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Little seems to have been done with the document, except to enable members to remark, as Mr. Everett did, that the “ expenditure” came up to “twenty millions." This amount, however, is far from being inferred from the report in question. The aggregate given by that would fall very considerably short of so large a sum. priations which had been made for these purposes may have been in view, as they furnished sufficient data by which to determine the probable expenditure ; not a doubt existing but that all such appropriations had been expended. The precise amount of these appropriations we have not at hand the means of ascertaining ; but it is a matter of notoriety that they have come up to the full amount set forth by Mr. Everett. Of this fact there is no question. But there is a question, whether all these expenditures have been made on account of “the Florida War," as Mr. Everett stated, and as alınost all others have stated, who have had occasion to dwell on this topic.
It may not, at first view, be deemed a matter of any moment, whether these many millions have been swallowed up in our endeavours to make the Florida Indians emigrate, according to Colonel Gadsden's treaty, or whether they were applied to other somewhat kindred objects. A little reflection, however, will convince one that the credit of the nation is deeply concerned in a proper discrimination as to this subject. There is not a doubt, but that the attempted expulsion of the miserable remnants of tribes who have made the peninsula of Florida their home, has cost us a sum that is most glaringly disproportioned to the weakness of these remnants, and that the nation will have its full measure of obloquy to bear, even when the strict truth alone shall govern public opinion ; but this measure will be much diminished by a proper unders understanding
ing of the facts. The Secretary of War, in communicating this Report, says ;
“ The appropriations for the expenses of the Florida war, the war with the Creek Indians, and for those incident to the military operations that took place for the purpose of preventing hostilities on the part of the Cherokee Indians, from about the middle of the year 1836, till they were finally removed, in the latter part of 1838, were all under the same general head. From the scarcity of supplies in the different sections of the country in which the military operations were in progress, and
the greatly enhanced prices, in consequence of the increased demand, it became necessary, and was much more economical, to purchase a very large proportion at a distance from the scene of operations. The supplies purchased by the officers employed on this duty were frequently distributed among two, and sometimes all three, of the different sections of military operations, at the same time ; and those which had been specially purchased for one section, or which had been assigned to it from the general purchases, were sometimes sent from it to another by the commanding generals, either because not needed, or in consequence of some pressing exigency of the service. These purchases were all paid for from the same general appropriation, and no distinction, was made by the officers, in their accounts, so as to designate the particular service to which the supplies were assigned. There is nothing to show, with any thing like accuracy, the quantity applied to each ; no accounts were kept of what was assigned to each, or of the quantities afterwards transferred from one to the other. The duty of the Department ceased with the taking of all the necessary measures for procuring the requisite quantities of the various kinds of supplies, of the best qualities, and at the lowest prices, and with observing all possible precaution to preserve them from misapplication, waste, or damage, and for their being distributed to the troops in the authorized quantities ; hence, of a large portion of the expenditures under the general head of "preventing and suppressing Indian hostilities,” it is believed to be impossible to designate what part of them should be charged to the operations in Florida. The 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 ; for the whole time and labor of that now at the disposal of those bureaus of the Department, by which the investigations would have principally to be made, are required to keep up the important and indispensable current business constantly pressing upon them." The first part of this extract shows the very
involved state of the case. These “twenty millions " have been spread over a very wide ground, over many degrees of latitude and longitude, with which Florida has little or nothing to do.
Creek wars, and Cherokee wars, come in for their share, and a very large share too. The Creeks were a large nation compared with the Seminoles, or Florida Indians. They probably numbered as many thousands as the Seminoles did hundreds, and the amount of force brought out against the former under General Scott and General Jesup may have been in proportion. Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee came forth as if a crusade were on foot. Their militia flooded the field, and its services have all been paid for out of these “twenty millions.”
It was the same with the Cherokees. They, too, were a strong nation, — probably as strong as the Creeks. It was not open hostilities with them, for they never lifted the tomahawk, nor withstood emigration “10 the knife.” Remonstrance, protestation, and reluctance in every form but that of hostile resistance, evinced their unwillingness to go, and something like determination to stay. In this case, the government, taught by experience, resolved that prevention should anticipate the necessity of cure, and sent a force into the Cherokee country, that seemed to fill all its hills and valleys with the sounds of warlike readiness. A
Again were Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee on the ground. your tents
in all the borders, and it was answered by as many thousands as had closed around the Creeks. Fortunately, more pacific councils prevailed among the Indians in the one case than in the other. The Cherokees at last emigrated in peace, though not without costing the United States a vast sum. Feeding and paying these crowds of militia, through many months, was at a heavy cost, all of which has heretofore, in common parlance, been set down to the “ Florida War."
