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The Southern States of America
Chapter I - Florida, 1512 - 1819


Discovery and Exploration.

AS a term in the geography of Spanish-America, Florida included all the eastern coasts of the present United States, from Mexico on the south to New France on the north, and extended into the interior north and west to a distance unknown and undefined. Consequently many of the early events of history that are mentioned in connection with Florida would, under later nomenclature, be placed in parts of the territory now known to us as Virginia, Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf states. In this article we shall, so far as possible, confine our story to the actual territory comprised in the present state of Florida.

After the discovery of the islands of the West Indies, as they came to be called, and the exploitation of Mexico by the Spaniards, the superior attractions of these regions drew the voyagers that followed Columbus away from the northwest, and it is to be noted that Balboa had discovered the Pacific Ocean before any European of the time had put foot upon any part of this territory. Claims are made that Sebastian Cabot had explored, or at least seen, these shores nearly or quite as far south as Cape Hatteras, but as these claims rest on a single paragraph in the Hakluyt translation of Peter Martyr's travels, the evidence is insufficient to take from Juan Ponce de Leon the honor of having been the first European to land upon the soil of the future United States.

Ponce de Leon had been among the early colonists of Hispanola, having come thither with Columbus on his second voyage, but on the return of Columbus to Spain De Leon remained as an officer under Ovando, upon whose recommendation he was made governor of the Island of Porto Rico, a position he held for twelve years. His administration was marked by all the qualities that make a successful commander and colonizer, and he soon brought the country under subjection and made it highly productive and profitable. As was the practice of the day, however, he was forced to make way for a court favorite who desired to gain riches quickly.

De Leon was born in 1460, and was now over fifty years of age. Although he had amassed considerable wealth in the course of his public employments, he was not nearly as rich as some of his contemporaries, so it is probable that the approach of old age and a desire for greater possessions made him an eager listener to the tales that were in circulation concerning a not very distant island called Bimini, where, in addition to fabulous deposits of gold, was a spring whose waters were capable of restoring to age and decrepitude the form and vigor of youth. So in the spring of 1513 De Leon sailed from Porto Rico with a charter from the king authorizing him to search for and settle the mythical island.
For some weeks he sailed about among the Bahama Islands, to find that his longed-for island seemed further away the longer he sailed, so with hopes crushed he abandoned cruising in the original direction and turned almost directly westward toward a land he must have heard about while sailing among the islands. On March 27 he sighted a low-lying shore, splendid with the early bloom and luxuriance of a sub-tropical flora, and as it was the Easter season of the year, the Pascua Florida or Pascua des flored of the Spanish, he called the newly discovered island, as he supposed it to be, Florida. He sailed north looking for a suitable harbor, so that it was not until the 2d of April that he landed at a point near the place where St. Augustine now stands. He then took formal possession of the country for the king of Spain by the right of discovery, unfurled the royal standard and set up a cross. For eight weeks or more the explorer skirted the shores of this new world, sailing south and west as far as Apalache Bay, and without making any attempt to found a settlement because of the hostility of the natives, he returned to Porto Rico with no more profitable result of his journey than the announcement that another island had been added to the Spanish realm. This, however, was not of sufficient importance to save the disappointed man from the attacks of the wits of the day, and he was most unmercifully lampooned and twitted for his failure to return as a youth in his prime.

