Samuel Gardner Drake.

The aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index online

. (page 81 of 131)
Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 81 of 131)
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narration, for be it remembered, that we protest against taking human life
under any circumstances whatever, and firmly believe that a community is
vastly more injured than benefited by the practice of that law of retaliating
murder with murder.

It is matter of historical record, that the Ridges, Boudinot, Bell, Rogers,
and others, who signed the treaty of December, 1835, very suddenly changed
their minds in respect to the policy of removal. They were as forward as
Mr. Ross, or any of that party, in protesting against the acts of Georgia, and
as much opposed to making any treaty of sale of their country, up to the
time of a certain mission of Schermerhorn, as any of the nation. Therefore
it is not strange that the Ross party were surprised at their suddenly coming
out and advocating an opposite course. They were immediately accused of
bribery and corruption, and whether true or not, the party that remained
firm, believed them guilty; and the most we can say concerning their con-
duct is, there were strong grounds of suspicion against them.

Our information of the massacre of Ridge and others is very indirect,
though circumstantial, and is as follows: When it became known to Ross
that the lives of certain chiefs were to be taken, he used all the means at his
command to prevent it. But a party collected, and on Saturday, the 2^d of
June, the executioners, to the number of about forty, went to the house of
John Ridge early in the morning, before he was up, and took him from his
bed, and murdered him in a manner too savage to relate ; treating his lifeless
body with all the indignity of ancient barbarians. They next proceeded in
pursuit of Major Ridge, his father, who had the day before set out to visit
some friends in Van Buren, Arkansas. He was overtaken near the foot of
Boston Mountain, about 35 miles from his place of destination, and there shot
from his horse, and died without hardly knowing why he had been thus
savagely dealt with. Thus fell Major Ridge in the sixty-fifth year of his age,
and his son at the age of thirty-seven. Of the circumstances of the death
of Boudinot, Col. Bell, and two or three others, we are not informed.


Major Ridge once executed a chief for an act of much more doubtful
atrocity than that for which he now fell. In 180fi, the noted orator DOUBLE-
HEAD was charged, with others, with the important business of making a
treaty, at Tellico, with the United States, for a tract of land to accommodate
the seat of government of Tennessee, and for "the first island in the Ten-
nessee, above the mouth of Clinch." In this business, Chuquacuttague, or
Doublehiad, was charged with bribery; yet nothing was clone about it by
the nation, and he went unpunished; but in 1817 he was again guilty, and
was followed by Major Ridge and others, and in the tavern of one M'lutosii,
in the evening, was fallen upon and shot by the hand of Ridge. He escaped
with a desperate wound, and was for a short time secreted in a neighboring
dwelling, but his pursuers found him, and an Indian named Saunders, one of
Ridge's company, sunk his tomahawk into his head, which finished the exe-
cution. This was near the agency in Calhoun. Doublehead had himself
killed a man in his way thither, for charging him with the crime for which
he suffered. This execution is mentioned to show that Ridge was well
aware that he had forfeited his life by what he had done at New Echota.


XVII. /^


THE SEMI.VOI-E WAR RESUMED Further account of the causes of the war Nu-
merous cases of gross imposition Bad conduct of government officers A new
treatij of removal urged 4 deputation visits the ii'cst Their report Another treaty
Speeches of the chiefs Examination of the policy of the government, relative to
a removal of the Indians Character of borderers Review of the manner treaties
of sale icere procured The president angry at the Indians presumption Barbarous
treatment of thrte Mickasaukies.

" Let them come with the pipe ; we will tread it to dust,
And our arrows of war sh;ill ne'er moulder with rust;
L"t them come with their hosts ; to the desert we'll flee,
And the drought and the famine our helpers shall be." FIRE.

THE events of the Seminole war have astonished all to whom the knowl-
edge of them has extended. And the astonishment has been as varied as
the wilds of Florida are represented, by those whose misfortune it has been
to serve there against their fellow-men. As this war progressed, we wrote
down its events in detail, as we have long been wont to do of all occurrences
relating to the Indians, but from the conflicting statements, purporting to be
from the theatre of their enactment, great difficulty was experienced in
arriving at facts and dates.

