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no doubt considered as becoming at once a subject for emigration. The officer, this being so, had no option under the treaty, and under his instructions. All opportunities of fulfilling these he omitted at his peril. It was well known to those who served in Florida during the first years of the war, that the Indians habitually made use of the white flag for their convenience, or for sinister purposes, alone. They made it a cover for spying out our ways, and for entering our camps and forts, having found that it secured their ingress and egress also. This was a great gain on their part, and a great loss It would doubtless have been
commanding officer, to have detained all who thus came in, provided he had not reason to believe their going out again would be likely to promote the great object in view, that is, the execution of the treaty. And it was probably because considerations of the latter kind prevailed in most cases, rather than because the flag was looked upon as a safeguard for coming and going at pleasure, that such detentions were not always made.
In the two most conspicuous cases connected with this subject, the commanding officer was governed only by a sense of his obligations to the public, and the spirit of his instructions. Sympathy for the celebrated Powell, or Oceola, naturally led the community to a harsh judgment in the case which first occurred; though a recollection of his bloody act, in the instance of General Thompson, the agent, and Lieutenant Constantine Smith, might have awakened a very different feeling. But he was undoubtedly an extraordinary Indian, and entitled to high respect. The hardly less celebrated Coacoochee, or Wild-cat, was, we believe, the envoy who induced him to come within the power of the whites. This envoy was at that time a seemingly sincere, and certainly a most active agent, to bring about a fulfilment of the treaty. He was trusted, and felt that he had an important and creditable part to perform. Most unfortunately, after he returned from his successful embassy to Powell, circumstances excited a strong doubt of his sincerity. His father having lately been captured, and being then in prison, and the party accompanying Powell being strong and well armed, it became prudent to withdraw the confidence that had been reposed in him, and to secure him with the other prisoners then in St. Augustine. It is altogether probable that Powell, in consenting to meet the whites, supposed that the white flag, under which he approached the designated place, would authorize him to go out again if he chose. Whether Coacoochee gave him any assurances to that effect, we do not know. It is not probable that he was instructed to do so, as there was but one course to be pursued with the Indians, which led to emigration and nothing but emigration. Coacoochee himself then expected to emigrate, and no doubt wished others to do the same. He, therefore, probably brought Powell in, under an expectation that he would not go out again. It would seem that that chief came in with a double purpose. He had about eighty persons with him well armed, as about that number of loaded rifles were found secreted near the appointed place of conference. If a favorable opportunity should occur, perhaps he intended to effect the liberation of the prisoners recently made, or achieve any other daring act, suited to circumstances and bis ambitious character. But he was in ill health at the time, and apparently little fitted for the hazards of such designs. When he was surrounded, and informed that he was in captivity, he manifested neither surprise nor inclination to resist. This arose from either a consciousness that, while he intended to overreach, he had been merely overreached, or from an expectation of such an event. Some weeks afterwards, when Coacoochee made bis escape, Powell had the same way open to him, but he refused to avail himself of it. He evidently then had no desire to return to his comrades in the field, and may have quitted them, when he came in, with the same feeling. At that period, when very extensive preparations were made for a new campaign, there was a general willingness among the Indians to give up, with a view to emigrate. Micanopy, the chief of the Florida Indians, and
many of his adherents, came in upon the first overtures. It is likely that a general emigration would have been the result of Micanopy's movements, had not Coacoochee, who had made his escape from prison, reached the famous Sam Jones in time to rekindle the spirit of war in the breast of that chief, who was most reluctantly yielding to the tide of submission, and was nothing loth to follow the more daring counsels of his new, indignant, and revengeful coadjutor.
Micanopy had come in to emigrate. He did not intend to do so, of course, without his nation.
But circumstances, over which neither he nor the officer in command had any control, diminished the number expected to accompany him. All were disappointed. But could that furnish a justification for turning loose again this principal chief, and his many influential subordinates who were with him, to renew the war, and cast away the chances of peace which were then in hand ?
We have not space to give even the same brief consideration to the other instance no doubt alluded to by Mr. Everett, where several hundreds were made to emigrate from Jupiter Inlet, as we have given to the foregoing. No white flag was used in that instance to induce the Indians to come in. A negro was sent out, well known to them by long residence with them, who chose to raise a white flag, or something like it, as he approached them, lest they might fire upon him before being made acquainted with his peaceful errand. He invited them to come in. They agreed to a conference, which resulted in their consent to come in, and await a message to the government, proposing something like that which General Macomb was subsequently authorized to grant, as a condition of cessation from all hostility. If these terms were not allowed, emigration was to follow. It is well recollected that government refused any indulgence, and the whole body was made to emigrate.