At the time Ponce de Leon set sail he had no choice of course, except to sail to the north or northwest, for after the location of Mexico and the coasts and islands to the south of the latitude of Vera Cruz, the Spanish crown had been lavish with its grants and charters, and every foot of this territory had been preempted by adventurers, who drove away trespassers of their own blood as ruthlessly as they did foreigners, the only alternative being a union of forces, or a battle. Cut off from all entrance to these regions, the men who sailed after De Leon's discovery came upon his realm and returned with glowing tales of its wealth. De Leon was therefore moved to make an attempt to perform the duty imposed upon him by his charter, and to get out of his possession whatever there was in it of value to him. His realm was evidently much greater than he had supposed, for the explorations of the trespassers had shown that his principality was not an island, but a part of an extensive and marvelously rich continent. Among the adventurers whose tales spurred De Leon was Diego Miravello, who returned with some specimens of gold, no doubt the product of the mines of Georgia, Fernandez de Cordova and De Garay, all of whom were prevented by the hostility of the natives from making settlements, but all telling the same tale of extraordinary riches to be had for the taking. Using the remnants of his fortune to fit out another expedition De Leon sailed from Porto Rico, and after weeks of storm and bad weather reached the coast of Florida, probably near Tampa Bay. The Indians there were as fierce and intractable as they had shown themselves to be wherever the Spaniard had shown himself, and falling on De Leon and his men they killed a number of them and wounded the governor himself, who, ill and weary, abandoned Florida, and reaching Cuba, en route for Porto Rico, died there in a few days at the age of sixty-one. He left a son Louis, on whom the king conferred all the rights of his father in Florida, but who never made any attempt to claim or utilize them.

Among the adventurers who, during the nine years between De Leon's discovery and his attempt to assume control, had voyaged to the coast of Florida, was one Lucas Vasque de Ayllon, who made for himself an unsavory place in history by the treacherous manner in which he entrapped two shiploads of friendly Indians at Chicora (South Carolina). These Indians he sought to sell as slaves in Cuba, but as the chronicles says: "These Indians gave him no profit, as grief and care killed them all." However, at least one of the captives had not succumbed, for shortly after the death of De Leon, De Ayllon appeared at Madrid with a converted, Spanish-speak-ing Indian from Chicora, who assisted him in proving to the king and his ministers the value and worth of the country for which he sought authority to explore and conquer. This was given him, and in 1524 his vessels sailed to explore and map the coasts of Florida, between the 35th and 37th parallels of latitude, the boundaries of his grant. On the return of his vessels with stories of great wealth, and some small tangible samples in the way of gold, silver and pearls, another expedition was sent out comprising nearly 600 persons and including three Dominican friars and some negro slaves. They landed on the coast of what is now South Carolina, and the history of their settlement is that of so many other settlements in this region it was destroyed by the Indians.

The next serious attempt to settle Florida was made by Narvaez, one of the adventurers whom Cortez had driven out of Mexico, although he bore a patent appointing him Adelantedo (his Spanish title) of all the lands he might explore. In 1528 he reached Florida just north of Tampa Bay, with the remnants of a force of more than 600 men, with whom he had left Spain a year earlier; learning that they had missed the mouth of the bay, the vessels were sent back by water, while Narvaez and most of the men started overland. Vessels and men never again came together, and Narvaez started from the bay on a journey in which he experienced almost incredible hardship and misfortunes. Surrounded and harassed by hostile Indians, they fought their way north to the neighborhood of Tallahassee, and then failing to find the sources of the gold for which they were striving they turned back and reached the gulf near the present St. Marks. Here they built boats of hides, and in these frail craft 242 men set sail for Cuba. The historian of the expedition, who was one of the few survivors, does not make clear why they sailed westward, but so they did, and in November eighty men, all that now remained, landed somewhere on the coast of Texas. From this place Narvaez, who was sleeping in one of the canoes, was blown out to sea and lost to history. In July, 1536, after years of slavery and wanderings that had carried them as far as the Pacific, four of the original party reached the City of Mexico. Later De Vaca, the historian, appeared in Spain, and by his mysterious manner, vague illusions and wild assertions, convinced many people that Florida was in fact the richest place on the face of the earth, Peru and Mexico being but poor seconds. Attracted by these possible riches, the most noted of the Spanish explorers of North America, Fernando de Soto, asked for and received the command of the lands called Florida, to which he sailed from Cuba in May, 1539, landing near the spot whence Narvaez had disembarked some years earlier. Here he found a Spaniard, a member of the troop of Narvaez, who, though taken prisoner by the Indians, had been spared at the intercession of the chief's daughter in the manner in which Capt. John Smith was saved by Pocahontas. Pursuing in a general way the course taken by Narvaez, but continuing farther inland, even to the borders of Tennessee, De Soto turned southwest and reached the head of Mobile Bay. He had taken about eighteen months to travel from Tampa Bay to Mobile, yet in all that time he had only lost about 100 of his men, a most convincing testimony to his skill as a leader and commander.

