Imágenes de páginas

Relations with Spain.

of Pensacola was implicated in the criminal pro- answer given you in my note of the 12th March ceedings of Arbuthnot as the commandant of St. last to your proposal of referring the differences Mark's, ample evidence has been produced of his between our Governments to the mediation of having aided, assisted, and sheltered the Indians; Great Britain, and the reasons there assigned for of his having, as long as he dared, furnished declining that overture, the offer which you make them with supplies, including munitions of war. of referring them to the allied monarchs, whom And his hostility to the United States has been you state to be now assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle, sufficiently manifested by his exposing their army was not to be expected. As you have, however, to the danger of famine, from the impediments thought proper to make it, I refer you to my opposed by his orders to the passage up the Es- above-mentioned note for the grounds upon which cambia river of their supplies. That he harbored it is declined. If you do not feel yourself at libone Indian chief hostile to the United States, and erty to proceed in the negotiation on the terms not even belonging to Florida, is apparent by the herein proposed, postponing the articles relative article of capitulation which he obtained in his to the Western boundary, and the late transactions I favor. That he suffered another, George Perry-in Florida, I shall be ready, at your convenience, man, to escape from Pensacola upon General to exchange with you the ratifications of the conJackson's approach, and go to England, there to vention of 1802. ■renew, if possible, the negotiations of the prophet Francis, is announced as a late article of news in the English journals. That a number of other Indians were enabled, by the assistance of officers under his command, to escape from Pensa

I embrace with pleasure the occasion of renewing to you the assurances of my distinguished consideration. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

cola on the very day that it was taken by General Extract of a letter from Mr. Adams to Mr. Erving, Jackson, is proved by the certificates of several

I witnesses. And, lastly, he did not hesitate to write a letter to that commander, before he took Pensacola, threatening, in the event of his not withdrawing immediately from Florida, to resist what he termed his aggressions by force.

It is therefore to the conduct of her own commanding officers that Spain must impute the necessity under which General Jackson found himself of occupying the places of their command. Had the engagements of Spain been fulfilled, the United States would have had no Seminole war. Far, then, from being under obligation to indemnify the Crown of Spain for any losses which it may have sustained in consequence of this necessity, the United States are entitled to demand, and the Minister of the United States at Madrid has been instructed accordingly, that the Crown of Spain should indemnify them for the extraordinary and indispensable expenses which they have been compelled to incur by the prosecution of this war, which Spain was bound to prevent. The revenue collected in the places occupied is very far from being adequate to that object. As to the losses or injuries to the inhabitants, as private property, both at St. Mark's and Pensacola, has been inviolably respected, no injury can have happened to them for which the United States should be responsible.

With respect to the other articles suggested in your propositions of 24th October, and your observations upon the modifications to them, proposed by me, as well as to other objects of minor concernment, to which your last note alludes, I am not aware of any insuperable obstacle to our coming to an agreement upon them. Should your instructions authorize you to waive the further consideration of the two articles upon which I have now communicated to you the final determination of the President, and to proceed in the discussion of the rest, I shall be happy to confer with you verbally concerning them as soon as may suit your convenience. After the explicit



Washington, December 2, 1818.

