Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

. (page 61 of 76)
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tons. It was not com



ing an eddy. The power may be reversed sold at auction in 1880.
to propel her either way. Said power is JOHN.
connected to upright levers, to make hori-
zontal strokes alternately." This proj-



Flores, the westernmost island of the

ect was abandoned, and the battery was Azores; discovered in 1439.


Florida, the twenty-seventh State ad
mitted into the Union ; received its name
from its discoverer in 1512 (see PONCE DE
LEON ) . It was visited by Vasquez, anoth
er Spaniard, in 1520. It is believed by
some that Verrazani saw its coasts in
1524 ; and the same year a Spaniard named
De Geray visited it. Its conquest was un
dertaken by Narvaez, in 1528, and by De
CABEZA DE VACA ( q. v. ) , with several
hundred young men from rich and noble
families of Spain landed at Tampa Bay,


April 14, 1528, taking possession of the
country for the King of Spain. In August
they had reached St. Mark s at Appopodree
Bay, but the ships they expected had not
yet arrived. They made boats by Septem
ber 2, on which they embarked and sailed
along shore to the Mississippi. All the
company excepting Cabeza de Vaca and
three others perished. In 1549, Louis Can-
cella endeavored to establish a mission in
Florida but was driven away by the Ind
ians, who killed most of the priests.
Twenty-six Huguenots under John Ribault
had made a settlement at Port Royal, but
removed to the mouth of St. John s River

in Florida, where they were soon rein
forced by several hundred Huguenots with
their families. They erected a fort which
they named Fort Carolina. Philip Melen-
dez with 2,500 men reached the coast of
Florida on St. Augustine s day, and march
ed against the Huguenot settlement.
Ribault s vessels were wrecked, and Melen-
clez attacked the fort, captured it and
massacred 900 men, women, and children.
Upon the ruins of the fort Melendez rear
ed a cross with this inscription: "Not
as to Frenchmen, but as Lutherans."
When the news of the massacre reached
France, Dominic de Gourges determined
to avenge the same, and with 150 men sail
ed for Florida, captured the fort on the St.
John s River, and hanged the entire gar
rison, having affixed this inscription above
them : " Not as to Spaniards, but as
murderers." Being too weak to attack
St. Augustine, Gourges returned to

The city of St. Augustine was founded
in 1565, and was captured by Sir Francis
Drake in 1586. The domain of Florida,
in those times, extended indefinitely west
ward, and included Louisiana. La Salle
visited the western portion in 1G82, and
in 1696 Pensacola was settled by Span

At the beginning of the eighteenth
century the English in the Carolinas at
tacked the Spaniards at St. Augustine ;
and, subsequently, the Georgians, under
Oglethorpe, made war upon them. By
the treaty of Paris, in 1763, Florida was
exchanged by the Spaniards, with Great
Britain, for Cuba, which had then re
cently been conquered by England. Soon
afterwards, they divided the territory
into east and west Florida, the Ap-
palachicola River being the boundary
line. Natives of Greece, Italy, and Mi
norca were induced to settle there, at a
place called New Smyrna, about 60 miles
south of St. Augustine, to the number of



1,500, where they engaged in the cultiva
tion of indigo and the sugar-cane; but,
becoming dissatisfied with their employ
ers, they removed to St. Augustine. Dur
ing the Revolutionary War the trade of
the Southern colonies was seriously in
terfered with by pirates fitted out in
Florida, and the British incited the Ind
ians in that region to make war on the
Americans. The Spaniards invaded west
Florida, and captured the garrison at
Baton Rouge, in 1779; and in May, 1781,
they seized Pensacola. By the treaty of
1783, Florida was retroceded to Spain, and
the western boundary was defined, when a
greater part of the inhabitants emigrated
to the United States. When, in 1803,
Louisiana was ceded to the United States
by France, it was declared to be ceded
with the same extent that it had in the
hands of Spain, and as it had been ceded
by Spain to France. This gave the

United States a claim to the country west
of the Perdido River, and the government
took possession of it in 1811. Some irri
tation ensued. In the war with Great
Britain (1812), the Spanish authorities
at Pensacola favored the English. An
expedition against the Americans having
been fitted out there, General Jackson
captured that town. Again, in 1818, it
was captured by Jackson, but subsequent
ly returned to Spain.

Florida was purchased from Spain
by the United States in 1819, and was
surrendered to the latter in July,
1821. Emigration then began to flow
into the Territory, in spite of many
obstacles. In 1835 a distressing warfare
broke out between the fierce SEMI-
NOLE INDIANS (q. v.) , who inhabited some
of the better portions of Florida, and
the government of the United States,
and continued until 1842, when the Ind-




EARLY INDIAN LIFE IN FLORIDA. (From an old print.)

ians were subdued, though not thoroughly

Florida was admitted into the Union
as a State on March 8, 1845. Inhabitants
of the State joined in the war against
the government, a secession ordinance
having been passed Jan. 10, 1801, by a
convention assembled on the 3d. Forts
and arsenals and the navy-yard at Pensa-
cola were seized by the Confederates.
The State authorities continued hostili
ties until the close of the war. On July
13, 18G5, William Marvin was appointed
provisional governor of the State, and on
Oct. 28 a State convention, held at Talla
hassee, repealed the ordinance of seces
sion. The civil authority was transferred
by the national government to the pro
visional State officers in January, 1860,
and, under the reorganization measures
of Congress, Florida was made a part
of the 3d Military District, in 1807. A
new constitution was ratified by the peo
ple in May, 1808, and, after the adoption

of the Fourteenth Amendment to the na
tional Constitution, on June 14, Florida
was recognized as a reorganized State of
the Union. The government was trans
ferred to the State officers on July 4. In
1899 the assessed (full cash value) valu
ation of taxable property was $93,527,353,
and in 1900 the total bonded debt was
$1,275,000, of which all excepting
,$322,500 was held in various State
funds. The population in 1890 was
391,422; in 1900, 528,542.

Don Tristan de Luna sailed from Vera
Cruz, Mexico, Aug. 14, 1559, with 1,500
soldiers, many zealous friars who wished
to convert the heathen, and many women
and children, families of the soldiers. He
landed near the site of Pensacola, and a
week afterwards a terrible storm de
stroyed all his vessels and strewed the
shores with their fragments. He sent an
exploring party into the interior. They
travelled forty days through a barren and
almost uninhabited country, and found a



deserted Indian village, but not a trace resist it. He penetrated Florida with a
of the wealth with which it was supposed small force and captured some outposts
Florida abounded. Constructing a vessel early in 1740; and in May he marched
sufficient to bear messengers to the viceroy towards St. Augustine with 600 regular
of Mexico, De Luna sent them to ask for troops, 400 Carolina militia, and a large
aid to return. Two vessels were sent body of friendly Indians. With these he
by the viceroy, and, two years after stood before St. Augustine in June, after
his departure, De Luna returned to capturing two forts, and demanded the
Mexico. instant surrender of the post. It was re-

When Oglethorpe returned to Georgia fused, and Oglethorpe determined to
from England (1736) he discovered a hos- starve the garrison by a close investment.
tile feeling among the Spaniards at St. The town was surrendered, and a small
Augustine. They had tried to incite the squadron blockaded the harbor. Swift-
Indians against the new settlements, and sailing galleys ran the weak blockade and
also to procure the assassination of Ogle- supplied the fort. Oglethorpe had no can-
thorpe. The latter, not fairly prepared non and could not breach the walls. In
to resist an invasion, sent a messenger to the heats of summer malaria invaded his
St. Augustine to invite the Spanish com- camp, the siege was raised, and he re-
mandant to a friendly conference. He ex- turned to Savannah. Hostilities were
plored some of the coast islands and pre- then suspen. ^ for about two years,
pared for fortification. His messenger did In the sumi.^r of 1776 a citizen of
not return, and he proceeded to secure Georgia visited General Charles Lee at
possession of the country so far as its Charleston and persuaded him that St.
defined boundary permitted him. His Augustine could easily be taken. The
hostile preparations made the Spaniards man was a stranger, but, without further

inquiry, Lee an
nounced to the Con
tinental troops
under his command
that he had planned
for them a safe,
sure, and remunera
tive expedition, of
which the very large
booty would be all
i heir own. Calling
it a secret, he let
everybody know its
destination. With
out adequate prep
aration, without a
field-piece or a medi
cine-chest, he hastily
marched off the Vir
ginia and North
Carolina troops, in
the second week in
August, to the ma
larious regions of
Georgia. By his
order, Howe, of