The Quartermaster-general has appended to his report, in the document we are now reviewing, a statement which shows, in a sufficiently plain manner, the influence this union of wars had in augmenting appropriations, and how much cheaper the Seminoles were managed single-handed, than when conjoined with their more numerous brethren, the Creeks and Cherokees. For instance, he states, that the appropriation, on account of the quartermaster's department in 1836, “ for the Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee wars," was $ 1,680,470.28; in 1837, for the same triple purpose, $ 3,362,306.46 ; in 1838, for the Seminole and Cherokee No. 114.
wars, $3,967,774.04 ; in 1839, when the Seminoles alone remained, $ 1,455,998.81 ; and in 1840, for the same single purpose, $ 1,107,927.63. This statement enables us to form a pretty satisfactory idea of the proportion of this amount which the Seminole or " Florida"
war could rightly be made to bear. It would not seem out of the way to assign to the Creeks and to the Cherokees, who were thousands, while the Seminoles were only hundreds, one third part each of the expenditures for the three years 1836, 1837, and 1838, during which we were at a constant cost of treasure, if not also of blood, on their account. Under this rule, so favorable to the larger nations, out of the nine millions and upwards which were expended in that time by the quatermaster's department on account of “ preventing and suppressing hostilities” with these three nations, rather more than six millions would be assignable to the Creek and Cherokee wars,
and must be deducted from the 66 Florida
If it be asked, why we should thus endeavour to establish this discrimination, we answer, for the credit of the nation. If these six millions, which we assign to the Creek and Cherokee wars, were really expended on those accounts, there was something like an adequate occasion. When it became settled that those large and formidable tribes were to be removed, a most important object was to be attained, an object requiring much management and preparation, and involving much hazard. The hazard with respect to the Creeks was soon unequivocal. They opposed force to force, and a most serious, prolonged, and onerous war, in which the millions actually spent might have been doubled many times, was prevented only by an energetic and prompt application of the abundant levies which the contiguous States, as we have before remarked, threw into the field. There were thousands of Creeks transferred, as captives, from the land to which they so tenaciously clung, to remote regions, that wore to them, at that time, a most repulsive aspect. Nothing but the dark clouds of menace that lowered over them on every side, induced them thus early to give up the contest. We do not count the cost which produced this result as having been disproportioned to the object in view, and this expenditure may therefore be regarded as having been prudently and properly applied. In these remarks, of course, we are not expressing any opinion as to the policy which led to these removals. With that we have now nothing to do.
The same observations are mainly applicable to the Cherokee difficulty, - for it did not become a war. This calamity, however, was averted only by much wisdom and for bearance, joined to every proper precaution as to means of enforcement in case of necessity. This tribe was in many respects even more formidable than the Creek tribe. It was more civilized, and consequently more capable, in case of war, of using its numbers to advantage. Fortunately, a more prudent policy prevailed, - a policy which was the joint result of an enlightened, benevolent, and conciliating conduct on the part of the officers, who acted in the affair as agents of the United States, and on the part of those who governed the Cherokees, of tempered feelings, allowing the full exercise of discretion and judgment, where both were so likely to be overpowered by a thousand unpropitious recollections. In the last season of the negotiation, when the tribes were to go forth from their beautiful hills and valleys and streams (and truly beautiful they are), there was scarcely a day, or an hour, in which some unlucky step, some imprudent manifestation, on either side, might not have filled all those scenes with war in its worst forms. There was one man, the intelligent and shrewd chief of the Cherokees, who could at any moment have
produced such a change ; but he was led to use his unbounded influence for good, rather than for evil, to his nation, by faithful and eloquent representations, on the part of the officer in command, of the stern and inflexible necessity which left that nation no alternative but to emigrate. The millions, therefore, which were expended in producing this happy result, were well applied. The fruit had all the value of the price paid for it. Indeed, had this price been seven times seven,
we had almost said seventy times seven, - greater than it proved to be, better bad it been paid, than that the land, in such a cause, should have been dyed with Cherokee blood, mingled with our own.
But we turn again to the Florida war in its singleness, separated from these two other wars, whose heavy expenditures have thus far, in public opinion, been regarded only as Florida expenditures. With this discrimination, however, enough will remain to overburden with its weight the real Florida war.
The public has not often been led to look into