On the 27th March last, the Spanish Minister here, Mr. Onis, addressed a letter to this Department, for the professed purpose of vindicating the character and conduct of the Spanish commanding officers in Florida, and of proving that they had invariably discharged their duties of friendly proceeding towards the United States, and the obligations of the treaty of 1795, by which Spain was bound to restrain, by force, the hostilities of her Indians in Florida against the United States. To this letter are annexed fourteen documents, the greater part of which consist of remonstrances, addressed during the late war between the United States and Great Britain to British officers, against their continual violations of the neutrality of the Spanish territory. It is not, however, to those documents, but to the two (numbered 13 and 14) as annexed to that letter, (Nos. 66, 67,) that I wish to invite your attention. No. 13 is the translation of a letter purporting to be from Bowlegs, one of the Seminole Indian chiefs, most inveterately hostile to the United States, to Don Jose Coppinger, Governor of St. Augustine. A translation! you will say. Why a translation; and from what language? Neither Governor Coppinger nor Mr. Onis has furnished the means of answering that question. They are furnished, however, by the papers of Arbuthnot, which fell into General Jackson's hands. The language was English, and the original was written by Arbuthnot. The draught was found among his papers, and was produced to the court martial upon his trial, (No. 49-No. 2.) We naturally suppose that Governor Coppinger, upon receiving a letter in English from a Seminole Indian chief, must have been surprised, unless he knew from whom and whence it came. The substance of his answer shows that he did know both whence it came and the character of him by

Relations with Spain.

tain how such a reflection would be received, omitted it from the letter itself which was transmitted to the Governor.

The papers marked Nos. 62, 63, 64, and 68, are copies of originals, in the handwriting of Arbuth not, taken with the rest of his papers, but not exhibited before the court-martial. The sheet of his journal is of some importance, as establishing his connexion and dissatisfaction with Woodbine. No. 65 is a letter from him, said to be to an officer of rank in England, (no doubt Nicholls,) dated January 30, 1818, only three months before he was taken.

The sheet of the journal shows that Arbuthnot arrived with Woodbine from New Providence at Suwanee about the last of October, 1816, and that they immediately commenced their operations with the Indians against the United States. Bowlegs's letter to Governor Coppinger is dated November 18 of that year, and apologizes for his not having sooner answered a letter of September, from the Governor, by the impossibility he had been under of finding a person to write the answer for him. Among other complaints against Woodbine in this journal, there is one, distinctly, that he had promised the savages assistance from the British Government, without authority, and by direct falsehood; and he expresses an apprehension that when the Indians find out that none of those promises are realized, their fury will fall upon himself.

whom it was written. By the copies of the two letters, which are enclosed, you will see in that of Bowlegs a part of the systematic intrigues of Arbuthnot to instigate as well the Spanish commanders in Florida as the savages against the United States; and, in that of Governor Coppinger, a direct declaration to the Indians that all his supposed cause of alarm and complaint pro ceed "from the information of persons in whom he ought not to place the smallest confidence, it being their principle to employ such opportunities for the purpose of seducing him and his people from their daily labor." After offering his own friendly advice, the Governor adds: “I am fearful, however, that the sentiments of those who come into the territory under the appearance of friendship, but with bad intentions, may influence your minds and obtain your confidence by their Battering representations." And, finally, he complains that two persons had lately presented themselves as commissioners of the English nation, and carried off several runaway negroes belonging to inhabitants of the province. It is apparent, from this letter, that Governor Coppinger was well informed of the operations of Arbuthnot and Woodbine, and that he saw them in their true colors. How, then, does it happen that, a year afterwards, the Spanish commandant at St. Mark's is found so entirely leagued with Arbuthnot as to sign his name to the approbation of a power of attorney, given to him by the hostile chiefs, to write letters and deliver talks in their names; to hold councils of war with them at his Nicholls's Letter and Proclamation. quarters; to hold as prisoners white persons, inhabitants of the province, taken by them; and to HEADQUARTERS, PENSACOLA, write a letter to Arbuthnot, asking him to come August 31, 1814. and confer with him upon subjects which could SIR: I have arrived in the Floridas for the not be committed to paper? The original of that purpose of annoying the only enemy Great Britletter, which is in bad French, and in the hand-ain has in the world. As France and England writing of the commandant of St. Mark's, signed by him, is in our possession, (No. 48.) A copy of it is among the papers enclosed. We cannot doubt that the Spanish Government will consider it as a proof of the conspiracy of the commandant of St. Mark's, with Arbuthnot and the Indians, against the United States. Should he be put upon his trial, as you are instructed to demand, the original letter itself will be transmitted to be exhibited to the court.

