JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS.
“I, as commander of the army, pledged the national faith that they
should remain under the protection of the United States.”
Discarding that code of morals which teaches the suppression of truth,
for the purpose of upholding the honor, either of the Government, or of
the individuals who wield its administration, the Author of the
following work has endeavored to give a faithful record of those
interesting events which appear directly connected with the Exiles of
Torn from their native land, their friends and homes, they were sold in
the markets of Carolina and Georgia. Feeling the hand of oppression
bearing heavily upon them, they fled to Florida, and, under Spanish
laws, became free. Holding lands of the Spanish Crown, they became
citizens of that Territory, entitled to protection. To regain possession
of their truant bondmen, Georgia made war upon Florida, but failed to
obtain her object.
At a time of profound peace, our army, acting under the direction of the
Executive, invaded Florida, murdered many of these free men, and brought
others to the United States and consigned them to slavery. An expensive
and bloody war followed; but failing to capture more of the Exiles, our
army was withdrawn.
This war was followed by diplomatic efforts. Florida was purchased;
treaties with the Florida Indians were made and violated; gross frauds
were perpetrated; dishonorable expedients were resorted to, and another
war provoked. During its protracted continuance of seven years, bribery
and treachery were practiced towards the Exiles and their allies, the
Seminole Indians; flags of truce were violated; the pledged faith of the
nation was disregarded. By these means the removal of the Exiles from
Florida was effected. After they had settled in the Western Country,
most of these iniquities were repeated, until they were driven from our
nation and compelled to seek an asylum in Mexico.
Men who wielded the influence of Government for the consummation of
these crimes, assiduously labored to suppress all knowledge of their
guilt; to keep facts from the popular mind; to falsify the history of
current events, and prevent an exposure of our national turpitude.
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