot siege of St. Augustine begins.

April 4-10, 1812 General George Mathews is removed as U.S. commissioner in East
Florida and replaced by Governor David B. Mitchell.

June 18, 1812 The United States declares war on Great Britain.

June 18, 1812 The Senate refuses to endorse a military seizure of East Florida.

July 26, 1812 The Government for the Territory of East Florida is established.

September 12, 1812 The siege of St. Augustine is lifted.

February 2, 1813 The Senate, for the second time, rejects a bill authorizing a military
seizure of East Florida.

August 30, 1813 Fort Mims massacre

November 3-9, 1813 Jackson defeats the Red Sticks at Tallushatchee and Talladega.

May 5, 1814 The final collapse of the Patriot effort.

March 27, 1814 Jackson defeats Creek confederation at Horseshoe Bend.









August 22, 1814 Jackson occupied Mobile.

November 7, 1814 Jackson occupies Pensacola.

December 1, 1814 January 8, 1815 Jackson defeats the British at the Battle of New
Orleans.

1816 1818 First Seminole War.

July 27, 1816 Duncan L. Clinch, under orders from Edmund P. Gaines and Jackson,
destroys Negro Fort.

July 8, 1817 Jackson signs a treaty with the Cherokees.

March 15, 1818 Jackson again invades West Florida.

April 6, 1818 Jackson occupies St. Marks, petitions the governor in Pensacola and
threatens to punish any who aid the Seminoles.

May 24, 1818 Jackson again occupies Pensacola.

June 2, 1818 Victory is declared in the Seminole War.

February 24, 1819 Adam-Onis treaty signed.

July 17, 1821 The Florida territory is officially annexed to the United States.
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

WAR, WORDS, AND THE SOUTHERN WAY:
THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION AND THE RHETORIC OF SOUTHERN HONOR

Dennis Matthew Stevenson

August 2004

Chair: Jack Davis
Major Department: History

This thesis is an examination of rhetoric during the early nineteenth-century

American acquisition campaigns in Florida. Specifically, I will analyze the role of

southern values as demonstrated in expressions of honor and how those expressions

affected the conduct of the various levels of involvement during the Florida annexation

process. The goals for local citizens, national politicians, and federally appointed

officials involved in Florida coincided in that they each actively sought territorial

expansion and the expulsion of European and Native American influences. However, the

differences in political circumstances, social perceptions, and levels of authority resulted

in a variance application of honor in rhetoric.

The local southern perceptions of honor and their adherence to violence as a means

of maintaining that honor resulted in the aggression and brutality that would characterize

the Florida acquisition. The ambitions of national politicians that supported annexation

was stunted by political divisions and diplomatic pressures and thus the rhetoric of

southern honor was used to encourage independent action in the South to force the









territorial transfer. Government appointed officials were able to combine the authority of

the federal government with the code of moral conduct of the South in order to force

annexation past domestic opposition and foreign opponents to American expansionist

efforts.

The result of this combination of southern honor, federal ambition, and

intermediary execution was the completion of the process of territorial transfer of the

Florida territory from the Spanish colonial system to the United States. In addition, the

manner in which the campaign was conducted resulted in years of racial hatred and bitter

warfare that decimated the Florida Native American population and significantly altered

the Florida territory.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The Florida acquisition campaign of the early nineteenth century was an

aggressive enterprise characterized by violence and brutality. The localized border war

that took place between white southern Americans and the Spanish, Native American,

and black maroon populations of Florida was conducted in a vindictive fashion that

resulted in many years of bloody warfare. While national and international perceptions

were muddled with idealistic justifications, the image of the Florida acquisition was quite

different for those who were directly involved with the operations in Florida. News

reports, personal correspondence, and petitions to the government concerning the various

attempts to annex Florida often reflected dissimilarity between local and national

ambitions. However, upon closer examination it is revealed that although the rhetoric

often differed, the local and national aspirations for Florida were in accord. Moreover,

opinions about the means necessary for annexation to be achieved (including tactics of

aggression, intimidation, and brutality) were also agreed upon at all supporting levels of

involvement. This thesis will examine the rhetoric of local activists, national politicians,

and the government's intermediary agents that were involved with the American

acquisition campaigns in Florida from roughly 1803 to 1821. The purpose will be to

demonstrate that all three levels of involvement were consistent in the effort to forcefully

expel all opposition to American ambitions from Florida.

As historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown states in The Shaping of Southern Culture,

"Language forms a crucial function in politics by creating shared meaning, perceptions,









and reassurances among mass publics." In the case of the Florida acquisition, rhetoric

that directly addressed matters of honor served as the common bond that united the South

in its desire for expansion. An analysis of honor in rhetoric, according to Wyatt-Brown,

must first begin with recognition of the "function of persuasion." Second, one must

understand the "psychology and motives" that drive men "to take up their roles in the

drama of revolt and military action." Third, one must view honor as it is related to liberty

and the perceived threat to that liberty. Analyzing the Florida acquisition through Wyatt-

Brown's "prism of honor" gives one a unique perspective on what expansion meant to the

white southern populations in Florida and Georgia.1

Florida Patriot John Houston McIntosh, Georgia militia commander Major

General John Floyd, and men such as William Craig, and George Perrymen are among

the most visible local leaders of the anti-Spanish and anti-Native American forces in

Georgia and Florida. Personal correspondences between them and with Washington are

representative of expressions for the local sentiments. Aside from these figureheads,

local news accounts and articles of the events use a language that served to capture the

attention of the white southern population and stir them to action. Stories of theft,

murder, and lawlessness in Florida inspired fear and hatred among southerners and

encouraged citizens to take action to protect themselves and their honor. Looking even

deeper than the specific events in Florida, newspapers printed on an almost daily basis

articles and advertisements that reflected white southern hostility toward the Spanish and

Indians of Florida. Advertisements for runaway slaves and stolen cattle used the rhetoric

of honor to justify American aversion for the Spanish sanctuary policies, the existence of

black maroon colonies, and Native American power in Florida.









Wyatt-Brown's formula for evaluating honor through rhetoric, when applied to

the Florida acquisition, gives new insight into white southern society's motivation for

territorial annexation. An analysis of the language used by the Florida Patriots and

Georgia citizens who participated in the various campaigns for annexation is vital for

understanding the escalation of violence that occurred during the Florida acquisition.

The volatility of southern perceptions of honor dictated action in the face of insult.

The history of Florida colonization is marked by the development of a bitter

regional rivalry between the white Anglo settlers in the American South and the Spanish

government and Native American settlements. For two hundred years, Florida was the

colonial possession of Spain. During that time, the region was little more than a

neglected military buffer between Spain's valuable possessions in the Caribbean and the

English colonies in North America. Over time, the white settlers in the British colonies

of South Carolina and Georgia struggled against the Spanish and their Native American

allies in Florida for land, trade rights, and slaves. The grievances voiced by the English

colonists concerned two main issues. The first was the Spanish sanctuary policy that

granted freedom to any English-owned slave that reached the capital city of St.

Augustine. Second was the economic and military influence of Native Americans within

the territory. These issues resulted in a number of regional battles that took place during

the First Spanish Period (1540-1763), including James Moore's invasion of 1702 and

James Oglethorpe's expedition of 1740. These conflicts left a legacy of hostility that

would endure through to the later American annexation efforts. 2

The British period in Florida brought a brief respite in hostilities from 1763 to

1783. During that time, the colony underwent drastic changes that would have important









implications for the future. The Florida bureaucracy was divided into separate East and

West colonies. For the most part the British succeeded in expanding both trade and

plantation productivity in the region. Southern farmers were able to expand their

influence into Florida and begin the process of stabilization. However, rather than

placating southern desires for land and markets, these developments only made the white

southerners long for complete domination in Florida.

The South saw these desires unfulfilled following the American Revolution when

the Spanish regained possession of the Floridas. The Spanish continued with the British

policies of economic expansion, as they could no longer financially maintain the

expenses of an unproductive military outpost. The Spanish government sold large

amounts of land at low prices to encourage Americans to settle in and help develop

Florida. The publicity campaign brought many investors to the region. This strategy

backfired, however, as white southerners repeatedly clashed with the Spanish and Native

American populations. The regional rivalries that had developed decades earlier were

renewed. Southern activists fought to remove the Spanish and Native Americans from

Florida and annex the region to the United States so that it could be governed and settled

for American interests.

National efforts to seize the Florida territory for the United States began in earnest

in 1800. Prior to this period, the bitter local enmities had remained only a provincial

concern between white southerners, Native Americans, and the Spanish colonial

government. With the ascension of the Democratic Republican party in Washington, a

new era of American expansion began. Thomas Jefferson spearheaded this new drive

with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. From this momentous event came various claims









for American sovereignty in Florida. The United States attempted a number of legal,

political, and diplomatic maneuvers to force Spain to relinquish its claims on West

Florida.

These methods ultimately proved ineffective and more aggressive measures were

adopted. The federal government began to sponsor filibuster expeditions and internal

revolutions in both East Florida and West Florida. The Baton Rouge filibuster of 1810

and the Patriot War (1811 to 1814) are examples of attempts to force annexation through

these more direct and hostile tactics. As the Patriot War demonstrated, these efforts often

resulted in terrible destruction and bloodshed. Despite setbacks like the Patriot War, the

American government would not be deterred in its ambitions. Federal troops continued

to operate in Florida side by side with southern militias. During and immediately

following the War of 1812, new expeditions under Andrew Jackson fought to root out

Indian resistance to American expansion. The Negro Fort campaign (1816) and the

subsequent First Seminole War (1816-1818) broke the power of the Indians in Florida

and convinced the Spanish to transfer its territory to American control.3

The events of the Florida acquisition were executed at three distinct, yet

interconnected levels of political sponsorship. At each level, the rhetoric of honor played

an important part in the justification of forceful acquisition. At the lowest political level

were the regional southern activists. This group consisted of the local leaders of the

acquisition movements. One of the most influential and certainly the most vocal was

John Houston McIntosh. The correspondence and petitions written by McIntosh and

other likeminded individuals in Florida and in Georgia during this time give a good

representation of the regional rhetoric of honor. National leaders formed the second









group. Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were among the

most ardent supporters of the annexation efforts. Alongside the presidents were cabinet

members and congressmen from southern states who lent their name and support to

various operations in Florida. For these national figures, the rhetoric of honor would

serve more as a tool of persuasion rather than as a means of justification. The third level

constituted the intermediary actors who wielded the authority and trust of the federal

government, yet shared the sentiments of the South. This level included federally

appointed diplomats, commissioners, and commanders in the United States military that

strongly supported annexation and used the authority granted them to carry out operations

in Florida. For them, the rhetoric of honor served both as a personal expression and as a

rallying call for annexation. Each group offered an important and unique contribution to

the campaigns in Florida.

The white citizens of the South were directly involved in all the Florida

expeditions since before the Revolution. At every battle and skirmish in Florida there

were southern soldiers, militiamen, and/or private citizens fighting for their interests.

Most of the funding for the expeditions against the Spanish and Indians in Florida came

from the state and territorial governments of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and

Louisiana and from private southern citizens. The South had more invested interests in

the outcome of the Florida conflict than any other American group. Many Florida

plantation owners were American citizens and many Georgia planters either owned land

in Florida or sought to purchase property in the developing region. Southern traders

wanted safe access to the rivers in Florida and resented Native American domination of

the regional cattle and horse markets. Moreover, the South feared the military power of









the Indian communities and the large black maroon population that lived among them.

These elements were believed to threaten the lives and livelihoods of southerners and had

to be suppressed.

To gain support in the South, advocates for annexation conducted a massive

propaganda campaign to accompany the military operations in Florida. These

promotions were tremendously successful in convincing hundreds of white southerners to

actively take part in the acquisition efforts, and many thousands more to support it. In

order to encourage action, the rhetoric of the annexation period addressed both the

South's greed and fear. Above all, the language of expansion was steeped in the idioms

of white southern honor. More than any other level of involvement, regional activists

strictly adhered to a uniquely American southern code of honor that dictated their actions.

The national government embodied the highest level of political supporters for

acquisition. The Jeffersonian presidents were avid proponents of expansion. Jefferson

wrote extensively on the subject and believed that the United States was destined to

spread its morality and freedom across the western hemisphere. He also expressed his

belief that only through expansion could Americans hope to defend their interests from

the aggressive colonial nations and earn international legitimacy. As historians Frank

Owsley Jr. and Gene Smith state, "[Jefferson] believed that the only way to ensure the

nation's survival was by removing the obstacles prohibiting future growth, whether they

were Spanish, or British, Native American or even African American."4

At the national level, the presidents clearly represented the key figures for

expansion. As Peter Onuf and Jan Lewis have argued, Jefferson personified the values

and ambitions of the Revolutionary and Early Republic generation. Within the national









expansionist rhetoric involving the Florida territory, Jefferson, James Madison, and

James Monroe emerged as icons. The language used by these presidents to describe the

Florida acquisition is a mix of personal philosophy and national ideology. Their use of

honor in rhetoric was often shaped by political and diplomatic circumstances. National

and international opinions had to be placated with more than the parochial white southern

ambitions. Therefore, the national expressions of expansion embodied in the Jeffersonian

presidents were often more practical minded and judicious than those of the local leaders

of annexation.

At times it seems that political circumstances forced those in Washington who

advocated expansion to abandon their southern supporters. The continuation of action

further suggests that the South conducted a war independent and virtually in defiance of

the national government. However, federal officials were able to maintain control over

the actions in Florida through the use of intermediary agents. These were men who were

federally appointed to command positions, yet were particularly sensitive to local

incentives for seizing Florida territory. Typically, these men were southern sympathizers

who were placed in positions of influence so that the annexation process could continue

without the political hindrances of national and international politics. The most visible

examples are George Mathews, David B. Mitchell, and Andrew Jackson. These men

were vital in bringing the acquisition campaigns to a successful conclusion both in terms

of territorial gain and in the maintenance of political legitimacy.

Historical treatment of American annexation efforts in Florida often begins with

an examination of the Jefferson philosophy of expansion. As presented by Frank Owsely

Jr. and Gene Smith, in Filibusters and Expansionst: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny 1800-









1821 (1997), this philosophy supported an aggressive policy of territorial acquisition to

allow for national demographic and economic growth. President Thomas Jefferson and

his successors James Madison and James Monroe believed they were destined to extend

American civilization to the unsettled frontiers and to the neglected and oppressed

Spanish colonies. The ideology of American Exceptionalism played an important part in

the formation of this philosophy. The driving force was a vision for the future where the

United States would inevitably spread its morality, freedom, and democracy over the

North American continent and perhaps the entire western hemisphere.5

In an attempt to better define Jeffersonian ideology, the term "American

Doctrine" has become a popular catchall used by historians of early American

expansionism. The "American Doctrine" describes the overarching ideology behind the

policies for expansion of the Jeffersonian presidents. Wanjohi Waciuma, in Intervention

in Spanish Floridas 1801-1813: A Study of Jeffersonian Foreign Policy (1976), clarifies

this historiographical expression by identifying the key elements for the "American

Doctrine." These include the desire for peaceful yet continuous and progressive

expansion, a general sentiment of anti-European colonialism, and a belief in the

superiority of American democratic principles over the European monarchies.6

While this slogan for historians of Jeffersonian expansion encompasses the

ideological justifications behind early American imperialist gains, it does little to describe

the actual process of territorial annexation. James Cusick's The Other War of 1812, and

Robert Remini's Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars give a very detailed account of

the events in Florida. These and other sources are excellent references and provide

valuable insight into the nature of the Florida annexation. However, they lack substantial









analysis of the role of honor in southern rhetoric and the necessity of rhetoric for

motivating the southern populations.7

Various sources are vital for understanding the unique nature of the Florida

territory during this period. A particularly relevant work that relates to the Florida black

communities and maroon societies of the second Spanish period is Richard Price's

Maroon societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. Price offers a

comprehensive examination of the societies of escaped slaves. He describes in detail the

necessary factors for the establishment and success of a slave maroon colony. As a

model, he uses the Brazilian Palmares community, the most successful and longest

lasting slave maroon colony in the western hemisphere. He notes that North America

was not conducive to the establishment of maroon colonies because of the physical,

cultural, and political environment established under the English and American systems.

Price then argues that Florida was the exception. The untamed landscape of vast

swamps, woods, and lakes made it an ideal refuge for those who sought to hide from

authority. Price's work is particularly useful for his assessment of the nature of Florida

terrain and demography before and during the acquisition period.8

None of these sources engage directly with the plethora of primary sources

available on the Florida campaign in order to provide insight into the language used to

justify the need for acquisition and to inspire support for the subsequent engagements.

Examination of the letters of correspondence between national, state, and local officials,

proclamations, and an endless supply of newspaper articles both for and against

acquisition illustrate why Florida was viewed as vital to both national and local interests.










The rhetoric of expansion aids us in understanding the motives of the distinct yet

interrelated forces working toward the common goal of annexation. Citizens in the

South, politicians in Washington, and generals on the battlefields of Florida were all

struggling to achieve the same end. Neither a diplomatic triumph nor an outright military

conquest of the region, the acquisition of Florida was a curious compromise between

both. Each level of action served to aid, restrain, and at times obstruct each other in the

process of acquisition.








Notes

1 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 2001), 32.

2 For sources on Spanish Florida, British eighteenth-century incursions and the fortification program see
John Jay TePaske, The Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763 (Durham: Duke University Press,
1964). Charles Amade, The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press,
1959). Larry E. Ivers, British Drums on the Southern Frontier: Military Colonization of Georgia 1733-
1749 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1974).

3 History of the Patriot War, Negro Fort campaign, Amelia Island expeditions, and the First Seminole War
are covered in great detail in James Cusick, The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American
Invasion of Spanish East Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003); Frank Owsley Jr. and
Gene Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 (Tuscaloosa:
University Press of Alabama, 1997).

4 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionist, 12

5 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionists, 8-31.

6 Wanjohi Waciuma, Intervention in Spanish Floridas 1801-1813: A Study of Jeffersonian Foreign Policy
(Boston: Branden Press Publishers, 1976), 11, 12. Waciuma defines the "American Doctrine" in detail.
He states that Jefferson and Madison both believed that the United States would inevitably dominate the
North American continent and so war was not necessary

7 Numerous contributions have been made to further exemplify early American imperialism, the Second
Spanish period, and the Florida annexation. An overview of those border wars has received numerous
scholarly contributions. Isaac Joslin Cox, The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813: a Study in American
Diplomacy (Gloucester Mass: P. Smith, 1967); Robert V. Remini, The Battle of New Orleans (New York:
Penguin Books, 1999); Ibid., Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (New York: Viking, 2001); Rembert
W. Patrick, Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia-Florida Borders, 1810-1815 (Athens:
University of Georgia Press, 1954). Together these provide a good basis for the events of the Florida











acquisition. For more recent additions to the historiography see Cusick, The Other War of 1812; and James
E. Lewis, The American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood: The United States and the Collapse of
the Spanish Empire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). Sources for the policies of
the Jeffersonian presidents and Jeffersonian ideology of expansion are numerous. Peter Onuf, Jefferson's
Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000);
Peter Onuf, "Liberty, Development, and the Union: Visions of the West in the 1780's," William and Mary
Quarterly, 43, (Apr., 1986), 179-213. While not exclusively focused on expansion, other valuable sources
scrutinize and evaluate the political theories of James Madison for a balance of power and liberty including
the manipulation of America's imperialistic impulses. Peter Onuf "The Scholars Jefferson," William and
Mary Quarterly, 50, (Oct.,1993), 671-699. James Read, "Our Complicated Systerm: James Madison on
Power and Liberty," Political Theory, (Vol.23, 3, Aug 1995) 452-475. Colleen Sheehan's "The Politics of
Public Opinion: James Madison's 'Notes on Government,"' William and Mary Quarterly, 49, (Oct., 1992),
609-627. William Weeks, Building the Continental Empire (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1957), 30-58. Michael
Kammen, Sovereignty and Liberty: Constitutional Discourse in American Culture (Madison: University
of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 101-136.