Although he had so far failed in his quest, De Soto would not give up, but after recruiting the health of his men, pushed west, reached the Mississippi River near the present Memphis, crossed in boats which he constructed, and traveled about in the territory now included in the state of Arkansas. In the spring of 1542 De Soto turned towards the gulf, but the end was near, and on May 21 he died. The body was first buried, then disinterred, wrapped in a mantle loaded with sand, and in the darkness of midnight dropped from the side of a canoe into the depths of the great river he had revealed to the civilized world. Fifty-one months after landing at Tampa Bay about one-half of the original army of 621 men reached the Panuco River, near Vera Cruz, in Mexico.

The coasts of Florida had thus far proved to be the burial place of nearly every Spaniard who set foot upon them. The cruelties and treacheries of the earlier explorers had planted in the Indian mind such a hatred of the white man that the history of the years following De Soto's journey is a continuous recital of the murder of missionaries, the ambushing of small bands and the instant dispatch of the shipwrecked mariners and unfortunate passengers of the stranded vessels, whose beauty, age or sex did not reserve them for the fate of slaves to savages. In 1556 the Bishop of Cuba, in whose diocese Florida was now placed, joined with others in a petition to the throne asking that the "rich" country of Florida be settled and saved to the Church and the king. Orders to that effect were given, and in 1559 the largest and best equipped fleet that had ever attempted the subjugation of the region sailed from Vera Cruz under command of Tristan de Luna, and on August 14 landed at what is now Pensacola Bay. The greater portion of the party remained here for two years, when the discontent and mutiny which had arisen, because of the failure to find the expected riches, caused the colony to be abandoned, and De Luna was recalled. Some of the party had removed to Port Royal Sound on the Carolina coast, but the same reasons that caused the failure of the mother colony operated here, and when this promising venture fell through Philip II. decided that the experience of fifty years proved that Florida was not suitable for Spanish colonization. It was therefore determined that no more attempts should be made, and the country was neglected, if not abandoned.

But even the determination of kings is governed by circumstances, and when word reached Spain that a party of French Huguenots heretics and business rivals in one had settled in Florida, the prayer of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who had been asking for the place of governor-general of Florida, was granted, and preparations hastened to supply a sufficient force to sail to the new world and expel the French heretics from Spanish soil. The settlement of the French on American soil was the result of a plan of the famous Admiral Coligny, who sought to establish in the new world a haven of refuge for the persecuted Protestants of France. For this purpose an expedition under Jean Ribaut reached the coast of Florida, near the mouth of the St. John's River, April 30, 1562, and set up a stone, but the location not being quite suitable they sailed north and landed at Port Royal, where it was decided to establish a colony. Leaving thirty of his men, Ribaut returned to France to procure recruits and supplies, but on his arrival civil war was raging, and as nothing could be done he was forced to wait. In the meantime the colonists, after exhausting the hospitality of the Indians, decided to return to France, and contriving a vessel which was surely as crazy a craft as ever ventured over the ocean, they set sail. After a long voyage, during which they were reduced to cannibalism, they came in sight of France, but were taken captive by an English vessel, and such as were fit to travel were carried as prisoners to London.

A truce being declared between the warring factions in France, Coligny had time and opportunity to attend to his colonizing scheme and another expedition was sent over under Rene de Laudonniere, who located at the mouth of the St. John's River, and built there a triangular fort. Few of the colonists were workmen, and shut up as they were within the walls of a fort with savages all about, mutiny was not long in asserting itself, and a party of thirteen seized one of the vessels and started off for a buccaneering expedition on the Spanish main. Later a larger body made another venture of the same kind, but mutiny and mishap quickly ended the voyage, and those who remained alive returned to the fort and were promptly executed by orders of Laudonniere. In 1565 Ribaut returned and took command, Laudonniere going back to France. In this crisis, Spain felt called upon to act. Such arrogant defiance of her authority, and so open an occupation of her territory was equivalent to a declaration of war, and the feeling thus engendered was intensified when the stories of what the French deserters were doing reached Spain. For years French cruisers had ravaged Spanish commerce and burned Spanish settlements in the West Indies, and to the excited imaginations of the Spanish, the new settlement was looked upon as a fitting-out port for another fleet of destroyers. Under such circumstances this nest of robbers could not be routed out too quickly, so, as has been said, Menendez was sent forth to act as the agent of Providence in saving the American Indian from the contamination of heresy, and Spanish settlements and commerce from attack and destruction.

On June 29, 1565, about the time Ribaut was leaving Dieppe with a French force for the relief of Laudon-niere, Menendez set out with his flotilla, part of which fell in with some of the ships of Ribaut, and no secret was made of the fact that the object of the Spanish expedition was to remove the French settlers, root and branch, wherever found on Spanish soil. On Sept. 6, 1565, a landing was made at what is now St. Augustine, and from that time the settlement of Florida dates, the two years 1559-61 at Pen-sacola not being taken into consideration. Without wasting any time Menendez marched upon the unsuspecting Frenchmen in Fort Caroline and slew 130 men, only a few of the garrison escaping to small boats in the river. Straggling parties of Frenchmen were captured and put to death. Menendez is charged with having accepted the surrender of these men under promise of mercy and then wantonly slaughtering them, but looking at the matter in the light of our fuller knowledge, this charge cannot be substantiated. Throughout the whole proceeding Menendez was uniformly fanatical and severe, and believed he was doing God's will in executing vengeance on the heretics. Moreover, the reply he made to the proffers of surrender, still extant, does not give any promise of mercy, no matter what the Frenchmen may have thought. The same answers and the same treatment were accorded to Ribaut and that portion of his men who later surrendered to Menedez, after shipwreck at Matanzas inlet, eighteen miles south of St. Augustine. Those who were thus massacred in cold blood after surrender numbered over 400. This was immediately after his return from the attack and capture of Fort Caroline. The French stories of these events make the Spanish commander swear a solemn oath, but the Spanish writers tell the tale as above and without any attempt to belittle or soften the facts, for the whole affair was to them only a signal manifestation of the desire of Providence that Florida should be saved for the faith and the realm. Menendez in his dispatches ascribed the victory to God, and gave thanks therefor, a theme that was taken up in Spain and amplified.

The peculiar conditions in France made action by the court perfunctory. Spain was certainly the legal master of Florida, and in expelling invaders had acted only within her rights. Moreover, as leader of the Church, the action of Philip II. could not well be complained of by Charles IX. and his mother, Catharine de Medici, who were then warring in France for the upholding of the faith. As a matter of fact, few Frenchmen other than the Huguenots seemed to care much about the matter until Dominique de Gourges, a private gentleman, under guise of fitting out an expedition to capture slaves, undertook to avenge the slaughter of his countrymen. When near Cuba he announced to his men the real object of the trip, and as they supported him enthusiastically he proceeded to assault the Spanish forts situated at or near the site of Fort Caroline. Being assisted by the Indians, whose traditional hatred of the Spanish had been fired into action by recent atrocities, the attack was successful, and every Spaniard not slain m battle was summarily hanged, "not as Spaniards, but as traitors, robbers and murderers," as was explained by the notice he placed upon the gallows. The forts were demolished, and De Gourges hastened away "after giving thanks to God" for his victory. Thus both Spaniard and Frenchman, as Parkman Points out, "laid their reeking swords on God's altar."

As a mere incident of a freebooting trip, Sir Francis Drake stopped over at St. Augustine one day in 1586, looted and destroyed the town, but it was at once rebuilt and became the centre from which the Franciscans continued their efforts to convert the Indians. For the story of these wonderful men one must consult the history written by Shea; let it suffice to say that they gave themselves to almost certain death, the ranks of the fallen being filled with ardent recruits, who did not have success to fire them, for as late as 1647 the total number of converts was trivially small in comparison with the efforts made and the lives sacrificed. No further attempts at settlement were made until 1696, when a colony was placed at Pensacola, which two years later had over 300 inhabitants, and this was the only successful attempt that Spain had made in all the 130 years since Menendez had founded St. Augustine.

