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The Southern States of America
Biographies - Alexander McGillivray


McGILLIVRAY, Alexander, Indian chief: b. in the Creek Nation in 1740; d. Pensacola, Fla., Feb. 17, 1793. His father was a Scotchman and his mother a half-breed Creek princess, whose father was a French officer of Spanish descent. McGillivray seems to have inherited the characteristics of all these nationalities. He was well educated by his father, and then joined a mercantile firm in the Creek nation. After his mother's death he became a powerful Creek chief with the title Emperor of the Creek Nation. During the Revolution he sided with the British, and, enraged at the confiscation of his Georgia estates, he waged bloody warfare on the borders. After the treaty of 1783 he proposed to the Spanish of Florida the policy of wresting from the Americans the trans-Allegheny region, the fulfilment of which plan for twelve years was attempted with violence and cunning. In 1790 McGillivray was invited to a personal conference with President "Washington in New York. Since this gave an opportunity for display, he consented and was received with great ceremony. A treaty was signed by which much land was restored to the Creeks. McGillivray was paid $100,000 for his confiscated property and was commissioned major-general in the United States army, although he was already a British colonel and a Spanish general. He returned home and continued the warfare on the American border settlers until his death. McGillivray was a shrewd business man and politician with scholarly tastes, but was also a heartless savage who lived in barbaric splendor; a man of great intellect, but totally without moral principles.

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