88 Richard Price, Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas
(Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1979). Maroons are typically defined as
runaway slaves who form communities independent of local authorities. The term
maroon will be used in this thesis to refer specifically to the Black communities of
Florida regardless of whether they were originally slaves or freedmen. Studies of
Spanish Florida's economy and demographics are also very helpful for characterizing
early American efforts for expansion in the Southeast. Jane Landers ed., Colonial
Plantations and Economy in Florida (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000);
Landers summarizes Florida's economic and cultural structures prior to American
invasions. Landers also offers an analysis of the freedmen and maroon colonies of
Florida in Jane Landers ed., The African American Heritage of Florida (Gainesville:
University Press of Florida, 1995). For other sources for East and West Florida
economies, government, and bureaucracy see Janice Borton Miller, Juan Nepomuceno de
Quesada: Governor of Spanish East Florida, 1790-1795 (Washington D.C.: University
Press of America, 1981); and David Hart White, Vicente Folch, Governor in Spanish
Florida 1787-1811 (Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981). Each
describes the tenuous position of the Spanish governors to maintain order despite
American and British ambitions in Florida.














CHAPTER 2
THE FLORIDA ACQUISITION

Florida was largely unsettled during the acquisition period (1800 to 1821) despite

over 250 years of Spanish colonization. By 1800, the Spanish had established only two

towns of significance in East Florida. Fernandina was the trade center with a population

of about 600 and St. Augustine was a military port with about 1500 occupants, including

450 soldiers. The northern portions of Florida were sparsely populated by citizens of the

Spanish empire (many of whom were not of Spanish origin) and dotted with small forts

and plantations. The underdevelopment of Florida can be attributed to its peripheral

status geographically as well as economically within the Spanish colonial empire.

Florida contained no gold or silver mines and was not a key trading center. The colony

initially served as a military outpost and a buffer zone to protect Spain's interests in the

Caribbean. The Castillo San Marcos stood in defense of St. Augustine, and housed

ninety-percent of the colony's soldiers. The fort had been attacked twice during the First

Spanish Period (1540-1763). It was besieged in 1702 by James Moore's expeditionary

force from South Carolina and again in 1740 by James Oglethorpe from Georgia.

Despite British ambitions to capture Florida, the Spanish largely neglected the territory

for much of the colonial period.1

West Florida was even less developed than East Florida. Pensacola was established

as the capital following the bureaucratic division of the territory in 1763. The garrison at

Pensacola was about half the size of St. Augustine's, and the fort was too small to be

effective for defense. It was not until the American acquisition efforts began in the early









nineteenth century that the area would need any significant military force to defend the

province. The two cities Mobile and Baton Rouge were little more than trading posts that

linked New Orleans with the Florida interior. Trade in the region came mostly from the

Native Americans who owned large horse and cattle herds.

At the end of the Seven Years War, the British obtained Florida as part of the

Treaty of Paris. The British maintained possession for only 20 years (1763 to 1783) but

managed to make significant changes in that short time. The British found that

communication throughout the colony was poor due to undeveloped road systems and

indirect sea routes around the Florida Keys. Therefore, for administrative purposes,

Florida was divided into two colonies (East Florida and West Florida) with the

Apalachicola River as the boundary. St. Augustine remained the capital of East Florida,

and Pensacola became the new capital of West Florida.2

The British had high expectations for their newly acquired territory. Governor

Grant of East Florida (appointed in 1763 and resigned in 1771) engaged in a massive

publicity campaign to promote immigration. Colonial plantation owners as well as

English and Scottish lords were given sizable portions of north Florida territories. It was

hoped that these grants would encourage investments in plantations and slavery to expand

settlement in the area. Francis Fatio, the British deputy commissary general in North

America, commented in December of 1782, "East Florida produced the best naval stores

in all America." Both Florida colonies experienced significant development under the

British system, but particularly West Florida. Pensacola surpassed St. Augustine and

Mobile as the regional trading center. By 1768, the West Florida capital was receiving

close to one third of the shipping that had formerly passed through Savannah.3









Despite remarkable success, the British still experienced difficulties in

development. Land distribution policies at times hindered private land speculators who

were willing and able to invest capital in the region. Of 114 grants issued by 1776, only

16 families had actually settled the East and West Florida colonies. Absentee landlords

in England were often uninterested in developing their lands in Florida and so many

plantations remained dormant or underdeveloped.4

In 1783, as a stipulation of the Peace of Paris that followed the American

Revolution, the British returned the Florida colonies to the Spanish. When Spain

regained control of the Florida colonies it received a territory that was considerably more

valuable than when it was lost twenty years earlier. The demographics and economics of

northern Florida had been drastically altered. The most striking example of territorial

development was the growth of the free black and slave populations. Studies have

estimated that in 1763, blacks and mulattoes made up about ten percent of the total

population of East Florida. At the time of the transfer there were approximately 100 free

persons of color; and some 550 slaves had been brought from Africa or from other

colonies, equaling roughly thirty-three percent of the total population. This increase was

the direct result of the British plantation expansions.

The Spanish, upon regaining the province, attempted to continue the British system

of plantation development. The territory remained split between East and West with the

Indian county of Alachua encompassing much of the interior. The Spanish began to

court American land speculation to encourage economic expansion. The land grant

system adopted by the Spanish brought many settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas to

the region. As a result, wealthy Americans such as John Houston McIntosh, Andrew









Atkinson, George Fleming, and Archibald Clarke owned much of the north Florida

territory. The land-grant policies would soon turn against the Spanish as many of these

American-born plantation owners in Florida took part in rebellions against the Spanish in

Florida in the attempt to annex the territory to the United States. The economically

friendly environment provided by the desperate Florida governors would be used to the

advantage of the United States for its acquisition ambitions.6

Despite the new efforts by the Spanish to develop Florida into a profitable territory,

the population remained small. Spanish and Cuban families returned and reclaimed the

homes they had lost, while British loyalists were uprooted and either relocated to Jamaica

or returned to England. Many other European settlers from diverse backgrounds

remained in the province. In the 1780s, East Florida's population amounted to slightly

less than 2,000 persons. There were approximately 450 military personnel in the St.

Augustine garrison; 216 civilians from Spain, Cuba, and other Spanish possessions; 459

settlers from the Balearics, Italy, and Greece; and 217 settlers from Western Europe and

the United States. By 1811, the population had doubled in size to about 3,690 persons.7

The small population and undersized garrison of the Florida colonies demonstrated

that they were still only of marginal importance within the empire. As a result of their

colony being overlooked by the mother country, the governors of Florida were forced to

use the resources at hand to defend their colony against American annexation ambitions.

Free blacks and at times slave troops were employed in the ranks of the Spanish militia in

St. Augustine to bolster the defenses. Black militias could be found throughout the

Spanish empire. Florida, however, was unique in its enlistment of runaways from

American plantations in Georgia and Louisiana. The slave sanctuary policy of the









Spanish governors in Florida stated that any black or mulatto slave escaping from

American, French, or English territory that was willing to convert to Catholicism and

aided in the defense of Florida would receive sanctuary among the Spanish in St.

Augustine. Although the official sanctuary policy ended in Florida by 1790, the

harboring of fugitive slaves in St. Augustine and Pensacola continued unofficially

throughout the remaining years of Spanish occupation.8

Another resource of defense was the substantial Native American population in

Florida. While the Spanish and British had struggled to encourage settlement in the

Florida colonies, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek tribes that had emigrated from Georgia

and the Louisiana and Alabama territories had established a thriving community. The

original native societies, such as the Calusa and the Ais (also know as the Costa) tribes

that had inhabited Florida prior to the Spanish conquest had almost completely

disappeared by the mid-eighteenth century. The Indians in Florida by the nineteenth

century were mostly Hitchitee (Seminoles) and Ochese (Creek) tribes that had

immigrated to Florida to escape English and American land encroachment. The Hitchitee

were actually a loose confederation of the Apalachicolas, Yamasees, and Uchees, along

with newer groups like the Tallahassees, Oconees, and Mikasukis. White settlers tended

to lump them together as Seminoles. An overall weak presence by European settlers in

Florida allowed these Native American tribes to prosper. Following the British

occupation of Florida (1763-1783) until the outbreak of the First Seminole War (1816-

1818), the Creeks, Cherokees, Seminoles, and Choctaws occupied a large portion of the

Florida interior. Influential leaders such as Billy Bowlegs, William McIntosh, and Chief

Payne became wealthy from cattle rearing and trade with the Spanish.9









The Native Americans, like their European and American counterparts, maintained

slave-owning societies. They purchased many of their slaves from English, Spanish, and

American traders. A significant number of Africans in Creek society, however, had

escaped from American territory or were captured during raids on Georgia and Florida

plantations. At times, escaped slaves would be returned, but often they were incorporated

into Indian society. It was recognized by American slaveholders that blacks preferred the

less-restrictive form of slavery offered by the Creeks and Seminoles rather than the

chattel slavery practiced in America.10

Not all Africans among the Seminoles were slaves. Many lived as freedmen or as

tenant farmers among the tribes. The number of Africans who lived among the Native

Americans is difficult to surmise. Various accounts from both the First and Second

Seminole War (183 5-1842) suggest that the population ranged from 300 to 700 African

combatants among the Seminoles. However, these estimates were often the products of

military reconnaissance and did not include women and children; nor did they mention

fugitives among the non-combatants in Florida. At times these numbers did not

differentiate between slaves purchased by the natives and runaways from white

settlements."1

Historian Daniel Littlefield provides an analysis of the Carolina and Georgia

runaway records in the hope of yielding a more accurate demographic assessment of the

black Seminole population. His estimates show that the number of runaways never

amounted to more than one percent of the entire African population of South Carolina.

Of that one percent, less than five percent were able to avoid recapture (Littlefield

approximates the number to be about .03 percent of the southern slave population). This









small percentage meant that in the nineteenth century the South lost an average of about

1,011 slaves a year. It is impossible to determine how many of them reached Florida,

however. Spanish manumission cases give some vague indication of the volume of

fugitives that reached St. Augustine. No such records exist for runaways who joined up

with the Creeks or Seminoles.12

The nature of the relationship between the Spanish, the Indians, and the maroons in

Florida is unclear. It is known that prior to the American acquisition, the Creeks and

their free black counterparts enjoyed a mutually beneficial affiliation with the Spanish.

Spain's sovereignty in Florida provided diplomatic legitimacy in the eyes of foreign

powers, a luxury the native societies were never granted. In return the Creek nations and

maroon villages bolstered the otherwise weak Spanish military presence. Sources dealing

with this relationship at times overstate the link between the neighboring societies in

Florida. It has been suggested that the Creeks were allied with the Spanish crown against

the British and later against the United States. This is an overstatement of the nature and

the depth of the Spanish/Indian relationship. No official alliance was formed, as even the

Spanish did not recognize the tribes as sovereign nations. The Spanish presence,

however, was undoubtedly favorable for the Indians. By living within Spanish territory

they were able to enjoy a form of diplomatic protection from American ambitions.13

By 1808, the raging peninsular war in Europe left the Spanish government impotent

to defend its colony. Therefore, the Florida governors were forced to rely upon Seminole

and maroon warriors for defense. The Spanish governors maintained friendly relations

with the tribal leaders by sending annual gifts. In return, the Indians and maroons fought

with the Spanish to repel the American invasions of the acquisition period.









American ambitions in Florida began with the country's founding. Various

independent expeditions attempted to capture the territory between 1780 and 1800. For

the most part, these had little impact on the Florida territory or on the South as a whole.

Florida acquisition became a national issue with the ascension of Thomas Jefferson and

the Democratic-Republicans to the presidency in 1800.

The "Jeffersonian philosophy of expansion," as described by historians Owsley and

Smith, was the determination to acquire North American territory at the expense of the

European colonial nations without involving the United States in costly wars. The

Florida colonies were tempting targets in that the Spanish government was weak and

unlikely to provide significant resistance. The United States at first attempted to exploit a

legal claim for portions of West Florida. The grounds for these legal claims began with

the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When France temporarily claimed all Spanish territory

in North America following the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, it subsequently sold

the Louisiana territory to the United States. Historians have demonstrated that it was

never the intentions of the Spanish government to cede parts of the West Florida territory

to Napoleon and thus France could not then transfer it to the United States. At the time,

James Monroe was serving as both the Minister to Great Britain and the Special Envoy to

France negotiating the terms of the Louisiana Purchase. A letter to Monroe from Charles-

Maurice de Talleyrand, the French diplomat who negotiated the terms of the Louisiana

transfer, explicitly mapped the boundary between Louisiana and West Florida. Evidence

suggests that this information was readily available to both Jefferson and his secretary of

states James Madison. As historian James Cusick points out, "Timothy Pickering of

Massachusetts embarrassed his colleagues [the Republican congressmen] by producing









French documents denying that West Florida had ever been a part of the Louisiana

Purchase." Regardless of the evidence to the contrary, Jefferson and various

congressmen continued to argue that West Florida was in fact included in the transfer of

land from Spain to France and subsequently to the United States.14

Despite limited success, a general recognition of a link between West Florida and

the Louisiana Purchase failed to materialize. When Madison took office in 1808, the

issue was finally dropped and a more aggressive strategy was adopted. Madison

attempted to demonstrate that Spain's military weakness was a threat to American

security. Americans were thus justified in demanding the territorial transfer. On

September 23, 1810, a pro-American uprising took place in the Spanish city of Baton

Rouge. Armed American rebels who called themselves "Patriots" revolted against the

local government and took Governor Carlos de Lassus and the small city garrison as

hostages. Three days later, the rebels declared the territory surrounding Baton Rouge the

Independent Province of West Florida. The purpose of this temporary governing body

was to provide a legitimate basis to petition for annexation of the territory to the United

States. A month later, on October 27, Madison officially announced his intentions to

occupy the area in the interest of maintaining law and order in the territory and along the

American border.15

Interpretations of the events of the Baton Rouge filibuster campaign are varied. It

has been claimed that by annexing the Baton Rouge territory, Madison was not solely

interested in acquiring new territory, but was more concerned with preventing a more

powerful European nation from doing so. Owsley and Smith describe Madison's

perspective on the rebellion of Baton Rouge:









Military occupation of Spanish territory would incur the wrath of not only Spain
but perhaps even England and France. Madison feared that should the government
not aid West Florida, there would "be danger of its passing into the hands of a third
and dangerous party. Rumors of the impending arrival of Spanish troops from
Cuba or Vera Cruz, combined with fabricated accounts of a British landing at
Pensacola and stories of American adventures seizing additional Spanish territory,
forced Madison to take action before Congress convened.16


In this passage, Madison is depicted as the savior of the Patriots from both British

occupation and Spanish retribution, but also as the defender of law and order in a territory

the Spanish could not adequately control. When the uprising occurred, Madison

intervened to contain the rebellion. The president took the initiative and ordered troops

from New Orleans to occupy the area and protect American interests as well as to prevent

an escalation of violence.

Cusick challenges this idealized image of intervention. He and other historians

have suggested an alternative interpretation for the events surrounding the Baton Rouge

annexation. American subversives sponsored by state officials and encouraged by

Washington incited the rebels to take action against the Spanish and declare their

allegiance to the United States. Governor David Holmes and Governor Charles

Claiborne, of the Mississippi and New Orleans territories respectively, received

instructions from Secretary of State Robert Smith to prepare the way for American

occupation of West Florida many months prior to the rebellion. Governor Holmes was

charged with gathering information concerning the population's loyalties to the Spanish

and to spread information about America's determination to incorporate the area into the

Union. Governor Claiborne was ordered to keep the New Orleans militia in a state of

readiness so as to act quickly at the first sign of an uprising. The Baton Rouge

annexation was conducted to perfection. While Madison and Smith were unable to









convince the West Florida government to cede the territory in its entirety, American

forces occupied Baton Rouge without military or diplomatic conflict. Neither Spain nor

Britain could confirm the existence of and thus offer protest for the involvement of

American agents in the provocation of the rebels.17

Whether American government agents were directly involved or not, the flawless

execution of the Baton Rouge filibuster buoyed Madison's hopes for a quick and painless

annexation of the remaining Florida territory. If a similar coup d'etat could be attempted

in Pensacola and St. Augustine, the United States could conceivably lay claim to all

Florida. General George Mathews, a Revolutionary War veteran as well as a former

Georgia governor and representative to Congress, was chosen to conduct the campaign to

capture East Florida. Senator William Crawford, a warhawk from Georgia who had

personally selected Mathews to lead the filibuster expedition, took charge of operations

from Washington. As Governor Holmes had done in Baton Rouge, Mathews was to

conduct subversive operations to encourage Americans in East Florida to rebel against

the Spanish in St. Augustine and declare themselves patriots of the United States.

Crawford and Mathews brought the powerful regional conflict to the forefront of what

had been thus far a federally controlled campaign for annexation. The result would be an

escalation from diplomacy and politics to violent expeditions and invasions of Florida.18

The transition from covert federal ambitions to a more localized struggle for the

annexation of Florida is not entirely clear. There are many features that overlap. What is

evident is that from the outset of Mathews's involvement the situation became much

more unstable. The Patriots of East Florida, like their West Florida counterparts, were

the white settlers in Florida that claimed to be citizens of the United States. They formed









an alliance with the Georgia militia to oust the Spanish and establish an independent

republic of East Florida. Their goal was then to cede the territory to the United States as

was done in the Baton Rouge territory.

Unfortunately for Madison and the Patriots of Florida, the ease with which Baton

Rouge had fallen was unlikely to occur in East Florida. Of the Spanish soldiers in St.