It is to be observed that the original draught in Arbuthnot's handwriting of the letter from Bowlegs to Governor Coppinger differs in several paragraphs from the translation communicated by Mr. Onis as received by him from Governor Coppinger. The following passage particularly, which appears in the draught produced before the court-martial, is not in the translation furnished by Governor Coppinger: "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 my esteem and protection." The remainder of the letter is nearly the same. We do not suppose that the omission was made by the Governor; but rather that Arbuthnot, yet uncer

No. 1.

are now friends, I call on you, with your brave followers, to enter into the service of Great Britain, in which you shall have the rank of captain. Lands will be given to you all, in proportion to your respective ranks, on a peace taking place; and I invite you out on the following terms: your property shall be guarantied to you, and your persons protected. In return for which, I ask you to cease all hostilities against Spain or the allies of Great Britain. Your ships and vessels to be placed under the orders of the commanding officer on the station until the commander-in-chief's pleasure is known; but I guaranty their fair value at all events.

I herewith enclose you a copy of my proclamation to the inhabitants of Louisiana, which will, I trust, point out to you the honorable intentions of my Government. You may be a useful assistant to me in forwarding them; therefore, if you determine, lose no time. The bearer of this, Captain McWilliams, will satisfy you on any other points you may be anxious to learn, as will Captain Lockyer, of the Sophia, who carries him to you. We have a powerful reinforcement on the way here, and I hope to cut out some other work for the Americans than oppressing the inhabitants of Louisiana. Be expeditious on your


Relations with Spain.

resolves, and rely upon the veracity of your humble servant,


Lieut. Col. Com'g H. B. M.'s forces. To Monsieur Laffite,

or the Commandant at Barrataria.

of those factions which hurried you into this cruel,
unjust, and unnatural war. At a time when
Great Britain was straining every nerve in the
defence of her own, and the liberties of the
world; when the bravest of her sons were fight-
ing and bleeding in so sacred a cause; when she
was spending millions of her treasure in endea-
voring to pull down one of the most formidable
and dangerous tyrants that ever disgraced the
form of man; when groaning Europe was almost
in her last gasp; when Britain alone showed an
undaunted front, basely did these assassins endea-
vor to stab her from the rear. She has turned
on them, renovated from the bloody but success-
ful struggle. Europe is happy and free, and she
now hastens justly to avenge unprovoked insults.
Show them that you are not collectively unjust;
leave that contemptible few to shift for them-
selves; let those slaves of the tyrant send an
embassy to Elba, and implore his aid; but let
every honest, upright American spurn them with
merited contempt. After the experience of
twenty-one years, can you any longer support
those brawlers for liberty, who call it freedom,
and know not when themselves are free? Be no
longer their dupes; accept of my offer; everything
I have promised in this paper I guaranty to you
on the sacred honor of a British officer.
Pensacola, the 29th of August, 1814.
Given under my hand, at my headquarters,


By Lieutenant Colonel Edward Nicholls, commanding His Britannic Majesty's forces in the Floridas. Natives of Louisiana, on you the first call is made to assist in liberating from a faithless and imbecile Government your paternal soil. Spaniards, Frenchmen, Italians, and British, whether settled or residing for a time in Louisiana, on you I also call to aid me in the just cause. The American usurpation in this country must be abolished, and the lawful owners of the soil put in possession. I am at the head of a large body of Indians, well armed, disciplined, and commanded by British officers; a good train of artillery, with every requisite, seconded by the powerful aid of a numerous British and Spanish squadron of ships and vessels of war. Be not alarmed, inhabitants of the country, at our approach; the same good faith and disinterestedness which have distinguished the conduct of Britons in Europe accompany them here. You will have no fear of litigious taxes imposed on you for the purpose of carrying on an unnatural and unjust war; your property, your laws, the peace and tranquility of your country, will be guarantied to you by men who will suffer no infringement of theirs; rest assured that these brave men only burn with Copy of a letter from Col. Nicholls to Col. Hawkins. an ardent desire of satisfaction for the wrongs they have suffered from the Americans to join you in liberating these Southern frontiers from their yoke, and drive them into the limits formerly prescribed by my Sovereign. The Indians have pledged themselves in the most solemn manner not to injure in the slightest degree the persons or properties of any but enemies to their Spanish or English fathers. A flag over every door, whether Spanish, French, or British, will be a sure protection. Nor dare any Indian put his foot on the threshold thereof, under penalty of death from his own countrymen. Not even an enemy will an Indian put to death, except resisting in arms; and as for injuring helpless women and children, the red men, by their good conduct and treatment to them, will, if it be possible, make the Americans blush for their more than inhuman conduct lately on the Escambia, and within a neutral territory.