Nobody could have been much surprised that a war in Florida should
break out, if they were at all acquainted with the circumstances which caused
it, nor could they have been much surprised, that a hundred men in the midst
of the Indian country should have been beset and slain, leaving none to carry
the tidings of such disaster. Our only surprise is, that the work had not
been done in a more savage manner; that even one could escape by feigning
death; and that a'monument only of ashes of the slain had riot marked the
place where they fell. These things astonish us, not the war itself!

We had supposed, like every body else, that there could be but a single
campaign, when it was known that the Indians had resisted in good earnest;
and when we consider the power of the United States set against a single
corner of a territory surrounded with every advantage for. warlike operations,
we could form no other conclusion but that the poor Indians would be
crushed almost at a single blow; and it was not until two distinguished
generals had shown that the Seminole was not to be despised, that the war
with him became matter of serious consideration at the seat of government.
But of these affairs we have already said as much as was necessary.

In bringing down the events of this war to its conclusion, circumstances
make it necessary to detail some affairs from the beginning of it, which we



have not noticed ; having closed our accoiiDt in the summer of 1830, many
:acT< ;,iid documents have since conn- to liand \vliicli could not then he
known, and which throw much new light on the subject, as well as furnish
much new and important matter.*

( )f tin- ori-in of the late Seminole war, such facts only have been given an
were known to the writer at the earliest period of it. \\e have m>w addi-
tional sources laid open, and shall proceed, in tin- next place, to draw from

It would be tedious to relate, and irksoiii'- to read, the half of u hat miirht
be gathered of the robberies and enormities committed by infamous white
villains in Jndian borders: and it is equally insufferable to read of the manner
that JUSTICE is there trodden under toot by l>odies bearing the name of court.
Law is all on the side of the white man, and consequently justice is no
dweller in such bodies. Indians cannot testily in cases to which they are a
party, and they are obliged to submit to whatever decision their learned
guardians pronounee.f

One Col. Humphreys was for some time Indian agent in Florida. In con-
sequence of this man's vociferous avowal of the right of territorial jurisdic-
tion over the Indians, he was elected a member of the legislative council of
Florida. Thus much for uming that negro claims should be settled in the

*~ o o

territory, instead of their being referred to the decision of the government of
the United States. Now such suits could be disposed of with perfect ease,
because no Indian could have a hearing except against his own people. Some
notorious scoundrel had sold negroes to Col. Humphreys, which belonged to
a Seminole woman named Cidekeeckowa. He bought them after application
had been made to him as agent, by their owner, tor their recovery, of that
very villain ! Nevertheless, he promised to exert himself for their restoration.
He afterwards said he bought them to prevent their being sent to Charleston.
Some of the negroes that were young when the transfer took place, having
grown old enough to be made to understand the nature of the case, went
back voluntarily to their real mistress ; and the double-dealer Humphreys had
the audacity to apply to agent Thompson for his interference that he might
have them again. Thompson had independence and honesty enough not to
comply, the tacts being so strong in favor of Culekeeckowa, but referred Hum-
vhreys, together with the facts in the case, to the decision of government

Another man was employed by a certain Indian woman for the recovery
of negroes. She gave him, as he told her, a power of attorney for that pur-
pose. She soon found that, instead of a power of attorney, she had given
him a bill of sale of all her negroes !!!!!!!

On another occasion, the chief Micanopy requested an individual to draw a
form of writing for him, which soon alter proved to be a conveyance of a
valuable tract of land !

A black, named Abraham, who has figured largely in the war, was basely
robbed by one of the white border fraternity. The fellow owed Abraham a
large amount of money, got his receipt for it under pretence that it was a
certificate that he owed him, which it was necessary should be sent to Wash-
ington before he could pay him ! These are a few of the abominations daily
practised by individuals ; and we shall now pass to others, in which the gov-
ernment itself becomes implicated.

We have spoken plainly of the treaty of Paine's Landing, in the early part
of our history of this war ; but as new facts have since come to our knowl-
edge, it will be necessary to extend the examination here. It must be re-

* There were published in the year 1836 three histories of the Florida war. The first was
by Mr. Cohen, the second by a late " staff officer," and the third by " a lieutenant of the left
wing-.' 7 All three of them seem to be very well done, but that by Mr. W. Potter. (" a late
staff officer/") if I mistake not the gentleman, is far the most valuable to the historian. To
these works I gladly recur, and tender here the authors my acknowledgments for the use I
have made of the facts contained in their pages. None of them had appeared when my work
was published, and hence I could not profit by them in my previous editions. But for these
last rive years of the war I have had to gather my materials from the "thousand and one' 7
reports of the day.

t Since writing the above, I have read Gen. Thompson's speech to the Indians at a council
iu Oct. 183J-. in which he plainly holds the same language to them.


membered that by the treaty of Camp Moultrie, (18 September, 1823,) the
Seminoles had secured to them an annuity of $5,000 for 20 years, and they
were to remove within certain boundaries described by the treaty, embracing
a tract of land of near 5,000,000 acres. No sooner had they removed within
this tract, than white men intruded themselves among them, and committed
violence on the persons of several Indians. Nor is this an Indian story ; it
was so represented by the agent to Gov. Duval, and without the least reason
(or the outrage. What was done ? Why, the agent said he had left a notice
with a magistrate to have the offenders warned off of ike. reservation in one day
from the time the notice should be served. Thus, instead of seizing at once
upon the villains, and bringing them to justice, they are mildly ordered off of
the Indians' lands in one day ! What right had such depredators to any better
treatment than is afforded by the tomahawk and scalping-knife ? Yet we hear
of no retaliation by the Indians. They had no newspapers in which to circu-
late accounts of their wrongs and sufferings; these are the magnifying glasses
of the bad white men.

At the same time, petition after petition was got up among the white in-
habitants of Florida, and sent in to the president of the United States, setting
ibrth the wrongs they were daily suffering from the Indians in various shapes,
and urging an earlier removal than the former treaty specified. We do not
presume but that Indians did sometimes infringe upon their white neighbors,
and were often found huntinir and fishing 1 beyond the line of the treaty. This


is not denied ; and the affair at Hogtown in Alachua county, already men-

V ' */

tioned, is an instance. Whether these petitions began to flow in before Gen.
Jackson was president, we are not informed ; but if they did, President Mams
knew what to do with them. Be that as it may, the late president had not
been long in the chair of state, when he made known his willingness that an-
other arrangement might be made with the Indians, and appointed Col. Gads-
den to confer with them, to see what could be done. It happened that this
was the most favorable time that could have been fixed upon, namely, the
spring of 1832, for such conference, because the crops of the Indians had been
cut off, and they were in a state bordering upon starvation ; hence they were
ready to hear any propositions which promised them immediate relief! Col.
Gadsden visited Micanopy, and on the 8 April had an interview with him, in
which little difficulty was experienced in persuading him that his condition,
as well as that of his people, would be greatly improved by a removal to the
fruitful west. Micanopy said, however, that he would defer treating at that
time, as his men were dispersed upon their yearly hunting tours, and many
of them 150 or 200 miles off; but that he would collect them as soon as he
could, and then they would consider the matter together, for he wished them
all to hear what their father, the president, had to say to them. Accordingly
the 8 May following was fixed upon for the day of council, and Paine ? s Land-
ing the place of the meeting.

Agreeably to arrangement, the parties met on the 8 of May, 1832, and on
the following day, a treaty was signed by such chiefs and head men as were
assembled, to the number of fifteen. Of the small number of chiefs who ex-
ecuted this great treaty, we have before remarked, and we have also noted its
chief conditions. It is said that the agent had much difficulty in bringing the
Indians to any terms, touching a removal ; and they finally signed only a con-
ditional treaty, one of the chief articles of which stipulated! that a deputation
of some competent chiefs of their own should visit the proposed country to
which they were to remove, and if, when they returned, and reported the re-
sult of their observations to the nation, it should then be thought advisable,
they would remove from Florida. The chiefs sent out upon this important
embassy, were seven in number, and their names were as follows: JOH.\
HICKS, representing SAM JONES, (Apiaca, Abica, Arpiucki, &c.); JUMPER, who
afterwards fought in the bloody battle at Okeechubee Lake, in which 139 whites
were killed and wounded ; NEHAUTHULO, representing BLACK DIRT ; HOLATA
Wolf) ; and Abraham, a negro, who accompanied the deputation as inter-