Augustine it was estimated that less than half were ready for active duty. However, the

garrison was more than three times the size of that stationed in Baton Rouge. John

Houston McIntosh described the Castillo de San Marcos as, "that impregnable castle of

St. Augustine [that] would render abortive any attempt which a handful of men, without

artillery and proper resources, might make, to revolutionize the Province." Another

complication for Mathews was that the political situation was much more favorable for

Spain in 1811 than it had been in 1810. In December of 1810, Governor Vicente Folch

of Pensacola had written to Madison expressing his willingness to surrender the entire

colony to the United States. Spanish authorities of Pensacola, as in Baton Rouge,

preferred annexation to the United States to becoming a British or French satellite. By

1811, with Napoleon unable to subdue the Iberian Peninsula, the colonial governments

had begun holding out hope for retaining the territories. The prospect of reinstating King

Ferdinand to power in Spain emboldened Governor Vicente Folch in Pensacola and the

newly appointed Governor Juan Jose de Estrada in St. Augustine to resist American

advances.19

Despite these obstacles, Mathews was resolved in his course of action. Beginning

in July of 1811, Mathews gathered support from local plantation owners in Florida. With

promises of support from the United States government, he convinced John Houston









McIntosh to lead the Americans in Florida in a rebellion. Mathews then recruited

volunteers and raised a personal army with funds allotted to him by the federal

government and Georgia state legislature. In less than a year, Mathews gathered 125

volunteers from the area surrounding St. Mary's. He also secured a commitment from

Georgia's Governor David B. Mitchell to maintain the state militia in readiness along the

Florida border. In addition, two lieutenants in the U.S. army, Daniel Appling and Elias

Stallings, conspired to desert the service of the United States with the seventy-five men

under their command and join McIntosh's Patriots at the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Commodore Hugh Campbell volunteered the service of three naval gunboats to aid in

patrolling the coast and preventing a Spanish counterattack. In March of 1812, Mathews

organized the Georgia volunteers and launched his invasion. A combination of

Mathews's infantry and cavalry recruits, a squadron of naval gunboats commanded by

Campbell, and the Florida rebels under McIntosh overwhelmed the Spanish along the

northeast coast of Florida. Within a week, his forces captured and occupied St. Mary's,

Amelia Island, and Fernandina without firing a shot.20

McIntosh's Patriots with Mathews's filibusters quickly swept through the outlying

Spanish defenses. The momentum of this initial success was not to last, however, as

Governor Estrada refused to surrender the fort at St. Augustine. Both sides suffered their

first casualties of the conflict upon the arrival of the rebels to the East Florida capital.

The Patriots subsequently settled in for a siege. Although Madison authorized the

dispatching of regular troops under Colonel Thomas Smith to aid the Patriots, the threat

of an impending war with Britain meant that federal support would be limited. The









Patriots could not blockade St. Augustine; thus the Spanish garrison received regular

stores and supplies from the sea. The prospect of an easy victory began to dissipate.

The Spanish commanders during the Patriot War required the aid of Indian and

maroon warriors to repel the American invaders and quell the rebels. Madison's secret

plot to annex East Florida in the same manner in which Baton Rouge had been occupied

was well known to the Spanish officials in St. Augustine. Having been tipped off by

McIntosh prior to his decision to turn rebel, Governor Estrada made preparations for a

military response to American aggression. He consolidated his available troops and

requisitioned for reinforcements from Cuba. The campaign was well under way by the

time reinforcements arrived from Cuba. The Patriots had already occupied the town of

St. Augustine and begun to besiege the Castillo. Even after Governor Sebastian Kindelan

y O'Regan arrived with a large contingent of black troops from Cuba, the Spanish still

lacked the forces necessary to repel the invaders. Despite a spirited resistance, they were

unable to break the siege and the battle settled into a stalemate. It was not until the

Seminoles of Alachua entered the conflict and declared their allegiance to the Spanish

that the Patriots were defeated in Florida.

Seminole support for the Spanish proved disastrous for the Patriot cause. This

unforeseen opposition and the violence that followed illustrated two important points to

the American government. First, with the aid of the Alachua Indians, the Spanish were

more willing and capable of defending the Florida territories than had been previously

assumed. Second, much of the Spanish power in the region came from the Seminole and

maroon populations.21









The Spanish did not have the military might or the desire to disturb the Indian

territories of the Florida interior and had maintained friendly relations. However, the

Seminoles remembered full well the policies of the American and Georgia governments

that had forced them off their land and into Spanish Florida. Understanding the danger

posed by American annexation, the Seminoles were prepared to defend the province from

the Patriot rebels and the Georgia invaders.

When the Patriot War erupted, the Seminoles initially declared themselves neutral,

but they were divided in that decision. Chief Payne, a Seminole leader, advocated

neutrality. He considered the Patriot War to be a confrontation between white men in

which Indians should not be involved. Payne's brother Billy Bowlegs encouraged the

Seminoles to enter into the conflict. Fearful of Georgian intentions for occupied Florida

and insulted by Mathews when the General had warned the tribes to stay out of the

conflict, Bowlegs was determined not to allow the Patriots of Florida to succeed in their

attempts at annexation.22

By July 26, 1812, when the Alachua Seminoles officially entered the fray, the

Patriot War was almost entirely a localized effort. Georgia Governor David B. Mitchell

replaced General Mathews as commander of the Georgia militia expeditionary forces.

While small detachments of regular troops would return to fight the Seminoles, nearly all

the federal military forces had been pulled out of Florida in favor of the Canadian frontier

war against the British. In June of 1812 and again in February 1813, the Senate rejected

the proposal for a federally supported military seizure of East Florida. The United States

cut off the rebels in Florida from all financial, military, and diplomatic aid. With the

private backing of wealthy Florida and Georgia planters like McIntosh and Craig, along









with militia commanders such as General John Floyd, the rebels would continue fighting

in Florida for nearly two more years in hopes of achieving American federal recognition

and support for the war. The only aid that came to them was from Governor Mitchell and

the Georgia state legislature. Georgia was essentially fighting the war on its own. Yet

the conflict would continue for nearly two more years with private backing and local

volunteer armies. By mid-1814, despite protests from southern politicians, Madison

officially denounced all attempts to establish an East Florida Republic. With the hope of

national recognition dashed, the Patriot effort finally petered out.23

The Seminole involvement and political protests were a important factors for the

failure of the Patriot effort in East Florida. While Madison and the warhawks of

Congress had initially supported Mathews and the Georgia militia with U.S. regular

troops, supplies, and finances, the engagements between the Patriots and the Spanish and

the involvement of the Seminoles threatened to bog down into a military quagmire. The

battles in East Florida had become an embarrassment to the Madison administration as

northern newspapers railed against southern aggressions towards the neutral Spanish

colony.24

Along with the Seminole involvement, Florida's large free black population living

among a powerful Indian society greatly altered the nature of the frontier struggle.

Georgia's population in 1810 was close to forty percent black slaves. South Carolina's

slave population was almost equal to that of the white population. The South was in very

real danger of a servile insurrection and thus whites feared a strong free black population

so close to its border. As the United States went to war with Britain, the threat of an

insurrection took on yet another element of danger. The sponsorship of the Florida









maroons by the British military meant that what was at first a fear of rebellion was now

coupled with fear of invasion.25

In the latter period of the War of 1812, national focus would again turn towards

Florida. The early stages of America's war against Britain were fought on the Canadian

frontier. By 1814, the British hoped to open a new front along the southern border as part

of a new grand strategy of attack. The three-pronged assault on the United States would

include coordinating an invasion from Canada against Detroit, an amphibious landing at

Baltimore, and the occupation of New Orleans. The British hoped to stretch the

American war effort beyond its limits and choke the United States into submission. By

1814, with the burning of Washington and the blockading of the Atlantic coast, America

was facing defeat at the hands of British power liberated by Napoleon's defeat in Europe.

All the while Georgia citizens were watching the development of this new threat across

their southern border. With the end of the Patriot War, Britain hoped to enlist the aid of

the Seminole tribes and the maroons in Florida for an invasion of the South. The

suspicions of a European-supported invasion by maroons and a potential slave revolt

were quickly materializing into reality.

These fears were not unfounded. Many British officials believed the large slave

population of the South to be a potentially valuable asset for their war effort. J. P.

Morier, the British charge d' affaires, had commented to that effect in a letter to Lord

Wellesley concerning Madison's mobilization to occupy Baton Rouge. He suggested that

the British occupy New Orleans and use Spanish black regiments from Havana to inspire

a slave rebellion throughout the South. A similar strategy was the basis of the southern









campaign of 1815 under Vice Admiral Forrester Cochrane to be launched from Jamaica

and using Pensacola as a staging point. 26

The British tactic of encouraging runaways to escape to Florida enraged the slave

states. To make the danger all the more real, the British had established a fort along the

Apalachicola River for the purpose of housing, arming, and training fugitive slaves and

Seminole Indians to make war upon the United States. The fort was in Spanish territory

but was occupied by British officials and troops. The Spanish and the British did not

acknowledge the existence of the fort until the cessation of hostilities, but rumors of it

spread throughout Georgia and the Louisiana territory. In addition to Negro Fort,

numerous fugitive settlements were established along the Suwannee River. 27

The British efforts in Florida marked the beginning of the final phase in the Florida

annexation with a new leader at its head. Andrew Jackson, major general for the

Tennessee militia during the Creek War, avenger of the massacre of American civilians at

Fort Mims, general of the American forces at New Orleans, and commander charged with

the defense of the southern frontier, was the next to embark on an expedition to eradicate

the threat posed by the Indians and maroons in Florida. Jackson successfully battled the

Creek tribes for two years in southern Georgia and Alabama. He had broken the power

of the Indian confederation in the region of southern Louisiana and West Florida at the

battles of Talladega and Horseshoe Bend in late 1813 and early 1814 respectively and

sent his enemy retreating into the interior of Florida.28

Before the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson had repeatedly invaded Spanish territory

to prevent the British from establishing a base of operations. He captured Pensacola, the

Spanish West Florida capital city, and drove off the British stationed there. The









correspondence between Jackson with Secretary of War John Armstrong and other

Washington D.C. politicians, reveals Washington's concern about involving the United

States in another conflict with Spain by not respecting its neutrality. Jackson, however,

determined that the Spanish had forfeited their neutral stance by allowing British troops

to use Florida as a staging area. Jackson attacked and occupied Pensacola on November

8, 1814. Pensacola was subsequently returned to the Spanish once Jackson had

determined that the British were no longer a threat in the region.29

Following the War of 1812, the British withdrew their troops from Florida. The

maroon allies they had employed, however, remained defiant. The military disposition of

Samuel Jervis, a British sergeant stationed in Florida during the war under the command

of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Nicholls, gave the first accounts and acknowledgment by

the British of the existence of the maroon stronghold known as Negro Fort. Jervis

reported that 300 to 400 Africans populated the fort on the Apalachicola River in Spanish

Florida; many were runaway slaves or had been captured by the British in Louisiana.

Nicholls, a British agent to the maroons and Seminole tribes, had supplied them with four

cannons and a cache of over 300 small arms. At the close of the war, the British

abandoned the fort, but many of the maroons remained. Citizens of Georgia and South

Carolina demanded that the American government take action to eradicate the renegades

on the Apalachicola and return the fugitives to their masters.30

Though the British abandoned them to fend for themselves, the maroons still

declared themselves subjects of the English crown. Convinced that the British would

return to defend them, the maroons refused to abandon the fort at Prospect Bluff.

Edmund Pendleton Gaines, Adjutant General under Jackson's command, was dispatched









to conduct a reconnaissance mission to assess the danger posed by the maroons to the

Georgia and Louisiana borders, the trade route along the Apalachicola, and to gauge the

fort's defensive capability. In his letter to Jackson, Gaines reported on the topographical

layout of the area as well as the most accessible means for assault. He estimated the

force within the fort to be close to three hundred. 31

Like Jackson, the citizens of the South were eager for action. Southern newspapers

protested the continued existence of Negro Fort as a direct threat to the nation's security.

Many white southerners feared that not only would the fort encourage more slaves to

escape, but also that the maroons would join the Indians in raiding border towns and

plantations. Crawford, now Secretary of War and more active than ever in the defense of

the South, wrote a letter to Jackson to convince him of the need to petition the Spanish

governor in Pensacola before taking action against Negro Fort. A demonstration of faith

in the Spanish might repair some of the damage done over the past decade to the relations

between the two countries.32

However, the Spanish governors in Florida proved to be unresponsive to American

pleas for action. They did what they did best when faced with a difficult decision; they

stalled. When Jackson petitioned Mauricio de Zuniga, military governor of Pensacola,

demanding that the Spanish act to disperse the rebels and that they "intervene to prevent

more escaped slaves from reaching the fort," the answer he received was that the West

Florida militia could not act until the governor had received confirmation from Spain.

Zuniga did, however, in a return correspondence, indicate that the "rebels" were of

genuine concern to his government and that he feared for the safety of Pensacola and

Spanish plantations in the area. Whether this was an implicit plea for action or simply









meant to placate the American's is unclear. Nevertheless, Jackson took this to mean that

the Spanish were willing to allow him to move against Negro Fort, or at least they would

not attempt to stop him. Without waiting for a response from Washington, Jackson

ordered his subordinate Lieutenant Colonel Duncan L. Clinch to destroy the fort.33

The operation to destroy the fort was brief. Yet the repercussions would have a

lasting impact on American involvement in Florida. The reports from soldiers present at

the destruction of Negro Fort indicate that the maroons had intended to resist to the last

man and would not surrender. Clinch's letter to Colonel R. Butler, the Adjutant General

for the division of the South, dated August 2, 1816, describes the details of the combat

that took place at Negro Fort. He outlined his general strategy and the execution of the

campaign from the early skirmishes with the maroons in the surrounding woodlands to

the eventual bombardment and reduction of the fort. In Clinch's account, the

determination of the fort's occupants to resist is made clear.34

The destruction of the fort was total. By all accounts, it was completely destroyed

when a heated shot from a naval vessel involved in the assault struck the fort's munitions

storage facility and ignited the powder within. The result was a massive explosion that

engulfed the defenders in a horrendous firestorm killing 270. An eyewitness, Private

Marcus Buck, described the scene as "hellish and ghastly." Sixty-four survivors were

captured following the explosion, many of them wounded.35

In less than two years, East Florida had endured a destructive rebellion, constant

raids from both Americans and Indians, and the destruction of Negro Fort. As a result of

the violence, the towns ofFernandina and St. Augustine had become islands of Spanish

sovereignty in a sea of anarchy. The Patriot War had left the countryside in ruins. In









subsequent years more than 200 families sought restitutions for damages incurred during

the rebellion, practically the entire free population of the province under Spanish rule.

Plantations were burned, homes were destroyed, and many settlers of East Florida were

forced to emigrate from the colony or to relocate to the Spanish cities. As the garrison at

St. Augustine returned to its pre-rebellion composition of mostly retirees and invalids, the

East Florida colony quickly degenerated into a lawless territory, virtually free from

Spanish control. East Florida's coast became an ideal target for privateers and

smugglers. By 1817, Amelia Island and the city of Femandina became a hub of illegal

trade activity and piracy. 36

The two figures were prominent in East Florida during this time, Gregor

MacGregor and Luis Aury. MacGregor was a Scottish nobleman turned privateer for

General Francisco de Miranda of Venezuela. In early 1817, MacGregor began a

campaign in the United States very similar to the one conducted years earlier by

Mathews. Like Mathews, he determined to conduct a filibuster campaign and attempt to

force the Spanish government to relinquish their claims to East Florida. He recruited

volunteers and solicited financial backing for his campaign throughout the southern

United States. Washington was now controlled by the Monroe administration in which

John Q. Adams headed the state department. Adams gave little credence to MacGregor's

schemes, but he did not directly oppose his efforts. MacGregor launched his expedition

into East Florida in June of 1817. Through a minor display of power and a more potent

propaganda campaign, MacGregor captured the Spanish city of Fernandina on Amelia

Island on June 28, 1817. He immediately declared an independent government of Amelia

Island. While his plans included conquest and occupation of all of East Florida, he









lacked both sufficient military resources and support from the locals to complete his

campaign. His position quickly deteriorated as his soldiers began raiding the countryside

for supplies. On 9 September of that same year, MacGregor left Amelia Island to

conduct a recruiting mission throughout the West Indies in hopes of raising an army

capable of overrunning East Florida and expelling the Spanish.37

MacGregor never returned to Amelia Island, but the Spanish were still unable to

retake Fernandina. Jared Irwin, placed in command during MacGregor's absence,

managed to maintain a defensive position protected by a superior naval force. This

situation became much more unstable with the arrival of Aury's forces of black and

mulatto corsairs. Aury was a mulatto who had served with the French navy before

deserting and turning to piracy. Aury had joined up with the revolutionary government in

Mexico and had a brief stint as military governor of Texas before seeking his fortune on

the east coast of Florida. The American forces left by MacGregor stood at odds with

Aury's French privateers, but in the end, Aury took control of the island without

violence. Like MacGregor before him, Aury proclaimed the independent government of

Amelia Island, known as The Republic of Florida, and was elected governor. By this

time the remaining population consisted almost solely of American adventurers, French

privateers, and English and Spanish smugglers. The local citizens had, for the most part,

fled the island.38

The presence of Aury's force, famously described as "a set of desperate and bloody

dogs" by the New Orleans Gazette and other newspapers throughout the South, evoked

fears reminiscent of the Negro Fort crisis. In many cases, this fear was justified, as Aury

was first and foremost a pirate, not a liberator or a revolutionary. Aury's position at









Fernandina was the ideal location to attack Spanish shipping. During his brief stay that

began in September and ended abruptly in late in November of 1817, Aury amassed

nearly half a million dollars worth of shipping prizes and seized commodities.39

Aury's government epitomized the lawlessness in East Florida. The Spanish were

unsuccessful in removing him by military force and unable to break the blockade of

shipping he maintained on the east coast. Aury's navy had become a menace to both

Spanish and American shipping. Rumors of Aury violating the U.S. ban on the foreign

slave trade, and tales of raiding parties sent out from Amelia Island and crossing the

Georgia border compelled the United States take action. In December of 1818, Secretary

of War John C. Calhoun ordered General Gaines to occupy Fernandina and remove the

"piratical republic." With the arrival of American military forces under the command of

Colonel Bankhead, Aury surrendered his command and was evacuated peacefully. The

United States laid claim to the island and officially annexed it in the interest of

maintaining stability on the border.40

Ironically, these late filibustering expeditions, despite being denounced by both the

Spanish and the American government, had achieved their initial goal of annexing

territory to the United States. The Amelia Island campaigns were also significant in

demonstrating that the Spanish were no longer capable of providing resistance against

rebel governments or American ambitions. This would prove vital for mustering in the

final stage of acquisition in which Jackson would continue his war against the Seminoles

with an utter disregard to Spanish sovereignty.

Jackson's attack on Negro Fort sparked the First Seminole War. An article printed

in a Milledgeville newspaper referred to rumors about bands of Indian and black raiders









coming from Florida to attack citizens in Alabama and Georgia. The author suspected

that these bands were made up of recent runaways from Georgia as well as those who had

escaped the destruction of Negro Fort, all of whom sought vengeance against the United

States. Despite the decimation of the maroon population at Negro Fort, Gaines still

estimated that some 400 to 600 hostile black soldiers were among the Seminoles in

Florida. Gaines and his subordinate Lieutenant Colonel Duncan L. Clinch, under

Jackson's command, continued to battle the Seminoles and maroons in Florida for

another two years. All the while, the Spanish were helpless to stop the American

campaign through their colony. When Jackson occupied Pensacola yet again in June of

1818, he made off with 110 slaves that he claimed were runaways from New Orleans.