Inhabitants of Kentucky, you have too long borne with grievous impositions. The whole brunt of the war has fallen on your brave sons; be imposed on no more; but either range your selves under the standard of your forefathers, or observe a strict neutrality. If you comply with either of these offers, whatever provisions you send down will be paid for in dollars, and the safety of the persons bringing it, as well as the free navigation of the Mississippi, guarantied to you. Men of Kentucky, let me call to your view, and, I trust, to your abhorrence, the conduct

No. 2 a.

APPALACHICHOLA, April 28, 1815.

Being absent from this post when your letter of the 19th ultimo arrived, I take this opportunity to answer it. On the subject of the negroes lately owned by the citizens of the United States, or Indians in hostility to the British forces, I have to acquaint you that, according to orders, I have sent them to the British colonies, where they are received as free settlers, and lands given to them. The newspaper you sent me is, I rather think, incorrect; at all events, an American newspaper cannot be authority for a British officer. I herewith enclose you a copy of a part of the ninth article of the treaty of peace relative to the Indians in alliance with us; they have signed and accepted it as an independent people, solemnly protesting to suspend all hostilities against the people of the United States. Within these few days I have had a complaint from the Seminoles' chief, Bowlegs. He states that a party of American horse have made an incursion into the town, killed one man, wounded another, and stolen some of his cattle; also, that they have plundered some of his people on their peaceable way from St. Augustine. May I request of you to inquire into this affair, and cause justice to be done to the murderer, and have the cattle restored? I strictly promise you that, for any mischief done by the Creeks under me, I shall do all in my power to punish the delinquents, and have the property restored.

Relations with Spain.

The chiefs here have requested me further to declare to you that, in order to prevent any disagreeable circumstances from happening in future, they have come to a determination not to permit the least intercourse between their people and those of the United States. They have, in con. sequence, ordered them to cease all communication, directly or indirectly, with the territory or citizens of the United States; and they do take this public mode of warning the citizens of the United States from entering their territory, or communicating directly or indirectly with the Creek people. They also request that you will understand their territories to be as they stood in the year 1811. In my absence, I have directed First Lieutenant William Hambly, the head interpreter, to communicate with you on any point relative to the Creeks; and I have given him my most positive orders that he shall at all times do his best to keep peace and good neighborhood between the Creeks and your citizens.

I am, sir, your very humble servant,

EDWARD NICHOLLS, Com'g British forces in Florida.

No. 2 b.

[Paper enclosed in the above letter.] Part of the ninth article of the treaty of peace between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, relative to the Indians who have been in alliance with Great Britain, and in hostility with the U. States. The United States of America engage to put an end, immediately after the ratification of the present treaty, to hostilities with all the tribes or nations of Indians with whom they may be at war at the time of such ratification, and forthwith to restore such tribes or nations, respectively, all the possessions, rights, and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to in 1811, previous to such hostilities: Provided always, That such tribes or nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against the United States of America, their citizens and subjects, upon the ratification of the present treaty being notified to such tribes or nations, and shall so desist accordingly.