Government.

The colonial government of the Spanish-American settlements differed as much from the government of the English colonies as the aims of the one nation differed from those of the other in their new-world policies. Spain aimed at an imperial domain, while England planted self-sustaining, independent settlements, each to act upon its own initiative. When England took up the government of India her methods approximated to those of Spain in the rule of her American colonies. It is not generally remembered that Columbus was the first European who made laws for America, yet such is the case, for between his first and second voyages he drew up a code of regulations for his new government which, with such modifications as time and experience proved necessary, became the foundation of Spanish jurisprudence in America. Under these provisions the emigration was to be restricted both in number and quality; the settlements were to be kept at the smallest possible number, only four for Cuba, and these were to have such municipal governments as were enjoyed by similar towns in Castile, for it must be remembered that these new-world possessions were not so much the property of the kingdom of Spain as they were the personal appurtenances of Isabella of Castile, whose heirs happened to be the Spanish monarchs and inherited their ancestors' property. In the rules and regulations of the early days it was on the mining and shipping of gold that stress was laid, and in all of the laws of Columbus the only reference to agriculture is a provision that gold hunting should be permitted only at such times as would not interfere with the planting and harvesting of the crops. At first the Indians had been put under a system of tribute, which later was commuted for services, so that the Indians served their new masters in much the same manner as they had served their old chiefs. As the Florida Indians were never enslaved to any great extent, and so did not labor for the support of the men who would not labor for themselves, it is probable that the failure of the Spaniards in Florida was due to the lack of a sufficient laboring population. In all the affairs of the colony the Spanish monarch, acting through his council, not national officers but personal servants, was supreme, and though the viceroy had much freedom within the limits of his authority, he dared not depart very far from the exact letter of his instructions. As the colonies were the personal appurtenances of the monarch, he sought to gain from them as great a revenue as was possible, and one of the favorite methods was through the. sale of offices. By this means a man who came up from the ranks, through commerce, was enabled to purchase a place or influence in the community that was not his either by right of birth or as a soldier. In the matter of revenue Florida was of little use to the king; quite otherwise, for we find it sharing to the extent of $4,000,000 in the subsidy that the king had to give to some of the impecunious colonies in a single year.

Relations With Carolina and Georgia.

More than one hundred years after Menendez there were in all the region of Florida only the three towns: St. Augustine, St. Marks and Pensacola, with a few smaller places tributary to each. Spain had not attempted to make good her claim to all the country known as Florida, except some forays upon the places settled by the English after 1607. These visits were returned in kind, and the governor of Carolina made a descent upon St. Augustine that was so successful, that but for the accidental arrival of some Spanish vessels the city would have fallen. The war was continued and the English, united with the Creek Indians, fought the Spanish and their Indian allies, and succeeded in breaking up and destroying whatever had been accomplished in the establishment of missions. The remains of some of these are to be seen to-day and are generally given an antiquity much greater than they possess. To offset these disasters the Spanish authorities sought to incite the Carolina Indians to revolt, and for years the story is a wearying and distressing recital of the horrors of savage warfare.

On the western side of the present state the French, then established at Mobile, were troublesome neighbors; Bienville assaulted and captured Pensacola in 1719, was in turn driven out by the Spaniards and then again took possession, but being unable to hold the town burned it, dismantled the fortifications and retired. Pensacola, thus assaulted and captured three times within three months, was abandoned and not again settled until 1722, when it was rebuilt on Santa Rosa Island near Fort Pickens, where it remained until 1763, when the present town was laid out upon the mainland. Some settlers had located on the site previous to this, but at best 1750 may be given as the date of the final settlement of Pensacola.

There being no common ground on which the contending parties in Carolina and Florida could settle their differences through discussion, and as the Spanish still incited the Indians and encouraged and harbored escaped slaves, the exasperated English resolved on a final clean-up, and in 1727 destroyed every destructible thing to the very walls of St. Augustine, thus putting an end for a long time to the forays of the Yemassee Indians and white and black renegades.

In 1732 Georgia was established, and so became a sort of buffer between the contestants in Florida and Carolina, and on the shoulders of Oglethorpe fell the duty of upholding English claims upon this region. War between England and Spain broke out in 1739, and Oglethorpe led an expedition against St. Augustine in 1740, which failed after a siege of several weeks. In 1742 the Spaniards attacked Oglethorpe, but also failed and withdrew to Cuba. Oglethorpe paid another visit to St. Augustine in 1743, but could neither capture the city nor induce the besieged to fight. The treaty of 1748 forced a truce between the fighters, but when war was renewed in 1762, Havana fell into the hands of the English. By the terms of the treaty of peace of the same year Florida was ceded to England in exchange for Havana, which was restored to Spain, and East and West Florida became part of the realm of Great Britain.

Florida as an English Province.

A proclamation of the English king in 1763 divided the new territory into four provinces, defined their boundaries and gave to East Florida the limits the state now has, except that the western line was at the Apalachicola River, where the eastern boundary of West Florida began. The new government was extremely distasteful to the Spanish people, even the liberal regulations of the English rulers not appealing to them, and it is said that every Spaniard but five left St. Augustine and only the utmost vigilance of the new masters prevented the destruction of the city. The governors of the new colonies, which were attached to the Crown, were authorized to call general assemblies, which were to make such laws and regulations as were applied to other colonies directly under the Crown, and thus for the first time representative government in Florida was made possible. At the breaking out of the War of the Revolution, Florida took the side of the Crown and remained staunch and true during the whole conflict. Under the circumstances, the colony became a haven of refuge for the persecuted loyalists of the warring colonies, and it is said that in 1778 alone upwards of 7,000 of these people came into her hospitable boundaries. Although the royal governors were given power to establish legislative assemblies, none of them considered it consistent with their own interests to do so, and it was not until 1780 that the insistence of the people of East Florida forced Governor Tonyn to give way, and the first General Assembly in the province convened in December of that year.

Pensacola, in West Florida, was having troubles of its own during the time of the English occupation, most of them of a trivial nature caused by the petty jealousies and intrigues so common in small communities and which are noticeable now only so far as they prevented a development of the city at that time. In 1778 the place was said to have had several hundred fine houses; the "palace" of the governor was a large stone edifice with a tower, a relic of Spanish days. In 1781 the Spanish under Galvez captured the town, as the British, then too much taken up with other matters, could not spare reenforcements for the garrison of 1,000 men under General Campbell. The Spanish now held the whole of West Florida, and at the conclusion of the war both the Floridas were returned to Spain as an "equivalent" for the Bahama Islands, which England was to retain.

Florida Again a Spanish Province.

Just as the people were congratulating themselves on the attainment of civil liberty, the announcement was made that the country had been turned over to Spain. Such of the inhabitants as chose to go away were given eighteen months to settle their affairs. This many did, and Nova Scotia, England, Jamaica and other West Indian Islands gave the refugees a more or less chilly welcome. Where to go with their slaves was the main question, and such as were least liable to the troubles of returning "loyalists" or "Tories" ventured into the states of the Union nearest them. More than 1,400 negro slaves were added to those in South Carolina by this exodus. The impossibility of getting rid of all the inhabitants led Spain to offer some concessions, so those who would take an oath of allegiance to his catholic majesty and consent to put themselves in the way of being converted to the Catholic faith were given special privileges. Only a few of the former Spanish residents returned to the province on the restoration of the old regime, so the majority of the people were British who chafed under the reactionary rule of their foreign masters. Almost at once the troubles between the settlers and the Indians began again, fomented by designing white men such as Bowles and McGirth, who had married into the tribes and used the savages for the advancement of their own selfish ends. It is stated by some writers that the continuance of Spanish rule in Florida at this time was made possible only by the assistance of Alexander McGillivary, the son of a Scotch father and an Indian mother, who became, by election, the chief of the Creeks, whom his influence kept loyal to the treaty he had made for them with the Spanish authorities. So great was this influence that it could not be overcome, even when it was proven that he had held commissions in turn, and occasionally at the same time, from Spain, England and the United States, which now came upon the scene as the successor of the Carolinas and Georgia. The exigencies of European politics necessitated another change in the boundaries of the lands still called Florida, and in 1795 Spain turned over to France that portion of her province of West Florida lying beyond the Per-dido River, and from this time forward the name is restricted to the territory of the present state to which Spanish dominion in the North American continent was thenceforward confined, outside the limits of Mexico. Eight years later the ceded territory was sold to the United States by Bonaparte, and appears thereafter as the Louisiana Purchase.

