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Defeat of the Seminole Indians, fc. bim, he would blindfold us, and make us walk The evidence on the part of the prosecution overboard.
being closed, the prisoner required Robert C. Question. What were the reasons given by Ambrister as one of his witnesses, against whom King Hijah for the prisoner's not granting your criminal charges had been filed, and who was in request ?
custody on account thereof; to which the Judge Answer. King Hijah stated that the prisoner Advocate objecting, the court was cleared to take was fearful of meeting with an American vessel, its sense; when it was decided that Robert C. when we should be taken out, and he thereby Ambrister, now in custody for similar offences lose his schooner.
with the prisoner, cannot be examined as eviEDMUND Doyle, a witness on the part of the dence before this court. prosecution, being duly sworn, was questioned as John Lewis Phenix, a previous witness, now follows:
on the part of the prisoner, being again sworn, Question by the Judge Advocalé. Do you was questioned as follows, viz: know anything that would lead to substantiate
Question by the prisoner. Was there any other the charges against the prisoner now before you? vessel at the mouth of the Suwany river when
Answer. I know nothing but from common Ambrister seized your schooner ?- Answer. Yes. report.
Question. What vessel was it ? Was it not the William Fulton, an evidence in the present | vessel which Ambrister came in? prosecution, being duly sworn, testified to the Answer. It was a sloop, and I understood Amcopy of a letter from A. Arbuthnot to General brister came in her. Mitchell, agent for lodian affairs, dated Suwanee, Question. Did Ambrister ever mention to you January 19, 1818, and marked No. 6, as acknowl- who recommended him to seize the prisoner's edged by the prisoner to be the same in substance schooner, or who assisted him in stimulating the as one written by himself at that time. An ex negroes to do so ? tract from the letter was then read.
Answer. No; I understood he came on board No. 6.
of his own accord. Extract from a letter written by A. Arbuthnot to commanded the prisoner's vessel, ever brought
Question by the court. Have you, since you General Mitchell, American agent for the Creek nation of Indians, dated
any arms to that part of the country?
Answer. No; I brought a quantity of lead and SUWANEE, January 19, 1818.
ten kegs of powder in the last trip. In taking this liberty of addressing you, sir, in John Winslet, a former witness on the part behalf of the unfortunate Indians, believe me I of the prosecution, being recalled on behalf of the have no wish but to see an end put to a war: prisoner, was questioned as follows, viz: which, if persisted in, I foresee must eventually
Question by the prisoner. Are you not of opinbe their ruin ; and as they were not the aggress-ion that the letter which you say was written by ors, if, in the height of their rage, they commit the prisoner to the Little Prince is now in the any excesses, that you will overlook them as the possession of the Little Prince ? just ebullitions of an indignant spirit against an Answer. After reading it, I relurned to him, invading foe. I have the honor, &c.
and believe it to be still in his possession, as InA. ARBUTHNOT.
dians seldom destroy papers of that kind. By order of King Hijah and Bowleg8, The prisoner requesting some time to make up acting for themselves and the other Chiefs.
his defence, he was given until to-morrow evenQuestion by the prisoner. Where did the pri- ing, at four o'clock. soner acknowledge the letter just read to be a copy of the one written by himself ?
Fort St. MARK's,
April 28, four o'clock, É. M. about the 6th or 7th instant.
The Recorder having read over the proceedQuestion by the prisoner. Was not the acknow- ings of the court with closed doors, the prisoner ledgment when he was a prisoner ?
was recalled into court, and made the defence, Answer. It was.
marked K, and attached to these proceedings. Question by the prisoner. Did you hear a gen- The doors were then closed, and, after most matleman say to the prisoner, whilst in custody, ture deliberation on the evidence adduced, the that those who recommended the scalping-koife court find the prisoner, Alexander Arbuthnot, and tomabawk should feel their keenest edge ? guilly of the firsi specification to the first charge,
Answer. I did hear a gentleman say that those and guilty of the first charge; guilty of the first who excited the Indians to the murder of the un- and second specifications of the second charge, offending, should feel the keenest edge of the and guilty of the second charge, leaving out the scalping-koise; but, as well as I recollect, that words “acting as a spy;" they therefore do, on observation was noi made until after the repeated the most mature reflections, sentence the prisoner, acknowledgments of the prisoner of having writ- Alexander Arbuthnot, to be suspended by the ten the letter.
neck until he is dead; two-thirds of the court Question by the court. Was not the confession concurring, of the prisoner to this letter made voluntary, and
EDMUND P. GAINES, without any constraint whatever ?
