« PreviousContinue »
to him for withdrawing the troops, and to insist on a more explicit and ample acknowledgment for the insult offered the government in the attack upon the troops. I was also induced to this course, from the information which I de-rived from the verbal communications which took place between my aid, when in Augustine, and the person then in authority there, and those made to myself by the agent employed by governour. Kinderlan, in carrying his despatches to me, and my answers. From these, it was evident to me that the government of Augustine would not consent to any arrangement which should provide for the safety of those residents of the province who had embarked in the opposition to their government, under the assurance of protection from the United States, and our government was equally determined not to withdraw the troops, but upon such conditions as should render the residence of those persons in Florida, perfectly safe from the resentment of the Spaniards, as well in their persons as properties.
I have not sent you copies of my letters to the Secretary of State, prior to the 19th September last, since, if he had considered it necessary that the contents of any of them should be communicated to you, he would have transmitted them himself; it will however, afford me much pleasure to furnish any information in my power upon any point which you may think proper to state. I am, with much regard and esteem, &c.
D. B. MITCHELL.
Copy of a Letter from the Governour of East Florida, to
His Excellency Governour Mitchell, dated St. Augustine, June 23, 1812; transmitted to the Department of State, by Major General Pinckney.
Sir,-i observe by your excellency's letter, of the 16th instant, far from being deceived in the opinion I had formed of the pacifick intentions of the United States towards this territory, under my command, I have every reason 10 expect an amicable and complete adjustment of all differences which have occurred. I will give your excellency an unequivocal testimony of my desire to remove all doubts, and such trifling disputes as ought never to exist between friendly contiguous governments, declaring without hesitation to your excellency, that I can see nothing in the attack which you say was made from this place on the federal troops, that ought to cause the least complaint; saying nothing at present of how they have invaded the sovereignty of the Spanish territory, and how they have trampled the privileges and shelter of our home; all I wish to pass over, and only assure to your excellency that the party from St. Augustine had not the most distant idea of committing hostilitics against the American troops. A number of seditious persons, who were disturbing the peace of the country, occupied and fortified a house on Moosa--from whence they could overlook the operations of this place, and impede the free rise of the creeks belonging thereto, and above all, the constant sight and proximity of them, were very insulting to the loyal inhabitants of this city. In such circumstances the honour of the government, and its indisputable right to punish severely, those who without shame, so far forget their duty, was what so justly made my predecessor decide on sending a small party to dislodge the rebels, as was done. It would be offering a high insult to the American name, even to think that their troops would take part in favour of those committing sedition : but if any, ill guided and forgetful of their duty, have united with the revolutionary mob, they would, without doubt, receive part of the punishment intended for the others : in such case all the blame must attach to those who meddle in what did not concern them.-Under this firm conceit, your excellency may, if pleases, charge your troops with what has happened to them.
Your excellency will be pleased to observe the candour and good faith I have made use of on my part; it therefore rests with your excellency, if faithful to your promise, to order your troops without delay, to evacuate the province under my command, as an indispensable measure which ought to precede every other communication, and without which, making your excellency, your offers null, will cause that want of confidence which destroys all good faith, and leads to fatal consequences; none of which can attach to the Spanish nation, whose sincerity goes hand in hand with the valour and stability which characterizes her.
Mr. Joseph Arredando will have the honour of delivering you this, and receive your excellency's commands. With sentiments of respect, I am, &c.
Copy of a Letter from His Excellency Governour Mitchell,
in reply to that from the Governour of East Florida, of the 230 June, 1812, dated St. Marys, July 6, 1812 ; transmitted to the Department of State by Major General Pinckney.
SIR, 1 hasten to reply to your letter of the 23d June, delivered to me last evening by Mr. Joseph Arredando.
I confess I am at a loss in what light to consider your observations respecting the atta .. made upon the United States troops.
You set out by observing that you can see nothing in the attack made upon them that ought to cause the least complaint; and I with candour admit, that if that attack had been made before any explanation was offered on the part of the United States, the observation would have been more correct; but its being made at a moment whert the United States were offering friendly and sincere explanations, nothing could be more offensive, because it unequivocally called in question the sincerity, and consequently the honour and integrity of the government.
I entertain too high an opinion of your character, and too much respect for your judgment and patriotism to believe for a moment that you would consider an indignity of the nature of the one complained of as "a trifling dispute," and am therefore constrained to believe that you have not been correctly informed of the facts.
The truth is, the troops were stationed on the bank of the river and occupied the house of Moosa to which you refer, and the patriots were several hundred yards in their rear, and not within gun-shot of the river; neither was it possible for the troops to impede the free use of the creeks or other water courses leading to or from St. Augustine, since they had neither boats por cannon, and in fine they were making no demonstration of hostility other than their presence afforded, and furnished no particular reason for an attack at that time more than at any other time previous : and if their situation enabled them to overlook the operations in St. Augustine, it equally enabled those in that place to know all the facts I have stated. The declaration therefore that the party from St. Augustine had not the most distant idea of committing hostilities against the American troops, is so opposite to facts, that l must believe, that as you were not in the province at the time, that you have been deceived, and that the communication which I made previous to that attack had not obtained confidence with those at that time in authority in St. Augustine.
When you state, that if faithful to my promise, I will withdraw the troops without delay from the province under your command, I am induced to believe that you have not favoured me so far as to give my last letter an attentive perusal; in that I state my full persuasion that you did not expect me either to withdraw the troops or to make any proposition for that purpose, until such explanation was given for the attack made upon them as would evince the sincerity of the desire you had expressed of seeing the harmony of the two countries preserved, &c. &c. Now, sir, I have already shown that the explanation you have given is in direct opposition to facts, and does not embrace the point upon which the explanation was required or expected.
assure your excellency that when I embarked in this business, it was with the most sincere desire to adjust all the differences which had arisen in consequence of the previous transaction in the province; and had my first efforts been met by corresponding ones, and with equal sincerity on the part of those then in authority in St. Augustine, I have no doubt but every difficulty would have been long since adjusted. That was, however, not the case, and for the consequent delay I am no wise chargeable any more than I can be for the final result.
There is, however, another subject, which the candour that characterizes the government of the United States, requires me to present to your consideration; I mean the black troops which you have in your service. Your cer
tain knowledge of the peculiar situation of the southern section of the Union, in regard to that description of people, one might have supposed would have induced you to abstain from introducing them into the province, or from organizing such as were already in it; the contrary I am well assured, is however the fact, and I may venture to assure you
that the United States will never tolerate their remaining in the province. It will readily occur to you also, that the war now existing between this country and Great Britain, imposes upon the United States the necessity of a more vigilant regard and attention to what happens in a neighbouring province, and more especially the fact to which I have called your attention ; neither will it escape your observation that for the use made of these troops you alone will be responsible.
I pray your excellency to accept the assurance of my personal respect and esteem.
D. B. MITCHELL.
Presented to the Spanish Government, May 12, 1805.
From the first of October, seventeen hundred and ninety-six, until
there were brought into the ports of his catholick majesty, in Europe and Africa, by the French, 168 vessels. Of the above have been condemned,
74 Acquitted, ransomed, or compromised,
23 Cases of violation of the Spanish territory, condemned,