During the agitation that led to the War of 1812 it was thought that the British intended to seize Florida, and measures were taken to prevent such a movement, and a United States force was prepared ready to invade Florida the moment the British intention was made manifest. Nothing resulted from this particular movement, but in the course of subsequent hostilities a party of frontiersmen gathered in southern Georgia for the purpose of invading Florida and assisting a rebellion of those who were seeking "to establish Republican institutions in Florida." The "patriots" assembled at St. Marys, formed a provisional government, chose Gen. J. H. Mcintosh to be governor and Colonel Ashley to be military chief of the "Republic of Florida." In conjunction with an American fleet which, for strategic purposes, it was thought should occupy Fernandina (which, as a neutral port, had rendered nugatory in the southern country the provisions of the "embargo acts"), the insurgents secured possession of the fort on Amelia Island and transferred the command to General Matthews, the United States officer, who was on the spot to take advantage of just such an opportunity. This breach of international law led to a bitter dispute between Spain and the United States, but as Congress would not run the risk of war and failed to support President Madison, he was forced to disavow the act of General Matthews, relieve him of his command and place Governor Mitchell, of Georgia, in charge. While the Amelia Island affair was in course of settlement, a band of negroes sent out by the governor of St. Augustine ambushed a party of United States troops, mostly invalids, and killed and wounded a considerable number.

Governor Mitchell called for volunteers to attack St. Augustine, but the coming of a new Spanish governor and the indisposition of the Washington authorities to support the movement led to an accommodation, and the camp was broken up.

During the war of 1812-14 the Spanish authorities favored the English, and with their permission and connivance a fleet entered and occupied Pensacola, raised the British flag over the forts, took the nearby Indians under their protection and encouraged them to kill and destroy. General Jackson attacked the place and, capturing it, dismantled the forts, which the Spanish rebuilt later. On the Apalachicola River the British had established a barricade or fortification, which was professedly a refuge for runaway negro slaves and hostile Indians. After the war had ended the desperadoes who filled the place, now transformed into a formidable fortress, defied both the Spanish and the United States governments, and their depredations becoming unbearable, General Jackson was commissioned to get rid of them, which he did in his usual thorough manner, hanging the leaders as murderers (they had killed some of the besieging force) and returning the slaves to their American and Spanish masters. The Indians were still ravaging, being encouraged and assisted by British agents, and when in the course of his operations Jackson captured some of these alleged agitators, he summarily hanged two of them, Arbuthnot and Ambrister. The Indian troubles did not end with the death of the British emissaries, and when Jackson had reason to think that the Spanish governor was supplying the Indians with munitions of war, while he endeavored to keep American boats from ascending the Escambia River, he took possession of Pensacola and held it until the territory was ceded to the United States. The treaty of Feb. 22, 1819, provided that the United States should assume all the claims of American citizens against Spain amounting to $5,000,000. This arrangement was not confirmed by Spain until two years later, so that the United States did not take formal possession until July 10, 1821, at St. Augustine, and July 27th at Pensacola.

Bibliography. Fairbanks, G. R.: History of Florida; Shea, John Gilmary: History of the Catholic Church in America; Parkman, Francis: Pioneers of France in America (where an extensive list of authorities for the early days may be found); Bourne, E. G.: Spain in America (in The American Nation, ed. by Prof. A. B. Hart); Fisk, John: Discovery of America; Brooks, A. M.: The Unwritten History of St. Augustine.

De Witt Webb,
Secretary Florida Historical Society.


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