Lapas attēli

the people themselves into their reserve, in less than two weeks' time; what the agents of the government had been unable to effect in two years. The treaty was for the first time enforced; no farther rations were supplied; and none of them starved.

It may seem scarcely credible, that this was the time their chiefs chose to ask new favours from the government, even enlargements of their territory-and they succeeded. While the chiefs were in Washington, propositions were made to them to migrate beyond the Mississippi, which they most peremptorily refused. An equally peremptory refusal was made to a recent proposition from Colonel White. They even objected to the establishment of a school amongst them. Should the Indians remain within their own limits, their presence will be productive of no injury to the territory; but they cannot be kept within their proper bounds, unless a military post be established in Allachua, at the agency. Every year will increase the difficulty of removing them westward, as they will have improved their lands, and made permanent settlements. The system of treating the different tribes as independent nations, has caused much injury. All the difficulties in Georgia would probably have been prevented, if an individual, and not a national removal had been proposed to the Creeks. The mass of Indian hunters did not care where they chased their game; but they were true to the chiefs of their tribe. Among these, some had made improvements which they were unwilling to leave; but others, more enlightened and ambitious, understood, that as long as they remained within the United States, their authority would be limited; and therefore they wished to establish in the west an inde pendent Indian empire. If, instead of treating with a nation, the United States had extended the jurisdiction of Georgia, granting a pre-emption right of a section in fee simple to any Indian who had made permanent improvements, and wished to remain, giving to the others rations and a few presents, every one would have been satisfied, and, most probably, no difficulties would have arisen. It certainly appears preposterous to ask the consent of the Indians, after it is determined to force them into measures, how much soever they may object. As to the justice and honesty of the policy, that is a very different question. Under ordinary circumstances, it would be considered ridiculous to inquire whether a company or an individual might not be forced to dispose of goods, provided a stronger party chose to purchase, or desired to possess them. But history and experience teach us, that in relation to the Indians, "nous avons changé tout cela!"

The following animated description of the old inhabitants of Florida, is exact, and as applicable to St. Augustine as to Pensacola. Tallahassee being settled almost entirely by an American

VOL. II. -No. 3.


population, necessarily has not the gaiety of her elder sisters; but we believe her rational society will be found quite as congenial:

"The manners and customs of the Floridans are as various as their different origins. The country having, at different periods, been conquered by the English, French, and Spaniards, the inhabitants of these countries were much intermixed in complexion, language, and manners. The Creoles had, before the transfer to the United States, assumed something of a national character. Florida was little more than a military position. Most of the respectable inhabitants held commissions in the army, or in some of the departments of government; they lived on their salaries, paid no taxes, and were rarely called to a strict account for their conduct. The balance of the people kept little shops, cultivated small gardens, or followed fishing and hunting. They were almost wholly confined to their towns; a few cow-pens in the country formed the only exceptions. They were a temperate, quiet, and rather an indolent people. Affectionate and friendly to each other, and kind to their slaves; the even tenour of their way was not often interrupted by business of any kind. Dances, card parties, &c., were frequently indulged in, but never to excess. The bustle and exertions of a mixed American population, for a time threw the old inhabitants into the back ground; but meeting with little success, the new comers, at present, seem rather disposed to settle down to the easy lives of their neighbours, than to pursue a course of exertion which has once proved unsuccessful. It was a misfortune that most of the American emigrants to this country, brought with them expectations of accumulating rapid fortunes: being disappointed in their hopes, many left the country in disgust, and many relaxed in their exertions; but the few who settled down in a course of patient industry, are realizing a decent independence. Could the old and new inhabitants be induced to unite in establishing a rational system of education, all distinctions would in a few years be lost, and Florida would enjoy a happy population."