vigilant, and even threaten war; and North Carolina, and Moultrie, of South
when, in 1739, there was war between Eng- Carolina, soon followed. About 460 men
land and Spain, he determined to strike from South Carolina were sent to Savannah
the Spaniards at St. Augustine a heavy by water, with two field-pieces; and on
blow before they were fully prepared to the 18th, Lee, after reviewing the collected





troops, sent the Virginians and a portion itia, with whom they skirmished. In one
of the South Carolinians to Sunbury. of these General Scriven, who commanded
The fever made sad havoc among them, the Americans, was mortally wounded.
and fourteen or fifteen men were buried At near Ogeechee Ferry the invaders were
daily. Then Lee
sought to shift
from himself to
Moultrie the fur
ther conduct of
the expedition, for
he saw it must be
disastrous. Moul
trie warned him
that no available
resources which
would render suc
cess possible had
been provided, and
the wretched ex
pedition was then
abandoned. For
tunately for his
reputation Lee was
ordered North
early in Septem
ber and joined Washington on Harlem repulsed by General Elbert with 200 Con-
Heights. See LEE, CHARLES. tinental soldiers. Hearing of the repulse

Tory refugees from Georgia acquired at Sunbury, they also retreated,
considerable influence over the Creek Ind- Galvez, the Spanish governor of New
ians, and from east Florida, especially Orleans, took measures in 1779 to estab-
from St. Augustine, made predatory ex- lish the claim of Spain to the territory
cursions among their former neighbors, east of the Mississippi. He invaded west
Gen. Robert Howe, commanding the South- Florida with 1,400 men, Spanish regulars,
ern Department, in 1778, was ordered from American volunteers, and colored people.
Charleston to Savannah to protect the He took Fort Bute, at Pass Manshac
Georgians and attack St. Augustine. A (September, 1779), and then went against
considerable body of troops led by Howe, Baton Rouge, where the British had 400
and accompanied by General Houstoun, of regulars and 100 militia. The post speed-
Georgia, penetrated as far as the St. ily surrendered, as did also Fort Pan-
Mary s River, where sickness, loss of mure, recently built at Natchez. A few
draught-horses, and disputes about com- months later he captured Mobile, leaving
maud checked the expedition and caused Pensacola the only port of west Florida
it to be abandoned. The refugees in Flor- in possession of the British. On May 9,
ida retaliated by an invasion in their turn, in the following year, Don Galvez took

In the summer of that year two bodies possession of Pensacola, capturing or driv-
of armed men. composed of regulars and ing away the British there, and soon af-
refugees, made a rapid incursion into terwards completed the conquest of the
Georgia from east Florida one in boats whole of west Florida,
through the inland navigation, the other The success of Napoleon s arms in
overland by way of the Altamaha River. Spain and the impending peril to the
The first party advanced to Sunbury and Spanish monarchy gave occasion for revo-
summoned the fort to surrender. Colonel lutionary movements in the Spanish prov-
Mclntosh, its commander, replied, " Come ince of west Florida bordering on the
and take it." The enterprise was aban- Mississippi early in 1810. That region
doned. The other corps pushed on towards undoubtedly belonged to the United States
Savannah, but was met by about 100 mil- a? a part of Louisiana bought from the



French, but Spain had refused to relin- session of Congress in 1810-11, to secure

quish it. The inhabitants were mostly that province should it be offered to the

of British or American birth. Early in United States, stirred up an insurrection

the autumn of 1810 they seized the fort there. AMELIA ISLAND (q. v.) , lying a

at Baton Rouge, met in convention, and little below OTe dividing line between

proclaimed themselves independent, adopt- Georgia and Florida, was chosen for a

ing a single star for their flag, as the base of operations. The fine harbor of its