Major Gen., Pres't of the Court. Answer. I conceive it was.
S. M. GLASSELL, Recorder.
Defeat of the Seminole Indians, fc.
proved by the witness to be in the possession of DEFENCE.
ihe Little Prince, this court could not notice that
circumstance, because there was no means by May it please this Honorable Court: The pris- which it could be obtained. I would ask the oner arraigned before you is sensible of the inhonorable court what means they have adopted, dulgence granted by this honorable court in the or what exertions have they made, to procure examination of the case now before them. It is this letter? If the honorable court please, I shall not the wish of the prisoner, in makiog his de here close the defence on the firsi charge and fence, to tire the patience of the court by a minute specification, believing that they are neither supreference to the voluminous documents and pa-ported by law nor evidence. pers, or to recapitulate the whole of the testimony which has come before the honorable court in the
May it please the honorable court, I will now course of this investigation. Nor is it the inten- I come to the second charge, and first specification tion of the prisoner to waste the invaluable time of that charge. In support of this charge and of this court by appeals to their feelings or sym my son. If the court please, this letter was
specification, the evidence is a letter written to pathy, though I am persuaded that sympathy no where more abounds than in a generous Ameri- written in consequence of the situation of my can breast. My only appeal is io the sound and property at Sah wahnee, and the large debts tbat impartial judgment of ihis honorable court, the ing, I believe, of an inflammatory nature can be
were due me from Bowlegs and his people. Nothpurity and uprightness of their hearts, that they found on reading the document marked A, auwill dispassionately and patiently weigh the evia thorizing the opinion that I was prompting the dence they have before them, apply the law, and Indians to war." On the contrary, if the honoron these, and these alone, pronounce their judgable court will examine the document marked A, If this honorable court please, I shall now pro informing them that it was the degroes, and not the
they will see that I wished to lull their fears, by ceed to examine the law and evidence that is relied on by this honorable court in support of the Indians, the Americans were principally moving first charge and specification. Winslet, a witness against. on the part of the prosecution, says, the Little
If the honorable court please, I will make Prince showed him a letter written in June last, and here close my defence. In proof of this
a few remarks on the second specification, signed A. Arbuthnot, requesting his friendship with the lower nation of Indians; the same wit- charge, the court hare before them the eviness stated that he believed the letter to be now
dence of Hambly, Cook, and sundry letters purin the possession of the Little Prince. Here, may widuals
. May it please the court, what does
porting to be written by myself to different indi. it please this honorable court, I would call their Cook prove? Why, that I had ten kegs of powattention to the law relating to evidence; first presuming that the rules of evidence are the der at Sahwahnee. Let me appeal to the expesame, whether in civil or military tribunals.-rience of this court, if they think this quantity Macomb, 99.
of powder would supply one thousand Indians, This point being concluded, the next inquiry and an equal number of blacks, more than two is, what are the rules of evidence with
months for hunting?
respect to the admission of letters, or papers of private
As to the letters named in this specification, correspondence, in a court of criminal jurisdic- may it please the honorable court, ihe rules of tion? May it please this honorable court, must evidence laid down in the first part of this de. you not produce the original letters and papers,
fence will apply with equal force in the present if they are not lost or mislaid, so that they can.
case. It remains now, may it please the honorable not be obtained; and, in case they are lost, proof court, to say something as to Hambly's testimomust be made of the handwriting being the same ny; and, may it please this honorable court, the as that of the origio al before they can be received as
rule laid down in this case as to hearsay erievidence ?—(Macomb on Courts Martial; Peake's dence will be found without a precedent. A Evidence; Gilbert's Laws of Evidence.) No in strong case was stated by an intelligent member stance can be cited where a copy of a letter was
ef this court, on the examination of this part of read as evidence when the original could be ob the evidence; that is, would you receive as testained, much less the giving in evidence the con- timody what a third person had said, who, if tents of such letter from bare recollection. The present, you would reject as incompetent? Aponly proof that this honorable court has of the ply this principle to the present case ; could an existence of such a letter being in the hands of Indian be examined on oath in our courts of any person, or its contents being known, is the judicature ? If, then, the testimony of savages vagrant memory of a vagrant individual. 'Make is inadmissible, Hambly proves nothing. this a rule of evidence, and, I ask you, when Here, may it please this honorable court, I would implication, construction, and invention close my reply to the charges and specifications stop ? whose property, whose reputation, and preferred against me; being fully persuaded that, whose life would be safe? Here I would beg should there be cause of censure, my judges leave to mention a remark made by the president will, in the language of the law, lean to the side of this court in the course of this investigation, of mercy. which was, that, notwithstanding the letter was
Defeat of the Seminole Indians, fc.