The following description of Tallahassee is quite correct, and may prove interesting to our readers:


"Tallahassee, the seat of government for the territory, is situated in Leon county, about twenty-two miles north by west from Fort St. Mark's, and about midway between the eastern and western extremity of the territory, on a higñ commanding eminence, in the bosom of a fertile and picturesque country. A pleasant mill-stream, the collected waters of several fine springs, winds along the eastern border of the city, until it falls fifteen or sixteen feet, into a gulf scooped by its own current, and finally sinks into the cleft of a rock, at the base of an opposite hill. Numerous springs flow from the southern border of the town. every part of the plain, good water may be obtained by sinking wells from six to thirty feet. In the spring of 1824, the first house was erected in Tallahassee. The first legislature sat there in the winter of the same year. In the winter of 1825 it was incorporated, and the government of the city was vested in an intendant and five aldermen. It now contains eight hundred inhabitants, and one hundred and twenty houses. The corner-stone of the state-house was laid in January 1826, and one wing of the building erected during that season. Several religious associations have been established, a masonic lodge, and an agricultural society. The market is yet small, but well supplied with meats. Beef, mutton, and pork, are plenty and cheap. Venison, tame and wild fowls, and fish, are also reasonably low. Bread stuffs have as yet been dear, owing to the rapid increase of population, which has outrun the expectation of eight or ten merchants established there. Few towns in America have increased more rapidly than Tallahassee, and population and improvement continue [to increase] without any abatement. It must, in a few years, become a charming place of residence, though it will probably never become a place of much commercial importance." (p. 79.)

The letter of Judge Brackenridge, forming the first document of the Appendix, is well written, and evinces considerable re

search. It is, perhaps, somewhat too visionary, even in its descriptions of present remains: the same remark will apply to the avenue of live oaks. It is unquestionable, however, that some very remarkable pieces of furniture, evidently appertaining to a civilized population, have been found there; probably the remains of the French Protestants so cruelly treated by the Spaniards, as heretofore related. We shall leave to Mr. Williams the task of describing them:

"About half a mile from Tallahassee, and near the dwelling of Gov. Duval, are the ruins of several small fortifications, which appear to have been hastily thrown up; near one of these, a large wooden building appears to have been destroyed by fire; some large timbers of the house, completely charred, have been preserved: very large spikes, locks, keys, and hinges, have been discovered; among other things, a porcelain lion, in a good state of preservation: it appears to have been an ornament for a chimney-piece. At some distance under the surface, a floor was discovered, formed of a composition of lime and other materials, very hard and smooth: on a part of the floor was piled a great quantity of corn and filberts, perfect in form, but very tender." (p. 34.)

A reference to the early history of Florida, renders it unnecessary for us to enter into many speculations relative to the origin of these remains. They are fast disappearing, from the action of the hoe and plough, and the antiquarians of the Florida Institute must be on the alert, to preserve any record of these evanescent traces of former civilized inhabitants.

The second document is highly interesting; and it is much to be regretted, that our author has not extended to East Florida the account he gives of the large grants. Speaking of Forbes's purchase, he says:

"John Forbes & Co. claimed a large tract of land east of the Apalachicola river, under treaty of cession of the Seminoles and Tallapoosa Indians, which grant was confirmed by Gov. Folch. The same company claim a large tract adjoining the former, as surviving partners of Ponton, Leslie and company. These two claims embrace nearly all the county of Gadsden, and part of Leon, estimated at one million two hundred thousand acres. The commissioners gave it as their opinion, that neither the Indians nor Gov. Folch had any power or authority to make any such grants. A third tract, to the west of Apalachicola river, nearly equal in size to the two former, was claimed by the same company. The consideration for these several grants, was certain spoliations and robberies committed by the Indians on the trading establishments of these companies. The principal objection to the last claim, is the want of a reference to the King." (p. 112.)