This claim was never legitimized and was vehemently protested by the Spanish. Their

complaints were largely ignored as Jackson continued to battle across Florida suppressing

the Indians and rounding up fugitives.41

The First Seminole War demonstrated once and for all Spain's incapacity to

enforce law in Florida. Once it was made clear that the Florida governors would not

directly intervene to defend their own territorial rights or their maroon allies, Jackson

unreservedly ignored Spanish sovereignty. The governors themselves realized the futility

of Spain's claim to Florida and reluctantly relinquished the territory to the United States.

The Onis-Adams Treaty of 1819 (ratified in 1821) was very much the product of

Jackson's actions in Florida. What is equally important was the seemingly independent

nature of his actions. Jackson was able to dominate the Washington politicians during

the execution of his Florida campaign to an even greater extent than either Mathews or

Mitchell had before him. Washington was forced by popular opinion to support










Jackson's Seminole War through to its conclusion. Andrew Jackson was a national

figure as well as a southern hero. Whereas Mathews was eventually disgraced and

denounced by the Madison administration, Jackson's popularity forced the federal

government to support his actions despite the danger he posed to America's international

relations. With a national figure leading the southern cause, the Florida annexation was

seen through to its final conclusion. 42

As demonstrated by the various campaigns, the process of annexation was often

violent and brutal. This is indicative of the regional animosities that existed during the

Florida acquisition period. The white population of Georgia and the Patriots of Florida

were unconcerned with diplomatic solutions or the appearance of civility toward an

enemy they viewed as dishonorable and treacherous. The popular opinion was that the

maroons, Indians, Spanish, and British had each challenged the South's legal and moral

rights (and by consequence their honor) by desecrating their homes and robbing them of

their property. This aspect was played upon by southern advocates for annexation in

order to justify the nature of their campaigns.


Notes

1 Population figures for Spanish Florida are found in James Cusick, Other War of 1812, 41. For sources on
Spanish Florida, British 18t century incursions and the fortification program see John Jay TePaske, The
Governorship of Spanish Florida, 1700-1763 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1964); Charles Arnade,
The Siege of St. Augustine in 1702 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1959); Larry E Ivers, British
Drums on the Southern Frontier: Military Colonization of Georgia 1733-1749 (Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1974).

2 Charles Mowat, East Florida as a British Province 1763-1784 (Los Angeles: University of California
Press, 1943), 153-154.

3 "Francis Philip Fatio to Major Morrison, December 14, 1782, Considerations on the Importance of the
Province of East Florida to the British Empire," Great Britain Public Records Office, Colonial Office,
(papers), 5/560 December 14, 1782, London, 911-918; Mowat, East Florida as a British Province 1763-
1784, 153-160.












4 A good example of the British land grant policy stunting development in Florida is the Gordon family.
Adam Gordon was a British citizen who had purchased land in 1763 from the Spanish in Florida in
anticipation of the British occupation. Gordon's lands were subsequently confiscated by the British
governor Colonel Grant and divided among established plantation owners in Florida. War broke out in
America while Gordon was in England petitioning Parliament and the king. As a result, his estates in
Georgia and Carolina were lost as well. This case is housed in the South Carolinian Library Adam Gordon
Collection (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1793). The attempts of British Governor Grant in
Florida attempting to encourage an expansion of slave settlement and plantation development is depicted
in, Daniel Schafer, "Settlement in War Climates Must be Formed by Negroes: Slavery in British East
Florida" (Jacksonville: University of North Florida, 2003), photocopied.

5 Theodore G. Corbett, "The Problem of Household in the Second Spanish Period," Samuel Proctor ed.
Eighteenth-Century Florida: The Impact of the American Revolution (University Press of Florida:
Gainesville, 1978), 50.

6 McIntosh's estates are described in detail in Edith Duncas Johnston, The Houstons of Georgia (Athens:
University of Georgia Press, 1950), 21-35, 343-370. McIntosh describes his estates as well as the estates of
a number of other American landowners in Florida in his letter "Communication to the Editors," National
Intelligence, July 2, 1823.

7 J. Barton Starr, "Left as a Gewgaw, The Impact of the American Revolution on British West Florida,"
found in Samuel Proctor ed., Eighteenth Century Florida (University Press of Florida: Gainesville, 1978),
14; Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 41.

8Ferdinand VI. Real c6dula, September 24, 1750, (AGI Madrid). This decree from Ferdinand VI is the
first implementation of the Spanish sanctuary policy. The Audiencia in Spain ended the sanctuary policy
but it did not become official policy of Florida to return fugitive slaves until the signing of Treaty between
the United States and the Seagrove-White Accord on Fugitive Slaves, signed by Enrique White the
governor of East Florida and James Seagrove, May 19, 1797.

9 For information on the Calusa tribes and their conquest by the Spanish see Kurt Griesshaber, Calusa and
Spaniard (Bonita Springs Florida: Museum of Historical Research, 1970); Byron D. Voegelin, South
Florida's vanished people; travels in the homeland of the ancient Calusa (Fort Myers Florida: Island Press,
1972). The best illustrations we have for Creek and Cherokee migrations southward are the military maps
published by the various occupiers of the Florida territories. The maps published during the British era
(1763-1783) specifically show territory claimed by the Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw Indians in what is
today Southern Georgia and Alabama. They did not occupy northern Florida until towards the end of the
American Revolution. The best illustration of this is Joseph Purcell, Map of the Southern Indian District of
North America 1772 (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress; Division of Maps, 1932), 228. Maps
published later, such as the military campaign maps of Adjutant General Thomas Sydney Jesup show the
campaign against the Seminoles taking place near Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. See Joel R
Poinsett, Map of the Seat of War In Florida (Washington City: National Archives Bureau of Topographical
Engineers), 1838. For information on the formation of the Seminole confederation see Remini, Andrew
Jackson and His Indian Wars, 131-132.

'OThe Georgia Gazette has numerous examples of slaves captured and brought to workhouses by Creek
Indians, Slave Brought To Workhouse [Michael]. August 10, 1768, Slave Brought to Workhouse [Issac]
June 21, 1775 and Two Slaves Brought to Workhouse [names unknown] March 28, 1770. The Native
American form of slavery often was very liberal in allowing slaves to own small plots of land and raise
their own crops. Slaves were generally seen as a lower social class rather than beasts of burden. Chattel
slavery in the United States was conducted in a far more restrictive and brutal fashion. For sources on the
transition of American slavery from freeholder to chattel slavery see M. Eugene Sirmans. "The Legal
Status of the Slave in South Carolina, 1670-1740." Journal of Southern History Vol. 28 (1962) 462-73,
Peter H Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 to the Stono Rebellion.
(New York: Random House, 1974), 51-52 and William H. Simmons, Notices of East Florida.












(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1973). The Simmons book is a reprinting of a cultural study of
the Seminole tribes of Florida written by a pioneer settler and early commissioner for the territory.

" "Edmund Pendleton Gaines to General Andrew Jackson" May 14, 1816, The Papers of Andrew Jackson,
Vol. 4. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980), 31-31 and "Edmund P. Gaines to General
Andrew Jackson", Ibid, 151. Gaines estimates the number of Africans at Negro Fort to be around 300.
Gaines in another letter to Jackson estimates the number of enemy natives in Florida to be close to 2000
including some 400 African warriors. War Department Council of Inquiry "Inquiry: Captain E.A.
Hitchcock a witness being duly sworn in was interrogated" January 13, 1837, ASP: MA, vol. 7, 367-370.
Captain Hitchcock testifies to an estimate of around 1,300 native warriors plus an additional 400 black
auxiliary troops during the Second Seminole war.

12 See Daniel Littlefield, Rice and Slaves : Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina,
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), 128-163. The East Florida Papers collection has
over 400 Spanish manumissions cases. Few mention the origin of the slaves, but rather discuss the master
that claimed them. It is often the case for fugitives to be claimed by a resident of St. Augustine until they
had provided satisfactory service to the Spanish militia.

13 Bruce E. Twyman, The Black Seminoles Legacy and North American Politics, 1693-1845, (Washington
D.C.: Howard University Press, 1999).

1 Richard R. Stenberg, "The Boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase," The Hispanic American Historical
Review, vol. 14, (Feb., 1934) 32-64, 32-33 (quotation). Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 26.

15 Frank Owsley Jr. and Gene Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists, (Tuscaloosa, Univerisity of Alabama
Press, 1997). 8, 9.

16 Ibid., 8, 9.

17 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 4,5. For a more detailed account of the Baton Rouge espionage and
occupation campaign see Waciuma, Intervention in Spanish Floridas, 139-148. Territorial Papers. Orleans
Territory Vol. 10-11.

18 For a more detailed description of Mathews background and service in the Georgia state government see
Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 29-30.

19 The National Intelligencer, July 2, 1823; "Vizente Folch to President James Madison;" American State
Papers: Foreign Relations, December 2, 1810, Vol. 3, 98. Hereafter cited as ASP.

20 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 33-37; For details concerning those who joined the Patriots see, Ibid.,
59-62, 67-69; Concerning Mathews's recruits and the Army and Navy officers who deserted to aid in
operations in Florida see Ibid., 82-84.


21 Twyman. Black Seminole Legacy. 44, James Monroe, The Writings of James Monroe 1807-1816 Vol.
6, AMS Press, New York, 1969. 62-79.

22 Cusick, Other Wa r of 1812, 214-16.

23 While the Alachua Seminoles entered into the conflict against the Florida Patriots, many tribes still
declared themselves neutral. The letter titled "Tuskegee Tustunugee to Col. Benjamin Hawkins
[September 18, 1812]," State Papers and Publick Documents, vol. 9, 181-189, hereafter cited as SPPD is a
petition sent from tribal leaders among the Creeks to Benjamin Hawkins in Georgia stating their desire to
remain neutral. Lieut. Col. Thomas A. Smith to Governor David B. Mitchell [September 22, 1812], ibid.
175-177.













24 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 4-6 The editor of the New York Evening Post was particularly vocal in
his protests against American audacity and disrespect of Spain's neutrality. NewYork Evening Post, April
28, 1812.

25 The population figures for Georgia and South Carolina are pulled from Cusick, The Other War of 1812,
40 as well as from Littlefield. Rice and Slaves, 116.

26 Cusick, The Other War of 1812. 27 note # 30. "Morier to Wellesley," January 12, 1811, Foreign Office
5/74 British Colonial Public Records Office. The British grand strategy for ending the war against the
United States is described in detail in Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans, (New York: Penguin
Books, 2000), 5-10, 16-18.

27 Vicente Sebastian Pintado, Florida Apalachicola River, Plan of Fort Gadsden, (Washington City:
National Archives Drawer 128 Sheet 9, Intelligence Division Engineers Corps War Department, 1817).
This map shows the layout for Fort Gadsden on Prospect Bluff. It includes an outline of the former Negro
Fort that was destroyed at that location two years earlier. Sketch of the Indian and Negro Towns on the
Suwaney (sic) River. (Washington City: National Archives Cartography Section Florida Maps RG # 77
Portfolio 247, 1818.) This map was drawn up by scouts under General Gaines marking the location of a
cluster of Maroon and native settlements along the river.

28 For a full history on the Creek campaigns of the War of 1812 see, Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson and
His Indian Wars, (New York: Viking, 2001).

29 "Armstrong to Jackson" June 27, 1814 The Papers of Andrew Jackson, vol. 3, 83. Jackson to Armstrong
July 18, 1814 Ibid, 90. Jackson's initial Florida campaigns in and around Florida and Louisiana including
the capture of Pensacola is covered in great detail in Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew
Jackson and America's First Military Victory, (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), 5-24.

30 Northern newspapers reprinted an account describing the British fleet poised at the Mouth of the
Apalachicola River and in the Gulf. The article also describes the presence of a number of black troops
among the British regulars. E% cmt, of the War, New Orleans," Niles Weekly Register January 7, 1815.
"Disposition of Samuel Jervais" May 9, 1815, ASP: FR Vol. 4, 551.

31 "Edmund Pendleton Gaines to General Andrew Jackson," May 14, 1816, The Papers of Andrew Jackson
Vol. 4, 30-31.

32A number of newspapers printed articles concerning Negro Fort or the fear of maroons in Florida acting
aggressively against American territory. For examples see, "Proclamation by W._Craig," June 3, 1812,
Georgia Argus. "East Florida" July 8, 1812. Ibid. "Indian News," October 20, 1813. Georgia Journal.
"East Florida" June 2, 1812. Village Record of Chester and Delaware Federalist. "Our Relations with
Spain," January 20 1819. and February 5 1819. "Pensacola; Head Quarters of the South Adjutant General's
Office," The Reflector May 29, 1818.

33 "General Andrew Jackson to the Governor of Pensacola," April 23, 1816. ASP: FR, vol. 4, 555-556.
"Report of Captain Vero Amelung to General Jackson," June 4, 1816, Ibid, 557. "General Andrew Jackson
to Governor Mauricio de Zuniga," Papers of Andrew Jackson, Vol. 4, 22-23. "General Andrew Jackson to
Secretary of War," April 23, 1816. Ibid, 557. Mauricio de Zuniga to Andrew Jackson, May 26, 1816, Ibid,
41-43.

34 "Colonel Clinch to Colonel R. Butler Adjutant General division of the South," August 2, 1816, Sketches:
Historical and Topographical of the Florida's. (Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1964). 200-205.
"Marcus C. Buck to his Father August 2, 1836," Army and Navy Chronicle, Vol. 3, (Washington D.C.:
Benjamin Homans, 1836), 114-115. This letter is dated 1836 which is its publication date. The description
clearly refers to Negro Fort on the Apalachicola and the commanders present at that conflict.













35 Ibid; "William H. Crawford to Andrew Jackson," April 24, 1816, Andrew Jackson Papers, vol. 4, 25-26.

36 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 306.

37 Owsely, Filibusters and Expansionists, 125-137.

38 "From Amelia Island Latest," United States Gazette for the Country, October 29, 1817.

39 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionists, 135, "From Amelia Island," New Orleans Gazette, October 17,
1817. The account of the prizes amassed by Aury comes from the article, "From the South, St. Mary's 27
Sept 1817," printed in the National Intelligencer October 11, 1817.

40John C. Calhoun to Edmund P. Gaines, December 27, 1817, ASP MA: Vol.1, 689-690. "Of Amelia
Island," Connecticut Courant, December 16, 1817.

41 "Domestic: Mobile," February 8, 1818, The Reflector, April 7, 1818. page 3 column 1, (Readex
Microprint Corporation, Microfilm, reel 201-K.) George Mercer Brooke to Andrew Jackson, July 2, 1818,
Andrew Jackson Papers, Vol. 4, 217-218.

42 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 29-37 Cusick discusses in some detail the difficulty of piecing together
secret plot to annex Florida under the pretext of popular rebellion against the Spanish. He also describes
the impression Mathews had of the population and their desire for annexation rather than becoming another
of Napoleon's acquisitions.














CHAPTER 3
THE RHETORICAL STRATEGIES OF WHITE SOUTHERN HONOR

Foremost among honor's supreme laws, are the requirements that we may set a
value upon our fortunes, but are forbidden absolutely to set any upon our lives.
Montesquieu -

Honor, "that ancient code of conduct and social perception," was a way of life in

the Old South. Since the Revolutionary era, the South's concept of honor had developed

into what historian Wyatt-Brown has described as a combination of the eighteenth-

century code of the struggle for power and glory manifest by martial prescriptions and the

emerging ideals of self-discipline, republican principles, and human rationality. "The old

and new themes of right conduct were not seen as antithetical. Rather, they often merged

to create a uniquely American white southern culture of honor."1

The economic impediments and issues of security that stemmed from Florida were

linked to issues of honor in order to encourage white southerners to partake in the

campaigns of annexation. Rhetoric also served to justify the means by which those

campaigns were executed. Understanding the nature of the South's perception of honor

gives new insight into the importance of this link between honor and action. As Wyatt-

Brown states:

The following elements were crucial in the formulation of southern evaluation of
conduct: 1) honor as immortalizing valor, particularly in the character of revenge
against familial and community enemies; 2) opinion of others as an indispensable
part of personal identity and gauge of self-worth; 3) physical appearance and
ferocity of will as signs of inner merit; and 4) defense of male integrity mingled
fear and love of woman. In regard to primal honor as personal bravery, southerners
of the nineteenth century boasted that they stood next to no other people.2









Rhetoric that addressed the South's concepts of honor was a particularly effective

means to motivate southern whites. As demonstrated in the previous chapter, the Florida

acquisition was carried out in a relatively quick and decisive manner. In less than four

years, American operations in the region had effectively reduced Spanish opposition to

mild protests. Three years more had witnessed the decimation of Indian resistance and

the conclusion to the negotiations for territorial transfer. The aggressive nature of the

Florida acquisition was also closely linked with the perception of honor expressed in

rhetoric. From the Baton Rouge filibuster through the First Seminole War, southern

soldiers, citizens, and militiamen rallied to the war cry of annexation. Southern action

during the acquisition period in Florida was patently violent. Interpreting language is

vital for understanding the escalation of that violence. "Honor expressed itself best in

actions florid oratory or bursts of violence rather than in cool terms of rational

discourse." Individuals, as well the government under which they lived, were expected to

act in consideration of honor. White southerners saw honor as a means of justification

and as a way to demonstrate the need for forceful action.3

The language used by those who wished to convince others of the necessity for

acquisition reflects important elements about perceptions of honor in the Deep South.

Three recurring and interconnected values advocated by white southerners receive the

most attention in the rhetoric of the acquisition. The saliency of these values varies with

the events of annexation, although there are elements of all three at each stage.

The first of these tenets is the preservation of liberty. The South had maintained a

strong tie with the traditions of the Revolution. Rhetoric geared toward this principle was

particularly effective for campaigns such as the Patriot War or Jackson's capture of









Pensacola, which specifically targeted the Spanish and British influences in Florida. The

republican ideals were also widely used to mobilize support at the end of the annexation

period to justify the dispersion of the pirate communities that had taken up residency on

the east Florida coast. Phrases and terms that were common for describing the principles

of American Republicanism are "liberty," "justice," "freedom," and "rights of the

governed." The expressions used to depict the dishonorable nature of the colonial

systems include "tyrants," "arbitrary governments," "favoritism and monopolies," and

"insult."

This claim to honor through just government was not distinctly southern. During

the Revolution, the rhetorical strategies of honor found credence in both northern and

southern states. John Adams and other northern statesmen had addressed the same

republican principles of personal freedom and property rights that southerners voiced

during the Florida acquisition.

When luxury, effeminacy, and venality [have reached] a shocking pitch in England,
when both electors and elected are becoming one mass of corruption; when the
nation is oppressed to death with debts and taxes .. what will be your condition
under such a parliament? You would not only be slaves, but the most abject sort of
slaves, to the worst sort of masters.4

However, after the Revolution, northern and southern perceptions of honor

diverged. Northern expressions of honor began to take on the more nineteenth-century

Victorian adaptation of honor through restraint. Concepts of manliness and self-control

overtook the outdated ideals of masculine expressions of violence.5 As historian Wyatt-

Brown explains:

Few Yankees would feel compelled to settle ideological differences on a dueling
field. In a parallel to the description of Northern ideals of dignity, the free state
citizen saw defense of honor as a last resort rather than a first considerations.
Consequently, in Northern political discourse one finds less frequent use of such
terms of honor as fame, glory, shame, infamy, and insult than in the South.6









Ideological differences inherent between the colonial governments of Florida and

the American republican system were not grounds for conflict in the North. It was,

however, a potent point of contention in the South. This was especially true due to the

close proximity and intermingling of the white southern society with the Florida

government. While the North had developed a form of self-actualized republicanism that

stemmed from developing urbanization, white southerners' adherence to republican

ideology was still based in the distrust of the colonial oligarchy and European monarchy.

The second principle of honor was tied to the chivalrous defense of the innocents,

especially non-military civilians, women, and children. Although the southern

campaigns into Florida were clearly vindictive and based on racial hatreds, the South saw

itself as the protectors of society. The stereotype of the savage and aggressive Native

American tribes and black maroons was the common enemy that united southerners in

self-defense. The legacy of the early Creek Wars had forever tainted southern images of

the Indians in Florida. Following the massacre at Fort Mims, this principle of self-

defense became particularly poignant and was widely used throughout the conflict,

despite the defeat of the Red Stick Creeks in 1814. Rhetoric of the Florida acquisition

that addressed the value of security includes descriptions of the South's enemies as

"murderous wretches" and "bloodthirsty savages." These enemies were also associated

with anarchy and the breakdown of civilized law. Honorable appeals to defend the South

made claims to both "justice" and "humanity."

The honor of self-defense was directly adapted to the lifestyle of the southern

frontier. As Remini points out, "Violence was a way of life on the frontier." As northern

society developed into a bourgeois and institutionalized society through advancements in









trade and industry, personal dependencies on family and community were lessened. In

the South, however, "the chief aim of [their] notion of honor was to protect the

individual, family group, or race." White southern society linked the suppression of

Indians and blacks with satisfying honor.7

The rhetoric of the noble defense of civilians was often linked with a third tenet,

the protection of property. The white South's unyielding adherence to its property rights

was the most pervasive of their values throughout the acquisition period. It was

expressed both in terms of the government's responsibility to its citizens to secure private

property and (should the law fail to do so) an individual's right (and duty) to defend that

property. Whether enforced by citizens or government, property rights were generally

expressed in terms of law. In the early stages of acquisition, the rhetoric attacked the

Spanish for being unable and unwilling to protect American plantations from raids by

Indians and maroons. The infringement on property rights was linked with a violation of

southern honor. Advocates of annexation stressed the need for individuals to take

aggressive action in suppressing the "thieving" maroons and Indian tribes of Florida.

The most poignant issue for southern property rights involved slaves. As Wyatt-

Brown points out, "no slaveholding culture could casually set aside the strictures of

honor. The very debasement of the slave added much to the master's honor." Spanish

sanctuary policies, the existence of maroon colonies, and the theft of slaves by Native

American raiders all directly attacked one of the most important aspects of white

southern society. The rhetoric of expansion would play upon the South's perceptions of

property rights and honor as a means to justify the eradication of expansionist opposition

in Florida.8









Southern honor maintained a focus on ideological and social ends rather than

means. Whereas northern society protested unnecessary violence and hostility, the

Florida acquisition campaign demonstrated that the means to achieve the South's desired

ends were manifested in an aggressive fashion. As Florida Patriot John Houston

McIntosh described: "They who think that the most just and honorable government is not

sometimes obliged to make use of very objectionable means to accomplish a good and a

great end, know little of governments and less of mankind." McIntosh, an affluent East

Florida planter who led the rebellion against the Spanish in 1811 and became one of the

premier financiers of the Patriot insurgents, wrote numerous letters during and after the

Patriot War to justify the means and illustrate the desired ends of that acquisition effort.

He made use of all three of the ideological tropes of honor in his political manuscripts.9

McIntosh at first saw little reason to support acquisition. His family had deep

colonial roots in the settlement of the British Southeast. The Baron Patrick Houston and

his wife Nancy had emigrated from Scotland to the emerging Georgia colony in 1733

after receiving a royal land grant of 500 acres along the Ogeechee River known as

Stirling bluff. The family acquired an additional 500 acres in 1736 between the Vernon

and the Little Ogeeche River twelve miles outside of Savannah. Their only daughter,

Ann Pricilla, was wed to George McIntosh in 1772, who was also descended from a

wealthy Georgia family that had emigrated from Scotland. John Houston McIntosh was

born on the first of May 1773. He inherited his father's estates in Georgia at age fifteen.

Already very wealthy in land and property, particularly slave property, he continued to

expand the family assets. In 1803, he purchased over 3,000 acres of relatively cheap and

underdeveloped Florida landscape. The newly acquired estates included Fort George









Island and the Ortega manor located on the St. John's River. His Florida plantations

became tremendously prosperous, especially in cotton and lumber production. McIntosh

described his Florida income in a letter to the National Intelligencer:10

I was at the time [1810] cutting and delivering by contract .. three hundred
thousand feet of lumber per month, for which I received thirty-six thousand dollars
per annum; while my [N]egro women were making cotton, to the value of nearly
twenty thousand dollars more."

When approached by General George Mathews early in 1810 with plans of

rebellion, McIntosh was skeptical about the general's intentions and doubted that many

Florida residents would support such action. He, like many wealthy plantation owners in

Florida, had "enjoyed during the embargo and non-intercourse [Acts] in the United

States, many advantages" in trade with Europe. Seeking political favor, he betrayed

Mathews's confidence and alerted Governor Juan Jose de Estrada in St. Augustine about

American intentions for a filibuster. By mid-1811, however, he switched sides and

agreed to aid Mathews in his annexation efforts in East Florida. Once committed to the

rebellion, he was undoubtedly the most influential of the Florida Patriots.12

Little had changed in the political atmosphere of Florida or the United States in the

six months between McIntosh's rejection of Mathews's offer and his decision to lead the

Patriots in Florida. What had changed was McIntosh's perception of General Mathews as

an honorable gentleman. Mathews was able to convince McIntosh that annexation, and

the actions necessary to serve that cause, was a necessary step in the defense of southern

honor. Mathews's ability to appeal to the commonly held notions of southern honor

explains McIntosh's transformation from a loyal subject of the Spanish governors to

rebel. Mathews was a Revolutionary War hero and had been a prominent figure in

Georgia politics throughout much of the Early Republic period. He represented the









southern ideal of the strong, militaristic, and decisive character that could achieve the

desired goal of annexation. As described by McIntosh, "the good old general, acted from

the fairest and most patriotic motives." The veneer of honor facilitated McIntosh in

developing an almost naive faith in Mathews's leadership. In all his descriptions of the

Patriot War, McIntosh depicts Mathews as an admirable character, one put forth all his

effort into following through with acquisition. He stated in reference to his decision to

unite with Mathews:13

Finally, after frequent interviews with Gen. Mathews, I engaged to excite an
insurrection, on two conditions; 1st That the United States would supply us with 2
or 300 stand of arms; and, 2d, that he would promise to give me a copy of all letters,
&c., which he wrote and received on the subject of our enterprise. This he
promised, and I believe, faithfully performed. The volunteers of the revolution
were promised by the constituted authorities a certain number of acres of land. ..
the United States guaranties that this promise shall be performed; and also that
those who have been at the expense of supporting the revolution, the United States
guaranties that they shall be reimbursed from the duties which are collected in the
ports of the province, and if the this should not be sufficient, pledges her faith to
pay and discharge the amount due.14

McIntosh's loyalty was based on his trust and faith in the promises made by

Mathews about issues that remained unresolved. Mathews made many promises that he

had not yet secured and that he did not have the authority to make. Although Mathews

never achieved the full support of the federal government, McIntosh nevertheless never

doubted that Mathews had taken the necessary precautions to secure the supplies and

legal recognition of the Madison administration that had been promised. Wyatt-Brown

offers an important explanation for this unwavering fealty:

In slaveholding societies, honor may be seen as a people's theology, a set of
prescriptions endowed with an almost sacred symbolism. Under honor's law those
who have power to demand, and to hold, esteem and authority are able to do so
because the entire social order has sanctioned their rule and called it moral.15









McIntosh undoubtedly held Mathews in the highest esteem. Mathews thus was

able to justify his position of authority. McIntosh in turn persuaded numerous other

Florida planters to attach themselves to the cause of acquisition. He was able to draw in

men like William Craig, Andrew Atkinson, and George Fleming. These men had similar

backgrounds in the Florida plantation system and also came to support annexation. In

reference to these Patriots McIntosh stated:

It has never been whispered or suspected that one of those gentlemen of the
administration [The Established Authorities of the East Florida Republic], who
wished to annex the Floridas to the United States, had the smallest private interest
in view. They were governed only by the most pure and patriotic motives; and
their conduct has ever met with their country's warmest approbation.16

Again, McIntosh demonstrated the same idealistic confidence in his supporters that

he granted to his leader. In all of his correspondences and letters concerning the Patriot

revolt, McIntosh continually professed the honorable nature of those who participated in

the campaign. This is important to McIntosh because it maintained his personal dignity

through his association with honorable individuals and it justified his actions to those

who later denounced him as merely a marauder.17

In a letter McIntosh wrote to President James Madison, the significance of each

southern honor tenet is evident. McIntosh expressed the desire to bring a republican

system into Florida. Choosing his words carefully, his language is steeped in the idioms

of the honorable republic:

Being elected to the office of director by the freemen of East Florida, who engaged
in the revolution .. .After suffering for a long time, under the oppression of a
government, corrupt in itself, and free from the control of the parent country. ...
Upon the principles of justice and of humanity, we call for the protection of the
United States; with it we become free and happy; without it we become tenants
.. .of cruel and inexorable tyrants. [Emphasis mine]18









McIntosh added his plea to the "justice and humanity" of the United States to free

the American citizens in Florida from the "tyrants" of a corrupt colonial government.

This classic republican rhetoric had near universal appeal throughout the United States

and was especially salient within the South. McIntosh noticeably spoke of the same ideal

republican principles upon which the United States was founded. The letter was

undoubtedly meant to justify the rebellion to politicians in Washington and to stir the

southern-born president to immediate action. McIntosh continues with an impassionate

plea to honor:

Some of us have been accustomed to the sweets of affluence, and most of us to the
enjoyments of plenty. We, in common with other citizens, would willingly have
sacrificed all we have, had it been in defense of the United States; but to be
beggared and branded as traitors, is wretchedness indeed, to men who though they
were acting as some of their forefathers had in 1776.19

Above all, McIntosh desired that his honor remain intact. His adherence to the

republican principles of the United States "acting as some of the forefathers had in 1776,"

allowed his rebellion to maintain its claim to honor.

The republican principle was used in the South specifically to turn Americans

against the Europeans in Florida. It is therefore easy to recognize that closely tied to the

honor of the Patriot cause was the assessment of a lack of honor in the Spanish colonial

system. The rhetoric for acquisition was similar to the language of the Revolution in that

it likened the ruling power to inhuman oppression. The heritage of rhetorical liberty in

the South stems from the colonial struggle against representative powerlessness. Samuel

Langdon spoke in terms of the British "read[iness] to wage cruel war with its own

children in these colonies, only to gratify the lust of power, and the demands of

extravagance." In like fashion, McIntosh in 1811 described the Spanish as "the corrupt

government in St. Augustine ... an arbitrary, jealous, and vindictive power."20









To make the danger of a domineering colonial system all the more real, it was

rumored that both the French and the British sought to take possession of the Florida

territory. The war on the Iberian Peninsula left Spain at the mercy of the two warring

superpowers. The return of a powerful monarchial system to Florida, as well as the

possibility of a destructive war with the United States that would likely result, was an

unappealing prospect for the citizens of Florida. As McIntosh stated concerning the

importance of timing for the success of the rebellion:

At this time Bonaparte had possession of Madrid and its King, which quieted any
qualms of conscience as they regarded allegiance; a report existed, very pleasing to
some of the inhabitants of the Province that the British intended to occupy the
country. The fair prospect held out, so delightful to others of us, of placing our
property and persons under the protection of the United States, and the danger of
anarchy, in consequence of this state of things, among ourselves, were
circumstances so weighty, that it was impossible to resist the impulse they gave.21

As McIntosh stated, the Spanish colonial system was free from the control of its

mother country due to the circumstances on the Peninsula. Therefore, McIntosh believed

that the oath of loyalty he and others had taken to the Spanish government were void and

should not affect the Patriots in Florida. It was the regional governors, not the Spanish

monarchy, which controlled Florida. Moreover, the corruption and incompetence of the

regional governors greatly enhanced both the likelihood of the British taking control of

the territory as well as the possibility of the system breaking down into anarchy.22

McIntosh's reference to anarchy demonstrates an important aspect in Patriot

rhetoric. Despite the attempts to liken the Spanish in Florida to the British colonial

government, for the most part the grievances against the Spanish were quite unlike those

of the Revolution era. As the British were depicted as overbearing and dictatorial in

1776, the Spanish in 1810 were described as fragile and ineffective. As the threat of a

territorial transfer to either the French Emperor or the British monarchy dissipated,









citizens like McIntosh voiced concerns about a potential collapse of the Florida

government. The Patriots of 1810 had feared anarchy in the same way the Patriots of

1776 had feared monarchy. In the eyes of the Florida Patriots, a government that could

not protect the economic interests of its citizens was as tyrannical as a system that

attempted to control the wealth and livelihood of its population. The weakness of

Spanish authority was believed to be a significant danger to the economic stability and

the individual safety of Florida citizens. McIntosh ardently believed that the government

had a responsibility to its citizens to guarantee the rights of property. Therefore, despite

the tremendous success McIntosh had experienced under Spanish rule, he always

maintained mixed feelings about the stability of the Florida government. There was a

constant concern over the issue of security under a government that could not

conceivably defend the plantation owner's property interests. This was coupled with the

fear that the Florida territory would succumb to pirates and marauders.

During the Patriot War and First Seminole War, this fear was typically associated

with the Native Americans and the black maroons in Florida. An overall weak presence

of white settlers in this region allowed the Indian tribes to thrive. Joseph Hernandez, a

Spanish soldier who remained loyal to the governors during the Patriot War, gave a vivid

depiction of the war's effects on the Florida tribes:

Those Indians, for many years, were the principle persons, who supplied St.
Augustine with Cattle & Horses, until the [the outbreak of the Patriot War] when
they were forced from their Settlement; ... they could at one time have been
considered, as having arrived at the first Stage of Civilization.23

This description is a lamentation for the decimation of the Native American

economy as a result of the Patriot War. It nevertheless demonstrates the important role

the Indians had played in Florida trade. The Patriots viewed the military potential and the









economic prosperity of the Creek and Seminole Indians as a danger to American

interests. The Spanish inability (and unwillingness) to restrain the tribes in Florida

threatened the successful development of plantations in Florida. Consequently, an

important aspect of the Patriot war was to break the Florida population's dependence on

Native American trade. Florida and Georgia planters vilified the Native Americans and

maroons as a threat to the white southern way of life. American Florida and Georgia

planters attempted to create the perception that the Creeks and Seminoles were the hired

bandits of both the Spanish governors and British agents. As historian Robert Remini

states, "in the minds of most frontiersmen, the Indians were pawns to be used by any

foreign power seeking to gain dominance in North America." A gentleman of St.

Mary's, in a letter published in a number of Georgia newspapers, decried the Spanish

practice of encouraging the Native Americans and black slaves to make war with the

United States:24

The Spanish Commandant at St. Marks has been endeavoring to stir up the
Indians against us, and every exertion is made by Governor Kindelan to excite
disaffection among our slaves. It is high time the eyes of the people were opened
to their situation. Under existing circumstances, the reduction of Augustine, as we
have before repeatedly stated, is essential to our safety. We ought to look to
ourselves for protection. The energies of this state must be exerted to ward off the
blow which impends over us, be the consequences what they may [emphasis
mine].25

To whites on the Georgia side of the border, the Spanish practice of employing

black troops was appalling. Exaggerated tales of atrocities committed by the Spanish

black regiments served to rally citizens against the Spanish. Major General John Floyd

of the Georgia Militia stated in a report of the attacks on Florida: "[The] public feeling

was burning with indignation of the nefarious conduct of the Spanish authority in

employing savages of different shades." This outrage had to be met with an immediate









reaction. The statement, "The reduction of St. Augustine is essential to our safety,"

reflects the distinctly southern perception of an appropriate response. 26

As the Patriot War came to a close and a more nationally organized acquisition

effort advanced, the focus for propaganda turned away from the Spanish and began to

specifically target the Indians and maroons in Florida. The rhetorical expression of

protecting the innocent reached its peak as stories about Natives Americans and maroons

on the Florida and Georgia border perpetrating murder and mayhem filled the columns of

various southern newspapers. The Negro Fort campaign and the First Seminole War

were accompanied by a massive propaganda movement that succeeded in turning much

of the white South, the United States government, and even the Spanish against the

Seminoles (and to a lesser extent the Creeks) in Florida. For example, as General

Andrew Jackson mobilized to attack the Florida maroons at Negro Fort, he kept a close

correspondence with the Spanish governor in Pensacola, Mauricio De Zuniga. In a letter

to Jackson, Zuniga declared the maroons along the Apalachicola to be rebels against the

Spanish government. He stated: "that the Negroes, although in part belonging to

inhabitants of this province .. are deemed by me insurgents or rebels against the

authority."27

Following the destruction of Negro Fort, propaganda campaigns continued to

encourage action in Florida. George Perryman, a Florida Patriot during the rebellion,

gave a chilling account of the maroons and Indians in Florida.

There was a friend of mine not long since in the Fowltown, on Flint, and he saw
many horses, cattle, and hogs, that had come immediately from the State of
Georgia; and they are bringing them away continually. They speak in the most
contemptuous manner of the Americans and threaten to have satisfaction for what
has been done meaning the destruction of the [N]egro fort. There is another of
my acquaintances returned immediately from the Seminole towns, and saw the









Negroes on parade there: he counted about six hundred that bore arms. They have
chosen officers of every description, and endeavor to keep up a regular discipline,
and are very strict in punishing violators of their military rules. There is said to be
about the same number of Indians belonging to their party; and there are both
Negroes and Indians daily going to their standard. They say they are in complete
fix for fighting, and wish an engagement with the Americans, or [William]
McIntosh's troops; they would let them know they had something more to do than
they had at Apalachicola.28

The description of "horses, cattle, and hogs that had come immediately from the

State of Georgia" is a reference to property stolen during Indian raids along the border.

Perryman also described the military potential of the maroons and Indians. The

publication of such accounts was intended to mobilize popular opinion toward war in

Florida. The proliferation of this image was a vital component for encouraging direct and

immediate action for acquisition and settlement of the Florida territory. Southern men

petitioned the local militias and military officials to mobilize in their defense. As

Archibald Clarke, the Intendant of St. Mary's, states in his letter to General Gaines:

The inhabitants on the frontier, as well as others, through me appeal for some
protection. A small detachment of troops upon the head of St. Mary's would
answer to a most valuable purpose, by at once checking the inroads of the
29
savages.

The perception of the maroons and Indians as a menace to the security and well

being of the American borderlands was not always enough. Many accounts of Indian

raids and violence depicted murder and injustice against innocent civilians and women.

Adjutant General Edmund Pendleton Gaines often portrayed Indian atrocities against

non-military persons. "[They] massacre our frontier citizens, often the unoffending and

helpless mother and babes." This report was made after Gaines had received Clarke's

letter, which described the murder of "an unfortunate white woman and her two infant

children, by which the defenseless inhabitants on our frontier have been thrown into a

distressing state of alarm." American soldiers were then portrayed as noble saviors









protecting the innocent and punishing the savages. Gaines, whose letters were repeatedly

published in southern newspapers, specifically used a language that addressed the white

South's demand for action.30

The Indians have been required to deliver up the murderers of our citizens and the
stolen property; but they refused to deliver either. They have had a council at
Mickasukee, in which they have determined upon war. They have been at war
against helpless women and children. Let them now calculate upon fighting men.31

The depiction of a well-organized and vindictive force of black and Native

American warriors arrayed in Florida was an embellishment. While there were strong

Seminole leaders, the Creek War of 1813 had broken apart the anti-American

confederations and the tribes remained divided in their enthusiasm for war. There were

instances in which the Seminole leaders defended themselves against these negative

representations. In a letter to the Spanish governor in Pensacola, Billy Bowlegs, an

influential Alachua Seminole leader, contradicted the hurtful image that had been placed

upon his people.

Now, sir, we know of no reason the Americans can have to attack us, an
inoffensive an unoffending people. We have none of their slaves. We have taken
none of their property since the Americans made peace with our good father, King
George. The Spanish subjects in the Floridas are too much in the interests of
the Americans to be our friends. For the Governors, I shall always entertain the
greatest regard; but for the people, they do not act so as to merit any esteem and
protection. You desire I would chase those marauders who steal my cattle. My
people have lately driven some Americans from Lahheway, and I have no doubt the
Americans will lay hold of this as a pretext to make war on us, as they have before
done, in stating that we harbor their runaway slaves.32

This letter alludes to one of the key elements in the rhetoric of acquisition. The

existence of maroon colonies and rumors of Indian tribes harboring American runaway

slaves was very effective in convincing white southerners of the need for action. Many

runaway slave advertisements printed in various Georgia and South Carolina newspapers

accused the Native Americans of stealing slaves, blamed the Spanish for being









indifferent, and typically ended with such phrases as, "I forwarn all persons from

harboring said [N]egroes, as the law will be put in full force against any such

offenders."33

Bowlegs's efforts to diminish the accusations against his tribesmen ultimately

proved futile. The Spanish were unable to militarily resist and were unwilling to

diplomatically protest American operations in Florida. The result of Jackson's

campaigns during the First Seminole War was the effective destruction of one of the last

Native Americans opposition forces in Florida. The Americans subsequently established

themselves as the only effective military force in the region.

With the threat of European supremacy dissolved and the power of the Indian tribes

and maroon colonies broken, the last obstacle that remained to American settlement of

Florida was the rampant smuggling and piracy that characterized Florida between 1815

and 1821. By this time, the filibuster expeditions launched against Amelia Island had

become little more than raiding parties by marauding adventurers who were more

interested in personal gain than annexation. The propaganda campaign against The

Republic of Florida established on Amelia Island was crucial for gaining public support

to remove the "set of desperate and bloody dogs" of Gregor MacGregor and Luis Aury's

pirate community.

The independent government of Amelia Island used the regional anarchy to carry

out illegal trading practices, the most despised of which was an illegal slave trade.

During the Patriot War, McIntosh had commented that the only white men of Florida

who would not support annexation were "gentleman who had been Negro factors] in

Africa, and who had brought a number of Negroes into the province for sale." The traffic









of illegal slave trading in Florida had been a constant annoyance to the Spanish and

Americans since the United States banned the practice in 1808. By 1815, it had become

epidemic due to the general disarray of the East Florida territory.34

In late 1817 and early 1818, newspapers throughout the United States reported on

the events of the Amelia Island filibusters on an almost daily basis. Each article ended

with a plea for the United States government to put an end to the pirate republic. The

rhetoric played upon the fear that the pirates were plundering Spanish and American

shipping and smuggling their prizes through American ports. These expressions

condemned the Amelia Island filibusters as lawless criminals, portrayed the Spanish as

helpless victims, and depicted the American military as the necessary hand of

righteousness.

A gentleman who left Fernandina on the 16th inst. Informs us that the Florida
Patriots had been in a state of great confusion for some days before he left the
Island and it was not expected that matters would be settled immediately The
French party under commander Aury with his black troops on one side; and
Governour sheriff Hubard, with all the Americans and the greatest part of the
seamen on the other are at open war; and it was the general expectation that blood
would be shed before the commotion ended. ... A detachment of the "patriots" of
Amelia have landed in Georgia, and plundered a church.35

The King of Spain has filed a Libel in the Admiralty Court of Georgia against the
Schr. Camilla and her cargo, now at Savannah, forcibly and piratically taken on the
high seas, by persons having no authority to make prizes of war, or capture the
property of Spanish subjects; A libel has also been filed in the same court by J.H.
Elton, commander of the U.S. brig. Saranae. .. against the Schr. Iris now lying in
the river of St. Mary's. on suspicion that she was to be employed in cruising or
committing hostilities against the subject or the property of his majesty the king of
Spain or against the subjects, citizens or property with whom the United States
is at peace.36

A company of United States troops sailed yesterday for St. Mary's to form part of
the expedition against the piratical republic of Amelia. The Republic of the
Floridas, is unquestionably doomed to a short life; but Governor Aury means to
support his mock majesty to the last.37









Again the southern desire for immediate and decisive action is witnessed in these

news reports. The Spanish were unable to act decisively; therefore Americans believed it

was their duty to intervene. If Spain could not control its periphery, the United States

would exercise its authority and put an end to the "piratical republic."

The employment of rhetoric of honor during the Florida acquisition campaign

yielded two important results. The southern perception of honor motivated the public

quickly and allowed for the campaigns of acquisition to be conducted with unwavering

fealty. However, the unforgiving nature of southern honor meant that those campaigns

would be marked with violence and brutality. Honor required that the necessary response

to a threat be immediate and decisive action to suppress that threat. The result was often

a military quagmire. White southerners in Florida were merciless in their drive to

overcome all obstacles to their ambitions.

The next chapter will examine how the federal government responded to the

independent southern actions. The Jeffersonian presidents not only supported the actions

of southerners, they used them to silence the opposition to their ambitions in Florida.

James Madison was particularly effective at using the ardor of southern honor as a means

to achieve his objectives for acquisition. The decision-making processes of Congress

were unpredictable. Political animosities and personal hatreds muddled government

processes. Southern reactions in matters of honor, however, were predictable. In this

way, the South was consistent in its response to the rhetoric of honor. Rather than fight

the long and tedious battles on the Senate floor, federal supporters of acquisition

encouraged southern activists to speed the process of annexation with an acceptable cost

in money and lives.












Notes

1 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, 31.

2 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press,
1986), 27.

3 Ibid,, 31.

4 Ibid., 39.

5 Ibid, 191-192; Historical developments in American perceptions of Manliness versus Masculinity are
illustrated in Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the
United States, 1880-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

6 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, 192.

7 Remini, Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars, 7; Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South.
viii.

8 Ibid, ix.

9 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, 32; McIntosh, "Communication,".

10 For more information on John Houston McIntosh's family background see Edith Duncas Johnston, The
Houstons of Georgia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1950), 21-35, 343-370.

" McIntosh, "Communication," Column 1.

12 Ibid. Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 68-69.

13 Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia Florida Border 1810-1815
(Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), 301.

14 McIntosh, "Communication," Column 2, 3.

15 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South, vii.

16 Ibid, Column 3.

17 McIntosh directly addresses his accusers following the Patriot war and justifies his actions in his letter to
the National Intelligencer, McIntosh, "Communication to the Editors," Column 1.

18 McIntosh, "Documents on the Subject of East Florida," SPPD, 155.

19 Ibid, 157.

S\\\ ill-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, 37; McIntosh, "Documents on the Subject of East
Florida Accompanying Presidents Message," SPPD, v.9, (Washington D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1817), 156.

21 McIntosh, "Communication to the Editors," Column 2.











22 In order to conduct business or to live within a Spanish province, McIntosh and others had to take an
oath of loyalty to Spain. With the Spanish King in exile, McIntosh believed that his oath no longer applied.
Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 62-63, 67-68.

23 "Delegate Hernandez to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun," 11 March 1823, The Territorial Papers of
the United States, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1956), 22.

24 Remini, Jackson and His Indian Wars, 17.

25 "East Florida News," Georgia Journal, Oct. 7, 1812.

26 General John Floyd, "Our Southern Frontier, Sept. 26, 1812," National Intelligencer, October 29, 1812.

27 "Governor Zuniga to General Jackson," May 26, 1818, ASP: FR, vol. 4, 556.

28 "Extract of a letter from George Perryman to Lieutenant Sands, dated Feb. 24, 1817," ASP: IA, 2, 155.

29 Archibald Clarke, Intendant of St. Mary's Georgia, to General Gaines dated, Feb. 26, 1817," ASP: IA,
vol. 2, 155.

30 "Extract of letter from General Gaines to the Secretary of War, dated, Jan. 9, 1818,"; "Copy of a letter
from Archibald Clarke, Intendant of St. Mary's Georgia, to General Gaines dated, Feb. 26, 1817," ASP:
IA, vol. 2, 155.

31 General Edmund P. Gaines, "Talk to Indian Chiefs and Warriors," found in James Monroe, Presidential
Message: Seminole War, (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1818), 9.

32 "Supposed to be from Bowlegs to the Governor of St. Augustine," ASP: Military Affairs, vol. 1, 727.

33 "Runaway Negroes," Georgia Journal, September 30, 1812. There are numerous examples of these
advertisements that threaten to use the law to enforce property rights between 1790 and 1818 found in
Georgia Argus, Georgia Gazette, and South Carolina Gazette.

34 McIntosh, "Communication to the Editors," Column 3. The results of the devastation of the Florida
campaigns is covered in Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 304-307.

35 "From Amelia Island Latest, Charleston Oct. 20," U.S. Gazette for the Country, October 29, 1817; "Of
Amelia Island, Charleston, Nov. 27, 1817," Connecticut Courant, December 16, 1817.

36 "The Patriots Libeled, Charleston Oct. 2" National Intelligencer, October 11, 1817.

37 "Of Amelia Island, Charleston, Nov. 27, 1817," Connecticut Courant, December 16, 1817.














CHAPTER 4
NATIONAL TACTICS FOR FLORIDA ACQUISITION

Independent measures taken by southerners to force the Florida acquisition were

not beyond the control of the federal government. The efforts of the presidential and

congressional supporters of acquisition demonstrate that these officials viewed the

rhetoric of honor as a means to speed the process of territorial transfer. This is

particularly true of the James Madison and James Monroe administrations. Relying on

southern activists to perform the deeds that they as president could not, Madison and

Monroe effectively bypassed the internal and external political opposition. Madison

undoubtedly was in favor of the Patriot cause for acquisition, yet he was careful in

keeping himself and his administration free of direct association. As historian James

Cusick suggests, "He rarely committed his opinions about the conflict to paper ...

retaining the option of disavowal as a reserve card in case things went badly." The

implication is that Madison, and later Monroe, allowed those participating in the battles

of Florida to have a free hand to conduct operations that would enable territorial transfer

without tainting the respective administrations. From Jefferson to Madison and finally to

Monroe, the trend began in which involvement shifted from the presidents' direct

association with expansionist efforts to the employment of intermediaries to take

independent action.1

The presidents were not the sole national authorities sympathetic to the cause of

acquisition. A number of southern and western Congressmen such as Henry Clay of

Kentucky, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, and George Troup of Georgia also









supported annexation in the name of southern honor. Their claims are similar to the

southern constituencies of which they represented. They blamed Spain's lack of control

in Florida for encouraging Indian raids and slave desertion. They shared the fears of the

American inhabitants of Florida and favored annexation in order to stabilize the region.

Support by such influential government officials as well as a sympathetic presidential

administration gave Mathews and McIntosh hope for national recognition of their interim

Florida government.2

Direct involvement on the part of the federal government to instigate new territorial

acquisitions at the expense of colonial Europe began in earnest with President Thomas

Jefferson. Jefferson was an expert at using nonmilitary tactics to expand the boundaries

of the United States. He employed a number of clandestine activities including

diplomacy, negotiation, bribery, and filibustering in his attempt to coerce Spain to

relinquish their colonial territories to the United States. In Louisiana, for example,

Jefferson's trade policies saw to it that over half of the Spanish commerce at New

Orleans came from U.S. agents. Jefferson commented to that effect in reference to

France taking possession of the Louisiana territory. Although he was fearful that he

would not be able to continue his operations should France gain control, Jefferson

nevertheless revealed his contempt for the weak Spanish colonial system.3

It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eights of our territory must
pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our
whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants. Spain might have
retained it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce
her to increase our facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be
hardly felt by us, and it would not perhaps be very long before some circumstance
might arise which might make the cession of it to us the price of something of more
worth to her.4









Aside from direct involvement, Jefferson also provided the ideological basis for

national expansion. Jeffersonian philosophy defined the American people by the nation's

enemies, both foreign and domestic. He was a "self-conscience nationalist, ever vigilant

in the face of pervasive threats to the new nation's integrity and security." As historians

Owsley and Smith state, "[Jefferson] believed that the only way to ensure the nation's

survival was by removing the obstacles prohibiting future growth, whether they were

Spanish, or British, Native American or even African American." This "us versus them"

dichotomy often led Jefferson to act beyond the law in the interest of national advantage.5

A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good
citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of
saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country
by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life,
liberty, property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly
sacrificing the end to the means. the unwritten laws of necessity, of self-
preservation, and of the public safety, control the written laws of meum and tuum. 6

Jeffersonian philosophy laid the foundation for the American annexation

campaigns in Florida. His legacy set the stage for future federal involvement as well as

the regional conflict that would evolve between the white southerners and the Spanish

and Native Americans. As he had done in Louisiana, Jefferson used Spain's ambitions

for development in the Florida colonies to encourage Americans to relocate to the

territory. The Florida governors actively encouraged plantation expansion and solicited

for Americans with sufficient capital to invest in the region. Jefferson viewed this as an

opportunity to increase the pro-American population in Florida in anticipation that

popular sovereignty would eventually work in favor of the United States.7

Our confederacy must be viewed as the nest from which all America, North &
South is to be peopled. We should take care too, not to think it for the interest of
that great continent to press to soon on the Spaniards. Those countries cannot be in
better hands. My fear is that they are too feeble to hold them till our population can
be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece.8r









Jefferson's policies created a legacy of expansion that was adapted for the

subsequent administrations. Jefferson was the architect of the Florida acquisition.

Presidents James Madison and James Monroe were the laborers who completed the tasks

of annexation. The actions of the latter two presidents correlated with the ambitions

expressed by the former, yet the rationality of those actions and the methods employed

demonstrate a significant shift in the philosophy of expansion. This was largely due to

the changing political environment in which acquisition was taking place. At the national

and international level, Madison more so than Jefferson, was forced to contend with

numerous opinions and interpretations of the Florida annexation. Federal ambitions in

Florida had to be concerned not only with the end result of their operations, but also with

the means by which those ends were reached. Public perception and international

opinion had to be placated in order to achieve success. Flowery rhetoric and impulsive

action would not validate the need for a federal campaign.

The effort to convince the opposition in Congress of the necessity of annexation

was a constant struggle. The rhetoric of honor proved to be unconvincing in the plea for

action. During the Patriot War, Madison's attempts to win support for the Patriots in

Florida were to no avail. The Senate initially refused to endorse a federally sponsored

military seizure of the East Florida territory on June 19, 1812, the day after war was

declared against Britain. The explanation for the refusal is that a continuation of federal

involvement in Florida would have almost certainly led to war with Spain. At the time,

this was unacceptable. Therefore, the Senate had opted to abandon the rebels in Florida

in hopes that Spain would remain neutral in America's conflict with England.









A more spirited attempt to gain recognition for the rebels in Florida and force

annexation came in December of 1812. As the Patriot War reached its peak, Madison

convinced Congress to again considered the issue of Florida annexation. Rumors that

Britain had been using Spanish territory as a staging area for its operations in the region

had once again brought the Florida issue to national consideration. The new argument

put forth by Madison and his supporters was that Spain had forfeited its rights as a neutral

nation by allowing Britain access to its territory.9

While the issue was being considered, a resolution of Congress formally requested

President James Madison to lay before the Senate "any information which he may have

of the intention of the enemy [Britain] to take possession of East Florida, and of the

disposition of the people of that territory to be received under the protection of the

government of the United States." Among the documents presented by Madison to the

Senate was a letter dated January 4, 1813, from John Houston McIntosh. McIntosh had

hoped that by petitioning Madison, he could help gain recognition for the Government of

the Established Authorities of East Florida of which he was a representative. The

rhetorical strategies employed by McIntosh demonstrate an effort to appeal to Madison's

sense of honor as an American and as a white southerner. McIntosh himself had been

swayed to support the cause of annexation by similar allegorical allusions that he in turn

utilized in his letter to Madison. Madison and McIntosh both had a heritage in southern

plantations. Therefore, it was assumed that the same ideological references that

encouraged McIntosh to collaborate with the Patriots in Florida were likely to have a

similar effect upon the president.









In many ways, Madison's views were distinctly different from McIntosh's.

Madison was born March 16, 1751, in Port Conway, Virginia. Whereas McIntosh had

received little formal education, at age twelve Madison attended the Donald Robertson's

school in King and Queen County. He continued his education at New Jersey University

(now Princeton university) until 1774. His public career as a lawyer and elected official

for the most part kept him away from the family plantation at Mount Pleasant until his

retirement from national politics in 1817.10

As a result of his limited experience with plantation life, Madison had very

different views on the property rights concerning slaves. Like McIntosh, Madison was

born and raised on a southern plantation, but there the similarities end. Whereas

McIntosh was fifteen when he took over his father's plantations, Madison was fifty years

old when he finally inherited the family estate at Mount Pleasant. The Virginia slave

tradition, even in the Early Republic period, was also significantly different from the

Deep South. Madison commented in 1819 on the conditions of slaves in Virginia:

In reference to the actual condition of slaves in Virginia, it may be confidently
stated as better, beyond comparison. .They are better fed, better clad, better
lodged, and better treated in every respect ... As the two great causes of the
melioration of the lot of the slaves since the establishment of our independence, I
should set down: 1. The sensibility of human rights, and sympathy with human
sufferings, excited and cherished by the discussions proceeding, and the spirit of
the Institutions growing out of that event. 2. The decreasing proportion which the
slaves bear to the individual holders of them; a consequence of the abolition of
entails and the rule of primogeniture; and of the equalizing tendency of parental
affection unfettered from all prejudices, as well as from restriction of law.1

Madison noticeably identified the two causes for the improvements in the treatment

of Virginia slaves. The first was the "sensibility of human rights." He did not speak of

slaves in terms of property, but rather as a subjugated race of men with whom white men

in Virginia had become sympathetic. Although this was an idealistic view of the slave









conditions in Virginia, it nevertheless provides a basis for contrast with the chattel

slavery developing in the Carolinas, Georgia, and on McIntosh's plantations in Florida.