Continuation of the minutes of the proceedings of a The Recorder then read to the court the fol.
special court, whereof Major General Gaines is lowing order, viz:
HEADQ'rs. DivisioN OF THE SOUTH,
Adj't Gen's Office, near St. Marks, The court proceeded to the trial of Robert C.
April 28, 1818. Ambrister, a British subject, who, being asked if
GENERAL ORDER. he had any objections to any one of the members of the court, and replying in the negative, was
Captain Allison, of the 7th iofaptry, is de. arraigned on the following charges and specific special court now sitting at Fort St. Marks.
to the cations, viz:
By order: Charges against Robert C. Ambrister, now in cus
ROBERT BUTLER, Adj't Gen. tody, who says he is a British subject. Charge 1st. Aiding, abetting, and comforting
Pursuant to the above order, the supernume. the enemy, supplying them with means of war,
member took his seat. he being a subject of Great Britain, at peace the prosecution, being duly sworn, stated, that
John Lewis PHENIX, a witness on the part of with the United States, and lately an officer in about the 5th or 6th of April, 1818, his vessel and the British colonial marines.
Specification 1st. That the said Robert c. himself having been captured by the prisoner, and Ambrister did give intelligence of the move.
he brought to Suwanee as a prisoner, there was ments and operations of the American army be- an alarm among the negroes and Indians, created tween the 1st and 20th of March, 1818, and did by learning some news from Mickasuky, at which excite them (the negroes and Indians) to war
time the prisoner appeared active in sending oragainst the army of the United States, by send- ders, and sending a detachment to meet the Åme. ing their warriors to meet and fight the Ameri
rican army. The wilness also stated, that the can army, whose Government was at peace and prisoner appeared to be a person vested with aufriendship with the United States and all her thority among the negro leaders, and gave orders citizens.
for their preparation for war, procuring ammuCharge 2d. Leading and commanding the nition, &c., and that the leaders came to him for Lower Creeks in carrying on a war against the orders; the prisoner furnished them with powUoited States.
der and lead, and recommended to them the maSpecification 18t. That the said Robert c. king of ball, &c., very quickly. The witness Ambrister, a subject of Great Britain, which also stated, that the prisoner occasionally dressed Government was in peace and amity with the in uniform, with his sword; and that on the United States and all her citizens, did, between first alarm, which he understood was from Mickthe 1st of February, and 20th of March, 1818, asuky
by a negro woman, he put on the uniform. levy war against the United States, by assuming The witness further stated that some time about command of the Indians, in hostility and open the 20th March, 1818, the prisoner, with an armed war with the United States, and ordering a body of negroes, (wenty-four in number,) came party of them to meet the army of the United
on board_his vessel, and ordered him to pilot States, and give them battle, as will appear by them to Fort St. Marks, which he stated he inhis letters to Governor Cameron, of New Provi.
Lended to capture before the Americans could get depce, dated 20th March, 1818, which are marked ihere, threatening to hang the witness if he did A, B, C, and D, and the testimony of Mr. Peter not obey: B. Cook, and 'Captain Lewis, of the schooner Question by the court. Did you ever under Cbance. By order of the court,
sland by whose authority, and for what purpose, J. M. GLASSELL, Recorder.
The accused came into the country?
Apswer. I have frequently heard him say he To which charges and specifications pleaded came to attend to Mr. Woodbine's business at the as follows, viz:
bay of Tampa. To the 1st charge and specification, not guilty.
Question by the prisoner. Did I not tell you, To the 2d charge and specification, guilly, and when I came on board the schooner Chance, i justification.
wished you to pilot me to St. Mark's, as I was Adjourned until to-morrow morning at7o'clock. informed that iwo Americans, by the names of
FORT ST. MARKS, April 28, 1818. Hambly and Doyle, were confined there, and I The court met pursuant to the adjouroment. wished to have them relieved from their conPrésent:
fioement ? Major General GAINES, President.
Answer. You stated you wanted to get Ham. Members.
bly and Doyle from St. Mark's. I do not know Colonel King, Colonel Dyer,
what were your intentions in so doing. Colonel Williams,
Lieut. Col. Lindsay, Question. Did I not tell you ibai I expected
St. Mark's ?
Answer. You did not. You stated that you
Lieutenant J. M. Glassell, Recorder. Question. Did you see me give ammunition Defeat of the Seminole Indians, fc.
to the negroes and Indians ? if so, how much, the Americans have commenced hostilities with and at what time ?
them two years ago, and have advanced some Answer. I saw you give powder and lead to considerable distance in their country, and are the negroes when you came on board, and ad- now making daily progress. They say they sept vised them to make balls; and I saw you give a number of letters to your excellency by Mr. liquor and paint to the Indians.