In remarking upon this" error, we are aware that we tread on controverted ground ; that we have taken a view of it which is not, or was not, in accordance with that of a generous and sensitive public. But we believe that insufficient allowances have been made for the peculiarity of situation in which officers commanding in Florida have been placed. They have had a skilful, wily, vindictive foe to meet, without being able to regard him in all respects as an ordinary enemy, coming under the rules of ordinary warfare. The end of the war was to remove the Indians, and no chances of effecting this
purpose were to be lost. If the band which was with Powell, that which accompanied Micanopy, and the still larger band, which was sent off from Jupiter Inlet, had been permitted to reunite with their brethren, and thus to swell the amount of hostility by many hundreds of warriors, and many first-rate chiefs (the latter perhaps the greater acquisition), the war would have been even more desperate than it has been for some years past. The public would then, perhaps, have found other and better grounds for censure, and have condemned accordingly. If there has been any violation of national faith, or even individual unfairness, in these transactions, then condempation should follow, let the consequences be what they may. But if, under circumstances of an extraordinary character, somewhat extraordinary powers have been exerted to fulfil the purposes of the war, the public should permit its generous, rather than its sensitive, feelings to predominate. In all the cases alluded to, the Indians were treated with the utmost humanity and kindness, and denied nothing but the liberty of returning to the wastes of Florida. And all of them are now peacefully occupying their new homes beyond the Mississippi, instead of sharing in the harassed, hunted, and wretched life, which has inevitably been the lot of those they left behind. Whenever they have been heard from, it has been only to persuade these remnants to join them in that new home.
But it is time we turned attention to another branch of our subject, that which is suggested by the document named in the second place at the head of this article. We fear we have left hardly space for such a consideration of it as its magnitude and great notoriety would seem to demand. No question, connected with the administration of our government during the last few years, has been more frequently in the public mind, than the expenditures of the Florida war. And probably none has been less understood. Indeed, it is complicated to the last degree, and perhaps will never be fully and satisfactorily explained. The document before us shows the extreme difficuliy of obtaining an accurate and detailed exhibit of the expenses, which properly belong to the suppression of Indian hostilities. The resolution of the House of Representatives was certainly of ample scope enough. To comply with it satisfactorily, or according to the letter, would have been an enormous work, even had the means been within reach ; but it appears from the letter of the Secretary of War, communicating the report of what was done, that the materials for such a statement do not exist. He
says, most accurate result that could be arrived at would probably be only an approximation to the true amount ; but to reach even such a result would require an examination of so minute, laborious, and extended a character, into so immense a mass of accounts, vouchers, returns, abstracts of issues, and other documents, as, under no circumstances, could have been
made within the time limited by the resolution ; nor could it be done for years, without a considerable accession of force," &c. For these inost obvious reasons, a report, under the resolution, “ showing distinctly the various items of the expenditure," that is, “ the number of troops employed in that service, and the length of time employed, distinguishing the commanding officers from the privates and non-commissioned officers, and the amount of pay to the officers and to the noncommissioned officers and privates; the amount paid for subsistence and transportation, and the items for such expenditure separately ; the other expenses under their appropriate heads, and the items of such expenditure,” was made only in part, and that a very small part. The Third Auditor, on whom the brunt of the investigation would have fallen, did not make the attempt to report at all ; as, he says, he could form no idea “ of the magnitude of such a report, or the preliminary labor and time necessary to its compilation ;” but was “ fully satisfied, however, from [his] own reflections on the subject, and the opinions of others conversant therewith, that, if all the clerks in the office, to the utter neglect of their other duties, could have been employed on the work from the time the resolution was received, it would have been beyond their ability to accomplish the same by the first or even the last day of the next session of Congress.”
It is probable, that neither the Secretary nor the Auditor expressed half of what they believed to be the truth in the premises. We feel almost certain, that the whole force of the Treasury, “ to the utter neglect of all other duties," could not have achieved a literal compliance with the call in many years. * But the answer, although so immeasurably short of the call, furnishes enough for our purposes, and probably furnished enough for the purposes of Congress.
With this document probably on his table, the Honorable Mr. Levy, Delegate from Florida, at the late extra session, where he was a new meniber, offered a string of nine resolutions on the multifarious subject of Florida. The first resolution called for a report of “all the sums expended in the execution of the treaty of · Payne's Landing,' "specifying the several items." He might have said the several thousand, or several hun. dred thousand, items. He takes up the first link in this endless chain of expenditure; and, if the House pass the resolution hereafter, the Depart. ment will again have a task before them as difficult and as indefinite as the Florida war itself. The new members are apt to require every thing as new as themselves. They cannot look back through old dusty and musty files.