We, the undersigned, chiefs of the Muscogee nation, declared by His Britannic Majesty to be a free and independent people, do, in the name of the said nation, agree to the ninth article of the treaty of peace between His Britannic Majesty and the United States; and we do further declare that we have given most strict and positive orders to all our people that they desist from hostilities of every kind against the citizens or subjects of the United States.

Given under our hands at the British fort on the Appalachicola, the 2d day of April, 1815. HEPOAETH MEICO, his X mark. CAPPACHIMICO, his X mark. HOPOY MEICO, T. P., his X mark.


ED. NICHOLLS, Lt. Col. Com'g Indians. R. BANKES, Com'g H. M. Brig Forward. G. WOODBINE, Capt. 1st. brig. R. C. M. WM. HAMBLY, Lt., and head interpreter.

I certify, on honor, that this is a true copy of the original. ELI LESTER,

U. S. Storekeeper, Fort Lawrence.

No. 3.

Colonel Nicholls to Colonel Hawkins.
May 12, 1815.

In my letter to you of the 28th ultimo, I requested you would be so good as to make inquiry into the murder and robberies committed on the Seminoles belonging to the chief called Bowlegs; at the same time declaring my determination of punishing, with the utmost rigor of the law, any one of our side who broke it. Of this a melancholy proof has been given, in the execution of an Indian of the Ataphalgo town, by Hothly Poya Tustunnuggee, chief of Ockmulgees, who found him driving off a gang of cattle belonging to your citizens; and for which act of justice I have given him double presents, and a chief's gun, in the open square before the whole of the chiefs, and highly extolled him. These, sir, are the steps I am daily taking to keep the peace with sincerity; but I am sorry to say the same line is not taken on your side, nor have you written to say what steps you are taking, or intend to take, to secure this mutual good. Since the last complaint from Bowlegs, I have had another from him, to say your citizens have again attacked and murdered two of his people; that they had stolen a gang of his cattle, but that he had succeeded in regaining them.

I asked him what proof they had of their being killed. They said they had found their bloody clothes in the American camp, which was hastily evacuated on their approach. Now, sir, if these enormities are suffered to be carried on in a Christian country, what are you to expect by showing such an example to the uncultivated native of the woods? (for savage I will not call them-their conduct entitles them to a better epithet.) I have, however, ordered them to stand on the defensive, and have sent them a large supply of arms and ammunition, and told them to put to death without mercy, any one molesting them; but at all times to be careful and not put a foot over the American line; in the mean time, that I should complain to you, that I was convinced you would do your best to curb such infamous conduct; also, that those people who did such deeds would, I was convinced, be disowned by the Government of the United States, and severely punished. They have given their consent to await your answer before they take revenge; but, sir, they are impatient for it, and, well armed as the whole nation now is, and stored with ammunition and provisions, having a stronghold to retire upon in case of a superior force appearing, picture to yourself, sir, the miseries that may be suffered by good and innocent citizens on your frontiers, and I am sure you will lend me your best aid in keeping the bad spirits in subjection. Yesterday, in a full assem

Relations with Spain.

bly of the chiefs, I got them to pass a law for
four resolute chiefs to be appointed in different
parts of the nation, something in the character of
our sheriffs, for the purpose of inflicting condign
punishment on such people as broke the law; and
I will say this much for them, that I never saw
men execute laws better than they do. I am
also desired to say to you, by the chiefs, that they
do not find that your citizens are evacuating their
lands, according to the ninth article of the treaty
of peace, but that they were fresh provisioning
the forts. This point, sir, I beg of you to look
into. They also request me to inform you that
they have signed a treaty of offensive and de-
fensive alliance with Great Britain, as well as
one of commerce and navigation, which, as soon
as it is ratified at home, you shall be made more
fully acquainted with.

I am, sir, your very humble servant,
Com'g H. B. M. forces, Creek nation.

Commanding at Fort Hawkins.