Arbuthpot, but have never received one answer, Question. Have you not often heard me say, which makes them believe that he never delivbetween the 1st and 20th of April, that I would ered them, and will oblige them much if you will not have anything to do with the negroes and let them know whether he did or not. The pur. Indians in exciting them to war with the United port of the letters was begging your excellency States ?
io be kind enough to send them
down some gonAnswer. About the 15th of April I heard powder, muskets, balls, lead, cannon, &c., as ibey you say you would not have anything to do with are now completely out of those articles; the ihe pegroes and Indians; I heard nothing about Americans may march through the whole ierriexciting them to war.
tory in one month, and, without arms, &c., they Question. Can you read writing ?
must surrender. Hillis Hajo, or Francis, the InAnswer. Not English writing.
dian chief, the one that was in England, tells me Question. Did you not hear me say, when to let your excellency know that the Prince Rearriving at Suwaney, that I wished to be off im. gent told him that whenever he wanted ammu. mediately for Providence ?
nition, your excellency would supply him with Answer. I did not. After the alarm, you as much as he wanted. They beg me to press said you wished to be off for Tampa.
upon your excellency's mind io send the above. Question. Did you not say to the accused mentioned articles down by the vessel that brings you wished to visit Mr. Arbuthnot, at his store, this to you, as she will sail for this place immeon Suwany, and get provisions yourself? diately, and let the Prince Regent know of their
Answer. I did not. I stated I wanted provisions. situation. Any letters that your excellency may Question. Did I send or command any In- seod down, be good enough to direct to me, as dians to go and fight the Americans ?
they have great
dependence in my writing. Any Answer. I did not exactly know that you news that your excellency may have respecting sent them; the Indians and negroes were crowd them and America, you will be doing a great faing before your door, and you were dividing the vor to let me know, ibat I may send among them. paint, &c. among them; and I understood a There is now a very large body of Americans party was going to march.
and Indians, who I expect will attack us every Question. Did I not give up the schooner in day, and God only knows how it will be decicharge to you as captain ?
ded; but I must only say this will be the last Answer. After our return from Suwany town, effort with us. There has been a body of Indians you directed me to take charge of her to go to gone to meet them, and I have sent another party. Tampa.
I hope your excellency will be pleased to graat John J. ARBUTHNOT, a witness on the part of the favor they request. I have nothing further the prosecution, being doly sworn, stated, that o add, but am, sir, with due respect, your obesome time about the 23d of March, the
dient humble servant,
prisoner came with a body of negroes, partly armed, to
ROBERT C. AMBRISTER. his father's store on Suwany river, and told ihe witness that he had come to do justice to the
Question by the prisoner. Did you hear me country by taking the goods and distributing say that I came on Woodbine's business? them among the negroes and Indians, which the
Answer. I did. witness saw the prisoner do; and that the pris
Question by the prisoner. Were not the neoner stated to him that he had come to the coun- groes alluded to, at Arbuthnot's store before I try on Woodbine's business to see the negroes
arrived ? righted. The witness has further known the
Answer. No. You came with them. prisoner to give orders to the negroes; and that,
PETER B. Cook, a witness on the part of the at his suggestion, a party was sent from Suwany prosecution, being duly sworn, stated, that he to meet the Americans to give them battle, which never heard the prisoner give any orders to neparty returned on meeting the Mickasuky In- groes or Indians; that the prisoner distributed dians in their flight. The witness also testified Arbuthnot's goods, and also paint, to the negroes to the following letter, marked A, and referred and Indians; also that some powder was brought to in the specitication of the 20 charge as the from the vessel to Suwanee by the prisoner, and writing of the prisoner.
distributed among the negroes by Nero. Some
time in March the prisoner took Arbuthnot's A.
schooner, and, with an armed party of negroes, Robert C. Ambrister to Governor Cameron.
(twenty-four in number,) set out for St. Marks,
for the purpose of taking Arbuthnot's goods at SAHWAHNEE, (near St. Mark's fort,)
that place, and stated that he would compel the
March 20, 1818. commandant to deliver them up. On hearing of SIR: I am requested particularly by all our the approach of the American army, the prisoner Indian chiefs, to acquaint your excellency that I told ihe negroes it was useless to run; for, if they Defeat of the Seminole Indians, fc.
ran any further, they would be driven into the long time since, and have advanced some distance.