The second reason given by Madison for the progress toward better slave treatment was

"the decreasing proportion which the slaves bear to the individual holders of them." At

the time of his father's death in 1801, Madison's plantation inventory listed 108 slaves.

This was a large number by Virginia standards. However, it still was substantially less

than McIntosh's plantations that housed over 250 slaves.12

Given the contrasting southern traditions, it is understandable that McIntosh and

Madison differed in their dispositions toward slavery. Madison feared the country's

dependency on slave labor. He believed that reliance on slavery would stunt the growth

of diversified industry. To Madison, slavery was:

.the great evil under which the nation labors ... an evil, moral, political, and
economic, a sad blot on our free country. ... A general emancipation of slaves
ought to be 1. Gradual. 2. Equitable, and satisfactory to the individual
immediately concerned. 3. Consistent with the existing durable prejudices of the
nation.13

Since much of the southern expression for property rights involved escaped slaves

and fugitives in Florida, Madison remained unmoved by McIntosh's outrage over the

Spanish sanctuary policies and the existence of maroon colonies. Madison's personal

views on slavery led him to favor the remove blacks from prejudicial white society with

such action as African colonization.

To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the United
States, the freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region
occupied by, or allotted to, a white population. The objections to a thorough
incorporation of the two people, are, with most of the whites, insuperable; and are
admitted by all of them to be very powerful.14

Due to Madison's personal views on slavery, it is doubtful that he lamented the

removal of slaves to Spanish territory. Spanish sanctuary policies reduced an element of









society that Madison viewed as unwanted. However, it is equally unlikely that Madison

looked favorably on the theft of American property or Spanish contempt for American

laws. Emancipation and African colonization differed greatly from runaways receiving

sanctuary with a foreign power, especially when those slaves were then militarily used

against the United States.

Despite dissimilarities in their backgrounds, McIntosh and Madison adhered to a

number of common ideals. Many of the arguments put forth by McIntosh spoke directly

to beliefs held by Madison. McIntosh found that the most fertile common ground he had

with Madison was in his devotion to Republicanism. Madison was the leading figure for

the creation of Americanized Republicanism. In Madison's statement on the need for a

declaration of war against Britain in 1812, he used similar honor related rhetorical

strategies to muster support.

I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States, as they love their
country; as they value the precious heritage derived from the virtue and valor of
their fathers; as they fell the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of
injured nations; and as they consult the best means, under the blessing of Divine
Providence, of abridging its calamities, that they exert themselves in preserving
order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and the efficacy of the
laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted by
the constituted authorities, for obtaining a speedy, a just, and an honorable peace.1

Madison's personal views on expansion were expressed in his Notes on

Government. The language employed by Madison concerning Florida annexation was

very similar to McIntosh in many respects. An examination of the notes reveals a

concern for safety, a concern for liberty, and ultimately a concern for happiness. "This

movement represents a deliberate progression from the lowest political end to the

highest." In philosophical terms he still adhered to Jefferson's belief in the destiny of the

United States to spread freedom throughout the western hemisphere. "Madison adopted a









firm even arrogant attitude toward the weak and declining giant of the new world. He

never doubted that all of Florida would some day be part of the United States, and he

never doubted that despotic, corrupt Spain was unfit to possess it." 16

Regardless of some basic ideological differences, McIntosh's pleas found a willing

audience with Madison. Madison was an ardent supporter of acquisition during his stint

as Secretary of State under Jefferson and remained so during his presidency. He had

successfully achieved the annexation of the Baton Rouge territory and had been

personally involved in the sponsorship of the filibuster expedition under George Mathews

that led to the Patriot War. These actions were executed for the most part without

consulting congress. With the escalation of the violence and the likelihood of a

prolonged military quagmire, Madison realized that he would need Congressional

approval to continue supporting the Florida Patriots. However, using the same rhetorical

strategies employed by McIntosh, Madison would be unable to sway Congress to

maintain federal involvement in Georgia's border war with Spanish Florida.

Madison and his cabinet likely understood the perceptions of southern honor.

However, national determination for acquisition was forced to seek validation in more

universally acceptable terms. Therefore, the federal government had to consider factors

beyond personal honor when determining to take action against a foreign government.

As a result, Madison's concerns for Florida were expressed in more practical terms.

Florida, in the hands of a foreign power, was a threat militarily. During Jefferson's

administration, the United States was on amicable terms with Britain and Spain and thus

could afford to wait for opportunities to arise. Relations with both nations had

deteriorated during Madison's first term and Florida became a potential gateway from









which hostile powers could invade. It was this change in the international arena that was

likely to influence those who opposed annexation. Madison hoped that the public's

practical concerns for the war would shift political alliances in favor of acquisition.

As there are cases where the public opinion must be obeyed by the Government, so
there are cases, where, not being fixed, it may be influenced by the Government.
This distinction, if kept in view, would prevent or decide many debates on the
respect due from the Government to the sentiments of the people.17

To sway public perception of those who did not subscribe to the southern

prescriptions for honor Madison adhered to a more practical language that expressed

issues of security and demonstrated violence.

We hear from Georgia that that State is threatened with a dangerous war with the
Creek Indians. The alarm is of so serious a nature, that law-martial has been
proclaimed, and they are proceeding to fortify even the Town of Savannah. The
idea there, is that the Indians derive their motives as well as their means from their
Spanish neighbors. Individuals complain also that their fugitive slaves are
encouraged by east Florida. The policy of this is explained by supposing that it is
considered as a discouragement to the Georgians to form settlements near the
Spanish boundaries.18

In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain toward the United States our attention is
necessarily drawn to the warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our
extensive frontiers a warfare which is known to spare neither age nor sex and to
be distinguished by features peculiarly shocking to humanity. It is difficult to
account for the activity and combinations which have for some time been
developing themselves among tribes in constant intercourse with British traders and
garrisons without connecting their hostility with that influence .. 19

In conformity with the articles in the treaty of Ghent relating to the Indians. ...
The Indian tribes within and bordering on the southern frontier, whom a cruel war
on their part had compelled us to chastise into peace, have latterly shown a
restlessness which has called for preparatory measures for repressing it, and for
protecting the commissioners engaged in carrying the terms of the peace into
20
execution.

Madison's language during the early Creek Wars, the War of 1812, and the

subsequent Indian Wars in Florida all use a very similar language. The idiom by which

he addresses annexation speaks almost exclusively to issues of security. In some cases,









Madison's language is similar to the southern expressions of honor; however, he

describes the Indian tribes and their European supporters a direct threat to national (rather

than private) security. This subtle difference is important for mobilizing portions of the

country that were not so easily encouraged to action.

As a result of the need for more practical rationalization, McIntosh's letter did not

succeed in its intention. Despite Madison's apparent desire for annexation and his

support of General Mathews and the Florida Patriots, he was unable to make any

headway against Congressional opposition. On February 2, the Senate yet again rejected

the measure for a military occupation of East Florida. Unfortunately for the Patriot

cause, McIntosh's letter came at a time in which the southern need to satisfy their honor

seemed infantile and was of little concern in the formation of federal policy.21

This instance reveals important information about the nature of federal involvement

in the Florida acquisition. At the regional level, justification and inspiration for the

removal of the Spanish, British, Native Americans, and maroons from Florida was based

in the idioms of honor. At the national level, however, perspectives on annexation were

forced to maintain a more judicious approach. While the white South was clamoring for

immediate satisfaction in the name of honor, the federal government stalled in their

support of the pro-American uprisings that took place within the territory. The South's

interpretation was that its efforts for annexation were hindered by a national government

that was not ready for the decisiveness of southern action. Yet the ambitions of many

federal officials suggest an alternative explanation. Southern aspirations and the

objectives of the Jeffersonian presidents for annexation were in agreement. What

differed was that Madison was hindered by his politically sensitive position. The









principals of southern honor could not so decisively dictate Madison's actions as they

could with Mathews or McIntosh.22

At the time of the Patriot War, national support for acquisition had not yet reached

a point from which ambitions for annexing Florida were uncontested. Opposition to

Madison's goals came from the remnants of the Federalist Party and dissidents within

Madison's own Republican Party. Owsley and Smith depict the federalist opposition:

Not all agreed with this vision of growth. The Northeast, especially New England,
wanted no territorial expansion. Federalist opposition had manifested itself during
the debates over the Louisiana Purchase as well as during attempts to acquire
Canada and the Floridas. Generally, this group feared that each new southern or
western state that entered into the Union diminished the influence and political
power of the Northeast while enhancing the largely Republican South and West.23

The Federalists were stronger and had more influence during Jefferson's

administration than under Madison. In reference to the possibility of gaining Florida

from France in 1806 Jefferson stated: "In this treaty, whatever it shall be, our old

enemies the federalists, and their new friends, will find enough to carp at. This is a thing

of course, and I should suspect error where they found no fault." The Federalists often

protested on the basis of law. The Constitution did not leave provisions for the president

to purchase land without congressional approval. Jefferson's was unambiguous in his

response. Law was of secondary consideration to national gain.24

Suppose it had been made known to the Executive of the Union in the autumn of
1805, that we might have the Floridas for a reasonable sum, that that sum had not
indeed been so appropriated by law. .Ought he, for so great an advantage of his
country, to have risked himself by transcending the law and making the purchase?
The public advantage offered, in this supposed case, was indeed immense. ..
.Ought the Executive, in that case, and with that foreknowledge, to have secured
the good to his country, and to have trusted to their justice for the transgression of
the law.25

The Federalists had weakened during Jefferson's administration and had lost much

of its authority by the time Madison was elected. However, their influence was still felt









in the Senate as Madison attempted to execute his plans for expansion. When Congress

voted on the first resolution for the military seizure of East Florida in June of 1812,

political rivalries played a vital role in its eventual defeat. The most ardent opposition

came foremost from the remaining Federalists in the Senate. Mostly representatives from

the northeast, the Federalist senators were embittered that their protests against war with

England had been largely ignored. They were equally appalled by the prospect of war

26
with Spain.

In addition to Federalist opposition, a number of Democratic Republican senators

defected and swung the majority vote against the resolution. As historian James Cusick

demonstrates, "Personal animosities played a role in the balloting. ... By voting with the

Federalists, [the Republican dissidents] were instrumental in tipping the balance against

the administration." The dissension in the Republican vote was symptomatic of a

growing rift in Party loyalties. Madison was unable to maintain the level of unity the

Jefferson administration had achieved. The result was a political power struggle between

Madison and a number of prominent individuals within the Party. As historian J. C. A.

Stagg described in his essay "Madison and the Malcontents:" 27

No doubt the rejection of Thomas Jefferson's foreign policies was a gradual
process as Americans came to see the need for change at different times from 1808
to 1812 ... from economic coercion to war. Politics during Madison's first
administration were shaped by ... the need for a new foreign policy to replace
Jefferson's discredited embargo, and the fact that Madison had not been the
unanimous choice of the Republican party in 1808. Both problems caused
considerable dissension within the party, and the election of 1808 defined a
relationship between diplomatic and political issues that thereafter dominated
Madison's presidency.28

While here Stagg is describing the political motivations for America's decision for

war against Britain in 1812, he also provides an accurate depiction of the changing nature

of all American foreign policy and the Florida annexation. The Democratic Republican









party of 1808 was in a state of disunion following Madison's ascension to office. As a

result:

Many prominent Republican politicians, especially in the middle states, came to
resent the domination of Virginia in national politics. The impact of their
disaffection hampered American diplomacy, threatened the future of the
Republican Party, and thus undermined the political stability of the nation in a
period of crisis. Unless the president acted to resolve the disputes over men and
measures in his administration, everything must go to disorder, the Republican
[P]arty must go to destruction and Mr. Madison will be thrown out at the next
election.29

Madison's political concerns far outweighed any ties he had to the southern claims

of honor expressed by leaders of the Patriot rebellion in Florida. Therefore, he had to

maintain a level of discretion in his support of the regional acquisition movement that

was taking place on the Georgia and Florida border.

Along with domestic political obstacles, Madison had to be concerned with

international opinions for diplomatic issues. The difficulty of applying southern ideology

to international diplomacy is that the American representations of honor were not

universally accepted. As historian Wyatt-Brown has noted, Europeans viewed

America's determination for defiance as a "presumption to honor and power totally

undeserved, unearned, and childish." In the interest of international legitimacy, President

Madison walked a fine line in choosing to support the Florida Patriots.

In the latter stages of the acquisition campaigns, Madison's concerns for foreign

relations were not a significant part of his policy making. The international community

was already significantly hostile during Madison's second term. America's war with

Britain had little to do with Florida; therefore, English perception of the Florida

acquisition had only a modest effect upon the president's actions. While Spain was

hardly a military threat by 1812, most of Madison's concerns for international diplomacy









revolved around maintaining Spanish neutrality. Apprehension over Spain would not

endure as it was quickly revealed that the Spanish were aiding the British in Florida by

allowing them military access to the territory. 30

After the signing of the Treaty of Ghent and the accession of James Monroe to the

presidency, international opinion became virtually irrelevant. Following the War of

1812, the British removed their troops from Florida and abandoned their Spanish,

Seminole, and maroon allies. American policies changed significantly as the young

republic sought to assert its authority in the western hemisphere. The Monroe Doctrine

would not be issued until 1823; however, the principals that it would come to represent

were put into place during Monroe's first term in office.

We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the
United States and those powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on
their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere, as dangerous to
our peace and safety. With existing colonies or dependencies of any European
power, we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But, with the Governments
who have declared their independence, and maintained it, and whose independence
we have, on great consideration, and on just principles, acknowledged, we could
not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, in
any other manner, their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as
the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States.31

This expression of hemispheric sovereignty put into words the American sentiment

that existed at the beginning of the Monroe administration. This implied that European

governments would have no right to interfere with American actions within Florida

should popular opinion in Florida were to declare itself in favor of annexation with the

United States. Although the Patriot War had ended in the defeat of the Americans in

Florida, the political implications of this new international development paved the way

for new pro-American movements.









Monroe would have a much more amicable political environment in which to carry

out his ambitions for Florida. Like his predecessor, Monroe supported acquisition. His

concerns, like Madison, were limited to maintaining a level of deniability within the

domestic sphere so as not to be associated directly with the violence of the campaign. To

an even greater extent than Madison, Monroe was able to manipulate the rhetoric of

honor through intermediaries in order to force acquisition past those in the federal

government that opposed it. The Federalist resistance had become virtually defunct and

the divisions within the Republican Party could be better controlled than they had during

Madison's administration. Likewise, the disposition of the Spanish was of little

consequence to Monroe. As demonstrated by the diplomatic efforts during the Negro

Fort campaign and the First Seminole War, President Monroe generally allowed regional

leaders David B. Mitchell, William Crawford, and Andrew Jackson to deal directly with

the Florida governors.32

Despite these advantages, Monroe, like Madison before him, could not directly

adhere to the unforgiving nature of southern honor and still maintain favor outside of the

South. However, southern honor, through the use of intermediaries, was an extremely

potent tool for speeding the process of annexation. Monroe perfected the strategy put in

place by Madison's and was able to finally complete the process of acquisition. The

leaders employed by the presidents shared in the vision of annexation, would be able to

motivate the South in support of the cause, and could take the blame in the event of

failure.



Notes

1 Wyatt-Brown, The Shaping of Southern Culture, 33; Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 294-295.













2 Ibid., 13-37. Cusick deals with this initial stage of preparation and support by the federal Government of
General George Mathews and his campaign that led to the outbreak of the Patriot War. Other general
sources for the Federal involvement in the Florida annexation see Twyman. The Black Seminole Legacy
and Joseph Burkholder Smith, The Plot to Steal Florida: James Madison's Phony War.

3 Owlsey and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionist, 12; Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 10.

4 "The Affair of Louisiana, To the U.S. Minister of France (Robert R. Livingston), Washington, April 18,
1802," found in, Merrill D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.,
1984), 1105.

5 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 10; Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionist, 11-12; A brief
overview of Jefferson's involvement is offered in William Earl Weeks, Building the Continental Empire:
American Expansion from the Revolution to the Civil War, 34-36; Peter S. Onuf, Jefferson's Empire: The
Language of American Nationhood, 13.

6 "A Law Beyond the Constitution, To John B. Colvin, September 20, 1810," found in Merril D. Peterson
ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings, 1231, 1232.

Owsley and Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists, 12.

8 Thomas Jefferson, "Our Confederacy ... The Nest, To Archibald Stuart, Paris, Jan. 25, 1786," found in
Merrill D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings, 844.

9 Robert Remini, The Battle of New Orleans, 7; SPPD, "Extract of the confidential Proceedings of the
Senate of the United States, December 22, 1812." 154-155.

10 For details on James Madison's life and his Presidency see, Joseph Nathan Kane, Facts about the
Presidents: A Compilation of biographical and Historical Information (New York: H.W. Wilson, 2001),
49-59.

" "James Madison to Robert Walsh, Montpellier, Mar. 2d, 1819," found in "James Madison's Attitude
Toward the Negro," The Journal of Negro History 6 (Jan. 1921), 77, 78.

12 Andrew Washburn, James Madison's Montpelier, Hi-oion the enslaved population" (Montpelier:
National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1988), 1; John Houston McIntosh, "Communication to Editors,"
column 3.

13 James Madison "James Madison's Attitude Toward the Negro," The Journal of Negro History 6 (Jan
1921), 74; "James Madison to Robert J. Evans, Montpellier, June 15, 1819," Ibid, 79.

14 Ibid, 79.

15 "The President of the United States of America. A Proclamation, June 22, 1812," ASP: FR. vol. 4, 489-
490.

16 Colleen A. Sheehan, "The Politics of Public Opinion: James Madison's 'Notes on Government,"'
William and Mary Quarterly 49 (Oct., 1992), 614; Cusick, 294.

17 Colleen Sheehan, Notes on Government, 620.

18 "James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 24, 1787," found in Jack N. Rakove, James Madison:
Writings, (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999), 158.












19 "James Madison, War Message to Congress, June 1, 1812," Found in, Ibid, 690.

20 "James Madison, Seventh Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 15., 1815," Found in, Ibid, 711.

21 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 252, 253.

22 McIntosh expresses the frustration he felt and the federal government's inaction during the latter part of
the Patriot War in a letter, John Houston McIntosh, "Communication to Editors," column 3.

23 Owsley, Filibusters and Expansionists, 11.

24 "Schism and the Majority Leadership, To Barnabas Bidwell, Washington July 5, 1806," found in Merril
D. Peterson ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings, 1164.

25 "A Law Beyond the Constitution, To John B. Colvin, September 20, 1810," found in Merril D. Peterson
ed., Thomas Jefferson Writings, 1232.

26 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 190

27 Ibid, 190-192.

28 J. C. A. Stagg, "Madison and the Malcontents: The Political Origins of the War of 1812," William and
Mary Quarterly 33 (Oct. 1976). 558, 560.

29 Ibid, 566.

30 Madison's overall lack of international concern is demonstrated in Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 13-
28.