No. 4.

Colonel Hawkins to Colonel Nicholls.

tile to the United States, is an erroneous one, as there is not one Creek who has negroes so situated. The Creek chiefs (to use a courtly phrase) have just cause, at least, to say this is an "unjustifiable aggression." You having acted by orders, and it being now beyond your control, a remedy must and will be sought for elsewhere.

The documents you enclose, signed by three chiefs, purporting to be the agreement of the Muscogee nation to the ninth article of the treaty of peace, I shall lay before the chiefs of the nation, at a convention soon to be held at Coweta, and send you the result of their deliberations on it. The result of my reflections, with due deference, I give you, as on the envelope it purports to be on his Britannic Majesty's service. It is within my knowledge that one of the chiefs is a Seminole of East Florida, and has never resided in the United States; and that neither of the three has ever attended the national councils of the Creeks, or is in any way a part of their executive government. If the four witnesses had signed it as principals, and the three chiefs as witnesses, it would have been entitled to equal respect from me.* Could you be serious in communicating such a nullity with their mock determination not to permit the least intercourse between their people (meaning the Creek nation) and those of the United States? &c. As to the territory of the Seminoles, it being out of the United States, it is an affair between them and the Government of Spain; and that of the Creeks is as fixed and guarantied in their treaty stipulations with the States. I do not know that any occurrences can happen which will render it necessary for me to communicate with Lieutenant William Hambly. If by doing so I can render acts of kindness to Indians or others, it would afford me pleasure; but, under present impressions, the fifth article of the treaty of friendship, limits, and navigation between the United States and the King of Spain will govern me in all cases respecting the Indians in the two Floridas.

I am, with due regard, sir, your ob❜dt servant,

CREEK AGENCY, May 24, 1815. On the 18th I had the pleasure to receive your communication of the 28th ultimo. I expected, from the tenor of your orders, which I conveyed to you from Admirals Cochrane and Cockburn, on the 19th of March, that you had left the Floridas ere this with the British troops under your command, and that Spain and the United States would have no more of British interference in the management of their Indian affairs. The newspaper I sent you was one in which the official acts of our Government are published. There could be no motive for falsification; your deeming it incorrect must have proceeded from a knowledge that your conduct, in relation to the negroes, was at variance with it. It would have been acceptable in the communication relative to the disposition of "the negroes taken from the citizens of the United States, or Indians in hostility to the British," to have received the number, particularly belonging to the latter. As peace is restored between Great Britain and the United States, I feel a reluctance to put on paper anything that may have the tendency to tarnish the British character, or that of any officer of its Government; but I owe it to the occasion to state the declaration of Captain Henry, that "the English are sent out by their great father and King to restore his Indian people to their lands, and we are desired by him not to take away their negroes, unless they freely give them to us, or sell them for money," is violated. It is proper, also, to add, I did not enrol any Indians into the service of the United States until after the negroes of Marshall, Stedham, and Kinnard, three half-breeds, were taken from them, by force or stratagem, by British officers. Your restriction, of the Captain's declaration, to negroes belonging to Indians friendly to Great Britain, if by that is meant Indians hos-Henry. 15th CoN. 2d SESS.-62

No. 5.

Colonel Hawkins to Colonel Nicholls.


CREEK AGENCY, May 28, 1815.

On the 24th I wrote to you in reply to yours of the 28th ultimo, and since have had the pleasure to receive yours of the 12th. I had received from Bowlegs, direct, a complaint of an outrage committed by the people of Georgia, who had gone into East Florida, driven off his cattle, and destroyed his property." I have sent this complaint to the Governor of Georgia, who will readily cooperate with the officers of the General Government to cause justice to be done to the injured, if the complaint is true. The laws of the United States provide completely for the protection of

The witnesses, we believe, were Colonel Nicholls, Captain Woodbine, Lieutenant Hambly, and Captain

« AnteriorContinuar »