What means were taken to cause these chiefs or agents to express their


entire appronation of tin- country tliry had e.vmi'med, 1 will not undertake to
say, Inn en-tain it is the\ did sii:n a writing, in which they say, u We, the un-
dersigned. Seiiiinole chit-Is. express ourselves \\cll satislicd with the country
examined by us, and we do agree to remove as soon as g<>\ eminent 'uiM
make the necessary arrangements," &c. How much they really understood

of this writing, belbre they Signed it, is pretty clearly sho\\n by w hat they
themselves say to agent Thompson, when called upon to fulfil their e 11,^1 Ce-
ment to remove; and from the same source- it \\ill be likewise ,-een how
much they understood ol'the treat\ of Moultrie Creek. .Ml th;it can now be
said is, that it' they understood what they were signing, when they e.\pived
their satisfaction with the country to which the nation was to remove, they
entirely transcended the powers delegated to them by their countn men.

Although it cannot be denied, that at 1'aine's Landing a treaty "u.-is made,
which stipulated that all the Seminoles should, in three years then-alter, re-
move 1'rom the country, under certain conditions, yet it is well known that
it was with very great difficulty that the chiels could be persuaded to execute
it, even under its expressed, contingencies. On this matter, we will hear the
United States commissioner, Col. Gadsden, who procured the treaty to be ex-
ecuted. In his communication to the secretary of war, he says, "There is a
condition prefixed to the agreement, without assenting to which, the Florida
Indians most positively refused to negotiate ibr their removal west of the Mis-
si>sippi. Even with the condition annexed, there was a reluctance, (which
with some difficulty was overcome,) on the part of the Indians, to bind them-
selves by any stipulations, before a knowledge of facts and circumstances
would enable them to judge of the advantages or disadvantages of the dispo-
sition the government of the United States wished to make of them. They
were finally induced, however, to assent to the agreement." By "agreement,"
does Col. Gadsden refer to the treaty itself, or to a separate writing, forwarded
to the war office with the treaty ?

We have questioned the manner by which the Indian commissioners' sig-
natures were obtained to a certain certificate, acknowledging their satisfaction
of the country west of the Mississippi. By another writing, they have been
made to express approbation of, and even affection for, Maj. Phagan, one of
the government agents who accompanied them on that journey. It shall
now be shown that these papers speak a very different language from that
spoken by the chiefs before their accusers, in open council, afterwards. The
council here alluded to, was held at the Seminole agency, immediately after
the ratification of the treaty of Paine's Landing by the United States govern-
ment, viz., in October, 1834.* It was opened by Gen. Thompson, in whose
speech we find these words : " You alone have the right to decide whether you
will accept the invitation f or not ; it is left, as it should be, entirely optional with
you, and no person but yourselves has any right to say you shall or shall not ac-
cede to the proposition" Thus it is evident that, although the chiefs had ex-
pressed their approbation of the country, a matter of much greater moment
had been left open to negotiation. We will now hear the chiefs :

MICAXOPY rose and said, "When we J were at Camp MouJtrie, we made a
treaty ; and we were to be paid our annuity for twenty years. This is all I
have to say."

Jumper, since so celebrated in the war, and a leader in, it is said, the mas-
sacre at Fort Mimms, next spoke: "At Camp JMoultrie we were told that all
difficulties should be buried for 20 years, from the date of the treaty then and

- By the usages of civilized nations, the Indians were under no obligation to abide by the
treaty of Paine's Landing, for it was two years after it was concluded before congress ratified
it; and all treaties must be ratified in a reasonable t ; ine but any time must answer for

t The Creeks, already removed to the west, had invited the Seminoles to settle among
them promiscuously: and it seems the chiefs had given encouragement that they would, when
all the neighboring Indians had made peace with them. It will be necessary that this fact
be borne in mind by the reader.