Texans did in 183G. There were some con- capital, Fernandina, was a place of great

flicts between the revolutionists and ad- resort for smugglers during the days of

herents of the Spanish connection, and the embargo, and, as neutral ground,

an attack upon the insurgents seemed im- might be made a dangerous place. The

minent from the Spanish garrison at Mo- possession of the island and harbor was

bile. Through Holmes, governor of the therefore important to the Americans, and

Mississippi Territory, the revolutionists a sought-for pretext for seizing it was

applied to the United States for recogni-

found. The Florida insurgents

tion and aid. They claimed all the un- planted the standard of revolt, March,
located lands in the domain, pardon for 1812, on the bluff opposite the town of St.
all deserters from the United States army Mary, on the border line. Some United
(of whom there were many among them), States gunboats under Commodore Camp-
on d an immediate loan of $100,000. bell were in the St. Mary s River, and
Instead of complying with these require- Mathews had some United States troops
ments, the President issued a proclama- at his command near. The insurgents,
tion for taking possession of the east bank 220 in number, sent a flag ot truce, March
of the Mississippi, an act which had been 17, to Fernandina, demanding the sur-
delayed because of conciliatory views tow- render of the town and island. About
ards Spain. Claiborne, governor of the the same time the American gunboats ap-
Orleans Territory, then in Washington, peared there. The authorities bowed in
was sent in haste to take possession, submission, and General Mathews, assum-
authorized, in case of resistance, to call ing the character of a protector, took
upon the regular troops stationed on the possession of the place in the name of the
Mississippi, and upon the militia of the United States. At the same time the corn-
two adjoining Territories. It was not modore assured the Spanish governor that
necessary. Soon after this movement at the gunboats were there only for aid and
Baton Rouge a man named Kemper, who protection to a large portion of the popu-
purported to act under the Florida in- lation, who thought proper to declare
surgents, approached Mobile, with some themselves independent,
followers, to attempt the capture of the On the 19th the town was formally
garrison. He was repulsed; but the given up to the United States authorities;
alarmed Spanish governor wrote to the a custom-house was established ; the float-
American authorities that if he were not ing property in the harbor was considered
speedily reinforced he should be disposed under the protection of the United States
to treat for the transfer of the entire flag, and smuggling ceased. The insur-
province. Congress passed an act author- gent band, swelled to 800 by reinforce-
izing the President to take possession of ments from Georgia, and accompanied by
both east and west Florida to prevent troops furnished by General Mathews, be
lts falling into the hands of another for- sieged the Spanish garrison at St. Augus-
eign power. Thus it might be held sub- tine, for it was feared the British might
ject to future peaceful negotiations with help the Spaniards in recovering what
Spain. Florida, it will be remembered, they had lost in the territory. The United
was divided into two provinces, east and States government would not countenance
west. The boundary-line was the Perdido this kind of filibustering, and Mathews
River, east of Mobile Bay. The Georgians was superseded as commissioner, April 10,
coveted east Florida, and in the spring of 1812, by Governor Mitchell, of Georgia.
1812 Brig.-Gen. George Mathews, of the Mitchell, professing to believe Congress
Georgia militia, who had been appointed would sanction Matlicws s proceedings,
sv- commissioner, under an act of a secret made no change in policy. The House of



Representatives did actually pass a bill,
in secret session, June 21, authorizing the
President to take possession of east Flor
ida. The Senate rejected it, for it would
have been unwise to quarrel with Spain at
the moment when war was about to be de
clared against Great Britain.
Jackson s invasion of Florida and his
capture of Pensacola caused much politi
cal debate in and out of Congress. By
some he was much censured, by others
praised. The United States government

the affairs of a foreign nation, must take
the consequences. Secretary Adams and
the Spanish minister, Don Oni_s. had been
in correspondence for some time concern
ing the settlement of the Florida question
and the western boundary of the United
States next to the Spanish possessions.
Finally, pending discussion in Congress on
Jackson s vigorous proceedings in Florida,
the Spanish minister, under new instruc
tions from horii-2, signed a treaty, Feb.
22, 1819, for the cession of Florida, on the


upheld him, and the Secretary of State,
John Q. Adams, made an able plea of
justification, on the ground of the well-
known interference of the Spanish au
thorities in Florida in American affairs,
and the giving of shelter to British sub
jects inciting the Indians to make war.
It was thought the British govern
ment would take notice of the summary
execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister
(see SKMFNOLK WAK) ; but it took the
ground that British subjects, meddling in

extinction of the various American claims
for spoliation, for the satisfaction of
which the United States agreed to pay to
the claimants $5,000,000. The Louisiana
boundary, as fixed by the treaty, was a
compromise between the respective offers
heretofore made, though leaning a good
deal towards the American side. It was
agreed that the Sabine to lat. 33 N.,
thence a north meridian line to the Red
River, the course of that river to long.
100 W., thence north by that meridian to