The prisoner told the witness that he had in their territory, and are still continuing to adbeen a lieutenant in the British army, under vance; that they (the chiefs of Florida) have Colonel Nicholls, The prisoner was sent by sent repeatedly to your excellency, and have Woodbine to Tampa to see about those negroes never received one answer; they suspect Mr. Arhe had left there. The prisoner told the witness buthnot has never delivered the papers to your that he had written a letter to Governor Cameron excellency; they wish me to state to you that for ammunition for the Indiaas some time in they are completely out of ammunition, muskets, March ; and also told the witness that he had a&c., begging your excellency will be pleased to commission in the patriot army, under McGre- send them the articles above mentioned, with a gor, and that he had expected a captaincy. The few cannon, as the Americans build their boats witness testified that the following letters, marked so strong ibat their rifle balls cannot penetrate A, B, C, and D, and referred to in the specifica- their sides. The captain of the vessel, who will tion io the 2d charge, were in the bandwriting of come down again, I have given orders to make the prisoner, and one marked E.
your excellency acquainted with the time the Note.-The letter marked A, is copied in a pre- will, I hope, be good enough to make the Prince
vessel will sail for this place. Your excellency vious part of these proceedings.
Regent acquainted with their situation, and ask B.
for assistance, which have pressed me very hard From Robert C. Ambrister to Maj. Edward Nicholls. to send them down what news may be respecting
to press on your excellency's mind, and likewise SUWANEE, NEAR RIVER APPALACAICOLA. them and the country, which will be a great satisDear Sir: Francis, and all the Indian chiefs, faction to them. I have the honor to be, &c. have requested me particularly to acquaint you
ROBERT C. AMBRISTER. that the Americans have commenced hostilities
N. B. They beg your excellency will be as exwith them these two years past, and are making peditious as possible; that your excellency is the daily progress in their territory, and say they will only dependence they have, and whom the Prioce proceed; ihat you are the only friend they have in Regent told them would give them every assistihat part of the world, and hope that you will exert ance that laid in your power.
R. C. A. yourself in their behalf, and ask for as much assistance as can be had ; ihat the Americans are at the forks of the river Appalachicola ; they have From Robert C. Ambrister to Governor Cameron. written a number of times to England and Pro
SUWANEE, NEAR FORT ST. MARK's, vidence, but have never received one answer ;
March 20, 1818. they expect the man never delivered the letters, but they have full hopes in my writing; they re-chiefs to acquaint your excellency that they are
I am requested by Francis and all the Indian quest you to make the Prince Regent acquainted at war with the Americans, and have been some with ibeir deplorable situation; the Americans have been very cruel since they commenced, and time back; that they are in great distress for I hope you will not lose a single moment in for
want of ammunition, balls, arms, &c., and have wardiog their views; they say they will be ex..
wrote by Mr. Arbuthnot several times, but they tremely happy to see you ; nothing would give suppose he never delivers them to your excel. them greater pleasure than to see you out at this lency. You will oblige them much to let them
know whether he did or not. present time. If they should not see you, to send them out all news and directions, that they may lack us daily; I have sent a party of men to op
I expect the Americans and Indians will albe guided by it. There are about three hundred blacks at this place, and a few of our bluff people; pose them; they beg of me to press on your they beg me to say they depend on your promises, excellency's mind to lay the situation of the to the cause , and will always believe in the faith cellency will
do a favor to let us know by the first and expect you are on the way out; they have stuck country before the Prince Regent and ask for
assistance. All news respecting them, your exof you, and any directions you may give. to me at this place and I will do what I can.
opportunity, that I may make them acquainted ;
I have given direction to the captain to let your And remain, my dear sir, most truly yours, ROBERT C. AMBRIŠTER.
excellency know when the vessel will sail for
this place. I hope your excellency will be pleased N. B. Francis says you must bring the horses to send them the ammunition; I expect if they when you come out, that you promised, and that do not procure some very shortly, thai the Amerihis house has been burnt down, and burnt his uni- cans will march through the country. I have form clothes.
R. A. poihing further to add. I am, dear sir, &c.,
ROBERT C.'AMBRISTER. C. From Robert C. Ambrister to Governor Cameron.
MARCH 20, 1818.
From Robert C. Ambrister to Peter B. Cook. Sir: I am requested particularly by the Indian
Mouth OF THE RIVER, Tuesday 3 o'clock. chiefs to acquaint your excellency ihat the Amer. Dear Cook: The buat arrived here about icans have commenced hostilities with them a three o'clock on Thursday; the wind has been
15th Con.2d Sess.—72