31 Kane, Facts about the Presidents, 68.

32 Cusick, The Other War of 1812, 295.














CHAPTER 5
INTERMEDIARY AGENTS AND THE PROCESS OF ANNEXATION

The cries and lamentations of the wounded, compelled the soldier to pause in the midst of
victory, to drop a tear for the sufferings of his fellow beings, and to acknowledge that the
great Ruler of the Universe must have used us as an instrument in chastising the blood-
ihil% jiy and murderous wretches ...'
Lt. Col. Duncan L. Clinch,
Commander of U.S. forces at Negro Fort -

Southern activists and their supporters in the national government were never at

odds in their goals for the Florida acquisition. It was only the necessity for federal

politicians to maintain favorable political appearances that differed. Southern honor was

not an obstacle to federal ambitions for annexation; nor was it viewed as a force beyond

control. On the contrary, it served as a tool, which if properly managed, could

accomplish acquisition quickly and with little political repercussions. Despite the

appearance of southern domination of the Florida annexation, Madison and Monroe

always gave tacit approval from behind the scenes. Consequently, interpretation of the

Florida acquisition takes on new meaning when one considers southern honor not as the

driving force behind the annexation campaign, but rather as a powerful entity unleashed

upon Spanish Florida to forcibly speed the process of territorial transfer.

Madison and Monroe quickly came to understand the usefulness of white southern

society's volatility. Rather than restrain the South's impulse for immediate satisfaction

of their honor, the respective administrations sought to accommodate and enhance the

desires of white southerners for direct action. Thus the presidents appointed southern

sympathizers to conduct operations in Florida. These men were chosen based on their









ability to identify with the southern ideology. The result was the powerful combination

of southern drive and federal authority embodied in such men as George Mathews, David

Mitchell, and Andrew Jackson.

Two important aspects define these men as intermediaries rather than simply

federal agents or southern activists. First, they were granted federal power so that they

might take the appropriate action to force annexation. Independent authority was given

so that their federal supporters would be blameless in case of failure and yet could still

claim victory in the case of success. Second, these men communicated regularly with the

opposition in Florida, be it the British, Spanish, or Native Americans. They took it upon

themselves to conduct their own diplomatic proceedings thus circumventing the need for

direct federal involvement.

The use of intermediary agents to do the federal government's dirty work for

territorial acquisition was a common occurrence during the administrations of all three of

the Jeffersonian presidents. Thomas Jefferson took advantage of the French conquest of

Spain to bypass the Spanish protests and negotiate the purchase of the Louisiana territory.

His ministers to France, Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe, negotiated for the

purchase of New Orleans. When Napoleon offered the entire Louisiana territory, these

agents acted decisively. In this way, Jefferson was able to succeed before the naysayers

in Congress could act. While the negotiations were taking place, Jefferson dispatched his

agents Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the lands west of the Mississippi.

The purpose of this expedition had implications beyond mere exploration. As historian's

Owsley Jr. and Smith suggest, the mission was publicly extolled for its scientific

purposes. Yet Jefferson also desired a military reconnaissance to appraise the strength of









Native Americans within the territory, "to determine the region's commercial value, and,

more importantly, to indicate the area's suitability for future American expansion." In

his instructions to Captain Lewis, Jefferson specifically mentioned the importance of

assessing the capabilities of the Native Americans for the purposes illustrated above.2

The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting the line you
will pursue, renders a knolege [sic] of these people important. You will therefore
endeavor to make yourself acquainted, as far as a diligent pursuit of your journey
shall admit; with the names of the nations & their numbers; the extend & limits of
their possessions; their relations with other tribes or nations; their language,
traditions, monuments; their ordinary occupations in agriculture, fishing, hunting,
war, arts, & the implements for these; their food, clothing, & domestic
accommodations; the diseases prevalent among them, & the remedies they use;
moral and physical circumstance which distinguish them from the tribes they know;
peculiarities in their laws, customs & dispositions; and articles of commerce they
may need or furnish & to what extent. 3r

The Madison and Monroe administrations were far more active in the employment

of territorial spies to assess conditions for expansion. The practice of stationing

American agents in various Spanish colonies to assess nationalist sentiments toward the

United States was widely used. William Shaler in Cuba and Joel R. Poinsett in Chile,

Peru, and Buenos Aires served much the same purpose as James Claiborne in West

Florida and George Mathews in East Florida. The purpose of each mission was to spread

Anti-Spanish sentiments and assess the likelihood of a pro-American rebellion.4

In Florida, the nature of the federal agent's involvement was significantly altered.

Madison expanded upon Jefferson's practice of employing spies for espionage, by

encouraging insurgents within the territory. This was a significant step in the escalation

of federal involvement. When this occurred, a group of intermediaries became vital as

representatives of American ambitions within Florida and as leaders of the South's

acquisition efforts.









The practice of sponsoring rebels within the Spanish colonial system was not

limited to Florida. Madison covertly supported the Hidalgo Revolution of 1810 in

Mexico in order to strengthen the claims the United States had on Texas. He provided

financial assistance and military supplies to the rebels in the hopes of annexing the

territory in a fashion similar to the Baton Rouge filibuster. American troops would not

become involved in Texas as they did in Florida until much later. However, as Owsley

and Smith point out, "[the Hidalgo Revolution] indicated the administration's position on

local revolutions and the desire to bring those likeminded movements into the American

fold."5

The East Florida filibuster under Mathews was the first instance of a warlike

campaign involving American troops, erupting out of these surreptitious activities. The

Patriot War was an intense lesson in the use of southern activists for the pursuit of federal

ambitions. Cusick argues that only Mathews's overt invasion of East Florida did not

correspond with Madison's plans. "From that moment on, Madison was reacting to

events rather than directing them." While evidence demonstrates that Mathews's actions

were independent of Madison's direct control, there is no substantiation for the

suggestion that it was against his wishes. Madison came to realize that the problem with

Mathews's expedition was not too little federal control; it was too much direct

association on the part of the administration. Madison was closely involved with the

formation of Mathews's plans and the execution of his filibuster and so the

administration risked possible repercussions. The general would not have been able to

conduct the operations that led to the Patriot rebellion had they been in outright defiance

of his federal supporter. Mathews's actions were too drastic and came dangerously close









to marring the administration. Madison commented to that effect when he wrote to

Jefferson, stating "Mathews has been playing a strange comedy in the face of common

sense, as well as of his instructions. .His extravagances place us in the most distressing

dilemma." Mathews had succeeded in his goal to stir up the rebels in Florida, but the

domestic and international protesters were not fooled into believing that the rebels under

McIntosh were independent of Mathews's influence. Madison ultimately dismissed

Mathews in early April of 1812 in order to prevent further political injury. As Cusick

states:6

Armed with disavowal, the secretary of state [Monroe] prepared to confront foreign
diplomats. [H]e assured him [the Spanish ambassador Luis de Onis] that the
president had never authorized an attack on Spanish East Florida. These
assurances masked the government's true intentions.7

What can be interpreted from the East Florida quagmire is that Madison did not

fear the use of aggressive southern activists, only public disgrace. When vehement

protests reached the president that threatened to link his administration directly with the

inspiration of insurgents, Madison offered up Mathews as a sacrifice. Mathews was thus

removed from his position as U.S. commissioner to East Florida in an effort to placate the

domestic, British, and Spanish protesters. In his place, Madison appointed Georgia

Governor David B. Mitchell, an equally ardent, yet somewhat more tactful representative

of the southern cause.8

The whirlwind of events that had taken place under Mathews had left Madison a bit

gun shy and withdrawn in his support of the acquisition. Madison still desired to move

forward with the operations in Florida. However, he was careful to avoid further linkages

between his administration and the Florida Patriots. The remedy was not to exercise

more control in order to prevent future violence or illegal activities. Rather the solution









was less direct association. This would allow the Patriots and Georgia filibusters more

power to conduct their operations while Madison would remain personally unaffiliated.

As Madison began to pull his support from the Patriots in Florida, Mitchell found

himself in a very precarious position. Shortly after Mathews's dismissal, the president

threatened to discontinue all federal funding and military aid to the Patriots. In a letter to

the State Department, Mitchell pleaded with Madison's Secretary of State James Monroe

not to abandon the Patriot's annexation efforts.

In my letter of the 17th of July written at St. Mary's two days prior to the receipt of
your dispatch ... I gave you in a few words my opinion of what would be the
situation of our Southern frontier, if the United States troops were immediately
withdrawn from Florida, and every day's observation and experience since has
confirmed me in the opinion therein entertained. The Governor of St.
Augustine has sufficient influence with these Indians (a part of the Creeks) residing
in Florida called the Seminoles, to induce them to fall upon the defenseless settlers
on the St. Johns and on our side of the St. Mary's. On the St. Johns they have
killed and scalped one and wounded two more besides driving off from both places
a large number of Negroes and stock of every description. The same Governor has
proclaimed freedom to every Negro who will join his standard, and has sent a party
of them to unite with the Indians in their murderous excursions. Indeed the
principal strength of the garrison of St. Augustine consists of Negroes, there being
but a few Militia of the Province in the place who adhered to the Royal
Government when the Revolution broke out and about one hundred effective men,
the remains of an old Battalion of Regular Troops, whom it was understood would
surrender without firing a shot.9

Noticeably, Mitchell's letter is similar to the language used by Florida residents in

their expression of honor. The three precepts concerning Republicanism, the protection

of property, and defense of the innocent are present in his letter. Mitchell expresses his

disgust over the Seminoles stealing livestock as well as the Spanish emancipation and

arming of fugitive slaves. He fears the Indian's "murderous excursions," and the

resulting anarchy that is likely to result if federal troops are withdrawn from Florida.

Mitchell's viewpoint is directly associated with the code of white southern honor; it is

therefore not surprising to see those tenets reflected in his writing.









Of the three tenets, however, Mitchell was more focused on security. Like

Madison, Mitchell describes the territory as being engulfed in war and in the midst of

chaos. Seminole and maroon marauders, sponsored by the Spanish, threaten the safety of

the white Florida and Georgia citizens along the St. John's River and in St. Mary.

Constant raids had resulted in the loss of property and the loss of life. Rather than

encourage the federal government to make war upon the Spanish, Mitchell called for a

war against the savage elements of Florida that he saw as the cause for the perpetuation

of violence. Mitchell understood that these practical concerns for American lives and

property are more likely to have an immediate impact upon national government officials

than abstract and ideological rhetoric.

Mitchell continued to conduct operations from Georgia while soliciting support

from the president and the State Department. In June when the Senate first refused the

endorsement of the Patriot War, Mitchell was shocked by the decision. He again

petitioned the State Department in protest pleading with Madison and Monroe not to

abandon the Patriots to the whims of the Spanish and their black regiments:

By letters which I have received from members of the State Delegation in
Congress, I have been induced to believe, that an act would be passed as soon as
war was declared authorizing the President to take possession of the posts yet
occupied by the Spaniards in the two Floridas and by some expression in your
communications these expectations were confirmed. Under these impressions I
have remained here making every preparation for that event; you may therefore
judge of my surprise and mortification at the information I have received by this
evenings mail that the Senate had rejected a bill which had been passed by the
House of Representatives for the purpose of authorizing the immediately
occupancy of the entire province. I have carefully avoided making any
proposition for withdrawing the Troops, under the fullest conviction that such a
step was not intended; and I feel that it is a duty I own to the United States and
Georgia in particular to assure you, that the situation of the Garrison of St.
Augustine will not admit of the troops being withdrawn. They have armed every
able bodied Negro within their power, and they have also received from the
Havanna [sic], reinforcement of nearly two companies of black troops.10









These protests received little response from Washington. While Madison

continued to lobby in support of the Patriots in Florida, he maintained a safe distance. He

made no further promises to Mitchell for federal support. In response to this, Mitchell

did exactly what Madison hoped for; he took matters into his own hands and conducted

the campaign in Florida independent, yet still not in defiance, of federal authority.

An important aspect of the developing independence of a southern war against

Spanish Florida was the diplomatic actions taken on the part of the intermediary leaders.

As demonstrated repeatedly in his writing, the use of black troops was particularly

appalling to Mitchell. Not only were these troops, who comprised virtually the entire

garrison at St. Augustine, an abomination in the eyes of many white southerners, but also

the fear for slave insurrection was a genuine concern in the South. Mitchell began his

personal correspondence with the Spanish government by condemning the use of black

troops.

Another subject, which the candor that characterized the government of the United
States required me to present to your consideration; I mean the black troops which
you have in your service. Your certain knowledge of the peculiar situation of the
southern section of the Union in regard to that description of people, one might
have supposed, would have induced you to abstain from introducing them into the
province, or of organizing such as were already in it. The contrary I am well
assured is, however, the fact; and I may venture to assure you that the United States
will never tolerate their remaining in the province. It will readily occur to you, also
that the war now existing between this country and Great Britain imposes upon the
United States the necessity of a more vigilant regard and attention to what passes in
a neighboring province, and more especially the fact to which I have called your
attention. Neither will it escape your observation, that for the use made of those
troops you alone will be responsible."1

Two components of this letter to Spanish Governor Sebastian Kindelan are worthy

of particular note. First, by the statement; "The United States will never tolerate their

remaining in the province," Mitchell identified himself and his opinions as

representations of sentiments in the United States, not just Georgia or the South. He took









it upon himself to speak for the government of the United States in voicing opinions

about the danger of black troops. Second, he discussed the war with Great Britain in

relation to the Patriot rebellion in Florida. This is an acknowledgement to the Spanish

that the American forces in Florida are directly linked to the Patriots insurgents. No

doubt officials in St. Augustine had already made this connection. However, Mitchell

asserted himself as the representative of American interests for the rebellion, not

Madison.

Although the Patriot War ended in defeat, the nature of Mitchell's involvement set

a precedent for future acquisition operations in Florida. The use of southern commanders

who shared Madison's vision, but were not hindered by the politics of Washington,

became the standard practice in the period following the Patriot War. With the ascension

of Andrew Jackson to the forefront, the final campaigns of annexation were taken

completely out of the president's hands. No individual took more personal initiative or

had more influence on these final campaigns than did Andrew Jackson.

Jackson was a Tennessee lawyer and militia commander commissioned by the

United States army in May of 1813 to command the American forces on the southern

frontier. Jackson's involvement in the Florida campaigns was the height of the

intermediary influence upon southern and national efforts for annexation. He was

renowned as an Indian fighter and passionately adhered to the southern precepts of honor.

More importantly, Jackson was an ardent expansionist and the perfect candidate for

conducting the operations in Florida. Jackson was persistent, direct, and fully confident

in his own capabilities. This combination assured the federal supporters of annexation

that the Florida campaign would be carried through to a quick and decisive conclusion.









Madison and Monroe would allow Jackson a free hand in deciding the fate of the

acquisition effort while maintaining the political and diplomatic appearance of ignorance.

His prejudice (even outright hatred) toward the Native Americans stems from his

frontier background. Jackson was born March 15, 1767. He was raised by his mother

(his father died shortly before he was born) in the Piedmont territory in the uplands of the

South Carolina colony known as the Waxhaws. The region had a brief, yet tumultuous

history of white settlement. In the early stages of colonization, the native Yamasee,

Catawabas, and Tuscarora tribes violently resisted white settlement. Before the Jackson

family migrated to the region in 1765, the Yamasee tribe had been effectively dispersed

following the Yamasee War of 1715 and several devastating smallpox outbreaks. The

Catawbas tribe had likewise entered into a period of decline after the Cherokee War and

the French and Indian war (1754-1763). At the time of Jackson's birth, as a result of

white plantations and cattle rearing, the native Indians had been reduced to small hunting

reservations that barely sustained them. Danger from Cherokee, Iroquois, and Shawnee

raiding parties, however, continued to plague the white settlers in the region. Jackson

grew up amidst constant violence and brutality perpetrated by both the whites and Indians

in the region. The nature of Jackson's hatred for the Native Americans became deep

rooted in his personality. Jackson's mother had what was described as "a dreadful

enmity with the Indians," which was passed down to her sons.12

Jackson's background made him sympathetic to the southern cause. But more than

that, he embodied the southern ideals of honor in his words and his actions. As historian

Robert Remini describes, Jackson's mother had taught him "the field of honor was the

place to settle personal quarrels." Jackson was famous for his participation in fights and









duels in defense of his honor. This personal adherence to violence as a means of

resolving issues of honor was directly related to his being raised in a particularly violent

society. As Remini points out, "Violence was a way of life on the frontier, and he

absorbed it as a matter of course." Fierce retaliatory responses over crimes such as horse

stealing were not considered excessive. Constant clashes between whites and Indians

over land, money, and property disputes left an indelible mark upon Jackson's personality

that would characterize his actions during the Florida acquisition campaigns.13

Jackson became involved in Florida through his service on the southern frontier

during the Creek War of 1813 and the latter stages of the War of 1812. Prior to that he

had been a North Carolina prosecutor until relocating to Nashville in 1788. From 1789 to

1796 he served in the Tennessee state militia and participated in a number of expeditions

against the Native Americans. His reputation as an Indian fighter grew and he was

elected major general of the militia in 1802. His first involvement in Florida came when

the Tennessee militia was dispatched following the massacre at Fort Mims, to confront

the Red Stick Creeks along with their Spanish and British supporters. His call to arms

reflected his deep resentment and excited the sentiments of the South for an all out war

against the Native Americans.14

Your Frontier is threatened with invasion by a savage foe! Already do they
advance towards your frontier, with their scalping knives unsheathed, to butcher
your wives, your children, and your helpless babes. Time is not to be lost! We
must hasten to the frontier, or we will find it drenched in the blood of our fellow-
citizens.15

Jackson became famous for his victories at Tallushatchee, Talladega, and

Horseshoe Bend. As a result, in May of 1814 he received a commission as major general

in the U.S. Army. Within three months of his appointment, he began his campaign into

Spanish Florida to remove the British. In October of 1814, Jackson invaded West Florida









and occupied Pensacola. The justification for these actions was that the Spanish were

harboring British Indian agents and was potentially a staging point for an attack against

New Orleans. The West Florida capital was subsequently returned to the Spanish after

Jackson was satisfied that the British were not longer a threat to the region.

While his actions during the latter portion of the War of 1812 were momentous for

America's war effort and for future Indian wars in Florida, Jackson was not

independently significant for acquisition until after the Treaty of Ghent. During the war,

Jackson was acting under the auspices of the federal government for the war effort. After

the war, however, Madison allowed Jackson to maintain his commission as commander

of the southern district and continue his campaign against the renegade Indian tribes. It

was then that Jackson became the true arbiter of annexation. Jackson's independent

operations were reminiscent of the Patriot War in that the presidents would maintain their

distance while lobbying separately for annexation.

Madison and Monroe avoided becoming directly involved with the wars in Florida

and allowed Jackson to conduct operations as he saw fit. However, there were two men

in the federal government who willing lent their name to Jackson's cause. William

Crawford and John C. Calhoun, senators from Georgia and South Carolina respectively,

advised Jackson on his actions and gave him more direct federal support than the

presidents. Both men would serve as Secretary of War, yet despite being his superior,

their role was limited to directing Jackson's wrath, not dictating his actions.

Almost immediately following the war, Jackson found opportunity to exercise his

authority. The Negro Fort campaign of June 1816 was the first instance in which Jackson

took independent responsibility for his actions and acted without expressed authorization