the Arkansas River to its head and to vote of 62 against 7. In its preamble
lat. 42 N., and along that degree to the it was declared that " all hopes of pre-
Pacific Ocean, should be the boundary be- serving the Union upon terms consistent
tween the possessions of the United States with the safety and honor of the slave-
and Spain. The Florida treaty was im- holding States " had been " fully dissi-
mediately ratified by the United States pa ted." It was further declared that by
Senate, and, in expectation of a speedy the ordinance Florida had withdrawn
ratification by Spain, an act was passed from the Union and become "a sovereign
to authorize the President to take pos- and independent nation." On the follow-
session of the newly ceded territory. But ing day the ordinance was signed, while
there was great delay in the Spanish rati- bells rang and cannon thundered to sig-
fication. It did not take place until early i>ify the popular joy. The news was re
in 1821. The ratified treaty was received coived by the Florida representatives in
by the President in February. Congress at Washington; but, notwith-

Before the Florida ordinance of se- standing the State had withdrawn from
cession was passed Florida troops seized, the Union, they remained in their seats,
Jan. 6, 1861, the Chattahoochee arsenal, for reasons given in a letter to Joseph
with 500,000 rounds of musket cartridges, Finnegan, written by Senator David L.
300,000 rifle cartridges, and 50,000 Ibs. Yulee from his desk in the Senate cham-
of gunpowder. They also took possession ber. " It seemed to be the opinion," he
of Fort Marion, at St. Augustine, formerly said, " that if we left here, force, loan,
the Castle of St. Mark, which was built and volunteer bills might be passed,
by the Spaniards more than 100 years which would put Mr. Lincoln in imme-
before. It contained an arsenal. On the diate condition for hostilities; whereas,
15th they seized the United States coast by remaining in our places until the 4th
survey schooner F. W. Dana, and appro- of March, it is thought we can keep the
priated it to their own use. The Chat- hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable
tahoochee arsenal was in charge of the the Republicans from effecting any legis-
courageous Sergeant Powell and three lation which will strengthen the hands
men. He said, " Five minutes ago I was of: the incoming administration." Sen-
in command of this arsenal, but in conse- ators from other States wrote similar
quence of the weakness of my command, letters under their official franks. The
I am obliged to surrender. ... If I convention was addressed by L. W.
had force equal to, or half the strength of Spratt, of South Carolina, an eminent
yours, I ll be d d if you* would have advocate for reopening the African slave-
entered that gate until you had passed trade. Delegates were appointed to a
over my dead body. You see that I have general convention to assemble at Mont-
but three men. I now consider myself a gomery, Ala., and other measures were
prisoner of war. Take my sword, Captain taken to secure the sovereignty of Flor-
Jones." ida. The legislature authorized the

Anxious to establish an independent emission of treasury notes to the amount
empire on the borders of the Gulf of of $500,000, and defined the crime of
Mexico, Florida politicians met in con- treason against the State to be, in one
vention early in January, 1861, at Talla- form, the holding of office under the na-
hassee, the State capital. Colonel Petit tional government in case of actual col-
was chosen chairman of the convention, lision between the State and government
and Bishop Rutledge invoked the blessing troops, punishable with death. The gov-
of the Almighty upon the acts they were ernor of the State (Perry) had previously
about to perform. The members num- made arrangements to seize the United
bered sixty-nine, and about one-third of States forts, navy-yard, and other govern-
them were " Co-operationists " (see Mis- ment property in Florida.
STSSIPPI). The legislature of Florida, In the early part of the Civil War the
fully prepared to co-operate with the con- national military and naval forces under
vention, had convened at the same place General Wright and Commodore Dupont
on the 5th. On the 10th the convention made easy conquests on the coast of
adopted an ordinance of secession, by a Florida. In February, 1862, they capt-



ured Fort Clinch, on Amelia Island, which
the Confederates had seized, and drove the
Confederates from Fernandina. Other
posts were speedily abandoned, and a flotil
la of gunboats, under Lieut. T. H. Stevens,
went up the St. John s River, and capt
ured Jacksonville, March 11. St. Au
gustine was taken possession of about the
same time by Commander C. R. P. Rogers,
and the alarmed Confederates abandoned

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 61 of 76)