$ He was among the signers of that treaty. I have omitted to mention earlier, that Mi
CANOPY is grandson to the distinguished KING PAINE, and that his fathers name was SE



there made. Before the 20 years were out, we made a treaty at Paine's Land-
ing. We were told we might go and see. the land, but that we were not
obliged to remove. When we saw the country, we said nothing, but the
whites that went with us made us sign our hands to a paper, which you now
say signified our consent to remove ; but we thought the paper said only that
we liked the land, and when w r e returned, our nation would decide upon
removal. We had no authority to do more. My people cannot say they will
go. We are not willing to go. If their tongues say yes, their hearts cry no,
and call them liars. The country to which you invite us is surrounded by
hostile neighbors, and although it may produce good fruit, the fruit of a bad
neighborhood is blood, that spoils the land, and a fire that dries up the brooks.
When in the west I said to the agent, ' You say the Seminoles are rogues, but
you wish to bring us among ivorse rogues, that we may be destroyed by them.'
Did they not steal our horses, and were not some of us obliged to return with
our packs upon our own backs ? "

CHARLES EMATHLA was no friend to a removal at this time, but subse-
quently consented to go, and having, with three daughters, gone to Camp
King, about the 26 November, 1835, to make arrangements for bringing hi
his cattle, on his return was set upon and shot down in the way, a little in
advance of his daughters. Nine balls were found in him, and it is said the
deed was done by Osceola and some others of the Mickasauky tribe.* He
spoke as follows : " Our old speaker was Hicks. f He is dead, but I have not
forgotten his words. I was not at the treaty of Moultrie Creek. It was not
made by children. Great men made it, and it is sacred. By it we were to
receive the annuity for 20 years, J and to enjoy the lands therein defined.
The time has not expired ; when it does, it is time enough to make a new bar-
gain. Our father has often said to me that he loves his children they love
him. When a man is at home, and has his things about him, he sees that
himself and family depend upon them. He thinks of these things when he
leaves home. My young men and family are all around me. Should I go
west, I should lose many on the way. A weak man cannot get there, the
fatigue would be so great. None but strong people can go. I am an Indian.
There is none but Indian blood in ME. The agent, Major Phagan, that went
with us, is a man of violent passions. He quarrelled with us on the way, and after
we got there. If he had done his duty, all would have ended well. If I know ray
heart, I speak true. If I differ from the agent, he is a Iree man, and can talk
as he pleases. I hope his talk will bring all things right, so that we may all
live together hereafter in friendship."

HOLATA EMATHLA said: "The horses that were stolen from us by the
Cherokees, when we were viewing the country in the west, were never
restored to us. We told the agent the land was good, but the people were
bad. We saw them bring scalps to the garrison. We had a meeting with
JVTIntosh. He told us that among all their neighbors they had peace ; that
he and Col. Arhuckle were to send out to have a treaty of peace with all the
Spanish Indians, and when that was done, a report of it was to be sent to
Washington. I am sick. I cannot say all 1 want to say. I want to talk
coolly, and tell the truth in all things. They promised to send word to us
when peace was made with all the Indians west of the great river." It had
been now about three years, and it does not appear that any news of a treaty
had reached the Seminoles; therefore could it be expected they should be

' Here is a slight discrepancy between this and our former relation, (p. 72 ; ) occasioned by
a comparison of Cohen and Williams. It will also be observed, that from the several printed
versions of the speeches of the chiefs on this occasion, I have drawn these.

t He was a signer of the treaty of Camp Moultrie, and is said to have been destroyed by
the machinations of Jumper in 1825; and that although Micanopywas considered the chief
of chiefs, yet Hicks was much the greatest man. Hcxt he is sometimes called, and to the
treaty of Moultrie his name is written To/cose Mathla.

J Mr. Williams had probably not read that treaty, as he intimates that it stipulated that the
Indians were to remove at the end of 20 years. The treaty says nothing about a removal,
(only on to their 5,000,000 acres,) but stipulates that an annuity shall be paid them for 20

Chilly M'Intosh, son of Gen. W. M'Intosh, executed for treason by his own people.
See p. 54 of this book. _



Online LibrarySamuel Gardner DrakeThe aboriginal races of North America; comprising biographical sketches of eminent individuals, and an historical account of the different tribes, from the first discovery of the continent to the present period ... and a copious analytical index → online text (page 81 of 131)