The board of commissioners, in East Florida, after a session of three years and a half, have transacted very little business; and what they have gone through, is said to have been imperfectly done. They have cost the United States about 70,000 dollars, being far more than the lands are worth to the nation. The new board, it is hoped, will in a short time retrieve the mismanagement of their predecessors. It is much to be desired, that Congress should adopt some general measures relative to land claims throughout the Union. In addition to the immense number of gross frauds, which these claims have caused, they have

been very injurious in another way. The grantees are not interested in the settlement, but in the sale of their lands. This creates an interest directly opposed to the best interests of the ter- . ritory. Any land brought in competition with such grants, must be cried down, especially if of superior quality. To the existence of this interest, are to be ascribed the slow increase of population, and the excitement of political parties. No misrepresentations have been spared, no springs left untried, to injure the middle district of the territory; for no other reason, than that there the lands were good, and the titles, which were indisputable, could be obtained at a cheap rate. In place of ignorant fishermen, who could be easily gulled into any measure, however injurious, the speculators had to deal with a shrewd, industrious, and enlightened population, accustomed to self-government!

We cannot forbear from adverting in this place, to the practice adopted by Congress, of granting townships of land to literary or scientific institutions. Why not grant them money, or at least the produce of certain townships of land, to be sold by the ordinary officer of government, in the usual way? Why, for the benefit of the deaf and dumb of Kentucky, should the settlement of Florida be materially retarded? We feel persuaded, that government would act differently, if it were at all informed of the innumerable tricks and jobbings which are the result of its practice.

The remainder of the volume contains several letters and speeches in Congress by Colonel White, concerning the canal to unite the Atlantic with the Gulf of Mexico. It was our intention to speak at length on this highly interesting subject, and to show how visionary are the schemes contained in these letters. This is now rendered unnecessary, as General Bernard is engaged in making an exploration of the country; his reports on this subject will doubtless be definitive. We risk very little, however, in declaring our belief, that the project of a ship canal will prove altogether visionary. The most that is to be hoped for, is a boat canal between the Santa Fe and the forks of Black creek, a distance of thirty-two miles. The greatest difficulty will be to find water at the summit-level, which is 298 feet above the sea.

Florida produces long and short staple cotton, in great perfection; the facility with which sugar-cane is raised, even on lands of a very inferior quality, almost on pine barrens, promises hereafter to become a great source of wealth to the territory. Indigo could be planted any where, but for the reduction of prices. The vicinity of the West Indies will offer an easy market for pine lumber of a superior quality. Florida, having now surmounted the first difficulties, has a fair prospect of rapid increase. If we were

asked why this has not hitherto taken place, we might reply in the words of Mr. Williams:- Although Florida is rapidly increasing in population, there are several causes which must tend to retard her progress in some parts, for several years. These are principally the unsettled land claims, and the large grants, possessed by individuals, which are withheld from sale for the purpose of speculation."


1.-A Practical View of the Present State of Slavery in the West Indies; or, an Examination of Mr. Stephen's "Slavery of the British West India Colonies:" containing more particularly an Account of the actual Condition of the Negroes in Jamaica: with Observations on the Decrease of the Slaves since the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and on the probable effects of Legislative Emancipation: also, Strictures on the Edinburgh Review, and on the Pamphlets of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Bickell. By ALEXANDER BARCLAY, lately, and for twenty-one years, resident in Jamaica. London: 1826. 2.-Speech of the Hon. HENRY CLAY, before the American Colonization Society, in the Hall of the House of Representatives, January 20th, 1827. With an Appendix, containing the Documents therein referred to. Washington: 1827.

ABOUT three years ago, Mr. Stephen, the author of that clever piece of sophistry, "War in Disguise," published a work on the slavery of the British West Indies, in which, for the purpose of inducing Parliament to bring about emancipation, he endeavours to show that slavery exists there in a worse form than in any other country, ancient or modern; and in the notice of the work by the Edinburgh Review, (August 1825,) it is said, that "no opponent had appeared sufficiently intrepid to deny the author's statements, or to dispute their results." But ere the year expired, the answer at the head of this article made its appearance, in which many of those statements, as well as the inferences deduced from them, are not only denied, but virtually disproved by Mr. Barclay; and a vast deal of good sense and sound argument, expressed in a business-like, unpretending way, is brought forward by him, to vindicate the character and legislation of the colonists from the intemperate denunciations of Mr. Stephen.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »